Back to it, and I hope all you Dad's out there had a great day that included family and food, and of course some fun interleague baseball.
We have been spoiled lately with the amount of monster prospects being recalled to the Majors. Last week the pace slowed, but we did get one more: Pedro Alvarez! The Pirates have already been advancing their other major league ready guys, but Alvarez, a third sacker, might just prove to be the best. Pittsburgh selected the 23-year old in the first round of the 2008 draft, and since then he has hit .284 with 40 homers and 148 RBIs over just 192 minor league games. 92 of his 201 hits have gone for extra bases. He was hitting .277-13-41 over 66 games at Indianapolis and looks like the Pirates made the right choice in selecting him.
I was checking the box scores and have noticed a lot of veterans have had quite a few ups and downs this season. Some of those guys have recently been on the upswing lately including Fausto Carmona who was among the best in the league with 12 whiffs last week. And, Carmona has been as good this year as he was awful in 2008-09. For example, this year his ERA is a fine 3.31, almost half of the 6.32 number he logged, last year. His WHIP, similarly, is down to 1.22, after 1.73 and 1.62 the past two seasons (Carmona pitched 120.2 innings in 2008, 125 last year, and has 92.1 this season). Likely he has been acquired in most 15-team formats, but Carmona, who seems to do better, the worse the Indians at large play, is a pretty good bet to finish more like his good 2007 year.
Then Detroit's Jeremy Bonderman, who has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness since 2005 when his skill and expectations were just coalescing, seems to be back after a couple of good starts against Pittsburgh and Washington. He is 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA and is more likely on the free agent list in most mixed leagues. A good gamble right now with his team playing well,
I don't feel as warm and fuzzy about Manny Parra, who has been pitching well, but whose team has hit the skids. Like his predecessors above, Parra has really struggled since 2007 when his major league playing time was excellent, but a small sample of 26 innings. Parra does have a pretty good 3.91 ERA, and 50 whiffs over 48 innings, but he also has a ratio of 1.57, and is pitching on borrowed time with 52 hits and 22 walks over that span. And, well, his team is not very good (1-5 record verifies that). Leave him out there/let him go.
I have never been a Nate Robertson fan in any year, and he has pretty much been ineffective since 2006, but he too was among the strikeout leaders last week as well, and his last two starts, both against Tampa, allowing just a couple of runs over 11.1 innings, but 77 hits and 31 walks over 75 innings, with just 49 whiffs tells me stay away as well.
Then again, Texas Scott Feldman has also won his last two games against two weaker appointents - one with six shutout innings over the Brewers and then pitching seven quality innings against Houston. Feldman is streaky and is nearly at the point last year when he reeled off seven very good starts over August and part of September. Feldman's Ranger team is really rocking and I like him this time of the season.
It seems that Aubrey Huff is one of those guys who alternates between good and lousy years, and it also seems this year is a good one for the left-handed Giant, who is hitting .304-11-36 and looks like he did two years ago in Baltimore, when he hit the same .304. He will keep playing in SF and keep producing, and I do like him with the 305 foot right field line. Always have.
The Brewers advanced 24-year old Jonathan LeCroy who was rocking at AA (.452-0-5) and then struggled a bit with ,238-2-11 totals after being promoted to Class-AAA Nashville. LeCroy has a nice .341 average over 44 at-bats, but nothing else. He was among the MLB leaders in swipes last week, however, with a pair. Note the same is true of Robb Quinlan (who has nothing to offer this year) and Sean Rodriguez, who has marginally more value, especially in an AL only format.