Posted on: August 19, 2009 11:18 pm

Aubrey's All the Huff in Detroit

About two hours after I finally gave up and dropped Aubrey Huff (mostly due to the fact that I traded Josh Johnson for 5 players and needed to clear roster space), Baltimore gave up too, and shipped him off to the AL Central leading and righty-heavy Tigers.  "Righty-heavy".  Is that a legit term?  Because it's the only legit reason I could see Detroit having for even bothering with this guy.

I suppose he's a buy-low opportunity, considering he's been a shell of his quite formidable '08 self, but this guy isn't getting any younger.  As long as he's not hitting .300 anymore, he doesn't do enough to be on my roster.

I would look to Luke Scott as the greater benficiary of this trade.  He'll get everyday playing time now that he can play 1B in Baltimore with Aubrey Huff gone.  As a part-timer, he's hit 20 HR in 320 AB's.  Why would Baltimore continue benching this guy for Huff?  Good trade.

As for Aubrey's value going forward, while he probably won't lose too much play time with the Tigers, he'll likely be benched against tough LHP from time to time.  He hasn't switched leagues, so he'll still be seeing the same pitchers.  It can be argued that better protection in the lineup may help his average, but the problem in Baltimore this year has not been the hitters.   Guys like Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Brian Roberts have been getting on base ahead of and providing protection in back of Huff, who's been a cleanup hitter, all season.

Long story short, if you were already on the fence about dumping Huff from your CI slot, now is probably the time to do it.  Someone like Chris Coghlan will make you forget Huff even exists.  This guy is money now and for the forseeable future.  If Huff is your primary 1B and you need another 1B to replace him, try Billy Butler, Adam LaRoche, Kyle Blanks, or even Mike Jacobs, who has been heating up after a horrible slump.

If you're in a keeper league, check out Ian Stewart for his multiple position eligibility, and huge upside.  Teams like the Rockies are constantly looking to get younger, and Stewart is one of their most versatile up and coming players.
Posted on: August 10, 2009 1:50 pm

The Sox need a shortstop... again.

Nomar Garciaparra, Orlando Cabrera, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Nick Green... Cristian Guzman

Shortstops just don't stick around in Beantown, and the latest rumor is that they're set to acquire another stopgap option in a waiver deal with the Nationals.  Cristian Guzman is a slap hitting .300 avg toolbox of a shortstop.  I call him a toolbox in the nicest way possible.  He can get on base, swipe a few, and go from 1st to home on a double.  Exactly the kind of guy the Red Sox have tried to employ at shortstop for years. 

While Guzman doesn't figure to be the Red Sox long term answer, he may be just what they need to light a fire for the remainder of the season.  And even if he's not, his value is sure to improve enough to serve as a mixed league option for your MI slot.  If you need a middle infielder and you've been trying to decide who to grab, Cristian Guzman is more than likely your best free agent option if he lands in Boston.  Better supporting cast means he'll score more runs and get better pitches to improve upon his already adequate .300+ average.

Posted on: August 3, 2009 4:00 pm

Brian Mat.. Brian Brian WHAT?

MATUSZ. Brian Matusz.  Pronounced "MATT-us".

The Orioles minor league phenom wasn't supposed to get the call until 2010, but all signs point to him being on his way to Baltimore for two starts this week.

Double-A stats: 8-0, 1.57 ERA, .929 WHIP.  That's 51.2 IP, 51 K's, 14 BB.
Honestly, how could you not add this guy in keeper leagues, even if he WASN'T most likely debuting tomorrow?  He's got 4 major league-ready pitches, and has the baseball acumen to use them.  He throws in the low to mid 90's with his fastball, and spots everything he throws beautifully. 

Matusz been quoted as acknowledging the fact that he has always tried for the strikeout against the aluminum bats at the college level (where he has most of his experience to date), but understands that he will need to rip up some lumber and pitch to contact in the majors.  To hear a 22-year old pitcher talk about learning and adjusting at the major league level is refreshing, when you think about how long it may take to drill into David Price 's head that he needs to stop trying to blow everyone away in his first year up.  105 pitches through 4 IP doesn't help player development.

