Napoli homered for the 4th time in May and the 2nd time this week, raising his May line to .298/.365/.649. The power is coming back in a big way as he’s picked up 12 extra base hits in just 57 AB’s, getting his ISO back near .200, but its come with a monstrous K Rate (46% in May, 40% for the season). Napoli’s always been a bit of a batting average concern (career .254 hitter), but his K Rate has usually been closer to 30% instead of 40%. The increased K Rate has come with a declining BB Rate that’s hurting Napoli in the Runs category as well (usually an area of positive contribution for the Angels catcher). The nice little power run might be a nice opportunity for owners to explore trade offers. With a contact rate in the 60% range and Jeff Mathis eventually back in the fold, Napoli’s value might not be higher than it is right now.
I feel a little bit like I’m out on an island on this one, but I look at the improvements in ISO, BB Rate, K Rate, and FB Rate and I get a little excited for the post-hype sleeper status for Delmon Young. With a 3-4 night on Friday he raised his May line to .321/.345/.528 and while the power has been more 2B’s oriented than HR’s he’s already talled 7 XBH’s in just 53 May AB’s. A .247 BABIP is supressing some of the improvements Young has made this season and keeping his batting average down in the .260’s. Once that normalizes the BA should get back into the .290-.300’s and with the growing power I could see a 15 HR, 15 SB type season. I think he’s a nice 5th OF in mixed formats or at the very least a solid bench option with upside. At just 24, Young’s been written off as a player, but he’s still years away from his peak. With a number of OF’s hitting the DL this past week, I think Young’s a nice potential fill-in for fantasy owners looking for all around production.
With the calendar nearing June its about time to check in on Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez posted his 4th multi-hit game in his last 6 outings on Friday night and knocked out his 3rd HR of the season. He’s hit .270/.303/.413 which looks tremendous when compared to the .243/.264/.357 line he’s put p on the season. Through his first two big league seasons, Ramirez has steadily improved as the weather has warmed up, posting OPS above .800 in June, July, and August before fading a bit in September. His peripherals this season don’t tell a great story as his ISO is down and his K and BB Rates have regressed, but given the consistent pattern of improved play through the summer months, Ramirez deserves a look for those looking for SS/MI help. He’s a better fantasy player than real life player and over the last 2 seasons, he’s averaged 12 HR’s and 6 SB’s with a .311 average from June-August. Ignore the slow start and consider Ramirez as a SS option for those that are in need of all around production.
It was around this time last season that I began to get excited about a young A’s pitcher named Brett Anderson and that turned out pretty well, so maybe we should try it again this year! Trevor Cahill was really good for his 2nd consecutive outing as he pounded the zone and got lots of ground balls; walking just 1 and recording 10 outs on the ground. It marks the third consecutive outing he’s walked 2 or less and recorded 10 or more ground outs and in that span he’s posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. He’s still not getting the swings and misses that he’s shown capable of at the minor league level, but the 4 K’s last night was a nice improvement as well. For mixed leagues I think the lack of K’s makes him largely irrelevant this year, but for AL-Only leagues Cahill is a guy whose value is rising.
For the 2nd straight start (though 9 days apart) Vazquez was terrific limiting the Mets to just 1 hit and 2 BB’s over 6 shutout innings. The skeptics will note the return to the NL, but Vazquez’s velocity has been back up over the last two outings, something I noted on Twitter and is the biggest reason for optimism surrounding Vazquez. Unfortunately just as Javy was getting things going again on Friday night he injured a finger and left the game early. The X-Rays came back negative which is good news but its uncertain if Vazquez will be able to make his next start.
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