Way back in middle school I vividly remember Nelly’s “Country Grammar” being released. On this date 14 years ago the album was debuted and I was all about it. The track “Ride Wit Me” (warning: language) is something I have mostly memorized to this day.
Welcome back, Wilson Ramos
One of my personal favorites at catcher was activated from the 15-day disabled list yesterday. The Washington Nationals activated and started Ramos for their game against the Chicago Cubs and Ramos rewarded them by reach base three times. Now hitting.274/.330/.379 in 106 plate appearances this year, I like Ramos to continue posting his decent batting average. I also believe his power will return as his current .105 ISO is over 60 points below his career average. While he doesn’t offer a ton of power, for a relatively cheap catcher I like his rate stats enough to play him regularly. One can find Ramos available in 54% of CBS formats, 62% of Yahoo! leagues and 70% of ESPN formats.
A strong outing from Ryan Vogelsong
After three shaky starts in a row, Vogelsong cruised for six innings against the Cincinnati Reds. He threw 95 pitches and induced an impressive 14 swinging strikes en rout to seven strikeouts. Vogelsong scattered five hits and allowed one run on the day. According to Brooks Baseball, the almost-37-year-old had his four-seamer averaging 91.2 and his two-seamer nearly 91 as well. Helping keep his walk rate down was getting ahead of the opposing Reds and Vogelsong managed to do so 14 times out of the 22 batters he faced. His 63.6% F-strike compares favorably to his 60.1% seasonal average and the importance of strike one (the linked article is old, but still shows how critical that first pitch is. Part two is here.).
If he has his fastball Vogelsong can still be an effective pitcher, but in two of his previous three starts his heater averaged less than 90 mph. I like him better than most apparently, as I like him 12-team mixed leagues as a spot starter, not just a stream candidate. He is available in 50% of CBS leagues and over 80% of both ESPN and Yahoo! styles.
Mike Leake’s even better start
As well as Vogelsong pitched, Leake was even better. More than matching Vogelsong frame-for-frame, Leake got the win last night by way of a one-run, eight inning gem. He sat down 12 San Francisco Giants on strikes and surrendered just one free pass and four hits. Leake threw 109 pitches and gathered 16 whiffs on the night. Yesterday’s game was his second outing in a row going eight innings and allowing one run. He’s had a couple of rocky patches, but his overall 3.41 ERA/3.64 FIP/3.33 xFIP is impressive. Though he probably won’t ever be a strikeout pitcher, Leake does offer value with decent ratios for a spot starter. His fly ball tendencies worry me in his home park, but if used strictly as a matchup guy, Leake can certainly help most teams. He can be picked up in 40% of CBS leagues, 55% of Yahoo! formats and 80% of ESPN leagues.
Bad news for Tony Cingrani
Yesterday afternoon the Reds announced via twitter they’ve placed Cingrani on the Triple-A disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis. He’s already missed time with that exact same injury earlier this year and shoulder injuries scare me. Silly quote about wins aside, skipper Bryan Price didn’t have a ton to say regarding Cingrani’s injury, let alone a return timetable. With diminished control as well as a decreased velocity, in my opinion I expect Cingrani to have a fairly long recovery/rehab process. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he’s back before the All-Star Break.
The daily five
Starting pitcher: Jesse Chavez — $8,200
Uncle Jesse is up against the Miami Marlins and their 15th ranked 96 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers.
Starting pitcher: Brandon McCarthy — $6,100
The long ball has been brutal to McCarthy thus far and pitching in Petco should help. That he is pitching against the San Diego Padres and their tied-for-last 74 wRC+ against righties is great for him as well.
Infielder: Mike Napoli — $4,500
Hopefully Nap gets the start today as he took a foul ball off his foot two days ago. If he does, he’ll hold the platoon advantage over Vidal Nuno. The good news for Nuno is his FIP is almost 1.5 runs better than his ERA. The bad news is his 4.41 FIP still stinks.
Other hitter: Mike Trout — $5,800
Saving on the pitchers gives us a bit more freedom to make a play for Trout today. The Los Angeles Angles have shredded southpaws to the tune of a 118 wRC+ against them, the best mark in baseball. Trout and the Angles take on the lefty Jason Vargas.
Remaining budget: $20,900
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