August Observations

Special thanks to contributing writer James Boyce.

I know everyone seems to have shifted to fantasy football season, but fantasy baseball playoffs are just around the corner. Baseball will always be #1 for me.

Waiver Wire

Hitters

C – Caleb Joseph, BAL and Alex Avila, DET. Both will give you a little bit here and there but not much. Avila a bit more walks, Joseph a bit more in average.

1B – Kennys Vargas, MIN and Jon Singleton, HOU. Since coming up to the Twins, the switch-hitting behemoth has hit .300 with some pop, driving in runs, and usually hitting cleanup. After enduring a summer slump, Singleton has rebounded some and is taking a lot of walks.

jedd G2B – Jedd Gyorko, SD and Luis Valbuena, CHI. Both Gyorko and Valbuena will give you some power up the middle with flex at 3B as well.

SS – Joe Panik, SF and Eric Sogard, OAK. Neither has any power but both have been solid and give you flex at 2B.

3B – Trevor Plouffe, MIN and Nick Castellanos, DET. Plouffe is another Twin having a good month, and Castellanos has accounted himself well. Nick gives you an OF(LF) options as well.

UT – Justin Turner, LAD (1B-2B-3B-SS) and Kristopher Negron, CIN (2B-3B-SB-OF/CF). Two super flex guys, getting ABs and doing well with them.

OF – Oswaldo Arcia, MIN (LF/RF) and Jordan Shafer, MIN. (LF/CF/RF). Staying with a Twins theme, Arcia has shown plenty of pop and Schaefer plenty of SBs. Add them together and you get a 5 tool player.

OF – Ender Inciarte, ARZ (LF/CF) and David Peralta, ARZ (LF/CF/RF). A couple of DBack OFs that play and give you 5 category coverage.

OF – Robbie Grossman, HOU (LF/CF/RF) and John Jay, StL (LF/CF/RF). More outfield flex. Grossman is collecting walks, Jay doesn’t get a lot of ABs but is producing nonetheless.

Pitchers

SP – Ryan Volgelsong, SF. Enjoying the month of August, hopefully it continues through the end of the season, the Giants need him to.

SP – Brett Oberholtzer, HOU. On a nice run. Astros have been a surprise source of some good pitching options.

SP – Jeremy Hellickson, TB. HellBoy has returned from injury and doing all right.

SP/RP – Shane Greene, NYY and Chris Capuano, NYY. A couple of flex Yankees doing well in their revamped starting rotation.

smile pickSP/RP – Drew Smyly, TB and Hector Santiago, LAD. A couple of flex AL pitchers that are doing well. Smyly has enjoyed his move to the Rays. After the trade he’s actually done much better than Price. Dombrowski doesn’t always win maybe.

SP/RP – Mike Fiers, MIL and Yusmeiro Petit, SF. A couple of flex NL pitchers that are doing well. Petit takes over Tiny Tim’s rotation spot. Mike Fiers has been lights out.

SP/RP – Carlos Villanueva, CHI and Justin Grimm, CHI. Two Cub middle relievers putting up solid #s and getting plenty of work.

RP – Hector Rondon, CHI and Ken Giles, PHI. Rondon has rebounded in the closer role this month. Giles putting up the Ks and getting the occasional Save/Hold.

On the Farm

With roster expansion in a few days, there will be a lot of call-ups to look in on.

Hitters – Jorge Soler (OF/RF) got the call and has hit 3 HRs in his first 3 games. The Cubs also called up Javier Baez (SS/2B) and the Mets just called up Dilson Herrera (2B/SS). Other options – Cubs prospect in Kris Bryant (3B), who’s supposed to be the best of the bunch. Joey Gallo, TEX (3B), has some huge power, but the Rangers aren’t playing for anything. Francisco Lindor, CLE (SS), more touted for his defense, but production from a SS is welcome, I would be shocked if he’s not the starting SS for the Indians in 2015. Joc Pederson, LAD (OF/CF), will get called but may have trouble getting ABs.

Pitchers – September recall hopeful Andrew Heaney, MIA, I still believe he can be good.

Angels-Baseball

Teams Rankings (previous month)

