Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Miranda Warnings": They're Here!

Welcome to Week #9 of "Miranda Warnings", your weekly guide to what's happening in the world of Major League Baseball, from a fantasy baseball perspective. Every Wednesday, throughout baseball's regular season, "Miranda Warnings" will appear on I'm your host Michael Miranda.

The rumbling sound (i.e. similar to that of an oncoming train) that you've been hearing the last few days, those are the footsteps of millions of fantasy baseball GM's racing to acquire Cincinnati OF Jay Bruce (pictured above, left) and LA Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw (pictured above, right). The two mega-prospects (i.e. can't-miss studs) were promoted by their respective clubs this week. This weeks "Miranda Warnings" tells you their short and long-term fantasy baseball values.

American League East: Boston P Daisuke Matsuzaka left his start versus Seattle in the fifth inning on Tuesday night. The team said Dice-K has a tired shoulder. He's leaving the team and headed back to Boston for an MRI. Stay tuned... Yankee P Ian Kennedy (right lat muscle strain) was placed on the DL. Joba Chamberlain will take Kennedy's spot, possibly joining the starting rotation as early as next week against either Minnesota or Toronto... Orioles' OF Luke Scott was in a 1-for-18 slump before homering against the Yankees Tuesday night. Scott has six HR's, with 19 RBIs and a .248 average. He's a decent fourth or fifth fantasy outfielder... Toronto OF Alex Rios has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, but he's still hitting only .265 in 2008. He really needs to step it up while the team is minus OF Vernon Wells (wrist), who won't return until at least late June... The Rays have been relatively healthy in 2008, until Wednesday. One out from a save, closer Troy Percival left the game versus the Rangers with tightness in his left hamstring. Percival has had leg problems before. This could mean a DL stint. If he lands on the DL, P's Dan Wheeler and Al Reyes will be called upon to close.

American League Central: Indians DH Travis Hafner missed his third straight game with right shoulder inflammation Wednesday. Hafner admitted that he has received two cortisone injections this season for his shoulder woes. He hopes the inflammation will subside by this coming weekend. This sounds like a DL stint waiting to happen... Kansas City OF Joey Gathright went 3-for4 with 2 runs scored, one RBI and one SB. Gathright is only hitting .269, but he has 14 SB's and has the wheels to steal 40+ in 2008... Tigers P Armanda Galarraga continues to impress. Galarraga joined the starting rotation in mid-April, replacing the injured Dontrelle Willis' (knee). Willis has since returned, but Galarraga will not relinquish his spot anytime soon. Galarraga allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks in 8 1/3 innings Wednesday. He struck out four, while improving to 4-2 in Detroit's 6-2 win over the LA Angels... If your fantasy team is in need of some pitching help, Minnesota's Nick Blackburn might be the answer. He was sharp Tuesday against the Royals, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in 8 1/3 innings, en route to a no-decision. Blackburn is 4-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 2008. I don't expect his success to last though because he's very hittable due to his lack of overpowering stuff... White Sox OF Carlos Quentin's breakthrough 2008 continued Wednesday. Quentin went 1-for-4 with three RBIs, including a game-winning, two-run double, in Chicago's 6-5 win over the Indians. Quentin has 47 RBI, second in the Major Leagues to Texas' Josh Hamilton.

American League West: LA Angels P John Lackey (8 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) was impressive, yet again, while losing to Chicago Sunday. Lackey's been himself since returning from the DL, adding depth to the starting rotation, while retaining his title as Angels stopper... Oakland P Rich Harden (7 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) was awesome in Wednesday's loss to the Blue Jays. This was Harden's third straight quality start (6 or more IP, 3 ER or less) and it appears that he's returned to top-form... Did you know that Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre already has 10 HR's? Beltre has always been a notoriously slow starter, who then turns it on in the second half. For the most part, Beltre has been an overrated, but consistent, premier talent over the course of his career. You can always count on him for a .275+ BA, 20+ HR's and 90+ RBI's... Texas SS Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 13 games Wednesday versus Tampa Bay. Young is hitting .278, with 5 HR's and 24 RBI's.

