Blame Drew Stubbs and Dexter Fowler. Pouring out a pair of fantasy football posts today was the plan, then Stubbs and Fowler go nuts, let alone all the other big news.
There’s so much news, there’s not much room for an intro, so let’s get right to the good stuff:
Drew Stubbs — One of my personal late-round picks and one of my keepers in one league, Stubbs hit homers 9, 10 and 11 on Sunday, going 3-for-5 and driving in five. He’s available in 78% of Yahoo leagues. Add him now in case he’s breaking out of his slump.
Phil Hughes — He’s given up at least three runs in each of his last five starts, including a five-runs-and-six-hits-in-six-innings disaster on Sunday. He was a reliever last season and is having his innings limited, so don’t be surprised at these belches. Keeper leaguers, you can’t give up on him except for the right deal.
Ryan Zimmerman — Went 3-for-5 with his 14th homer and four RBI on Sunday. Zimmerman has been struggling for more than a month.
Matt Carson — Could be recalled by the Athletics. He hit .264 with 25 homers 77 RBI and 15 steals at AAA last season and has a .301/9/29/4 mark so far in 2010.
Matt Watson — Different Athletics Matt, same situation. He’s hitting .313 with eight homers and 23 RBI so far at AAA in 2010.
Russell Branyan — Went 2-for-5 with three RBI, his 12th homer and two runs on Sunday. He appears to be healthy and will continue to slug with the Mariners. he’s available in 91% of Yahoo leagues so go snag him if you need 1B help. He’s hitting .300 with four runs, two homers and seven RBI in the last week.
Aramis Ramirez — More bad news for Ramirez. He hurt his thumb again and hopes rest during the All-Star break will be enough. I have serious doubts he’ll be a fantasy factor at any point in 2010.
Brian Matusz — Struck out eight and allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings on Sunday. Matusz walked three. The performance comes just a day or two after the Orioles announced that he was one of the few players the Orioles will not part with in a trade.
Kyle Drabek — One of the key components in the Phillies offseason trade involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Drabek threw a no-hitter in AA on Sunday. He was a point of discussion at an Independence Day picnic this weekend: “I haven’t heard anything about him at all. Have you?” “Nope.” Now we have.
Pedro Alvarez — The Pirates’ super prospect is available in 91% of Yahoo leagues and drove in two runs in a 2-for-4 day on Sunday. He’s on a seven game hit streak and has two homers in the last week. Get him now because you won’t have that option by the end of the week.
Edinson Volquez — Gotta give the good with the bad and Volquez wasn’t as dominant in his last rehab start, allowing two runs and four hits while walking three and striking out three in five innings. A mere blip … Unless it continues, then we may have to rethink his value for the rest of 2010.
Austin Kearns — Named the everyday right fielder. He hasn’t been very good in more than a month, but maybe the security that comes with a full-time gig will change that. He’s dropped to 92% availability rates in Yahoo leagues. Snag him this week if he shows signs of warming up.
Michael Brantley — The recently recalled Brantley has been named the everyday starting fielder and leadoff hitter for the Tribe, according to a KFFL report. Trevor Crowe, who had been starting in center is in a platoon with Shelly Duncan in left. He didn’t impress in his pro stint in 2010, but is hitting .315 with 47 runs and 11 steals in the AAA International League.
Shin-Soo Choo — Placed on the DL and will miss six to eight weeks with a sprained thumb. The injury could require surgery. Surgery or not, it doesn’t look like Choo will be much help until the last month of the season.
Paul McAnulty — Recalled by the Dodgers. McAnulty, a 1B/DH, has hit for good average (.344) and power (18 homers, 53 RBI) between AA and AAA this season. Could be an interesting stash for those of you in dynasty leagues.
Cory Aldridge — Also called up by the Dodgers. Aldridge doesn’t have quite as much power, but is hitting at a .309 clip with 10 homers and 53 RBI this season in the AAA Pacific Coast League.
Carlos Gonzalez — Several baseball GMs have told MLB Network’s Peter Gammons that they believe Gonzalez will be among the 10 best players in the National League by next season, according to a report on KFFL. Gonzalez has 49 runs, 14 homers, 52 RBI and 12 steals while hitting .295 this season. He has four homers and eight RBI over his last six games and is well on his way to living up to that praise.
Clay Buchholz — Placed on the DL with a hamstring injury. It’s a 15-day DL. If you need a replacement, I recommend Joel Pineiro (62% available) or Jonathan Niese (76% available).
Travis Ishikawa — Hit a grand slam in his first start of the season. He’s been a monster (14-for-45) as a pinch-hitter so far this season.
Xavier Paul — Went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk Saturday. Paul hit .348 with 12 homers and seven stolen bases in the minors this season. Like Ishikawa, monitor his performance over the next week. He could be worth an add.
Sean Rodriguez — Went 3-for-5 with a solo homer on Sunday. Rodriguez is 12-for-28 in the last six games. He’s forcing himself into the lineup and is available in 74% of Yahoo leagues.
Dexter Fowler — Reached base safely seven times on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with four walks, two triples and three runs scored. Fowler also scored the winning run. He’s a speed/average guy, scoring eight runs, stealing two bases and hitting .417 in the last week. He’s available in 93% of Yahoo leagues.
Matt Thornton — Allowed a walk and struck out a batter in an inning to earn his fifth save. Bobby Jenks will be eased back into his role as closer so expect another save or two from Thornton and/or J.J. Putz.
Tyler Colvin — Hit two homers Sunday to give him 12. He was 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs. He struggled this week, but could be the Cubs best hitter for the rest of the season and is available in 92% of Yahoo leagues.
Carlos Beltran — May not return until after the All-Star break — you took our advice and didn’t draft him this season, right? — but will hit third when he does get back. He’s available in 35% of Yahoo leagues and won’t be any more available than he is right now.
Jon Jay — Will get regular playing time against righties with Ryan Ludwick on the DL. On Sunday he homered and drove in two runs. Hit .321 with four homers and 13 steals at AAA in 2010.