ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 18: Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers follows through on a second inning home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is one of my favorite players in the game, going back to his days as an LA Dodger. I have written here before that I was absolutely livid the day that he signed with the Seattle Mariners after his near MVP season in 2004. Beltre went 2-4 with a double and a run scored in the Rangers 2-1 win over the Blue Jays yesterday afternoon. For the season, he is hitting .305-.342-.484 with 19 HRs, 65 runs, and 68 RBI and is on pace for a Beltre-like 26 HR-93 RBI season. He is one of the more consistent hitting third baseman in fantasy baseball and you can count on him to provide a 25-90-.280 season almost every year.
Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is close to asking the Red Sox to allow him to have the Tommy John surgery that he needs to repair his left elbow. It makes sense for him to have the surgery before the season is over, especially since the team will not compete for a playoff spot this season. But, the decision has to be hard, since he has hit pretty well since returning from the DL. He went 1-5 with a stolen base and a run scored in the Red Sox 4-1 win over the Yankees yesterday. He is hitting .283-.308-.487 with 3 HRs, 23 runs, 19 RBI and 5 stolen bases in just 113 at bats. He looks like he has returned to the old Carl Crawford.
Has Red Sox starter Jon Lester turned the corner? Lester held the Yankees to just one run in 7 innings yesterday, giving up 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4. Lester is now 7-10 with a 5.03 ERA, 3.91 FIP. 3.61 xFIP, 1.36 WHIP, and an excellent 133-46 strikeout to walk ratio in 154 innings pitched this season. His K rate has dropped, but so has his walk rate, and he has been very unlucky this season as his strand rate sits at a very low 63.6%. Lester will be a very hyped bounce back candidate in 2013.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier is having a quiet breakout season in 2012. He went 2-3 with a HR, 2 runs, and 2 RBI yesterday in the Reds 5-3 win over the Cubs. He is triple slashing .290-.345-.557 with 17 HRs, 41 runs and 53 RBI in 301 at bats. He is on pace for a 20+ HR, 70+ RBI season in 400+ at bats, and I think the Reds have found their third baseman of the future.
Reds outfielder Ryan Ludwick might be one of the best offseason signings in all of baseball in 2012. Ludwick went 2-4 with 2 HRs, 3 runs and 3 RBI and is now hitting .273-.342-.586 with 25 HRs, 43 runs and 69 RBI in 321 at bats. Ludwick has been the answer to the left field woes for the Reds, who were looking for an upgrade in left field at the trade deadline. In his last 9 games, Ludwick has 6 HRs and 11 RBI, and for the month of August, he has hit 7 HRs and driven in 17. I attempted to trade for Ludwick in the UBA NL-only keeper league, but was not successful, and I am kicking myself for not being able to pull it off.
Mets starter Jonathan Niese is having a breakout season in 2012, and should be ranked pretty high in offseason pitcher rankings. Niese shutout the Nationals for 7.1 innings last night, giving up just 5 hits, walking none and striking out 7. Niese is now 10-6 with a 3.49 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP and a 129-38 strikeout to walk ratio in 152 innings pitched. Niese strikes out 7.5 batters per nine, walks just 2.3 batters per nine, and keeps the ball on the ground at a 48% clip, so he has the peripheral stats to take a big jump in 2013.
It appears Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez really needed a change of scenery, as he has started to look like the old Hanley since he trade to the Dodgers. He went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI last night to help the Dodgers beat Ben Sheets and the Braves. Hanley has hit in 18 of 23 games with the Dodgers, going 30-92 (.326) with 11 multi-hit games, 4 HRs and 27 RBI. He could be the difference in who wins the NL West this season.
After a solid comeback season in 2011, Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young started off the 2012 season on fire. Then he ran into the center field wall at Chase Field, and missed a month, and hasn't been the same since. The problem is, when Young is bad, he is VERY bad. Here are his monthly triple slash lines since his return:
Young went 4-5 with a HR, double, 2 runs and 3 RBI last night in the DBacks 12-4 win over the lowly Astros. For the season, Young is hitting .223-.318-.449 with 13 HRs, 32 runs and 34 RBI. All this after a solid 2011 campaign where he hit 20 HRs and stole 22 bases. He might be in danger of losing his job in 2013.
Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar is starting to show why the Royals were willing to deal Zack Greinke for him (plus others) two years ago. Escobar went 4-5 with 3 runs scored and a stolen base in the Royals 9-4 win over the White Sox. Thus far in 2012, Escobar is hitting .305-.345-.414 with 4 HRs, 50 runs, 40 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 28 attempts. He could certainly learn to walk more as his main skill is his speed. He is on pace for 33 stolen bases this season, but could be a regular 40+ stolen base guy if he could walk more than 4% of his at bats.
Cubs outfield prospect Brett Jackson went 1-5 with his first major league home run last night. To counter the home run, he struck out 3 times, and is now hitting .182-.234-.318 with 23 strikeouts in 44 at bats since his call up. He will have to learn to swing and miss less if he wants to keep a big league starting job in Chicago.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton likes playing at Coors Field. In 6 career games at Coors, he has 6 home runs with a total distance of 2,771 feet, or an average of 461 feet. Stanton went 2-5 with a HR and 3 RBI last night, and is now hitting .288-.360-.583 with 24 HRs, 53 runs, 61 RBI and 5 stolen bases. Interesting fact: Stanton has hit .300 or better in 3 of 5 months this season. His current wOBA of .398 is surpassed by only 8 other hitters in baseball, and one of them is Mike Trout. Others are Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun, Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz and Buster Posey. Not bad company.