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MLB Barometer: Hip To Have Kipnis

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.


Hideki Matsui, OF, OAK - The 37-year-old has gotten off to as hot of a second-half start as any player and will look to continue to rake. Since getting the second game off in a doubleheader on July 16, Matsui has gone 34-for-69 (.493) with four home runs over 18 games. While he's obviously not going to continue at this pace, take a flier if you're looking for help in the batting average department.

Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE - This is pretty much the "softball over the plate" pick of the week. Kipnis didn't exactly light the world on fire upon his call-up, going 3-for-22 (.136) over his first six games with a 9:1 K:BB ratio. It's been a very different story since the calendar turned to August, as Kipnis is up to four home runs and a gaudy 1.309 OPS over the last six games. Even if the Indians fail to make the playoffs this year, the fan base should be excited about the second base position for years to come.

Nate Eovaldi, P, LAD - I was curious to see if Eovaldi could successfully make the jump from Double-A to the Majors and he didn't disappoint Saturday night. He only went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits. What caught my eye were the seven strikeouts and two walks. Two of those strikeouts came from the first two plate appearances by the red-hot Justin Upton. According to the gamecast on my computer, Eovaldi was working in the mid-90s with his fastball. He had a 2.65 ERA at Double-A while striking out almost a batter per inning. If you're looking for pitching help this week, he has a nice matchup at home Friday against the Astros.

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, MIL - I wonder sometimes if the Brewers wish they still had J.J. Hardy as their everyday shortstop. Betancourt has done his best lately to make fans forget Hardy, hitting safely in 17 of his last 18 games. During July he hit .299 and through five August games he has a 1.026 OPS. If you're desperate for middle infield help, take a look at Betancourt.

J.D. Martinez, OF, HOU - There are bound to be a few diamonds in the rough in Houston, given they've revamped their roster from what it looked like on Opening Day. Martinez is yet another player Double-A Corpus Christi player that will be given plenty of opportunity to produce for the rest of the season. He's off to a good start with two home runs and a .292 batting average over his first seven games. The 55:42 K:BB ratio at Corpus Christi is a good indication of solid plate discipline and he should be a fixture in the five spot for the ‘Stros.

Check Status:

Jose Reyes, SS, NYM - Reyes left Sunday's contest with a stiff hamstring, which could be related to the injury he suffered a few weeks ago. It's a shame because he's coming off a two-stolen bag performance Saturday and seemed to be past any leg issues. Check the updates to see how bad the injury is and if or how long it will keep him out of action.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY - If you're an A-Rod owner, you probably already know that he's at the end of the fourth week of the 4-6 week timetable for his return. The good news is he's back taking batting practice which means he should return soon. It's probably a safer bet to keep him benched for the upcoming scoring period because even if he returns, he likely won't be an everyday player initially.

Brian McCann, C, ATL - McCann has healed quite nicely since landing on the 15-day DL with an oblique injury. He's been swinging a bat and catching some minor league sessions which are a good signs he'll return when scheduled this Friday. Keep him benched for now but be ready to activate him next weekend.

Dee Gordon, LAD - Gordon left Saturday's contest after injuring his shoulder and is being listed as day-to-day. The good news is that doctors have ruled out a dislocation or separation so it doesn't sound as if a DL stint is forthcoming. That being said, it might be wise to bench the youngster, even in NL-only formats until there's a definitive report on the severity of the injury.


Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX - News broke Saturday that Beltre suffered a setback and will miss another three weeks. We talk a lot on the site about hamstring injuries because they're such an easy injury to aggravate and this is the perfect example. Look for Michael Young to continue to fill in at third base while Beltre is sidelined, with the resulting at-bats mostly going to Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli, who no longer have to share playing time.

Jair Jurrjens, P, ATL - Jurrjens landed on the DL with a strained right knee after looking human over his previous four starts. Jurrjens is an interesting case this season; the chances were slim for him to continue posting a sub-2.00 ERA for the rest of the season which should beg the question of what could we exactly expect to him. He posted a 3.30 ERA in June and a 3.27 ERA in July which to me sounds about a reasonable expectation for him when he's healthy. The injury doesn't sound too serious so look for Jurrjens to return in a week or two.

Omar Infante, 2B, ATL - Infante's broken finger couldn't have come at a worse time for him as he was starting to heat up at the plate. Infante broke his right middle finger diving for a ground ball and does not have a timetable for his return yet. Before the injury he had gone 24-for-52 (.462) with four triples and two home runs over his previous 13 games. Keep watch to see how long the finger will keep him out and look for the Fins to play Alfredo Amegaza in Infante's absence.


Tyler Chatwood, P, LAA - Chatwood was a viable option earlier this year, posting a 3.86 ERA in April, a 4.32 ERA in May and a 2.78 ERA in June. July was a different story as he ended the month with a 4.88 ERA which has carried over into August. He gave up five earned runs in only 6.1 innings Saturday and his overall 66:55 K:BB ratio shows that he's pitching to contact and not missing too many bats. The problem is I don't trust him from here on out and his 1.537 WHIP indicates that his overall 4.10 ERA is a result of some luck. He'll get the Yankees on Thursday in New York which should be reason enough to bench him, even in deeper/AL-only formats.

Eric Thames, OF, TOR - With Travis Snider jettisoned back to Triple-A it appeared Thames' spot in the starting lineup was safe. He had a decent June, batting .277 with four home runs and 17 RBI. The 19:5 K:BB ratio was the one glaring red flag and unfortunately for owners that ratio has gone south in August. Heading into Sunday's game Thames was 1-for-28 over his last (.036) with a 10:1 K:BB ratio. This often happens with rookies; they come up and get hot, pitchers make adjustments figuring out the book on them and then the rookie slumps. The challenge for Thames is to now figure out what he's doing wrong at the plate and make the necessary adjustments. The problem is as a fantasy owner, you have to wait until he works things out until you can start him again.

Derek Lowe, P, ATL - Lowe had a respectable start to the season posting a 3.86 ERA in May. Since that time things have steadily gone downhill for Lowe who ended the month of July with a 5.86 ERA. Over his last six starts he's given at least three runs in each of them while not going past 6.1 innings. It wouldn't be surprising to see Mike Minor or another option take his spot in the rotation when Jair Jurrjens returns.

You can follow on Twitter @KCPayne26