TRUMming things up a bit
Time once again for Thoughts, Ramblings, Useless Info and Musings about what jumped out at me from the box scores from last night. And yesterday afternoon. I'm always amazed when I see the stands reasonably full for day baseball games during the week. Lotta people with free time and discretionary income apparently.
I'll start in San Francisco, where my only reaction is ... WHEW! Oh thank goodness. I've been preaching patience but it has been harder and harder to hang tough; I'm not convinced R.A. Dickey is totally out of the woods yet, but he needed this. Threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 29 batters and was efficient. He gets the White Sox next. Full steam ahead. Meanwhile, batting cleanup for the huge payroll Toronto Blue Jays yesterday? Mark DeRosa. Who says baseball is a broken system? The only thing more hilarious than that is the combined three steals for Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. I'll take 'em, but not exactly what you're paying them for, eh? Of course, you can take those chances, what with the pitchers all worried about grooving a mistake to Mark DeRosa.
Starling Marte with another 0-fer. After hitting .327 in April, he hit .243 in May and is at .219 through his first five games this month. He's not as good as he was in the first month, but he's also not as bad as he has been recently, as I think it has been more bad luck than anything. I'd be holding if I had him or actually might offer a lowball deal to a panicked owner. ... Fingers crossed for WayRod (Wandy Rodriguez, for those of you just joining us). ... Moving on to the Braves' dugout, Evan Gattis continues to crush. Like a grape, podcast fans. Like a grape. The biggest anti-Gattis argument these days is playing time and, true, since Brian McCann came back, Gattis has just 56 at-bats, compared with 78 for McCann or even 86 for Dan Uggla, for the sake of comparison. Chris Johnson has 58 in the same time frame. But here's the thing: Over the past month (McCann came back May 6), Gattis is second on the team with six home runs and third in RBIs with 15. All three outfielders are struggling to various degrees, McCann can't catch every day; I continue to believe Gattis not only finds his way into the lineup (he played left field Wednesday), but will also be productive with whatever at-bats he can find. ... Julio Teheran, welcome to above the Wandy Line. Maybe. Still available in 34 percent of leagues, his next start is at San Diego. Then home to San Francisco, the Mets, at Kansas City and home to Miami. That'll work. Unless, of course, all those starts go to Brandon Beachy instead. Must be nice to have a rotation so deep, a guy who flirts with a no-hitter, coming off a month of May in which he posted a 2.60 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 24 Ks in five starts, is at risk of losing his rotation spot.
Yan Gomes isn't going to win any batting titles with just a 2 percent walk rate, but he now has six home runs in only 82 at-bats. Gomes, or as I like to call him, Catcher Eligible Yan Gomes, has been getting more playing time for the Tribe and is probably available in all but the deepest of AL-only leagues. If I was in an AL-only league or league where you played two catchers, I'd pick him up. The power is real. ... Speaking of the Tribe and surprising power, how about former Cleveland Indian Travis Hafner? Ten home runs now. Ten. Hafner, Vernon Wells ... forget A-Rod. The most important contract for the Yankees is hitting coach Kevin Long.
I want the movie "The Internship" to be good. I like those guys and I am rooting for it. But I don't have high hopes. It does not look good. I didn't put it on my list. That's right, once again I did my annual Summer Movie League pool with my friends, taking the giant leap of doing it on an Excel spreadsheet to doing it online finally. I didn't put "The Internship" on my list. As my friend Patrick Reardon points out (he's a guru with this type of stuff), lots of competition for both that movie and "This Is The End." The rules are fairly simple. Pick any 10 movies ("The Hangover Part III" not allowed) that opened between Memorial Day and Labor Day (we decided that "The Hangover Part III" didn't count), rank them in order, most money at the box office wins. There's a few wrinkles involved with bonuses and ranks, but that's basically it. Here's how I ranked my 10, in order.
1. "Monsters University"
2. "Man of Steel"
3. "Despicable Me 2"
4. "Fast & Furious 6"
5. "The Wolverine"
6. "Pacific Rim"
7. "Smurfs 2" (If this movie doesn't help me this year, I swear...)
9. "The Lone Ranger"
10. "The Heat"
It was just Miami, but still. Cole Hamels did what a stud pitcher should do against an inferior team. He dominated. Hopefully he keeps it going, I still believe. ... I've run out of words to describe what Domonic Brown is doing. He obviously can't keep this up and I suppose you could say he's a "sell high" but the power is legit and honestly, if I was an owner, it'd sure be tough to give him up. I'd be loving this too much. If I got a crazy offer, of course, but I'm probably not actively shopping him, either.
An overlooked but amazing stat this year? In 77 1/3 innings so far this season, my beloved 40-year-old Big Fat Bartolo Colon has six walks. Six. He is in Lincecum Limbo and needs to be owned in all leagues. Colon, of course, was one of the players listed in the "Outside the Lines" report about players under Major League Baseball scrutiny for being tied to the Biogenesis inquiry. I did a podcast and video about this subject, but in case you missed either, my take on Colon, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta or any of the guys named in that report is the same: I'm doing absolutely nothing.
Look, there's just too much we don't know about this case and I saw a lot of panic on Twitter about this. When you panic in fantasy sports, you lose. We don't know when, or even for sure if, MLB will try to suspend these players (no one knows what Tony Bosch has or can prove), we don't know how successful that suspension will be, as you expect the legality of it to be challenged by the players' association, you expect the players to appeal, you have no idea how long that will take ... I feel there's a very good chance all of these players will play most, if not all, of this season before this is all settled. And if there were a panicky Braun owner in my league, I'd make a 60 or 70 cents on the dollar offer to them and see if I could buy Braun low.
