I drafted Corey Dickerson in multiple leagues and stupidly dropped him in all after he totaled 30 at bats through April (the lesson, as always, is I’m an idiot). Since May 31 (this isn’t so much an arbitrary endpoint as it is when Dickerson finally became a full time player), he’s been a top-25 fantasy asset, one spot ahead of Miguel Cabrera (despite playing in six fewer games). If you prorate his numbers during that timeframe over a full season, you’d get this line: .319-96-29-96-22. If he qualified, Dickerson’s .978 OPS would rank third best in all of baseball. His .292/.361/.500 line away from Coors Field is also strong. There’s no timetable for Michael Cuddyer’s return, but it’s hard to see Dickerson not remaining an everyday player either way. Coors Field helps of course (and benefits fantasy owners immensely), but even if you want to strip that out, Dickerson’s 155 wRC+ would rank in the top-10, so he sure looks legit. I’ll be drafting him aggressively next year (and hopefully won’t prematurely drop him).
Everyone knows Ryan Howard has one of the worst contracts in all of baseball, but in fantasy terms, he actually hasn’t been that bad, as he currently ranks just below players such as David Wright and Buster Posey while ahead of Elvis Andrus, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, as he’s on pace to finish with 25 homers and 95 RBI despite batting .222/.305/.377 (thanks to coming to the plate with the most runners on base this season). But the Phillies may be coming to their senses, threatening to bench a first baseman who currently sports a .682 OPS while playing in a home park that has increased home runs by left handed batters 17 percent over the past three seasons (he’s also terrible defensively and on the base paths). There’s some talk Howard might even be released, although after a few days off, he’s started each of the last four games.
Quick Hits: Jake Peavy’s average FB velocity (89.9 mph) is the lowest of his career, but he’s moving from the tougher league to a home park (AT&T) that has suppressed homers by 24 percent over the past three seasons, the second most in all of baseball. This is especially important for a fly ball pitcher like Peavy. On a side note, his 10 consecutive decisions lost are the most ever by a pitcher who’s previously won a Cy Young…Brett Gardner now has four home runs over 11 career at bats against Yu Darvish, which is pretty crazy (Darvish has allowed one HR per 10.1 innings for his career). Gardner has increased his HR output every season he’s been in the league (aside from 2012, when he appeared in just 16 games), but few expected him to have 13 long balls over his first 103 games in 2014. He’s on pace to finish with a .283-102-20-70-26 line, which would make him easily one of the best fantasy bargains of the year…Over his first four games with the Giants, Dan Uggla is 0-for-11 with six strikeouts while committing three errors. Fielding percentage is an archaic way of analyzing defense, but Uggla has committed 12 errors over 330.0 innings (which equates to 37 games), which means there’s a real debate whether his bat or glove has fallen further…Stephen Strasburg leads the National League in strikeouts, but he entered his Tuesday start with an ERA (3.67) right on par with the NL average (3.68). Despite his FB velocity dropping for the fourth straight year (and every season he’s been in the majors), his 12.0 SwStr% is his highest since his rookie campaign. The real problem with Strasburg (other than his home/road splits) appears to be his pitching out of the stretch, as he has a .243 BAA with the bases empty compared to .305 with runners on.
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Quick Hits Part Deux: Danny Duffy hasn’t recorded a victory since June, but over that span, he sports a 5.3:1 K:BB ratio, and his season ERA stands at 2.47 while his WHIP sits at 1.08. Duffy has experienced some luck, but his .232 BABIP may not necessarily see a crazy correction considering the Royals have by far the best UZR this season, and his 6.3 HR/FB% looks less fortunate considering Kauffman Stadium has decreased home runs by 16 percent over the past three seasons, which is the second most in the American League. Duffy’s ERA will likely increase moving forward (he has a 7.0 SwStr%), but don’t discredit the environment in which he pitches…Chris Carter has been the No. 3 ranked fantasy player over the past month, with just Jayson Werth and Clayton Kershaw ahead of him...Marcus Stroman has allowed more than three earned runs just once since joining the Blue Jays’ starting rotation 11 outings ago, when he’s sported a 63:17 K:BB ratio over 68.0 innings. Stroman supports those strong peripherals with an average fastball velocity of 93.9 mph to go along with a 1.52 GB/FB ratio. His future looks bright…Clay Buchholz walked just one batter over his first five outings since returning from the disabled list, although most felt like the stint was more of a mental break than a physical one. Buchholz even had a 19:1 K:BB ratio over a two-start stretch while his velocity was up. Unfortunately, the success has been short lived, as he’s allowed 15 earned runs over the past 17.0 innings, with eight walks over the past 11.0 frames. There’s little hope here…The Nationals/Reds weekend series marked the first time in Great American Ballpark history that three consecutive games were played without a home run…Let’s update Madison Bumgarner’s splits: He now has a 5.60 ERA and 1.56 WHIP at home compared to a 1.75 ERA and 0.97 WHIP on the road this season…Clayton Kershaw is 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA over his last 10 starts and currently possesses a higher OBP at the plate than he’s allowed as a pitcher. He might win the NL MVP despite missing the first month of the season.
