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.
It's hard to believe, but one of the trendiest pickups in fantasy baseball right now is Justin Turner. The Dodgers utilityman has been given regular playing time since Juan Uribe got hurt, and he's responded in a big way. Turner went 1-for-4 with two RBI last night, and amazingly, he has three homers, 10 runs, nine RBI and a steal in his last 10 games.
There really isn't much advice to give on a player like Turner. He's hot now, and once he cools down and Uribe comes back, Turner will be more or less irrelevant. However, one thing we can take from outbursts like this is that scouring the waiver wire for hot hitters, and using them in the utility slots, is something that most fantasy owners would be well-served to try. Every week, there's a new, totally random hitter who pops up and produces excellent stats. If an owner were to add that player just as he hits his stride and then cut him loose the second he faltered for a new trendy player on the wire, I imagine fantasy owners could wind up with elite stats out of the utility slot, just by cycling through no-name guys like Turner.
The great thing about fantasy baseball is that random dudes like Turner become serviceable all the time; I vividly recall Casper Wells hitting home runs in four straight games in 2011. For one week, Wells, an otherwise forgettable fantasy commodity, was better than almost everyone else in baseball, the same way Turner is -- at this moment -- a valuable second baseman. Turner may have a very limited time in the sun in the same way Casper Wells was really only relevant for those four games, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Turner has eligibility at almost every infield position, and if you need an infield fill-in for the week, you might as well give him a look.
For Your Consideration
● Josh Harrison had another productive outing, going 3-for-6 with a run and an RBI. The presumptive placeholder for Gregory Polanco has been excellent lately, with 10 hits in his last five games. He's raised his batting average from .272 to .304 in that time. Sadly though, the party is probably over for him once Polanco arrives. If the Pirates were desperate to have him in the lineup, they could move Pedro Alvarez to first, bench Ike Davis and have Harrison start at third, but that's an awful lot of configuring to do for a pretty dispensable batter. Harrison might be useful over the next few days, but with Polanco's call-up imminent, there's no sense adding him at this point.
● Charlie Morton did his job against the Padres, allowing two runs and striking out nine to pick up his second win of the year. Morton, whose claim to fame was that he emulated Roy Halladay's pitching style a few years ago, has been rock solid lately, allowing more than two runs just once in his last seven games. The problem is that those nine strikeouts are an outlier. He's averaging only six Ks per nine innings, and his 54:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio is pretty mediocre. He sports a quality 3.31 ERA, but at some point, he's likely to implode and ruin your pitching week. Proceed with caution if you're considering streaming him.
● Danny Duffy was terrific against St. Louis, blanking the Cardinals for six innings and allowing just one hit while striking out five. Duffy was atrocious in his last two starts, allowing five runs apiece to the Angels and Astros, so it's not like he's been setting the world on fire lately. Still, in the other four of his last six starts, he's allowed two runs and just seven hits in 23 innings. There are some definite bright spots for the former top prospect, and at 25, he has an excellent chance to become a top-notch starter at some point. The stray blow-up looms large, but Duffy's been so great when he's on that he makes for a decent add in standard leagues.
● Cody Allen recorded a save against the Red Sox yesterday, giving him three in four days. The Indians' closer situation has been turbulent since John Axford faltered, and Allen and Bryan Shaw have grappled for control of the ninth-inning duties. At last, it appears that Allen has come away with the job, as Shaw has been used in a set-up role in Allen's last two saves. The semi-new Indians closer is available in 68% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
● Mark Reynolds went 1-for-2 with a homer against the Twins, his 13th home run of the year. Reynolds is hitting only .208, and considering he's the single-season record-holder for strikeouts in a season, that's par for the course. He doesn't even provide much of an RBI boost, but because Reynolds is a near lock to swat two homers per week, he definitely has value, and owners might want to give him a look if they can stomach his abhorrent batting average.