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Reality Check: Showing a little Wil power

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Wil Myers: He's good, but not save-your-season good.

The route he took to get here may lead you to believe otherwise. Even when his batting average at Triple-A Durham dipped to .242 in late May, with no promotion in sight, his ownership rate never fell below 71 percent. Fantasy owners, a notoriously impatient lot, were willing to wait for him like no prospect before him.

So then, by definition, he's overhyped.

Don't get me wrong: Now that he's in the big leagues, Myers' ownership rate of 88 percent is perfectly reasonable and in line with every other outfielder I rank in my top 50, such as Melky Cabrera at 91 percent, Gerardo Parra at 90 percent and Shane Victorino at 84 percent.

But is anyone counting on any of them to single-handedly salvage a season? Would anyone think all is lost if any of them suffered a season-ending injury? I sure hope not.

Yet anytime a player with no immediate value gets stashed away for that length of time -- and in a bench spot, no less -- the presumption is he's an eventual game-changer. Why sacrifice so much for anything less?

Yes, sacrifice. How many times were you tempted to drop Myers but chose not to, thoroughly invested in what you hoped would be a big payoff later? Think of all the players who could have been yours if you hadn't already committed that roster spot. Josh Donaldson. Everth Cabrera. Jean Segura. Can you promise Myers will be better than them? I can't.

Which is why I rank him not with that group, but with the Parras, Victorinos and Starling Martes of the world. He's a player who we'd all like to have on our teams but who we could all probably live without.

So was it worth it?

I've been around long enough to know how this works. The big prospect arrives to great fanfare and jubilation. His Fantasy owners, effusive in their praise of both him and themselves but subconsciously seeking validation, venture out to see what others are calling Myers, subscribing to what I call the Vanilla Ice standard. In short, anything less than "the best" is a felony. And a felony deserves punishment. And the punishment is daggers -- verbal, gerbil daggers.

But I assure you any perceived lack of enthusiasm for Myers here is not because I'm jealous of him, those who beat me to him in Fantasy or the joy he brings to the lads and lasses fighting over who gets to "be" him on the kickball field.

It's because I choose to have realistic expectations when running my Fantasy teams and not get caught up in the emotion of it all.

Look, I'm not blaming those who held on to Myers all this time. To a degree, I'm responsible for it, so I certainly understand it. If you drafted Myers at his going rate, you hitched your wagon to him for better or worse. Of course you were going to stick with him over that first wave of waiver wire breakouts. You didn't expect him up in the first two weeks anyway. Then, with that second wave, you knew his arrival could be any day now. Then, with the third wave, well, giving up on him wouldn't have made sense anymore, not with what you had passed up already. On it on it went, with your attachment to Myers perpetuating itself through the simple passage of time.

You stuck with him because you reached a point where you had to stick with him. And I did the same thing.

Of course, it's easy to pass up the questionable newcomers for the upside guy when you think the uspide guy is only a month away. But seeing as we're nearing the end of June and you're just now making use of that roster spot, you can (and should) ask yourself if Myers was really the best use of it. Just how valuable is he?

Am I excited he's finally here? Heck yes. Am I starting him where I own him? You better believe it. But if someone offered me Mark Trumbo for Myers today, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Trumbo is what Myers is aspiring to be, at least at this stage of his career. Maybe someday in the not-too-distant future, a .300 batting average will be a reasonable expectation for Myers, but right now, as a 22-year-old getting his first taste of the big leagues after struggling with inconsistency this year and a higher-than-expected number of strikeouts each of the last two, I'm not expecting much more than a .260 mark. The power is fully developed, which gives me some hope of a Trumbo-like performance the rest of the way, but at this stage of his career, that's the optimistic scenario for Myers. If he's going to distance himself from those other outfielders numbered 40-50 in the rankings, that's how he's going to do it.

And that's still great. I think most of us would be thrilled to get another Trumbo at this stage of the season.

