Top 5 Fantasy Baseball Matchups (Jul. 18th)

Get Ramirez back in your lineups.

Looking for some added offense to kick-start your squad out of the All-Star Break? Maybe your team is like mine and needs a boost in the pitching department. Either way, here at FBS we do the hard work so you don’t have to, and the following ten guys could really help your fantasy team this week and beyond. 

 Hitters

1.Aramis Ramirez, 3B CHC: .220/11/37/33

Ramirez had one of the worst first half’s in recent memory. Battling a nagging thumb injury, Aramis hit at a pathetic clip just under .180 and found himself frequently riding the pine. Since adjusting his grip on the bat to compensate for the injury, Ramirez has been en fuego. A notoriously streaky slugger, he is 12 for his last 28 and has his average is all the way up to .220 on the year. Over that span, Ramirez has three homers, 10 RBI, and 11 runs scored. Welcome back to the party Aramis, it’s nice of you to join us. Owners that stuck with him should get him immediately plugged back into the lineup, and those looking for offense should seek to buy-low before the window to do so is slammed shut.

2.Aubrey Huff, 1B SF: .302/17/54/56

Huff continues to enjoy his time in San Francisco as he has really put together a resurgent season. His 17 homers have already surpassed his 2009 total and he is on pace to surpass the 85 RBI he posted last season as well. Since a very sluggish April start, Huff is batting .320 with 15 HR and 44 RBI since May 1. He is a very real candidate for comeback player of the year and has established himself as a must-start player again due to his high average and power potential. He is hitting .386 in July and is showing no signs of slowing down. To those brave owners that gambled on him, congratulations are in order.

3.Ryan Howard, 1B PHI: .298/20/71/58

It’s amazing to me that so many considered Ryan Howard undeserving of an All-Star spot this season. He’s on pace to have his highest average since his monstrous 58 homer season in 2006 and is on pace to drive in more than 130 for the fifth season in a row. Despite Howard having just 20 homers, he is a notorious second-half power guy and still has the potential to skyrocket north of 40 homers for the season. Howard has averaged 47 bombs per year over the last three seasons, and while he may not reach that number, he should certainly come very close and is enjoying another excellent offensive year. The big first baseman is also on pace to score over 100 runs this season which is another added facet to his growing fantasy appeal. With Utley out of the lineup, the Subway sponsor will have to carry the Phils.

4.Andre Ethier, OF LAD: .324/15/55/45

Ethier was the hottest hitter on the planet before going down with a fractured finger but had really struggled since his return, hitting just .229 with one home run in the month of June. He looks like he’s back to his old ways now, and has really turned it on as of late. He’s hit safely in 11 of his past 12 at a .400 clip over that span with two homers, eight RBI and seven runs. Ethier should continue to produce very solid numbers the rest of the campaign and has really asserted himself as a Top-10 fantasy OF when clicking on all cylinders.

5.Adrian Gonzalez, 1B SD: .303/19/58/52

Ho-hum, just another great year from the San Diego slugger. Gonzalez doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves as a fantasy player for two reasons: 1. Fantasy owners now expect elite production from the big man each year, and 2. He plays in San Diego. Regardless, all this guy does is produce at a remarkably high clip given the lineup surrounding him. If Gonzalez was plugged into another lineup (like the Red Sox), he would have the potential to eclipse 50 homers. As is, it’s going to take a monumental offer to pry Gonzalez out of SD and fantasy owners should feel the same way. He’s been on fire over his last seven games, batting .444 with three homers, 12 RBI, and nine runs scored. If he’s on your squad, don’t even think about dealing him; just reap the results.

Pitchers

 
 

Jurrjens is ready to help you in your playoff push.

1.Jair Jurrjens, SP ATL:

2-3, 4.75 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 28 K

Jurrjens missed most of the season due to a hamstring injury but has finally re-claimed his spot in the Atlanta rotation. Since his return, the young pitcher has made three starts (2-0) and has looked very much like the pitcher that we saw last year. While Jurrjens does walk a few too many men on occasion, his ability to make the big pitch and escape out of jams has really aided his development. He’s pitching for a first-place Braves team that is playing with the utmost confidence right now, and Jurrjens has the potential to be a second-half ace for fantasy owners.

2. Bronson Arroyo, SP CIN: 10-4, 3.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 62 K

While Arroyo’s statistics certainly aren’t eye-popping at first sight, the veteran right-hander has pitched much better over the last month and a half. Arroyo is 5-1 since June 17th and has pitched deep into the game, stifling hitters with his pitches and his unorthodox delivery to the plate. Arroyo is on pace to break his previous career high in wins, and if he continues to pitch the way that he is currently, could very well break some of his personal marks in other categories as well. It seems that Arroyo has finally settled into his spot in the Cincy rotation the way the front office would like, and owners should aggressively use him while he’s riding this wave. 

3.Tommy Hunter, SP TEX: 6-0, 2.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 28 K

Hunter has been on cruise control for a while now, and odds are if you’re just taking notice, it’s probably too late to nab him off the waiver wire. Since being called up from Triple-A at the beginning of June, Hunter hasn’t lost a game. Despite having just 28 K in 49 IP, Hunter has displayed fantastic ability to pitch out of tough situations and is really looking to take the next step forward in his game. He’s another two-start guy this week against the Tigers & Angels, and the young righty will look to continue to assert his dominance. Having Cliff Lee as the new ace on the staff certainly won’t hurt his development, either.

4.Madison Bumgarner, SP SF: 2-2, 2.57 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 21 K

The energetic lefty left us with just a taste of what he was capable of when he came up in the 2009 campaign. This year, it looks as if he’s here to stay. Bumgarner has pitched very well since his promotion from Triple-A, including wins in his last two starts, both of which came on the road. He’s struck out at least five batters in each of his four starts thus far, and hasn’t pitched less than six innings. A two-start pitcher this week and just 20 years old, Bumgarner appears to have a very bright future ahead of him.

5.Ryan Dempster, SP CHC: 8-7, 3.57 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 129 K

Dempster has really emerged as the ace on the Cubs staff this season, as his numbers are just terrific as of late.  He’s averaging nearly eight strikeouts per start over his last six outings and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in eight straight starts. He deserves to be started in every fantasy format, and may very well be one of the most underrated starters in fantasyland. He’s scheduled to take on the Astros Tuesday and is 1-0 (two starts) with a 2.57 ERA against them this season.

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