Tuesday Top Ten Fantasy Baseball Headlines – September 6, 2011

Welcome to the very special edition of the Tuesday Top Ten.  Why is it a special edition?  Because there were no natural disasters that devastated anyone this week (unless you count Jason Bay’s futility as a natural disaster like I do).  We are in the first week of September which means your fantasy baseball league playoffs have started or will be starting soon.  Will you miss me when the season is over?  Now, without further adieu, here is this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for September 6, 2011.

10. No quiero Taco Bell. – Giants outfielder Carlos Beltran was taken out of the lineup on Monday due to a gastric illness.  Despite having a renaissance season in his walk year and proving his knees are healthy, Beltran has had some freaky injuries and illnesses throughout the season.  He already missed several games with the flu back in July, and now he is having gastric problems.  Perhaps the thought of never making the same kind of money as his current 7 year/$119 million contract is making him sick.  Unfortunately, this time it doesn’t look like he will have a chance to cash in on a majestic playoff run like he did in 2004.

9. Madison Bumgarner is better than Henry Rowengartner.  Continuing with San Francisco Giants’ news, it is no secret that they have one of the worst offenses in all of baseball.  This anemic lineup will likely be the reason they do not have the chance to defend their championship this season.  Some of the innocent victims to the Giants’ beleaguered offense are their starting pitchers.  One such victim is second year pitcher Madison Bumgarner.  His record stands at 10-12, but he boasts a 3.36 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 170 strikeouts.  Numbers like that on a team that scores more than 3.2 runs per game would normally net 15 wins at this point.  He has been pitching extremely well and should be relied on for production in all categories, except wins, because he can’t make his opponents have negative runs.

8. A Safe Brett.  Some prospects get a lot of hype and then fail to deliver the goods immediately upon their promotion to the big leagues.  However, one such exception to this rule is Blue Jays’ rookie Brett Lawrie.  He was supposed to be called up earlier than he was, but he sustained an injury which delayed the inevitable.  Now that he is withToronto, he has justified the hype with a .317 batting average, 8 homeruns, 21 RBI, 17 runs scored, and 5 stolen bases.  He also qualifies at both second base and third base in most leagues, so he has position flexibility as well.  He is a great option down the stretch at either position and should be kept if you are in a keeper league.

7. The Melky Man Delivers.  One of the more surprising fantasy baseball stories this year has been the performance of Melky Cabrera in his first season with Kansas City.  Cast off by the Yankees and Braves, Cabrera has come into his own this year hitting .302 with 17 homeruns, 81 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases.  This translates into a stellar roto season with production in all five categories from a 3rd outfielder.  He has gotten an opportunity to play everyday and be a critical piece of the Royals young and impressive lineup.  He is arguably one of 2011’s unsung fantasy diamonds.  And yes, I will eat crow on this one because I never thought much of him when he was inNew York.

6. Cliff Lee is really good.  I couldn’t come up with an innovative pun for Cliff Lee who threw his 6th complete game shutout of the season on Monday against the Braves.  Lee has been nearly unhittable over his last seven starts, winning all seven with an ERA less than 1.00.  He has also topped 200 strikeouts in a season for the first time in his career.  While Justin Verlander is clearly the best pitcher in baseball this year, Lee has been arguably the most dominant in the games he has won.  He is one of the top three pitching options in points-based fantasy leagues where complete games and shutouts are rewarded.  Continue riding his success the rest of the way as he appears to not even have broken a sweat.

5. Bay and Switch.  Don’t be fooled by Jason Bay’s recent “hot streak” which actually includes a couple of homeruns and some multi-hit games this past week.  He has had a couple of mini streaks like this over the past few months, but nothing that has propelled him into any form of consistency.  He typically follows up these surges with cold streaks as icy as an Eskimo orgy.  He will see consistent playing time because the Mets have no other options.  If you are banking on his performance for any success in your fantasy baseball league playoffs, then you will be sorely disappointed.  This officially concludes my weekly rant aboutJasonBay.

4. Zach to the Future. White Sox rookie Zach Stewart pitched a one-hit complete game shutout on Monday against the Twins.  He took a perfect game into the eighth inning but had to settle for the impressive one-hitter.  He looks like he is here to stay and should be in contention to makeChicago’s starting rotation in 2012.  He will get more opportunities the rest of the month, so he may be a viable fantasy option if you are looking for additional starting pitching heading into your league’s playoffs.

3. You have to be Joshing me.  Just when it looked like Red Sox ace Josh Beckett was going to make it to the end of the season as dominant as he started, there is a major cause for concern.  Beckett was taken out of his start on Monday after sustaining an apparent ankle injury.  There is no indication yet on how severe it may be, but his next start is in serious jeopardy.  This would be devastating for both the Red Sox and fantasy owners who have relied upon Beckett’s mastery all season.  Keep a close eye on this development because with a playoff berth all but locked up,Boston will be very cautious and conservative with Beckett the rest of the regular season.

2. Jesus (Montero) is a savior.  From Kevin Maas to Shane Spencer, it is not uncommon for heralded Yankees’ prospects to get a September call-up and be anointed the next coming of Babe Ruth.  However, Jesus Montero appears to be different thanMaas or Spencer in that he truly looks like a major league hitter with real potential to do some damage for years to come.  He is absolutely worth picking up (if available) in your fantasy baseball league as he is likely to get a majority of playing time as the DH.  With his first two big league homeruns coming off a right-handed pitcher, he should be in the lineup almost every day for the rest of the year.  He is a stud in the making and is even more valuable once he qualifies at catcher.

1. Guess who’s back, back again…Strasburg’s back, tell a friend.  After mentioning this for several weeks now, fantasy has become a reality as phenom Stephen Strasburg officially rejoins the Washington Nationals after missing the last year due to Tommy John surgery.  The 2009 #1 pick made six rehab starts before getting the ball for the first time since the summer of 2010.  He looked great in all but one of his starts and has been clocked as high as 98 mph with his fastball.  Those who either kept him or stashed him on their DL will reap the rewards with his return as fantasy baseball league playoffs get underway.  Oh yeah, he is scheduled for two starts this week (weather permitting).

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather