Tag: Seth Smith

Seth Smith Traded to Orioles for Yovani Gallardo: Latest Details, Reaction

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to trade right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners for outfielder Seth Smith

The Orioles officially announced the deal on Twitter, also noting they sent cash considerations to the Mariners.  

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Gallardo was an ideal fit for what the team needed heading into 2017.

“Gallardo gives us the veteran presence that we have been searching for,” he said, per the team’s official Twitter account. “He has a track record of durability and success as a starting pitcher. After examining the free agent and trade market, Yovani is the best fit for our club as we move forward this offseason.”

Per ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick, the Orioles gained a little financial flexibility to address other holes on the roster by saving $4 million in the trade. 

The move is unusual for the Mariners, who traded a younger and cheaper starter in Taijuan Walker to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier in the offseason. They are replacing him with Gallardo, who posted a 5.42 ERA with 85 strikeouts and 61 walks in 118 innings last season. 

The Orioles needed to find a right fielder who can take the place of Mark Trumbo, assuming he doesn’t re-sign as a free agent. Even though Smith can’t match Trumbo’s power, he’s a better overall hitter with a .344 career on-base percentage and will cost only $7 million in 2017, per Baseball-Reference.com.

This is a low-key deal that fills a clear need for both teams, though the Orioles’ side looks better because Smith is a more valuable commodity at this point in his career than Gallardo is. 

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Seth Smith Contract Option Picked Up by Mariners: Latest Details and Reaction

The Seattle Mariners announced they picked up outfielder Seth Smith‘s $7 million club option for 2017 on Thursday.

Since the Mariners acquired him in a trade with the San Diego Padres ahead of the 2015 campaign, Smith has posted a .248 batting average and .336 on-base percentage with 28 home runs, 105 RBI and 116 runs scored across 273 games with the organization.

His 16 home runs last season marked the second-highest total of his career behind only his 2010 campaign with the Colorado Rockies. He also set a new career high with 63 RBI.

The Ole Miss product attributed his success to a better approach at the plate after making some minor adjustments, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

“Just make sure you are getting started early enough,” Smith said in July. “Some basic hitting things that sometimes you need to get back to.”

He’s also been better suited for a platoon role in which he starts only against right-handed pitchers. He owns a .355 on-base percentage and .827 OPS against righties compared to his .282 OBP and .594 OPS against lefties in his career, according to Yahoo Sports.

Ultimately, the Mariners decided he was worth the $7 million investment. The team’s offense ranked sixth in runs scored last season, and picking up Smith’s option leaves one less void to fill as Seattle attempts to match or exceed that output in 2017.

How the outfield will shape up probably won’t become clear until after spring training. Smith could end up splitting time with Guillermo Heredia at one of the corner spots, but the team may thrust him into a full-time role if a platoon partner doesn’t emerge.


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Seth Smith to Mariners for Brandon Maurer: Latest Trade Details, Reaction, More

The San Diego Padres have agreed to a trade that will send outfielder Seth Smith to the Seattle Mariners for right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer.   

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported the deal was done:

The Mariners would later confirm the trade

Smith, 32, had been garnering interest from the Mariners throughout the MLB offseason. The deal picked up steam in recent days, with Bob Nightengale of USA Today reporting earlier Tuesday that Maurer was San Diego’s prime target.

Smith hit .266/.367/.440 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI last season, his first with the Padres. His 2.6 wins above replacement (FanGraphs formula) was the second best of his career, as he made significant strides with his plate discipline. After flashing pop and patience with Colorado, Smith had regressed over a two-season stint in Oakland before landing with the Padres.

Drew Silva of Hardball Talk has an interesting stat on Smith that may come as a surprise to many:

Maurer, 24, is a strong, right-handed flamethrower who has yet to taste much big league success. He has a 5.58 ERA and 1.47 WHIP across 159.2 career innings. The Mariners brought him up as a starter in 2013 before slowly converting him into a full-time reliever prior to the 2014 All-Star break. It’s likely the Padres will move him back to the starting rotation at first given his age and physical tools.


Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter

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Will Padres’ Upton-Kemp-Myers Push to Win Now Pay off Big or Backfire?

If it wasn’t obvious before, it certainly is now: The San Diego Padres are going for it in 2015. Like, really going for it, so much so that they have acquired an entirely new starting outfield made up of Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and now Justin Upton—just in the past week.

The man behind all the manic maneuvers? New general manager A.J. Preller, who was hired only four months ago, in August, to try to revitalize a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 2010 and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006.

“A month and a half into his first offseason as general manager, A.J. Preller has already introduced himself as one of the more aggressive front-office types in the game,” writes AJ Cassavell for Sports on Earth. “And one thing is very clear: He wants to win now.”

The Padres, suddenly and undoubtedly, are relevant again, thanks to all of these new big-name additions—Preller also traded for All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics on Thursday evening—but is this avalanche of activity going to work out?

Or could so much turnover in such a short period of time backfire on Preller and the Padres?

While there are questions to be answered and likely still more moves to be made, of this we can be sure: The Padres offense will be better in 2015. It almost has to be just by default, but now it’s going to be way, waaay better.

After all, San Diego scored just 535 runs last year—dead last in MLB by a wide margin—and the club’s aggregate triple-slash line was look-away hideous: .226/.292/.342.

To put that in context: Those first two triple-slash numbers rank among the very worst in baseball history since the end of the dead-ball era in 1920. That .226 batting average was 14th-worst in that span, and the .292 on-base percentage was 21st-worst.

All three of Kemp, Myers and Upton are right-handed power-hitters, which should provide a huge—and much-needed—boost.

But that doesn’t necessarily guarantee offensive success. Remember: The Padres still have to try to make contact with the baseball at hitter-hell Petco Park, which is death to righty swingers in particular. And all of the players Preller has brought aboard in the past week happen to hit from the right side.

“If you have an imbalance…you don’t want to flip it too far the other way,” Preller said recently via Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. “I think ideal world is you leave [manager] Buddy (Black) with enough pitching and try to find a way to get a few more bats.”

Maybe San Diego’s lineup is too righty-heavy?

There’s also the fact that the club’s outfield defense could be a concern, as none of Kemp, Myers or Upton is more than an average defender, and they’ll have to cover an extremely spacious outfield, to boot.

Can Kemp’s reportedly arthritic hips handle center field? Or will the Padres play the younger, fresher Myers there? Or maybe San Diego will put Cameron Maybin to use by letting him patrol center with his athleticism and range, thus perhaps shifting Myers to first base?

It certainly could help if Myers, who has experience as a catcher and third baseman in the minors, could handle that position. Otherwise, the Padres appear for now to be stuck at first with injury-prone Yonder Alonso and his 27 career homers in 405 games.

While it seems that third base also could present a problem, madman Preller already has addressed that potential Yangervis Solarte-sized hole by swapping one of his recently acquired catchers for yet another righty slugger, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

That said, despite his power, Will Middlebrooks is far from a sure thing, having endured injuries and struggles at the plate the past two years, hitting just .213/.265/.364 in that time for the Boston Red Sox.

Then there’s the issue of what San Diego does at shortstop, currently manned by glove-only Clint Barmes.

In other words, despite the additions of Kemp, Myers, Norris and now Upton and Middlebrooks, Preller, it seems, isn’t finished. He can’t be.

After all, why stop now, when the roster is overstocked with excess outfielders who have to become bait for even more trades? Lookin’ at you, Rymer Liriano, Seth Smith, Will Venable and Carlos Quentin!

With Kemp and Myers both under team control through 2019, there’s no way the Padres can carry so many outfielders.

Look for Preller to spin at least a couple of those names above to obtain either a shortstop and/or some rotation depth after Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and the ever-injured duo of Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow.

A former top prospect, Liriano could command a nice little return, and Smith’s team-friendly contract has drawn interest, according to Lin. Then again, Smith looks like the only capable lefty bat on the roster at the moment.

