<
>
Insider

Hammel returns; Rizzo just keeps hittin'

9/7/2012

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel allowed one run in five innings against the New York Yankees on Thursday, striking out six in his first outing since mid-July. Hammel, recovered from knee surgery, is a worthy fantasy option and is owned in only a third of ESPN standard leagues. This is a new Hammel from his Colorado Rockies days; he's now a strikeout option.

Miami Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson tossed seven solid innings of two-run ball against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, striking out seven and lowering his ERA to 3.81. Johnson is on pace for his most starts since 2009, but also his highest ERA and WHIP. At least he's been healthy! He'll come at some discount in 2013, but the potential for greatness remains.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo homered Thursday for the second consecutive day, and the 23-year-old continues to prove he can hit big league pitching. Rizzo, hitting .298 with 12 home runs in 64 games, has been better of late, with a .406 batting average, three home runs and seven runs scored in his past eight games. He could crack the top 10 at first base in 2013.

Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki had a home run among his three hits Thursday, the third time in seven starts he has gone deep. Suzuki hit just one home run in his first 90 games of the season. Suzuki has never been a noted power hitter, but he used to be a top-10 fantasy catcher. Those in NL-only formats already should own him; he has 12 hits in his past nine starts, with eight RBIs and seven runs.

• Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki hit three singles, knocked in two runs and stole his 20th base Thursday, but overall he hasn't made a tremendous offensive impact since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in late July. Suzuki is 5-for-8 on stolen-base attempts in 42 Yankees games, with a .310 OBP. Owned because of name value in 90 percent of ESPN leagues, Suzuki isn't a great 10-team option anymore.

• Indianapolis Indians right-hander Gerrit Cole, the first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2011 draft, gave up eight runs in two innings to the Charlotte Knights in an International League semifinal Thursday. Cole, 21, has generally flourished, but those expecting the Pirates to call him up shouldn't expect it this month. He should be a factor in 2013, however.

Have a great weekend!