As we continue to make our way through this final week before the All-Star break, Major League Baseball didn’t take much of an off-day on Monday with 12 games on the schedule and only six teams getting a day to rest.
The Pirates and Royals were the only teams to reach double-digits in scoring. Tampa Bay beat the Yankees in a big AL East game while the NL Central leading Reds continued a nice West Coast swing by beating the Dodgers who continued struggling and fell a game and a half behind the idle Giants. The big mid-week series between the AL West leading Rangers and the AL Central leading White Sox gets under way tonight with Roy Oswalt facing off with Chris Sale.
There were plenty of players who had good nights last night despite getting no love in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. As usual on Sleeper Central, here’s a full lineup of players who contributed to their teams last night are owned in less than half of ESPN leagues, ownership percentages included in parentheses.
Sleeper Starting Lineup
C- Wilin Rosario – Col: (16.3%) Rosario has homered in his last three games in a row and his 2-4 night last night brought his average up to .251. He has the lead among rookies for home runs with 14 and should be in the running for NL Rookie of the Year. He has 36 RBI and 29 runs scored and is proving that he can be an effective hitter even away from Coors Field. Catchers with power are rare giving him fantasy value despite his struggles with strikeouts and a low batting average.
1B- Garrett Jones – Pit: (3.5%) If you don’t have an elite 1B and you missed out on Anthony Rizzo, Jones has been heating up lately and makes a good grab if he keeps hitting like the cleanup hitter the Pirates need. Yesterday, he paced their offense going 4-5 with a double, home run, three runs scored, and four RBI. He’s just short of 200 at-bats on the year and is hitting .266 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI. In his last eight games he’s raised his average 15 points and hit three home runs while driving in nine.
2B- Alexi Amarista – SD: (0.8%) With three multi-hit games in a row, Amarista is pushing his way onto the scene. Last night he drove in three runs going 3-5 with a home run and a double along with a run scored. He’s batting .284 with four home runs and 14 RBI on the year, but has stepped it up since beginning to start every day. His long-term viability as a fantasy option is still a question-mark, but he’s on a tear right now and worth a pickup if you need short-term help. He’s played four games at SS, five games in the OF, and one at 3B so greater flexibility is on the horizon in most leagues.
3B- Todd Frazier – Cin: (0.6%) Frazier went 3-5 with two runs scored, three RBI, and a triple last night against the Dodgers. He’s shown he’s ready for Big League pitching and may begin to see more time over Sott Rolen. Rolen is sidelined right now due to injury, and Frazier’s value will spike if he needs DL time. Frazier has eight home runs, 12 doubles, five triples, 27 RBI, a .278 average, and a .906 OPS. He’ll be a top 10 3B if he gets regular playing time.
SS- Brian Dozier – Min: (0.3%) With a 3-5 game last night, Dozier raised his average to .241. He’s the everyday SS for the Twins and has bounced back after a 0-17 slump. He doesn’t have much power or elite speed, but he can pick up runs, RBI, and hits if you need a fill-in SS.
OF- Justin Ruggiano – Mia: (0.3%) Unfortunately for Ruggiano and his owners, Emile Bonafacio is expected to be back after the All-Star break. Ruggiano has filled in wonderfully in his absence and the Marlins would be wise to find him a spot in their regular lineup. He’s on a five game hitting streak after going 2-4 and bringing his average all the way to .397. He has 23 hits in 26 games played with 13 of them going for extra-bases. He connected on his third home run of the season yesterday while driving in four to bring his RBI total to 13. See where he ends up once Bonafacio returns, but he’s got one of the hottest bats in Miami for the time being.
OF- Tyler Colvin – Col: (3.7%) Colvin went 1-4 with his ninth home run of the year last night in St. Louis. It was just his second away from Coors Field, but he’s worth owning since he’s hitting over .300 and has 32 RBI. He can help compensate for liabilities in batting average and contribute some occasional power of his own. In daily leagues, Colvin is a great pickup whenever the Rockies are at home and can also chip in on the road.
OF- Casper Wells – Sea: (0.2%) Getting the start last night, Wells had a big RBI double that brought Seattle back to beat the Orioles. He went 2-4 with three RBI and has started the last five games for the Mariners. The power numbers haven’t come yet, but he’s getting playing time, got a big hit last night, and is a sleeper to watch the second half of the season.
AL Starting Pitcher- Everett Teaford – KC: (0.0%) In his third start of the season, Teaford held in check a Blue Jays lineup that had been mashing coming into last night. He allowed three runs on five hits while going seven innings to get his first win of the year. He may be worth a look as a spot starter if he keeps this up, but wait to see more consistency before buying in
NL Starting Pitcher- Jeff Samardzija – ChC: (23.9%) Many fantasy owners bought in on Samadzija as he was reeling off a number of solid starts at the beginning of the year. However, as his ownership percentage indicates many jumped ship during June when Samardzija was horrible with a 10.41 ERA and an 0-4 record. A new month seemed to bring back the good in him last night as he struck out a career-high 11 while allowing one earned run on four hits and just one walk. He’s 6-7 on the year and has a not-so-nice 4.77 ERA but if he can get back to the May-June Samardzija he’ll again be worth picking up. He definitely has spot start potential.
Relief Pitcher- Glen Perkins – Min: (15.6%) Matt Capps is on the DL so Perkins and Jared Burton are splitting save chances. Perkins got his third of the year last night closing out the Tigers while allowing two hits and picking up two strikeouts. He has only allowed runs in one of his last nine outings despite a 1.41 WHIP on the season. He has 10 holds and with the Twins on a role (four in a row) could have value in the short-term as a closer and possibly even as a setup man when Capps returns.
Tags: Alexi Amarista Brian Dozier Casper Wells Everett Teaford Fantasy Baseball Additions Garrett Jones Glen Perkins Jeff Samadzija Justin Ruggiano Sleeper Central Todd Frazier Tyler Colvin Waiver Wire Wilin Rosario