MATT-us.  Matusz. By the end of September, we will all know how to pronounce this guy's name.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 21, 2009 8:44 pm

The Milestone Jinx?

I recall seeing it with A-Rod prior to his 500th HR, and Eric Byrnes before his 100th.
Pre-milestone slumps.

Aubrey Huff isn't quite the corner infielder that Alex Rodriguez is, and he doesn't have Byrnes' great taste in hair style, but he's the latest in a long line of headcase major leaguers who let the pressure of their stats get the better of their hitting abilities. 

Huff hit his 199th HR on July 3rd, and he has been hitting under .200 with no HR's since. I'm benching him until he hits number 200. I bet he'll even mention something about it after the fact... that is, if anyone is paying attention to what a mediocre corner infielder might have to say to the po-dunk media down there at ol' Yankee Stadium South.

Posted on: July 16, 2009 5:53 pm

Need for speed?


Now let's talk about Brewers Triple-A SS, Alcides Escobar .
As if J.J. Hardy 's miserable .230something avg. this year hasn't been bad enough, he now has a nagging shoulder injury and is a DL trip waiting to happen.  I don't care if he says he feels better, or if his manager says he looks good... these guys get paid to play and are torn to shreds by the media and their own sense of pride when they say they can't perform.  It's our job as intelligent fantasy managers to recognize when a player is lying about being 100%.  Shoulder injuries are no joke; you try swinging a bat with a bum shoulder.  Hardy has had enough trouble making contact this year when healthy.

Expect Escobar to get the call if Hardy needs to sit for a few weeks.  If Hardy does manage to avoid a DL stint, Escobar can still see time this September when the rosters open up.

With 30 SB in 87 AAA games, and an AVG hovering near .300, that kind of speed and contact spells instant value at the weak-by-nature SS position. 
You could do much worse at your MI slot, especially if you're already starting a guy like Hardy.

Posted on: July 16, 2009 3:08 am

Today's Pickup - The guy you probably gave up on.

Let me start out by saying that I'm on twitter as well.


Today, let's take a look at Marlins SP Chris Volstad.
Let's face it, June sucked.
1-3 in 5 starts, 6.91 ERA. 16 K's in 27.1 IP.
Do I even want that on my scout team?

However, one trend gives a glint of hope to Volstad's line all year long, even when he struggles.  Nobody walks off this guy.

30 walks in 107 IP this year.

So what about now?
Well, Volstad's two starts so far this July have been.. misleading.  Pittsburgh roughed him up a bit, but it wasn't all as bad as it looks in the box score.  More on that later.  The other start... very good, Actually, a complete game performance against an underrated Giants offense. 

So in July, we see Volstad now has 12 innings, 8 hits, ONE WALK.  .190 BAA is the stat hiding in the corner that should be very indicitave of what's to come for Volstad. As alluded to before, the start vs. PIT: only 3 hits and 1 walk equated to 4 ER. 2 longballs did him in.

His next two starts: @Home vs. PHI, and @SD.  We all know the SD matchup looks good.  Anyone pitching in SD can look good, but the Phillies matchup looks intimidating, unless you get your magnifying glass.

Two starts this year for Chris Volstad against the Phils:
1-0, 13.2IP 12K's, 10 hits, 3 walks.  The ERA sits at 3.29, but the BAA against is a very pretty .200.  This obviously points to the longball being the issue, but we're playing in Florida this time around, not Citizens Joke Park.

Grab this guy.  Lots gave up on him, and he's available in 31% of CBS leagues right now.  Trade for him, before his value goes up any more than it already has following his complete game vs. the Giants. There's still plenty of non-believers in this control freak, but once he cuts down on the longballs, he's an ace.  Until then, watch his matchups as I have here. and it should pay off.
Posted on: July 16, 2009 2:18 am


Welcome to The Fantasy Shocker. Updated daily.  Sleeper waiver pickups and more, expect short but sweet updates providing advice on players that can help down the stretch this season.
I do this because I like to, I'm not paid and I sure as hell don't guarantee anything.  This is baseball.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or