As for the Upton deal, it represents both a bigger push for 2015 and a bigger risk, because he is a free agent this time next year. The Padres could try to sign him long term, of course, but if not, at least they’ll get a compensation draft pick out of it in 2016.

Thanks to Preller, the Padres now have overtaken the Dodgers, Red Sox and Chicago White Sox as the most active team so far this offseason. And there’s almost certainly more to come out of—and more into—San Diego.

There still are holes to be filled and problems to be answered. Preller has work to do, trades to make and players to sign.

But the Padres are better now than they were a week ago, maybe even better enough to matter in the NL West—home to the presumptive favorite Dodgers and World Series defending San Francisco Giants—for the first time in years.

Before that judgment can be made, though, let’s see what else Preller has up his sleeves, which are firmly rolled up.


Statistics are accurate through the 2014 season and courtesy of MLB.com, Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11.

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MLB Trade Rumors: Trade Buzz Surrounding Josh Hamilton and Seth Smith

The freshest batch of rumors is in, and the reports suggest that a couple of potent bats could be on the move in the months prior to spring training.

Several teams have been aggressive in reshaping their rosters. The Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics and San Diego Padres have been extremely busy upgrading and reshuffling in order to get the most talent on their respective rosters. The smartest teams use a mix of free agency and trades to make changes.

Making trades can be difficult, though, as negotiating for top players is never easy. Every organization values a player differently, hence the difficulties that often ensue.

Regardless, the following players are likely candidates to be dealt at some point during the winter months.


Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton hasn’t posted poor numbers on par with B.J. Upton since signing with the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2013 season, but many would argue that he has been more disappointing given the five-year, $125 million contract he signed that offseason.

He has just 31 homers and 123 RBI in 240 games with the Halos, but it’s his OPS of .741 that is most disappointing. While with the Texas Rangers from 2008 to 2012, his OPS was .912.

The organization might be at wit’s end with the 33-year-old. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that they’ve tried to trade him this offseason: “The Angels, according to major-league sources, have discussed a possible Hamilton trade with at least two teams this offseason, the Rangers and the Padres.”

Rosenthal notes that the talks were “exploratory in nature; they did not gain traction.” MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez echoed that statement:

That still doesn’t negate the fact that Hamilton could be on the move.

Hamilton is owed $83 million over the next three seasons, so it’ll take a team with deep pockets to take him on. The Halos would certainly cover part of the cost, but not enough to attract smaller-market clubs.

Trading Hamilton would simply be a move to rid the organization of some excess salary; there’s no way the team gets anything of extreme value for him. He’s a high-reward, bounce-back candidate for 2015, but teams don’t dish out top talent for a veteran in that regard.

Of course, general manager Jerry Dipoto is doing his best to downplay the talks, via Rosenthal: “We are absolutely of the belief that the ability is there for him to do the things that he has done in the past. Now we have to help him turn the key to bring the ability out.”

GMs contradict trade rumors all the time for various reasons, so make of this situation what you will. In the end, don’t be surprised if Hamilton has a new address next season.


Seth Smith

The Padres suddenly have a rather stacked outfield.

Wil Myers, Carlos Quentin, Rymer Liriano, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, Abraham Almonte and Seth Smith are currently on the roster. The Dodgers have also finally traded Matt Kemp to the Friars, as their official Twitter account announced, so that’s another player who needs playing time in the outfield. And the team has finalized a trade for Justin Upton, reports Rosenthal.

Of the big group of outfielders, one could assume that Quentin would interest American League clubs that could offer him time at designated hitter. Liriano and Maybin are both players with high upside, so there should be interest there.

But an underrated player who could be on the move as a result of this overhaul is Smith. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick hears that his name has been coming up in talks:

Smith slashed .266/.367/.440 last season. He was best against righties, though, as he slashed .270/.359/.455 against them.

Teams looking into Smith will utilize him as the left-handed-hitting portion of a platoon in either left or right field. This is where the 32-year-old stands at this point in his career, so he’s nothing more than a complementary piece in an already deep lineup.

