Allen Craig is a Name You Can Trust

If TLR is willing to trust Craig at 2B, you can trust him with all your heart.
Photo Credit: Mitch Bennett

I live by one code: don’t trust any man with two first names, especially if one of them is Todd. Allen Craig has made me rethink my entire life (except the Todd part, don’t trust a Todd). Craig went 2 for 3 with two walks, a RBI and two runs scored against Jesus Sanchez and the Giants. He’s hitting .347, dude is a beast. He’s currently rocking a .395 BABIP, which is sure to fall, but he was posting .330-.350 type numbers in the minors. He has the ability to post an above average BABIP. Add in the solid contact rate (19.4% K%), plate discipline (11.5% BB%), 25-HR power, the steals he’s chipping in (four so far) and you have a player who is worthy of your trust.

More MLB action from Thursday after the break.

The 0% owned Xavier Paul went 4 for 5 with a RBI and three runs scored. He hit a triple and stole two bases (was caught once too). Deep leaguers should remember the X Man’s name. Like his fellow Xavier, Paul has wheels (think 20 SB), but the power is minimal and he strikes out often. However he does have the ability to hit line drives and provide a spanking batting average of balls in play (possibly as high as .350). He could be a poor man’s Jose Tabata if he had the playing time. Right now he’s just a name to keep buried in the back of the mind.

Has anyone seen Jason Bay? Jason Bay, anyone? The rapidly aging Outfielder has hit 8 HR since inking a $66 million, 4-year contact with the Mets in December of ’09. The thunderless Bay went without a hit on Thursday (3 AB), dropping his batting average down to .228. If you were hoping for a bounce back in the power department (like me), it’s time to give up. His 5.1% HR/FB% is exactly the same as it was last season. His .081 ISO is huddling up along side fellow sluggers Darwin Barney, Denard Span, Mark Ellis and Cliff Pennington. Bay was never a good contact hitter (27% K%, 16%-18% LD%) so if he can’t hit for power, he’s nearly worthless. Bay is still owned in 54% of Y! leagues, it’s time to let go.

Anyone starting to worry about Ian Kinsler‘s batting average? He’s looking like the ’09 version of himself when he was launching too many Fly Balls at the expense of his line drive numbers. That season he put up a .253 AVG despite hitting a career high 31 HR. Those home runs came with a career high HR/FB% (along with a career high FB%) so it’s unreasonable to think he can match that total. If he doesn’t improve upon his 15.3% LD%, there really isn’t much hope for him hitting better than .250.

Matt LaPorta hit his 8th HR of the season. He now has back-to-back games with a homer.

Jeff Francoeur went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI against the Twinkies. Jeff was fading into bolivian as he hit .233 in May. It appears he’s supercharging up for a big month in June, he’s already 5 for 9. Francoeur is one streaky dude, I wonder if the Royals will be able to deal him during the summer.

The Twinkies lost Jason Kubel (sprained foot) to the Disabled List. He was their only good hitter. You think pitchers fear a malnourished Justin Morneau or a fat-faced Delmon Young? Feel free to pick on this lineup even more so than before.

Possible replacements for Kubel
Allen Craig (15%) .347-4-4
Michael Brantley (49%) .281-4-7
Michael Morse (43%) .319-7-1
Mitch Moreland (38%) .307-7-2 (bench vs LHP)
Seth Smith (30%) .307-5-3
Domonic Brown (29%) .324-1-1
Matt LaPorta (16%) .255-8-1
Laynce Nix (11%) .303-9-2
Ryan Ludwick (38%) .252-8-1
Jon Jay (13%) .336-4-4
Josh Willingham (25%) .240-10-2
Magglio Ordonez (15%) .172-1-0 (I still got love)
Angel Pagan (39%) .238-1-6 (bad luck BABIP)

If you’re wondering about Anthony Swarzak (6 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, K at Kansas City), you can stop. His six strikeouts in 21 IP should tell you everything you need to know about him. Tony needs a bologna BABIP to succeed. Don’t bet on that happening.

Joakim Soria pitched two clean innings. No hits, no walks, but no strikeouts either. Baby steps.

Lance Lynn made his MLB debut against the Giants of San Fran [5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 ER, 5 K]. If you’re wondering how he gave up five runs on four hits, he put Miguel Tejada on base with the ole bean ball. In terms of this season, Lynn appears to have the ceiling of an average MLB pitcher. Maybe he’ll post a 7.00 K/9 and a 3.50 BB/9. I wouldn’t hope for more.

The Mike Morse hit streak continues! Morse went 4 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored. That is eleven straight games with a base hit. He’s pushed the AVG up to .319, but that should flatten out to .280-.285 when all is said and done. Morse has the ability to hit 25 to 28 HR over the course of a full season, he’s better than Adam LaRoche. He should be rostered in all formats while he’s streaking.

Danny Espinosa put two hits on the board. The power/speed is nice, but he’s a huge liability when it comes to batting average. A 25% K% and 10.5% LD% is brutal. Danny has never been a line drive hitter, ever. He will set the record for the lowest LD% at some point in his career, that’s nearly a guarantee. It’s no surprise to me to see him pushing a .219 AVG, I projected him to hit .244. Still, it’s hard to turn away from 10 HR and 4 SB in 187 AB.

Bud Norris had a gimme matchup at San Diego and dropped the ball [6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 ER, 6 K]. It wasn’t an awful start, but Norris owners were definitely hoping for something better. Bud is a strange case. The past two seasons he posted a 18.2% and 18.5% LD%, but his BABIP has consistently been in the .316 range (.314 and .318). In 2009 he posted a .316 BABIP. You’d think he’d push a BABIP in the high .280s to low .290s. That would go a long way to getting his WHIP below 1.30 (it sits at 1.34 now). Maybe he improves upon this, maybe he continues to be an enigma. It certainly doesn’t help that Houston is ranked at the bottom of the Team UZR leaderboard. The Stros been the league’s worst defensive unit thus far.

I have one question for Joe Maddon: Felipe Lopez at First Base? Really? Why isn’t Desmond Jennings playing big league ball? What the hell is wrong with you? Evan Longoria hitting leadoff? Hello? McFly! OK, I had five questions for that rat fink.

Justin Smoak went 1 for 5 with a solo shot. Smoak has been on a cold stretch for awhile (his AVG dropped from .315 down to .246), but he’s hit 3 HR in his past 6 games . I wouldn’t want a piece of that Seattle lineup, but someone from the deeper leagues has to own Smoak. With the AVG dropping with each game, his 43% ownership rate is probably about where it should be.