Early 2014 Position Rankings
The 2014 NFL Draft was about a month ago, so it is time for our early 2014 position rankings. This week we published our early 2014 Quarterback and Tight End rankings, along with an early Comeback Player of the Year candidate.
Prospect Buy and Hold
We all want to know when Gregory Polanco and Oscar Taveras will be called up to the big leagues, as they are the next prospects in line to make an impact on your fantasy teams. But who are some other top prospects who can help you this season? Jason Hunt publishes his weekly Buy and Hold article every Saturday morning, ranking his top 10 prospects in line for a call up, along with some other prospects to consider as well. In his week 8 Buy and Hold, he has two new faces in his top 10.
Josh Beckett no-hits the Phillies
Dodgers starter Josh Beckett has quietly pitched very well this season, but only had two wins to show for it heading into his start on Sunday. His performance on Sunday puts him in the record books as he pitched the first no-hitter of the season, blanking the Phillies 6-0. He walked three and struck out six to win his third game of the season, moving his record to 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and a 52-20 strikeout to walk rate in 55.2 innings.
He has given up two runs or less in six of his nine starts thus far, and this was his first complete game of the season, and his first since June 15, 2011 when he one-hit the Rays. Beckett needed 128 pitches to complete the no-hitter though, so I could see him being skipped in his next turn in the rotation, or be on a bit of a pitch limit. The 128 pitches were the most he has thrown since April 29, 2012.
For more on Beckett's no-hitter, make sure you check out True Blue LA, SB Nation's Dodgers fan site.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel is proving to be one of the biggest break out starting pitchers this season, as he tossed his second complete game in his last three starts on Sunday. Keuchel limited the Mariners to one unearned run on four hits, no walks and six strikeouts in the Astros 4-1 win. He moved his record to 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and a 69-12 strikeout to walk rate in 70.2 innings. He induced 15 ground ball outs on Sunday, the fifth consecutive start he has done so. He leads all major league pitchers with a 66.5% ground ball rate this season, 5% ahead of Giants starter Tim Hudson.
In the offseason, I had the decision of keeping either Adam Jones at $40 or Nelson Cruz at $28 in my AL only keeper league. I decided to keep the more consistent Jones over Cruz, and every time Cruz homers I regret it that much more. Yesterday, Cruz went 2-4 with a home run and two runs scored in the Orioles 4-2 win over the Indians. Cruz is now hitting .295-.361-.612 with 16 home runs, 34 runs scored and 44 RBI this season. I guess being off PEDs is helping him more than when he was using.
Tigers starter Justin Verlander is enduring his worst season of his career, and he was knocked around by the hot hitting Rangers on Sunday. Verlander game up nine runs, six earned runs, 11 hits, 3 walks and just one strikeout in 5.1 innings in the Tigers 12-4 loss. The loss moved his record to 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and a 50-30 strikeout to walk rate in 71.1 innings this season. His strikeout rate has dropped from just under 9.0 K/9 to just over 6.0 K/9. Over his last three starts, covering 17.1 innings, he has given up 16 runs on 28 hits, 9 walks and 7 strikeouts. The once dominating pitcher is causing some owners to consider dropping him. I wouldn't drop him just yet, but if he can't turn things around soon, he will become droppable.
As his average fastball velocity has dropped over the last several years, from 95.0 in 2011 to 92.1 this season, his batting average allowed has risen from .191 to .272 this season.
Are you dropping Verlander after this rough stretch?
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre had a nice day at the plate on Sunday, going 3-4 with a run scored and two RBI i the Rangers 12-4 win over the Tigers. Beltre seems to get hot when the weather gets warmer, and he is now hitting .297-.366-.471 with 5 home runs, 26 runs scored and 20 RBI in 36 games. Over his last ten games, he is 17-39 with two home runs, nine runs scored and eight RBI.
Brewers pitching prospect Jimmy Nelson pitched well in his first major league start, shutting out the Marlins on five hits, three walks and six strikeouts over 5.2 innings in the Brewers 7-0 win. Nelson was called up on Sunday after going 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.53 K/9 in AAA. He should get another start after this fine performance.
Giants outfielder Michael Morse was probably a late round pick in most mixed leagues back in March, and he is rewarding his owners for drafting him thus far in 2014. Yesterday, Morse went 3-3 with 3 doubles, a run scored and four RBI in the Giants 8-1 win over the Twins. Morse is now hitting .279-.335-.533 with 10 home runs, 25 runs scored and 33 RBI in 51 games, and ranks in the top 10 in the National League in home runs, RBI and OPS.
For more fantasy baseball (and football) news and rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop for all the fantasy news you need on a daily basis.