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Fantasy Baseball: Homers of the Braves

Justin Upton just continues to mash. He connected for home run number eight on the young season while the Braves rolled to their 10th straight win, firmly establishing themselves as the early favorites in the National league. Theres not all that much to say about Upton right now. Perhaps you could think about selling high on for a massive return, but short of getting multiple top-30 players, there may not be another player in the league that you would want to move straight up for Upton right now. He’s hitting for power and average, getting on base at a .404 clip and is 2-for-2 on the basepaths. This is the breakout we’ve been waiting for, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Dan Uggla also homered and Juan Francisco went deep twice. Uggla is a great bounce-back candidate this year as he has brought an improved plate discipline to his game over the last couple of season (lead the NL in walks in 2012). Last year was the first time in this guy’s career that he hit fewer than 27 bombs in a full season and we fully expect him to get back to those levels, albeit with a terrible batting average. Still, his power and run production will help you out.

As far as Francisco goes, No Chipper? No problem. Francisco and Chris Johnson have combined to go 28-for-77 (.360) in the early going with 10 runs scored, 12 RBI and four home runs. They will both be squeezed for playing time one first baseman Freddie Freeman returns and they are forced back into a platoon, but both players appear to be swinging the bat well so fat in Hot-lanta. If you have a deep bench and a need at the third base position an all-Braves platoon could actually make a solid fantasy contributor at the hot corner.

Around the League

Homer Bailey and Kyle Kendrick dueled well into the evening on Tuesday night, but the game was suspended in the bottom of the ninth and we won’t know winner until tomorrow. Both starters, however, will get a no-decision for their stellar efforts. Kendrick allowed two hits and two walks with four strikeouts over 7.0 scoreless innings pitched. Bailey was even better, collecting 10 strikeouts without a walk while allowing two hits over 8.0 scoreless innings.  Bailey remains available in 20% of Yahoo standard leagues and really deserves to be added in all leagues. Kendrick is a useful spot starter, but his poor strikeout rate makes him a very tough own in standard leagues.

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez filled up the box score during the Rockies double-header with the Mets, going 5-for-8 with a home run, five runs scored and two RBI. CarGo is off to a studly start, batting .380 on the young season.

David Wright also enjoyed the thin air of Coors field with apair of home runs in the day game. He didn’t quite keep up the production in the night-cap, but Wright owners have little to complain about with a .306-11-2-12-4 5×5 line over his first 13 games.

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano popped his fourth homer of the season while going 2-for-4 on the day with a run scored and three RBI. Cano is universally owned, but Kevin Youkilis (83%) and Travis Hafner (15%) also had two hits are are more readily available to help fantasy owners.

Red Sox catcher Mike Napoli clubbed a pair of double and drove in three during Tuesday’s win. He’s been off to a  pretty slow start with a .236 average and is striking out way to much (18 K vs. 1 BB over 55 at-bats) but also has hit in five straight (7-for-21) with six RBI. He’s warming and perhaps the low average and lack of home run will create a nice buy-low opportunity.

The Rays touched up the Orioles staff for a trio of home runs on Tuesday. Desmond Jennings knocked leadoff blast  and then Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria each homered in the eighth.  Johnson is an interesting case, particularly with the recent injury to Aaron Hill and the depleted depth in the middle infield. He’s got 15/15 type potential and though at-bats and batting average are always a risk, he can be a valuable piece if he’s streaking.

With Jose Bautista absent from the Jays’ lineup, Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia picked up the power pace. Each slugged a solo home run while collecting two hits on the day.

Josh Johnson bounced back from an awful outing to toss seven quality innings. Johnson allowed four hits and two runs with eight strikeouts on the evening. The home runs may be a persistent issue for Johnson in the Rogers’ Centre, but he’s got upside as a top-30 arm in 2013.

The Miami Marlins capitalized on a Ryan Zimmerman throwing error to jump all over a struggling Dan Haren (4.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 2 K). Haren retired nine of his first 10 batters before Zimmerman’s error so there is a glimmer of hope for owners stil hanging on tight.

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria went deep for the first time in his Marlins career, setting the fantastic $2.5 million monstrosity in center field into action in Marlins Park for the first time this year. Hechavarria is not much of  threat offensively, but he’ll continue to get at bats.

Juan Pierre was dropped to second in the Marlins’ order on Tuesday night and responded with a 3-for-4 effort. He scored twice and swiped a pair of bases. Pierre is just 25% owned in Yahoo standard formats and makes for a nice Michael Bourn replacement if you are looking for speed on the wire.

Fellow outfielder Justin Ruggiano had another solid effort for the Marlins, going 2-for-5 with 3 RBI on the day. He’s yet to home run but has three steals on the year. After putting up really solid power and speed totals in a partial season last year, the 21%-owned Ruggiano represents widely available outfielder with 20/20 upside.

Former MVP Joe Mauer is on fire. He went 4-for-5 for the second straight game and over his current nine-game hitting streak he is batting a sizzling 18-for-39 (.461). Oh my.

Future MVP Mike Trout continues to pile on the hits, he went 2-for-4 with three RBi on Tuesday and now has four straight two-hit games. Now it’s just a matter of him getting going on the base paths!

Jim Henderson got the job done at the back end of the Brewers bullpen, working around a couple of hits and one run allowed to collect his second save. John Axford pitched the seventh in this one so it appears Henderson has finally captured the role. Expect Axford to get another crack at the job if he pitches well in a setup role.

Brewers outfielder Nori Aoki continues to play well, going 1-for-2 with his second homer of the season. He also drew a  pair of walks and is slashing at a superb .340/.431/.540 rate over the first couple of weeks.

The Tigers’ offense is starting to click. Miggy homered, Austin Jackson went 2-for-4 with two runs an RBI and a steal and Victor Martinez finally showed up with a 3-for-4 effort. The offense was more than enough to back a quality turn from Doug Fister (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K).

Yonder Alonso and the Padres rolled the Dodgers 9-2. Alonso went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and two RBI. Leadoff man Chris Denorfia also had a nice day at the dish, going 3-for-6 with a steal to push his season average to .395. He’s got  a but of power and a bit of speed and is getting more regular at-bats than we’ve seen in the past. If you’re in a deeper league, Denorfia is a name to keep an eye on.

Dodgers’ starter Chris Capuano allowed five runs in the first two inning before exiting with an injury. If he misses time, Ted Lilly is waiting to take over. Lilly is an intriguing name to watch as he’s been a solid fantasy contributor in the past when healthy.

 

 

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