Miami prospect Christian Yelich was a little late to the party this season, delayed by injuries, stuck in the Southern League until this week. But if you'd stashed the kid on your fantasy bench, you're not complaining about the wait, not tonight.
Yelich went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs in his major league debut on Tuesday — and the lone out he made was loud, a deep fly caught by Dexter Fowler. Without question, Yelich passed the eye test. The 21-year-old has a smooth left-handed swing, a favorable spot in the Marlins' batting order (second), respectable speed, and an outstanding minor league history (.313/.387/.499). He also had a spectacular spring for the Fish, if you care about such things, hitting .364/.451/.818 with five bombs.
I won't guarantee that Yelich will be elite in any fantasy category anytime soon, but he looks like an eventual across-the-board contributor. And he's in the bigs right now, available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Go do that thing you do when you need statistical assistance, then hit the bullets...
(Also, just for the record, I'm more bullish on Yelich than Jake Marisnick. We've covered Yelich already a time or two on the blog; it's tough for me to believe that swing can fail.)
•Milwaukee found a buyer for Francisco Rodriguez, flipping him to Baltimore in exchange for Single-A infielder Nick Delmonico (.243/.350/.469, 13 HR. Additional details here.) K-Rod won't get the ninth for the O's, so we're done with him for now. John Axford and Jim Henderson are the new/old closer candidates for the Brewers. Ax is a trade candidate himself, though he's been pitching lights-out for the past two months; he's allowed just one run over his last 31 appearances. Henderson has had the eighth inning, so he seems like the slightly better bet for save opps.
• Pirates interim closer Mark Melancon got the nod in the ninth against Washington, in a non-save situation, his team leading 5-1. He shut the door successfully, though he allowed hard contact to both Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman. Jason Grilli (forearm) has been placed on the 15-day DL, but the initial reports on his injury haven't been worst-case. Don't panic ... yet.
• Chris Carpenter has halted his rehab, due to "creeping numbness in his hand." Brutal news, obviously. No need to hold Carpenter in fantasy; the rehab starts have not gone well, and there's no return timetable.
• Jonathan Villar had a big night for the Astros, delivering three hits and scoring the game-winning run on a thrilling/ridiculous play in the final frame. Let's just credit Villar with stellar base-running and move along.
The key details with this kid are as follows: 1) He's leading off for Houston, 2) he's a shortstop, and 3) he'd swiped 31 bags at Triple-A before the call-up. Perhaps you can find a use for a burner at a talent-scarce roster spot.
• According to various reports (like this one), the Cubs and Yankees are engaged in trade conversations regarding Alfonso Soriano, and Chicago has scouted low-to-mid-level prospects. Presumably the quality of the farmhand will be tied to the amount of salary the Cubs are willing to cover.
"We've had some discussions with different teams about Sori," said Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. "Nothing close at all."
Soriano has 10-5 rights and he's vetoed deals in the past, so there are obviously a few bridges to cross here. He would clearly provide a boost to the Yankees lineup, but a move to New York wouldn't necessarily move the needle on his rest-of-season fantasy value. It's not as if the Yanks have been a run-scoring juggernaut. Plus Soriano has enjoyed hitting in Wrigley this year (.843 home OPS, .676 away).
If Chicago flips an outfielder somewhere, then Junior Lake should have no trouble at all finding at-bats at the big league level. That's a clear fantasy win. Lake has gone 10-for-20 since his promotion, he's leading off, and he has 3B eligibility (based on his minor league history). Lake offers respectable speed, too. Keep him on the radar; roster as needed.
• The Dodgers recalled Carlos Marmol, and he immediately did Marmol things: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, BB, HR. Not sure what they were expecting, but they got what they deserved. LA still earned the win, however, because Darren Oliver also did Marmol things.
• I'm gonna bury the Alex Rodriguez news way down here in a lower bullet, because at this stage of his career — battling injuries, juiced and de-juiced and re-juiced — he's not really a must-own fantasy asset. A-Rod is rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo! leagues at the moment, but plenty of those owners are probably deadbeats, not really managing their teams. Rodriguez is clearly facing a substantial suspension from MLB — perhaps a lifetime ban, according to one report — and there's absolutely no reason to expect a meaningful contribution from him this season. Maybe he'll fight a suspension, maybe he'll roll over. Dunno. Barely interested. In most mixed leagues, I'm guessing there are better DL-eligible names in the free agent pool. Go get one of 'em, if you'd been holding A-Rod.
• Tom Wilhelmsen lucked into a save on Tuesday, after allowing sharp singles to the first two batters he faced. He was bailed out by some unfortunate base-running by Drew Stubbs, who'd entered the game as a pinch-runner. If you're a Wilhelmsen owner, you probably don't need me to tell you that your guy has only pitched one clean inning in his last seven appearances. Erasmo Ramirez got the win for the M's, though he didn't really make it look easy (5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, HR, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 101 pitches).
• Ernesto Frieri was notably bad on Tuesday night, allowing four hits, one intentional walk and five runs to the Twins while recording just one out. The big blow was a grand slam by Chris Herrmann, who was only playing because Joe Mauer flew home to greet some real-life twins. Frieri's season ERA jumped from 2.76 to 3.80 during Tuesday's disaster, and I probably lost eight roto points across three leagues. So that left a mark.
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