5 Up 5 Down: Weekly MLB Fantasy Advice
After 517 plate appearances, it seems safe to say Norichika Aoki is mostly for real. The 30-year-old Japanese import has a .289/.359/.430 line this season, including 68 runs and 26 stolen bases.
Justin Morneau’s season has not come with much fanfare. It’s understandable – he’s a former MVP first baseman and he’s hitting just .277/.337/.473. But with today’s offensive environment, his 122 OPS+ is equal to his 2007 All-Star campaign.
Tyler Skaggs, the 13th-best prospect in the game per Baseball America, will be one to watch Monday night as he makes his second major league start. The 20-year-old lefty is a must-add in available keeper leagues and should be a solid addition even in redraft formats.
Ben Zobrist gained shortstop eligibility over the week, adding flexibility and the toughest non-catcher position to his name for the last month of the season. With the trading deadline past, that gives Zobrist about as big a spike in fantasy value as a player can get at this point in the season.
Manny Machado has skyrocketed from 1% owned to 38% in the Yahoo! game since the Orioles called him up, and understandably so: the youngster has socked three home runs already in just sixteen at-bats, with six hits total.
Players at premium positions (C, 2B, SS, 3B) in Colorado should always be watched; mediocre talent can become fantastic fantasy numbers, and great talent leads to such forces as Troy Tulowitzki.
Typically, a move from the NL to the AL is a bad omen for pitchers. However, escaping homer-friendly Miller Park and the shoddy defense behind him in Milwaukee should be a boon for Zach Greinke.
With Ian Desmond dealing with an oblique injury, Danny Espinosa picked up his fifth game at shortstop, and with it, eligibility at the position in many leagues. He has a career high .244 batting average – nearly the league average this season – and adds decent power (eight homers) and great speed (14 steals).
Jhonny Peralta is on fire over his last five games, batting 9-for-20 (.450) with two home runs, seven RBI and three runs scored. Particularly since June, Peralta has been rediscovering what made him so good last season.
Francisco Liriano ( SP, MIN) has been fantastic since returning to the starting rotation. After tossing 6.2 innings and allowing just one run this week against the Rangers, Liriano has now allowed just 15 runs in his last 49.1 innings, striking out 52 against 24 walks.