Let’s get right into this week’s edition …
In the Field
3B David Freese, St. Louis
I was surprised to see that Freese is available in more than half of online leagues, though that does makes sense since he has been out for so long. He is back and he wasted no time continuing the torrid pace he was on earlier in the season, belting two hits in his first game back. He will be providing a much-needed spark to the Cardinals’ offense, and he’s worth owning in all formats.
OF Jon Jay, St. Louis
The injury to Albert Pujols has shuffled things around in St. Louis, with Lance Berkman moving to first base, which has opened up some playing time in the outfield. Jay has been getting the majority of the playing time, and he has responded with five hits in his last four games started. As long as he keeps hitting, he’ll be in the lineup while Pujols is out.
OF Alex Presley, Pittsburgh
Another guy that can have an immediate impact on a fantasy team is Presley. All the recent call up did was go 2-for-5 with a home run and three runs batted in – all from the leadoff position in the order. With Jose Tabata on the disabled list, Presley will continue to play, most likely in the all important leadoff spot in the order.
3B Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland
The injury to Shin-Soo Choo has opened up a lineup spot, and the Indians have turned to one of their top prospects in Chisenhall to grab the playing time. Three hits in his first two games has him off and running. He’s worth keeping an eye on to see if he continues to be a productive major league player.
On the Bump
Paul Maholm, Pittsburgh
His last four starts have been very impressive, including a win over the Boston Red Sox in his last outing. Five earned runs allowed in 23-plus innings (four in one of the games against Cleveland), and a couple of wins to his credit as the Pirates offense is starting to come around. He’s worth owning in all formats.
Rich Harden, Oakland
Harden is scheduled to (finally) come off the disabled list this week as he is expected to get the start this Friday against Arizona. He will be on a pitch count so don’t expect much in the first outing. Those in deep leagues can go out and grab him and hold to see if he can put together a streak of health that can help out the fantasy owner in need of starting pitching.
Javier Vazquez, Florida
I know, I know, his overall season numbers are in the dumps, but we’re digging deep here, trying to unearth a player that is on the rise and will be worth something in a couple of weeks. Like Harden, I am tabbing Vazquez with a ‘grab and hold’ so that those in deep leagues can get him on the cheap right now. He is coming off three very good outings, only one win to show for it, but only two earned runs in the 17-plus innings of work (to go along with 12 strikeouts). He’s worth owning in deep leagues and keeping an eye on in all others.
Out in the Pen
Javy Guerra, Los Angeles
With Jonathon Broxton on the disabled list, that opens up the closer’s role for the Dodgers, at least for the short term. Though there haven’t been many, Guerra has gotten the recent chances. With blanks in the earned run column in his last four outings, Guerra is worth taking a flier on.
Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia
With Ryan Madson’s official move to the disabled list, the likely candidate for the Phillies is Bastardo. He has been lights out in the setup role, so look for him to be the closer for the short term in Philadelphia.
David Robertson, New York Yankees
The Yankees have gone through some injuries out in their bullpen, which has provided playing time in the setup role for Robertson. He has not disappointed, as he is currently riding a streak of more than seven innings without an earned run. For those leagues that value setup players, look no further than Robertson to fill that need.