Fake Teams adds English Premier League Fantasy soccer coverage
Yes, we have taken the dive into offering English Premier League fantasy soccer here at Fake Teams. Brian Stultz will be offering his fantasy advice 3-4 times per week going forward, so make sure you stop by and check out his work and ask him all of your fantasy EPL questions. You can follow Brian at @brianjstultz on Twitter.
Brian started a Fake Teams EPL fantasy league over at fantasy/premierleague.com, so head on over and join the league.
League name: Fake Teams
Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 29: Where is Jesus Flores?
Zack and Andrew hosted Episode 29 of the Fake Teams podcast and they were joined by Daniel Kelley, who discussed his bold predictions prior to the 2013 season. In addition, they discussed their early 2014 rankings for Jose Fernandez, Yu Darvish, Mike Minor and Max Scherzer, injuries to Matt Harvey and Matt Cain and the call up of Padres outfielder Reymond Fuentes.
You can listen to the podcast in three ways:
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was hit in the left hand by a pitch from Toronto starter J.A. Happ. Reports say Cano appeared to be in a lot of pain and left the game. Bryan Hoch from MLB.com tweeted this injury update during the game:
Update on Robinson Cano: he has a left hand contusion. He has been sent for precautionary X-rays.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) August 28, 2013
Hoch later tweeted that x-rays on his hand came back negative and he is day to day with a hand contusion.
In other injury news, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp ran the bases for the first time yesterday and reported feeling "really, really good" afterward. He will run the bases again today and could start a rehab at High A Ranco Cucamonga. A few weeks ago, Kemp stated he would only need a few rehab games before returning to the Dodgers lineup. With all the injuries Kemp has experienced this season and last, along with the Dodgers owning a 9.5 game lead in the NL West, the team can afford to take it slow with him.
Prospect Expert Jim Callis moves to MLB.com
For the prospect hounds out there, and there are many, Jim Callis, a staple at Baseball America, has left BA to join forces with Jonathan Mayo to cover prospects for MLB.com. This certainly is a big loss for Baseball America and it will be interesting to see if they try to pry someone like Keith Law or Jason Parks to replace Callis, or stay status quo with the list of prospect writers they have currently.
Last week, the Red Sox called up one of the best hitting prospects in the game, if not THE best hitting prospect in the game, and have given him a grand total of 9 at bats since last Monday. Since his call up, the Red Sox have faced four left handed starters and Bogaerts has sat against three of them, sitting against Barry Zito, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Wei-Yin Chen. It boggles my mind that the Red Sox would call up their best hitting prospect to sit on the bench when Stephen Drew is hitting .247-.327-.428 and Wil Middlebrook is hitting .222-.271-.419. Bogaerts could duplicate that with one armed tied behind his back at the plate.
Yoenis Cespedes: Struggling in his second season
When writing my 2013 outfielder rankings, I bought into the second half adjustments A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes made at the plate last season, his first in the big leagues. As a result, I was pretty high on him, projecting a 30 HR, 20 stolen base season from him. Well, he hasn't come close to either projection.
Heading into Tuesday night's action, Cespedes was hitting just .224-.287-.421 with 20 HRs, 60 runs 59 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 428 at bats. This after hitting .292-.356-.505 with 23 HRs, 70 runs, 82 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 487 at bats in 2012. The main culprit is his BABIP has dropped from .326 to .254 this season, and his strikeout rate has jumped from 19% to 24%. He will have to have a stellar month of September to meet my 30 home run projection, but I am not counting him out.
The Nationals have been a big disappointment in 2013, as some predicted they would be the NL representative in the World Series this season. One player who has not disappointed is shortstop Ian Desmond. Coming into the season, I felt that he had a career year in the power department last season, but that has turned out to be a poor prediction. Desmond went 3-4 with an RBI in the Nationals 2-1 win over the Marlins. Desmond is now hitting .280-.333-.474 with 19 HRs, 64 runs, 63 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino had perhaps the best game of his career last night, going 3-3 with a walk, 2 HRs, 4 runs and 7 RBI in the Red Sox thrashing of the Orioles. Victorino has hit well when healthy this season and is now hitting .292-.346-.446 with 11 HRs, 66 runs, 48 RBI and 17 stolen bases.
Coming into Tuesday's start, Mets starter Jon Niese didn't have a very good career record vs the Phillies, but that didn't seem to bother him, as he tossed a complete game shutout in the Mets 5-0 win. Niese gave up just 3 hits, walked 1 and struck out 5 to even his record at 6-6. Niese lowered his ERA to 3.69 and his WHIP to 1.44. Niese has given up just two earned runs in his last 22 innings over his last three starts.
Justin Verlander has to be frustrating to his owners this season. He mixes a couple bad starts where he looks like Tim Lincecum and others where he looks like the 2012 version of himself. Last night, Verlander gave up 5 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, 3 walks and just 3 strikeouts in 5 innings in the Tigers loss to the A's. Verlander is now 12-10 with a 3.73 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and a 169-65 K-BB rate in 178.2 innings. After an 82-23 strikeout to walk rate in the first two months of the season, Verlander's K-BB rate has dropped to 84-39 over the last three months. Not a good sign.
Alfonso Soriano has been huge for the Yankees since his trade from the Cubs last month. Last night, he went 2-5 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI in the Yankees win over the Blue Jays. Soriano now has 400 home runs in his career, of which 28 have come this season, with 11 of the home runs coming in a Yankee uniform.