A deal for Smith is the type of acquisition that could put a strong team over the top. Hiding weaknesses against southpaws becomes a lot easier with a player like Smith waiting on the bench to take his hacks.

The Padres would do well to trade him. He’s one of their most valuable trade assets, and they still have other holes to fill. With potentially nine outfielders for four jobs (don’t forget a reserve outfielder), there’s some dealing to be done.


Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @kennydejohn.

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A’s Erase Early Deficit with 6-Run 3rd Inning and Tap the Rockies 8-5

The A’s came back from a four-run first inning and played long ball en route to an 8-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

The longest and largest of the four home runs the A’s hit was by Brandon Moss, who hit a third-deck shot estimated at 461 feet in the third inning to give the A’s the lead for good. Moss would hit two home runs, and both Brandon Inge and Cliff Pennington also went deep. Seth Smith hit a pair of doubles and drove in two RBI on the night, as well.

While Bartolo Colon was not his best, he did settle down after the first inning to keep the Rockies off the board until Todd Helton’s solo homer in the fifth inning. By that time, the A’s were up 7-4. Colon’s line on the night was five runs allowed on nine hits, three walks and four strikeouts in five innings pitched. But it was enough to notch his sixth win of the year.

The key—along with the offensive outburst—was Oakland’s bullpen. Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour struck out four and allowed only a single hit and one walk combined in three innings. Then the A’s turned to Ryan Cook to close the game. After a leadoff walk and a single to former A’s utility man Marco Scutaro, Cook responded by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, and inducing a game-ending force out from Todd Helton for his first save.


Good: Brandon Moss and Brandon Inge (tie)

Both were big during the six-run rally to take the lead in the third. Moss’ first home run was a tape-measure shot with the kind of power the A’s have been looking to add at first base. Inge provided insurance with a long home run of his own and also had an RBI double and a huge defensive play to save two runs in the sixth inning.

Neither will hit .300 in a season, but they are both legitimate power threats when their swings are on. Inge also provides above-average defense at a spot that had been a wasteland before his arrival


Bad: Coco Crisp

Another 0-for-4 at the plate. Collin Cowgill should be playing right now. The A’s need every capable hitter they can get, and it seems clearer with each passing day that Crisp is just not going to turn it around with some burst. It is better to just cut losses now.

With the win, the A’s move to 27-35 and look to build on this performance, sending Tom Milone on the bump against former A’s starter Josh Outman. First pitch is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET.

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Fantasy Baseball: 10 Players off Waivers To Help You Down the Stretch

Fantasy baseball managers are all looking for that one missing piece to put their team over the edge and into the playoffs. However, it is much easier to try to find a diamond in the rough than it is to actually find that diamond.

Nevertheless, here are 10 players (one from each fielding position, one starting pitcher, and one relief pitcher) who have the best chance of both being available in your league and helping you dominate the end of the season.

Begin Slideshow

Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki, and the Colorado Rockies’ First-Half Problems

If you had told me at the beginning of the season that the Rockies were going to be in third place in the NL West with a record of 40-42, 6.5 games behind the first place Giants, I would have called you crazy.

The Rockies have a lineup that can strike fear into any pitcher in the league, and they have a rotation that rivals any (save for the Phillies).

But after watching the Rockies fail to score many runs and the starting rotation struggle to find continuity, much less wins, it is painfully clear that Rockies fans should count their blessings that winning the NL West is still within reach.

The question, though, is what went wrong? Wasn’t this team supposed to be the team Rockies fans were waiting for to follow up the 2007 World Series team?

Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez both signed long-term, big-money contracts this offseason only to show up this year and fail to even come close to meeting expectations. Granted, it is only the first half and both players had breakout second halves last year, but it still begs the question: was that money well spent?

“Tulo” and “CarGo,” as they are known locally, have put up fairly average numbers so far. Tulo is hitting .271 with 16 HR, 55 RBI and a .341 OBP while CarGo boasts a mild, but improving .291 BA with 12 HR, 41 RBI, and a .358 OBP.

