Monday had more than its fair share of highlights, and a few lowlights to offer fantasy owners. Read up!
Better late than never for Carlos Gonzalez owners who likely drafted the Rockies’ slugger in the first round. Car-Go hit leadoff in today’s matinee at Chicago and knocked two homeruns over the ivy walls. Gonzalez has raised his batting average 25 points this month. With 12 homeruns and 12 steals, he still has a legitimate shot at 25-25 and may even be a long shot for 30-30.
Speaking of late bloomers, Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Pena also added a pair of homeruns as he went 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI’s. Pena now has homered in three straight games and tallied nine this June. Who knows when this hot streak will end, but stay on board while it lasts.
Aramis Ramirez added to his solid June with three hits, three runs, and three RBI’s. His production is still low compared to his career numbers, but his five multi-hit games over the last nine certainly should be acknowledged.
Max Scherzer rebounded from his shellacking against the Blue Crew by throwing seven innings with nine strikeouts. Although he did not factor into the decision, Scherzer appeared more comfortable and should remain owned. However, owners should be weary of starting him on the road where he owns a 6.64 ERA this season.
Brennan Boesch continues to earn starts as he produced another multi-hit game. His average now stands at .301 after beginning the month at .250. Boesch should be owned and started in all leagues. It is difficult to sell high on a hot hitter, but do not forget his terrible second half in 2010.
Jose Bautista may have cooled, but teammate Adam Lind remains on fire. Lind hit his 16th homerun and ninth in June alone. The Blue Jays’ slugger appears to be on pace to eclipse his 2009 breakout season. Lind is a must-start in all leagues.
This morning, Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court. Apparently, this enraged the Dodgers’ bats as they exploded for a 15-run, 25-hit onslaught in an interleague matchup against the Minnesota Twins. Matt Kemp led the charge by going 4-for-5 with his NL-leading 22nd homerun along with two runs and two RBI’s. Kemp has returned to an elite fantasy star and is producing first round pick numbers this season.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn had only thrown quality starts this June. However, he imploded against the Los Angeles Dodgers by allowing 13 hits and seven runs in only 4.1 innings. Blackburn should still be owned in deep leagues and may be more of a spot-starter especially at home where he holds a 2.40 ERA.
Asdrubal Cabrera continued his breakout season with his 13th home run along with two runs and two RBI’s. Cleveland’s shortstop has been one of the most surprising sleepers this season and has shown no signs of slowing down. Cabrera should be owned in all leagues, especially in spite of the lack of depth at middle infield.
Cincinnati’s young right-hander threw six shutout innings, which was enough to earn his seventh win. Leake now has three wins this month and has pitched relatively well. His K numbers are not jaw-dropping, but he is ownable in deep leagues.
Brandon Phillips had a four-hit game along with two runs and two RBI’s against Tampa Bay. Although his power and speed numbers have not jumped this season, his overall production has been consistent. In fact, the second baseman has seven multi-hit games in his last eight starts. The homeruns and speed should come around as he appears to have found his stroke.
Jeremy Hellickson suffered his fourth loss in a row, despite a quality start of six innings, three earned runs, and a stunning nine strikeouts. He should continue to be started on a weekly basis.
“Life’s a beach” lately for Atlanta Braves rookie Brandon Beachy. The Atlanta starter earned his second win in a row since returning from injury with six dominant innings and one earned run while fanning nine. He has accrued 20 K’s over his last 12 innings and is a must-start in all leagues.
Mat Latos has been a disappointment this season especially when compared with his 2010 stats. However, Latos pitched a quality start of six innings, three earned runs, and six strikeouts to improve his record to 5-8. Although it should come as no surprise, Latos has pitched much better at Petco Park this season than on the road where his ERA stands at 5.19.
Washington’s Danny Espinosa has quietly put together a solid season thus far. The Nationals’ second baseman hit his 15th bomb and now has homeruns in back-to-back games. More importantly, Espinosa went yard against to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. Espinosa currently leads his position in homeruns and has swinging a hot bat this month.
Los Angeles Angels’ closer Jordan Walden struggled yet again on Monday night as he suffered his second blown save in back-to-back nights against the Washington Nationals and third straight. This also totaled his sixth blown save already this season. After a strong start, Walden is experiencing a rough patch and may be removed as closer. However, the Angels may not have a strong replacement to promote. Walden’s status as closer should be monitored very closely this week as Scott Downs may receive the next opportunity.
The Washington Nationals have not missed Adam LaRoche this season because replacement Michael Morse has been hitting the cover off the ball. Morse hit his 15th homerun of the season and eighth in June. Morse is now batting .303 and is hitting better than several top tiered first basemen. If he is still available in your league, stop reading this article and pick him up now!
Tony Gwynn Jr. hit like Tony Gwynn Sr. in Los Angeles’ blowout over Minnesota. Gwynn racked up four hits, two RBI, one run, and two stolen bases. On Sunday, he produced the game-winning hit against cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. He does not start consistently, but is making a case for more playing time. Keep an eye on him in deep leagues.
Best of luck this week as we finish off June.