Speaking of Braun and his Brewers, they were the team that was mowed down by BFBC and among the guys they rolled out there? Scooter Gennett at second base and Yuniesky Betancourt at first. Ladies and gentlemen, your Milwaukee Brewers! Fear the Beer, indeed. Yovani Gallardo, if it wasn't clear before, definitely below the Wandy Line.
He has finally reached 100 percent ownership, but very quietly Kendrys Morales is having a great year. After hitting .343 in May, he is now on pace for a 22/95 season with a .307 average, the runs are a little low but he's heading in the right direction and bet he finishes with a 25/100 year, if not better.
This is what I wrote in the preseason in my "Love/Hate" about Hisashi Iwakuma: "Supporters say he got unlucky with HR/FB, critics point out he got lucky with strand rate. Truth is in the middle, but he has a 2.65 ERA in 16 starts with a 7.39 K/9 as a starter, with a 2.65 BB/9 and getting ground balls at a 50.9 percent clip. Only qualified starting pitchers with a ground ball rate better than 50 and a K/9 better than 7 and a BB/9 of less than 2.65? David Price, James Shields, Adam Wainwright. That's it. That's the whole list. I'm not saying he's in their league, but I am saying he's worth the extra buck in the end game."
Well, obviously I was wrong. He is in their league. A legit No. 2 fantasy ace. … Someone help me out, what do we call what Addison Reed did last night? Goes three innings, gives up five earned runs ... and gets the win. Threw 55 pitches, pretty sure he's not going to be available tonight. Meanwhile, in that same game, Gordon Beckham not only stole two bases, but went 4-for-7 with a run scored. He's now hitting .333. Given the dearth of quality in the middle infield these days, it's worth noting he's still available in 99 percent of leagues. Probably not picking him just yet, but am definitely keeping an eye on him.
Want to win a bar bet? Ask someone how many steals Alfonso Soriano has this year. He stole his seventh last night, is now on pace for a 17-home run, 20-steal season while hitting .272 and he's still out there in 10 percent of leagues. He hasn't had double-digit steals since 2008, but if he's running again (and he is) he needs to be owned in all leagues, as the power is still there (hit 32 homers last year, don't forget). The runs total will still be a little low, but expect the power numbers to increase. ... Hmmm. What else in this game ... Hey! Josh Hamilton got a hit! His third in 17 at-bats in June! Huzzah! Sometimes it's the small victories. The fact that Josh Hamilton has the same number of home runs through June as Howard Kendrick tells you all you need to know about how both players' seasons are going.
You know who else is above the Wandy Line? AND a fantasy zombie? John Lackey. The 27th-best starting pitcher on our Player Rater the past 30 days, he's now given up just four earned runs in his past 25 innings pitched with a 25-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Still out there in almost 60 percent of leagues. How's it going for Dan Haren? Marlon Byrd took him deep. Two times.
With the NBA Finals starting tonight, I am rooting for the Spurs but fearful that the Heat will win. It's not that I love the Spurs, I just can't stand the Heat. Look, I'm a Lakers fan, so I get it. The Lakers are one of the more hate-able franchises. I understand why and would probably hate them if I wasn't a fan. I certainly can't defend some of the things they do. But at least the Lakers are, in my opinion, mostly homegrown. They traded for Kobe on draft day as an 18-year-old, they got Pau for his brother Marc (whom they drafted), they got Howard for Bynum (whom they drafted), they gave up two No. 1s for Nash. The Heat are a bunch of ring chasers. They are. And many others are as well, they just do it with a lot less hubris and don't have celebrations before they have won anything. Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier are dirty players. Chris "The Birdman" Andersen is a cartoon character. An annoying one at that. And Ray Allen has been a desperate ring chaser for a long time. The whole team drives me crazy.
I have nothing to do with our NBA coverage, I'm just a Heat hater as fan. I mentioned this on Twitter and asked people what the most hated franchise in all sports is. The Yankees got some votes, as did my Lakers. The Patriots showed up a lot, but I have to tell you, no team showed up more than the Miami Heat. And that's a shame because LeBron, even with the flopping, is magnificent. It takes away from his brilliance, it really does. I am a die-hard Lakers fan. And I am saying GO SPURS GO.
Hey, Matthew Berry wrote a book!
Between celebrating every aspect of fantasy -- the trash talk, the trophies, the insane draft day locations, the punishments, the clever attempts at cheating and surprisingly uplifting stories -- Matthew Berry chronicles his journey from a 14-year-old player to ESPN's senior fantasy analyst.
Miguel Cabrera went 0-for-2. Huh. There goes my "He's a magical robot from planet Always Hits" theory. ... Maybe Troy Tulowitzki stays healthy all year and plays at least 150 games for the first time since 2009. Or maybe, just maybe, there is no better day to try to sell crazy-high than today. ... When Eric Hosmer has batted third this year, he's hitting .364. When he bats fourth, he is hitting .279. Last night he batted second for the first time. He went 0-for-4. Sigh. ... You live by the spot start, you die by the spot start; condolences to everyone who started Freddy Garcia against the Astros yesterday. In fairness, he was still Freddy Garcia. Kinda serves you right. ... Paul Goldschmidt should probably get a restraining order against me fairly soon if he's going to keep this up. Love him. Loooooove him. ... Andre Ethier continues to play center field for the Dodgers. Makes total sense. Why settle for just a .230 batting average when you can also get subpar defense? That's all I got. ... thanks for reading.
Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- sometimes wishes his entire job was writing TRUMs. Berry is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off.
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