AP Photo/Rob Carr
The outfielders making the most noise for the Orioles in Thursday's win against the Tigers, however, were Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold. A few days ago, it was believed Scott's return from the DL from a shoulder problem could result in Reimold's being sent to Triple-A Norfolk. Then Reimold homered on Tuesday. He did it again Wednesday with a clutch extra-inning three-run walk-off homer, and on Thursday he went yard yet again, a solo shot in the fifth inning. I'd say Reimold's staying, but where will all these outfielders play?
Scott's playing time should be assured at this point. On Wednesday, he homered in his first game off the DL, and he hit two more home runs Thursday, knocking in four of the five runs. With a slugging percentage of .598 and .318 batting average, some might call Scott a sell-high candidate. I'll concede the averages should drop some, closer to his career marks of .501 and .270, but the power is legit, and always has been. Few fantasy owners seem to realize Scott hit 23 home runs last season. He's the Orioles' everyday designated hitter, possibly ceding at-bats against southpaws to Ty Wigginton, but well on his way to 20 or more home runs. I'd argue he should be owned in a lot more than 5.2 percent of leagues.
Reimold should be the team's everyday left fielder, pushing Felix Pie into one of two roles he seems more suited for: fourth outfielder or minor leaguer. Look, Pie is only 24 and it's probably premature to label him a bust who just can't hit, but there is evidence that's the case. Pie is hitting .195 this season, and .216 in 165 career games. Reimold batted .294 with power at Triple-A Norfolk, so it serves little purpose to send him back. Does it serve any purpose to play Pie over him? Reimold is owned in 1.6 percent of leagues, and will deserve mixed league consideration if the power continues.
If Reimold continues to hit, it's possible the Orioles could have the best outfield for fantasy baseball, a foursome of power bats no major league team can match. And to think, everyone in fantasy is focusing on the future behind the plate in Baltimore. Don't forget about the outfield.
• What's happening to Brett Myers, however, might be a very big deal. Maybe it's hip to have an injured hip. Quite a few major leaguers have been limping around with hip woes, from Alex Gordon to Alex Rodriguez, and Philly's Myers is the latest victim. An MRI on Myers' right hip showed fraying and possible tearing in the labrum of the hip joint, which could explain the right-hander's propensity to allow home runs this season. Nobody in the bigs has permitted more than his 17 long balls. Myers could have surgery and miss the rest of the season, or he could rest and try to pitch through it. Or he might pitch next week. Expect more info on this situation soon, with a second or third opinion thrown in. Myers is owned in 89.1 percent of ESPN leagues, so this affects many leagues. It's unclear what moves the Phillies could make if Myers has the surgery. Chan Ho Park could go back into the rotation, or a minor league candidate like Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter or Kyle Kendrick could be summoned.
• One of the matchups in ESPN's Streak for the Cash Thursday was Tigers at Orioles, and more than 83 percent of those choosing sided with Detroit. Didn't they know the Tigers' Armando Galarraga was struggling? Galarraga did provide his best outing of May, by far, allowing only three runs in seven innings, but he still allowed 10 hits and lost. His May ERA entering Thursday was 9.93. Now he's just the second Tiger in 50 years to lose at least five games in May without a win, joining Jack Morris from 1990. Because Galarraga appeared to overachieve in 2008 and this April, he's not a natural buy-low option, but this is a good sign he could remain ownable if he retains his rotation spot.
• The winner in the Orioles' 5-1 win was rookie David Hernandez, who tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his major league debut. Hernandez walked four and struck out three, numbers not quite in line with those he produced at Triple-A Norfolk, where he fanned 60 against 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings. It's premature to assume Hernandez is ownable in 10-team leagues, but this is obviously a nice start.
• Another rookie pitcher with much to smile about is Cleveland lefty David Huff, who didn't allow a run in four innings. Huff threw only 71 pitches, but a lengthy rain delay ended his day an inning before he could become eligible for a win. Huff had allowed 13 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in his first two starts, so this is quite an improvement. It's also important to note the Tribe bullpen was critical in the four-game sweep over the Rays, allowing one earned run on 13 hits in 18 innings. Kerry Wood picked up his eighth save, and hasn't allowed a run in his past four outings, and Rafael Betancourt seems to have established himself as the top setup man.
• Underrated Dodger Randy Wolf picked up his third victory in 11 starts, controlling the sputtering Cubs offense for seven innings of one-run ball, with seven strikeouts. Wolf has a 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and is eighth in the NL in strikeouts, yet remains unowned in roughly half of ESPN leagues. Also of interest was Dodgers manager Joe Torre's letting right-hander Ramon Troncoso get a two-inning save. Jonathan Broxton was unavailable after throwing 38 pitches the night before. Troncoso loaded the based with one out in the ninth inning and was allowed to get out of the jam himself, striking out Bobby Scales and Jake Fox with the one-run lead.
