Now that’s what I call a post-hype sleeper! Once again, Domonic Brown wooed fantasy owners and Phillies fans alike with a torrid spring training, only to struggle through the rainy days of March and April. When the calendar flipped to May however, the 25-year-old outfielder began to flash a few of those five tools we’ve heard so much about over the years.
In 28 games in the month of May, Brown mashed to the tune of .303/.303/.688 with 12 homers, 25 RBI and three stolen bases. Astoundingly, he did so while posting a mind-boggling 21/0 K/BB ratio. Is this his true talent finally rising to the surface, or just an incredible hot streak for the notoriously free swinger?
If the first few days of June are any indication, there may be more to come. After going 1-for-4 while drawing a rare walk and swiping a base on Saturday, Brown swatted a three-run homer and tripled as part of a 3-for-3 effort on Sunday, and even threw in another base on balls for good measure.
He’s been the hottest hitter on the planet over his last ten games, hitting .433 (16-for-37) with an eye-popping eight homers and 16 RBI. Heading into play on Monday, Brown owns a terrific .282/.321/.574 line with 40 RBI and an NL-leading 16 long balls. While he may not continue at this pace, he should deliver very strong numbers across the board for the remainder of the season.
Bay of Puigs
With the recent injuries to Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, the Dodgers purchased the contract of 22-year-old Cuban defector Yasiel Puig from Double-A Chattanooga on Sunday.
Puig made an extremely strong impression in spring training, hitting a robust .517/.500/.828 with three homers and 11 RBI in 58 at-bats. He hasn’t slowed down much since, slashing.313/.383/.599 with eight homers, 37 RBI and 13 steals through 40 games at Double-A.
While both Crawford and Kemp aren’t expected to be sidelined for long, Puig should be an immediate pickup in all mixed leagues. Despite the currently tenuous outlook for at-bats the remainder of the season, he’s far too talented for the Dodgers to keep his bat out of the lineup. Let’s face it, neither Crawford nor Kemp have been bastions of good health in recent years, and Andre Ethier presently resides in the dog house of skipper Don Mattingly. That combined with Puig’s tremendous combination of power and speed give him the opportunity to be an impact waiver wire addition.
Chasing and speculating on saves tends to be a fickle business in fantasy leagues, but a pair of injuries to ninth-inning fixtures in the NL West over the weekend have opened the door for some immediate help.
In Colorado, Rafael Betancourt finally hit the disabled list on Sunday after battling a right groin strain for a few weeks. In his stead, fire-balling lefty Rex Brothers will take the ball in the ninth inning. His season has gotten off to a tremendous start, posting a microscopic 0.36 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 25/12 K/BB ratio through 24 2/3 innings. If he performs well in the interim basis, it’s not inconceivable to think that he could wrestle the gig away from the 38-year-old Betancourt for the remainder of the season.
A bit further west in San Diego, the oft-injured Huston Street has once again found himself placed on the disabled list, this time with a strained right calf. Enter Luke Gregerson. The 29-year-old righty has once again been lights-out this season, compiling a 1.09 ERA, 0.69 WHIP and 18/6 K/BB ratio through 24 2/3 innings. While he should be able to fill in admirably while Street is sidelined, which will inevitably happen again this season, his long-term prognostication isn’t as optimistic as Brothers’. With Street signed through the 2014 season, including a team option for 2015, he’ll be much more difficult to permanently displace.
Regardless, both Brothers and Gregerson are supremely talented and capable of handling the closing duties for their respective clubs. They should be owned and active in all formats.
National League Quick Hits: Patrick Corbin improved to 9-0 with Sunday’s victory over the Cubs… Dexter Fowler homered twice in a win against the Dodgers, and is now one of only four players with 10 or more homers and steals on the season… Ike Davis homered on Sunday, something he hadn’t done in his previous 31 games (100 at-bats)… Hanley Ramirez won’t be activated from the disabled list until Tuesday at the earliest… Chris Capuano is expected to be scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres on Monday… Brandon Phillips is expected to miss three or four days after being hit by a pitch on Saturday… Hyun-Jin Ryu was scratched from Sunday’s start against the Rockies due to a sore foot, but is expected to be fine for his next outing… Matt Harvey turned in his worst start of the season, allowing four runs on 10 hits over five innings against the Marlins… Jeanmar Gomez left Sunday’s start after one inning due to tightness in his forearm… Cliff Lee punched out a season-high 11 in a victory over the Brewers… Garrett Jones launched a two-run homer, keying a comeback victory over the Reds… Buster Posey went 4-for-4 in a win over the Cardinals… Edwin Jackson was hit hard in Sunday’s loss to the D’Backs and now owns an unsightly 1-8 record, 6.29 ERA and 1.67 WHIP on the season.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Davis socked his Major League leading 20th homer of the season in Sunday’s victory over the Tigers… After swiping a team-record five bases on Thursday, Jacoby Ellsbury missed the entire weekend series against the Yankees due to a sore groin… Alexi Ogando is expected to rejoin the Rangers rotation on Wednesday… Gordon Beckham is expected to return from the disabled list early this week… Edwin Encarnacion swatted his 16th homer of the season in an extra-inning victory over the Padres… Kevin Gausman surrendered just one run over six innings in a no-decision against the Tigers… Jeremy Bonderman was knocked around to the tune of seven runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in his first start since 2010… Tyler Greene was designated for assignment by the White Sox… Chris Perez will resume his throwing program on Wednesday, and could return from the disabled list when first eligible… Hector Ambriz earned his second save of the season, and would be the next in line if Jose Veras were to falter… Shane Victorino was scratched from his scheduled rehab assignment on Monday, and isn’t expected to return to the Red Sox lineup until mid-June… Adrian Beltre is expected to return to the Rangers lineup at some point during their upcoming series against the Red Sox.