Fantasy Baseball Final: August 26, 2016
On these very pages, I lauded the acquisition of Jeremy Jeffress as just as crucial as the acquisition of Jonathan Lucroy. He has a 4.00 ERA in nine games as a Ranger, but has been used in more of a setup role than was originally anticipated. Lucroy has gone nuts as he hit seven home runs in a little over 70 at bats as a Ranger. However, he is not the lead story coming out of Arlington in this Friday night edition of Fantasy Baseball Final.
Jeffress was arrested late Thursday night for DWI and was booked the following morning. He had been drinking at a night club and was arrested shortly after leaving. The league is investigating the matter because Jeffress has a history of drug use dating back to his time as a minor leaguer. Alcohol is not officially a part of the Joint Drug Agreement. Jeffress has been placed on the restricted list. At this point, we aren’t sure whether there will be any further disciplinary action against him by the team or the league.
If the Rangers have any weakness (they have the best record in the AL) it is with their pitching staff. They have had a string of starters and relievers go through the doors in the hopes of settling on a group that will consistently perform. Certainly, they have had great performance on top (Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish), but the depth just hasn’t been there. Jeffress just might be another in a long line of disappointments.
If you read one thing
The wild card races are beginning to tighten up as numerous teams have kept themselves in the race with recent win streaks. The defending champions were thought to be out of the race, but they have turned on the jets recently and they have done all of it without their closer Wade Davis. Kelvin Herrera has stepped up in a big way as he now has ten saves to go along with a sparkling 1.84 ERA. The Royals are obviously flawed, but as long as they have that air tight bullpen they will be a factor.
Another factor in their recent performance has been the emergence of Alex Gordon in recent weeks. There are fewer and fewer Gordon owners going around these days. When you get hurt and consistently hit below .220 that will happen. He has rewarded the few that kept him with a hitting barrage in recent weeks. In his last 15 games, he is hitting .364 with six home runs and ten RBI. Maybe more importantly, his impressive patience has him with a robust .364/.444/.745 slash line. He might be a decent pickup if no one has him in your league.
We kind of expected…
It has been a down year for pitching star Felix Hernandez, but even in down years he puts up pretty good numbers. He is 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA after his victory on Friday night. The ERA and rate statistics are fairly normal, but he missed significant time for the first time in his career. Still, he should finish with double digit victories for the eighth consecutive season unless he misses more time due to injury. With 117.2 innings to date, he likely will finish with the least amount of innings in his career since his rookie season in 2005.
We didn’t expect…
When you think of the Yankees you usually think of the best team that money can buy. No franchise has used free agency to its advantage more than the Yankees since its inception in the 1970s. George Streinbrenner loved to make big splashes. His sons have tempered that approach with more investment in player development. Rookie Gary Sanchez became the third player in baseball history to belt ten home runs in his first 22 games as a big leaguer. His presence makes life a little harder for incumbent catcher Brian McCann. Still, for the first time since anyone can remember, more players in their lineup are either home grown or acquired via trade than through free agency.
- Aroldis Chapman (30)
- Seung Hwah Oh (13)
- Edwin Diaz (11)
- Tony Watson (9)
- Francisco Rodriguez (36)
- Kelvin Herrera (10)