Monday, July 21, 2008

The Buzz Around the Bullpen: Jorge Is Finding His Way On Everyone's Bench

Welcome back to another edition of the “Buzz Around the Bullpen”. Well if the All-Star break was good for one thing, it was that it provided a forum for Josh Hamilton to become a national superstar. Just for a second think about all of the guys that have participated in the homerun derby over the past ten years. McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Ortiz…the list goes on. None of them have even come close to putting on the show that Hamilton did last Monday night. With his performance on Monday night, Hamilton solidified himself as a legitimate superstar. Let’s hope that for both baseball and Hamilton's sake that he can stay focused and away from the off the field distractions.
Big Hits

Sean Gallagher (SP, Oakland Athletics): If there is one thing Billy Beane has proven, it’s that he knows young pitching as well as anyone in baseball. Gallagher might just be the next pitcher in a long line of young aces that has began their dominance in Oakland. Gallagher was a part of the package that the Cubbies sent to acquire Rich Harden. That in itself should tell you how highly Billy Beane thought of Gallagher. Since joining the A’s, Gallagher has lived up to his reputation. He was once viewed as a top prospect in the Cubs organization. In two starts, Gallagher is 1-0, with 14 Ks in 12 IP. Gallagher is still available in most leagues and I would definitely take a flier on him. As a young pitcher, he’ll have some rough starts. However, his upside makes him worth a waiver move.

Glen Perkins (SP, Minnesota Twins): Perkins has quietly won seven games in just 14 starts this year. While he won’t strikeout a ton of batters, his consistency makes him worth a look if you’re in need of some pitching depth. In 12 of his 14 starts this season, he has allowed three or fewer earned runs. Perkins has also maintained a decent 3.84 ERA. With Minnesota still in the hunt, look for Perkins to play an important role down the stretch. I’m a huge believer in guys that can put up high K numbers; however, they are often the same guys that have erratic numbers. A guy like Perkins won’t win a week for you but he will add some consistency to your staff.

Chris Iannetta (C, Colorado Rockies): This year in fantasy there are about 4-5 elite catchers that are head and shoulders above the rest. If your aren’t an owner of one of these elite guys, you better be ready to pay a huge price to get them via trade. If you’re willing to settle for a next tier catcher, look no further than Chris Iannetta. In just 175 ABs this season, Iannetta is hitting around .280 with 10 HRs. He also has 37 RBIs and carries an impressive .377 OBP. Many of the catchers that were drafted early this year have disappointed their owners. If you are still hanging onto your struggling highly drafted catcher, now is the time to give Iannetta a look. Somehow Iannetta is still available in over 40% of leagues.
Big Misses

Jorge Posada (C, New York Yankees): Speaking of underperforming catchers, Posada has been a huge disappointment this season. After spending some time on the DL earlier in the season, it is clear that Posada is still struggling with his right shoulder injury. While his defensive numbers have declined dramatically, it is his offensive numbers that have left his fantasy owners out to dry. From an offensive standpoint, Posada cannot generate the bat speed that is necessary to drive the ball. It also doesn’t help that Posada is in the twilight of his career as a 36-year-old catcher.

The problem for his owners is that his defense is now making him a liability in the line-up. It is rumored that the Yanks are looking to give Jose Molina more time behind the plate. In the Yanks game on Saturday, Posada was pulled in favor of Molina after allowing two stolen bases in the ninth inning. This is not good news for Posada owners. Even if he does continue to get a decent number of ABs, Posada’s days as an elite offensive catcher are over.
As with any SportsJudge articles, please feel free to post any questions or comments. Until next time, keep your ears open for the Buzz Around the Bullpen.

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