But notice I said most, not all. Some wouldn't even care because they know their team is in such bad shape that not even Trumbo can save it.

Even for the middling teams, he can do only so much. In the mixed league where I invested most heavily in Myers, I'm in fifth place. You know what's not going to pull me out of fifth place? A lousy 3 1/2 months of Trumbo. Maybe 3 1/2 months of Mike Trout would, but Myers we can safely assume is no Trout. Who is?

Which brings me back to my original question: Was it worth it? If I had wanted Trumbo, I could have just drafted Trumbo and had him for an extra 40 percent of the season.

Maybe it's all spilled milk now. Myers is where he is, and I am where I am. What good does backtracking do either of us? But even looking at the present, I see Myers less as the hero Evan Gattis was when I picked him up in mid-April or Anthony Rendon was when I picked him up last week and more as the albatross who put me in the hole I'm in now.

Do I have any assurance that, relative to position, he'll outperform either of those two the rest of the way? Do I have any hope of him outperforming Yasiel Puig, who was widely available throughout the wait?

What good is stashing a big-name prospect for 2 1/2 months when I can add one just as good the moment he's ready to contribute?

So no, I don't romanticize the delayed payoff for Myers. I don't see it as a testament to patience or a fulfillment of destiny. I see it as the deadweight finally doing something. And if the hype of his promotion allows me to get more than fair market value for him -- such as Trumbo or Anthony Rizzo or Dexter Fowler or Billy Butler -- I say bring it on.

Of course, nobody's going inflate Myers' value more than the person who's held on to him all this time, so if that's you, your best bet might be just to sit back and watch it all unfold.

Hopefully, from well within striking distance of first place. If you couldn't get there without him, I'm guessing you won't get there with him.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

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Player News
Sandoval returns to Red Sox lineup, Holt out
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:39 am ET) After missing five straight starts with a knee injury, third baseman Pablo Sandoval returns to the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Monday against the Twins. 

Sandoval pinch-hit from left side in Sunday's game and with right-hander Ricky Nolasco starting for the Twins, he will be able to hit lefty against a pitcher he's had a lot of success against, going .476 with three homers and seven RBIs. 

Sandoval's replacement at third base, Brock Holt, is out of the lineup Monday after he was hit by a pitch on his arm Sunday and began to lose feeling in his hand. 


Struggling SS Danny Santana sits again for Twins
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:25 am ET) Twins shortstop Danny Santana is out of the lineup for a second straight game Monday, replaced by Eduardo Escobar for the game against the Red Sox. 

Santana has had a rough week at the plate, going 1-for-16 with five strikeouts and no wallks. The free-swinging Santana has just two walks in 157 plate appearances this season. 

The Twins (+103) are slight underdogs per VegasInsider.com. 


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:23 am ET) It's all good at the moment for Cubs premier second base prospect Javier Baez. He't not trying to hit home runs at Triple-A Iowa, but baseballs are flying over the fence anyway.

The Cubs wanted Baez to stop swinging for the downs, which led to too many strikeouts in his stint with the team a year ago. He slugged two home runs Sunday, giving him five on the season, but his strikeouts are indeed down. He has 24 in 87 at-bats, which is still disturbing, but far off the pace he set last year.

"Both (home run at-bats Sunday), he laid off borderline pitches before getting good pitches to hit," Iowa batting coach Brian Harper said via milb.com. "That's the key for Javy. What he's done the most lately is not overswinging. He's not trying to hit 800-foot home runs any more. He's just trying to hit 350 to 400-foot home runs, that's all. He's working really hard to calming things down."

Baez owns a slash line of .322/.404/.540. He has fanned in 24.2 percent of his plate appearances, down from 30 percent a year ago.


Yankees' Brian McCann in, Carlos Beltran out Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) Yankees catcher Brian McCann is in the starting lineup on Monday, while Carlos Beltran remains out for his team's matchup with the Royals.

