Manager Joe Torre stole my thunder yesterday. I was really excited to compare Shelly Duncan to Shane Spencer in today's column and then Torre decided to drop Spencer's name in his post-game show. Well anyway, Duncan joined the Yankees late last week and has hit 3 HR in as many games, including two in yesterday's Bronx slaughtering of the Devil Rays. Quite an impressive start to his big league pinstripe career, but Duncan isn't a stranger to power. Before being called up to the big show, Duncan had hit 25 HR in 336 AB at a rate of one for every 13.4 AB in triple-A. He was posting a .957 OPS and a 0.77 FPI while driving in 79 RBI in just 91 games. We need to be careful on getting too excited about Duncan. The industry in general doesn't regard Duncan as much of a prospect and there's a reason why he's almost 28 years old and hasn't seen much big league action (believe it or not, he's the Cardinals' Chris Duncan's OLDER brother). Defensively, he's not nearly as good as Andy Phillips or Miguel Cairo at 1B, making him a DH at best when he'll get playing time. And his one strikeout for every 4.7 plate appearances should translate into lots of strikeouts in the coming weeks. It might be tough to predict regular playing time going forward too. I would let someone else pick him up based on the media hype.
This is the start that you need to remove from the rest to get an accurate ERA and WHIP reading. An ugly Sunday for James Shields against the Yankees - 3.1 IP, 10 ER, 10 H, 4 BB, and just 1 K. It's the kind of start that can ruin pitching lines in H2H leagues, but you don't need me to tell you that. Since June 15th, Shields is 2-6 with a 7.26 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and a H/9 of 11.9. While two games during that span have included double-digit strikeout totals (11 K's against the White Sox and 10 against the Indians), Shields has struck out two or less in his last three outings. He's well on his way to pitching over 200 innings this season, so you have to wonder if the innings will start taking a toll having never pitched this much in a season.
Billy Butler continues to stay hot in July, hitting .417 this month with a 1.103 OPS. He has 20 RBI and almost a third of his hits are for extra bases. The Royals have been high on Butler for quite some time and he's finally starting to hit his stride. He's still flying under the radar in KC, but remains a free agent in about half of all leagues in ESPN and CBS. Probably worth a flier on the youngster, especially if he starts to find his power groove. In 203 minor league AB this season, Butler cranked out 13 HR at a rate of 1 HR for every 15.6 AB.
This is CoPat's modus operandi. He'll get you to the point where you're sick of seeing his 0-for-4 days and then he'll go on a hot streak that makes you want to play him again. Pre-All star break, Corey Patterson hit .232 with just 2 HR and a .604 OPS. And of course, with his .280 OBP he still managed to steal 18 bases. Since the break, Patterson has been playing ridiculously well, hitting .439, OPS of 1.049, and doubling his HR total to 4 while swiping 5 bases in 6 attempts. Play him while he's hot, but don't be lured into the Patterson trap of thinking he's here to hit for power and steal bases.
What should we make of the Ty Wigginton rumors? The St. Petersburg Times reported rumors of Wigginton going to the Yankees in a trade, but what would that do to his fantasy value? If the Yanks make that deal, Wigginton becomes a fixture at 1B for NY and puts him in a lineup full of runs and RBI opportunities. On the flip side, guys like Shelley Duncan, Andy Phillips, and Miguel Cairo will all see a significant drop in playing time (or will likely be traded away as bait in another deal closer to the deadline). I don't see Cairo going anywhere, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Philips packaged in a deal that would send a middle reliever to NY to help boost the bullpen. Scott Proctor's name has also be included in the Wigginton trade rumors, but that would leave a very big hole in the Yanks bullpen. I don't quite see the rationale behind that one, but it would lead me to believe the Yankees must have another deal brewing to help boost one of their biggest weaknesses - the bridge to Mariano Rivera.
There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here. Not a member? Join today.