Weekly Fantasy Baseball Update: July 2nd – July 8th
The past week contained some pretty strange events, including the tragic death of a fan at a Rangers game, Albert Pujols returning from the Disabled List a month early, and highly touted 19 year-old prospect Mike Trout’s promotion in Los Angeles following an injury to outfielder Peter Bourjos.
Fantasy Stud of the Week – Michael Cuddyer, RF, Twins
Michael Cuddyer helped the Twins continue their journey toward first place (8-2 record over their last ten games) last week, by posting a line of 12-26 (.462 AVG) with 3 home runs, 7 runs scored, and a whopping 12 RBIs. He also walked (5 BB) more times than he struck out (3 K), which always adds value in leagues which use OBP instead of AVG. Cuddyer is also extremely valuable because of his position eligibility: he has played more than 10 games at first and second base, as well as outfield, allowing him to fill in for multiple positions on a fantasy team. (Honourable mention: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins, .423 AVG, 3 HR, 6 R, 10 RBI)
Fantasy Dud of the Week – Matt Joyce, OF, Rays
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. After Joyce posted a .414 AVG in May he posted a .173 AVG in June, and carried it into July last week by going 1-21 (.048 AVG). Matt Joyce is a player who has probably been picked up by a team in your league (81% owned in ESPN leagues). Here’s a tip: if it was you, it’s time to drop him. Joyce is normally a guy who both strikes out and walks a lot (24.8% career K%, 11.6% career BB%), but with his BB% dipping to 9.1% this season, and his growing void of offensive production, his time should be up on anyone’s fantasy roster. (Honourable mention: Adam Dunn, 1B, White Sox, .107 AVG, 2 HR, 3 R, 5 RBI, 15 K)
Rookie to watch – Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
The “2” of the Braves’ young Heyward-Freeman 1-2 punch has performed up to those expectations this week, going 9-23 (.391 AVG) with 4 home runs, 6 runs scored, and 9 RBIs, while tossing in 5 walks. Freeman is certainly going to be a fantastic player as he has already shown this season by posting a .279 AVG and a .353 OBP with 13 home runs. In the Braves’ lineup Freeman has the possibility to score and drive in a lot of runs because he will be consistently hitting with (barring injuries) Martin Prado, Jason Heyward, and Dan Uggla around him. Freeman can be a great pickup for anyone’s fantasy team, especially if you need someone to fill in for injured first basemen Justin Morneau or Ike Davis. Make sure to grab him fast, if he hasn’t been taken already: he’s 88% owned in ESPN leagues and that increased by a mammoth 36% last week alone.
Waiver Wire Player of the Week – Danny Valencia, 3B, Twins
Danny Valencia followed Michael Cuddyer’s lead to carry the Twins last week, as he went 12-26 (.462 AVG) with 2 home runs, 6 runs scored, and 9 RBIs. With Valencia and Cuddyer hitting so well in the same lineup, it’s no surprise that the Twins are winning so many games and that both players picked up a lot of runs scored and RBIs. If the MVP version of Joe Mauer shows up next week, expect both Valencia and Cuddyer to have the opportunity to put on repeat performances. Valencia is only 41% owned in ESPN leagues, but he’s going fast, as that increased by a monstrous 39% last week, so pick him up if you need someone to be a stopgap at third base and your team has been lacking in offensive production from that position.