<
>
Insider

Bits: Carl Crawford solid in return to action

7/17/2012

Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford singled, walked and scored two runs in his season debut Monday, doing so while hitting second in the batting order. Crawford, who did not attempt a stolen base, is owned in roughly 90 percent of ESPN leagues. Whether you think a big half-season is pending or the intent is to sell high, he should be owned in all leagues.

Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier doubled and scored in four at-bats Monday, doing so playing first base and hitting third in place of top-10 fantasy option Joey Votto, who will miss the next three weeks after knee surgery. Votto's fantasy owners can survive a few weeks without him. Frazier and his .913 OPS, meanwhile, figure to see extra playing time, and he's available in most leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Michael Fiers tossed seven shutout innings Monday, lowering his ERA to 2.01. In fact, Fiers, who struck out four and walked four, has permitted a run in only one of his past four starts. One of ESPN's most-added players remains available in a third of leagues. Fiers is a wise short-term add in standard leagues, but be prepared for regression.

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings smacked his sixth home run Monday, but it's tough to overlook his .235 batting average. Jennings was recently dropped to the bottom of the batting order, and though he's owned in 90 percent of leagues, his sole contribution so far in fantasy has been stolen bases.

Things continue to decline for Kansas City Royals left-hander Jonathan Sanchez. He was hammered for seven runs while recording four outs against the Seattle Mariners Monday. Sanchez is owned in 11 percent of ESPN leagues, but those owners must move on. With a 7.76 ERA, 2.04 WHIP and nary a win since his first outing on April 8, Sanchez is not the same guy that helped the San Francisco Giants in 2010.

Baltimore Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman also might have looked like a reasonable spot option at Minnesota Monday. Instead, he gave up his seven runs (only one earned, though) in the first inning. Tillman had thrown 8 1/3 solid innings at Seattle in his previous outing, but the Twins' pounding is a reminder to look elsewhere. Tillman sports a misleading 1.00 ERA in nine innings, but the eight unearned runs tell a larger story.