By Matt Carpenter
The revolving door of Tommy John patients continues this year. As Adam Wainwright and Stephen Strasburg sit on the shelf, Joe Nathan returns. A couple of talented rebuilt arms returned late last season and can be had for bargain basement prices that could turn into fantasy gold.
Edinson Volquez had a breakout season in 2008, when he posted 17 wins, to go along with a 3.21 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 206 strikeouts. His 2009 campaign was derailed when he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. After returning in late 2010, Volquez had a 4.31 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and impressive 9.62 K/9. It is often said that it is the second year back from surgery when a pitcher’s command returns and if that is the case with Volquez, he could be in for a big year.
Another talented youngster, Jordan Zimmermann returned from Tommy John surgery in late 2010. The 24 year old reached the majors in only two years and is a strikeout per inning guy that has been flying below the radar since the drafting of Stephen Strasburg. Before he went down in 2009, Zimmermann boasted a 4.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and healthy 9.1 K/9. His minor league numbers are staggering, including a career Triple-A ERA of 1.61 and WHIP under 1.00.
According to Mock Draft Central, Zimmermann is the 185th player off the board and Volquez is all the way down at 266 and is going undrafted in many leagues. Strikeout per inning guys usually can’t be found this far in the draft which provides tremendous value even if they do struggle in ERA and WHIP. When you reach this portion of the draft, you are drafting upside and there are no other pitchers this late with as much upside as Volquez and Zimmermann.

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MLB Injury Report

2 June 2009

Josh Hamilton‘s nightmare season took a turn for the worse as he is headed for the 15-day DL again because of an abdominal strain.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that Hamilton could miss up to two months if surgery is required.  After hitting .304 with 32 HRs and 130 RBIs in his breakout season, Hamilton is hitting just .240 with 6 HRs and 24 RBIs. 

Edison Volquez, the man traded for Josh Hamilton, will also go on the DL because of elbow tendinitis.  Volquez lasted a whole Inning in his first start since coming of the DL because of back spasms.

Evan Longoria came out of Tampa’s game against Kansas City with a sore hamstring.  Fantasy owners will hold their breath, but early reports are that it’s day-to-day.  Longoria is raking this  year hitting .327 with 13 HRs and 55 RBIs.

Milton Bradley won’t have to worry about umps squeezing him as he is day-to-day with a strained calf.  He left the Cubs’ game against Atlanta early because of the injury.  Bradley is struggling this year with a .224 average, 5 HRs, and 14 RBIs.  Perhaps Jake Fox will get a few extra ABs, though Reed Johnson will likely fill in.

Asdrubal Cabrera injured his shoulder against the Twins.  He collided into Twins’ SS Brendan Harris.  No word on the extent of the injury or Asdrubal’s status going forward.  He’s hitting .312 with 38 Runs and 27 RBIs in 52 games, so he’ll be missed by fantasy owners if he’s out for an extended period.

Cincinnati Reds Pitcher Edison Volquez was placed on the 15-day DL because of back spasms.  The move was made retroactive to May 17th making Volquez eligible to come off the DL on June 1st.  He was 4-2 with 45 Ks, a 4.25 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.

Homer Bailey got the call to fill Volquez’s roster spot.  Bailey is 3-5 with a4.57 ERA and 1.39 WHIP for Triple-A Louisville.  He has struggled in the big leagues going 4-8 with a 6.72 ERA for the Reds in 2007 & 2008.

Joba Chamberlain left the Yankees game in the first inning after taking a line drive off his knee.  The injury does not appear serious, but is worth noting.  His teammate Chien-Ming Wang will make another rehab start before re-joining the Yankees.  The want to make sure his stuff  is up to snuff before tesing Major League hitting.

With the break in the action for the All-Star Game, it’s time to take a look at the midseason award winners.  It’s also a time to reflect on my preseason predictions.

American League
AL East: Boston – Tampa gave Boston a scare, but I think the Champs hold them off.
Preseason Prediction:  Boston
AL Central:  Chicago White Sox – If it weren’t Detroit, I would have guessed Cleveland.  Guess again.
Preseason Prediction:  Detroit
AL West: Anaheim – They are who we thought they were. 
Preseason Prediction:  Anaheim 
AL Wildcard: Tampa Bay – They have been a great story, but I think NY finds a way to beat them out.
Preseason Prediction:  New York Yankees

National League
NL East: Philadelphia – They’ve let the Mets creep back.  Should be a good race.
Preseason Prediction:  New York Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
Preseason Prediction:  Chicago Cubs
NL West: Arizona - I wouldn’t be proud if I were them.
Preseason Prediction:  Arizona
NL Wildcard: St. Louis – This has been one of Tony LaRussa’s most impressive jobs.
Preseason Prediction:  Philadelphia

Preseason Playoff Predictions
Boston Red Sox over Anaheim.  The Sox have their number.
Detroit over New York.  Pitching and hitting are too strong for Detroit.
Boston over Detroit.  Beckett dominates once again

Mets over Cubs.  Still not this year.  Johan is unbelievable.
Arizona over Phillies.  Arizona’s pitching overpowers Philly’s hitting.
Mets over Arizona.  Great pitching matchups, but Pedro wills the Mets to the Series.

