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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
Astros GM seeking to bolster fifth spot in rotation
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:19 pm ET) The surprising start of the Astros has general manager Jeff Luhnow considering moves he wouldn't have thought prudent otherwise.

"(The early success) makes it more likely that we're going to be making moves to have an immediate payback and potentially even moves that come at a cost long-term," he told the Houston Chronicle. "The more we feel like we've got a chance to be relevant all summer and potentially relevant in October, the more we can be focused on what we can do to bolster this team."

It certainly needs bolstering in the starting staff.

"Really, the only area that's obvious is in the rotation," Luhnow added. "We probably will explore rotation adds that make sense for our team, because we've had a lot of rotating doors so far in the fifth spot."

Among those that have tried to lock down that fifth spot are Brad Peacock (disabled list), Asher Wojciechowski (demoted) and Brett Oberholtzer (injured). Samuel Deduno is the current fifth starter. The veteran right-hander performed well in his lone start, though he was lifted after four innings.


Farrell: Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli 'taking some good swings'
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:04 pm ET) Scuffling Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has received encouragement from John Farrell, who claims those struggles are not a result of a poor approach at the plate.

"He's taking some good swings, just missing some pitches," Farrell told MLB Network Radio. "When he's in the mix our lineup takes a completely different look."

Napoli has just two hits in his last 22 at-bats. It appeared he might be coming out of his slump when he slugged a three-run homer Sunday, but he took the collar Monday.


McClendon on James Paxton: 'I feel good about where he is right now'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:57 pm ET) Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton heads into Tuesday's start against the Angels coming off a very promising start against the Astros.

Paxton had a few rough outings after a strong performance in his first start April 7 against the Angels, but manager Lloyd McClendon feels Paxton is on the right track after missing time during the spring due to a forearm injury.

"I feel like he's been building since the injury in spring training. I feel real good about where he is right now," McClendon said, per MLB Network Radio.

The lefty pitcher is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in five career starts against the Angels.


Marlins announce release of C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) The Marlins have released veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. A trade that had been rumored never materialized.

Saltalamacchia, who turned 30 on Saturday, might not be out of a job long. Several teams are reportedly interested in him, including the Diamondbacks, Rays and Royals.

His slow start at the plate cost him his spot. Saltalamacchia, whose production dipped dramatically last year, owns a disturbing slash line of .069/.182/.207.


Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado no longer flying under the radar
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:26 pm ET) There's no question that Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has been developing into something truly special over his first two-plus seasons in the big leagues. He's already won two Gold Gloves and he's being mentioned in early MVP talks this season.

And, although he just turned 24 years old a couple of weeks ago, his name is also being mentioned along the likes of Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki in regards to Rockies' cornerstones. But to his credit, Arenado wants to make his own name for the Colorado franchise. 

"I'm a huge fan of Tulo. I would love to be like Tulo, or Todd (Helton)," Arenado said Monday, per the Denver Post. "I would love to play like them. But those are their roads. I want to build my own road."

Arenado's stellar defense is even getting the respect from the competition in his own divsion. 

"His defense is maybe the best in the league," Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "It stinks when you're hitting and you know if you hit anything even close to him, he's going to rob you of a hit. He's a stud. He's an unbelievable player. Has some power, good strike zone judgment. He's aggressive but can be patient too. He really does everything really well."

Arenado is seeing the ball well over his last 10 games, as he enters play Tuesday batting .317 with three home runs and seven RBI in that stretch.


Nationals' Zimmermann feels good despite reduced velocity
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann didn't see his average fastball velocity dip below 93.8 mph in any of his starts last season, but he's had to deal with a reduction in velocity this season, with his fastball averaging at least 93 mph just once in his six starts, per Brooks Baseball.

Despite the dip in velocity, Zimmermann doesn't seem concerned, the Washington Post reports.

