Join SI.com's James Quintong in a discussion of some of the latest news in football, baseball and other sports and how it relates to fantasy teams and leagues.
7/16/2007 03:12:00 PM
Nick Markakis is once again seeing his numbers improve as the season progreeses.
Over the past week, a number of my colleagues have suggested top-flight players who should improve in the second half. Now, after a short post-All-Star week, it's time to see who really is starting to make those strides to help out owners:
Jermaine Dye, OF, White Sox: He could either a long-term extension like teammate Mark Buehrle or he could be dealt by the deadline. A 7-for-17, three-homer weekend against the Orioles helps his value, but he needs to keep it up.
Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals: His numbers were already on an upswing, but hitting four homers in three games after failing to get an at-bat in the All-Star Game could mean the start of a monster second half.
Nick Markakis, OF, Orioles: Once again, Markakis' average has improved each month this season: .245 in April, .286 in May, .292 in June, .383 so far in July, thanks in part to an 8-for-17 run this weekend. We're still waiting for a power surge, but remember he hit 10 homers in August alone last year.
Bobby Abreu, OF, Yankees: Maybe Abreu's finally found the power stroke that's deserted him since the 2005 Home Run Derby as he hit two homers this weekend, increasing his total to seven. Of course, he was facing Tampa Bay, so who knows if he'll keep that up. But an easy Yankees schedule in the next few weeks could wake up his bat.
Jose Guillen, OF, Mariners: Two homers this weekend against the Tigers just add to a great July (.426 average). He's not letting any of the Adam Jones talk affect him.
Mariano Rivera, P, Yankees: The lack of chances has hurt his value so far this year, but getting two this weekend against the Devil Rays helped a bunch. As with Abreu, Rivera needs to take advantage of the upcoming soft schedule. After a 10.57 ERA in April, Rivera is at 1.53 since then, allowing two walks total in that time.
Tom Glavine, P, Mets: After a bad stretch in May and June, Glavine is getting his game in order with his 300th win looking. An eight-inning, two-hit performance against the Reds on Saturday shows the old guy still has something left in the tank.
Scott Kazmir, P, Devil Rays: He allowed no earned runs in six innings against the Yankees on Friday to beat Roger Clemens for his first win since June 17. The seven strikeouts are very nice, the four walks not so much. He still needs to keep that pitch count down, as he needed 117 to get through six innings, to get himself into more position for wins and not rely on that bullpen for help.
Adam Wainwright, P, Cardinals: A little extra time before and after the break got Wainwright's game back in order after a so-so first half. He had a nice outing just before the break and pitched seven shutout innings on Sunday to end the Phillies' winning streak and hand them their 10,000th defeat.
Other notes for Monday: -- Ben Sheets is back on the DL again after leaving Saturday's start early with an injured finger. I guess you had to expect this from him at some point. Meanwhile, Yovani Gallardo gets another shot at the rotation.
-- Derrek Lee's .335 average is nice, but the seven homers are aggravating many fantasy owners. He did go deep on Monday, but that was his first homer since June 3. Lee has the chance to go on a tear soon, but he won't match most people's power expectations.
-- Tom Gordon is back off the disabled list, but he may log a little middle relief work before closing again. And then we'll repeat the process when Brett Myers returns in a few weeks.
-- Mark Teixeira is playing himself into prime trade position should the Rangers be interested in a deal as he came off the DL after the break, hitting a homer and three doubles in three games against the Angels.