After hearing about these signings, these aren’t the numbers fans were hoping to see. Tulowitzki is a player that should be hitting over .300 year-in, year-out. Gonzalez is talented enough that he should be hitting near .350 with more than just 12 homers.

The fans have every reason to be displeased with this team. Thank goodness for a strong supporting cast.

Todd Helton is quietly proving that he is one of the best first-baseman in the league this year by hitting .318 and playing the best defense of any first-baseman. At age 37 and in the twilight of his career, those are simply outstanding numbers.

Along with Helton, Seth Smith is one of the MLB‘s most consistent hitters. He is one of only 5 players to hit over .300 every month of the season so far. This is a list that includes the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Reyes.

It seems that Smith and Helton are the only ones on the team who can find that needed timely hit with runners in scoring position.

Against the Indians on June 21, Smith hit two home runs in the 6th and 9th innings to give the Rockies a win. Locally, Smith has been known as “Mr. Late-Night” due to his heroics in the late innings of games since he came up to the club from Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2007.

In addition to Smith and Helton, Ty Wigginton (lately) has been a huge help in the lineup. After starting the year by failing to meet expectations, Wigginton has finally found his stroke and is hitting balls out of the park with relative ease. His batting average is climbing and he is beginning to gain the trust of fans.

The pitching staff has had more than its fair share of ups and downs this year. The first, and probably most important storyline from the rotation is the struggles of ace Ubaldo Jimenez. He started the year by going 0-7 while lacking control of his fastball, a pitch he lives and dies by.

Lately it seems that he has finally figured out his control problems, but he still lacks velocity on his fastball. Last year, Jimenez boasted a upper 90’s and sometimes 100 mph fastball. This year, his fastball is ranging from 94 to 96, and sometimes hits 97 mph. Most pitchers would love to have this problem, but for Jimenez, that velocity is key.

Because of Jimenez’s struggles, Jorge De La Rosa was thrust into the spotlight as the Rockies’ best pitcher, until he tore a tendon in his pitching elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. It seemed that nothing could go the Rockies’ way this year in the rotation until Jhoulys Chacin stepped up and became the new ace.

Chacin has shown that he is ready to be a big time pitcher in the MLB. His stuff is nasty and can easily fool any hitter. This pitcher is showing the fans that the Rockies’ future is very bright, with a rotation that will boast Jimenez, De La Rosa, Chacin, Juan Nicasio and Jason Hammel.

But this year, with De La Rosa out and Jimenez still searching for his form from the first half of the 2010 season, Chacin, Nicasio and Hammel haven’t shown that they can pick up the slack effectively.

Chacin has great stuff, but he is still very young and is learning how to be a really effective pitcher in the MLB.

Nicasio has brilliant stuff, but he has a lot to learn before becoming a stud starter.

Hammel needs to find consistency and to beg the offense for run support. There are games when his head simply isn’t in the game, as evidenced by his body language during some games. There are also games when he pitches brilliantly, but the offense can’t get anything going, so he takes the loss after surrendering only a few runs.

If this pitching staff could get 100% healthy while playing to its potential and the offense plays to expectations, this team would easily rival the Red Sox or the Phillies for the best team in baseball characterization.

After 2007, the front office of the Rockies promised fans that it would do anything it could to become a perennial contender. So far, the front office has done its job. Now its the players’ turn to prove that the Rockies are for real.

But if this first half is any indication of what is to come, Rockies fans better hold on tight, because it will be a quick, fast ride right back to the cellar in the NL West.

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Nine in the Ninth: Colorado Rockies Come Back to Beat the St. Louis Cardinals

There are going to be some surprised people who read the box score in the morning.

With the Colorado Rockies down 9-3 against the St. Louis Cardinals heading into the ninth inning on Tuesday, the majority of the 32,922 fans found their way to the exits. There was no way the Rockies were coming back.

There was no way the Rockies could possibly win the game—except they did.