World Series
Boston Red Sox over the New York Mets.  Bill Buckner can really breath easier now.

lesters-award-baseball.jpg  AL MVP:  Josh Hamilton – 95 RBI.  Seriously. 
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod

lesters-award-baseball.jpg  AL Cy Young:  Cliff Lee – 12-2, 2.31 ERA, 106 Ks.  Unbelievable.
Preseason Prediction:  Josh Beckett

lesters-award-baseball.jpg  AL Rookie of the Year:  Evan Longoria – He’s lived up to the hype.
Preseason Prediction:  Evan Longoria

AL Manager of the Year:  Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay is baseball’s best story
Preseason Prediction:  Terry Francona
AL Comeback Player of the Year:  Cliff Lee – From a Minor League stint to All-Star Starter
Preseason Prediction:  Travis Hafner
AL Batting Crown:  Ian Kinsler – He’s on fire.
Preseason Prediction:  Ichiro S
AL Home Run Title:  Grady Sizemore – Doesn’t he hit leadoff?
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod
AL RBI Title:  A-Rod.  Josh Hamilton – Baseball’s second best story.
Preseason Prediction:  A-Rod

lesters-award-baseball.jpg  NL MVP:  Lance Berkman – .347, 22 HRs, 73 RBI. 
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard 

lesters-award-baseball.jpg NL Cy Young:  Edison Volquez – 12-3, 2.29 ERA, 126 Ks.  Amazingly keeping the Josh Hamilton trade somewhat respectable.
Preseason Prediction:  Johan Santana

lesters-award-baseball.jpg  NL Rookie of the Year:  Geovany Soto – Leading rookies in HR, RBI, and Average.  Oh yeah, and he plays Catcher.
Preseason Prediction:  Joey Votto

NL Manager of the Year:  Tony LaRussa – With apologies to Lou Piniella, but nobody has done more with less than Tony LaRussa.
Preseason Prediction:  Willie Randolph (Yikes)
NL Comeback Player of the Year:  Kerry Wood – Gotta feel good for him.  Tied for 2nd in Saves in NL.
Preseason Prediction:  Randy Johnson
NL Batting Crown:  Chipper Jones – .376.  Are you kidding me?
Preseason Prediction:  Chase Utley
NL Home Run Title:  Ryan Howard – Like I said, he’s a beast.
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard
NL RBI Title:  Ryan Howard – See above.
Preseason Prediction:  Ryan Howard

Wednesday, June 4th
Ryan Garko
went 4 for 5 with 2 Runs, and 6 RBI.  Ben Francisco went 5 for 6 with 3 Runs, and an RBI.  Hanley Ramirez went 2 for 3 with 3 Runs, 2 HRs, 3 RBI, 2 Walks, and a SB.  Gabe Kapler went 4 for 5 with 2 Runs, a Double, and an RBI.  Corey Hart had 4 RBI.  Carlos Gonzalez, Raul Chavez, David Dellucci, Milton Bradley, and Joe Mauer each had 3 RBI.  Chris Burke, Daric Barton, Jose Reyes, Jose Lopez (3 RBI), Johnny Damon (he’s been on fire), and Michael Young each had 3 Hits.  Grady Sizemore scored 3 Runs.

Edison Volquez continued his dominance with 7 scoreless two-hit Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 8-2 with a 1.32 ERA.  He beat Brett Myers, who gave up just 1 Run in 7 Innings with 8 Ks.  Aaron Cook gave up 1 Run in 8 Innings with 6 Ks to improve to 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA.  Manny Parra gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 4-2.  Justin Craig Duchscherer gave up 2 Runs on 3 Hits in 6-2/3 Innings to improve to 5-4 with a 2.32 ERA.  John Maine gave up 1 Earned Run in 6 Innings to improve to 6-4 with a 3.47 ERA.  Josh Beckett gave up 1 Run in 6 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 6-4.  MIke Mussina gave up 1 Run on 5 Hits in 6 Innings with 6 Ks to improve to 9-4.  Zach Duke gave up 2 Runs in 7-2/3 Innings to improve to 3-4.  Greg Maddux gave up 1 Run on 3 Hits in a 7 Inning no-decision.  Ted Lilly, who gave up 2 Runs in 7-2/3 Innings with 8 Ks, took the loss.

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