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Salary Cap Chronicles: Trout in Coors

Scott Jenstad

Scott Jenstad

Scott Jenstad is a veteran of both NFBC and CDM fantasy games. He has won three NFBC Main Event league titles and finished twice in the Top 10 Overall. Scott is a hardcore fan of the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's and Golden State Warriors. Follow him on Twitter @ScottJenstad.


There's nothing like starting a week with two of your three most expensive hitters going on the DL on the first day of that week, but that is what happened to me this week with Troy Tulowitzki and Matt Kemp. I knew Kemp was a risk coming off his injury so that one is on me, but I sure didn't count on him making it through one whole game. Luckily the rest of my squad has stepped up pretty well and I still have a lead this week despite the two crushing injuries. Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez have both been All-World with 37 and 41 points respectively. The Dodgers pitching staff has not been great, but at least I still get a Clayton Kershaw start Monday night. David Wright and Mike Trout have chipped in well as has uber-cheapie Jose Altuve.

I cannot wait to get the two zeroes out of my lineup for Week 10. After two weeks or poorly timed injuries, I am hoping to get back on track with a healthy squad. Looking at the schedule for Week 10, it is once again a slightly limited schedule with only seven teams playing seven games. Of the seven game schedules, Boston appears to have a solid setup with five home games, but note that they do face Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg and Josh Johnson during Week 10. The Yankees should be a strong play this week with five of their seven in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium and really only face one true ace this week, David Price, although they do also get Johan Santana coming off his historical no-no. Toronto also has seven games, but they do face some tough pitching in Atlanta over the weekend and five of their seven games are on the road. The hot Rockies do play at home this week, but with only five games scheduled (off Thursday and Monday), I will likely look elsewhere this week. Let's see what each position looks like.

Catcher: AJ Ellis has been ok this week and due to his price tag and his seven games this week, I am going to leave him in and save the move and the cap. If you are looking for another cheaper option, Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been hitting for nice power and is priced at only $6.0. If I were to go away from Ellis, it would have been for Salty. J.P. Arencibia also has seven games, but he is more expensive than Ellis and Salty and has not been as good as them in the last month or so. If you have cap to burn, I would recommend six gamers Joe Mauer or Yadier Molina who have both been very solid, Mauer more recently and Molina all season.

First Base: In terms of the seven gamers, make sure to be careful with David Ortiz who has two games in a National League part at the end of the week so his seven game week on paper could become a six or even five gamer pretty quickly. I imagine Adrian Gonzalez will get his seven and if you think the power breakout finally comes, he could be a nice play this week with seven, but as mentioned before, they do face some tough pitchers. Freddie Freeman has struggled with his eye issues, but if you think he is back, he is a very nice option with seven games this week at a nice price tag. Mark Teixeira is also a possibility if you think he finally heats up, but he seems like a pretty pricey option right now. Two interesting options come from the Angels this week. Even though they only play six games, the Angels get a weekend series in Coors Field and Coors looks like it is at pre-humidor levels so far this year. I think Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols are great options this week, of course Albert depends on your cap availability, but I am thinking about one of them at 1B and the other at Flex. I am slightly concerned about no DH in Coors, but I have to imagine Scioscia does what he can to get these two guys in and Trumbo is crazy cheap in H2H. Finally, Joey Votto only has six, but he has been very solid and all six games of his games are at home.

Second Base: Robinson Cano looks like the best option among the seven gamers in Week 10. If you can muster the cap, I think he is the go to play for this week. If cap is an issue, then you have to consider just rolling with six gamer Jason Kipnis who has been the best second baseman in baseball since May 1 with 6 homers and 9 steals to go with a BA over .300. Another intriguing option with seven games in Dan Uggla, but I would rather go Cano if I spending the cash at 2B. The last option I would consider is Kelly Johnson. He has been very solid, hits in a solid lineup, gets seven games and saves you some cap from Cano and Uggla.

