Fantasy Baseball: Week #22 waiver wire pickups

Here we are approaching fantasy baseball’s final week of the regular season which starts on Monday. Therefore, and unfortunately, this will be the final week of waiver wire pickups. Hopefully most of you have made your way into the 2012 fantasy playoffs, which for many leagues, will begin on September 10th. Meantime here are this week’s pickups for you to consider. We hope the past 5 1/2 months of providing you with this feature has helped you & your team. Good luck in the Playoffs!!

Mitch Mooreland-1B,OF-Rangers– This is a good news-bad news story for those in need of a player who really has over-achieved this season. The good news, and there’s plenty, is that over the past 2 weeks, Mooreland is the 36th ranked player in Yahoo! leagues. Look at these numbers he’s put up over this period: 3 home runs, 13 RBI, 7 runs scored and a hefty .341 BA. He has 15 HRs in just 250 ABs this season compared to 16 HRs in 464 ABs last year. He batted .259 last season and is currently at .292 this year. Now for the bad news…should you be tempted enough to picked him up keep in mind that he only hits against righties, therefore a certain amount of maintenance will be required. However we think it’s a small risk to pay for the rewards he brings. He’s only owned in 29% of leagues.

Carlos Gomez-OF-Brewers- We’re surprised Gomez is still available in so many leagues at this point in the season, as he provides his owners with both power as well as speed. When the season began he platooned with another speedster Nyjer Morgan but has since been given the starting job against righties as well as lefties. For the season he has stolen 28 bases while hitting 14 home runs. How many players on your team have done something like that? Even though he is batting .320 over his last seven games (1 as a pinch hitter), his batting average, currently at .256, is his only real downfall which shows you that you can’t have everything. Gomez is available in 60% of leagues, so when you’re done reading this go take a look and see if he’s available in your league-just in time for the playoffs. Read more…

Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Monday August 27th

Daily Fantasy Baseball Must StartsThere are plenty of solid options on a slower day in the MLB, but can you really justify not rostering Nelson Cruz these days?

Value plays:

Miguel Montero – The Diamondbacks catcher is quietly on pace for his best season of his career, and with a matchup against Bronson Arroyo, I like that trend to continue. He has 8 hits (4 for extra bases) in 15 career at bats (.533 batting average) against the Reds righty, leading Arizona in HR’s, hits, and RBI. He is slugging 1.200, a number that is impossible to ignore on a slow Monday in the majors. Montero averages a little more than 1 walk every 3 games, making this free swinging catcher a player with a high ceiling against the Reds.

Nelson Cruz – Nobody on planet Earth is hotter than Cruz, and not even the great David Price has a good chance to slow him down. Cruz owns a .500 batting average against the Rays ace with a .800 slugging percentage. The Rangers lineup should benefit from pitchers wanting to face Cruz with the bases empty, leading me to believe that the top of this order will come out swinging and provide Cruz with run producing opportunities. The past numbers are great and he simply cannot be retired these days; you’ve got to ride out this remarkable fantasy baseball streak as long as it lasts.

Carlos Beltran – Can I make it any more clear? The Cardinals offense is rounding into form, and Beltran should lead the charge tonight against A.J. Burnett. The St. Louis outfielder has a .333 batting average against the Pirates ace with more RBI (10) than hits (9). The Cardinals as a team are batting .322 against Burnett, and I trust this veteran team to piece together quality at bats tonight. Burnett has given up 28 hits and 14 earned runs over his last 3 games, providing Pirates fans with a glimpse of what Yankee fans saw last season. This is a HUGE series for the NL playoff picture, and for daily fantasy baseball games, I like the Cardinals (specifically Beltran) to steal the show today. Read more…

Fantasy Baseball: Week 21 waiver wire pickups

With the fantasy baseball season down to two weeks on Monday, this would be the ideal time to insure that your team is in the best position to make it through to the playoffs, especially if you find yourself on the fence. There is still time to make adjustments so take advantage of the following waiver wire pickups readily available in most leagues…

Coco Crisp-OF-Athletics- This speed merchant, now entering his 11th season in the majors, is just one year removed from reaching his career mark in steals for a season with 49. Going into Friday, his steal total this season stands at 28 and climbing. More importantly, he’s been on a tear over the past two weeks with 12 runs scored, 3 homers, 10 RBIs and 4 steals. Over his last 6 games he is batting an even .300. Crisp is batting a pedestrian .254 on the season but that will likely rise as his career BA is a more respectable .274. Owned in 40% of leagues, if you’re lacking in SB, you should be ‘cuckoo for Coco Crisp!’

