Here's hoping that Father's Day brought everyone something other than a bad tie, spam in your inbox and another blown save from your closer. It was a busy weekend around the major leagues, so let's dive into the action between the foul lines as The Skinny saw it.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
- It was about five months ago that The Skinny used a sixth-round pick to select Jose Reyes in an experts draft. An early signing of Jack Wilson was a nice recovery, but Reyes' absence has been a big reason why Yahoo! lags near the bottom of the league in runs and steals. Well, the wait finally is over and the early returns are very encouraging.
Reyes stole three bases in his final four rehab starts and then tested the jets while legging out a triple in his 2004 debut with the Mets. His average may lag for a while (he was just 2-for-18 at Double-A Binghamton), but Reyes already has shown a propensity to deliver clutch hits during his brief career. Those managers who stuck with him through all the rehab setbacks should be rewarded with a big second half.
- If you own Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder or Barry Zito, watching the A's bullpen protect a lead must be about as comfortable as getting your braces tightened and only slightly less painful. As Chad Bradford blew one for Mulder on Saturday, The Skinny couldn't help but reflect on the last time Oakland used a side-armed closer. His name was Billy Taylor and the year was 1999. Maybe not coincidentally, that was the last time Oakland missed the playoffs.
Back in 1980, three Oakland starters recorded at least 20 complete games. We're not likely to see a return to BillyBall, so right now the best available option looks like rookie Justin Lehr. He'll be hitting the player pool in Yahoo! Sports leagues shortly, as he just made his major league debut on Sunday. He's worth a look if you've already missed out on Jason Frasor, another rookie who has come out of nowhere to anchor a bullpen.
- Richard Hidalgo is traditionally a hot starter, which leaves his fantasy owners hoping the trend applies to fresh starts as well. Dealt to the Mets last week, Hidalgo homered Sunday to break a 52-game homerless drought. Nothing about a move to New York projects better offensive numbers for Hidalgo, but when you're dealing with a former 40-homer guy, you have to keep your eye on him.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! Sports leagues
- Edgardo Alfonzo, SF, 3B – Only Scott Rolen has produced more RBIs from the third base position over the last month than Alfonzo. His other numbers during that period (18 runs, 4 homers, .291 average) compare favorably with anyone at the position. He's hitting behind Bonds again, which has led to a surge of 13 RBIs over his last eight games. We saw Alfonzo carry this team into the postseason a year ago, so this type of production is not unexpected.
- Adam Eaton, SD, SP – It's difficult to find this kind of potential on the waiver wire, but that's exactly where you'll locate Eaton in most leagues after his horrid start. So far in June he's 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and an opponents' batting average under .200. If you need a spot starter in head-to-head leagues this week, you could do worse than take advantage of Eaton's two starts against the struggling Diamondbacks.
SPEED-O-METER: Checking the latest movements on the basepaths
- Coco Crisp, Cle, OF (Sizzling on the basepaths) – Crisp victimized Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada three times on Sunday and now has five steals in June to complement his 10-game hitting streak.
- Alex Sanchez, Det, OF (Five in a row) – Sanchez's steal on Sunday was his fifth in a row without getting caught. He was nailed on 10 of his first 21 attempts this season.
- Ryan Freel, Cin, 3B (Good short-term add) – Freel is doing a little bit of everything. He recorded his 11th steal on Sunday, has hit in 11 of 12 and has six runs in his last seven games.
- Carl Crawford, TB, OF (5 steals/last 7 games) – Already at 30 for the season and hitting .325 in June. Not bad for an 11th round pick.
- Angel Berroa, KC, SS (4 steals Saturday) – Also has three homers in his last 10 games, so maybe he'll realize that 20/20 potential after all.
- Cesar Izturis, LA, SS (5 steals/last 10 games) – Will keep running as long as Los Angeles' anemic offense requires manager Jim Tracy to manufacture runs.
- Jeff DaVanon, Ana, OF (Struggling for ABs) – DaVanon saw his streak of seven steals in eight games end when interleague play bumped him from the lineup. The Skinny advises holding on for at least a week.
- Tony Graffanino, KC, 2B (5 steals in June) – Still hovering right around the Mendoza line in June, but worth a look for speed-starved fantasy owners.
- Carlos Beltran, KC, OF (3 steals/last 8 games) – Speed surge comes on the heels of a 15-game drought. Also beginning to come alive at the plate (10 for last 24).
PROSPECT WATCH: Intriguing names down on the farm
- David Wright, NYM, 3B (Triple-A) – ETA: August 1
Wright homered Sunday and scored two runs to cap off his first week at the Triple-A level. With seven games in the books Wright already has nine hits and two homers. The Mets promoted their third baseman of the future after he simply wore out the Double-A Eastern League, posting 10 homers, 40 RBI and a .467 on-base percentage in 60 games. Fantasy owners have to love that he's also piled up 39 stolen bases over the last two seasons. A Wright-Matsui-Reyes dream infield should be realized soon.
- Travis Blackley, SEA, SP (Triple-A) – ETA: August 1
Blackley pitched a seven-inning complete game Thursday, striking out six and allowing only two hits to improve to 6-2 on the season. He currently leads the Pacific Coast League with a 2.49 ERA. If Seattle continues to struggle and Freddy Garcia is shipped out of town, Blackley could join Clint Nageotte in what looks to be a promising young rotation. The lefty won't match Nageotte's strikeout numbers (14 in first 15 big league innings) but would be a wise addition in AL-only leagues upon his recall.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Eyebrow-raising numbers
23 – Number of home runs allowed this season by Matt Morris, the man who delivered the pitch that Ken Griffey Jr. deposited for his 500th career homer on Sunday. Incredibly, 41 of the 54 runs allowed by Morris this year have scored via the longball.