Nelson Cruz (OF-TEX): Nelson Cruz continued his fantastic 2013 with a 4-for-5, 1-RBI, 2-run night. The slugger has posted a .280/.338/.523 line with 22 homers, 69 RBI, 42 runs, and 5 steals through 91 games and is the 11th ranked OF on ESPN's Player Rater. Cruz is finally healthy, playing under control, and producing at an elite level for fantasy owners. The Biogenesis suspension is looming and is likely to be announced after the ASB, but with the appeals process likely to be lengthy, I wouldn't downgrade Cruz's value significantly for the remainder of 2013. Unless somebody offers you 90 cents on the dollar or more, I'd stand pat.
Justin Smoak (1B-SEA): Justin Smoak went 2 for 3 with 4 RBI and 1 run. The switch-hitter hit his 8th homer of the season as well, quietly pushing his season line to .266/.366/.424 with a .60 EYE. Interestingly, Smoak has hit all 8 of his homers against righties with an .890 OPS against them, while he has posted a .519 mark against lefties. He hasn't produced viable counting stats hitting towards the bottom of the Mariners lineup, so unless he figures out lefties and/or ditches hitting righty all-together, Smoak is best left for extremely deep mixed leagues and AL-only leagues. For those on a limited FAAB budget and in need of offense, however, Smoak is worth a $1 flier.
Lonnie Chisenhall (3B-CLE): Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits including a grand slam to lead the Indians over the Royals. Chisenhall has been better this time around, OPS's of .749 and .823 in June and July after posting .656 and .432 marks in the season's first two months. His EYE has also improved dramatically, providing more reason for optimism. However, until Chisenhall shows improvement against lefties, he remains a risky play, as the he's hitting .091 with a .360 OPS against them and has yet to draw a walk. When the matchups are there he makes for an intriguing play in deeper mixed leagues.
Gordon Beckham (2B-CHW): After going 2 for 4 with 1 run and 1 steal in game 1, Beckham saw his 8-game hitting streak snapped in game 2, as he went 0 for 5 with an RBI. Beckham had been scorching since his return from a wrist injury and has become one of the most-added players across a variety of leagues. Is this a legitimate breakout or an aberration? I buy this as a legitimate step in the right direction. Robin Ventura told him to lower his stance late last season and it has definitely improved his contact and line drive rates. While his .335 AVG is inflated thanks to a .383 BABIP, I could see him finishing around .280-.290. The power will eventually come as he finds a balance in his approach. The biggest concern I have is the plate discipline, as his EYE has decreased to a .22 level. Overall, I see him as a decent MI play in deeper mixed leagues and a name to keep in mind for 2014 if he continues to progress.
Nate McLouth (OF-BAL): McLouth continued to swing a cold bat, going 0 for 5 with 2 strikeouts. He is 6 for his last 32 with only 2 runs, 1 RBI, and 0 steals in that span. Is this the beginning of the end for McLouth and his owners, or just a normal part of a lengthy season? He has maintained a solid EYE throughout the season, is still hitting lefties at a respectable clip (.804 OPS against), and is healthy. I see no reason why he won't right the ship, and once he does, he'll start stealing more bases. Buck Showalter has been known to shuffle the lineup, so a permanent demotion to the bottom of the order would hurt his value. However, there aren't many viable alternatives at the moment. Stand pat with McLouth.
There are over 100 players covered in the members' area each day. If you're not already a subscriber, please join us today!