Fantasy baseball weekend takeaways

Fowler shares his thoughts on Felix Hernandez and other fantasy baseball items from over the weekend.

Here are my top five fantasy baseball takeaways from the weekend of May 24, 25 and 26.  Enjoy!

Felix Hernandez - Mayday, Mayday?  No, it's just May.
Stats: 10 ER and 19 hits allowed in last two starts (10 2/3 IP)
Takeaway:  King Felix tweaked his back two starts ago on May 14 and had to leave the game.  He's allowed 10 earned runs in two starts since that tweak.  One of my Twitter followers received a trade offer where he'd send Matt Harvey in exchange for Felix Hernandez.  Because of this lingering injury, I wasn't in a hurry to provide the trade partner an answer just yet.  Aside from the back issue (if it even is one), Hernandez's career numbers in May are by-far his worst month of the baseball calendar.  In eight seasons, he's 12-22 in May with a 4.52 ERA.  His monthly ERA is sub-3.00 in March, April, June, July, and August.  I think, if healthy, King Felix has 10-12 more wins and 130-140 more strikeouts left in the tank. 

Michael Brantley, James Loney and Nate McClouth - We're available!
Brantley Stats (OF): 17 R / 19 RBI / 2 HR / .364 OBP (last 30 games)
Loney Stats (1B): 16 R / 15 RBI / 3 HR / .384 OBP (last 30 games)
McClouth Stats (OF): 18 R / 4 HR / 8 SB (last 30 games)
Takeaway: Now 26 years old, Brantley is starting to produce like the prospect the Indians traded for when they sent C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee five years ago.  He's on pace to set career highs in runs scored, runs batted in, home runs and batting average/on base percentage.  Don't count on Brantley for power in fantasy leagues, but if you are looking for a stable member of your outfield, Brantley is available in over 70 percent of leagues. 

James Loney has his fantasy detractors - no question - and there is some validity to their criticism (his BA and OBP have dipped the last few weeks).  However, he's a decent option if you are looking for a corner infielder this summer.  Loney is available in over 75 percent of leagues.

Nate McClouth's ownership finally crept over 50 percent over the weekend.  His 15 stolen bases are only eight off his single-season high of 23 swiped in 2008 for the Pirates.  McClouth hit 26 home runs that season, too.  While his four homers to-date this season won't knock fantasy owners over, McClouth is on pace to make a run at his single-season record of 113 runs scored.  He's scored 34 runs in 43 games this season.  So, if you are looking for runs and/or stolen bases (who isn't?), McClouth is still available in 45 percent of all fantasy leagues on

Jim Johnson - Should we be concerned about his job security?
Stats:  Blown four out of his past five saves (12 ER)
Takeaway:  It hasn't been pretty and chances are Johnson was the first closer you selected in your draft.  However, Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun on Monday that he wasn't getting into whether or not Johnson's role would change. He did stress the difficulty in shaking things up in the bullpen because so many variables are involved.  So, I would deduce from that comment that Buck isn't in a huge hurry to swap closers.  Johnson's fantasy owners are just going to have to decide whether or not to start him up on a game-by-game basis.  Weekly owners should roll the dice and start him up.

Corey Kluber: Quality starts=quality fantasy pitcher?
Stats:  Three consecutive quality starts - 23 K 1 BB
Takeaway:  I know it's a cliche, but the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation is truly like a box of chocolates.  Justin Masterson can go out and compete against Cy Young award winners, but then gets shelled by the Red Sox in a matchup against John Lackey (who has looked sharp as of late).  Ubaldo Jimenez strung four consecutive quality outings together before getting tagged for six earned runs two starts ago.  Scott Kazmir is as volatile as any pitcher in a rotation.  Unheralded Zach McCallister has been the most consistent pitcher for the Tribe thus far with four wins and 2.89 ERA.  Could Corey Kluber be on the verge of sticking in the No. 5 spot?  He's 1-1 with a no decision in his last three starts.  Plus, he's shaved nearly a run off his ERA during that stretch with only one walk in 19 innings pitched.  It's also worth noting that his pitch counts have reached the 110's the last two trips out, which means the coaching staff trusts the stuff Kluber is throwing.  If you're looking for a low-end SP4 or SP5, Kluber could be worth a look.

Stephen Strasburg - All is right in the world!
Stats: 3-5 with a 2.49 ERA
Takeaway: Ever since I wrote the first "Weekend Takeaways" on May 13 and reassured Strasburg owners their ace would be fine, Strasburg is 2-0 (w/ a ND) with only three earned runs allowed, 20 K, and six walks in 23 innings pitched.  Ready ... set ... exhale.

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