Colorado scored an amazing nine runs in the ninth inning. The rally included four straight hits and was capped off with a three-run walk off home run from none other than Seth Smith, known to Rockies fans as Mr. Late Night.

The fans that did stay made their voices heard. Chants of “Let’s Go Rockies” echoed throughout Coors Field, even with the club down by six runs.

After Dexter Fowler hit a double off of the out-of-town scoreboard, suddenly it looked like anything could happen. After Brad Hawpe grounded out, Carlos Gonzalez hit a sharp single to right field, scoring Fowler.

Next, Jason Giambi showed why he just might have been worth the roster spot that the Rockies gave him in January when he lined a pitch to right field. It looked like the Rockies would have the tying run at third base, but Randy Winn twice bobbled the ball in right field, and third base coach Rich Dauer never hesitated; he sent Gonzalez to the plate and suddenly the game was tied.

Aaron Cook came into the game to pinch run for Giambi, as Miguel Olivo stepped to the plate. The catcher lined his second base hit of the inning, putting the winning run at third base with no one out.

Seth Smith, who had been robbed of a hit earlier in the inning by Albert Pujols, made sure no one could rob him of a second at-bat. He lined a 2-2 pitch deep to right field and into the second row of seats. The celebration was on. Smith raced to the plate to embrace his teammates.

While Smith was the hero of the night, he had help in overcoming a six-run deficit. Two players, both of whom have been harshly criticized, did their part to help the club win.

Chris Iannetta, who entered the game in the seventh inning and stayed in defensively at third base, drove in four runs on the night, three coming in on one huge swing of the bat in the ninth. With two runners on and a run in, Iannetta worked a 0-2 count into a 2-2 count and turned a fastball into a line drive home run.

The other hero that will not be seen in the highlights is Manny Corpas. The Panamanian, relegated back to long relief, pitched two brilliant innings in what seemed to be mop-up duty. Instead of hanging his head, Corpas found a way to battle through his struggles and get guys to hit ground balls again. Those scoreless innings proved to be just what the Rockies needed and kept them just close enough to win the ball game.

Wins like Tuesday nights cannot be understated. It would have been easy for the Rockies to pack up their equipment and wait for tomorrow. A six-run lead in the ninth inning is essentially already a win for the opposition. There is no need to keep fighting.

This club, however, is proving once again that a game is never over, and more specifically, a season is never over until they are actually eliminated from the standings.

For all of the Rockies early season scoring issues, defensive struggles, and injuries that they have battled, they have emerged as a contender. And beyond being a contender, they are suddenly the team in the National League with the most momentum, the team that no one wants to play.

While many people already wrote the Rockies off a long time ago, they never wrote themselves off. They are proving to everyone who doubted them that this is indeed the team that everyone expected to see. This is the team that is capable of winning its first ever National League crown.


For more on the Rockies visit RockiesReview.com

This article is also featured on INDenverTimes.com

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Fantasy Baseball Waiver Time: The Hot 8

Last week I told you it was time to add Buster Posey and Stephen Strasburg to your roster.

Less than a week later Posey collects three hits and three RBIs for the big league club in a 12-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

If you listened to The Hot 8 last week you already had Posey on your roster causing the rest of your league to search for him and witness that you indeed already had the coveted backstop.

That is what The Hot 8 is all about, being ahead of the curve and especially your league.

This week’s list is no different as I’ve got a few more players that will soon be household names and leave your fellow owners cursing your name.


Long Term Investments

Carlos Santana – Catcher – Indians 

As good of a hitter as Buster Posey is, Carlos Santana is probably a bit better.

His defense may not rival that of the Giants prospect but in fantasy baseball who cares about defense?

Santana can flat out hit and do so from both sides of the plate with plus power.

He has shown no ill effects from a broken bone in his hand that he suffered this winter and is hitting a robust .319/.448/.577 with 10 HR, 42 RBI, 32 runs, 10 doubles, and even 6 steals for AAA Columbus.

Perhaps even more impressive is that he has walked (37) more times than he’s struck out (32) this season.

Santana is ready and if you missed out on the Posey derby fear not.