David Murphy-OF-Rangers- Murph won’t get your team too much in the way of stats, but if your team is lacking in batting average, then look no further because he is on fire! With 14 hits in his last 26 at bats, Murphy has raised his batting average from .295 to .312. He has some power, 11 home runs on the season and will even give you an occasional steal (8 this year). Recommended in deeper and A.L. only leagues, Murphy is widely available in around 75% of leagues. Read more…

MLB best bets of the day: August 16, 2012

matt kemp dodgers

Texas Rangers at NY Yankees 1:05 PM Holland vs Nova

The first game of the day is between two pitchers who have had their share of success and failures this season. This one won’t be easy going for the pitching as it features the top two hitting teams to date and while the Rangers haven’t been living up to that lately, that can all change with on bad Ivan Nova outing.

After a 3-2 Yankees victory yesterday my hope is this game will be a bit more exciting, but I don’t expect it to get too wild. While both of these pitchers’ ERA’s are much closer to 5.00 than 4.00, I suspect they will be able to right the ship today and hold the offenses to less-than-average runs scored. That said, the Yankees have a .322 team average when facing Holland and rank fourth in the league in runs scored when facing lefties.

Picks: Yankees -125 and Under 10 (-115)

LA Dodgers at Pittsburgh 4:05 PM Blanton vs Burnett

The Pirates will send out their only semblance of an “ace” today, in hopes that A.J. Burnett can prevent a Dodgers sweep. I certainly respect what A.J. has done so far this season, as I don’t believe anyone could have predicted that he would have anywhere close to the numbers that he currently possesses. However, after getting pounded by the Padres at home last week, I think Burnett’s and the Pirates’ magical year may be coming to an end. Read more here…

‘Demons’ have hampered some great careers

Josh Hamilton“People are not going to understand; I’ll share more later. It’s out there that my marriage is falling apart and people are trying to figure out what’s going on, but it’s nobody’s business. When I want you to know, I’ll let you know.” Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers outfielder

The Ranger’s veteran All-Star is adamant. He doesn’t want to get into details about his private life, the personal “demons” which haunt him daily. That could be because he wants to focus on trying to win baseball games. It may be due to the fact, however, that doesn’t know what dastardly evils are fighting for control over him…

I admit, when word came early this Spring that Josh Hamilton had “slipped,” admitting to getting drunk fr the first time in a good while, I worried for him. Sure, baseball concerns were in that mix, but also because it’s hard to watch anyone, famous or not, struggle with devilish “addictions.”

My mind immediately flashes back to the trials of a number of baseball greats. But one player in particular stick in my mind…Mr. Darryl Strawberry. He was an  exceptional player for the first half of his career, until substance abuse, that nasty and unforgiving task master, finally won out over both the player and the man.

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.

