ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Juan Rivera #33 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two-run home run against St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 9-4. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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[Rivera's] getting regular playing time. He’s hitting in the middle of the order, giving him opportunity to drive in runs. Plus, given his history, there is a good chance that he can catch fire and really produce over the final few weeks of the season. He is not far removed from a 25 HR campaign (in 2009), making him even more intriguing.
This year, Motte has added about 10% more ground balls to his high-whiff profile. This has allowed him to keep his home run rate to the lowest in his career, and it might have also helped him with his control. Since the cutter is thrown slightly more like a fastball than a slider, it might be helping Motte repeat his delivery better. In any case, adding a ground-ball pitch to his whiff-inducing fastball is working for Motte. He absolutely has the rates of a current closer, and now it's just up to him to succeed in the chances Tony LaRussa gives to him. He's probably not a mixed-leaguer immediately, but consider him for your deep leagues if you're trolling for saves.
Equipped with a sinister slider and a BP-worthy fastball and changeup, Norris has managed to post a 3.68 ERA (with fielding-independent stats to back it up) that bests the 3.97 average for NL starters this season. Who says you need three pitches to get it done in the rotation?
It’s not that Avila doesn’t have the talent or ability, as he most certainly does. He may not sustain the .300 batting average, but his .228 ISO is legit. The problem lies within the risks of protecting a guy who could very well find himself either hurt or pressing so hard to duplicate a magical rookie campaign. With enough catchers that may come cheaper and can still bang double digit home runs, it might be wise to try and trade Avila in the offseason while his value is so high.
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His success rate isn’t great (19-for-26, or 73.1%), but he has been safe in 11 of his last 14 attempts, so he’s at least showing some improvement. Like Fowler, Weeks has established himself in the leadoff spot and plays every single day, and I think he’ll easily clear his rest of season projection of just two steals. Double digits is in play during the season’s final month too, but it’ll probably take a big game (like three steals in one game).
Fantasy Baseball Diamond Market: John Mayberry Jr., Dayan Viciedo, more | KFFL.com
The 22-year-old went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, two runs scored and a walk in his first MLB game of 2011. He has third-base eligibility, and quality hitters with it are in short supply.
One last wrinkle: Ethier is in the last year of arbitration and might become too expensive for the currently cash-poor organization. Now, with a little vitriol with the front office mixed in, he’s likely going to be one of the most acquirable names of the offseason. Before we pencil him in for a healthy season with a power bounce in a new home stadium, though, it’s worth noting the home run power factor for lefties in LA (116) and Ethier’s home and away ISO splits (.214 at home, .162 on the road).
Although he's riding a hot streak right now and is at the stereotypical age 27 peak, I don't think this is all fluke; I think Guzman is a legitimately good hitter. The problem, as it has been for several years now, is finding a spot in the lineup. Guzman is taking full advantage of his opportunity, but while he provides great insurance and current production, Rizzo is still the long-term first baseman in San Diego. Guzman could help some teams as a 1B/DH/PH type, and if he finishes the season with a flourish, someone will give him another chance, even if it isn't with the Padres.
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Already on the Brewers 40-man roster, [Peralta’s] a near certainty to be summoned to the parent club when rosters expand September 1. With a gigantic lead in the National League Central, he may have a chance to see a spot start or two spelling one of the rotation regulars. It’s also possible they work him into the bullpen in an effort to determine whether he’d be an asset there in the postseason.
"Valuable" is an interesting term in that most of the time its meaning is relative, not absolute. A snorkel is valuable if you’re hanging around the Marianas Trench with Jacques Cousteau, less so if you’re wandering through the desert with Lawrence of Arabia. Fortunately, the universe of baseball is far more limited, and a valuable player in New York would be a valuable player in Los Angeles. Babe Ruth in a St. Louis Browns uniform would have been no less Babe Ruth. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, value is value is value. Had Derek Jeter made it to the majors with the 1996 Kansas City Royals, he would still have 3,000 hits, would still be an all-time great shortstop—he just wouldn’t have any rings. Once he’s on the field, a player creates his own value; the rest is up to the general manager.
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