As Major League Baseball continues it’s approach to the half-way point, every team was in action across the country yesterday with plenty of fantasy baseball goodness to go around. The Dodgers finally broke through and scored some runs and got the win. The Red Sox and Mariners played another incredibly close game, while the Yankees took care of the White Sox at home. It was a good day to be a starting pitcher named Travis (see below) and the All-Star teams were announced giving us the usual snubs and surprises.
We’ll have the fantasy All-Stars next Tuesday during the break, but here’s our sleeper starting lineup from yesterday’s games. All these impact players are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues and could make great pickups depending on your situation. If you need a waiver wire pickup, these guys are a good place to start and to dig deeper, check out our archive
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Michael McKenry – Pit: (0.2%) Although not normally considered a fantasy option, McKenry has forced his way onto the scene while Rod Barajas was sidelined with a knee bruise. After going 1-3 with a three-run homer yesterday McKenry has hit three home runs, driven in nine runs, and raised his batting average 50 points over his last five games. He’s hittint .242 with six home runs and 15 RBI on the season while playing 31 games. Now that Barajas is back and healthy, it remains to be seen what the catching roles will be. Monitor the situation since McKenry has shown he can have value when he gets playing time.
1B- Brandon Moss – Oak: (21.1%) Moss has lost some playing time with the call-up and hot start of Chris Carter, but he did manage to connect on his eighth home run of the year yesterday. He has 13 RBI and a .229 batting average, so although he’s been hitting it long he hasn’t been hitting it as often as the A’s would like from a full-time 1B. See how he and Carter split time since both have shown some pop when in the lineup.
2B- Ryan Theriot – SF: (12.3%) One of the most underrated everyday 2B, Theriot is a steady part of the Giants lineup who is undervalued in many formats. Yesterday, he went 2-3 with a double, two walks, and scored three runs in the Giants 4-3 win. He’s hitting .272 on the year and has eight steals, 16 RBI, seven doubles, and 21 runs in his 191 at-bats. He’s not going to bring you power, but is a steady source of hits, runs, and RBI witch occasional speed.
3B- Alberto Callaspo – LAA: (0.1%) After a brutal start, Callaspo is starting to heat up a bit with three home runs in his last eight games and six RBI in the same time frame. He’s still hitting just .258 and doesn’t have a steal yet this season. He’s hit up and down the lineup but has managed 22 runs scored and 23 RBI. He’s heating up and has found time regularly at 3B for LA and may be worth an add if he keeps it up.
SS- Alexi Amarista – SD: (0.0%) Although still virtually unowned, Amarista has definitely grabbed my attention and appears to have a spot in the Padres lineup locked down. He started at SS yesterday and is also eligible at 2B and on his way to getting OF and 3B eligibility as well. He went 2-4 yesterday with a run scored in the Padres 2-0 win after hitting a pair of home runs on Saturday. He’s picked up the pace since getting a starting role and he’s a hot bat to fill in at SS at least short-term if you need a stop gap.
OF- Juan Rivera – LAD: (1.8%) Finally the Dodgers got some offense, and Rivera was in the middle of it going 1-3 with a double, three RBI, and two runs scored. He’s hitting .263 with 27 RBI in 48 games and at least won’t lose playing time with the Carlos Lee trade off the table at least for now.
OF- Norichika Aoki – Mil: (7.2%) With his 2-4 game on Italian heritage day in Milwaukee, Aoki extended his hitting streak to eight games and added a double and a run scored as his average crept closer to .300 and is now .391. He has 10 steals and 31 runs scored and has settled in as the everyday leadoff hitter for the Brewers. If you need steals, runs, and hits he can be a good addition and does have some pop as well with four home runs and 14 RBI.
OF- Juan Pierre – Phi: (26.9%) Pierre continues to play plenty for the Phils and generate offense when he gets the chance. He went 2-3 yesterday with a triple and a pair of runs scored. He did not steal a base breaking his streak of three games in a row with a theft. On the season he’s 19-22 in stolen base attempts and is now hitting a solid .318 with 30 runs scored while collecting 223 at-bats. He rests when Philadelphia faces tough lefties, but has been a solid outfielder if you need leadoff-type stats.
AL Starting Pitcher- Travis Blackley – Oak: (2.2%) Blackley has allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts after holding the Rangers to seven hits and a run while pitching seven innings last night. Blackley moved to 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA and a stellar 1.09 WHIP. He’s only allowed one home run all year and is a great spot starter heading into the second half.
NL Starting Pitcher- Travis Wood – ChC: (6.5%) Wood has been as dominant as his AL counterpart recently. Yesterday he held the Astros scoreless over 7.2 innings allowing just three hits and not walking any. He struck out four while lowering his WHIP to an identical 1.09 with a 3.05 ERA and a 3-3 record. He allowed six runs against San Diego way back on May 22, but hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any other of his nine starts. Wood’s wins will be limited by the Cubs offense, but he’s been great since joining the Cubs rotation.
Relief Pitcher- Joaquin Benoit – Det: (8.0%) Benoit is solidifying his reputation as one of the best setup men in the game after picking up his 19th hold yesterday against Tampa. He has allowed just nine earned runs in 37 innings and has 48 strikeouts while serving as the primary setup man for Jose Valverde in Detroit.
Tags: Alberto Callaspo Alexi Amarista Brandon Moss Fantasy Baseball Additions Joaquin Benoit Juan Pierre Juan Rivera Michael McKenry Norichika Aoki Ryan Theriot Travis Blackley Travis Wood Waiver Wire