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.
Derek Jeter enjoyed a great game on Sunday, going 4-for-5 with a triple, a run scored and a pair of RBI. Following that performance, I wish I could advocate owning Jeter in fantasy leagues without sounding a bit nostalgic. I wish his 4-for-5 line meant something larger; unfortunately, he's just not routinely reliable anymore.
Through 167 at-bats, Jeter has 10 RBI, 14 runs scored and one home run. Fellow shortstops Adeiny Hechavarria, Brandon Hicks and Yunel Escobar are all having comparable seasons, and even though Jeter plays a relatively thin fantasy position, he is merely a singles hitter at this point, and one who doesn't score particularly often. Aside from marginally improving a team's batting average, he holds little to no fantasy value, which is a shame for a guy who, at his peak, hit .349 with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 134 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 1999. Even before he was the embodiment of the Yankees' yearly success, Jeter used to be an excellent hitter.
Now, though, he's best left to the waiver wire. It's always strange when a past-his-prime superstar remains totally available in fantasy leagues. Yet owners have to distinguish between a players' past and his present. In Jeter's case, it's been quite a while since he could be considered an elite hitting shortstop.
For your consideration
• George Springer continued his recent assault on Sunday, going 1-for-4 with his fourth home run in three games. After a fairly lackluster start, Springer has rewarded patient owners with gusto: He has a hit in all but three of his last 21 games, including each of his last seven, alongside 14 RBI. If there has been any false advertising, it's that Springer has only one stolen base, so he isn't the triple threat he was in the minors quite yet. But let's not be too picky. Springer has proved the last two weeks that he's a fantasy game-changer, and while he's gone in most competitive fantasy formats, he remains available in 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues. That needs to change, pronto.
• Mike Leake pitched admirably in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals, allowing two runs while striking out eight over six innings. Unfortunately for him, his opponent was Adam Wainwright, who fanned 12 and didn't allow a run. Leake is dealing in 2014, with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP through nine starts. He has never struck out more than 122 hitters in a year, and such a paltry strikeout rate certainly limits his fantasy upside. Still, he has been nothing if not consistent, and he's worthy of being owned in all leagues.
• Ernesto Frieri recorded a save against the Royals a day after pitching two shutout innings in relief. He and Joe Smith have recently jostled for control of the closer's role; Smith has been better all season, but Frieri has been superior over the last month. Frieri has experience, and, after limiting opponents to just four hits and a walk in his past 10 appearances, he might finally have momentum, too. Frieri is the man to own out of the Angels' pen.
• Brett Gardner went 1-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI in a win over the White Sox on Sunday. Gardner, who came into the season with hardly any fantasy hype, has quietly been terrific. He has 11 steals to go with a .289 average. In fact, Gardner has a higher average and more home runs, runs scored and RBI than teammate Jacoby Ellsbury, who the Yankees handed a $150 million contract in the offseason. Much like in real life, Gardner has been a far better value early.
• Drew Pomeranz lasted four innings against the Blue Jays on Sunday before leaving with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the fifth. He allowed only two runs through four (Jim Johnson bailed him out in relief), and thus, his ERA and WHIP figures remains pretty glitzy, at 1.38 and 1.16, respectively. The former top prospect still isn't worth rolling out for every start -- remember, he posted a 6.23 ERA in limited time with the Rockies in 2013 -- but Pomeranz provides a good spot start this weekend against the Angels.