MLB Fantasy Fare: Ubaldo runs hot and cold
By Joel Colomby, QMI Agency
|Ubaldo Jimenez has given up seven runs three times since May 1, but each time has bounced back with a solid followup. (Getty Images)
What’s made the Ubaldo Jimenez so maddening for his owners this season — aside from the 5.31 ERA and 1.69 WHIP — is his habit of following up a gruesome start with a great one. After giving up 14 base-runners in 4.2 innings at Chicago on May 1, the Indians’ opening-day starter tossed a seven-inning shutout at Texas five days later. Up next was a seven-run disaster at Fenway before bouncing back with a tidy, though unspectacular 9-3 win over Seattle. Two starts later, Jimenez gets crushed again at U.S. Cellular and, by this time — with three seven-run starts in six May outings — I’ve seen enough and reserve him. True to form, Jimenez then produces a one-run beauty to beat the Tigers on Tuesday, allowing a season-best one walk in 6.1 IPs, even though his strike/balls ratio was an unhealthy 55/47. “He’s better than that,” manager Manny Acta said afterwards of his pitcher’s MLB-leading 43 walks. “Today was a step in the right direction.” A step, yes, but enough for his owners to regain any trust in him? Sunday’s follow-up start at St. Louis could tell us a lot. Or not.
n If the Padres were going to give hot-shot catching prospect Yasmani Grandal only two days and one at-bat before sending him back to triple-A last Sunday, at least they had the fantasy-friendly good sense to do so before owners had a chance to bid on him or, in deeper leagues with minor-league prospects, activate him.
n The Athletics’ merry-go-round at 1B continued this week with Kila Ka’aihue joining Daric Barton in the minors and Brandon Moss becoming the latest bargain-basement slugger to be given a shot at a job. Moss is the same kind of player as his predecessors — low AVG, occasional power — and probably won’t stick, either. Wonder if they’d try reliever Sean Doolittle, who was called up this week, a try? He was a first-round draft pick as a 1B/OF out of the University of Virginia in 2007 before injuries forced him to the mound.
n Rockies backup C Wilin Rosario is making the most of his chance to play every day, now that Ramon Hernandez (hand) is sidelined. His six HRs in just 72 ABs gave him fantasy relevance in NL-only loops. But going 12-for-41 since taking over — raising his AVG from .208 to .248 — and tacking on three more HRs, makes him a mixed-league option at catcher for the moment and perhaps even after Hernandez comes off the DL on Friday.
n Take away that May 2 outing in St. Louis — in which he gave up a dozen earned runs in 2.2 innings — and Pirates SP A.J. Burnett is 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and given up just two HRs.
n Tom Wilhelmsen has the Seattle closer’s job right now with young fireballer Stephen Pryor believed to be next in line. However, that the M’s used Pryor in the seventh inning both Wednesday and Friday, and deposed closer Brandon League in the eighth both nights would suggest otherwise. What could be happening is that the M’s are propping up the trade value of League, a pending free agent.
n On June 2, with Michael Morse about to come off the DL, the Nationals said fill-in OF Steve Lombardozzi had hit well enough to keep his everyday job. Since then, Lombo has gone just 2-for-18 and, because he doesn’t hit for power or steal bases, is quickly losing any fantasy value he may have had, to say nothing, perhaps, of his regular ABs.
A shout-out to Maicer Izturis who now becomes my AL-only league’s starting SS after trading Alexei Ramirez for some power a week ago. Izturis doesn’t play ever day, but for $1, his 10 SBs alone easily make him worth a spot on my active lineup.
LINE OF THE WEEK
Jeremy Hellickson TB
IP H R BB K
4.1 5 1 7 3
How the Rays starter escaped with just one run allowed from 12 base-runners Friday in Miami was remarkable.
HOT AND NOT
Hitters, the past two weeks
Carlos Quentin SD
.484, 5 HRs, 9 RBIs
Michael Saunders SEA
.438, 2 HRs, 2 SBs
Alfonso Soriano CHC
.298, 7 HRs, 14 RBIs
Ben Revere MIN
.413, 6 SBs, 9 runs
- - - - - -
Justin Upton ARZ
.222, 0 HRs, 0 SBs
Rickie Weeks MIL
.158, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs
Derek Holland’s drop in velocity recently has been attributed to a stomach virus that saw him lose 10-15 pounds and hastened his trip to DL this week … Brian Roberts, who hasn’t play in nearly 13 months, likely will be activated from his minor-league rehab stint on Tuesday … Jaime Garcia (shoulder) won’t pitch again for a month … Yoenis Cespedes is hurt again, but his sore hamstring likely isn’t serious enough to be DL-worthy … Barring a setback in Tuesday’s rehab start, John Danks will rejoin the Chisox rotation next Sunday … Hiroki Kuroda may miss his next start with a bruised foot … Phils’ Freddy Galvis may have a fractured bone in his back ... Tim Hudson (ankle) will miss Sunday’s start ... Melky Cabrera (hamstring) was limited to pinch-hitting duties this weekend.
With fantasy rating out of 5
* * *
Carolina League batting champ in 2011 has made the jump from double-A to replace demoted Tyler Pastornicky, and gone a respectable 6-for-21. Known for his defence and SBs, but did flash occasional power before his promotion.
SP, Red Sox
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Hadn’t pitched since May 16 last year before making the start on Saturday, so who knows what to expect? However, his minor-league rehab numbers were sharp and the rotation slot is there for the taking. Worth the gamble.
The chance is there to stick with Chris Iannetta hitting only .197 before landing on the DL. A solid prospect, but the surging Halos don’t need his bat (.338 at triple-A) as much as they need a veteran receiver behind the plate.
Bucs’ setup man has been lights-out so far with 37 Ks and just 4 ERs allowed in 23 innings, and hasn’t allowed a hit in his past seven appearances. A handy guy to have in reserve when one of your starters is struggling.
Back at the scene of his best years. However, those were back in 2006 and ’07 and he hasn’t come close since, going 6-16 with a 4.79 ERA last year in K.C.
--Stats do not include Saturday games --