Closing Time: Gonzalez goes deep again, more HRs on the way

When we recommend that you add Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes), understand that it's not just because he's homered in five of his last seven games. And it's not the .375 batting average since the break. Or the eight steals in 52 games. Or the fact that he's hitting at the top of the Rockies' order. And it isn't simply because he hit another missile on Tuesday night.

No, the recent binge helps build the case, but you don't get credit for past stats when you add today. Here's why we like CarGo for the stretch drive: The Rockies' upcoming schedule is terrific for fantasy purposes.

Looking beyond this week's Washington series, you'll notice that Colorado is at home in eternally hitter-friendly Coors Field for 17 games out of 20. Then they'll close the season with two weeks of home games at the end of September, during championship week in the head-to-head playoffs. You'll want to be invested in Rockies during the season's final month. The team has hit .287/.364/.488 at home and .239/.321/.407 on the road.

Gonzalez is hitting in all environments right now, against lefties and righties. He's been much too hot to bench. These were manager Jim Tracy's comments following Tuesday's 4-3 win:

"I don’t know if there’s a guy hitting the ball much harder right now per at-bat than Carlos Gonzalez," the manager said. "It goes without saying we have one very special player on our hands."

There's nothing fluky about it, either. Gonzalez put up a .339/.418/.630 line at Triple-A earlier this year, and he could easily finish with a 20/20 season across two levels. He's a multi-category fantasy asset who's hitting as well as anyone in baseball right now – he's 15th in Yahoo! rank over the past week – and the rest-of-season setup is outstanding. Still, he's just 29 percent owned in PLUS leagues. Please do your part to right the wrong.

The Alex Rios(notes) waiver giveaway cleared a path for 21-year-old Toronto prospect Travis Snider(notes) to join the big league club, and he finally got the call on Tuesday … and it went rather well. He hit an opposite field shot off Josh Beckett(notes) in his first at-bat and finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk. (The walk was big, too. Eighth inning, runners on, two outs, Papelbon in relief).

If you're in a position to gain roto points in homers over the final weeks – or if you need to prevent someone else from gaining points – the 15 percent-owned Snider can help. He was hitting .337 at Triple-A Las Vegas with 14 homers in 48 games prior to the call-up, and his OPS was over 1.000 against both right-handers and left-handers. He'll get plenty of playing time, and eventually they won't make the kid bat ninth.

Another notable Jay: Randy Ruiz(notes). On Tuesday, the 31-year-old DH hit his third homer in six games since being recalled. Ruiz isn't hitting 'em against scrubs, either. His three dingers have been served up by Joba Chamberlain(notes), AJ Burnett(notes) and Josh Beckett. He's batting .320, which matches his average from the 462 at-bats at Vegas. Ruiz doesn't have Snider's ceiling, but he's plenty interesting in the short term.

The Cubs have officially turned over the ninth inning over to Carlos Marmol(notes), destroying Kevin Gregg's(notes) fantasy value completely. Lou Piniella had this to say, via's Carrie Muskat:

"Obviously, [Marmol] has the stuff to do it. He's got the toughness to do it. It's just a question of getting the ball over the plate."

Marmol has walked an obscene 52 batters in 56.1 innings this year. Luckily, when he's not floating slider after slider into the zone, he's almost impossible to hit (.163 BAA). With a strong finish in '09, Marmol could enter next season ranked among the top ten fantasy RPs.

The Cubs did not require Marmol's services on Tuesday night, since they lost 6-3 to the Pads. Kyle Blanks(notes), a 285-pound giant, hit an inside-the-park home run for San Diego. That sort of thing is always must-see video. That's Blanks over on the right, being interviewed by a woman who's pretending not to notice that he's entangled with Heath Bell(notes) and covered with a significant quantity of shaving cream. (Photo taken shortly after Blanks ended the Gregg closing era).

Alex Gordon(notes) was sent down to Triple-A Omaha on Tuesday in a shameless move designed to delay his free agent eligibility. It's not like he was helping you tremendously; Gordon was batting .227 with two homers and three steals since the break.

Here's another paper for the JP Ricciardi personnel file: The Jays failed to sign three of their top four draft picks. This quote seems especially ridiculous coming from a man who completely misread the market for Roy Halladay(notes) a few weeks ago:

"There's a limit on everything," Ricciardi said on Tuesday. "Obviously, you just can't give everything that everybody wants. That wouldn't be good business."

Toronto was unable to come to terms with LHP James Paxton (No. 37 overall), LHP Jake Eliopoulos (no. 68) or RHP Jake Barrett (No. 99). The team will receive additional picks in next year's draft as compensation. Maybe that's where the Rios savings will be spent.

Delwyn Young(notes) stubbornly continues to produce. The second baseman belted his sixth homer of the season on Tuesday (in 233 at-bats) and raised his average to .309. Young had consistent high-teens/low-20s power in the minors, so the home runs shouldn't surprise.

Jake Peavy(notes) allowed three runs and five hits in just four innings of work against the Triple-A Durham Bulls, and he reportedly topped out at 91 mph according to the Sun-Times. He managed five Ks, though. "I'm a long way from where I'm used to being and where I know I can be -- and will be,'' said Peavy. The date and location of the next rehab effort are currently unknown. Buy (very) low if possible. There's obviously a window, and experts universally buried the guy after the move to the AL.

Julio Borbon(notes), next year's Texas leadoff hitter, swiped three more bags. That gives him eight steals in eight games for the Rangers. He had 25 steals in 32 attempts at Triple-A, too. Texas will have an outfield pileup when Nelson Cruz(notes) (ankle) returns, but Borbon remains a single-category person of interest.

Please don't make us go into great detail on the Ivan Rodriguez(notes) trade. He's now a member of the Rangers, but he's backing up Taylor Teagarden(notes). Pudge will play Wednesday according to Ron Washington. Sure, Teagarden could conceivably play his way out of a starting role, but Rodriguez still isn't likely to be useful in anything other than a two-catcher and/or AL-only format. There's nothing to see here. Move along.

If Monday's scoreless inning didn't ease your mind, Jonathan Broxton(notes) owner, then Tuesday's four-out save should have done it. The Dodgers closer relieved George Sherrill(notes) with two outs and a runner on base in the eighth, with Albert Pujols(notes) at the plate. Broxton retired Pujols on a grounder to end the inning, then struck out Matt Holliday(notes) and Rick Ankiel(notes) in the ninth en route to the save.


Gonzalez photo via Getty Images, Blanks via AP

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