Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Bits: Giants' injuries, new Dodgers closer
By Eric Karabell
Tuesday was not a good day for the San Francisco Giants. Before having to face hard-throwing Pittsburgh Pirates rookie phenom Gerrit Cole in his debut, the Giants placed third baseman Pablo Sandovalon the disabled list because of a strained left foot. The team is hopeful that Sandoval, the regular No. 3 hitter, will return in two weeks, but it's a bit early to know for sure. Then, after Cole was done toying with the Sandoval-less lineup, second baseman Marco Scutaro was hit on the left hand by a Tony Watson pitch in the seventh inning. X-rays were negative, but Scutaro could certainly end up joining Sandoval on the shelf.
The Giants don't have much infield depth in the high minors; Nick Noonan was called up from Triple-A Fresno to replace Sandoval and Joaquin Arias started at third base. Tony Abreu is another option and perhaps we see Triple-A second baseman Kensuke Tanaka or 2011 first-round pick Joe Panik, who is drawing walks and getting on base regularly for Double-A Richmond. It doesn't matter. The team isn't likely to get much production from its two infield spots for the foreseeable future.
For fantasy owners, one could easily argue that the loss of Scutaro will be more critical. Sandoval ranks a bit better on the season Player Rater, but considering how weak middle infield is in fantasy and how Scutaro is among the big league leaders in batting average, that's the statistic to focus on. After all, he's hitting .332, but that mark was .420 in May. Sure, he's not hitting for a lick of power and has yet to even attempt a stolen base, but you ignore the Player Rater when a guy is contending for a batting title and look for power elsewhere. Sandoval is hitting .289 and is on pace for 21 home runs and 97 RBIs, but he's likely to fall short of the latter two marks. Scutaro could hit .332 all year.
[+]Enlarge Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Pablo Sandoval hasn't played more than 117 games in a season since 2010.
Box score bits (NL):Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made news Tuesday by finally proclaiming Kenley Jansen his closer over Brandon League. Jansen, already owned in 84.5 percent of ESPN standard leagues, then saved that night's brawl-filled game. It's time to drop League. The way he has pitched, it's hard to see the roles changing again. Jansen, meanwhile, has top-5 closer upside. As for fallout from the Dodgers-Arizona Diamondbacks melee, expect struggling right-hander Ian Kennedy (still 46 percent owned) to face suspension and perhaps Zack Greinke and Yasiel Puig, as well, for their roles in the foolishness. Colorado Rockies first baseman/outfielder Tyler Colvin smashed a pair of home runs Tuesday, and now has six RBIs in three games since promotion, but before you get all excited, note that he probably won't be starting for long. Colvin has been producing at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but if Michael Cuddyer can play, Colvin probably won't. Colvin hit one of the home runs off beleaguered Washington Nationals right-hander Dan Haren, the big league leader in home runs allowed, who got lit up by the New York Mets in his last outing. Start him at Coors Field? No way! Day 1 of the post-Ike Davis era for the Mets featured Daniel Murphy moving to first base, and Jordany Valdespin handling second base and leading off. Valdespin singled twice and has stolen base upside. Davis, meanwhile, was hitless with two walks and two strikeouts for Triple-A Las Vegas. Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton launched his first home run since coming off the DL, a go-ahead blast in the eighth inning. You're running out of time to get him at a discount. Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun sat out again because of a sore right thumb. He has missed only a few days so far, but a DL stint wouldn't be shocking. Cincinnati Reds lefty Tony Cingrani came back from the minors, perhaps for just one outing and beat the Chicago Cubs with seven strong innings of two-run ball. He even singled twice. Make sure Cingrani is staying in Cincy before adding him.
Box score bits (AL):Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis didn't extend his home run lead Tuesday, but he did walk twice. That makes 31 walks on the season; last year, he walked 37 times in 139 games. Wow. Texas Rangers lefty Derek Holland fell victim to the BABIP monster Tuesday, allowing nine hits (eight singles) and four runs in 4 1/3 messy innings. Holland's season numbers are fine, so don't panic here. Need steals? Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis stole two bases against Chicago White Sox relievers Tuesday. Davis has been off the DL one week and has swiped three bases in his two starts. It's nice to see right-hander Chien-Ming Wang back in the bigs. For hitters, that is. Wang tossed 7 1/3 hittable, run-filled innings Tuesday. At this point, there's no point relying on him or any of his Blue Jays rotation mates. Kelly Shoppach caught Aaron Harang's near-perfect outing against the Houston Astros on Tuesday, but look for prospect Mike Zunino to get chances to catch soon. Zunino, who was hardly thriving at Triple-A Tacoma but got promoted regardless, is not worthy of ownership in 10- or 12-team leagues yet, though he does have power potential. As for Harang, who has posted shutouts (and many strikeouts) in two of his past four outings, it remains tough to make a case to use him against a decent offense. I still wouldn't add him for starts next week against the Angels and Athletics.