National League East: Atlanta activated P Rafael Soriano (elbow) from the DL Wednesday. Soriano and John Smoltz (returning in June?) are the leading candidates to be Atlanta's closer. A forgotten man in all of this is former closer Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez, returning from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to began a rehab assignment this week... One of the reasons for the Mets inconsistent play since late 2007 is P Oliver Perez. Perez (6 IP, 4 hits, 5 ER, 4 BB, 7 K) was knocked around by the Marlins Wednesday. Perez' immense potential will never be realized unless he learns how to reduce his walks... Washington Nationals C Jesus Flores replaced the injured Paul LoDuca (hand) earlier this month and hasn't looked back, continuing his recent tear Wednesday, hitting a grand slam versus San Diego. Flores is hitting .344, with 2 HR's and 14 RBIs. Flores deserves to be the full-time catcher, even when Lo Duca returns... Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley smashed a three-run homer on Wednesday against Colorado, giving him 17 HR's! Can you say, MVP?... Florida OF Cody Ross has 9 HR's. Yes, 9! On Wednesday, against the Mets, Ross blasted two homers and collected four RBIs. Ross is not known for his power, but if your fantasy team needs power, and he's available in your league, scoop him up and ride the hot streak.

National League Central: Cincinnati came to its senses and promoted OF Jay Bruce earlier this week, after he obliterated Triple-A pitching. According to, in 49 games, Bruce was hitting .364, with 10 HR's, 37 RBI's, and a scalding 1.023 OPS! ESPN's Peter Gammons calls Bruce, "the next Larry Walker". Bruce is an elite five-tool talent, in every sense, capable of putting up numbers similar to Ryan Braun and Hunter Pence in 2007. In his prime, Bruce is very capable of Larry Walker-type numbers. He's special, for sure. Having said that, temper your expectations. Remember, he needs to adjust to Major League pitching... Houston 2B Kazuo Matsui went 3-for-5, with two runs scored in Tuesday's victory over the St.Louis. Matsui's 11 stolen bases and 27 runs scored make him a strong fantasy 2B... Milwaukee closer Eric Gagne (shoulder) landed on the DL recently (shocker!), with Salomon Torres taking over ninth inning duties... St. Louis P Adam Wainwright (8 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) was filthy in Wednesday's win over Houston. If Wainwright can have more outings like this, he'll enter 2009 as a Top 20 fantasy baseball pitcher... Cubs closer Kerry Wood earned his 11th save on Monday against the Dodgers. Wood is fifth in the National League in saves... Pittsburgh P Ian Snell was lit up for seven ER's in only five innings, in Tuesday's 9-6 loss to the Reds. Of greater concern was Snell's seven walks! Pittsburgh's "ace" saw his record drop to 2-4, with 5.46 ERA!

National League West: The LA Dodgers promoted phenom left-hander Clayton Kershaw last Sunday and he didn't disappoint. Although he got a no-decision, Kershaw (6 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) had an impressive debut versus St.Louis. Kershaw has the perfect body for a pitcher, 6'3" and 220 pounds. He has three Major League-ready pitches. His fastball consistently hits the mid-90s. His curveball is a knee-buckler that comes in at about 75 mph. His changeup is considered above-average. Like Cincinnati OF Jay Bruce (see NL Central report above), Kershaw is special. Like Bruce, the sky is the limit for Kershaw. Kershaw is very capable of putting together numbers similar to Yovanni Gallardo's 2007 debut season. In his prime, Kershaw could be another version of Johan Santana. Having said that, temper your expectations. Remember, like Bruce, Kershaw needs to adjust to a new level of competition... San Francisco C Bengie Molina was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored on Wednesday versus Arizona, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. During Spring Training, I laughed when I found out that Molina was SF's clean-up hitter. So far, I'm "eating crow"! Molina is having a monster season (.339 BA, 6 HR's, 36 RBI's)!... You can put a nail in San Diego's coffin. In the span of a week, the Padres lost ace Jake Peavy (elbow) and co-ace Chris Young (facial fractures) to injuries. Both pitchers are out indefinitely... As if losing SS Troy Tulowitzki until July wasn't enough, Colorado lost OF Brad Hawpe (hamstring), OF Matt Holliday (hamstring) and SS Clint Barmes (knee) to the DL. Incredibly, the Rockies lost all three within 48 hours! Can you say, ouch?... Arizona OF Justin Upton doubled in Wednesday's loss to the Giants, after entering the game in a 1-for-28 tailspin.

See you next week!

Related Posts by Subject