1. Ricky Nolasco (SP - Marlins) - Nolasco didn't earn the W on Wednesday night, but he did hurl a QS that included 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, and 5 K's. Nolasco has had some bumps in the road recently, exchanging a QS for a non-QS over the last 5 outings. Despite a few hiccups here and there, he is still 9-for-13 in QS with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Even the inflated WHIP is mostly due to that one 15-hit blow-up back in May that saw it jump from 1.15 to 1.30 overnight. I'd still like to see the K/9 increase from 7.30 before I praise Nolasco too much, but I continue to be impressed with his solid K/BB of 4.12. He has always been able to throw strikes and keep the walks down and the strikeouts relatively high.
2. Stephen Drew (SS - Diamondbacks) - You know things are going well when you don't get the start, but you still record a multi-hit game. Stephen Drew wasn't in the starting lineup for yesterday's game, entered in the 8th as a pinch hitter, and proceeded to go 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs in extra innings. He is now hitting .346/.393/.500 for June. However, other than a decent average, Drew offers little else in terms of power or speed. After he hit 21 HR's in 2008 and posted an AB/HR of 29.1, that rate declined to 44.4 and 37.7 in '09 and '10. This year, its at 64.7 with his 3 HR total. Last year's SB total was 10 (a career high) and he has 4 this year so seems to be on a similar pace for SB. Again, its ok but not great. In total, his FPI of 0.64 last year is trending around the same this year. To me, it feels like Drew's name in fantasy circles is bigger than his performance indicates.
3. Casey McGehee (3B - Brewers) - McGehee finally got on the board in June with a single that broke an 0-for-June skid. He had gone hitless since May 29th and hasn't hit a HR since May 20th. After posting an AB/HR rate of 26.5 with his 23 HR in 2010, McGehee has been a huge disappointment for fantasy owners with his microscopic .624 OPS, 56.3 AB/HR, and .231 average. I think he can be released in most mixed leagues at this point unless you're really desperate for a 3B / CI option.
4. Zach Duke (SP - Diamondbacks) - Another QS for Duke makes him 2-for-3 on the season. He went 7.0 IP and allowed just 1 ER, 9 H, no walks, and recorded 1 K. While Duke's ownership will increase after this game (and in anticipation of a 2-start fantasy week starting Monday), its best to steer clear of this one. First, Duke offers very little in terms of K-volume, posting a career K/9 of just 4.72, in-line with his 11 K's through 19 IP this season. A small sample size for this year start's hardly gives us anything to evaluate, but all three of his games have come against weaker offensive opponents in Houston, Washington, and Pittsburgh. Finally, we have almost 1,000 IP that tell a different story than a couple of quality starts over the last couple of weeks. Duke has a career 4.49 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, and a QS% of 51% (82-for-162). I'm letting someone else take the risk on this one.
5. James Loney (1B - Dodgers) - Despite a respectable May of hitting .293 that brought his average from below the Mendoza line back to a fairly respectable .241, Loney may be seeing more bench time in the near future. He sat against LHP Cole Hamels on Wednesday and it is rumored that it may become more of a trend in the coming months. If Loney sits against LHP, that would leave Casey Blake to play 1B for the Dodgers. You certainly can't blame Manager Donnie Baseball on this one. Loney is hitting just .173 against lefties with a .228 OBP and a SLG of just .192 for the season. His career rates against lefties aren't much better. Loney will remain an NL-only option, but even that value is declining if his playing time becomes more limited. If nothing else, at least it will be somewhat predictable if the Dodgers officially decide to go that route. The Dodgers are tentatively scheduled to face two lefties (Travis Wood and Wandy Rodriguez) next fantasy week.
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