Fantasy baseball Roundtable: Is Cardinals' pitching slowing down?
Garcia is another story altogether. He's scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews to get the grim reaper's opinion on his injured shoulder. A visit to Andrews often precedes season-ending surgery, so his owners should be making preparations to move on without him. Looking at this staff as a whole, so long as they have Adam Wainwright, they have one of the league's best aces. Miller is the real deal, Lance Lynn has proven himself and, for now, owners should be confident that Westbrook will be back soon enough. I'm not worried about the Cardinals.
Owners should be all in on Lynn and Wainwright, who's continued to improve after having Tommy John surgery in 2011. Wainwright is easily one of the top 15, if not top 10 aces in fantasy, while Lynn is squarely among the top 25, along with Miller -- for now.
But the injuries to Jaime Garcia (shoulder) and Jake Westbrook (elbow) show the dangers of attaching superlatives and guarantees to pitching in fantasy. With specific regard to the latter, there really is no such thing.
Cishek is in a more precarious position. Unlike Johnson, his recent struggles didn't bubble up out of nowhere. He has been having issues all season, not the least of which being his control. He has 10 walks in 18.1 innings this year. Meanwhile, Mike Dunn has 20 strikeouts against nine walks in 20.2 innings, and has simply been more effective than Cishek. Should the Marlins choose to make a change, Dunn could step right into the ninth inning.
Johnson has built up a cachet that warrants our trust in fantasy -- if you can't trust a closer who threw in 35 consecutive games without a blown save, then who can you trust? Johnson is going to right himself in plenty of time to keep you from having to make a real decision on your fantasy stopper.
Cishek, meanwhile, was shaky going into the season, so owners should be a bit worried. Dunn is a hard-thrower who once was tagged as a closer-of-the-future, while Chad Qualls is a closer of the past. The Marlins are going to go with a committee, one that will be frustrating for fantasy owners until someone asserts himself. Figure that will be Dunn, if not Ryan Webb as a dark-horse candidate.
It is likely too late to jump on Profar in your leagues. He was already owned in many before his sudden call-up, so most of you should hope he does go back down and gets cut from his fantasy team. It will give you another chance at him making an impact for you in the second half.
As for Perez, I'd give him a bit more time since he's a catcher who, despite his power outage, is hitting .308. His line-drive rate is way up at 25.8 percent, but his home run/fly ball ratio has plummeted to 3.2 percent. I'd be willing to bet that increases as the season goes on. Hold onto Perez.
Perez is already productive enough to keep active in standard mixed leagues, while Moustakas and Hosmer will eventually get hot at some point again this season.
If I were a Cingrani owner, I wouldn't cut him unless I absolutely could not afford to stash a player on my roster. Even if I couldn't, I'd try to trade him before cutting him outright, because my bet is that he'll eventually be back with the Reds before long. They're as safe a bet as any team to make the playoffs and they have a real chance to do damage in October. Chances are they'll need all their best arms involved at some point this season. Cingrani is definitely part of that mix.
By the way, if you need a rookie pitcher right now, pick up Kevin Gausman. The Orioles pulled that trigger to have him make his major-league debut less than a year from being the fourth overall pick in the First Year Player Draft. Gausman is a strike-thrower who can perform to the level of any young pitcher. He might even be more intriguing long term than Matt Harvey, and we have seen what that has meant in the short term.