MLB Power Rankings: Week 13

Power Rankings
Current Team Previous
TEX MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 1 Texas Rangers N/A
The best team in baseball has won 8 of its last 10 games, and has just 1 starting position player with an OPS+ below 100.
NYY MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 2 New York Yankees N/A
Andy Pettite continues to impress this season. He has a 3.29 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 54.2 innings so far this season.
LAA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 3 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim N/A
 Since starting off 6-14, the Angels have gone 34-19. The addition of Ernesto Frieri has helped greatly as he has struck out 26 in just 20.2 innings without allowing a run. Despite spending the first 20 games of the season in the minors, Mike Trout now leads the American League in WAR. He is on pace to post the highest single season WAR total by a rookie position player since Dick Allen in 1964
WAS MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 4 Washington Nationals N/A
Bryce Harper leads all Nationals position players in wins above replacement so far this season.
CIN MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 5 Cincinatti Reds N/A
Joey Votto, who leads baseball in OPS+ and WAR among other categories, is possibly the best player on the planet right now. While Votto has taken over the offense, Johnny Cueto has been leading the rotation. His 187 ERA+ ranks 4th in the National League.
LAD MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 6 Los Angeles Dodgers N/A
The Dodgers who once held a commanding lead in the NL West, have lost 7 of their last 10 games and are just 3 games ahead of the Giants in second place. The loss of Matt Kemp and an offense that ranks 20th in baseball in runs scored have been their downfall. The offense will have to pick it up if they want to win games, but I think LA may have finally come back to reality.
TB MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 7 Tampa Bay Rays N/A
The delayed return of Evan Longoria has definitely hurt the Rays, but they’re still just 3.5 games back in the AL East. Matt Joyce has replaced Longoria as the team’s catalyst for now, as he is hitting .279/.387/.512.
SF MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 8 San Francisco Giants N/A
Bruce Bochy spent most of the first part of the season playing Brandon Belt sporadically, when he probably should have been the starting 1st baseman. In his past 14 games since earning the starting job, Belt has hit .348 with 4 home runs, 12 RBIs, and 8 walks.
STL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 9 St. Louis Cardinals N/A
Despite having the 2nd best run differential in baseball, the Cardinals are just 3 games over .500. Adam Wainwright has finally started to return to form. In his past 3 starts, he has pitched 21 innings, striking out 21, while allowing just 5 runs.
BOS MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 10 Boston Red Sox N/A
The Red Sox, winners of 8 of their last 10, seem to have found a nice little groove. The Red Sox don’t have a single starting pitcher with an ERA below 4.00, so pitching will be the key if they want to reach the postseason.
CHW MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 11 Chicago White Sox N/A
 This weekend, the White Sox acquired Kevin Youkilis in a trade with the Red Sox. The trade is a huge upgrade for the White Sox who have had their 3rd basemen combine to hit .167/.244/.221 with just 1 home run this season
BAL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 12 Baltimore Orioles N/A
 In Jason Hammel’s last 2 starts, he has combined to pitch 17 innings, striking out 18, allowing just 6 hits and no earned runs.
NYM MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 13 New York Mets N/A
 While RA Dickey has been dominating the majors with his knuckleball, Johan Santana has quietly been having an all star caliber season of his own. He is striking out a batter per inning and his ERA sits at exactly 3.00. He has won 4 of his last 5 starts and has allowed more than 4 runs just once this season.
PIT MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 14 Pittsburgh Pirates N/A
The Pirates offense has been pretty much dormant all season, but since June 16th, they have scored 45 runs in just 8 games. The offense has been sparked by Pedro Alvarez who has hit .444 with 5 home runs and 10 RBIs during the streak.
ATL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 15 Atlanta Braves N/A
 After missing part of last season, Tommy Hanson leads the majors with 15 starts this season and he appears to be back to his pre-injury form.
TOR MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 16 Toronto Blue Jays N/A
 The Blue Jays are the only team in the majors with 2 players that have hit 20 or more home runs so far this season in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
CLE MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 17 Cleveland Indians N/A
The Indians are only a half game back from the White Sox for first place in the AL Central, despite having a negative run differential. While the offense has been strong, it is important to note that the Indians rank 28th in the majors in ERA and don’t have a single player in their starting rotation with an ERA+ above 96.
ARI MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 18 Arizona Diamondbacks N/A
The D-backs are 6-4 in their last 10 games and have finally gotten above .500 for the first time since May 4th. They have outscored their opponents by 28 runs since June 14th and are slowly creeping up on the 1st place Dodgers.
DET MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 19 Detroit Tigers N/A
The Tigers have suffered through injuries and rotation problems that have really set them back so far this season. Their offense is extremely potent, but they may have the worst defensive team in all of baseball. According to Baseball Reference WAR, the Tigers defense has cost them over 3 wins so far this season.
PHI MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 20 Philadelphia Phillies N/A
The Defending NL East champs currently sit 8.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The veteran laden team has really struggled this season. One exception being Carlos Ruiz, who is enjoying a nice breakout season as he leads all catchers in wins above replacement.
OAK MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 21 Oakland Athletics N/A
Oakland has been on a bit of a run lately, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. Brandon McCarthy and rookie Jarrod Parker have been leading the rotation, while Josh Reddick is enjoying a career year offensively.
MIL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 22 Milwaukee Brewers N/A
Ryan Braun is on pace to match his monstrous 2011 campaign. He is projected to hit .319/.399/.612 with 45 home runs and 29 steals. Zack Grienke is also on pace for a CY Young caliber season as he has been worth nearly 3 wins already this season.
KC MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 23 Kansas City Royals N/A
Disappointing seasons from both Eric Hosmer and Jeff Francoeur, as well as injuries to the pitching staff, have really hampered this team. Despite their poor play this season, they are just 6 games back in an underwhelming AL Central, so a 2nd half surge could potentially push them into October.
SEA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 24 Seattle Mariners N/A
The Mariners have just 2 position players with an OPS+ of 100 or better in Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager. Felix Hernandez is the only starting pitcher with an ERA+ above 100. The Mariners have a bright future on the horizon, but time will tell if some of their current young big leaguers can make the necessary adjustments to be a part of the Mariners long term plan.
MIA MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 25 Miami Marlins N/A
Heath Bell started the year by allowing 15 runs in his first 14 appearances, blowing 4 saves. Since then, he has allowed just 3 runs in 14.2 innings, converting all 10 of his save opportunities. The Marlins are 20-3 in games he has pitched in since the start of May.
HOU MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 26 Houston Astros N/A
According to Elias, Dallas Keuchel is the first player to throw a complete game in his 1st or 2nd career start since Clay Buchholz threw a complete game no-hitter in his 2nd career start on 9/1/2007.
COL MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 27 Colorado Rockies N/A
The Rockies have the worst ERA in the majors this season, and a 4 man rotation of fly ball pitchers in Coors field is probably the worst idea since the invention of saves.
MIN MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 28 Minnesota Twins N/A
Since starting off 18-32, the Twins have essentially been playing .500 baseball since the start of June. They were fueled by Trevor Plouffe who hit 9 home runs in the first 12 games of June, but since then, Plouffe has hit just 1 in his last 8 games.
CHC MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 29 Chicago Cubs N/A
In their last 3 games alone, the Cubs have been outscored 23-6. The good news is that Alfonso Soriano is quietly enjoying somewhat of a comeback year. He is on pace to post his highest WAR since 2008.
SD MLB Power Rankings : Week 13 30 San Diego Padres N/A
Chase Headley is playing great, but that’s pretty much the only positive for this struggling team. They rank last in the majors in runs scored and have been outscored by their opponents 40-24 in their last 8 games. The Padres have won just 4 series all year, and two of those were against the Rockies and Mariners.

