What's On the Menu - Week 15: Fresh Marlin
email@example.com - 7/2/2008
The "What's on the Menu" column is geared to give Head to Head owners advice on making the right moves when setting their lineups for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, "Uncle Charlie" provides you with the players who will become the fantasy studs for your team. I will also include my thoughts on players who are not worth adding and the column will end with a bold prediction for the upcoming week.
The Soup of the Day -- I feel this player might be worth a "taste" for the upcoming week.
Grant Balfour - RP, Tampa Bay Rays
Don't feel threatened by this flame throwers last name, "Ball-Four." The Australian journeyman has decreased his walks since coming over to Tampa in a trade for Seth McClung last season and if you are in the need of cheap saves and plenty and plenty of strikeouts than "Ball-Four" is your man. Old man Percival ran into his latest injury (Literally) on Monday and Balfour was given the opportunity to close out Tuesday's game and he made an impression that stuck. A four-out save to escape an inherited bases-loaded jam in the eight and three K's in the ninth. I would say that is making the most of an opportunity. If manager Joe Madden liked what he saw we could be regularly seeing Balfour come out in the ninth for saves. If Balfour is given a chance to close out games for the first place Rays and maintains the numbers he is having so far 1.08 ERA a 0.78 WHIP and 25 k's in 16.7 innings, he could instantly jump to the elite tier of closers. Think of Balfour as the Kevin Gregg of last year only he plays for a first place team with a lower ERA. Pick up Balfour in all leagues next week while Percival is on the DL and you will be sure to let out a few "Aussie Aussie Aussie OI! OI! OI!" chants. Although, I would only recommend doing the 'Ball-Four" chant after every save and not after every strikeout because if coupled with beer it could get ugly.
*Special: Two for One - I feel this pitcher is the best stream-able two start pitcher for the upcoming week.
Jorge Campillo - SP, Atlanta Braves
Jorge is quietly having a beautiful rookie season with a 3-2 record and sporting a nifty 2.54 ERA 1.02 WHIP and 53 K's in 67.3 innings. Campillo has been overshadowed by teammate Jair Jurrjens in Atlanta and hasn't received as much hype in fantasy. All of this only benefits you as he is only owned in 36% of CBS leagues so far (which is a fair estimate of ownership on other fantasy sites as well). Campillo will have two starts against the struggling Dodgers and the Little League team they call the "Padres" in Week 15. Consider the Tijuana born Campillo a highly advisable two-start pitcher based on his matchups for Week 15. Odds are Campillo will bring su familia and amigos across the border to watch him pitch in San Diego, with that said look for Campillo to bring a little extra in his matchup against the Friars. I would say projecting a win; 3.50-4.00 ERA and 7-12 strikeouts would be conservative compared to his potential next week.
Waiter's Choice -- I feel this player is worth the gamble for the second half.
Josh Johnson -- SP, Florida Marlins
This 6-foot-7 Marlin has been hooked from Double-A Carolina and should be reeled into the starting rotation after one more rehab start for the Mudcats. Once he rejoins the struggling Marlins rotation around the All-Star break (Pre if his next rehab start goes well and Post if he struggles), Johnson hopes to be even better than he was in 2006, when he was 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA as a rookie. Generally Tommy John surgery requires a full 12 to 18 months of rehabilitation and another year of pitching before returning to pre-injury form (Kerry Wood, Billy Koch both reported they were able to throw with a higher velocity after the surgery.) Essentially, the body must convert a tendon into a ligament, get it carrying blood again and train it to start working as a ligament. That being said we must keep expectations low for Johnson and his second half; however, since the doc performed the elbow operation Aug. 3, Johnson lost 30 pounds, dropping his weight to 250, and retooled his changeup with Sergio Mitre, another rehabbing Marlins right-hander. By being in better shape Johnson's mechanics have came back to him quicker than normal and he is not fighting his body as much as he used to. The slimmed down Johnson hasn't looked to shabby in four rehab assignments, including two at the Class A level, Johnson has thrown 21 1/3 innings. In those 21 1/3 innings his command has looked amazing as he has struck out 16 and only walked 3. He is also reportedly hitting the radar gun consistently at 90-94 MPH without pain. If Johnson can recapture any of the magic from his rookie season he will be the beneficiary of a blazing Marlins offense that is scoring almost 5 runs a game. I would conservatively project 5-7 wins a low 4.00 E.R.A. and close to a strikeout per inning from Johnson. I took a flier on Johnson this week in my Head-to-Head league and dropped the human headache Oliver Perez. If you aren't risking too much, then I would strongly advise joining me in supporting Johnson's comeback. Please note, losing 30 pounds to support Johnson is not part of the comeback party and is entirely up to you.
The Porterhouse -- I feel this player will provide big power numbers in the upcoming week.
Chris Davis - 3B, Texas Rangers
Davis seemed to go undetected this season in the minors and was never subjected to the hype his fellow three baggers brought before they got called up (Braun, Headley, Longoria, and Gordon). Nevertheless Davis made sure his name was heard once he got the call to fill in for Hank Blalock. Davis homered in each of his first two starts and Davis had 27 homers and 77 RBI in 77 minor-league games this season, so his power swing is no fluke. With 7 games at home next week and the fact that Davis is still fighting for a spot somewhere on the team once Blalock returns, he has a good shot at posting some serious power numbers in the hitter friendly ball park in Week 15. Take the flier immediately in mixed leagues and watch Davis dial a couple long ones next week.
Chocolate Cake - I feel that although this player seems tempting, you should stay away.
Eric Stults - SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
The 28 year old lefty received a lot of attention after dealing a complete game - 4 hit shutout against the White Sox's on June 25 th . However, his place in the rotation isn't permanent and he remains just a stop gap until the return of Brad Penny. Not to mention Stults got roughed up a bit in his last outing as he gave up 4 earned runs to the Astros after only giving up one earned run in his first 15 innings as a starter this season. I'm not taking anything away from his complete game shutout; who knows, maybe he decided to eat frosted cheerios that day instead of honey nut; something had to have clicked. I just don't see too much upside in Stults, he was a 15 th round draft pick who has never been a big strikeout guy in the minors or during his stints as a reliever, he might be able to manage a low ERA for the time being but his career ERA in the Majors suggests otherwise. In 76.2 innings he has a career 4.84 ERA and sports a 1.46 WHIP. I would advise staying away from the lefty and tipping your cap to the small percentage of owners who inserted him in their lineups for the dandy performance.
Do you disagree with this week's bold prediction? Send me your thoughts before Week 15 begins and if you are right and I' am wrong I will post your prediction at the bottom of next weeks story. Send your predications and any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org