El Toro Powers Up
Pedro Alvarez was the biggest baller in the majors this weekend. The Pirates' super-streaky slugger is on one of his scorching-hot streaks at the moment, having homered in four straight games and collecting multiple-hit performances in all four of those contests. Thursday, Alvarez plated five runs with a 3-for-4 game, including a homer and a double. He’s added a homer in every game since, all solo shots. Pedro can be one of the game’s most prolific power hitters when he’s seeing the ball well, and it looks like now is one of those times. Enjoy the surge from “El Toro” while it lasts. He’s hitting .413/.451/.931 over his last seven games and now has 19 HR and 51 RBI on the season to go with his normal .237 average overall.
Keep it on the DL
Franklin Gutierrez enjoys the finer things in life, like not having to work for his paycheck. Gutierrez has reinjured himself after only two days removed from a 60-day DL stint for a hamstring issue. "His legs tightened up on him again so we’ll see how he feels in a couple days," manager Eric Wedge said, per The Seattle Times. If I were Eric Wedge, I would probably just tell this guy to find a new career. Hopefully this is a minor setback, as the M’s need some offense with Michael Saunders scuffling.
Peter Bourjos has been productive since returning from his DL stint but now another trip to the shelf could be looming for the Angels speedster. He jammed his thumb trying to break up a double-play Sunday, and he is not flying with the team to Detroit on Monday. Mike Trout will slide into CF if Bourjos needs time to heal, and J.B. Shuck could be the short-term playing-time winner in the Angels' outfield.
Dan Haren is expected to be placed on the 15-Day DL. Apparently the disabled list is also used for just plain sucking at your job now? In real-life situations, if you suck at your job you get fired (or demoted, but usually just fired). In the multi-billion dollar industry of Major League Baseball, if you suck, they make up a fake injury and send you to a lesser land of skill to improve or dissolve into oblivion. Hopefully, Dan Haren can find his way back from oblivion at some point, but it looks like he’s playing with anti-gravity baseballs and the Nationals have had their fill. Taylor Jordan is expected to be recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to take Haren’s spot, possibly just for one turn as I think Ross Ohlendorf deserved the shot but could need time to stretch out. Jordan does boast a 0.95 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 71/14 K/BB ratio over 85.1 IP between High-A and Double-A this season. We can never tell how that will translate to the majors though so keep an eye on the situation. NL-Only players may want to take a shot at Jordan.
AL Hot Shots:
- Zoilo Almonte has been relatively productive in his time with the Bronx Bombers, thus far posting 7 hits in his first 12 at-bats with a homer and two doubles. He could be of use in AL-Only leagues. Alex Rodriguez will begin his rehab games on July 1.
- Chris Perez could return to the Indians bullpen this week. He will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday to test his shoulder one final time.
- Nelson Cruz led the AL with 11 RBI last week as he batted .379 with 3 HR, to boot!
- Matt Dominguez continues to drive in runs for the Astros. He pushed seven runs across last week, homered once and batted a smooth .304 over 23 at-bats. Teammate Chris Carter hit five doubles last week, homered once, drove in four and hit .391 over 23 at-bats. Carter could be on the verge of breaking out, big time.
- Raul Ibanez continues to be an all-or-nothing source of power for those willing to take a risk on the aging slugger. Rauuuuuul slugged four long balls, amassing 9 RBI and hit .321 last week. He’s worth an add while he’s on fire.
- Miguel Cabrera is amazing. Duh. How about his .535 average over his last 28 at-bats with 2 HR, 6 RBI and 3 runs scored? Baller.
NL Hot Shots:
- Jordan Schafer seems to do something every time he plays for the Braves. On Sunday, the dude went buckwild with a 4-for-5 game, swiped a bag and popped a homer. Nice! He would be worth an add if one of the Uptons or Heyward were to miss time. NL-Only leaguers should own him.
- Carlos Gomez made a spectacular leaping catch but fell awkwardly with his left shoulder into the wall. He would take himself out of the game, but fortunately the rising star has dodged a major issue and is considered day to day. Weekly leaguers may want to give him a start just in case he plays.
- Zack Wheeler will start on Tuesday against the White Sox in Chicago. The rookie hurler should form a nice one-two punch for the Mets the rest of the way this year, barring innings limits.
- Pablo Sandoval has been activated from the DL and will be back in the lineup on Monday against the Dodgers in LA. Kung-Fu Panda’s bat has been sorely missed and he will bring some much needed pop to the lineup with 8 HR and 37 RBI in only 57 games played.
- Hanley Ramirez has enjoyed a healthy and productive week smacking 3 homers, driving in seven runs and hitting a cool .500 (11-for-22). HanRam will be a fantasy force if he can stay healthy the rest of the way.
- Ryan Howard continues to heat up at the plate. Over the past 7 games he’s crushed 3 homers, has 7 RBI and is batting a ridiculous .476. Howard is notorious for late season hot streaks which have carried the Phillies in the past. He could be on the verge of something similar.
- Jose Altuve stole 5 bases in his past 7 games and hit .333 (10-for-30) in that span. However, Altuve did not homer or even drive in a run in that timeframe. He’s making his presence felt on the base paths at least.
- Pedro Ciriaco has been an offensive force for the Padres since coming over from the Red Sox. He posted 3 stolen bases, a homer and three RBI last week for the Friars. While Everth Cabrera is shelved, Ciriaco will continue to play. He’s a sharky pickup in deep mixers.
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Follow Shawn Caswell on Twitter, or don’t: @CasKnowsRoto