Midseason Position Rankings
Just a heads up, some of the writers and I are working on our consensus Midseason Position Rankings for the rest of the season, along with write ups for each position, and will begin posting them next Monday. We will post our rankings according to the following schedule:
Tuesday: First Base
Wednesday: Second Base
Thursday: Third Base
Tuesday: Starting Pitchers
Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 16: The All Star Teams
Andrew and Zack discuss the All Star game rosters including their take on Yasiel Puig's all start merit, what is going on with Justin Verlander, the strength of 2B and 3B in the American League, and more. You can listen to the podcast in the following ways:
Matt Moore: On his way to becoming an ace
Much was expected from Matt Moore in 2012 after his impressive major league debut in late 2011, but he had trouble with his command for most of the 2012 season, disappointing fantasy owners. This season, he has had his share of command issues, but has left plenty of them stranded this season. Yesterday, he limited the Twins to 3 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks and 10 strikeouts in the Rays 4-3 win. Moore is now 13-3 with a 3.44 ERA. 1.29 WHIP and a 108-55 strikeout to walk rate in 107.1 innings. The walks are the real issue right now, as he is walking more batters than last season. Once he can gains some command, he could become one of the best left handers in baseball.
For more on Moore and the Rays, make sure you check out DRaysBay, SB Nation's Rays fan site.
Danny Salazar: Who is this guy?
One of our regular readers, TheSpecial1, asked me if he should stream Danny Salazar today, and my response was "Who?". It was an honest response, as I had never heard of him, and did not even know what team he was on. It turns out Salazar was called up for his first major league start on Thursday, and it was a good one. Sorry TheSpecial1.
Yesterday, Salazar held the solid Blue Jays lineup to just one run on 2 hits, a walk and 7 strikeouts to earn a win in his first major league start. Minor League Ball's John Sickels wrote a piece on him a few days ago, so make sure you check it out. ESPN's Keith Law called Salazar one of his sleepers for 2013.
How does one rank Indians outfielder Michael Bourn going forward? Bourn's fantasy value is tied into his stolen base and runs scored totals, but this year, he has disappointed his owners. Bourn went 0-4 in the Indians win yesterday, and is now hitting .285-.328-.359 with 2 HRs, 37 runs, 17 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 19 attempts. The 13 stolen bases are about 10-15 below what his owners expected of him at this point in the season, and he is on pace for just 23 stolen bases this season. 23!!!! He will certainly fall down rankings lists in the offseason, which could spell opportunity for owners in 2014 drafts.
Another guy who has been a big disappointment this season, there have been many, is Braves outfielder Jason Heyward. Last night, Heyward went 1-2 at the plate before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. I was listening to the game while in my car and the Braves radio announcers described him as grimacing in pain when it first happened, but he walked off the field without a limp, so maybe it wasn't a serious hamstring injury. We should learn more on his status later today. I could see the Braves sitting him for the weekend series vs Cincinnati with the All Star break coming up next week.
Royals starter Ervin Santana, who is having a surprisingly good season, had perhaps his worst outing of the season yesterday, giving up 8 runs on 10 hits, 3 walks and 4 atrikeouts in the Royals 8-4 loss to the Yankees. The loss moved his record to 5-6 with a respectable 3.37 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a 98-27 strikeout to walk rate in 123 innings thus far.
Why is Santana pitching so well this season? Well, for one, he has reduced his walk rate from just over three batters per nine to just under two batters per nine. His strikeout rate has risen slightly, but his ground ball rate has jumped from 43% to just under 48%, and he is stranding runners at an 81% clip, a career high.
I was a guest on Patrick DiCaprio's Fantasy Roundtable on Wednesday night over at Blog Talk Radio and one of the players we discussed was Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Patrick asked me to come up with a prediction that has a 20% chance of happening, and my prediction was that Ellsbury would steal 75 bases this season. He currently has 36 stolen bases, and is on pace for 62 steals. It would take a big second half for him to steal 75 bases, and he will need to steal an average of 13 bases per month over the last three months of the season to reach that target.
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