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Free-agent frenzy: Pick up SPs Zambrano, Bailey
Less than three weeks to go, people! Are you scrambling to fill every free-agent hole every chance you get? There’s no time to waste!
(Note: All stats are through Monday’s games.)
Luke Scott, 1B/OF, Baltimore (74.3 percent owned)
Scott is batting .281 with a career-high 26 homers? Yep, and it’s due to some extreme splits. Check these out:
vs. LHP: .247 BA, 7 HR
vs. RHP: .292 BA, 19 HR
Home: .346 BA, 18 HR
Away: .213 BA, 8 HR
If you could get Scott to play at home against righties every day, it might be worth cutting Albert Pujols and picking him up. Since you can’t do that, take comfort in the fact that most pitchers are righthanded, and grab Scott if you need a few homers over the final few weeks.
Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore (60.4 percent owned)
Since coming off the disabled list in late July, Roberts has batted .298 with four homers, 20 runs scored, seven stolen bases and a .801 OPS in 43 games. Or, put another way, Roberts has been what’s he’s always been, and that’s a guy you tried to draft in the fifth round this spring before he got hurt. If you need a middle infielder, check your league’s free-agent wire for Roberts.
No kidding. The Big Z has been terrific since rejoining the Cubs’ rotation a little over a month ago, going 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 45 innings over seven starts. He’s gotten stronger lately, with 32 Ks in his last 28 1/3 innings. Zambrano might not be worth the $18 million he’s being paid this season, but his paycheck isn’t your problem. Try to snatch him up if you need a free-agent starter. He probably has four starts left.
Brett Anderson, SP, Oakland (30.1 percent owned)
Anderson has a 3.27 ERA since coming off the DL in late July, with 38 whiffs against 13 walks in 55 innings. This 22-year-old lefty is a burgeoning ace, and you should get on the bandwagon now. Watch for a breakout in 2011.
Koji Uehara, RP, Baltimore (9.8 percent owned)
Why is Uehara getting the saves in Baltimore, when his fastball can’t break a pane of glass? Because he throws strikes. Lots and lots of strikes. The guy has walked two batters in 31 1/3 innings since coming off the DL in late June, for crying out loud. Sometimes, a manager just wants a little certainty in his life.
Oh, and did I mention that Uehara is striking out more than a batter per inning, even though his fastball averages 87.8 mph? I can’t explain it either, but who cares how he’s doing it if he keeps getting saves?
Pittsburgh (7.5 percent owned)
Tabata’s not bad for a guy who just turned 22, huh? The former Yankee farmhand is batting .307 with 51 runs scored and 17 stolen bases in 83 games since being called up in June. Double those numbers to make a full season, and you’ve got yourself a terrific young leadoff hitter. Tabata doesn’t have much power, but so what? Most fantasy speed guys can’t hit at all.
Logan Morrison, 1B, Florida (7.1 percent owned)
Guess who’s second in the majors in runs scored over the past three weeks? Yep, it’s Morrison, who has reached base in 33 consecutive games. The rookie only has two homers so far, but he’s scored 32 runs in 43 games, thanks to a terrific walk rate. And with 16 doubles over that span, you’ve gotta think more power is gonna come … right?
Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati (5.9 percent owned)
Bailey’s ERA has been 4.34 in six starts since returning from Triple A, and that’s not so great. But his excellent ratio of 31 strikeouts to seven walks tells a different story. Bailey’s biggest issue had been his control, so his recent performances are a great sign of improvement. You could probably do a lot worse if you’re looking for a mixed-league starter to help with your fantasy stretch run.
Clay Hensley, RP, Florida (1.2 percent owned)
What have we been saying all year? A closer is a closer if the manager says he is. Hensley was inserted into the role last week at the expense of Leo Nunez, and saved games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’m not going to argue with a guy who’s been striking out a batter per inning all year.
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