Russell Martin (C-PIT) - Martin had a huge day at the plate Sunday, going 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of home runs to beat Shelby Miller and the Cardinals. Martin's big day has him up to .267/.345/.547 on the season and he's now homered three times the past two days and four times the past six. Martin hasn't hit above .250 in a season since 2008, but aside from the contact issues, he's still been able to maintain a double-digit BB% (just less than 9% this year, but it's early), and last year in New York, Martin contributed 21 home runs. This year, Martin has a solid 8:7 K:BB in his 75 at-bats, so he appears to be seeing the ball well, especially lately. He won't be stealing 21 bases (2007) again, but 20+ homers, a handful of steals, and a .260 average looks to be possible. Remember, Martin is still just 30 years of age.
Steve Cishek (RP-MIA) - For the second time in as many days, Cishek allowed an earned run, but this time he earned a save because his team provided him a three-run league, he was fine. Isn't it insanity that a closer can notch an ERA of 18.00 in a game and get a so-called "save"? Anyway, Cishek now sports a 5.73 ERA, though his 11:3 K:BB in 11.1 innings at least gives us some encouragement he can turn things around. Should Cishek need to be replaced, Jon Rauch's 9.72 ERA likely wonder be a consideration, and Ryan Webb has a 2.70 ERA, but his 9:7 K:BB in 13.1 innings is hardly encouraging. A.J. Ramos is the guy for me with his 10.4 K/9. Considering adding Ramos in NL-only leagues, particularly if you have Cishek in your pen.
Jeff Locke (SP-PIT) - Locke spun seven shutout innings Sunday to run his W/L to 3-1 with a surprising 2.83 ERA. Locke was a pretty good prospect back in the Braves' organization, profiling as a #3 starter pitching from the left side. Through his age 24 season last year, Locke had failed to establish himself as a rotation candidate, posting a 5.82 ERA in 51 innings, mostly as a starter. So has there been some sort of underlying skillset improvement? I'm not seeing it. The velocity is the same as in prior seasons, and Locke's 16:13 K:BB in 28.2 innings with four homers allowed are hardly inspiring numbers. Locke entered Sunday's outing with a .246 BABIP, so there is an element of luck involved. He's also held hitters to a .118 average with runners in scoring position, a number that is sure to rise. He's not a bad guy to have on your NL-only squad, but if you grab him in shallower formats, be sure to make sure the matchup is right before you put him in there.
Eric Young Jr. (OF-COL) - It's unfortunate that Young doesn't seem to be under consideration for a second base job, though with the shoulder injury to Troy Tulowitzki Sunday (no word on severity as I write this), perhaps some playing time will open up. Young got the start in left field Sunday, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and a caught stealing. He's hitting a solid .314/.342/.486 in 70 at-bats. Young already has three triples, but he doesn't appear to have his dad's instincts on the bases with four CS's in six attempts. Young has had some bright spots in his career, including last year's .316 average and 2011's 27 stolen bases, but the lack of power and merely average (for a leadoff guy with little power) 8.5% BB% has held Young back from every day playing time. There is some NL-only value here, but more if he can qualify at second base (just one game there this year, none in 2012) and get semi-regular playing time. Monitor Tulo's status, as Young could slide into second base with Jose Rutledge shifting to short.
Carl Crawford (OF-LAD) - With Clayton Kershaw on the mound and fanning 12 Brewers Sunday, the Dodgers didn't need a lot of offense, and with two runs scored, they didn't get it. Fortunately, two runs was one more than they needed in a 2-0 win. Both runs? Carl Crawford solo home runs, one on a shot to straightaway center on the first pitching of the game, and the other a line shot in the right field bleachers later in the game. Crawford is now betting a solid .307/.390/.523 with four home runs and four stolen bases. We'd like to see a few more steals from Crawford, but it's really hard to complain about this after his lack of production the previous two seasons and the questions surrounding his elbow coming into this season. Crawford's .56 EYE is a big improvement over last year's .14 and 2011's .22. He's stated in the past that he's not as comfortable leading off than batting third, but the team has a huge need for his skills in the leadoff spot, and so far so good. Crawford's career .333 OBP isn't leadoff-worthy, but he really does look happy and reborn in LA. Hopefully you got him cheap in your auction/draft.