Pirates power, pitching return to form; Playoff hopes still alive

Pittsburgh Pirates 2012The ESPN College Gameday crew will take to the set to open up another season this weekend, but it was Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates, not Lee Corso, that delivered a resounding “not so fast my friend!” to announce that the Pirates’ playoff hopes were still alive and well on Wednesday night.

Alvarez launched a mammoth home run, his third in two nights, to catapult the Pirates to a 5-0 victory over St. Louis and back to within a game of the final National League playoff spot after a sub par August had many wondering if hopes of a first postseason appearance since 1992 were slowly fading away.

The Bucs two-of-three performance against the Cards, in which they held last year’s World Series champs scoreless in both victories, also gave Pittsburgh an 8-7 win in the season series and ownership of the playoff tiebreaker between the two clubs. Read more…

Fantasy Baseball: ‘Lucky’ Week 13 waiver wire pickups

We’re nearing the halfway point of the season so by now managers should have a pretty good idea of what they will need coming down the home stretch and into the playoffs. In Fantasy leagues we’re more than half-way through the regular season’s as there are usually 22 weeks on the schedule. You should start choosing a bit more wisely now and so we’re here to help with this week’s pickups…

1. Brandon Belt-1B/OF-S.F. Giants- This late season call up last September proved one thing was clear; he has power. He hit 9 home runs in just 187 AB which equates to around 27 in a full season. On June 7th Belt began to play everyday and he has not disappointed. He had a modest 11 game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, and he still has the team’s highest on-base percentage- even though surprisingly he continues to bat seventh in the lineup. Over his last 37 AB he is hitting .405 with 4 HR and 12 RBI. He clearly is worth a flier and should be picked up in 12+ leagues. He is owned in just 32% of leagues.

2. Pedro Alvarez- 3B-Pirates- The former second over-all pick in the 2008 draft of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is playing on a team where the bulk of the offense comes from two players; Andrew McClutchen and Pedro Alvarez. As of Sunday they were both tied for the most HR on the team with 13. Over Alvarez’s last 10 games he has scored 10 runs, hit 5 HR, knocked in 11, and has batted .317. Although he’s on pace to hit 28 HR, his only liability is his low batting average. In just under 800 career AB, his average is 5 points higher than his weight; .228. Maybe the surge he’s on now will continue- but just be mindful. For now we recommend Alavarez in deeper and A.L. only leagues. He can be easily had as he’s only owned in 28% of leagues. Read more here…