Well, Wednesday was certainly a big day in baseball, wasn't it? First, we hear that Giants All Star outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for PED use, as he tested positive for testosterone. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, this news was floating around the baseball insiders for several weeks, so apparently the appeal process took that long. The loss of Cabrera certainly hurts the Giants lineup and possibly their chances to make the playoffs (one would hope).
Replacing Melky in the Giants lineup will be Gregor Blanco, assuming the Giants don't attempt to claim an outfielder on waivers. Blanco had 2 hits in 4 at bats yesterday and should only be owned in NL -only leagues where you start 5 outfielders.
The Melky owner in the UBA NL-only keeper league has to be thanking MLB for making that announcement yesterday and not today, as the league trading deadline was 10pm last night. The announcement allowed him to trade a very cheap Aroldis Chapman for a boatload, including Pablo Sandoval, Aaron Hill, Mat Latos, Mike Minor, Trevor Cahill, Travis Snider and Jimmy Rollins. if MLB announced this news today, he would have had to replace Melky with someone from the waiver pool, which is full of 4th and 5th outfielders.
The other big news yesterday was the perfect game thrown by Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Hernandez, still one of the best pitchers in the game, needed 113 pitches to finish off the Rays 27 up and 27 down. Felix struck out 12 Rays to move his record to 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and an elite 174-44 strikeout to walk ratio in 180 innings this season. He has given up 2 runs or less in 8 of his last 10 starts, and has given up 1 run or less in 14 of his 25 starts this season.
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker had to leave Wednesday night's game vs the Dodgers with a dislocated pinkie on his right hand. He will see a hand specialist today and could require time on the DL. For those of you in NL-only leagues, Josh Harrison will probably get the majority of starts at second base should Walker require a DL stint. Walker is having another solid season at the plate, as he is slashing .290-.353-.452 with 14 HRs, 60 runs and 67 RBI this season. To put his season in perspective, his .290 batting average ranks 7th among fantasy second baseman, and his 14 HRs and 67 RBI both rank 2nd among all second baggers.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino has provided a solid bat at the top of their lineup since coming over to LA at the beginning of this month. He went 3-5 with 2 runs scored in the Dodgers 9-3 win over the struggling Pirates. Victorino is now hitting .266-.326-.405 with 10 HRs, 57 runs, 46 RBI and 27 stolen bases this season, and he has already stated that he would love to sign with the Dodgers in the offseason. With the team looking to become the Yankees of the West Coast, it would not surprise me to see the Dodgers go after Zack Greinke and Victorino in the offseason. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me to see them sign Josh Hamilton, instead of Victorino.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer had one of his better outings of the season yesterday, shutting out the Twins for 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, walking 2 and striking out 10. He is now 12-6 with a 4.41 ERA, 139 WHIP, and a 178-50 strikeout to walk ratio in 140.2 innings pitched. If you can afford the occasional blow up start from Scherzer, and the mid-4 ERA, he has excellent value in leagues where strikeouts are a category.
Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was on my list of 10 players to target in 2012, and he has had a very productive season, even with rumors that he was available around the trade deadline. There has been numerous instances where he has not hustled on plays and even making bad decisions in the field, and with a new front office, the Cubs may look to continue to build their farm system in the offseason and look to deal him. Castro went 3-4 with a double, HR, 2 runs and 2 RBI yesterday, raising his triple slash line to .276-.307-.422 with 12 HRs, 57 runs, 58 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 29 attempts.
At this point in the season, you have to buy into the season that Braves starter Paul Maholm is having. Maybe he just needed to get out of Pittsburgh to reach his potential, but Maholm is having a very good season on the bump. He limited the Padres to one run on 5 hits, 3 walks and 7 strikeouts to win his 11th game of the season. He is now 11-7 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a career high 2.61 K/BB rate. Maholm also owns an elite level ground ball rate of 51.3%, and all he needs is to increase his K/9 rate to above 7.00 to reach the Holy Trinity amongst starting pitchers.
The Blue Jays called up outfield prospect Anthony Gose when Jose Bautista landed on the DL with his wrist injury. Since his call up, Gose has struggled to hit above the Mendoza line, as he is hitting just .191-257-.238 with 7 runs, 7 stolen bases in 9 attempts, and a horrible 29-7 strikeout to walk ratio in just 68 at bats. His 38.2% K rate will more than likely send him back to AAA Las Vegas when Jose Bautista returns from the DL.