Closing Time: Picking on the Rays; cold water for Jon Singleton

Roto Arcade

When the Double Dips were assembled for the fresh week, I ranked Randy Wolf 38th and last. Ducked in a pithy Winston Wolf reference (one I'm obviously not done with) and called it a day.

Maybe I didn't consider the opponent as strongly as I should have. Wolf cruised through six easy innings Monday against scuffling Tampa Bay (3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K) and picked up his victory. The 2014 Rays offense is the gift that keeps on giving, especially for opposing left-handers.

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To be fair, the Rays really haven't been crushing it against anyone this year. They're in the American League basement for a reason. But the club has particularly tanked against lefties over the last month or so. They're 5-13 against southpaws for the year (compared to 18-22 against everyone else), with seven losses in a row. The Rays have scored just 14 runs over that southpaw losing streak.

Maybe we can have some fun ganging up on this struggling offense, righters and lefties both. Henderson Alvarez on Tuesday night? I'm in (I also lost a mild bidding war for him in Tout Mixed). Tom Koehler for Wednesday? Don't like facing David Price, but you can consider him. Seattle southpaw Roenis Elias looks like an attractive play Saturday. Arcade-endorsed Collin McHugh faces Tampa Bay next week.

Stream away, streamers.

You didn't win the Jon Singleton race to the computer? Not a big deal. I realize we've had some fun with George Springer and Oscar Taveras (and can't wait for Gregory Polanco; mid-June is my guess), but it's important to realize Singleton is in another class.

Singleton's mediocre 2013 season hurt his stock in the prospect community. He dropped 55 spots in the Baseball America ranks, fell 23 spots on the board, and tumbled 32 pegs on the Baseball Prospectus clipboard. The prospect hounds ranked him in the 50-82 range entering the year; an interesting prospect, but far from a can't-miss hype job.

Singleton upped his game in Triple-A this year, posting a .267/.397/.544 slash over 54 starts (14 homers, 43 RBIs). Keep in mind this is the PCL, where batters feast and pitchers hide for cover. Singleton also has a problem with strikeouts – he's whiffed 141 times over 127 Triple-A games.

Ultimately it comes down to a matter of resources. If you added Singleton for what's essentially a low-risk spot (say, a DL replacement), I'll sign off. Maybe you cut a reliever lottery ticket that didn't pan out. If you got in cheap, if it's all upside for you, fine.

But is Singleton worth giving up resources for? Is he worth a high-waiver priority, or a heavy amount of FAAB, or something meaty in trade? That's where my answer is no. He's not going to run at all, his batting average could be dodgy, and he's going to swing and miss a lot. And batting sixth in the Houston lineup is no picnic; even with Springer going off, this is a poor offense. If I were shuffling the corners right this second, I'd have Singleton at $7.

Here's another way to frame it, some words from my friend Mike Gianella:

Well said, my friend. Let's keep both cleats on the ground.

I realize batting-order construction is a relative minor thing for team offensive efficiency, but I'd still like a word with Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. His cleanup spot has been a combination of Justin Smoak and Corey Hart this year, while the team's most productive hitter through a third of the season (Kyle Seager) is stuck in the No. 5 or No. 6 slot most of the time. C'mon skip. Throw us a bone.

Seager was a one-man wrecking crew in the Monday romp over David Phelps and the Yanks: homer, double, two triples. Seager scored three and drove in three. A bunch of Seattle's hitting prospects have been mildly disappointing over the last few years, but Seager is someone I completely believe in. If the 15-team Yahoo F&F were redrafting today, I'd consider Seager in the fourth round and wouldn't let him go past the fifth.

• John Axford has pitched better of late and Bryan Shaw has the best numbers of any Cleveland reliever, but it looks like Cody Allen is the man running away with the closer role. Last call by the lake.

Allen was the last man standing in Monday's victory over Boston, his third save in four days. Allen's allowed just one baserunner over that span, and Monday's conversion came on the heels of Shaw's two-run eighth (he served up an opposite-field blast to emerging stud Xander Bogaerts). Axford hasn't pitched since a four-out appearance on May 27. Allen is long gone in the blood-for-saves crowd, but you'll find him ready to go in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues.

I seem to get a lot of Jose Quintana pushback whenever I recommend him, so I'd like to offer one more defense of The Q here. Yes, he took a loss at Chavez Ravine on Monday, but consider the big picture. All of the Quintana runs were unearned, and you'll still get value out of his line (6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K). The six-run rally was also fueled with singles; it's not like the Dodgers were teeing off.

Consistency is something we want from our fantasy pitchers, and Quintana earns high marks there. Here's the earned-run column for his 12 starts this year: 2, 2, 1, 5, 3, 3, 1, 3, 2, 3, 2, 0. A 3.31 ERA and 1.27 WHIP won't put him in the Cy Young discussion, but it's certainly worth rostering in any league I play in.

You want pitchers who can miss bats while hitting the zone, and The Q qualifies there (7.2 K/9, 2.45 BB/9). If you prefer a peripheral-suggested ERA over the traditional number, you'll get more backup: 2.99 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, 3.62 Siera. What's not to like? Why is Quintana still available in 63 percent of Yahoo leagues?

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