The inaugural SMD report

Introducing a feature in September that can only run during the season is not the most prudent thing I’ve ever done, but like the September call-ups that will tease us with their promise for next year, so will I in introducing this now. The format is simple: I will select a number of players noteworthy of mention for shallow, medium, and deep leagues. The goal is get my thoughts across for more players than before and since timeliness is also important, this may become a bi- or tri-weekly report next April.

For now, let’s see how this works.

Soon Fukudome will be doing Sleep Number mattress commercials if he keeps talking about his “number.” (Icon/SMI)

Shallow leagues

Kurt Suzuki – Suzuki has not had his most impressive season to date despite his 12 home runs, mostly because of a disappointing .245 average. On the surface poor balls in play luck seems to blame, but when looking deeper and finding he is hitting the third-most infield flies and line drives at a 16 percent clip, Suzuki is clearly contributing to his .243 BABIP. Nevertheless Suzuki does have a couple of multi-hit games in his last few so he if was dropped in your league, I’d take a look at Suzuki if you are not employing one of the top catchers.

Kosuke Fukudome – Teammate Tyler Colvin was a hot add for the summer, but Fukudome has won back the majority of the playing time he lost in the Cubs outfield. After batting in the .100s for June and July, he is scalding hot in August, batting .365 with four home runs, the most recent of which was a game-tying, eighth-inning shot. Despite seeing less at-bats than in his previous two seasons, Fukudome has already set his major league career high in homers with 12 and when asked about that he said, “I just want to continue doing the best I can to increase my number.” Sounds good to me.

Clay Hensley – Marlins closer Leo Nunez‘s last four outings have been ugly, while set-up man Hensley’s last 11 have been sparkling. He’s given up just two runs in his last 10 innings pitched (1.80 ERA) with an K/BB ratio that would make even Spanish-mode Buzz proud—infinity. Seriously, Hensley has not given up a walk over that stretch, compared to 10 strikeouts and if you have room for a non-closing reliever, he’s the guy I’m buying right now.

Medium leagues

Jack Cust – Telling you to add Marcus Thames now probably would not be of much usefulness, so here is my attempt to predict who will be the next guy to blast six homers in six games. Cust hits barrages of home runs every once in a while and his next three games are at Yankee Stadium—a good place to start finding outfield seats. Batting .275 for the season, he has also not been the batting average slayer he once was. If you’re looking for a lottery ticket, Cust’s your guy.

Rick Porcello – He’s been lights out by his standards his past two starts and draws the Royals for his next start. … I’d spot-start that.

J.A. Happ – Impressively he shut down the Cardinals last night and draws the D’backs for his next start. Same as with Porcello, if you’re looking for a spot start, you could do a lot worse than Happ.

Deep leagues

Xavier Nady – The beneficiary of the Derek Lee-to-the-Braves deal has been Nady, who has escaped the Cubs’ outfield logjam by sliding in at first. He has done a good job of picking up hits in his first two weeks on the job, but if you’re looking for a boring first baseman to own, I’d prefer Daric Barton at the moment.

Jeff Larish – Has had himself a nice year in Triple-A, batting .284 with 20 home runs, albeit as a 27-year-old. Conor Jackson is out of the picture, so he should get fairly regular at-bats in the A’s outfield and also maybe at third base.

Brett Wallace – He showed a pulse last night by getting three hits, but like Anthopoulos, I’m not buying.

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