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NL Player Spotlight - June 19th, 2010

Troy Tulowitzki (SS—Rockies) After getting hit on the wrist on Thursday, an MRI revealed a fractured wrist for Troy Tulowitzki. It wasn't the news that Tulowitzki owners wanted to hear as he was placed on the 15-DL and is expected to miss around 6 weeks of playing time. This is a hard hole to fill since Tulowitzki is one of the top shortstops in the game and at the time of the injury was leading all shortstops in average (.306), OPS (.877) and fourth in home runs (9). The recovery process should put his return date some where around the second week of August. Tulowitzki in past years usually blossoms in the second half of the season, with a career slash line of .312/.381/.515 after the All-Star break versus .263/.339/.445 in the first half of the season. So if there is a silver lining here (and shouldn't we try to look for one?) owners should get Tulowitzki back for his late season surge. Keep him stashed away for now as he is just too good to release with his history of second half production

Angel Pagan (OF—Mets) It was two weeks ago that I wrote about Angel Pagan and how I thought his value was increasing. Looking at CBS leagues two weeks ago, Pagan's ownership was only at 48%. Two weeks later, his ownership in CBS leagues is still 48%. OK, so I'm going to get on my soapbox for a second here...(up on soapbox)...PEOPLE, PAY A LITTLE MORE ATTENTION TO PAGAN!!...(down from soapbox). OK, I feel a little better. But let's see what Pagan has been doing the past two weeks since I talked about him. Over the past twelve games, Pagan has hit safely in ten of them batting .313 during that span with 8 runs scored, 8 RBI and 5 stolen bases. These are solid numbers for twelve games. On the season as a whole, he is batting .292 with a decent EYE of 0.66. He has stolen 14 bases this year and has a legitimate shot at 30 steals. He on a pace to score 96 runs and has strong enough contract rate (89.6%) and a good enough line drive rate (22.8%) to sustain his average in the .290's if not .300's. Pagan has also moved up to the #2 spot in the lineup this month and has been having more at-bats and should continue to do well sandwiched between Jose Reyes and David Wright. He is a solid option in NL leagues and should be owned in more mixed leagues.

Stephen Strasburg (SP—Nationals) There have been so many accolades and superlatives written about Stephen Strasburg that I feel somewhat reluctant to add my voice to the choir and tell you how good this guy has been. So I'll take a different approach just for fun and tell you how awful I think he is. This guy Strasburg is so awful that he was only able to pitch seven innings on Friday against the White Sox and strike out 10 batters. If he was really good, he would have been able to strike out eleven. And if that wasn't bad enough, he broke a major-league record for the most strikeouts by a pitcher in his first three games. If he was really good, he would have set a record in two games. To make matters worse, he only has a K/9 of 14.8 and batters are teeing off the guy hitting .149 against him. Yeah, I know what you're thinking: this guy's pathetic. So it looks like this is the kind of pitcher Strasburg is going to be so if you want to take your chances on him going forward, be my guest. You're just going to get more of the same. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Ryan Howard (1B—Phillies) My fellow analyst here at Fantistics, Michael, deserves some props for predicting just a couple of days ago that Ryan Howard was on the verge of getting hot. Well, Howard had a monster of a night on Friday, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and triple. What? No single? Howard raised his batting average on the year to a solid .293 and knocked his twelfth an thirteenth home runs. But for a guy who hits 40+ home runs, Howard is only on a pace right now to hit about 28. That's a lot of home runs for most players, but didn't you draft Howard with 15 to 20 more homers in mind? Howard's biggest issue is that his fly ball rate is about 4% lower than his career average percentage of 37.6%. Hopefully, Howard will start to turn up the heat and home runs will begin to jump off of his bat as he is still hitting the ball solidly with a line drive rate of 24.7%. And to his credit, Howard hasn't popped up the ball once this year. Fantasy owners shouldn't fret. By the year end Howard should be in the 40+ area with home runs and unfortunately he'll probably have close to 200 strikeouts too. Look for him to pick up the pace of the offense going forward.

Jason Hammel (SP—Rockies) It wasn't exactly a dominating outing but the end result was effective as Jason Hammel went 7.1 innings allowing 8 hits but no runs crossed the plate Friday night. Hammel danced through trouble throughout the evening but was able to work it out and avoid any damage. It was the third start in a row that Hammel has worked 7 innings or more and allowed no runs. Currently his scoreless inning streak is up 22.2 innings and during that span he has lowered his ERA from 6.09 to 4.02. Hammel has some pretty good component stats with a K/9 of 6.9 and a BB/9 of 2.5 but his FIP of 3.61 suggest that he has been much more effective then his ERA reflects. Going into tonight's game, Hammel had a 68.4% strand rate which is on the low side, so a game like he pitched tonight where he worked with runner on base all night will even out that number a little. With the way Hammel is going, he's a good grab if he is available in your league. The Rockies should provide him good opportunities to notch victories as well.

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.

You can also follow Richard on Twitter all season long at @rsgross

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