Fantasy Fare: Is Inge for real?
By Joel Colomby, QMI Agency
|Brandon Inge has four four-RBI games in his past five heading into Saturday's action. (Getty Images)
You know it’s a weird week when Josh Hamilton can belt seven home runs in five days and has to share the fantasy spotlight with Brandon Inge’s stunning revival out in Oakland. Inge’s fantasy stock had been on a mercurial decline since his 27 homers in Detroit three years ago. It bottomed out last month when the 34-year-old was released by the Tigers after a 2-for-20 start, prompting many fantasy owners to cut bait as well. The A’s, desperate for anyone to play the hot corner, scooped him up and handed him the job. Inge started slowly, going 3-for-21 before crushing a three-run homer in Tampa off Matt Moore. That was followed by his walkoff grand slam against the Blue Jays and he hasn’t slowed down since. Consider this: In his past five games before Saturday, Inge is 7-for-20 with four homers and 16 RBIs. That’s more than a lot of your regulars have produced over the entire first six weeks. So, is Inge for real? His fly ball rate (45%) is normal. What’s abnormal is his HR/FB rate — an unsustainable 22.2%. So, yes, he will cool off. How much, though, is the question. Judging by the fact that he is still owned in only 4% of Yahoo leagues, his name alone, apparently, is still scaring off most owners.
n The NL version of Inge just might be 36-year-old 3B Cody Ransom, a career minor-leaguer with no more than 79 at-bats in any MLB season since the Giants gave him his first shot 11 years ago. But since being called up last month by the Diamondbacks, and starting 11 of the past 17 games, Ransom is hitting .317 (13-for-41) with four HRs and 12 RBIs. Like Inge, don’t expect miracles but, as long as Ryan Roberts continues to struggle, he’ll get playing time.
n Cardinals’ Allen Craig is back with a bang. Since making his ’12 debut May 1 following off-season knee surgery, Craig is hitting .323 with four homers and 12 RBIs. He did a lot with just 200 ABs last year, so chances are he was already sitting on someone’s reserve list.
n As far as one-category contributors go, few can match Ryan Sweeney. All the lanky Red Sox OF does is lash out singles and doubles. No power, no speed. But given a chance to start again with Carl Crawford on the DL, Sweeney has at least one base hit in 25 of his 28 starts this season while batting .353.
n After a 17-for-43 hot streak lifted his AVG from .042 to .257, Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez is back on an 0-for-18 skid with eight Ks.
n CLOSING TIME: Considering he was on maybe the shortest leash to start the season, it’s surprising that Javy Guerra lasted as long as he did as the Dodgers’ closer. But now it’s official, Kenley Jansen finally takes over … Pirates’ Joel Hanrahan is on a few days of bereavement leave … Scott Downs remains the Angels closer. He hasn’t pitched since hurting a knee a week ago, but is okay … The Reds yanked Sean Marshall for Logan Ondrusek to get the third out, and the save, on Wednesday. But Ondrusek was in only because Aroldis Chapman had pitched the eighth. Marshall has pitched well enough overall for more leeway, but Chapman would be the guy if they opt for a change … Padres’ Dale Thayer is 2-for-2 closing games with Huston Street on the DL ... Chris Sale is back in the rotation and the Chisox are back to a dreaded committee with Hector Santiago, Matt Thornton and Addison Reed.
IT DON'T ADD UP
Another example of why the wins category in fantasy baseball is so unpredictable: Angels’ Ervin Santana earns his first win this week with one measly strikeout and three walks against the Twins. The game before, versus the Jays, he strikes out a season-high 10 and loses.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Josh Hamilton TEX
ab r h bi
Hamilton cf 5 4 5 8
The Ranger’s four-homer Tuesday night line at Baltimore just deserves to be looked at and admired again.
HOT AND NOT
Hitters, the past two weeks
Carlos Beltran STL
.381, 7 HRs, 20 RBIs
Andy Dirks DET
.444, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs
Josh Reddick OAK
.354, 5 HRs, 13 RBIs, 2 SBs
- - - - - -
Troy Tulowitzki COL
.273, 0 HRs, 0 SBs
Mark Teixeira NYY
.167, 1 HR, 5 RBIs
Rickie Weeks is out a few games after being hit on the wrist Friday … Brett Gardner aggravated his sore elbow, pushing back his return a couple of weeks … Huston Street doesn’t feel his lat strain will keep him out too long … Jayson Werth’s fractured wrist is a three-month deal … Jason Hammel (knee) is expected to make his next start … David Ortiz is day-to-day with a sore heel … Don’t expect Lorenzo Cain back until at least late June … Justin Morneau (wrist) might be back midweek … Josh Tomlin (wrist) has been placed on the DL … Cameron Maybin has been felled with the stomach flu … The Cards are delaying the return of Lance Berkman (leg) until next week … Ryan Howard (foot) is taking batting practice … Kendrys Morales has missed the past two games with a sore Achilles tendon.
With fantasy rating out of 5
* * *
Forget last September’s rough MLB debut. Highly regarded prospect was trying to pitch through a sore finger that limited his arsenal. Expect the usual ups and downs, but his strong ND after his callup on Tuesday is nearer to what he is ready to do.
Has started every game at SS and batted 2nd since his callup a week ago. Hitting just .190 before Saturday, but was Twins’ minor-leaguer of the year in 2011 with a .320 AVG and 24 SBs. Could use more triple-A time. Not overly toolsy, but gets the bat on the ball.
* * *
Dominated the Yankees in his season debut, then got roughed up by the Chisox on Friday, no doubt tempering early interest. But he was hitting 96 with his fastball this week and could be a nice bargain.
* * *
After four solid starts in seven tries in 2011, Guelph, Ont., lefty got a surprise callup on Tuesday and turned in an eye-opening four-hit shutout over 7 IPs to beat the Angels. Most impressive was his allowing only 8 flyballs in 102 pitches.
Recent 8-for-18 hot streak is poorly timed. With Chris Young due back from the DL in about a week, he’ll be on the bench or back in triple-A.
-- Statistics mentioned do not include Saturday's games --