Fantasy Baseball: Batters Stock Watch

Fantasy Baseball: Batters Stock Watch

The Melky Cabrera suspension sent a shock wave through fantasy baseball Wednesday, and with that, we'll focus on the outfield in this week's Batter Stock Watch.


Eric Young, 2BOF, Rockies: He's been a monster this month (11 runs, three homers, .447 average), taking advantage of the leadoff spot and Colorado's thin air. Young's also collected 13 steals in limited playing time for the year (157 at-bats); imagine what he could do if he landed a regular spot. Manager Jim Tracy is notorious for being a lineup tinkerer, but he says Young will stick in the Colorado mix even after Michael Cuddyer returns Thursday. Good enough for us, we'll keep running with Young.

Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals: He's getting a shot at the top of the St. Louis lineup, and the results have been terrific: 20-for-45 binge this month, two homers, three steals. The Cardinals as a team lead the NL in batting average and runs scored, so it's a handy place for rotisserie value. Jay's strong defense also keeps him in the lineup the team needs to be strong up the middle, because the corner defenders are very weak.

Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays: He doesn't offer strong fundamentals in the field or at the plate, but Davis knows what he's doing as a baserunner (35-for-43 on steals this year, with 12 swipes since the break). The injury-ravaged Jays don't really have a choice any longer in their outfield they need to play Davis every day. Don't let your past opinions on Davis cloud your judgement; he's a strong play down the stretch.

Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays: His first-half mess was a sore spot for fantasy owners, but Jennings has been back on the beam since the All-Star break (.308, four homers, seven steals, 24 runs). Most importantly, he's trimmed his BBK rate down to a more acceptable area (nine free passes, 21 strikeouts). With Evan Longoria back in the fold, it's a good time to be rolling with most of your Tampa Bay offensive options.


Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals: He's going to be a superstar someday, no one disputes that. But Harper has been a gaping hole in Washington's lineup of late (.178 .267.254 since the break), and he's only batting .221 against lefties for the year. In a keeper pool, you should flip Harper's wonderful future for someone who is wonderful right now. Flags fly forever.


Garrett Jones, 1BOF, Pirates: He's been a lefty liability his entire career, and that story hasn't changed this year (.595 OPS). But so long as we live in a right-handed world, why worry? Jones rakes against the northpaws (.293.327.547, 15 homers), and the Pirates have been a run-scoring juggernaut since the beginning of June. Enjoy the ride.

Brandon Belt, 1BOF, Giants: The Melky Cabrera suspension gives Belt another way into the Giants lineup and further protects him from the whims of Bruce Bochy. Belt's swinging sweetly at a .472 clip this month, with just two strikeouts over 36 at-bats. That should earn him some lineup cred for the balance of August.

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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 


The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall reamins out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.

The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.


The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.

By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine, if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: How does Brooks Orpik really impact the Caps?

No player on the Caps gets more scrutiny than defenseman Brooks Orpik. While the analytics aren't kind when he's on the ice, we got to see what the Caps looked like without him when he was scratched against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday and...well, his loss was noticeable.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir discuss what Orpik's true impact on the Capitals really is both on and off the ice on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast. Plus, they also talk about John Carlson's monster season and Barry Trotz's new strategy for the goalies.

Listen to the latest episode in the player below or here on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.