McCann left Sunday's game due to cramping in his left foot/calf, but the issue won't keep him from missing a start. Beltran is sitting for the second straight game due to an illness.

The Yankees are favorites (-125) at home on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Orioles RP Brian Matusz receives 8-game suspension
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:09 am ET) Orioles reliever Brian Matusz was issued an eight-game suspension by MLB Monday as punishment for being caught with a "foreign substance" on his arm during Saturday's game against the Marlins. 

Matusz was ejected in the 12th inning on Saturday after it was brought to the umpires' attention that Matusz had a visible substance on his arm. When the home plate umpire determined it was an illegal substance, he discussed with Orioles manager Buck Showalter briefly before ejecting Matusz from the game.

Matusz will appeal the suspension, which is the same doled out to Brewers reliever Will Smith after he was caught with an illegal substance on his arm earlier in the week. Matusz is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 14 appearances this season. 


Brewers' Khris Davis batting second Monday vs. RHP
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:02 am ET) Brewers left fielder Khris Davis is batting second on Monday against the Giants and righty starter Tim Lincecum.

It's just the second time this season that Davis has been slotted second against the righty and his sixth time batting second against any pitcher. He's been much better against righties than lefties this season, hitting .257/.361/.396 with two home runs in 101 at-bats, while posting a .452 OPS against lefties. Lincecum has also seen more struggles against righties (.720 OPS against) than lefties (.455 OPS against).

The Brewers are favorites (-120) on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Mets start Danny Muno at third base Monday vs. Phillies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:50 am ET) Mets infielder Danny Muno is starting at third base and batting seventh in Monday's matchup with the Phillies.

Muno was called up after Sunday's game and will be immediately inserted into the lineup at third base. Normally a second baseman, Muno has seen 46 appearances at third base in the minors, with 20 coming this season.

Muno has hit .280/.354/.400 in 100 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas. His only other start with the Mets came in late April when he served as the designated hitter in an American League park.

The Mets are heavy favorites (-165) at home on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Mets' Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda return to lineup Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Mets center fielder Juan Lagares and first baseman Lucas Duda are back in the lineup for Monday's game against the Phillies.

Lagares, who is batting second, was scratched from Sunday's lineup with soreness in his armpit and elbow. Duda, who is batting third, was held out Sunday due to hamstring tightness.

The Mets are heavy favorites (-165) at home on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Cubs' Miguel Montero out, David Ross in Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:45 am ET) Cubs catcher David Ross is starting over Miguel Montero in Monday's matchup with the Nationals.

Ross typically receives his starts on the days that Jon Lester pitches, but he'll be behind the plate on Monday to catch Tsuyoshi Wada. He has hit .182/.341/.303 in 33 at-bats.

The Cubs are home underdogs (+105) against the Nationals on Monday, per VegasInsider.com.


Cardinals' Kolten Wong 'getting more comfortable' leading off
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:32 am ET) Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong is 8 for 19 with three walks in his last five games, which have all come with him slotted in the leadoff spot.

"I’m definitely getting more comfortable," Wong said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I’m starting to realize what kind of hitter I am. I understand that I can see some pitches and still be comfortable going deep into at-bats. Before, I kind of panicked leading off because I wasn’t someone who was comfortable taking pitches. Now I know I can still drive balls, no matter what the count. It just takes time. Leadoff isn’t an easy place to hit at. It’s all about learning and understanding how to hit leadoff and then buying into it."

The lineup change as pushed third baseman Matt Carpenter to the No. 2 spot, a move he sees as positive for the offense.

"I think we’re a better offense with him hitting leadoff and me hitting in the second spot," Carpenter said. "He just needed to develop as a hitter, and we’re seeing what he’s been able to become — a guy that can have tough at-bats. That’s the key to what a leadoff (hitter) is. It’s not giving away at-bats. And he hasn’t given away at-bats all year."

Wong's recent hot stretch gives him a .315/.369/.469 line with five home runs and 22 RBI in 162 at-bats.


 
 
 
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