• Arizona right fielder Justin Upton continues to show how much he enjoys batting in the No. 3 lineup spot. Upton singled three times off Derek Lowe, raising his overall batting average to .346, and better than .400 when he bats third. The other great sign on Upton of late: He's stealing bases, getting his sixth on Thursday. No, he's not his brother B.J., who swiped his 15th base of the season earlier in the day, but Justin is the more valuable Upton these days with his power and batting average.
Jason Varitek, Red Sox
The catcher swatted a pair of home runs against the Twins, giving him 10 for the season. Varitek reaches double digits in home runs for the eighth consecutive season, and 10th time in 11 years. He offers little else for fantasy owners, with a .248 batting average and only 22 RBIs, but hey, he is on pace for 42 home runs. Take the under and sell high.
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
The way Haren has pitched this season, you'd think he's on his way to 20 wins. Well, it's still technically possible, but Haren's terrific outing Thursday, with eight innings of two-run ball, upped his record to only 4-4. He has a 2.54 ERA, leads the NL in WHIP and is among the leaders in strikeouts.
Josh Beckett continued a fine May by improving to 3-0 with a 2.38 in five starts, culminating in seven strong innings against the Twins. Beckett's April ERA was 7.22. Did you know that was Beckett's 100th start with the Red Sox, and he now has 583 strikeouts in that time? Only Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez accrued more strikeouts in their first 100 starts with Boston.
• Former Oriole Ryan Freel -- he had 15 at-bats in Baltimore earlier this season -- is back in a familiar place, the DL, this time with a pulled hamstring. Freel hasn't hit or run this season for the Orioles or Cubs. Bobby Scales got a reprieve back to the Cubs a day after he was sent to Triple-A Iowa, and swatted a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning to celebrate, but there remains little fantasy relevance there.
• The Indians are willing to try just about anything on their pitching staff. A day after lefty Zach Jackson started for the Tribe, he was sent to Triple-A Columbus and the well-traveled Tomo Ohka was summoned. Ohka started nine games for the Clippers and fared well, with a 3.42 ERA and strong strikeout-to-walk rate. He's ticketed for long relief, but who knows, with Anthony Reyes on the 60-day DL and Monday's rotation spot listed as open, Ohka could face the Yankees that day.
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Tristan H. Cockcroft: Amazingly no, other than that his home run/fly ball percentage is a little high (27.1) and his batting average on balls in play on his line drives is also a tad high (.833). So he's been a little lucky, but it's not like he's carrying any four-leaf clover or anything. I'd have told you he couldn't keep up the .300 batting average he had a couple of weeks ago, but now that he's at .283, I don't think he's far off his usual self. He has batted .260-plus before, after all.
-- Full chat transcript
Pierre Becquey: Ah, yes, I imagine there's a lot of people in this boat right now. My answer is that I'd rather have Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Martin (than Wieters). That's it. As for selling later well it really depends on what you get back, doesn't it? I'd dangle both of them out there and let the offer be the deciding factor. No reason to decide now, see what you have on your hands first.
-- Full chat transcript
Friday's fantasy chat schedule:
• With all Rockies infielders struggling to get on base, from Clint Barmes to Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart, one has to wonder how long it is before Eric Young Jr., a second baseman, gets a chance. Young stole two more bases Thursday, giving him 27 for the season in 33 attempts. No, the switch-hitter doesn't have power or a particularly high on-base percentage, but managers like speed, and Young has it in his genes, as his father with the same name showed by swiping 465 bases during 15 major league seasons. Obviously, fantasy owners would be interested in a guy who runs like Young Jr.
• Tigers catcher Gerald Laird is hitting .238 with two home runs and displaying good enough defense, but if the team needs a bit more pop behind the plate, look for Dusty Ryan to get another call. Ryan went 4-for-5 Thursday with a pair of doubles and his fifth home run, and had an .880 OPS in a brief stint with the Tigers in 2008. He could interest fantasy owners if he gets a chance in the bigs.
• With Brett Myers' immediate future in question, the Phillies really need J.A. Happ to step up and seize his rotation opportunity. It's noteworthy that in six career starts, including last weekend at Yankee Stadium, Happ has a 3.48 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. He makes for a nice option against the Nationals.
• Do we trust the new Dontrelle Willis yet? After a tough first outing, Willis has settled down to allow three earned runs in 13 innings, though he's still walking hitters. Someone's leaving the Detroit rotation when Jeremy Bonderman returns in a week. With Galarraga pitching well Thursday, Willis might be the one pitching for a rotation spot.
• Those in daily leagues should take note of the scheduled doubleheader in Arlington, Texas. The four starting pitchers have a combined 14 starts this season, and Tommy Hunter of Texas makes his season debut. Look for good things from the hitters.
• For more on Friday's games, check out Daily Notes.