Remember when the Braves were trying to trade for Ryan Dempster? Ah, why bother? The answer was in their backyard all along: Kris Medlen. The bandwagon isn't completely full yet, so grab your stuff and hop on board.
The unheralded right-hander won his third straight start on Wednesday, rolling past the Nats (7 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K). Obviously Medlen has been pitching over his head during this five-game run, but when you collect 29 strikeouts against five walks, you're setting yourself up for success. Medlen also has an elite ground-ball rate (over 52 percent), and that's the sort of thing that keeps you out of trouble. The relief-pitching eligibility tag is a feather's in Medlen's cap, and he looks fresh after spending most of the year in the bullpen.
Why is he only owned in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues? Blame it on football fever, I suppose. Club Med's next start lines up for Petco Park, so enjoy that one. Don't worry about the gridlock in the Atlanta rotation; the team isn't going to push this guy out of the way.
• While the Mets haven't offered Matt Harvey a lot of help — he's just 2-3 over his six starts — he's turned into a nifty surprise in New York this summer. The Rockies took a bunch of awkward swings during Wednesday's match, but Harvey (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K) had to settle for a no-decision. He's been a little wild over his 36 MLB innings (15 free passes), but we'll gladly look past that given that he's also collected 43 strikeouts.
Harvey works at Philadelphia next week, an assignment that no longer scares anyone. Let's push that ownership tag past 35 percent.
• Who is Tommy Layne and why is he stealing save chances from Dale Thayer in San Diego? Glad you asked. Layne is a journeyman left-hander who finally cracked The Show this month after six seasons in the bush leagues. His 77.2 innings in the minors this year haven't amounted to much: 6.37 ERA, 1.66 WHIP. That zesty strikeout rate (8.0/9) doesn't matter that much when you're walking 4.6 per segment.
Layne been untouchable as a specialist in the San Diego bullpen (4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) and maybe there's some long-term role as a matchup play, but it's doubtful he'll get any handshake traction here. He faced two lefties out of three on Wednesday (Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones), and Thayer was ready in the pen if any mishaps occurred. Write it off as a rogue save and move along.
• We've had a blast with the Todd Frazier story in the second half (.316-22-9-26-2), and his ownership has finally chased up to 60 percent. But is Dusty Baker going to ruin the story?
Baker says that Frazier will go back to the bench when Joey Votto returns; that's Baker's way of saying he wants Scott Rolen to be his primary third basemen. But take heart in two things if you're a Frazier owner: Votto's rehab has been proceeding at a snail's pace, and Rolen's one of the more injury-prone players in the majors. I'm not going to make Frazier a knee-jerk drop even when Votto returns; let's give things a few days to play out.
Frazier also has a bunch of defensive versatility, if Baker wants to get creative with the lineup card. Context clues point to Baker eschewing this strategy — he's no Joe Maddon — but you never say never. I'm cautiously optimistic something is going to work out for Frazier, somehow, someway. If you think I'm all wet with that stance, let's hear your counter-argument, below.
Okay, I'm late for a football draft, too: the Yahoo! Friends & Family bloodbath is today. I'll try to tweet about it where I can, and I'll add more baseball news and notes as the day allows. Anything you want to see discussed, mention it in the comments; I'll see what I can do.
Brandon Funston talks football and baseball in the Yahoo! Fantasy Minute