Channel Z hits the skids (USAT)
• We always talk about the fake baseball game being about the names and not the numbers, and with that in mind, it could be time to cut ties with Washington righty Jordan Zimmermann. He's been in a massive rut of late, and it follows a disturbing career trend.
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Zimmermann's latest blowup came Monday at Wrigley, as the pedestrian Cubs kicked him around for eight runs and three homers. Nate Schierholtz, Donnie Murphy and Dioner Navarro took Zimmermann over the ivy. We're not talking about Banks, Sosa and Kingman here.
It's the third messy start for Zimmermann over the last month - the Dodgers got him for seven runs in late July, and the Mets followed up with five runs a week later. Zimmermann's allowed seven homers in his last six appearances, and the K/BB rate is another red flag (26 whiffs, 16 walks).
Late-season fades have become common with Zimmermann. His last 11 starts of 2012 added up to a 4.40 ERA, and he logged a 4.14 ERA over his final 10 appearances of 2011. Although two-thirds of his career work slots before the All-Star break, we need to focus on the 37 starts in the second half (4.48 ERA, 1.35 WHIP). This isn't a small sample.
I'm not just some scribe rattling off a few Zimmermann words, I'm also an owner . . . okay, make that former owner. I trimmed Zimmermann from my Yahoo! Friends & Family roster Monday night, partly for the utility and partly for the therapeutic drop value. It's fun to have an extra roster spot to play with, and sometimes there's bonus utility in that floating spot for the final quarter of the season - in most leagues, the non-contending teams will start to check out (we see you, NFL). There's less of a battle to the pickups you want, and it's a great time to go shopping.
• The Nationals in general have been a dumpster fire during the dog days of summer, but let's offer up a kind word for catcher Wilson Ramos. He cranked another homer Monday, supplying Washington's only run, and he's been on a .318 binge since returning in early July, with six homers. If you crunch the numbers from the last six weeks, Ramos checks in as the No. 5 fantasy backstop. Sounds like someone who would be owned in more than 13 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• The Red Sox finally made the addition we were waiting for, bringing phenom Xander Bogaerts to the majors. Baseball America slotted Bogaerts as its No. 8 prospect before the year, and the 20-year-old infielder could be higher on next year's list. Bogey posted a .297/.388/.477 slash at two minor-league stops this season, including nine homers in 256 Triple-A at-bats. All of the prospect hounds are in on this guy.
Unfortunately, Boston doesn't have an obvious spot for Bogaerts right away. Stephen Drew has been fine at shortstop and Will Middlebrooks has been productive this month (for whatever nine games means to you; 12 hits and six surprising walks). So we can't say for sure how much the rookie will play.
With that in mind, call in longtime Boston reporter Sean McAdam, one of the best around.
Bogaerts was not in the lineup Monday night, but manager John Farrell he would likely play Tuesday night in the second game of the series. A source indicated Bogaerts would play shortstop.
"He'll rotate through the left side of the infield," Farrell said. "As Ben (Cherington) and I and others talked about our position players going down the stretch here and trying to find the best way to schedule some down days, Xander will provide that at shortstop with Stephen (Drew). The reason we brought up Xander was a righthanded bat to complement him; that's not to say (it will be) a platoon situation by any means.
"But we felt it was Xander's time to come here and start his big league career."
Farrell added that Bogaerts will see playing time at short and third, "but I can't say it's going to be 50-50."
Farrell said he didn't want to predict how often Bogaerts would play, but vowed "initially, we'll look to find the best matchups, and find a day when Stephen might need off his feet."
In medium and deeper pools, I can see the case of adding Bogaerts just to see if he can catch lightning in a bottle. In the shallow mixers, you probably sit back and let the situation play out. While no one is foolish enough to expect immediate production from a 20-year-old top prospect, we've seen plenty of kids hit the ground running in recent years (you know who they are). There's plausible upside here, that's the bottom line.
But I'm a third round pick (USAT)
• Although the Rangers had a good laugh in Monday's 16-5 romp over the Astros, the box score wasn't as roto-friendly as it could have been (Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios had notably-quiet lines). New No. 3 batter Ian Kinsler was also limited to one hit, though he scored a run and drove in three. Not everyone gets a full mug when they tap the Arlington keg.
No one is going to drop Kinsler for the stretch run, of course, but I'd like to see his name-brand value adjusted into 2014. On my clipboard, Kinsler has been one of baseball's most overrated players for a few seasons - an ordinary batting-average guy who doesn't hit much on the road (the OPS drops almost 200 points) and can't be trusted to play a full schedule.
Kinsler was off to a zippy start in 2013 before a rib injury in mid-May. He's been mediocre since the return, posting a .240/.318/.342 slash with three homers and five bags (on 11 attempts) over 58 games. This isn't an elite player, not even close. He hasn't come close to justifying his 30.8 ADP from March.
• And before we settle into the day, we stop and we stream. I can't understand why Alex Wood is still kicking free in two-thirds of Yahoo! leagues, but there he is. (I know, he's gone in yours. Yours, too). I'm looking forward to watching Wood mow down the Mets on Wednesday. The handy SP/RP tag is also a selling point.
See anything else worth trying on the midday schedule? This card leaves me cold. Jake Arrieta is there if you want him (three percent) and up against the fraudulent Nats. Wei-Yin Chen against Tampa? Are you willing to reboard the Nathan Eovaldi train after last week's San Francisco beat down? (Life lesson: never trust anyone with the first name Nathan.) Show us your pitching grid in the comments.
- Sports & Recreation