Andruw Jones (OF--Yankees) In a one of his rare starts on Thursday, Andruw Jones hit two home runs for his fifth and sixth of the season. It was the second time this season that Jones had a multi-home run game with his first one coming against the Blue Jays once again. Apparently, manager Joe Girardi is clued into the fact that Jones loves to hit off of Jo-Jo Reyes as three of Jones' six home runs this season have come off of Reyes. But unfortunately for Jones, he can't face Reyes every night. Jones did mention to push his batting average above the .200 line which is something but it's not enough for fantasy owners to really take a chance on Jones. For the most part other the occasional start, he is limited to pinch hitting or defensive appearance. The recommendation going forward: if Jo-Jo Reyes is pitching against the Yankees, I'd grab Andruw Jones for daily leagues.
Frank Francisco (RP--Blue Jays) For manager Blue Jay John Farrell it's become a choice between the lesser of two evils. And apparently his choice has been to go with Jon Rauch over Frank Francisco who has been the worse of the two. Francisco has posted a pretty ugly 5.68 ERA in 25.1 innings and while his strikeout ration has been very impressive (K/9-10.73), it's his awful WHIP of 1.85 and terrible control (BB/9-5.18) that have been the biggest culprits. The velocity on his fastball has been as good as ever but batters are hitting bee bees off of Francisco with a line drive rate at 27.4% which has resulted in a BHIP of .380; that's 83 points above his career norm. I guess if we are looking for a silver lining his FIP of 4.44 is far below his ERA and indicates that he has pitched a little better than the end results. Still that doesn't change the fact that for now he will not see any ninth inning action as a closer. He did see action on Thursday and finished the game in a non-save situation without allowing a run. Deeper fantasy leagues may still find some value holding onto him if there is room on the bench as he may eventually get his closer duties back at some point. But unfortunately there is no current timetable as to when that might occur.
Miguel Cabrera (1B--Tigers) It's probably a fantasy owner's worse nightmare: you've got one of your best players make it to the All-Star game and he winds up getting injured. Well, Miguel Cabrera tweaked his side in the Mid-season classic on Tuesday and was to be reevaluated on Thursday. Recent reports and Twitter buzz indicates that Cabrera is fine and will be in the starting lineup on Friday. Owners can breathe a collective sigh of relief at this news. Cabrera is putting together another solid season batting .311 on the year with 18 home runs which puts him on pace for 32 before the season is over. Going into the break he had been struggling some batting just .136 over his past 22 at-bats but it did include a home run. Historically, Cabrera tends to tail off the second half of the season. August and September are leaner months for him hitting just .294 and .291 respectively but he still maintains good power consistently in the second half through his career. Look for a solid finish and continued strong fantasy value.
Carlos Santana (C--Indians) Carlos Santana let loose on Thursday hitting his fourteenth home run of the year against Jeremy Guthrie. Santana added another hot a collected three RBI on the evening. His average is still floundering in the .230's but this is certainly an optimistic sign that Santana may be ready for a resurgent second half. His solid EYE of 0.91 should help to boost his average but he has gone through periods where the strikeouts pile up (19.2%) and with a poor CT% of 77.1% that is a problem. Coming into this season with just 150 major league at-bats, you would have to expect a learning curve that would extend into the beginning of this season. Maybe with a strong showing like Thursday's, he's getting ready to step it up.
Bartolo Colon (SP--Yankees) Bartolo Colon had a less than impressive first outing to start the second half. He wasn't able to get through the first inning against the Blue Jays on Thursday as he recorded just two outs. He gave up six hits and walked two, allowing eight runs. The good news is that only three were earned due to a Eduardo Nunez error. Colon has certainly been one of the surprises of the season as he still holds a 3.47 ERA despite his poor outing on Thursday. With a K/9 rate of 7.9, that's a rate that Colon hasn't seen since 2001 when he was with Cleveland, so I'd be a little skeptically that he will maintain that level. Include the fact that this outing is somewhat punctuated by his previous drubbing at the hands of the Rays prior to the break, it's particularly concerning. The five earned runs in 5.2 innings on ten hits amounts to a cumulative of 6.1 innings with eight earned runs and 16 hit in his last two starts. Include six walks and one strikeout, I'd be wary of Colon going forward into next week.
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