Roto Arcade

Closing Time: Kyle Blanks, relevant again

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Point, click, Blanks (USAT)

If you go back a few years, Kyle Blanks was a pretty big thing in our fake baseball world. He raced through the early minors as a teenager and 20-something, eventually landing in San Diego for 54 games in 2009. Blanks clocked 10 homers and slugged .514 that summer, and the future looked bright.

Not much has gone right for Blanks since then. A busted elbow wrecked his 2010 season. Anthony Rizzo temporary blocked his path at first base. A labrum tear wrecked the 2012 campaign. Blanks wasn't on anyone's mixed-league draft list, or sleeper list, this spring.

Maybe 2013 is the season Blanks finally catches a break. He's still just 26. Plausible upside awaits you.

Blanks was centrally involved in Friday's delicious keg tapper at Coors Field, collecting three hits (single, double, homer), two runs and three RBIs. His slash line is up to .292/.374/.491, and he'll probably play a lot while Yonder Alonso rehabs his broken hand. (I don't view Jesus Guzman as a major playing-time threat, and neither should you.)

The pop is still there with Blanks: five homers in 106 at-bats, in addition to the zesty slugging percentage. Two more games in Colorado await. Blanks qualifies at first base and outfield in Yahoo! leagues, and he's free in 99 percent of our world. Let's see what he can do.

We'll also mention Cameron Maybin again. He collected two hits and a steal Friday, and remains under the 20-percent ownership tag. Stolen bases are harder to find in 2013; take speed where you can get it.

• Although the Rockies won Friday's slugfest, thanks to a Nolan Arenado walk-off homer, it may go down as a costly victory. Sizzling Carlos Gonzalez left the game due to a left knee injury, and Michael Cuddyer (rib) wasn't able to play. It's possible Charlie Blackmon or Tyler Colvin will be added to the roster this weekend. The Rockies are home all next week, part of their glorious 15 home games in 18 days. The Padres lost Chase Headley (calf) on the other side, insult to injury after an 0-for-4 evening.

• When is Zack Wheeler headed to New York? The drop date hasn't been locked in yet. Wheeler didn't get through five innings in his Triple-A start Friday, allowing four runs (though he also struck out eight). According to beat writer John Harper, it's likely the Mets will give Wheeler one more tune up before he makes the trip east.

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My pal Sal (USAT)

• The Royals are starting to feel good about themselves, putting together a three-game winning streak and scoring 15 runs in the process. Salvador Perez looks cozy in the No. 3 spot in the order, riding a 4-for-10 wave with a homer, four RBIs and even a couple of walks. And maybe someone's finally whispering the right words to Eric Hosmer; he's reached base five times in the last two games (is that you, George Brett?). The schedule is helping, of course, as Kansas City has faced Minnesota and Houston this week. Good work if you can get it.

Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) is closing in on his return date, but he can't do anything about the weather. His scheduled Friday rehab game was washed out by rain, and the Marlins want to see Stanton demonstrate his full health before he's activated. It's likely we'll see him next week, but don't count on it being Monday.

Dusty Baker hasn't made it official yet, but all signs point to Tony Cingrani joining the Reds in time for Tuesday's start against the Cubs. If that comes to pass and the Reds stay on schedule with no other adjustments, Cingrani would also pitch Sunday against the Mets. You know all about the strikeout upside Cingrani offers, so this is your last call. He's unclaimed in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

• If you aggressively went after Yasiel Puig in your free agent pool, it's been a dreamy week for you. The LA phenom hit his fourth homer in Friday's victory over Atlanta, showcasing his raw power in the process. Look at the replay: it's not a bad pitch from Paul Maholm, and Puig reaches the seats without his best swing. Finally, the Dodgers have something to salvage their soul-crushing 2013 outfield. I'd be shocked if Puig went back to the minors at any point this summer

Speed Round: The Rex Brothers show will be playing for a while, as Rafael Betancourt (groin) might be out for the remainder of June . . . Hanley Ramirez (hamstring) was able to pinch hit Friday and will probably start Saturday against Atlanta . . . A right-finger sprain pushed Zach McAllister to the disabled list. At least it's nothing arm related. Carlos Carrasco joins the club and takes Saturday's assignment . . . Shane Victorino (hamstring) looks ready to go for the Red Sox, which means Jackie Bradley Jr. returns to Pawtucket and the Boston outfield gets complicated again . . . Jose Valverde allowed a couple of homers in a non-save situation, the second time in three appearances he's been knocked around. Detroit is built to win now, so Valverde doesn't have an infinite leash . . . Maybe a shift to the No. 2 slot in the order will get Josh Hamilton going. That's where he's positioned for Saturday's first game at Boston, working behind Mike Trout and in front of Albert Pujols . . . Aaron Hill (hand) took batting practice Friday and is closing in on a rehab assignment. But the Snakes won't have Daniel Hudson back in 2013: he reinjured his elbow earlier in the week and is going to need another Tommy John procedure.

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