Fantasy Baseball Sleepers and Busts: Denard Span, Joba Chamberlain underappreciated

by Tim Heaney on June 6, 2014 @ 11:56:50 PDT

 

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Sleepers

Players on the rise in value or with great upcoming matchups. For more players to pick up, click on our Fantasy Baseball Free Agents!

OF Denard Span, Washington Nationals
Plenty to like about Span

OF Denard Span, Washington Nationals

Perpetually under the radar, Washington's leadoff hitter has improved his base theft and is 13-for-29 over a six-game hit streak. The Nats just activated Ryan Zimmerman and should get Bryce Harper (thumb) back next month. Span should increase his plate crossings.

RPs Jason Motte and Pat Neshek, St. Louis Cardinals

In case the Redbirds lose their patience with Trevor Rosenthal, these two would step in. Motte is the likelier favorite as he's looked good since returning from Tommy John surgery. Neshek has rediscovered his shutdown form.

RP Joba Chamberlain, Detroit Tigers

Joe Nathan is in a similar boat, actually having been worse of late than Rosenthal. Brad Ausmus is standing by his closer, but Chamberlain has had a revival since arriving in Motown (2.59 ERA, 29 K, 7 BB in 24 1/3 IP) and may change his mind if Nathan continues to stumble.

1B Garrett Jones, Miami Marlins

A duo of road games against Texas Rangers right-handed pitchers sets the stage for another productive, albeit shortened, week. Jones follows that up with a trip to his old home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

3B Chris D. Johnson, Atlanta Braves

After a weekend in his former Arizona home park, he'll travel to Colorado for a four-game set. It could be the perfect cure for his recent woes.

Busts

Players losing value, potentially drop candidates.

SP Drew Smyly, Detroit Tigers

Still has plenty of talent, but the chief thing he has been good at lately is allowing base runners, and letting them score. Robbie Ray might be back up soon if Smyly can't recover.

2B Jedd Gyorko, San Diego Padres

Obviously, but even more so than his slump and plantar fasciitis in his foot. Jace Peterson is now a threat to keep Gyorko sidelined even if he proves healthy.

Matchup notes

OF Dexter Fowler, Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays (June 13-15)

Since May started, the 28-year-old has posted an excellent .287 with a .427 on-base rate, with one homer, nine RBI and three stolen bases. In 2014, the first year he's calling Houston home, Fowler has raked at Minute Maid Park (.304/.398/.500) and struggled on the road (.221/.357/.231). Plus, Tampa comes to town with one of the worst road ERAs in the league.

OF Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers (June 13-15)

Bruce has trudged through knee surgery rehab and the worst parts of his plate-discipline flaws. Not having the injured Joey Votto in the lineup hardly helps the Reds' offense. Bruce, however, could get a jump-start against the all-RHP Brew Crew rotation; he's always hit better against that handedness. His career numbers at Miller Park (.247 BA, .353 OBP, 7 HR and 21 RBI in 146 AB) aren't shabby, either.

SP Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals (June 13-15)

Miller has taken a step back after a standout 2013, having problems with home runs and control. He has become a matchup play. Luckily, this outing is one when you should click him into your lineup. Though they just welcomed back Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats rank among the fewest runs plated during away games, and Miller's three matchups against Washington in his short career have gone well: 0.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP with 18 strikeouts in 18 frames.

Next: the Pitcher Planner....

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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