Third Base: Edwin Encarnacion is usually my automatic play here, but if you play him, you have to check the news as he was hit by a pitch on Sunday and has been labeled as the dreaded day-to-day. If he plays Tuesday, he is a very strong play as he just crushes his price tag right now. If Ency is hurt or you have some extra cap, Hanley Ramirez is also an excellent play this week. Hanley has been crushing the ball and racking up the points lately. He is the best play this week when cap is thrown out the window and since I had leftover cap after deciding on the rest of my team, I decided to avoid the Ency injury issue and just play Hanley. The only other guy I strongly considered at 3B was Alex Rodriguez. With a seven game week and five at home, A Rod could be a sneaky play as he appears to finally be warming up this year.

Shortstop: Clearly I need a change here since Tulo is on the DL. The two first choices that pop up with seven games are Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter. Reyes has warmed a bunch and can pile up the points, but he is not cheap and gives up no power. Jeter has cooled a bunch since we used him a lot in April. One guy to look at that is a bit outside the box is Ian Desmond. The BA is not going to be great, but he has six homers since May 1 and gets seven games this week. Among the six gamers, I like J.J. Hardy and if you want to save cap at SS, Jed Lowrie could be a play this week as he has been swinging the bat well as of late.

Outfield: With only five games this week, I am going to have to replace Carlos Gonzalez and Matt Kemp obviously has to be swapped out due to his hamstring injury. With the Angels playing an interleague weekend in Colorado, I will clearly stick with Mike Trout at his price tag. On a side note, watching Trout and Peter Bourjos in the outfield when they are both in is truly special. Those dudes cover some crazy ground out there. It is hard not to go with Giancarlo Stanton with seven games this week. Stanton has 12 homers since May 1 and is also hitting for average. For the third spot, I will go with the Yankee home schedule again and play Curtis Granderson. I was shocked when doing some research today that he has 17 home runs. Is it possible to have a quiet 17 HR in New York? Apparently it is.

Among other seven gamers, I would certainly consider Nick Swisher and Jose Bautista. If you are looking to save cap at an OF spot besides Trout, I would suggest taking a look at six gamers Melky Cabrera, Josh Reddick and Alejandro De Aza. Finally, I would also take a look at Bryce Harper. The hype has cooled off some since the start, but the dude is hitting .286 with 22 runs scored since May 1, not too shabby for a teenager.

Pitching Staff: This is a tough week among the squads with seven games. Among the teams I first looked closely at, the Braves face Toronto and the Yankees, Miami gets Boston and the Rays, and the Nationals go to Fenway and Toronto. I assumed when I saw the Nationals with seven that they would be the choice, but the two steps are from Edwin Jackson and Chien-Ming Wang, not exactly Spahn and Sain. The Yankees have seven and two of them are from Sabathia and the Red Sox have the same with two from Beckett and Buccholz. If you believe in either of those staffs in this game, I would love to have you convince me. Looking at the six gamers a bit more, Milwaukee looks interesting as they get the Padres and feature two Zack Greinke starts. Texas is also interesting with two games against my hapless A's (worst offense ever?) plus a three game set across the Bay in San Francisco. I rarely go with a six gamer at pitching, but I was leaning towards Texas until I saw their cap number ($24), which is too much for me on a six game week. I could see an argument for any of the above teams, but in the end, I decided to stick with the reasonably priced Dodgers with seven games and 2 starts each from the surprising Chris Capuano and the inconsistent Aaron Harang. They do get three games in Safeco, which finally swayed my decision.

This is a tough week to find a solid team, but he is where I ended up. I hate leaving cap on the table, but did not see a move I just had to make to get closer to the salary cap. Ellis would have been the obvious swap, but he has seven and I did not see a six gamer that was worth using the move for that fit under the cap.

Catcher: AJ Ellis ($5.5)
First Base: Mark Trumbo ($6.1)
Second Base: Robinson Cano ($9.5)
Third Base: Hanley Ramirez ($9.2)
Shortstop: Ian Desmond ($7.3)
Outfield: Curtis Granderson ($10.7)
Outfield: Giancarlo Stanton ($9.7)
Outfield: Mike Trout ($7.0)
Flex: Albert Pujols ($11.6)
Pitching: Los Angeles Dodgers ($20)

Total: $96.6