Dancing in Denver (USAT)
Everyone loves a good post-hype story, especially when it comes from Coors Field. Tyler Colvin, come on down.
Colvin doesn't turn 28 until September, but he's already had numerous sweeping turns to his career. The first-round pick made good with the Cubs in 2010 (20 homers in 395 at-bats) but a fluke neck injury wiped out his 2011 season and paved his way to Colorado. Colvin did his best to break out last year (.290, 18 homers in 452 at-bats) despite the whims of Jim Tracy, and we had some fun with the story in the middle of the summer.
But this is the maddening Rockies, of course - sometimes it seems like they don't have a plan. Colvin had a cold spring and the club decided to push him back, sending him to Triple-A. (Whenever you can keep Reid Brignac on the roster in place of an actual major-league bat, I guess you have to do it.)
Colvin took the demotion like a man and posted two strong months with Colorado Springs (.293/.396/.518, nine homers, five steals). It's a favorable hitting environment, sure, but you love seeing Colvin's walk rate spike to 13.7 percent. When injuries popped up a week ago, the Rockies brought their power hitting lefty back. His pinch-hit RBI sparked a comeback win over the Padres on Sunday.
Manager Walt Weiss finally gave Colvin a start Tuesday and the fireworks followed: two home runs into the warm Colorado air, one to the pull field and one to the opposite field. Have a look at the pretty pictures. The Rockies have five more home games to go on their glorious 15-in-18 run at Coors Field, and then three DH-eligible games follow in Toronto. Maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle with Colvin, who's available in 94 percent of Yahoo! leagues. (I'd feel better if the Rockies didn't face three lefties in the next eight days, but can't have everything, I guess.)
It's a shame Colvin doesn't have a clear position to call his own: Michael Cuddyer (rib) will likely dodge the disabled list and the Rockies apparently want to play Todd Helton into his 50s. I can't promise you this is a long-term story, but there's plausible upside here and favorable matchups on the way. Keep an open mind, gamers.
• Dan Haren took the loss at Colorado, dropping his record to 4-8 and kicking his ratios up to nasty levels (5.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP). Here's a good example of how a pretty K/BB rate doesn't solve everything; although Haren has almost six whiffs for every walk, he's still getting crushed because of an ongoing gopher problem (17 homers allowed). While the ever-forgiving xFIP suggests Haren should have an ERA in the low-4s, I'm not willing to give him a free pass for throwing all those hit-me meatballs. Haren is still owned in 63 percent of Yahoo! leagues, for some reason. Name brands die hard, apparently.
• Fair is fair: I expected less of the Gerrit Cole debut than just about everyone else. Okay, you win, rest of the world. Cole worked out of some early jams against the Giants and wound up passing the eye test over 6.1 impressive innings (7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K). Live fastball, decent curve, unafraid to work in the zone. Cole is approved for a weekend home start against the Dodgers.
The Giants are quickly turning into an exploitable matchup as the injuries pile up. Pablo Sandoval (foot) was placed on the DL on Tuesday and Marco Scutaro could miss time after taking a pitch off the hand late in the Pittsburgh loss. There's not a lot of infield depth behind these guys. Three intriguing Atlanta starters (Medlen, Minor, Teheran) draw the Giants on the weekend.
Forgive and forget? (USAT)
Peaks and valleys come with the profile here, but let's remember what Weeks offered in the second half of 2012 (.261-51-13-34-10). If you need to make something happen with a middle-of-the-road club, this is a good place to take a chance. Weeks is available in 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues as we go to post.
The Marlins stole Tuesday's win courtesy of Giancarlo Stanton's game-flipping homer off Jim Henderson in the bottom of the eighth. The Brewers apparently want to keep Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth-inning chair for a little bit, perhaps so he can get his 300th save. K-Rod is two away from the milestone. These are the same Brewers who let Trevor Hoffman cough and wheeze his way over the 600-save mark back in 2010. If you're an eyelash short of a key milestone, Milwaukee is your land of opportunity.
• Let's just accept that nothing can stop Bartolo Colon these days: not science, not gravity, not logic. Colon worked six scoreless innings against the Yankees on Tuesday, albeit without his trademark control (3 H, 4 BB, 3 K), and he's now won five games in a row. A snappy run for someone who turned 40 at the end of May.
Colon hasn't had a bad turn since the May 9 assignment at Cleveland; since then he's on this amazing bender: 42 IP, 35 H, 6 R, 9 BB, 22 K, 1.29 ERA, 1.05 WHIP. Sure, a .266 BABIP is driving part of that run, but good things happen when you throw strikes. Colon has two Seattle starts coming up (that's tremendous), though he has to face superhero Hisashi Iwakuma in both (not as much fun). Colon is still good to go in 43 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Maybe the Mariners offense will get a boost from touted catching prospect Mike Zunino, who got the call Tuesday. He showed pop at Triple-A Tacoma (11 homers, .503 slugging), though he also had a .238 average and .303 OBP. The Mariners probably won't hold those last two things against him: Eric Wedge had Brendan Ryan batting second Tuesday, for crying out loud. Zunino isn't a bad tire kick in two-catcher leagues, but he's not ready to displace your primary backstop.
• The Blue Jays are finally giving Adam Lind a chance to play against some lefties, and he's 11-for-22 against them with a homer and three doubles. Sure, that's a tiny sample, but it's still encouraging to see. He's been other-worldly against right-handed pitching (.319/.407/.504), using the whole park and being more selective. An off-field stretching program has also helped the cause, and Toronto's offense as a whole has woken up from its April slumber.
Lind waits for your call in 66 percent of Yahoo! leagues; is it that expensive to dial up the YYZ? Push this ownership tag where it belongs.
Speed Round: It's a shame the Reds don't have a clear spot for lefty Tony Cingrani, because he's fun to watch and fun to own. He was in cruise control Tuesday at Wrigley (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K) but Johnny Cueto's rehab is progressing well and he might be ready for Sunday . . . If you're a meta-streamer on offense, note that Cody Ransom has seven homers and a 1.071 slugging percentage against lefties. He'll meet up with Jon Niese on the weekend . . . It was Tuesday night at the fights with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks: five plunked hitters, two bench-clearing incidents. Ian Kennedy and Zack Greinke are always in the middle of everything. Yasiel Puig took a pitch off the nose (and later was ejected) but nothing can keep that freak of nature down . . . Aaron Harang struck out 10 Astros en route to a two-hit shutout, just to remind us how silly baseball can be . . . Poor Cameron Maybin can't catch a break: he's down six weeks with a PCL injury. The Padres also lost Jedd Gyorko (groin) on Tuesday . . . Kenley Jansen's first assignment as official LA closer was a breeze: two strikeouts, a tidy 10 pitches in all. If he's kept in the ninth inning for the full season (and doesn't have any physical setbacks), this is a no-doubt Top 5 closer.
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