John Van Benschoten
There are some guys you see in box scores and wonder, “Him again? Why?” I had that sort of feeling when I saw that Van Benschoten was going to get the start on Saturday. Predictably (though apparently not for the Bucs), he was shelled by the juggernaut offense of the Padres for seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Van Benschoten faced 14 hitters – he retired four, six got hits, and he walked the other four. Nice work. Daniel McCutchen is probably the name to know here. He’s the guy who came over in the Nady/Marte deal with the Yankees and though he’s already 25, he’s exhibited very good command this year (110:29 K:BB) and there’s little reason to try Van Benschoten again unless the Pirates want to blatantly play for a higher 2009 draft pick.
The Brewers are fighting for a division title, so it’s unlikely that they will care about who has the better resume and simply play the best players (hello Dodgers?). For second base right now, that’s probably Rickie Weeks (5-for-11 since the Durham trade), but it was Durham getting the nod on Saturday and he responded, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and three runs scored. Right now we have to figure Weeks is the primary second baseman, though he’ll have to keep playing well enough to significantly improve a lackluster .226/.332/.382 batting line. Figure Durham gets 30% of the 2B at-bats, but a couple 0-for-4’s from Weeks could bump that up dramatically, as Durham’s .382 OBP has to look mighty tempting to Ned Yost.
Tejada busted out of an 0-for-14 slump on Saturday, going 4-for-4 (all singles) while batting second against the Brewers. It can’t do anything but help having Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee batting behind you. Tejada is still hitting just .210 since the end of May and has drawn just three walks in all of July. There are some encouraging signs however – his LD% is up this year to 24.1% over last year’s 17%, his GB% is down to 44.7% but only 9.1% of his FBs are going over the wall. Expect Tejada’s fortunes to turn around soon if they haven’t already. Saturday was his first time batting second all year and he may have found a home.
I swear this is a name of one of the Backstreet Boys, but perhaps that was “Jordan Knight”? Anyway, this Knight was the starter for the Mets this Saturday and it was certainly eventful. Watching the game, I felt bad for the kid as he allowed four runs in the first inning, but he did settle down to hold the Cardinals scoreless over the next four before leaving the game. Knight has had an interesting journey to the hill Saturday, appearing in 11 games with the Yankees from 2001-2002, compiling a 10.71 ERA, playing in Japan, the independent Atlantic League, and now with the Mets. He earned the surprise start with a 1.60 Triple-A ERA and the outing Saturday lowered his ERA to 9.99, but it could be his last shot. He’s also a member of the US Olympic team, though if the Mets decide to keep him around, he won’t be choking in the Beijing air anytime soon. Probably not worth owning in fantasy leagues, but a nice story nonetheless for the 32 year-old.
A nice sleeper option at catcher might be Nick Hundley, who went 2-for-4 with a double and his first big league HR Saturday against the Pirates’ woeful pitching staff. Hundley has started three of the past four games, so it appears the Padres will give him a long look as they gear up for 2009. Hundley is hitting .244/.255/.378 with a meager 13:1 K:BB and though his minor league line of .253/.336/.451 is modest, he has homered once every 23.4 at-bats down on the farm, so he’s worth keeping an eye on, even if the average probably won’t surpass .250 much, if at all as a big leaguer.
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.