Fantasy Baseball: Snap out of it! ‘OK,’ says Javier Vazquez

Javier Vazquez is like a lightning rod of a player to fantasy baseball owners.

There are certainly a few owners who will “never, ever draft him again.” Other variations on that phrase likely include expletive-deleteds galore. Nothing against Vazquez as a person, it’s just that he can put up phenomenal statistics one moment and mediocre the next. … Or for an entire season.

It’s time to get back on the wagon, fellows. Since June 11, Vazquez has lowered his ERA from 7.09 to 5.14. In his last five starts he is 3-1, with three 7-inning performances. He’s posted 26 Ks to just one walk in that stretch and has an ERA of 1.39.

Vazquez is available in 79% of Yahoo leagues and next pitches Thursday.

Let’s talk about some of the other things going on around the majors:

Scott Baker: DL’d with a strained elbow, Baker was supposed to start game 1 of today’s double-header. Anthony Swarzak, originally scheduled to take the mound in the nightcap, will start early. Scott Diamond, called up from AAA to take Baker’s spot, will pitch in Swarzak’s place. Swarzak and Diamond are not good short-term options. Baker had lowered his ERA to 3.01 and won five of his last six starts.

Joe Nathan: Back in the driver’s seat, Nathan posted his first save since April Fool’s Day plus-seven. He’s available in 39% of Yahoo leagues. That’s not a great availability rate, but he has 251 career saves and is thee closer in Minny. Check your waiver wire.

Matt Capps: Yahoo’s stats put it best: He has an 11.11 ERA with two losses, two blown saves and two saves since July 2. That’s how you get replaced by Joe Nathan.

Travis Snider: Since being recalled from Las Vegas, Travis Snider has nine doubles, two homers, 12 RBI and is hitting .391. He’s available in 68% of Yahoo leagues.

Guillermo Moscoso: On Tuesday, Moscoso will start for the Athletics in Detroit. His ERA (2.16), WHIP (1.04) and batting average against (.186) have been strong through 50 innings. However, his 27 Ks to 18 BBs and five HRs should give you an indication he may not be as good as advertised. He’s available in 96% of Yahoo leagues.

Matt Harrison: A spot-start candidate in most leagues, Harrison got another solid outing Sunday. In his last two games, Harrison has 11 Ks, two BBs and has allowed one earned run in 15.1 innings pitched. In the two games before that, he allowed seven earned runs and three homers in 12 innings pitched. Like I said, spot starter. He’s owned in 42% of Yahoo leagues.

Mark Buehrle: Pitching today at Kansas City, Buehrle has steadily dropped his ERA from 5.40 to 3.42 since April 22. In his last game he struck out eight and walked one while allowing no earned runs and only four hits. Those strikeouts are very uncharacteristic, but Buehrle seems to be back to his normal self. He’s available in 74% of Yahoo leagues.

Emilio Bonifacio: Still available in more than half of all Yahoo leagues (54%), Bonifacio has hit in 16 straight contests. Over that stretch he has 12 steals to one caught stealing, 16 runs and powered his average up from .259 to .290. He also qualifies at 3B, SS, and all three outfield positions for those of you in need of a streaking utility player. That should be just about everybody who hasn’t abandoned their team for 2011 Fantasy Football.

Wilson Ramos: Streaming catchers is a viable fantasy strategy and Ramos should be on the radar of all owners employing a catcher-by-committee. In his last 30 at bats, Ramos has 12 hits (.400 average) with four runs, three homers and 11 RBI. He’s available in 88% of Yahoo leagues.

Vladimir Guerrero: Let’s get this out of the way right now, Vlad’s not winning any hitting awards this season. Going on the DL is only going to hurt players in very deep leagues or AL-only leagues. However, in his last six games, Guerrero is hitting .318 (7-for-22) with two runs, a homer and three RBI, so he has been contributing a bit. He’ll be out 15 days with a broken bone in his hand.

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