Got two young players finally stepping into more prominent roles this week…
Brandon Belt | 1B, OF | Giants | Owned: 32% Yahoo! and 49.2% ESPN
It took yet another Aubrey Huff (knee) injury, but it appears as though Belt has been freed for good. The 24-year-old has started 15 straight games at first base — even against left-handed starters — and he owns a .362/.483/.702 line with more walks (ten) than strikeouts (nine) during that time. Over the last two weeks, his 236 wRC+ leads all of baseball.
Now obviously two weeks doesn’t mean much of anything in terms of his production going forward, but Belt needed to put together a dominant stretch like this to earn regular playing time. ZiPS projects a .267/.369/.449 line with eighth homers and six steals (in nine chances) the rest of the way, but that’s only 290 plate appearances. He should be able to clear double-digit homers from here on out. Huff isn’t expected back anytime soon, meaning the first base job belongs to Belt for the foreseeable future. Enjoy it.
Bobby Parnell | RP | Mets | Owned: 16% Yahoo! and 14.3% ESPN
The Mets have, by far, the worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 5.27. Outside of lefty specialist Tim Byrdak, the most productive member of
Tim Collins‘ Terry Collins’ relief corps has been Parnell (3.19 ERA and 3.09 FIP), who has assumed closer duties with Frank Francisco shelved by an oblique strain. Oblique strains can be tricky for baseball players because they use their core so much, and they’re a very easy injury to re-aggravate if not given enough time to heal.
Parnell, 27, sports some fantastic peripherals — 9.00 K/9 (22.5 K%), 2.32 BB/9 (5.8 BB%), 54.7% grounders — but he’s a little more hittable than most upper-90s fastball guys should be. His .313 BABIP is actually down from his career mark (.332), ditto his .254 AVG against (.267 career). This is a guy with over 200 innings and nearly 1,000 batters faced in his career, and while improvement is always possible, we shouldn’t wait around expecting much of it. That’s fine, it just means Parnell will have a higher WHIP than most closers but the saves and strikeouts will be there. That’s the name of the fantasy bullpen game.