"Don’t really care about velocity," Zimmermann said Monday. "As long as I make my pitch. You can throw 85 and make your pitch and get guys out up here, as long as you execute and mix it up. I’m sure it’ll come back later in the season. It’s just down a little bit right now."

The reduced velocity has led to more contact by hitters this season. However, Zimmermann feels that he's been improved in recent starts, and he expressed confidence in all three of his secondary pitches Monday night for the first time this season.

"I feel good," he said. "It was hit or miss early in the season, but I feel good now. Fastball command is there and breaking pitches are there, so I feel good."

Zimmermann saw his fastball velocity leap to its normal level against Atlanta on April 29, but it was back down Monday, when he worked seven innings of one-run ball. He's 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA and 22:6 K:BB ratio in 34 2/3 innings. He's striking out 5.7 batters per nine innings after posting an 8.2 K/9 rate in 2014.


Nationals' Fister on reduced velocity: I'm 'dialing in the mechanics'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister has seen his average fastball velocity dip to 87.03 mph this season after his fastball sat at about 89 to 91 mph over the last four seasons, per Brooks Baseball. Fister indicated that he needs to become more consistent with his mechanics, the Washington Post reports.

"I’m really just dialing in the mechanics," Fister said. "There’s a flash or two of where I normally am during the game, but not consistently, and that’s what I’ve gotta get to. It’s a work in progress."

Fister, who has also had some issues with his sinker, was able to pitch 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his last start.

"I was staying back a little bit better, and that was a focus. Before, I was really getting out in front and my legs weren’t coming, I was just using all arm," Fister said. "That’s been a struggle all year long, and I’ve really tried to focus on, for a week or so, trying to take care of it."

Though Fister was able to avoid walking a batter for the first time this season, he didn't see an increase in velocity in the quality performance.

"(Velocity) is something I keep in the back of my head, just to gauge where I’m at, what I’m doing, but when I’m throwing my typical 86-88 sinker anyway, it’s all about location as opposed to velocity anyway," Fister said. "Yes, I’d love to make it better, but at this point I’ve got to deal with what I’ve got and it’s something I’m still trying to continue to get stronger for the year."

Fister is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 14:9 K:BB ratio in 31 innings.


Report: Rays lefty Jake McGee set to rehab at Durham
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) Southpaw reliever Jake McGee, who is coming off elbow surgery, will join Triple-A Durham Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Times has reported. He has made two appearances in Class A and is expected to make three or four more before rejoining the Rays.

McGee, who hasn't pitched at the big league level since September, was lights-out in 2014 and considered a possible closer coming into this year. He recorded a 1.89 ERA with 90 strikeouts and just 48 hits allowed in 71 1/3 innings.


Black: C Austin Hedges will 'get playing time' for Padres
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) Bud Black confirmed Tuesday that newcomer Austin Hedges will receive a significant opporunity to play behind the plate for the Padres.

"I think he makes our roster better," Black told MLB Network Radio. "Derek Norris is our catcher but Austin is going to get playing time."

Norris has certainly not done anything at the plate to warrant a decrease in work. He owns a slash line of .323/.343/.500 with two home runs and 16 RBI. Hedges has been equally impressive in Triple-A with a .343 mark and two homers in 67 at-bats.

Black offered that Norris could be moved on occasion to first base when Hedges catches.


Angels 1B/DH C.J. Cron continues to struggle in loss on Monday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:39 am ET) After having the previous two games off, Angels slugger C.J. Cron was back in the lineup on Monday against the Mariners. He went 0 for 3 in the 3-2 loss as the team's first baseman. Cron, who broke out in 2014 with 11 home runs, has left the yard just once this season. 

Cron's struggles, which includes an underwhelming .229 batting average, has caused him to lose playing time. He has appeared in just 19 of the team's 26 games thus far, and with several other DH options at manager Mike Scioscia's disposal, Cron could be in danger of seeing even less time if he doesn't improve at the plate.


 
 
 
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