LOPEZ A SHORTSTOP AGAIN
It didnít take long for Cristian Guzman to get hurt again, did it? The Washington shortstop strained a hammy and is out for a few weeks. In the meantime, Ron Belliard takes over at second base, while Felipe Lopez shifts over to shortstop.
Iíve talked about Belliard in a previous blog post, and this whole Nationals scenario has been analyzed by many other writers, too. Iím not going to rehash everything here. But there is one thing I want to mention, something I havenít seen elsewhere.
Letís say Belliard hits well. Heís off to a good start in that regard -- .444 average -- and even on his worst day heís an upgrade over Guzman. And letís say the punchless Nationals like Belliardís offense and want to keep him in the lineup. Perhaps heíll stay at second base when Guzman returns, Lopez will remain at shortstop, and Guzman will be a defensive replacement/pinch-runner/guy who sweeps up the sunflower seeds in the dugout.
This would be bad for Lopezís fantasy value. Though I didnít land Lopez in any of my leagues, I was willing to go the extra buck or two on him because I thought heíd be eligible at second base and shortstop. If he stays at shortstop most of the time, heíll never get the 20 games at second he needs.
Anyway, this is just something to keep an eye on. If you planned on shifting Lopez over to second at some point this year, watch this situation closely. And if you own Lopez in a keeper league and planned on him being your long-term answer at second base, you might have to come up with a Plan B.
AL REYES EMERGES
If the Devil Rays have a closer committee, Reyes is the chairman. Letís take a look at him using Ron Shandlerís rule of ďTOG.Ē
Reyes has it. He missed last year due to injury, but look back at 2005: He struck out more than a batter an inning, had decent enough control (20 walks in 62 2/3 innings) and kept the ball in the yard (just five home runs allowed). These arenít elite skills, but they are quite good. There are many closers who canít match what Reyes brings to the table.
Again, I think Reyes earns a high grade. The D-Rays might have a committee, but thereís no doubt Reyes is the main man right now. As long as he keeps his head above water, heíll get the majority of the save chances. There isnít much good competition here.
We canít really judge this yet. We need to see more.
I just picked up Reyes in an AL-only league Iím in, so I know heís still out there in some leagues. Grab him.