Brandon Belt is finally living up to expectations with the Giants. Well, maybe. He’s killing it in August with a .415 average, four homers an a 1.329 OPS. Going back a bit further he’s got a .324/.407/.563 slash line over his last 22 games, and with the hot streak Belt has pushed his season line up to .273-14-48-56-5 to go along with a .351 OBP and .821 OPS. While those numbers aren’t really fantasy exciting, they are nice numbers for a guy who is finally starting to establish himself as an everyday player in the big league. To compare how he has done this season, remember when everyone was so excited about Mitch Moreland earlier in the year? At this point Belt is better as Moreland has a fantasy line of .247-17-46-42-0.
Chris Carter has delivered tons of power, as expected, for the Astros (he has 22 homers in 369 at-bats). He’s also struck out an insanely high 158 times in those 369 at-bats. That horrific approach has led to a .211 batting average and a .310 OBP, and that’s just awful. You’re paying a high price for the power, one you should only be paying if you’re in an AL-only league in most cases. Still, it’s pretty amazing to think that his production this season has been nearly identical to that of Josh Hamilton.
C.Carter: .211-22-56-49-0 w/ .746 OPS
Hamilton: .226-17-57-55-3 w/ a .690 OPS
That’s something ain’t it? Cosart is also sporting a 1.18 WHIP ad he’s gone six starts with a 58 percent ground ball rate and no homers allowed. While he has been tremendous, he’s also walked as many batters as he struck out leading to a 4.15 K/9 and 4.15 BB/9 ratio. The grounders are nice, but there could be a reckoning coming with that K/BB ratio and zero homers allowed in 39 innings.
Chia-Jen Lo is apparently the closer for the Astros. He’s worked six scoreless innings for the ‘Stros with five Ks. He’s also walked three guys and has scant upper level experience – those six innings represent all of his work above Double-A ball. Over 128 innings in the minors Lo has a 2.11 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and more than a K per inning while racking up nine saves. Josh Fields is apparently the backup arm to own for 9th inning action in Houston. Wow, that’s three segments on Astros’ players in one article. That has to be an all-time first.
Nate Schierholtz has long been a solid big leaguer, though he’s been known more for his defense than his bat. Given a chance to play every day with the Cubs, Nate has responded with a solid season hitting .268 with 16 homers, 49 RBIs and 45 runs scored (he’s also tossed in six steals). Quite the NL-only option he has been.
Alfonso Soriano has 24 homes, 72 RBIs, 63 runs scored and 11 steals this season. Yet again he has been a very productive performer. And the last two days… he’s been the best hitter on the planet. Soriano had three hits and three runs Tuesday. He had three hits and three runs Wednesday. He had two homers Tuesday. He had two homers Wednesday. He had six RBIs Tuesday. He had seven RBIs Wednesday. All told, over two games, Soriano had six hits, six runs, four homers and 13 RBIs. I think we know who the player of the week is going to be.
Oscar Taveras is a can’t miss prospect according to everyone, and Baseball America had him as the #2 prospect in baseball in their mid-season report. In yet another cautionary tale for those that chose to speculate on young prospects on draft day… Taveras’ season is over without ever appearing in a big league uniform. Dealing with ankle woes for a couple of months, the decision was made that he will go under the knife so that they can find out why the issues has continued for so long. Taveras should be fine for the start of next season, and he did have a solid slash line this season at Triple-A (.306/.337/.462), but his 2013 season is still going to be viewed as a disappointing one. The Cardinals might be forced to re-sign Carlos Beltran though, or add someone else, because they cannot be counting on Taveras to be starting in their outfield come next April.
By Ray Flowers