With the first day of summer is approaching this Friday, June 21, temperatures are beginning to rise across the country. Tempers have also begun to boil along with injuries continuing to climb in the National League West. Several weeks ago, San Diego’s Carlos Quentin charged the mound to begin a brawl with Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace Zack Greinke after being beaned. Greinke ended up with a shoulder injury and a Disabled List stint as a result. Last week, Greinke and new Dodgers’ sensation Yasiel Puig battled Arizona’s Miguel Montero and Ian Kennedy in a monster team skirmish that included headlocks, arguing coaches, and even the bullpen joining in.
Every team within the NL West has also been suffering from injuries. Most notably, the Los Angeles Dodgers have watched Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford miss extensive time. However, the Colorado Rockies lost superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for an estimated 4-6 weeks. They also nearly lost Carlos Gonzalez, who was hit in the on-deck circle by a foul ball, but fortunately suffered only a minor contusion on his foot. With only 7.5 games separating first from the worst in the division, it’s going to be a wild ride all year long in the NL West.
For now, take a dive with me as you begin to set your lineup and prepare for another week of fantasy baseball.
Catcher – The Houston Astros have not been the most “fantasy friendly” team for producing sleepers or stars in a while. However, catcher
Jason Castro is receiving attention as the top catcher on the player rater over the last 30 days. With seven home runs, 15 runs, 13 runs batted in, and .322 average, Castro is beginning to reach the “must own” tier.
First Base –
Adam Lind earned MVP numbers in 2009, but has been declining each season since. Many of his struggles and playing time platoons resulted from the inability to hit left-handers. Thus far in 2013, Lind has turned 180 degrees. With a .350 average, eight home runs, and nine multi-hit games in his last 14 outings, Lind may be finally returning to form. Even with limited at-bats, he is hitting .520 off southpaws! Grab him before he’s gone.
Second Base – With Troy Tulowitzki now sidelined, Josh Rutledge will be a top waiver wire pickup that all managers should target. However, if you are unsuccessful adding him, take a look at
DJ LeMahieu. He has been starting nearly every game in June and a decent source for steals. Unfortunately, he struggles away from Coors Field and Colorado will be on the road all week, but see if LeMahieu can turn the corner this week.
Everth Cabrera has 17 stolen bases in the last 30 days. Did you realize this? Cabrera keeps a low profile although his name has been mentioned a few times in PED headlines. Regardless, Cabrera is batting better than .300 with 31 stolen bases, which is tied for the league lead with Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Cabrera has eligibility at shortstop and second base in most leagues.
Third Base – The St Louis Cardinals continue to find talent from within.
Matt Carpenter has been a major part of the Cardinals’ success and has eligibility at four positions including third base. Now playing full time, Carpenter will exceed career highs this season and may post 12-15 home runs with an average in the .320 range.
Outfield – Tampa Bay Rays outfielder
Matt Joyce struggled in April, but has turned it around in May and June. Joyce has an eight-game hitting streak with six runs and four home runs in that span. As the Rays’ leadoff hitter, Joyce should be a consistent source of runs with some power and speed mixed in.
Good luck this week!