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Observations and notes

Albert Pujols is back. The Cardinals activated him today although he isn’t in the starting lineup. Initial reports had Pujols returning in August. Pujols needed 15 days to recover from a fractured wrist and is expected to start Wednesday.

 
I owned Pujols in one league and when he went on the DL, I was in ninth place in an 18-team head-to-head points league despite being fifth overall in points. The regular season ends the final week of July so being that Pujols wasn’t expected to be back by then, I figured if I waited for his return my season could be over by then. My main concern was getting in the playoffs.
 
I went to the team in first place since he could take a gamble on waiting for Pujols. My weakness was shortstop with Brendan Ryan and Sean Rodriguez. I traded Pujols and Jeff Karstens for Adrubal Cabrera and Tim Stauffer. It pains me to see Pujols back so early, but I don’t regret it. You need to take gambles in fantasy. The trade has already helped. I am 11-1 the last three weeks (we play four teams per week) to put me fourth overall.
 
Hope you didn’t bail on Aramis Ramirez. It has taken some time for his power surface, but it has come. He had eight home runs and 21 RBIs in June and two homers in July so far giving him a .295 average 12 home runs and 44 RBIs. Considering the state of third base, Ramirez has been valuable.
 
Speaking of third base, we all know the strikeouts are high and the average will be low but the power of Mark Reynolds at third base can help fantasy teams. As long as you don’t couple Reynolds with other batting average liabilities, the low average won’t be a killer. The strikeout rate has decreased, but 32 percent is still too high. He does walk 15.5 percent of the time and could see the .233 average rise because of a low .256 BABIP. His career BABIP is .314. He has 20 home runs, 49 RBIs, and five stolen bases.
 
I’m a really big fan of Jordan Zimmermann. Just keep in mind he’s likely to be held to around 160 innings. He’s at 108 2/3 innings right now. Despite a 5-7 record, he has a 2.82 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a 76/21 K/BB ratio.
 
Ride the hot streak of Alex Presley in deeper leagues. He is 12-for-33 (.364) with four runs, one double, two triples, one home run, six RBIs, and two stolen bases.
 
Joel Hanrahan has converted all 25 saves. He was of my value targets at closer before the season.
 
Miguel Montero hasn’t garnered much attention. I had the Diamondbacks catcher in the Top 10 at the position. I didn’t get him in any draft. He’s been very productive with a .275 average, 38 runs, 10 home runs, 42 RBIs, and an .817 OPS. Very quietly he’s been a nice value.
 
Wily Mo Pena hit his fifth homer of the season yesterday as a pinch hitter. He has 39 at-bats with 17 strikeouts and no walks. It doesn’t look like he will get much playing time.
 
I said Chris Carpenter was a great buy low a few weeks ago and he’s showed why. He threw eight scoreless innings last night. With a 6.82 K/9, 1.98 BB/9, and a 46 percent groundball rate, Carpenter has been much better than the surface stats and his luck is turning around.
 
Congratulations to Adam Dunn, who got his second hit of the season off a lefthander and hit his 8th homer. I can’t explain what has gone wrong. Is he that adamant about not being a DH? He always strikes out a lot, but almost one out of every two at-bats is insane. It can’t get much worse.

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