From Ball Four to Balfour

It’s time to check in on the peasant workers of the league and those trouble making, late inning relievers; the Ugueth Urbina Pen Pals. Newly signed Brian Fuentes put on a show for us tonight. It was a two-part act and neither were pretty. We have plenty of mischief to investigate, grab the machete and meet me on the other side.

The Milwaukee Brewers, as a team, have six stolen bases. Rickie Weeks has zero. This coming after all that aggressive base running talk from Ron Roenicke. I may need to lower my expectations for Corey Hart. I’m asking for ten SB now.

Danny Espinosa led off for the Nationals today. I then proceeded to drop him from multiple leagues. Espinosa has intriguing power and speed, but the combination of a 31% K% and 8% LD% is downright scary. Danny has a track record of poor line drive totals. He doesn’t have enough power to make up for the strikeouts and poor contact.

Wilson Ramos is hitting .480 after today’s 2 for 3 (Run, BB) performance. He came into the day with a .625 BABIP. If Wilson Ramos puts the ball into play, six times out of ten it falls for a base hit. He is en fuego.

Logan Morrison (54% owned) hit his fourth home run (off Roy Oswalt). He’s hitting .320 after going 2 for 4 with two runs and a RBI. Logan hit two home runs in 62 games last season. He once hit 24 HR in 2007 (single-A ball), but followed it up with seasons of thirteen home runs, eight home runs and eight home runs. The potential is there, but don’t get your hopes up. However, Logan Morrison is a well touted prospect and he’s crushing the ball so jump aboard and see where he takes you.

Javier Vazquez is not at a good place right now. Brooks Baseball had his average fastball at 85.6 mph on Friday, he topped out at 87.8 mph. He allowed nine batters to reach base against the Phillies and his numbers are horrific. I am amazed to see Javier is owned in 45% of Y! leagues, that is inexcusable.

Michael Brantley (8%) went 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored against Zach Britton and the Orioles. He was caught stealing for the first time. Brantley is now hitting .333 and should continue to lead off when Grady Sizemore returns.

Zach Britton let the Tribe put up four runs in the third inning and then he served up a solo shot to Travis Hafner in the sixth. I said it once and I’ll say it again, Britton has been lucky thus far and doesn’t have the stuff to survive the AL East in his rookie season. Sell on the well hyped prospect. Let Britton tax another manager’s stats.

Justin Masterson has given us three straight gems. His 0.93 WHIP and 1.33 ERA are very attractive. You can still find the ever disappointing Masterson in over 60% of Y! leagues. Could this be the year? It certainly looks like it. The walks are down (significantly) and he’s done well against LHB. Masterson does a great job of inducing ground balls and weak contact in general. I like his chances. It is worth noting that he hasn’t faced any tough LHB lineups (Adam Dunn, the Mariners and Luke Scott). 

Matt Harrison continues to impress. He went eight strong innings at Yankee Stadium and came away with his third win [8 IP, 7 H, 3 H, ER, 3 K]. He’s picked up some velocity since last season and a lot of his pitches are showing more horizontal movement. I smell a mechanical adjustment. This may be a case for the scouting department.

Andrew McCutchen was back at leadoff for PIT, he went 0 for 5 with four K.

Sam Fuld (41%) went 3 for 4 with a run against the Twins. He was caught stealing twice. Fuld hit his fifth double and now has a .366 AVG as he sits atop the batting order mocking those who picked up Desmond Jennings.

Aaron Harang hasn’t allowed a home run through three starts. It’s a miracle. I heard Cal Ripken called Harang to congratulate him on his streak. The Giants, Dodgers and Astos have made Harang look good. His fastball is sitting below 90 mph. I’m not impressed. I’d sell if at all possible.

Maicer Izturis went 3 for 5 with two RBI atop the Angels batting order. The 38% owned Infielder (2B, SS, 3B in Y! leagues) is hitting .333 and lacing line drives at a high rate (30.2% LD%). It’s a hot streak. Maicer’s teammate, Alberto Callaspo (26% owned), went 3 for 4 with a run. He’s hitting .356 now. Erick Aybar (15% owned) returns early next week from a strained oblique. The Angels have four infielders (Howie Kendrick) and only three positions to fill.

Brennan Boesch (23%) went 3 for 5 with a run and two RBI. He’s hitting .318 and now stands at No. 41 in the Y! player ranks. Brennan’s AVG is a bit inflated by a good luck BABIP, he should be hitting closer to .270. Magglio Ordonez may return this Saturday so Ryan Raburn owners and Brennan Boesch owners may end up recreating a scene from the Outsiders.

Coco Crisp (40%) went 1 for 5 with two runs, a RBI and his sixth stolen base.

David Freese (43%) went 3 for 5 with two runs. He’s hitting .372 now.

and now those trouble making, late inning relievers…

Brian Fuentes was magnificent on Friday. Masquerading as a pitcher with good stats, Fuentes infiltrated the hearts of the few Oakland fans before blowing the save in the ninth inning and then losing the game in the tenth. It was the unassisted double play for Fuentes. He was showcasing his newer, slower fastball that sits at 88 mph. He served up a home run to Miguel Cabrera in the ninth inning and then… well:


Grant Balfour (3%) is the play if you want to hedge your bet against Fuentes while hedging your bet against Andrew Bailey. Balfour has his other uses (WHIP, ERA, K/9). He pitched a clean eighth inning on Friday night for his third hold. Balfour sports a rather tidy 0.94 WHIP with six strikeouts in five innings. I’m on board.

Sean Burnett blew a save for Washington, his first of the season. He allowed a double to Weeks and a RBI single to Carlos Gomez. Don’t look now, but Drew Storen has a 0.96 WHIP and 1.08 ERA. How long can Burnett hold off the future?

Joakim Soria recorded his fourth save, but it was a messy outing [IP, 2 BB, H, ER, K]. He struggled with his velocity as the 2010 season came to a close. Those problems carried over into this season, but Soria was clocked as high as 94 mph on Friday. Hopefully he’s fine.