With the Astros firmly out of the NL Central race, the organization announced a few days ago that Bourn would get the majority, if not all, of the starts in center field through the end of the year. Of course then Cecil Cooper doesn’t start Bourn on Saturday. For the year, Bourn is batting just .221/.279/.298, though his 34 steals give him plenty of fantasy value. Of course that probably has something to do with Bourn being 7-for-50 with a 16:2 K:BB in August, so perhaps he won’t get quite as much playing time as we thought. Bourn did hit .277 with a 0.62 EYE in 119 at-bats last year, and at age 25, it’s too early to write him off entirely, but the Astros have to be disappointed with the return they received in the Brad Lidge deal.
Anderson received his third consecutive start on Saturday, going 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of walks as the Braves’ leadoff hitter. Anderson is 4-for-11 with four walks and a stolen base since being recalled and his success gives him a good chance to stick in that role for the year, especially considering the Mark Kotsay trade. Anderson is a .290/.340/.369 career minor league hitter, so it’s doubtful he’ll ever be an above average regular, but considering he also averaged 61 stolen bases per 162 games played, Anderson is well worth watching as a fantasy option.
A relative unknown, Hanigan received praise from manager Dusty Baker this month, with Baker calling him a “tough little guy” and praising his defense. With Javier Valentin being mere backup material and Paul Bako continuing his irrelevance, Hanigan could have some value down the stretch. So who is he? Hanigan is a 28 year-old who went undrafted back in 2002 when the Reds signed him as a free agent. Through 1,788 minor league at-bats, Hanigan hit .291/.381/.369 with the OBP being the highlight and the .078 ISO the lowlight. He had just 18 homers and 14 stolen bases as a minor leaguer, so it’s tough to project much fantasy value, but he does have a pair of homers (off Tim Byrdak and Geoff Geary – not exactly Clemens and Koufax), so with his perhaps getting the majority of the catcher at-bats down the stretch, there’s some value here.
With the Rockies back in contention and Taveras batting .272 with 13 stolen bases this month, it appears his job is safe, at least for this year. The big threat here is Dexter Fowler, one of the minors’ top prospects and a U.S. Olympian who should see time in Colorado next month. Fowler, like Taveras, is a center fielder and is a candidate to take over at some point soon, but perhaps not until 2009. Taveras isn’t much of an offensive threat in real life, posting just a .617 OPS, but he’s stolen 61 bases and plays very good defense, so it’s likely he’ll keep his job despite a .310 OBP and .049 ISO.
You’ve probably noticed that Scherzer got recalled to Arizona this week, pitching a perfect eighth inning against the Dodgers in his return to the big leagues. Scherzer, who worked as a starter in Triple-A, had a 2.21 ERA in four August starts and in 53 Triple-A innings, posted a mind-numbing 13.4 K/9. He’s worth an immediate pick-up in deeper leagues and bears watching in all leagues for the possibility he could take over as closer down the stretch should Jon Rauch’s forearm injury be serious and Brandon Lyon’s struggles continue. There’s a great chance Scherzer opens 2009 in the Arizona rotation, but for this year, he’s going to be much more valuable in “real life” than fantasy barring a move to the closer role.
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