Happy 4th of July to all of Fake Teams readers. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday!
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Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 14: Super Duper American
Hanley Ramirez: Top fantasy shortstop?
I know what you are thinking " but what about Troy Tulowitzki?", right? Well, Tulowitzki is in the conversation for sure, but Hanley is putting up a monster triple slash line since returning from the DL. He was hitting the ball well in the WBC before he was injured, so I wonder if Hanley's hot "start" to the season is a sign that he could be back to the hitter he was several years ago, or just a hot month. I think now that he doesn't have the pressure to produce like he did in Miami, he could really flourish in the Dodgers lineup with so many solid bats around him. Plus, he also helps in the stolen base category.
Last night, Hanley went 4-5 with a HR, double, 3 runs and an RBI, raising his triple slash line to .412-.446-.753 with 7 HRs, 20 runs, 19 RBI and 4 stolen bases in just 85 at bats this season. Teammate Yasiel Puig is getting all the media attention, yet Ramirez is having a great year at the plate as well. He is flying under the radar a bit, and that just might suit him just fine.
For more on Ramirez and the Dodgers, check out True Blue LA, SB Nation's Dodgers fan site.
Max Scherzer: AL Cy Young favorite
Max Scherzer will more than likely be the American League starter in the All Star game in a few weeks, but, for me, he is the favorite for the AL Cy Young award as well. Last night, he limited the Blue Jays to 2 runs on 7 hits, a walk and 8 strikeouts in 6.1 innings to earn his 13th win of the season. He is now 13-0 with a 3.09 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and a 139-26 strikeout to walk rate in 116.2 innings.
He leads the majors in wins, and is second in the American League in K% and WHIP, and is 10th in ERA. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers probably wishes he still had Scherzer in his rotation right now in Arizona.
After his outing last night, Zack Greinke's owners have to be scratching their heads as to what is going on with him this season. Last night, Greinke earned the win, but his line was full of crooked numbers. He gave up 5 runs on 6 hits, 7 walks and just 4 strikeouts in 5 innings in the Dodgers 10-8 win over the Rockies. He is now 6-2 with a 4.30 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and a 52-24 strikeout to walk rate in 69 innings of work on the mound. His strikeout and ground ball rate are down, and his walk rate is up, so he isn't the starter we drafted back in March. He has plenty of time to shore things up for his fantasy owners, but his performance last night was not a confidence booster.
The trade market will be interesting this season, as the Phillies have several hitters and pitchers they could deal to start a rebuild of sorts. The guy they will be building around is outfielder Domonic Brown. Brown is having a break out season for Phillies fans and fantasy owners alike, and last night, he had another big night. He went 3-5 with a HR, 2 runs and 2 RBI, and is now hitting .280-.324-.553 with 22 HRs, 45 runs, 60 RBI and 8 stolen bases. He hit his home run off of Pirates closer Jason Grilli, just the second home run he has given up this season. Brown is on pace for 41 HRs and 113 RBI this season. Fantasy owners will be happy with 30-35, but 40+ home runs would be amazing considering he was probably a very late round choice in mixed leagues this season.
Chris Davis had another big night at the plate last night, and is having an MVP-type season right now. It will be fun to watch Davis and Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera battle it out in the second half of the season. Last night, Davis went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI, raising his triple slash line to .331-.406-.731 with a major league leading 32 HRs, 61 runs and 83 RBI. He is on pace for 61 HRs and 158 RBI, and with the way he is hitting this season, I am not putting anything past Davis. I thought 50 home runs was a reach, but he is making that number look like a slam dunk right now,
Astros first baseman/outfielder Chris Carter has continued to hit for power this season, but his walk rate is down from last season. Carter went 2-3 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI in the Astros 4-1 win over the Rays last night. Carter is now hitting .231-.322- .469 with 17 HRs, 40 runs and 44 RBI this season, and is on pace for 32 HRs and 84 RBI. Not bad for a very late round draft pick in mixed leagues back in March.
Well, there appears to be no stopping Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kipnis went 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI last night, and is now hitting .301-.386-.539 with 13 HRs, 47 runs, 54 RBI and 19 stolen bases. He is on pace for 25 HRs, 91 runs, 104 RBI and 37 stolen bases. If he can come close to that stat line, he will could unseat Robinson Cano as the top fantasy second baseman heading into 2014.
As mentioned above, Domonic Brown homered off of Pirates closer Jason Grilli last night, and Grilli is still struggling, even after taking a 5 day break. Grilli earned his 28th save last night, but is showing signs of wear. He has given up runs in three of his last six appearances, including two home runs to left handed hitters (Jay Bruce and Brown). I will be watching Grilli closely to see how he rebounds from this outing, as Mark Melancon could step in for some save opportunities if Grilli blows another save or two.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson handed the closer role back to Heath Bell after J.J. Putz blew his first save opportunity on Monday night. Putz is working on building his arm strength, as his fast ball has lost some velocity with his arm injury. Bell earned his 15th save last night, and should the majority of save chances till Putz gets back to health.
The Mariners reinstated Tom Wilhelmsen into their closer role last night, and he pitched a clean inning for his 17th save of the season. Wilhelmsen had been having trouble with his control and giving up the long ball, but he has not given up a home run or a walk in his last five appearances going back to June 21st.
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