Baseball is back! Not only is baseball back, but so is your favorite fantasy baseball morning reading. We’ll just go ahead and assume that this is your favorite.
• Alexei Ramirez‘s seasonal line is still looking rather bleak, but over the past 30 days he has come around. In fact, he hasn’t just come around, but he’s been on fire. A line of .379/.402/.495 for the past month is something that isn’t sustainable, but it sure is welcome to see, especially from a shortstop. As you can tell from that batting line, Alexei still isn’t drawing walks, but he has been able to post solid offensive numbers in past seasons without the walks. His seasonal BABIP is now .304, and one could reasonably expect Ramirez to hit numbers in the neighborhood of his ZiPS rest-of-season projection. For my two cents, I think he’ll exceed his projection, as I think his slugging will be higher than the predicted .387 SLG. I’d expect something like five to seven home runs with 10 steals the rest of the way. Ramirez is owned in the vast majority of ESPN leagues, but his Yahoo! ownership is only 64%. If he’s available, I’d pick him up.
• After his three hit game last night, Michael Brantley is really proving me wrong about him. I’ve been down on him throughout my American League Outfield rankings, but he keeps hitting. With a ZiPS RoS projection of a .275 AVG and 11 stolen bases, Brantley could be a cheap and still available commodity. Brantely won’t be a source of power for you, but a solid average and stolen bases are something that you can’t find just anywhere. He is owned in just 27% of Yahoo! formats and an even 50% of ESPN leagues.
• I don’t mind that he just went 0-4 last night, I’m still buying Drew Stubbs in as many leagues as possible. His current BABIP is just .269 compared to a career .325 mark. It isn’t outside the possibility that Subbs has 10 homers and 20 steals in the second half of the season. His ZiPS projection is in the neighborhood of those numbers and I think Stubbs can do it. He won’t be a boost to your AVG, but power and speed is a much coveted combination in fantasy baseball. Even after back-to-back seasons with 30 or more stolen bases, Stubbs is owned in less than 70% of Yahoo! leagues. I’m buying him everywhere, either by pick up or by trade.
• Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Braun, Josh Willingham and Mark Teixeira all hit two home runs last night. All of those players have excellent power, but clearly Soriano is the outlier as far as current talent goes. Soriano’s ISO is still over .200, so when he makes contact he can still drive the ball. Unfortunately, he isn’t making contact very often. He is another guy who is owned in a high percentage of ESPN leagues, but his Yahoo! ownership is only at 60%. If you need a NL power outfielder to temporarily replace Giancarlo Stanton, Soriano could be your guy.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Today: Cole DeVries vs OAK
DeVries strikes out a few and doesn’t walk too many, but this pick is based more on the Twins offense than their starter today. The Twins tend to his left-handed pitching very well; their .339 team wOBA against southpaws is fourth best in baseball. If DeVries lasts just five innings, I think he’ll take the win.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Derek Lowe at TOR
By now you all should really know how I feel about sinker-ball pitchers. I adore them.