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MLB Barometer: Nobody (Messes) With the Jesus

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Upgrades:

Jesus Guzman, 1B, SD - I made it a point to sit down and watch the Padres play Thursday and see what Jesus is all about. Needless to say, he didn't disappoint, lacing a triple in his first at-bat. I'm beating a dead horse about Petco Park and how it does no favors to hitters fantasy-wise but there's enough talent here to put the park aside. While Guzman only has 150 at-bats under his belt this season, he's been consistent by not hitting below .310 in any of the last three months. Utilizing his speed, Guzman has racked up seven stolen bases and has yet to be caught. He's not an uber-prospect at age 27, but has a solid minor league track record and was blocked by Adrian Gonzalez and Mike Rizzo the last few years. Take a flier on him if you're looking for help at first base or for your utility spot.

Jose Constanza, OF, ATL - While I realize injuries haven't helped his season, I feel like Jason Heyward (.220 BA, 12 homers) has been one of the bigger disappointments to fantasy owners this year. Heyward's slump/injuries have opened the door for Constanza who has taken full advantage of his opportunity. While he only has 72 at-bats with the Braves, he has equaled his home run total in the minors the last two years with two and stolen six bases. While he's playing a little bit over his head with a .375 BA, take a look at Constanza if you're desperate for stolen bases.

Mitch Moreland, 1B, TEX - Early last week Moreland followed up two consecutive three-hit games by hitting three home runs over the next two games. His batting average is up to .339 for the month and what is even more impressive is his 2:10 K:BB ratio. Obviously he's being patient and seeing the ball extremely well right now. He could be sitting on your waiver wire considering he only hit .230 with two homers over the month of July. Expect Moreland to be a fixture in the lineup as the Rangers look to wrap up their division over the final weeks.

Ryan Lavarnway, C, BOS - I've got Lavarnway listed as a catcher here since some sites have him eligible to play there, while others have him listed only as a utility player. Lavarnway was having a monster season before his recent call-up, hitting 30 homers between two difference minor league levels. It's important to note here that 16 of those homers (in 209 at-bats) came in the International League which is more of a pitcher's league than the gaudy batting stats we see come out of the PCL. Lavarnway will have a week or two to prove his worth while some of his teammates are on the mend. He'll likely stick with the club after everyone is healthy given the roster expansion on Sept. 1. Check and see if he qualifies at catcher in your league if you want to take a gamble for the upcoming week.

Justin Sellers, 2B, LAD - I realize that Sellers is filling in for the injured Dee Gordon but wouldn't it make a lot of sense to play him over Jamey Carroll at second base once Gordon returns? Carroll's contract is up after this season and it would appear with a solid showing over the next few weeks Sellers could be the everyday second baseman next season. In each of his last two minor league seasons Sellers hit 14 home runs in each while posting a collective 106:81 K:BB ratio. He doesn't possess a lot of speed and his power numbers are probably a little inflated considering the damage was done in the PCL. That being said, he's worth a look if you need middle infield help in NL-only leagues.

Check Status:

Carlos Quentin, OF, CHI - Quentin left Saturday's game in the first inning after making a dive in the outfield. The good news is that x-rays came back negative on his shoulder but that doesn't necessarily mean everything is structurally sound. Quentin was mired in a 6-for-36 (.166) slump entering the game and until a more definitive update comes on his shoulder, he's probably best left to your bench for the upcoming scoring period.

Adam Lind, 1B, TOR - Lind left Saturday's contest after getting hit on the wrist in the first inning. The severity of the injury isn't known yet but at a minimum he'll likely miss at least a couple of games. It's too bad considering Lind was heating up at the plate, hitting three home runs over the previous week to go along with nine RBI. Check for updates to see how much time Lind will be sidelined.

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS - Ellsbury is being given the weekend off while he deals with a bruised back. He sustained the injury during Friday's game and it doesn't sound as if it'll keep him out for too long. Given his “breakout” season (although he did have 70 steals in 2009), would you draft him as a top-8 player next year?

Injuries:

Brian Wilson, P, SF - Wilson was placed on the DL Sunday after dealing with a balky elbow over the last few weeks. Dr. James Andrews for seemingly the first time gave a pitcher some encouraging news, telling Wilson that rest and not surgery was needed for him to get back on the mound. If you look at Wilson's stats, besides the 35 saves he isn't having that good of a season. His 1.491 WHIP suggests his 3.19 ERA is somewhat lucky. The 5.20 BB/9 rate is up over two walks from last season and his fastball is down almost two miles per hour from last season. It's possible the elbow has been an issue for some time and his earlier back issues likely haven't helped his performance either. The best case scenario here is Wilson retakes the mound sometime early next month. Look for Ramon Ramirez, Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt to be in the mix to close while Wilson is out.

Downgrades:

Emilio Bonifacio, SS, FLA - I'll admit, Bonifacio has been something of a guilty pleasure since late June when he started getting everyday work for the Marlins. Unfortunately, the pixie dust and unsustainable BABIP has caught up to him during August. Bonifacio is only hitting .219 for the month and is getting on base at a .288 clip. The good news on him is he's still running, stealing six bases for the month. With the Marlins not running out as good of a lineup as they did earlier this season (sans Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton being banged up), it's not likely Bonifacio will come remotely close to the 27 runs scored during July (he only has five during August). Again, he's useful if you need the steals, just realize they may come at the expense of your batting average and a lack of counting stats.

Tim Wakefield, P, BOS - If I was a Red Sox fan (I shudder at the thought) I'd start to question why the team is running Wakefield out to the mound every five days. I understand there aren't any obvious options to replace him in the rotation and getting to 200 wins is a nice accomplishment. However, Wakefield hasn't had a start since June 14 (11 starts) in which he hasn't given up at least three earned runs. I liked the idea of using him in the bullpen as it wouldn't be easy for hitters to stare at Jon Lester or Josh Beckett and then deal with a 60 mph knuckleball. Don't be surprised if Wakefield's name isn't on the post-season roster.

A.J. Burnett, P, NYY - Burnett is another pitcher who's been terrible over the last two months. He also has allowed at least three earned runs in each of his last nine starts (a 6.93 ERA over that span) and the velocity on his fastball has declined for the third straight season. If the playoffs started this week I can't see how he'd be considered a top-3 pitching option and the best course of action right now could be a move to the bullpen to give him a break mentally.

You can follow on Twitter @KCPayne26

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