Zombified shortstop Starlin Castro, who currently ranks outside the SS top-20 in Y! leagues, combined rest of season homers/steals 19.5
Scott – OVER. He's not getting benched and I saw signs of life last weekend. Fantasy owners have to hold, anyway - you can't move Castro at a gigantic loss.
Brad – UNDER. Growing pains are bound to happen for just about any top prospect. His upchuck-worthy ISO (.094) and HR/FB rate don't lend much hope for another 6-8 homers. Exuding more impatience at the dish and making less contact, his stolen bases will continue to suffer too. An additional 15 or so HRs/SBs are in the cards.
Andy – OVER. Just give it a minute. You guys are quitting on a 23-year-old who's had a rough month? Stop it. Castro's batted-ball rates aren't crazy; he'll binge eventually.
Jose Reyes, nearing a return after a prolonged absence due to a nasty ankle injury, rest of season steals 21.5
Brad – UNDER. You have to wonder how much rust has accumulated after missing two-plus months. He'll contribute strong numbers across multiple categories, but his speed may return slowly given the nature of the injury. Think 18-20 SBs rest of season.
Andy – This is a pure guess, based on nothing but the player's history, but I'll say OVER. It seems clear enough that Reyes' ankle injury was not a severe as initially feared. His value is almost entirely tied to speed and lineup position, so I doubt he'd return unless he's ready to run.
Dalton – OVER. This will require him staying mostly healthy from here on out, but Reyes had five steals over 10 games before going down earlier this year, and he's averaged 39.5 SBs over the previous two seasons (while averaging 143.0 games played).
Which ninth-inning nincompoop are you most concerned about: Tom Wilhelmsen or Heath Bell?
Andy – BELL, without question. He's still the interim closer, and JJ Putz is set to begin a rehab assignment.
Dalton – WILHELMSEN. Both deserve plenty of concern, but Wilhelmsen's 22:17 K:BB ratio suggests something hasn't been right all season. I just don't trust J.J. Putz returning to health, whereas Oliver Perez is a surprisingly effective alternative waiting in Seattle's pen.
Brandon – BELL. This has to do with me being so heavily invested in "The Bartender" and the fact that I haven't taken Bell seriously since his early implosions in Miami last season.
Just recalled top prospect Wil Myers, whose plate approach and swing mechanics have drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, home runs from this point on 14.5
Dalton – UNDER. I like Myers' long-term prospects, and he's been hot recently in Triple-A, but I think he falls just short of this number with the Rays ROS. Tropicana Field won't help his case much.
Brandon – UNDER. It's asking a lot of a rookie to hit 15 home runs in roughly half a season. I'm thinking 10-12 is more realistic.
Scott – UNDER. The catwalk isn't batter-friendly, and the Rays have lots of lineup options.
Pick an underappreciated 1B/OF: Tyler Colvin or Kyle Blanks.
Brandon – BLANKS. The opportunity for sustained playing time is more open for Blanks at the moment, and he's flashing the kind of power upside befitting a man of his size (6-foot-6, 270 pounds).
Scott – If I knew they'd both play, I'd go with the Colorado kid. But I always expect the Rockies to do the stupid thing (Must. Play. Todd. Freaking. Helton.). This isn't a bash of BLANKS - I've been in for a few weeks now.
Brad – COLVIN. After paying $16 for the slugger's services in NL-only LABR (Hey, it was March 2!), I'm heavily biased. Colvin will see plenty of action in the outfield, but the organization needs to push donut-baker Todd Helton toward the sunset. That happens, and the Rocky rakes in the second half.
On the scale of rest of season useability with 1 being Miguel Cabrera and 10 being Ike Davis where does PED overlord Alex Rodriguez rank?
Scott – ZERO POINT ZERO. Wait, the scale is backwards. TEN POINT TEN.
