Equal parts fine-toothed comb and discerning eye are used over the course of laborious research for these updates.
A lot of time is spent scanning, clicking, searching and mathematicizing to find the nuggets of information that will help complete your Happy Meal of a team. (FYI, that is merely a metaphor. I do not condone chicken “nuggets” from a fast food joint. Gross.) But the most rewarding finds are the ones not on Rotoworld’s feed, KFFL’s feed, or on MLB.com or Baseball America. No, the good ones are found by accident while seeking out information on someone or something else.
Gordon Beckham fits that mold today, and that’s why I’m greenlighting him for go this intro. Of course, as usual, there are gobs of news on other players scribbled all over the notebook. Let’s get to it:
Gordon Beckham — Searching top second basemen today for a nugget that wasn’t ready to be served, this familiar name came into view. The rookie was a good pickup in 2009 and a hot commodity in preseason 2010, especially with his move to 3B. He has been terrible in 2010, but in the last six games is 6-for-18 with five runs, four RBI and has extra base hits in four of his last six games. One other note, July was his best month last season. July started Thursday. Beckham is available in 64% of Yahoo leagues. Dropped Chipper Jones for him in one league.
Manny Ramirez — EP, what are you doing to us? DL news already? Yep. Ramirez is set to get shelved if his hamstring injury doesn’t progress.
Orlando Cabrera — Has hit .345 in seven starts since moving to No. 2 in the batting order. Another note said his recovering ankle is still only 80%. He had four runs, three RBI and a stolen base in the last seven days on an 80% ankle and is available in 50% of Yahoo leagues.
J.A. Happ — Will take another rehab start Sunday in AAA because of dull pitches. He was supposed to be back July 7, but now the Phillies are saying he could be activated and sent down.
Bobby Jenks — Activated from the bereavement list. He was hot when he left the team — saves in eight consecutive appearances and only one earned run over that stretch. Let’s see how the layoff affected him.
Renato Nunez — You want a project of a prospect in deep dynasties? Nunez is a 16-year-old 3B that was just signed by the Athletics for $2.2M. There’s no way he makes a major league roster for two more years.
Luis Heredia — While we’re talking just-out-of-middle-school age kids, let’s not forget the Blue Jays negotiations for this 15-year-old pitcher. Toronto is offering $2.8M. Yep, 15-year-old, almost $3M. Heredia can’t accept until he turns 16 on Aug. 16. What a birthday that will be.
Joe Mauer — Admits to being “banged up” this year and is mired in a .253 slump over his last 37 games. Hmm, a catcher gets banged up? I read that somewh… Oh, here it is. He was one of the eight stars you should have stayed away from in 2010.
Miguel Olivo — Went 2-for-4 with an RBI triple and scored a pair of runs Thursday. He has 10 RBI over his eight-game hit streak. He’s available in less than 20% of Yahoo leagues, but I found him on the wire in one of my most competitive leagues.
Jeff Niemann — Has pitched in six or more innings in each of his last 15 starts. That’s quality, but be warned because he’s also given up 11 runs in his last 26 innings for an ERA just south of 4.00. He’s got a 2.80 in 2010 and if you have to bet on him, bet he finishes closer to 4.00 than 2.80.
Delmon Young — Homered and drove in a pair of runs on Thursday. He’s back at the bottom of the order after we discussed him moving to No. 2 in a recent update. While it feels like we should call out the Twins for idiocy, Young leads the team with 53 RBI mostly hitting out of the No. 7 or No. 8 spot.
Chase Utley — Had thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament and will miss eight weeks. Please sit down, monster analysis coming: That’s bad news for fantasy baseball teams everywhere. There are only so many 2Bs to go around and Utley joins Dustin Pedroia, Brian Roberts, Placido Polanco and Asdrubal Cabrera on the shelf.
Dexter Fowler — Several outlets were high on Fowler in the preseason. On Thursday, he went 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs and two stolen bases. Despite him being 0-for-8 in the first two games since his callup June 29, there’s probably more of the good stuff to come. He’s not a must-own at this point, but speculative addition is a thing that works for some fantasy owners.
Pedro Alvarez — Moving to second in the order. He has hit sixth since joining the Pirates. He should get more pitches to hit with his bat.
Corey Patterson — Says he’ll accept any role when Felix Pie (back) returns from the DL. Luckily for Patterson Pie’s going to need more time than initially thought, and Luke Scott just got shelved, too. Luckily for the Orioles, Patterson has made the most of his opportunities and is one of the hottest hitting outfielders in the last week with six runs, three steals, a homer and 12 hits in 24 at-bats. He’s available in 98% of Yahoo leagues.
Jonny Gomes — Is 8-for-45 in his last 12 games. That’s a .178 average. I cut him more than a week ago. I’m sure you’ve been following along.
Josh Byrnes, A.J. Hinch — Double-barrel blurb for double-barrel firings. Both the Diamondbacks general manager and manager were canned Thursday. Kirk Gibson takes over as manager for now. What does this mean for a fantasy team? It could mean nothing, or it could mean a lot. Catcher Chris Snyder is praising the move and it wouldn’t be surprising if many other players felt the same way. Maybe runners get greenlighted for more steals under Gibson. Maybe hitters are allowed to swing away more with a runner on first. Maybe relievers will be used more, limiting starters’ innings. Let’s do some recon and discuss it later.
Matt LaPorta — We’re already at 17 players, which is way beyond my attention span. However, goodness, will be had by diligent ninjas. We’ve got news on four prospects/rookies for you, starting with LaPorta, who has a homer in each of his last three games. He now has four since being called back up. LaPorta is still available in 94% of Yahoo leagues mostly because his batting average can be an abomination. I added him in one league as a backup 1B. Why not?
Josh Bell — The Orioles 3B prospect made his debut and hit seventh, going 1-for-4. Bell, a 2005 fourth-rounder was fast tracked a bit this season thanks to the Luke Scott injury. The 23-year-old probably won’t hold the roster spot long with Felix Pie returning, but for the long term, Bell is a name to remember. He had 10 homers 24 doubles and 44 RBI in his first taste of AAA before being called up. He hit 24 homers, 35 doubles and drove in 76 runs in 448 at-bats in AA last season.
Brett Jackson — A Chicago Cubs outfield prospect, picked in the first round in 2009, Jackson is moving quickly through the farm system, already advancing to AA after hitting .316 in high-A to start the season. He’s responded to the change by belting a pair of homers, driving in six, scoring six runs and stealing two bases while hitting .391. If he keeps that up he could sip some coffee by the end of the season and be on everyone’s radar for 2011.
Nathan Moreau — Pitched a no-hitter in his high-A debut. He struck out six in nine innings, but has much more promising K numbers than that. The 23-year-old’s minor league record — never higher than high-A — logs in at 193 innings, so that’s about a regular season for a top starter. Over those innings he has 219 Ks, a 3.64 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. The majors are a long way from high-A, especially for an 11th-rounder, but if he keeps pitching like this he’ll be a name to know for 2011.
That’s all for today. Put whatever we missed in the comments.