Big Papi Takes Big Honors
David Ortiz has been a staple in the Boston Red Sox lineup since 2003 when he was acquired from the Minnesota Twins. Ortiz has never been regarded as a defensive asset, but everyone knows how crucial he’s been when wielding the lumber. Coming into Wednesday’s game with the Mariners, Ortiz sat tied with Harold Baines for the all-time lead in hits as a designated hitter at 1,688. Papi would waste no time setting himself apart from Baines, doubling in his first at-bat, and then stamped his historic accomplishment with a two-run bomb in the next inning. Now the leader in hits as a DH, Papi also owns the top ranking for runs scored, doubles, homers, RBI and extra-base-hits. I think it’s safe to say that Big Papi has a warm seat in Cooperstown. As for fantasy immortality, Papi is providing his fantasy owners fantastical returns at the ripe-old age of 37, as he owns a .330 BA, 19 HR, 65 RBI, 47 runs scored and has three rogue stolen bases. In short, he can certainly still swing it.
Temper expectations for the Captain
Derek Jeter will return to the Yankees on Thursday, apparently-- a day earlier than expected, as he was supposed to play in back-to-back rehab games before coming home to the Bombers. Jeter seems destined to spend most of his days as the Yankees designated hitter to give his surgically-repaired ankle a chance to register less wear and tear than it would if he were charged with defensive duties. In his final rehab appearance, Jeter was 0-for-3 at the dish, and he committed an error at short stop. After hitting 15 homers and scoring 99 runs while holding a .316 BA in 2012, what can owners expect from “the Captain” in a gimpy half season? To be honest, no one knows. Jeter won’t be running around like a spring chicken, but he is still Captain Clutch, and he has surprised us before. Pick him up if he’s available and you need middle-infield help in deep mixers and AL-Only leagues, but don’t hope for much more than a .280 average and 40 runs scored the rest of the way. He’s 39, hurt and in a less potent Yankee lineup.
AL Hot Shots:
- Robinson Cano smacked a three-run homer off of Wade Davis, his 21st big-fly of the season. Cano also added a double and a stolen base on the 3-for-4 night. Ivan Nova used the run support to his advantage pitching very well once again allowing only an earned run over eight solid innings needing only 105 pitches with six strikeouts. Nova looks like a lock to keep his rotation spot with these last two starts and could be a valuable commodity in the second half with his improved curveball control.
- Josh Hamilton has found his power stroke in July as he swatted his third and fourth homers of the month giving the struggling slugger 14 on the season to go along with a weak 39 RBI. Buy low?? Yes.
- Houston Astros top prospect Jarred Cosart will make his major league debut on Friday against the Rays. Cosart has amazing stuff but still lacks control as demonstrated by a 93/50 K/BB ratio over 93 IP. Deep mixed league owners should take notice as well as AL-only owners.
- Wei-Yin Chen returned to the Orioles rotation and held the Rangers to one run over seven innings. He improved to 4-3 on the season after missing nearly two months with the dreaded oblique strain.
- Chris Carter announced his return to the Astros lineup with his 18th homer after missing three straight starts with a hand bruise. He’s a poor man’s Adam Dunn.
- Felix Doubront won his second start in a row with five strikeouts, two walks and five hits allowed over seven innings of work. He now sits at 6-3 on the season with 93 K through 99 IP.
- Gordon Beckham has picked up his production over his past week of play, hitting .340 with two homers, hitting safely in his last six.
- Prince Fielder is apparently getting primed for his Home Run Derby showing; he homered and drove in three on Wednesday.
NL Hot Shots:
- Adrian Gonzalez continued to power up coming into the All-Star break; he homered in a 2 for 4 effort against in an eventual 14th inning Dodgers win over the DBacks. AGonz is now on pace for a 25 HR, 104 RBI season.
- Pedro Alvarez stayed hot for the Buccos as he went 2-for-4 with two RBI on Wednesday. His average is up to .253 on the year and is on pace for a 40+ HR season. El Toro accompanied Starling Marte (2-for-5) and Andrew McCutchen (2-for-3, BB, RBI) in support of Francisco Liriano’s dominating seven inning effort to defeat the A’s.
- Edward Mujica saved his 25th game of the season working in his sixth consecutive game. He surely could be an All-Star replacement if a pitcher (Matt Harvey; blister/innings limit) is forced to withdraw.
- Shelby Miller is steadily losing steam. The 22-year-old hasn't made it more than six innings in over a month and the Red Birds are giving him time to rest with his next start not coming until July 23rd. Carlos Martinez was recalled from Triple-A on Thursday and could sneak his way into the rotation which would give him some decent value in NL-only and deeper mixers.
- Brandon Phillips added three RBI on two singles and a sacrifice, he now ranks third in the NL with 67 ribeyes.
- Anthony Rendon’s power surge continued as he took Phillies’ starter Cliff Lee deep Wednesday. Rendon now has hit three homers in his last eight games and has the Nationals second base job locked-up. Lee uncharacteristically allowed four homers on the night.
- Jayson Werth also homered off of Cliff Lee on Wednesday and has been one of the hottest hitters in the game in July. He’s now homered in back-to-back games in Philly and has gone 12-for-22 over his last 7 games with 5 RBI.
- Zack Wheeler defeated the team he was drafted by as the Mets swept the series against the struggling Giants. Wheeler allowed one run on three hits over seven solid innings and added an RBI double over the centerfielder’s head. Oh snap.
- Mike Leake pitched 8.1 strong innings allowing 2 runs with three hits allowed and an un-Leake-like four walks en route to his 8th victory. Leake nearly tossed his first complete game but was pulled after giving up a single with one out in the ninth.
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