<
>
Insider

Alex Liddi a future AL-only option

9/20/2011

&#8226 Seattle Mariners third baseman Alex Liddi, the first Italian-born-and-raised player in the big leagues, smacked his first home run Monday. Liddi, 23, hit 30 home runs at Triple-A Tacoma, and although he strikes out too much, his power looks legit. Keep an eye on Liddi in AL-only formats for the future.

&#8226 Similarly, keep Cincinnati Reds left-hander Travis Wood on sleeper lists for 2012; he tossed five shutout innings Monday in his first big league start in three months. Wood, a fantasy find in 2010 with his 3.51 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 17 starts, regressed this year and was sent to the minors, where he struggled, but he should start next season.

&#8226 Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto homered twice and knocked in five runs Monday, giving him 17 home runs this season. His batting average, however, is .224, as he continues an every-other-year trend in the category. He's capable of hitting .280 in 2012, making him a wise option in deep leagues.

&#8226 Florida Marlins second baseman Omar Infante smacked a game-winning home run off Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel on Monday, Infante's sixth home run and the second Kimbrel has allowed in as many days. Don't own Infante for power, but he has hit .323 since the All-Star break, with an OPS 250 points better than it was in his first half.

&#8226 Boston Red Sox right-hander John Lackey was strafed for eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings Monday, further cementing his status as baseball's worst starting pitcher this season, with a 6.49 ERA in 27 starts. Name value -- which has long passed -- accounts for his being owned in 15.6 percent of ESPN leagues. Move on, Lackey owners.

&#8226 Finally, congrats to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera for setting the saves record Monday, as he passed Trevor Hoffman. Rivera, 41, likely will finish the season with a sub-1.00 WHIP for the ninth time in his career. Strikeouts will make Kimbrel fantasy's top closer for 2011 and probably next season, but Rivera ranks second on the Player Rater for relievers this season.