Police Blotter: Man Shot 17-Year-Old Girl After She Told Him Not To Ride Mower In Her Yard…Rape Case Collapses After Judge ‘Falls Asleep’ During Alleged Victim’s Evidence…Michigan Inmates To Get Black-And-White Striped Uniforms. Orange Is Now Too Cool, Sheriff Says…Cops: Driver Ran Over Pal Who Feared He Was Drunk…’Spider-Man’ Slugged Officer In Times Square…Florida Man Charged With Picking Magic Mushrooms While Carrying An Alligator…Man Tried To Sneak Pot, Tobacco In Jail; Punched Inmate For ‘Disrespectful’ Fart…Florida Man Allegedly Fakes 911 Call To Evade Speeding Ticket.
Quick Hits Part Tres: Carlos Santana has hit five homers over his past four games, racking up eight RBI, three walks and even a steal over that span. Santana has hit a disappointing .233 this season, but his 20 homers are tied for the second most of his career, and that’s come in just 344 at bats (he’s averaged 533.3 ABs over the past three seasons since his rookie campaign). Thanks to being the No. 1 overall fantasy player over the past two weeks (and the No. 5 overall over the past month), Santana ranks as the No. 3 most valuable fantasy catcher this year…Wade Davis hasn’t allowed an extra-base hit over his last 49.0 innings, which is the second-longest streak ever (h/t Rany Jazayerli)...Josh Rutledge had multiple hits in five of his previous seven games before an illness has briefly sidelined him. He had a 7:0 K:BB ratio over that span and hasn’t walked since July 1, but with the benefit of Coors Field, he sure looks like an asset for those in need of a middle infielder (he’s been successful on 19 of his career 20 stolen base attempts). There’s a real chance Troy Tulowitzki won’t return anytime soon...Brandon Belt was seemingly breaking out this season, although his current .304 OBP is actually the lowest of his career. His OPS was .900 entering April 25 but sat at .745 entering a July 19 game when a ball hit him in the face that gave him a concussion in which he’s still suffering the aftereffects. Belt has shown flashes, but he’s been injury prone, has just 23 RBI on the season and plays in one of the two toughest parks to homer in as a lefthander (the other being Miami)…The Rockies misspelled Troy Tulowitzki’s name on 15,000 giveaway jerseys...No pitcher has given up six or more runs more times than A.J. Burnett this year. His ERA has risen from 3.30 last season to 4.15 this year despite his BABIP going from .305 to .292. His average fastball velocity has (mostly) dropped every season from 2007 to now (95.1, 94.3, 94.2, 93.2, 92.7, 92.3, 92.5, 91.5), which isn’t exactly encouraging. A trade back to Pittsburgh could help…All 11 of Francisco Liriano’s strikeouts Tuesday came via a swing and miss…Brandon McCarthy has more wins (five) over his past six starts than he had over his previous 29 outings combined.
Quick Hits Part Four: Despite hitting two long balls over his last three games, Billy Butler has the same amount of homers (six) over his past 144 games than pitchers Travis Wood and Madison Bumgarner have totaled this season. Butler is on pace to finish with eight homers and 60 runs scored (thanks in part to being one of baseball’s worst baserunners, with teammate Eric Hosmer the only player grading worse this season) despite batting predominately third and fourth as a 28-year-old who doesn’t need to worry about playing defense. He’s suddenly in danger of losing playing time as a result. Butler’s -0.6 WAR is the fourth lowest in MLB…Jesse Chavez hasn’t pitched more than six innings since June 21, a span in which he’s posted a 5.51 ERA with a 1.85 K:BB ratio over six starts. Chavez has been a great story this season, but there’s a real chance he’s running out of gas, as he’ll likely surpass his career high in innings pitched during his next outing. Expect a move to the bullpen down the stretch…Here’s Yasiel Puig hitting three triples in one game (all by the sixth inning, and the Dodgers totaled a whopping five)…With Joakim Soria traded to the Tigers, Neftali Feliz has been anointed the Rangers’ closer. He’s been successful during both of his save opportunities since, so he’s clearly a valuable fantasy commodity. But Feliz’s velocity is way down, and he currently sports a 4:4 K:BB ratio over 12.1 innings, so try to sell him now if possible…Mike Morse’s homer Tuesday was his first at home since May 15. The Giants are 6-21 over their past 27 home games…If you combined Ernesto Frieri’s worst four outings this season, you get 17 earned runs over 1.2 innings…Doug Fister has a 2.69 ERA and 1.08 WHIP despite not striking out more than five batters in any of his nine starts since May. His season high is six punchouts. If he qualified, Fister’s 14.8 K% would rank No. 84 among starters, while his ERA would rank No. 15 in all of baseball.