Rangers sign Roy Oswalt, will he help?

Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News reported that the Rangers had signed starting pitcher Roy Oswalt for an estimated $4.25MM for the rest of the season. It had been reported for months that Oswalt really wanted to play for Texas, as he wanted to stay close to home but also play for a contender, which is undoubtedly why he preferred the Rangers to the Astros.

Oswalt reportedly has told the Rangers he’ll be ready to go in a month, which means the Rangers should get anywhere from 10-15 starts from him if he can remain healthy and effective. Adding a quality pitcher mid-season is almost never a bad idea, and when it involves giving up nothing, as it does in this case, it’s never a bad idea. More importantly, though, can Oswalt still provide value as a starting pitcher? Let’s take a look.

Before getting into any stats, simply put, Oswalt is still a stud. Over the last three seasons, Oswalt’s ERA is 3.47, his K:BB ratio is just under 4:1, and despite battling some injuries he’s still averaged 177 innings a season during that time. Read more here…

Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton hits 4 homers, sets record

Josh Hamilton

The Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton had his name placed in Major League Baseball’s history book on May 8 when he tied one record and set a new one. Hamilton hit four home runs in the Rangers 10-3 road win over the Baltimore Orioles, becoming just the 16th major-leaguer to do so. All four of them were two-run homers, giving him a career-high eight RBIs on the night.

It’s quite a turnaround for the 30-year-old Hamilton. He was drafted by Tampa Bay back in 1999 with their first-round pick, but his career went off the rails when he became addicted to alcohol and drugs. He returned to baseball with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007 and was then dealt to the Rangers. Hamilton showed just how he good is when joining Texas and was named the American League’s most valuable player in 2010, while still trying to fight his demons.

Hamilton, a four-time all-star, is off to another great season and went five for five against Baltimore and set a new MLB record by gaining 18 total bases on his four home runs and a double. After the game, Hamilton said he’s messed up his life quite a bit, but thanks God that he’s been able to stay on the right track with his help. The outfielder said it’s amazing that he’s been able to come back from everything he’s been through to play at this level.

And he’s definitely playing at an elite level these days as he had a .406 batting average on May 9 and was leading the majors in home runs with 13 and in RBIs with 36. Against the Orioles, he upped his playing to an even higher level. Hamilton hit home runs off of Orioles’ pitcher Jake Arrieta in the opening inning and again in the third. He belted a Zach Phillips pitch into the bleachers in the seventh inning and then capped off the night by hitting his fourth dinger against pitcher Darren O’Day in the eighth.

Ron Washington, the Rangers’ manager, said Hamilton showed just what he’s capable of doing when he’s in the right frame of mind and is focused on baseball. Hamilton said when something incredible like this happens it takes some time for it to sink in. He added that he might appreciate the feat even more after he’s had some time to himself.

The last time a major-leaguer cranked out four home runs in a game came back in 2003 when Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado did it in a game against Tampa Bay. Hamilton said when he went to bat in the eighth inning he though a fourth homer would be great, but even if he struck out he’d already had a decent night with three of them.

O’Day said he delivered the worst pitch of his career when Hamilton connected for the fourth home run since he had him down in the count 0-2. He said he pitched the ball right down the middle of the plate and would certainly like to have the pitch back. However, he said he can’t say enough about the game Hamilton had.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports and Entertainment News.