<
>
Insider

Jeremy Hellickson finishing strong

9/16/2011

&#8226 Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson got his 13th win Thursday, allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings at Fenway Park. Hellickson lowered his ERA to 2.91, his WHIP to 1.14, and his numbers since the All-Star break are even better. Hellickson probably doesn't have the strikeout rate to be among our top-20 fantasy starters for 2012, but his future is bright.

&#8226 Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond had five hits and three RBIs Thursday. Desmond, hitting .241 when September began, is hitting .328 this month with three of his eight home runs. However, miserable plate discipline and defense have hurt Desmond, and he might not be a part of the team's future, negating his fantasy value.

&#8226 Kansas City Royals rookie catcher Salvador Perez singled, doubled and tripled Thursday, raising his batting average to .318 and extending his hitting streak to nine games. Perez, 21, moved quickly through the minor leagues and has enough pop to matter; consider him a sleeper starter for deep leagues next season.

&#8226 Texas Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando tossed six shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians Thursday, allowing only two singles and striking out four. Ogando hadn't won in a month, and his second-half ERA was 5.20 before Thursday, but now he seems a decent option for next week's outing in Oakland.

&#8226 Chicago Cubs outfielder Bryan LaHair singled in three at-bats Thursday, actually lowering his batting average to .444 over 27 at-bats. LaHair is way past prospect status at 28, but he did destroy Triple-A pitching for Iowa, hitting .331 with 38 home runs. If the Cubs use him the final two weeks, he could help those in deep leagues.

&#8226 Colorado Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin was roughed up again Thursday, allowing seven runs (four earned), nine hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings to the offensively challenged San Francisco Giants. Chacin has a 6.18 ERA in his past three starts, and walks continue to plague him. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere down the stretch.