In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below:
Give Ryan Braun some credit. Despite getting heckled in every stadium he walks into, despite dealing with a nerve issue in his thumb, and despite starting the year going 1-for-16 from the plate, Braun has been terrific. Over his last 17 games, Braun has hit .368 with six home runs and 18 RBI. The problem is that he hasn't actually played in a game in a week thanks to an oblique injury, and it's looking likelier and likelier that he's going to wind up on the Disabled List.
The consensus on Braun has not changed. Even though he's a great player on a Brewers team that should be in the playoff race for a while, Braun is a tough player to deal with. He's been remarkably productive given his injuries, but swap Braun for an equally elite, more reliable hitter, such as Andrew McCutchen or Justin Upton or Carlos Gonzalez may be the best course of action.
The most optimum thing to do with Braun would be to try to land Mike Trout. A daunting task? Definitely, but Braun when healthy puts up numbers that are nearly as good as his, and once he's able to play again, you could throw in another competent player or two or three or twenty -- maybe a Michael Morse or an Ervin Santana or a Francisco Rodriguez -- and you may wind up with the best player in baseball. Of course, that's easier said than done, and Trout owners will need an offer that can't be refused. It doesn't even have to be Trout that Braun owners should aim for. The bottom line is that playing it safe and opting for the player who's less of an injury risk is the way to go, but if you're going to go that route, you might as well shoot for the heavens and try to land an Angel.
For Your Consideration
● Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 last night and is now hitting .282 on the year for the Marlins, who are producing a surprising amount of relevant fantasy players. Jones has been hitting pretty well lately (.368, three homers and seven RBI over his last 10 games) and isn't a terrible option in standard leagues. The problem is he doesn't have much upside, but he's getting everyday action for the Fish. It was only two years ago that Jones collected 27 homers and 86 RBI. So while he won't make or break your fantasy team, he's a solid bet to net at least a home run a week, meaning there are much worse options to be used in a utility slot.
● Tom Koehler did good work against the Dodgers, allowing no runs and only three hits in seven innings of work. Koehler is off to a strong start, sporting a respectable 2.41 ERA. He has only 24 strikeouts through 37.1 innings pitched, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio sits at 24:16, so while he may be worth streaming against the Mets next week, he has the resume of a pitcher who's likely to implode at some point. I advise owners to look for other fish in the sea. (Get it? It's a pun).
● The Cubs' Hector Rondon completed a clean inning against the Cardinals to record his second save of the year, and his first in three weeks. Rondon has been the Cubs' best reliever all season and he's finally been given a chance to run with the job. Manager Rick Renteria has consistently given his vocal support to Jose Veras, but really, the plan all along was for the Cubs to eventually trade Veras. Rondon is more than capable of keep his ninth inning duties, and while the Cubs may not afford him very many save chances, he's still a must-own for anyone chasing saves.
● Ubaldo Jimenez had easily his best start of the year for the Orioles, striking out 10 and not allowing a run in 7.1 innings versus the Twins. Jimenez has always been wildly inconsistent. In 2010, he went 13-1 through his first 14 starts and had an ERA of 1.15 -- which is still one of the best starts to a season by a pitcher ever -- but had an ERA of 4.32 over his last 19 starts. Last year, Jimenez got off to a horrendous start, posting a 5.03 ERA in 12 starts, but was terrific over his last 20, posting a terrific 2.41 ERA. Jimenez is a fantasy player who can't be trusted just yet, given that he had been atrocious thus far and is struggling in the AL East. Still, he's not a bad guy to put on your watch list, just in case he starts to rattle off a few quality outings in a row.
● The Tigers signed Joel Hanrahan yesterday, who's working his way back from Tommy John surgery and who can be ready to pitch in a month or so. Joe Nathan's ERA may not be pretty (5.06), and Nathan may not have the confidence of his fanbase, but he's done much better lately and will only lose his job in the ninth inning if he gets hurt. If that happens though, Hanrahan and his ninth inning experience would be the answer.
● Michael Saunders hit leadoff for the second straight game in a row for the Mariners. Abraham Almonte, who Seattle had been using at leadoff, is hitting just .198 and more damningly now leads all major leaguers in strikeouts with 40. Saunders hasn't been great so far either (.234 average), but it does indeed look like he's going to get a decent run at the top of the M's lineup, which can only be good for his value.