Brad – SEVEN. All signs point to an A-Roid activation just after the All-Star break, but he'll likely be marginally effective. Constant off-the-field distractions and a deteriorating skill set make him CI-only in 12-team and deeper mixers. If he logs 175 or so at-bats ... .260-7-25-18-3.
Andy – NINE. At this stage, he's basically like the Tom Selleck character in "Mr. Baseball." The only team that seems legitimately interested in him is in Japan. When you factor in the suspension risk, the re-injury risk and the obvious decline in skills ... well, no thanks. A-Rod is all yours.
Believe or Make Believe. Mike Leake and Bartolo Colon, who both rank inside the top-10 among SPs in total value over the past 30 days, finish inside the SP top-30 rest of season
Brad – BELIEVE. Ignoring physical girth, Colon and Leake are mirror images of one another. Both are quality start machines. Both sport tidy BB/9s. Both induce tons of groundballs. Both strike out few batters. Both have oodles of run support. Both are stupidly ignored in shallow mixers.
Andy – MAKE BELIEVE, on both counts. No need for further explanation, because c'mon. If I had to stick with one of these dudes, though, it would be Leake.
Dalton – MAKE BELIEVE. I'm not saying either are a fraud or a must-sell, but top-30 is lofty for pitchers who don't miss a lot of bats. Again, they can remain valuable enough to keep using, but the bet here is that Leake and Colon's fantasy value have definitely peaked.
Jurickson Profar, expected to log extra playing time in left, rest of season at-bats 185.5
Andy – OVER. If he's in the bigs, he has to play. You wouldn't keep a kid with Profar's talent on the roster just to sit him every other day, no way. Not at this point in his career arc.
Dalton – OVER. Profar certainly hasn't taken the league by storm, posting a .270/.327/.382 line, but I believe Texas is committed to giving him semi-regular at-bats from here on out. And that's not even factoring in the chance the team suffers injuries either.
Brandon – OVER (easy). The fact that they are moving him to the outfield tells me that he's in Texas to stay. He's held his own as a major leaguer, thus far, and if that continues, he'll fly by this number.
Josh Rutledge, filling the hole left by injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, rest of season homers/steals 16.5
Dalton – UNDER. Even while somehow batting .274 despite a 54:9 K:BB ratio last year over 277 at-bats, he totaled 15 homers/steals. Rutledge's walks are up this season, but he still currently possesses a .223/.279/.343 line. Even with Coors Field on his side, I think he falls just short of this number.
Brandon – OVER. He's hit just .228 in 46 games, thus far, but still has a healthy 11 HR+SB. If he sticks in Colorado for the rest of the season, this number shouldn't be much of a problem.
Scott – Although I grabbed him everywhere, I still go UNDER. The playing time isn't guaranteed when Tulo returns, and those road games aren't nearly as much fun.
Requiem for a STREAM. Pick one lightly owned hurler: Jason Marquis (vs. LAD), Chad Gaudin (vs. Mia), David Phelps (vs. TB), Scott Diamond (vs. ChW)
Brandon – PHELPS. I like Phelps' K rate and he has a solid 3.35 ERA in his post eight starts, with a victory over Tampa Bay included in that stretch.
Scott – Even with Stanton back, GAUDIN by the bay sounds dreamy to me.
Brad – MARQUIS. Gaudin is the obvious choice, but don't be surprised if the journeyman outperforms him. His 5-plus BB/9 and 1.49 HR/9 burn the retinas, but he's won nine games and executed well at home (3.70 ERA). Better yet, he's surrendered just five earned against LA over 19 innings this season.
Andy – NONE. We're drawing all these names from the same toxic well. There are no good choice here. I suppose if I had to select one, which I don't, it would be Gaudin. But no way, not really.
Dalton – GAUDIN. He's surprisingly been pretty effective since joining San Francisco's rotation, posting a 12:2 K:BB ratio over three starts that have included pitching in St. Louis, Arizona and Atlanta. The Marlins are on pace to score the fewest runs in a season in more than a decade.
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