World Cup Previews
Our soccer writers, Brian Stultz and Will Jordan, are offering their thoughts on each of the groups for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, and you can find their analysis below:
Prospect Buy and Hold
With the news that Gregory Polanco will be called up on Friday.....oh wait, no he won't. It seems the Pirates were upset that the news of the call up were leaked before they could announce it to the world, so they decided to wait. So Pirates. We had a few other prospects called up this week, including Astros first base prospect Jon Singleton, Rockies starter Eddie Butler and Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who is pitching today.
Here is Jason Hunt's list of the players who could be called up in the next few weeks, or later this season. His weekly Buy and Hold series takes a look at players you should look at grabbing off your league waiver wire before they are called up, and before your league mates grab them.
Pirates call up Gregory Polanco.....for real this time
Finally, the Pirates have called up outfielder Gregory Polanco. Yes, it is true. This time, Polanco announced it himself, on Twitter:
The wait is over.... My dream has officially come true ⚾️ Pittsburgh, see you mañana!!— Gregory Polanco ☕️ (@El_Coffee) June 10, 2014
@El_Coffee? That is different. Does he like coffee or something? The Pirates called up Polanco as second baseman Neil Walker landed on the disabled list due to an appendectomy, and will probably miss more than the required 15 days. Polanco will play right field every day going forward, with Josh Harrison replacing Walker at second base for the time being.
Earlier in the day, there was talk that the Pirates would demote outfielder Starling Marte, but that won't happen any time soon with Walker on the DL.
I wrote about his call up last week when news leaked out before the Pirates could announce it and they threw a hissy fit.
For fan reaction to the call up, make sure you check out Bucs Dugout, SB Nation's Pirates fan site.
Carlos Gonzalez to have surgery
Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list a few days ago, and now we learn that he will have surgery on his left index finger. Here is Rockies PR, via Twitter:
#Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez (@CarGoMedia5) will have exploratory surgery on left index finger tomorrow in Cleveland.— Rockies PR (@RockiesPR) June 9, 2014
The news is certainly not good for the Rockies fans out there, as well as his fantasy owners. Any type of hand injury will take time to heal and the team will want to be 100% certain that it is completely healed before allowing him to start baseball activities. I wouldn't be surprised to see him miss the next six weeks, at the very least. As a result, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson and Drew Stubbs will man the three outfield spots for the Rockies for the foreseeable future.
You have to wonder how long the finger was bothering him as he was hitting just .255-.307-.449 with 8 home runs. 27 runs scored and 31 RBI in 212 plate appearances this season.
For more on CarGo's surgery news, make sure you check out Purple Row, SB Nation's Rockies fan site.
The Rays had a chance to trade ace starter David Price last offseason, but apparently never received an offer that blew them away. After the way Price has pitched this season, they may second-guess themselves for not accepting one of the offers, as he hasn't been the ace we all expected this season. Yesterday afternoon, Price limited the Mariners to 3 runs on 7 hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts in 8 innings, but still took the loss in the Rays 3-0 loss. Price is now 4-6 with a 3.97 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a Cliff Lee-esque 111-10 strikeout to walk rate in 99.2 innings. The strikeout to walk rate is quite impressive, but Price has been much more hittable this season, and has given up three runs or less in 8 of his 14 starts this season.
Price is still young and is a year away from free agency, and has pitched in the playoffs and World Series, so some team will come calling in the next month.
Orioles starter Bud Norris tossed his best outing of the season, shutting out the Red Sox on 3 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts in the Orioles 4-0 win last night. Norris is not known for keeping runs off the board, so this performance comes as a surprise. The win improved his record to 5-5 with a 3.94 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a 51-25 strikeout to walk rate in 75.1 innings this season. His strikeout rate is down to a career low 6.09 K/9, and has been in a downward spiral since 2010. Trade him if you can find someone interested.
Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke has been a valuable member of the Dodgers bench this season, and is actually their starting center fielder vs left handed starters now. Last night, he had his best night at the plate all season, going 3-3 with 2 walks, 2 home runs, 3 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Dodgers 6-2 win over the Reds. He is the Dodgers fifth outfielder right now, but I wonder how may home runs he could hit if he played every day. Maybe 25?
Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is quietly putting up another excellent season at the plate thus far. Last night, he went 2-4 with a double, home run and 3 RBI in the Pirates 6-2 win over the Cubs. McCutchen is now hitting .309-.423-.509 with 8 home runs, 33 runs scored, 31 RBI and 7 stolen bases in as many attempts. He is on pace to hit 21 home runs and steal 18 bases, so he is on pace for another 20 home run, 20 stolen base season.
Holy cow! Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall had the game of his life last night, going 5-5 with 3 home runs, a double, 3 runs scored and NINE RBI in the Indians 17-7 win over the Rangers. Chisenhall was THISCLOSE to becoming a bust of a prospect, but something changed this season, as he is swinging the bat very well. Chisenhall is now hitting .385-.429-.615 with 7 home runs, 29 runs scored and 32 RBI in just 161 at bats this season. Over his last ten games, Chisenhall is 18-38 with 5 home runs, 9 runs scored and 22 RBI. In 10 games. Is there is a better sell high candidate in fantasy baseball right now?
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.