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By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott, and Matthew Schwimmer of Roto Analysis
July is a key month in the baseball season. Playoff races are emerging, huge runs are coming, and fantasy seasons are being decided. We at RotoAnalysis are bringing you a couple of the biggest stories from July to keep you update as the season’s second half is well under way.
Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers SS
As July comes to a close, it’s time to isolate the month to see who has been dominant of late. Much of the focus in LA recently has been on Yasiel Puig, but in the past month it is actually Ramirez who has done more damage. Ramirez has been able to put on an incredible display so far this season with 10 homers and 5 steals in just 44 games, a .381 average, and the lowest walk rate of his career. He just seems to be zoned in right now and while his owners have definitely taken notice, if you’ve just been casually following your league you may have missed this former superstar returning to his potential. Whether the vintage 2007-2010 Ramirez is back has yet to be seen, but it’s certainly possible.
Matt Garza, Rangers SP
Garza was dealt to the Texas Rangers in a trade that should have been front-page news had it not been minutes before Ryan Braun’s suspension. Despite speculation that moving from Chicago to Texas is terrible for his fantasy value, I think he won’t lose value from the trade because he was actually pitching much better on the road. In fact, his road ERA was more than two and a half runs lower than at home. No matter where Garza is pitching, there are still signs that he could be a good sell-now. Garza’s K/9 is below eight for the first time since 2010 and his FIP is 3.78 compared to his 3.17 ERA. It may have been difficult to get good value for Gaza immediately after the trade, but given his impressive first start for the team, Garza owners should be able to spin a good deal for him now.
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays 3B
Heading into the 2013, this year seemed like it was primed to be a breakout season for Brett Lawrie. After being a highly touted hitting prospect whose solid defense was a pleasant surprise, Lawrie played in 125 games in 2012 and while he didn’t blow it out of the water, his 11 homers, 13 steals and .273 average were very promising stats for a 22 year old in his sophomore season and led to him getting drafted as the 8th third basemen off the board. This year though, Lawrie has suffered from both performance regression and a nagging ankle injury, only managing to play in 45 games thus far. Power-wise Lawrie has been fine, hitting 6 homers in those 45 games, but the real struggle has come with his average, as he’s hitting only .208. Lawrie is hitting slightly less line drives than last season, but I think as he gets healthier he’ll start to hit the ball harder again. Remember: Lawrie is still only 23 years old, and is still loaded with physical upside. The Jays third basemen is now available in over a third of CBS leagues, and if available, I would go out and add Lawrie ASAP as he has both third base and second base eligibility in many formats, making him a plausibly versatile fantasy game changer in the stretch run of the season.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems, Matt @KidCotti21, and Matt @Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.