<
>
Insider

Bits: Power sources for home stretch

9/26/2012

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman/outfielder Darin Ruf smacked his first big league home run Tuesday, and he could be a source of power the final week and perhaps in 2013. Ruf hit .317 with a surprising 38 home runs at Double-A Reading this season. He's a bit past prospect status at 26, but power is power, and NL-only owners should not ignore potential helpers.

• Similarly, Cleveland Indians designated hitter/first baseman Russ Canzler isn't a prospect, but he homered for the second consecutive game Tuesday, adding a single and double. Canzler, the 2011 International League MVP, has shown power in the minors and could bloom late in the majors, especially against left-handed pitching.

St. Louis Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia tossed seven innings of shutout baseball in Houston on Tuesday, allowing six hits and walking no one. Garcia entered play with a 5.67 ERA over 10 road starts this season, so even though he wasn't facing the 1961 Yankees, it's an impressive result. Garcia is a worthy spot starter Monday against the Reds.

Oakland Athletics lefty Tommy Milone seemed a lesser bet in Tuesday's outing in hitter-friendly Arlington, Texas, with his road ERA entering play at 5.17. Instead, Milone gave up two unearned runs over six innings, lowering his overall ERA to 3.74. It's been a solid rookie campaign for the former Nationals prospect, but he has average stuff and should be used only in home games, making him a risky choice in 10-team drafts next season.

Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers doesn't have noteworthy home/road splits, however, and should be avoided regardless at this point. He allowed nine hits and four runs over 4 1/3 innings Tuesday, and the last time Fiers -- a midseason fantasy hero for his 1.01 July ERA -- delivered a quality start or even registered an out in the sixth inning was in August. With his September ERA at 6.96, avoid Fiers the rest of the way.

New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin tied his career high with his 19th home run Tuesday, including three in the past eight games. Martin's batting average is a woeful .206, and it has dropped each season since 2007, but he's playing regularly and the power certainly seems legit, since he hit 18 home runs as a Yankee last year. Now if only he could hit a few more singles as well.