Top 5 Fantasy Matchups (Jul. 23rd)

Pagan's owners are fist-pumping, too.

This week, we feature a group of hitters that nobody wanted to draft, a pitcher whose career was supposed to be over two years ago, and two lefty’s that used to be mistaken for twins on the mound. Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at how our selections could help you take home this week in fantasyland.

Hitters

1.Adrian Beltre, 3B BOS: .336/16/62/48

After signing a rather interesting contract with Boston in the offseason, Beltre has proven that he still has a ton of fantasy value left in his bat. He’s got a seven game hit streak going currently and is 12 for 29 during that span. He continues to drive in plenty of runs for the Red Sox lineup and as long as he produces at his current pace, Beltre is on par to surpass 100 RBI for only the second time in his career. He is a starter in every fantasy format.

2.Scott Podsednik, OF KC: .300/3/38/43

Pods has been a fantasy revelation since coming back with the ChiSox last season. Now that he’s found a new home in KC, he just keeps producing atop the lineup. His fantasy value lies directly in his ability to hit and steal bases, which is exactly what he’s been doing. He’s got a hit in 19 of his last 20 looks primed to keep it going for the rest of the year. He’s a threat to steal between 40 & 50 bases and should keep that average right around .300 all season long.

3.Kelly Johnson, 2B ARI: .283/16/49/59

The Braves’ front office better be thankful that Martin Prado has stepped up in a big way or they’d be getting a lot more criticism for letting go of Johnson. He’s been remarkable this month, batting 25-66 (.379) with three homers, 12 runs, 14 RBI, and two stolen bases to boot! Johnson has been a fantasy owner’s dream this season for those who shopped in the bargain bin department at 2B and should continue to produce solid numbers as the season rolls on.

4.Angel Pagan, OF NYM: .306/8/44/49

A blessing in disguise, Pagan’s been a godsend for the Mets this season. Starting in CF this season for the injured Beltran, his performance has injected life into a lineup that sorely needed it after last season. He’s eclipsed expectations of his teammates and of fantasy owners and looks primed for another big week. He’s moved into the three-hole in the lineup and boasts amazing career numbers against both Arizona & St. Louis. Pagan should keep the solid numbers rolling and even stands to benefit his RBI numbers with his slot in the lineup. His stock just keeps rising.

5.Neil Walker, 2B/3B, PIT: .314/3/21/24

Walker has been absolutely on fire over the last week or so. He enjoyed a stretch of six-straight multi-hit games where he was 16 for 27 (.593) and has really settled in as the team’s everyday 2B. Walker fell off the fantasy radar a few years back after he lost his top prospect status, but has burst back onto the scene in a big way. Roll with him if you need a 2B.

Pitchers

1.Johan Santana, SP NYM: 8-5, 2.79 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 92 K

Santana is the best second-half pitcher in baseball, period. Over his last five starts, Johan is 3-0 and has only allowed three ER in 38 IP (0.71 ERA) and 26 K. While his elite strikeout days are most likely behind him, Santana can still securely anchor any fantasy staff. He’s clearly getting stronger as the season goes on and should be started every time he takes the bump. He heads into a matchup against StL this week against Jeff Suppan, so assuming the Mets can score some runs for him, Santana will look to keep his dominance rolling.

2.Zack Greinke, SP KC: 6-9, 3.59 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 113 K

There he is. When one is pitching for the Royals, it’s always hard to amass consistent value, but Greinke is just an extraordinary talent with remarkable pitching ability. He won for the fifth time in six decisions this week and in his past seven starts he is 6-1 with a 47:8 K:BB ratio. He looks to be honing in as he prepares for the stretch run and fantasy owners can only hope that this pattern will continue through September. He’s a two-start pitcher this week against Minnesota and Baltimore and should be very capable of coming out as the winner in both as long as the KC offense isn’t completely anemic.

Greinke looks like his CY self again.

3.Brett Myers, SP HOU: 7-6, 3.24 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 101 K

Myers has been absolutely outstanding in July, allowing no more than two ER in any start while lasting at least six innings in each of them. The big righty is looking to prove his Philadelphia haters wrong and display that he’s still capable of pitching like the ace he once was. Fantasy owners should take advantage while they still can as Myers can implode at any moment. Having said that, his 1.88 ERA in July is just too good to ignore. He’ll take on the Cubs in his next outing.

4.Francisco Liriano, SP MIN: 8-7, 3.54 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 133 K

Liriano seems to be finally figuring himself out. After blanking the Indians over seven innings for his second consecutive victory this week, Liriano looks like the dominant pitcher that fantasy owners saw when he first arrived in the majors. He’s allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts and has a two-start week this week: @KC & vs. Seattle so fantasy owners should know that he deserves to be started in every format on the planet.

5.Jorge De La Rosa, SP COL: 3-2, 5.65 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 40 K

De La Rosa had spent most of the season on the DL until his return just a few starts ago in early July. Since his return, the enigmatic lefty seems to have shaken off the rust with a couple of poor outings but was much better in his most recent one against a pesky Florida lineup (6 IP, 8 K, 2 ER). After blossoming last season into a strikeout machine, De La Rosa will look to prove his potential to fantasy owners this upcoming week with matchups against the Pirates & Cubs. His performance will most likely dictate his remainder of the season.

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