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Baseball is back!!! I hope your fantasy teams are doing well this season and I hope we were able to help you along the way. I am in four competitive leagues and am in the money in all four right now. Actually. the Tout Wars Mixed experts league is not a money league, but I am currently in second in that league after leading for the first two months of the season.
Huston Street traded to the Angels
I didn't get to write about the Huston Street trade to the Angels last night as I went out to dinner with some neighbors and was pretty beat when I got home.
Last night, in a trade that shocked no one, the Padres traded closer Huston Street to the Angels along with prospect Trevor Gott, and in return, they receive Angels top prospect second baseman Taylor Lindsey, pitcher R.J. Alvarez, shortstop Jose Rondon and pitcher Elliot Morris.
I have to say I have not heard of any of these prospects, with the exception of Lindsey and Rondon, but the Padres received the Angels #1, #2 and #4 ranked prospects for Street. That's a great return for a closer who is a few months from free agency, but the Angels felt they needed to shore up their bullpen in their quest for the AL West title, and that is exactly what they did.
A few weeks back, the Angels traded for Pirates former closer Jason Grilli, and now have a back end of the bullpen that is pretty good with Grilli, Joe Smith and Street. All three can close if called upon, but I think Street jumps right into the closer role, especially since they paid so much to get him.
There is still a chance that the Padres deal Joaquin Benoit as well, so Kevin Quackenbush may be a guy you grab off the waiver wire if you are feeling speculative.
It's no secret that Jason Kipnis has been a disappointment to fantasy owners this season. I ranked him as my #1 fantasy second baseman in the preseason, and that ranking isn't looking so great right now. Last night, Kipnis had a big night at the plate going 2-5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI in the Indians 9-3 win over the Tigers. Kipnis has hit in seven of his last ten games, and is now hitting .257-.333-.373 with 5 home runs, 36 runs scored, 28 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 69 games played thus far. The power has dropped from last season, so hopefully the All Star break was what he needed to get back on track.
I have been receiving some questions on what to do with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper lately, as he hasn't performed well at the plate since his return from the disabled list. There were some reports indicating that he still might not be 100% healthy, but I think he is just shaking off the rust from missing two months of the season. Last night, he went 3-4 with a solo home run in the Nationals 4-2 loss to the Brewers. He is now 9-44 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI since his return from the DL back on June 30th.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is sure to move up our first base rankings next season, as he is having a break out season in 2014. Last night, he went 2-4 with two home runs and 3 RBI in the Cubs 5-4 loss to the Diamondbacks. He and Starlin Castro have been the two lone bright spots in the Cubs lineup this season. Rizzo is now hitting .278-.382-.516 with 22 home runs, 64 runs scored and 52 RBI thus far, and is on pace for 38 home runs. He is now tied for the NL lead in home runs with Giancarlo Stanton, who also went yard last night, and is in the top 10 in the NL in home runs, walks, runs scored, SLG and OPS.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish has received some criticism from the Rangers beat writers this week, but he showed them why he is one of the best starters in the game last night, as he dominated the Blue Jays in the Rangers 5-1 win. Darvish limited the Blue Jays to one run on 5 hits, 3 walks and 12 strikeouts, and is no 9-5 with a 2.88 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 3.04 xFIP, a 1.21 WHIP and a 154-42 strikeout to walk rate in 122 innings this season. His strikeout rate, walk rate, HR/9 and ground ball rate have all dropped this season, so his peripheral stats are a bit of a mixed bag at this point, but he is still a top 3-4 starter for fantasy purposes.
The Cardinals have moved struggling starter Shelby Miller to the bullpen, and I think they waited too long to make this move. Miller has struggled all season, as his 7-8 record with a 4.27 ERA and 1.47 WHIP indicate. His 73-54 strikeout to walk rate shows he needs to work on his command with the move to the bullpen. He could return to the Cardinals rotation later this month, but I see them dealing for a starter before July 31st.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is quietly having a solid season at the plate and the team will need him to continue to hit well in their second half chase for the NL West title. Last night, Sandoval went 2-5 with a home run and 3 RBI in the Giants 9-1 win over the Marlins. Sandoval is now hitting .274-.324-.437 with 12 home runs, 42 runs scored and 43 RBI. Among his fantasy third baseman brethren, he ranks in the top 11 in batting average, home runs, runs scored and RBI.
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