Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Wednesday August 15th

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must StartsPotential is great, but it doesn’t pay the fantasy bills. Look at studs who have been getting it done to continue their pace, while popular young talents continue to struggle.

Value plays:

Hanley Ramirez – I love what I have seen from Ramirez since he was traded, and I love every part of his matchup against Wandy Rodriguez tonight. The SS/3B holds a .409 batting average and a .773 slugging percentage against the newest Bucco with 44.4% of his hits going for extra base hits. Rodriguez has only recorded 1 win in the last 2 months and has surrendered at least 3 runs in each of his last 6 starts. The Dodgers offense is a deep one, and I expect Rodriguez to struggle when he faces the lineup a second or third time. Look for the Dodgers to score some runs with Ramirez in the center of the action.

Alex Rios – He may not be the “biggest” name on the South side of Chicago, but he is having the best season. The Blue Jays have struggled when Ricky Romero takes the bump (they have lost 8 of his last 9 starts) and Rios has thrived against the inconsistent lefty. Rios is batting .357 against Romero for his career with 0 strikeouts. The White Sox outfielder has a higher OBP and more stolen bases on the road this season, giving him the potential of a great all around night at the ballpark. With two high powered offenses, runs will not be at a premium, making the White Sox best hitter a hot commodity. Read more here…

Top 5 A.L. Cy Young award candidates

2012 AL Cy Young

Who’s your vote for AL Cy Young?

After Jered Weaver’s magnificent complete game shutout and Justin Verlander’s 14k performance last night I got to thinking, who is the favorite to win the Cy Young this year in the American (and National) League.

Not only does Weaver hold the AL lead in Wins, but also ERA. Obviously, Verlander has the strikeout lead, but Felix Hernandez is hot on his trail, in that department. Taking all things into consideration, the following is our top five Cy Young Candidates, in order. (Look for the National League to follow in the next day or two).

5. Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox

After sitting for nine days, Sale came back last night and pitched very well against an underrated Royals team – Sale went 8.0 innings, struck out seven, and allowed two earned in his return. After receiving the win last night the young southpaw now has 13 wins, a 2.59 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 121 punch-out’s.

The reason Sale isn’t higher on this list is simple, the White Sox plan on watching his innings for the remainder of the year, and let’s face it, there’s some stiff competition out there.

4. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners

Some might say this is a bit too low for the King, however, he has just 10 wins in 23 games started. Granted, the Mariners probably have the worst offense of anyone on this list, but a Cy Young performer should be able to surpass the 15 win total, at least, and I don’t think Hernandez will do so.

That all said, when you pitch a complete-game shutout, you only need one run and King Felix has done that more than anyone else on this list. That in itself could lead voters to rally behind this stud. Read more here…

MLB 6 pack: American League mid-season award winners

Rookie of the Half-season Award: OF Mike Trout, Angels

Runner-Up: P Yu Darvish, Rangers

After a bad start to the 2012 season, the Angels have been revived and are playing up to their preseason expectations, thanks in large part to the energy boost from rookie sensation Mike Trout. Through Sunday, Trout is batting .339 (1st in A.L.), has hit 9 home runs, accumulated 33 RBI, has 80 hits, has scored 51 runs (t-8th), and has stolen 22 bases (1st). What makes these statistics even better? Trout started the 2012 season in Triple-A, as Trout wasn’t called up until the third week of the season. Trout has nearly everything wanted in a potential baseball star, and even scarier? He is only a ROOKIE.

Manager of the Half-season Award: Buck Showalter, Orioles

Showalter (above) has turned around the losing culture in Baltimore

Runner-Up: Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox

In a loaded A.L. East division, who would have thought that the Baltimore Orioles would have been in half-season post-season contention? The A.L. East, loaded with teams such as the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, the Orioles has no business being where they currently are. Through Sunday, the Orioles were in second place behind the Yankees. The Orioles aren’t scoring a lot of runs (11th in A.L.), but good pitching (4.03 team ERA) by career mediocre talent Jason Hammel and diamond-in-the-rough closer Jim Johnson has kept the Orioles in the hunt at the half-season mark. Showalter doesn’t have a whole lot to work with, but he is getting the job done in unappealing (yet winning) fashion.

Rolaids Relief Man Award: P Fernando Rodney, Rays

Runner-Up: P Jim Johnson, Orioles

Even though Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been one of the best stories in baseball this season, an argument could be made for the outstanding play of Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney. Through Sunday, Rodney has converted on 22 of 23 save opportunities (3rd in A.L.), has only given up four earned runs, 22 hits, and has struck out 35 batters while accumulating a 1.01 ERA. In comparison, Johnson has given up only 18 hits, but has allowed five earned runs, struck out 22 batters, and has accumulated a 1.30 ERA. Rodney has been the most underrated pitcher in baseball this season, as the Rays have struck gold once again with a veteran reliever-turned-closer.

Fantasy Baseball week 10: Waiver wire pickups

Gordon BeckhamThe MLB season is now 1/3 over and we will be headed into the All-Star break before we know it. Here are a few of our waiver wire pickups entering week #10 and as a little bonus, we’ve thrown in some 2-start pitchers for the week so those that are in weekly leagues can have a head start and a head’s up…

Gordon Beckham-2B-Chicago White Sox-Surprised that this former 1st round pick in the 2008 draft is still so unowned. While riding a ten-game hitting streak, Beckham has batted .348, hit three home runs and has eight RBI. Although he is still batting just above the ‘Mendoza Line’ at .238, his average has risen 30 points during his streak. He is on course to surpass his career high in HR (14) as he presently is holding at 8 with 2/3 of the season to go. Owned only in around 15% of leagues, he should be owned in 12+ team leagues and deeper.

Read more here…