This is your chance to make good on grabbing a very good hitting catcher right in time to make a run in your fantasy league.


Mike Stanton – OF – Marlins

Stanton has all of the skill and desire to be a superstar major league player.

He is tremendously athletic having been a three sport star in high school and highly recruited by former USC coach Pete Carrol as a wide receiver.

Stanton has been a man amongst boys while playing for AA Jacksonville this season.

He’s slugged 18 homers and drove in 47 runs already this season and is just biding time until the first week of June when the Marlins are likely to promote him south.

While Stanton’s power is well documented, his speed is usually underestimated.

Stanton will be a regular 20/20 player in a full major league season.


Corey Hart – OF – Brewers

Nobody is as hot right now as Milwaukee OF Corey Hart.

With 5 HR and 12 RBI in his last ten games, Hart is a welcome blessing for the suddenly hot Brewers.

Hart is another athletic outfielder who has good power but also can swipe a base here and there.

He’s a streaky player but also one that I believe will continue to have an impact in the Brewers lineup for the remainder of this season.


Quick Fixes

Seth Smith – OF – Rockies

The Rockies wealth of outfielders is nothing short of ridiculous.

This week the player with the highest upside, Dexter Fowler finds himself odd man out as Seth Smith has started earning more starts in left field.

Smith is one of those player who never stops hitting.

He produces while in the lineup, in platoon roles and off the bench as a pinch hitter.

He offers good power and run producing ability in a lineup full of on base percentage.

For as long as he’s seeing regular time in the Rockies lineup, Smith is worth occupying the fourth or fifth OF spot on your fantasy team.


John Axford – RHP – Brewers

Axford shot through the Brewers organizational ranks last season as he went from mediocre starter to a dominant relief pitcher in one season.

He is basically a two pitch pitcher with a fastball that clocks in around 95 MPH and a sharp breaking curve that he changes speed and plane on regularly.

Axford has assumed the role of closer for the Brewers and will hold this job until Trevor Hoffman is ready to give it another go.

While I would normally suggest staying away from any closer situation that may change again in the coming weeks, the Brewers are finally playing good ball and there is a real opportunity to collect saves here by picking up Axford.

Just know that whatever you get out of him in the next week or two it may not last if the aging Trevor Hoffman can regain prior form.


One Week Wonders

Gio Gonzalez – LHP – Athletics

Gonzalez is finally pitching like the guy we were promised a couple of years ago.

Much of the credit should go to the A’s coaching staff that have ironed out Gonzalez’s delivery and have gotten him to repeat it consistently.

This has allowed him to pound the strikezone more often and cut down dramatically on his free passes.

This week Gonzalez will take on John Lackey and the Red Sox in his first start and Nick Blackburn and the division leading Twins on his second.

Still, I expect good numbers to come out of these matchups and for Gonzalez to collect at least one win and plenty of strikeouts.


Hisanori Takahashi – LHP – Mets

Takahashi’s performance against two of the best hitting teams in baseball, the Yankees and the Phillies, has gotten the attention of the Mets coaching staff.

Jerry Manuel announced that Takahashi will remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future and that is good news for fantasy owners in need of a starting pitcher.

Takahashi is a two start pitcher this week drawing Kevin Correia and the Padres on Monday and Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins on Saturday.


Keep An Eye On

Michael Brantley – OF – Indians

With Grady Sizemore out for what could be the rest of the season, the Indians are in desperate need of some offense.

Brantley was demoted after just 32 AB’s this season but has caught fire for AAA Columbus of late.

He will definitely be recalled soon and should see plenty of AB’s this time around.

Brantley has very good discipline and patience at the plate and has always hit for a good batting average.

I fully expect this kid to develop some power somewhere along the line as he is a big athletic guy and should learn how to hammer pitches while in favorable counts.

Keep him on your watch lists for now but there should be some opportunity for Brantley in the near future.

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That is The Hot 8 for this week.  What do you guys think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Post your comments below or email me at thefantasyscout@gmail.com . 


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