The Rockies and the Rangers are in my thoughts today as each team has made a series of decisions on Tuesday that could have some rather serious ramifications for fantasy squads across the land as players are going on the DL, others are being recalled and still others being sent to the bench.
Chris Davis is back with the Rangers after the club placed Andruw Jones on the DL with a strained hammy. Davis went down to the minors to work on his stroke and apparently a mechanical change has made all the difference in the world as he has gone on to his .327 with a .939 OPS through 44 games at Triple-A (he was also hitting .353 over his last 10 games). Still, don’t go crazy here. Davis hit all of .202 with an insanely pathetic 44.2 K-rate in 258 at-bats with the Rangers earlier this season. He has talent and can certainly sock the long ball with aplomb, but you have to understand the strike zone and what your skills are within that zone, and Davis clearly hasn’t been able to do that with the big league club this season.
It appears that the Rangers are serious about playing Davis every day the rest of the way to see what they have for next season, and as a result the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that the club has informed Hank Blalock that he will be nothing more than a spot starter and a pinch hitter the rest of the way. Blalock has socked 23 long balls and has been healthy for most of the year (404 at-bats), but he is hitting just .238 this season with an OBP of only .274 which includes truly putrid marks of .199 and .213 in 36 games since the All-Star break. Mr. Blalock is likely upset, but with production like that it’s a shock that the Rangers didn’t do something sooner. A name to keep a close eye on is Julio Borbon who figures to see a lot of time against right-handed pitching the rest of the way. Can’t blame the club for wanting to keep his hot bat in the lineup. After all, he is hitting .432 with 10 runs and eight steals in 13 games. It remains to be seen how long he can manage to be even remotely this effective – he has no pop and little strike zone control (10 K, three BB) – but for now he is looking like a fantastic pickup up in deep mixed leagues.
With the Rockies suddenly a bit thin in the outfield with injures to Carlos Gonzalez (he apparently needs lessons on how to handle a steak knife) and Dexter Fowler (on the DL with a bruised knee), the club called up Matt Murton to lend a hand. I’ve always really liked Murton’s approach at the plate and this season at Triple-A he has been tearing it up to the tune of a .321-10-71 line in a mere 327 ABs. In a minor league career of about 1,800 at-bats, Murton has his .309 with a .383 OBP, and though he lacks ideal power for a corner outfielder (only 42 homers in the minors), the man can hit. In fact, in a career in the bigs that spans 945 at-bats, Murton has hit .287 with a .353 OBP, 29 home runs and 112 RBI to go along with 134 runs. To give that some real meaning we are talking about a guy who has hit roughly .290 with 15 home runs, 60 RBI and 70 runs per 500 at-bats. Not great numbers, but there should be a spot on someone’s roster for a bat like that, don’t you think?
Oh, and don’t forget about Eric Young Jr. who was also called up to lend a hand in the outfield. All Young has done at Triple-A this season is hit .299 with a .387 OBP and 118 runs in just 119 games. Blessed with elite speed, Young has also swiped 58 bases and his call to Colorado makes him a must add in NL-only leagues – immediately.
By Ray Flowers