1. Angels (2) – Losing Garret Richards hurts a lot, but have claimed the AL West division lead and top overall spot over the…
2. Athletics (1) – struggling a bit in August even after importing all those pitchers, was it worth it Billy Beane? Top AL Wild Card will be one of these 2 teams, crazy to think one of these teams will have to compete in a single elimination playoff.
3. Orioles (4) – top spot in AL East even without Machado and Ubaldo failing.
4. Nationals (7) – top spot in the NL East and overall in the NL. Having a great August until the last series against the Phils.
5. Dodgers (5) – top spot in NL West, but play with Giants and scrubs in that division.
6. Kansas City (15) – best record in August, leap frogged the Tigers for best in AL Central despite not making a splash before the trade deadline.
7. Brewers (6) – top spot in the NL Central. Managed to hold the lead since March.
8. Mariners (13) – second best mark in August, still the 3rd best team in AL West. Texan teams are the only weak link. Tied for 2nd Wild Card spot with the…
9. Tigers (3) – at .500 for the month but Royals are scorching hot. Top rotation featuring 3 past Cy Young winners is hitting a few speed bumps.
10. Cardinals (10) – Top NL Wild Card leader.
11. Giants (9) – Holding down 2nd NL Wild Card spot.
12. Yankees (14) – Remarkably still in the hunt with a patchwork starting rotation and negative run differential. Last hurrah for the Captain? I hope so.
13. Braves (8) – Did Mike Minor turn the corner? Figures I dropped him last month.
14. Pirates (11) – Welcome back Gerrit Cole. Goodbye Gregory Polanco
15. Indians (18) – Hanging around. Helps to have Corey Kluber.
16. Blue Jays (12) – Struggling in August. Jose Bautista has had 4 HRs in the past 4 games, step your game up Soler.
——————————
17. Marlins (17) – Still hovering around .500.
18. Rays (16) – Hit a few bumps after a nice run.
19. Reds (19) – Underachieving after high hopes.
20. Padres (26) – Have turned things around a bit.
21. Mets (21) – Last team under the 10 out line.
22. Phillies (24) – Recent sweep of Nats is a bright spot. Maybe trade Marlon Byrd.
23. Twins (23) – Have hit a bit, pitched, not so much outside of Hughes.
24. White Sox (20) – Jose Abreu slowing down a bit. Tied for worst record for the month.
25. Cubs (27) – All the youngsters coming up to play and hitting.
26. Red Sox (22) – Not a good year to play for sox teams.
27. Astros (29) – Surprisingly a tough out. Jose Altuve is doing surprisingly well.
28. Rockies (28) – Bottom 3 pretty bad. Hitting still stellar though.
29. Rangers (30) – This has not been their year.
30. Diamondbacks (25) – Tied for worst record of the month. Management needs to go.
Players of the Month

Notable Hitters

C – Buster Posey – on a HR binge.Buster
1B – Chris Carter – on a bigger HR binge.
2B – Dustin Ackley – back from the dead I.
3B – Nolan Arenado – still smokin’ at the plate.
SS – Ian Desmond – part of Nats strong month.
OF – Alex Gordon – part of Royals strong month.
OF – Starling Marte – back from the dead II.
OF – Giancarlo Stanton – NL MVP?
UT – Danny Santana – Twins swiss army knife.
DH – Victor Martinez – he even stole a base.

Notable Pitchers

Madison Bumgarner – the MadBum has 64 Wins at age 25. Almost perfect game too.
Carlos Carrasco – enjoying his return to the rotation.
Mike Fiers – on quite a run this month.
Kyle Hendricks – pleasant surprise for the Cubs, they seem to be full of them.
Phil Hughes – quite the signing for the Twins. Ricky Nolasco, not so much.
Clayton Kershaw – NL CY Young?
Corey Kluber – AL CY Young?
Matt Shoemaker – Kershaw, Kluber, Shoemaker?! back to back appearances on the notable list.
Drew Smyly – enjoying the trade to the Rays.
Chris Tillman – after a rough start, has been spot on.

Year-End Awards

American League (previous)

MVP – Trout (Trout) – best player on best team. 4th in HRs, 2nd in RBIs & Runs, 1stin Total Bases. Others – not really. This could finally be the year he wins, although many would argue he should have won previous years.

Cy Young – Kluber (Sale) – has been terrific for the Indians. 2nd in IP & Ks, 4thin ERA, 7th in WHIP & AVG against. Others – King Felix, Price, and Mad Max.

Rookie – Abreu (Abreu). Others – not really. Springer and Tanaka injuries have derailed their chances.

Manager – Ned Yost!? (Melvin). Royals haven’t been to the playoffs in quite a long time, and so that would be a nice story and quite a feat if they hold off the Tigers for the AL Central title. However, Yost has gotten a lot of press in the past for some questionable managerial moves. Anyway, hats off to him and Royals for having such a great season to date. Others – Melvin, Scioscia, Showalter.

National League

MVP – Stanton (McCutchen). Last month it was McCutchen by a glove over Stanton, but Cutch has missed some time with injuries this month and Stanton keeps chugging along. 1st in HRs & RBIs & OBP & TBs. Others – McCutchen.

Cy Young – Kershaw (Kershaw). Even after missing a month to start the season, 1stin Wins and 3rd in Ks (8 off of lead). Also 1st in ERA & CGs & WHIP. Others – Cueto, who is 2nd in all those categories but 1st in IP.

Rookie – Hamilton (Hamilton). Having a solid year. Others – not really, no other batters, deGrom on the pitching side, but then he missed time with an injury.

Manager – Williams (Redmond). The Nationals have rebounded from an off year and Williams has them at the top of the NL. Others – Mattingly.

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