First things first: While he isn’t really a fantasy-relevant player anymore, congratulations to Jim Thome for hitting his 600th home run. PEDs get too much credit for their role in the power explosion of the “steroid era,” but to accomplish such a tremendous feat without even a hint of controversy is a testament to Thome’s longevity and raw power.
Onward to the Wire!
Delmon Young (Yahoo: 42 percent owned, ESPN: 37 percent owned)
Before Thome’s pair of bombs stole the spotlight, the story out of Detroit was Young hitting a home run in his first PA as a Tiger off of former teammate Francisco Liriano. Young’s movement out of pitcher-friendly Target Field would seem to work in his — and by extension his owners’ — favor. However, as a visitor, Young hit a rather pedestrian .272/.329/.360 at Comerica Park with just 2 HR in 140 PAs, so it isn’t as though he’s about to be playing a lot more games at a personal launching pad. If Young gains any scheduling advantage, it’s minimal and comes from the fact that he’ll face Twins pitching instead of Tiger pitching, but the two teams have fairly similar opponents remaining.
So Young isn’t adding much value in his move, but does he have enough intrinsic value to pick up anyway? Young’s last two weeks might give you that feeling. In addition to hitting three of his five home runs since August 1, Young has posted a solid line of .303/.410/.576 and in the month since he came off the disabled list, he has hit .294/.363/.461. While success in July is par for the course for Young, his effectiveness so far in August is somewhat counter to his career norms. For his career, Young’s OPS falls from .899 in July to .733 in August, so if it feels like Young is walking on air ala Wile E. Coyote with his recent performance, you’re not far off.
If you’re looking to replace someone like Logan Morrison in mixed, Young isn’t a bad play, but don’t make the mistake the Twins made and expect the world from him. He’s not going to kill your average and has a little power upside, but that’s about it. If you need consistent power, look elsewhere.
Mike Carp (Yahoo: 21 percent owned, ESPN: 62 percent owned)
In his 106 PAs prior to this season, Carp had hit one home run in the majors. Since August 1, he has hit four as part of a month-long hitting streak that has given him a line of .389/.421/.685 for the month and has raised his season OPS from .792 to .920. Carp hit 21 HR in 66 games for the Triple-A Tacoma this season after hitting 29 at the same level last year, so the power isn’t a mirage, though I somewhat doubt he’ll continue at quite this pace.
It isn’t just the power that’s making Carp a compelling option, as he has just two games without a hit since the All-Star break. He’s contributing solidly in three categories and even adding a few runs.
Even if Carp cools off a bit — a development that shouldn’t come as a surprise when it comes; his second-half BABIP is .435 — his move from the bottom of the order to the clean-up spot should help him continue to get RBI chances, something he didn’t see much of in June or early July. He’s definitely playable in AL-Only and deep mixed, but because he lacks a major league track record, it would be wise to keep a close eye on him if you choose to roster him. His regression could come swiftly and with little warning, but for now, it’s worth riding the hot hand.