The Coca-Cola Company released “new Coke” on this day 28 years ago. Having visited Atlanta earlier this year and also having a very good friend from Atalanta, Coke is more than just a pop to some. The author has been asked by said friend “Would you like a Coke? We have about five different kinds” which is received with a head tilt and quizzical look from the author. Apparently Coke can be an interchangeable term with all pop down there. And if you refer to pop as “soda” well then that is just awful.
Josh Donaldson‘s early start
At the time of writing, Josh Donaldson is just one of seven third base eligible players to reach double digits in both runs and RBIs. Arbitrary cutoffs aside, Donaldson has shown value at a position where injuries have derailed the likes of Ryan Zimmerman, Alex Rodriguez, Aramis Ramirez, and Hanley Ramirez. Donaldson won’t put the up the same type of numbers to be a full replacement of those injured players, but he does have eight extra-base hits including two home runs. A slight downside is that he has been hitting all over the lineup so RBI chances aren’t guaranteed to come along as frequently as being locked in the clean up spot. That being said, the A’s have the fourth best team on-base percentage in baseball. Where he hits isn’t as important as the fact that he is getting the playing time to hit. Donaldson is freely available in over 60% of CBS formats, 75% of ESPN leagues, and almost 90% of Yahoo! leagues. If you are hurting at third base playing Donaldson is a worthwhile option.
A useful Chicago Cubs reliever
So the Cubs have a bottom 10 bullpen in terms of both ERA and FIP. Time to avoid Cubs relievers, other than the closer, right? Not necessarily. Besides the usual small sample size caveats this time of year, James Russell‘s current pitching triple slash is 0.00 ERA/1.08 FIP/2.35 xFIP. He has tallied nine strikeouts against one walk and has a 10.05 K/9. He has been very fortunate in terms of the BABIP/LOB% and HR/FB% side of things, however he is pitching very well to begin with. Prior to yesterday’s 1.1 innings, his 12.5% SwStr% went along nicely with his 36.8% strikeout rate. Regression is expected of course, however thus far Russell has proved his worth in holds leagues.
He has three holds and the same number of shut downs and his recent outings have come in the late innings — and not just in a LOOGY role. Russell leads the Cubs in relief appearances and as long as his numbers hold up even decently well, he makes for a useful reliever. His velocity won’t blown anyone away, however he mixes his uninspiring 88 mph fastball with a solid slider and a show-me change-up. If you are looking for holds, grab Russell until he melts down. It is the author’s personal philosophy to generally punt saves in head-to-head leagues and only pay for one closer in roto leagues. Making use of the waiver wire to find up-and-coming relievers being used in high leverage situations is preferable to blowing a large amount of the budge or an early/mid round pick on a shaky closer. As is with most middle relievers, Russell is widely available.
More playing time for Devin Mesoraco
Devin Mesoraco will step into the starters role in the wake of the Cincinnati Reds placing Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list. Presently Mesoraco is hitting .281 with an even 6:6 K/BB ratio. He is yet to hit a home run this year, but playing half of his games in a very favorable park for right-handed hitters, the dingers will come with time. He slugged five home runs in not even 200 PA’s last season so the power is there for more long balls to come with more playing time. If he hits and receives well enough in Hanigans stead, Mesoraco could wrestle more playing time away from the veteran. For those of you in two catcher leagues, Mesoraco is ownabled as long as Hanigan is out. You can find Mesoraco available in over 90% of the three major fantasy websites.
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