J. J. Upton- ARI- Hot- Upton was at it again last night, going 2-for-4 with his second homer in as many games. Since returning from the DL, he is hitting .389 in 13 games. Upton’s strikeout rate has dropped, with 10 Ks in 36 ABs, after striking out 97 times in 277 ABs before straining his oblique. Even that number of strikeouts doesn’t quite reflect the maturity he has been showing at the plate, as 7 of them came in a 3-game span earlier this month. Upton’s recent performance boosts his value for 2009.
James Parr- ATL- Rookie- Parr faces his toughest test yet as he pitches against the Phillies tonight. In his last outing he threw his second straight start of 6 shutout innings. Parr allowed 5 hits, walked none and struck out 5. Going back to his last three AAA starts he has allowed 1 earned run in his last 29 IP. The 22-year-old Parr does not possess a big fastball, but has succeeded in the minor leagues (43-30, 4.00 ERA in 5 seasons) on his off speed pitches and breaking balls. He can’t be expected to continue without allowing any runs, but could pitch himself into the Braves’ 2009 plans with a continued strong finish to the season.
Elijah Dukes- WAS- Hot- Dukes went 1-for-3 with a walk, homer, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored yesterday. Since the beginning of June, Dukes has hit .303 with 12 homers and 10 SBs. He has enjoyed an above average BHIPx of .266, but with his speed that is not way out of whack. The Nationals have invested a lot of effort in protecting Dukes from his off field demons and it seems to have paid off. If he can avoid the injuries that plagued him this season, he can be valuable in 2009.
Cameron Maybin- FLA- Rookie- In keeper leagues, Maybin is a no-brainer grab. He finally was challenged some in the minors, where he put up a .277 batting average for AA Carolina. Maybin struck out 124 times in 390 ABs, but also drew 60 walks. With 13 homers and 21 SBs, he is going to be a multi-purpose threat.
Brad Hennessey- SF- Hot- Hennessey needed only 99 pitches to get through 8 innings of work last night, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, walking none and striking out 2. He has been impressive in his last two starts, giving up 4 runs on 12 hits and 3 walks in 14 IP. Hennessey’s 5 strikeouts are not dominant, but this is a marked improvement from his performance earlier this season. Hennessey is now a possibility for the Giants’ 2009 rotation. However, since he is arbitration eligible, they may trade or release him if they decide the financial costs are not worth the risk that this is a mirage. With a 1.47 WHIP and 4.83 mark at AAA Fresno, there are certainly doubts.