Diamond Dandies: Week 12
By Brian Rothstein
P, San Diego Padres (ID 123, $17.7)
The Padres are on fire right now. After starting the season an abysmal 5-15, the Padres have gone 30-19 to fight their way back into contention in the NL West. Their pitching staff ranks at the bottom of the NL in strikeouts, but this is a very short week with teams having 7 games. Beggars can’t be choosers and the Padres are playing as well as any team in baseball. Their schedule this week looks favorable, matching up against the Phillies and Dodgers who respectively rank 11th and 13th in the NL in runs scored. I’m not sure if the Padres are for real, but they certainly are as real as it gets at the moment.
C, Jason Castro (ID 227, $5.6)
I didn’t think I would say it this season, but the Astros have a player who holds some fantasy value. He’s shown some nice pop from the catcher position; his 10 HR are already a new career high. Look for him to do some damage against the Brewers who lead the NL in gopher balls allowed. The Cubs also offer some potential for Castro. Depending on the direction of the wind, Wrigley Field can quickly turn into a launching pad. Hopefully he can keep up his hot hitting.
B1, Chris Davis (ID 324, $8.2)
With a slumping Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona, Davis becomes the best option at first base. The O’s slugger is on pace to hit 53 HR. Davis’s main series comes against the Blue Jays who’ve given up 57 HR in only 33 games at home. Couple that with his .429 average at the Rogers Centre this season and I can see where Davis is poised for another huge week.
B2, Nick Franklin (ID 448, $6.0)
The Mariners are keeping their fingers crossed that Franklin, a former 1st round pick, works out better than another one of their first round picks, Dustin Ackley. Franklin has been impressive in his short stint in the big leagues, batting .302 with 2 HR and 6 doubles in 19 games. Seattle seems to have taken a liking to him as well; Ackley was moved to LF for their Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma on Thursday. If he keeps hitting he certainly won’t go anywhere. I’m going to try the kid out and see what he can do.
B3, Miguel Cabrera (ID 501, $12.0)
Cabrera has suddenly been eating Kryptonite as his pre-game meal. The reigning Triple Crown winner is only batting .261 in June after his torrid first two months. Cabrera isn’t the type of player to go into prolonged slumps though. I expect him to turn it around sooner rather than later. Going to Fenway Park should certainly help too. The Red Sox have allowed the 5th most HR at home in the AL.
S, J.J Hardy (ID 601, $8.0)
Hardy leads all shortstops not named Tulowitzki in HR, but he has a chance to take the lead with Tulo’s most recent stop on the DL. Hardy is an on-base black hole, posting an abysmal .307 OBP. If he’s not hitting he won’t help your fantasy team in any other ways. Thankfully, Hardy is on a tear hitting .364 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in June. I mentioned before how poor the Blue Jays pitch at home. I can see a few bombs this week from Hardy.
O, Carlos Gonzalez (ID 706, $11.0)
CarGo is making a serious MVP run. The Rockies star outfielder ranks 1st the NL in HR, 2nd in RBI, 10th in AVG, 7th in OBP, and 1st in SLG%. If that wasn’t enough, he’s also swiped 13 bases. CarGo is the rare, 5-tool player who can contribute in every way possible. Gonzalez already has 7 HR and 22 RBI through only half a month in June. He leaves the friendly confines of Coors Field this week, but he’s too good for me to really care.
O, Jose Bautista (ID 707, $10.9)
Bautista is starting to show signs of breaking out of a prolonged slump. After a 4-45 stretch that saw his average dip to .254, Joey Bats is 11-37 with 3 HR and 7 RBI. He’s fared well against the Orioles in his career, homering every 13.8 AB against them. A little home cooking at the Rogers Centre might help too. Bautista is a career .283 hitter in Toronto, his 2nd best AVG in any ballpark (min 50 AB).
O, Hunter Pence (ID 736, $8.6)
Bruce Bochy switched Pence to batting cleanup on June 7th and it’s certainly paying dividends. Pence is batting .342 with 2 HR, 5 doubles and 8 RBI since the move. The human turkey is posting a .297/.341/.513 slash line after his disappointing 2012. The Giants main series is a 4 game set against the Marlins. Miami ranks 11th in the NL in road ERA and Pence happens to be batting a robust .303 at home. All signs point to a good week.
Flex, Edwin Encarnacion (ID 303, $11.4)
I’m going to put all my marbles on the Blue Jays-Orioles series being a high-scoring affair. A matchup of the 22nd and 29th ranked teams in terms of ERA should yield plenty of fireworks. Much like his teammate Joey Bats, Encarnacion has had particularly good success against the Orioles. He homers every 12.8 AB off of Baltimore pitching. Edwin has been hot recently too, hitting .318 over his last 7 games. I like this matchup.