Tagged: ian kay

Rundown: Gee whiz?

By Ian Kay

Mat Latos for Cy Young? Sixty more innings pitched probably gives Roy Halladay the edge right now, but just being in the conversation at age 22 is pretty, prettaaaay good. Latos has 14 wins and leads the NL in ERA (2.21) and WHIP (0.96) after another impressive turn last night against the Dodgers (W, 7 IP, ER, 4 H, 10 K).

Speaking of future Cy Young winners, Latos’ victory came at the expense of Clayton Kershaw (7 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 K), who just can’t catch a break right now. The lefty is 1-3 in his last six turns (39 2/3 IP) despite a 2.27 ERA and a 44/15 K/BB ratio over that span. Uhh, Andre? Matt? Any time you want to crank up the offense…
Wrapping up the past/future Cy Young winner portion of our program, Johan Santana (strained pectoral) will be re-examined later this week, Josh Johnson (back, shoulder) will skip his Friday start and Tim Lincecum K’d 11 over 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball in a win over the D-backs.
Dillon Gee — Santana’s rotation replacement — turned in quite the impressive big leage debut for the Mets, holding Nats to one run on two hits over seven frames and taking a no-hitter into the sixth. If you’re still playing meaningful games in an NL-only format, go ahead and take the plunge. Gee’s 9.2 K/9 and 4.0 K/BB ratio over 161 1/3 Triple-A innings this season are far better than his career norms, but you’re really only asking him to keep it up for another four or five starts. 
In the long term, I’m more excited about Yuneski Maya — the other starter who made his big league debut in that Mets/Nats tilt. The 29-year-old Cuban wasn’t overly impressive last night (5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), but even the Nationals don’t give out $6 million contracts for nothing. Scout him over the next few weeks — there might be 2011 sleeper potential here.
Trevor Hoffman finally locked down save No. 600 vs. the Cardinals. I heard that Andy Asby and Steve Finley co-hosted a fabulous after-party, with Woody Williams also making a special guest appearance. Hopefully we can now resume the John Axford closer era in Milwaukee. 
Miguel Cabrera left last night’s game early because of the same biceps injury that forced him out of action twice last week. There’s no word yet on whether Miggy will be available today, but this seems like the kind of injury that won’t be fully healed until Spring Training.
Three more hits and two more RBIs for Jhonny Peralta. He’s now hitting .329/.379/.553 with five homers and 20 RBIs over his last 22 games. Dhetroit Rock City indeed.
Happy Meals for everyone! James McDonald earned his third win after blanking the Braves over seven innings (5 H, 3 BB, 3 K). A 4.17 ERA in seven turns (41 IP) with Pittsburgh doesn’t stand out, but the 40/16 K/BB ratio comes with extra Big Mac special sauce. I’m sure he’ll find his way onto a few of my teams next season.
Michael Bourn was dropped around mid-season in a lot of leagues, but he’s quietly hitting .381 with 14 runs in his last 16 games and has swiped a bag in three of his last four contests. If you need to win steals in a head-to-head playoff match up, he’s your man.
Drew Stubbs went 2-for-4 with a pair of ribbies last night. The outfielder is extremely streaky and the average may never be a plus, but he’s also capable of going bonkers and winning you two or three weekly categories by himself. Just keep the old saying in mind: when you try to catch lightning in a bottle, you might get burned.
Bumps ‘n’ bruises: David Wright was scratched with a bruised finger. … Billy Butler and Freddy Garcia exited early due to injury. … Paul Konerko could be back tomorrow. … Jose Reyes is targeting a Friday return. … Jay Bruce hit off a tee. … Brian Fuentes didn’t feel 100 percent after a bullpen session. … Gordon Beckham is going to miss a few more games. … And Jutin Upton isn’t ready to return from a shoulder strain that has supposedly bothered him since 2006.

Crunch Time 2010: Pitch for the stars

By Ian Kay
With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010

You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some widely-available dudes (listed in the order I’d claim them) who can help with the latter and won’t cost much more than a roster spot. 
We looked at power sources on Monday and speedsters on Tuesday. W’ll wrap things up today with some pitchers.
At this point in the season, you’re looking for upside on the mound. Sure Randy Wolf can give you six innings of three-run ball and four Ks, but how much does that really help you? With that innings limit looming, a 4.20 ERA over 10 starts is tolerable if it comes with 8-plus K/9. 
Mixed leagues

  • Jeremy Hellickson (owned in 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues) and Mike Minor (2 percent) were both called up recently, and they have more upside than anyone else on this list. Dave has the details here. Summary: you want them — a lot.
  • Daniel Hudson (10 percent) has been sharp (1.59 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) in three turns since the D-backs acquired him in a Deadline deal with the White Sox. Three walks in 22 2/3 innings is very encouraging, and the right-hander should up his K rate (7.3 on the year) by at least a strikeout per nine before all is said and done.
  • Anibal Sanchez (29 percent) has been under-owned for most of the season, and especially of late. The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA and a 33/11 K/BB in 32 innings over his last five starts.
  • Like Sanchez, Brett Cecil (32 percent) is on a hot streak. The southpaw has whiffed 20 in his last 20 innings and allowed just four runs in that span.
  • James McDonald (2 percent) is a former top prospect finally living up to his billing. The right-hander struck out 14 and issued just two free passes in his first 10 2/3 innings with the Pirates. Don’t be surprised if he’s mixed league relevant before the end of the month.
  • After posting a 3.64 ERA and a 74/34 K/BB ratio in 12 starts (72 2/3 IP) for the Rockies earlier this season, Jhoulys Chacin (2 percent) didn’t deserve a late July demotion to the Minors. The right-hander will be back in Colorado’s rotation soon and should post plenty of Ks once he gets there.
  • September call-up season is just around the corner, so now is prime time for owners in deep leagues to make a preemptive strike. Mariners right-hander Michael Pineda (not yet available in Yahoo! leagues) will probably be the top pitching prospect recalled for the season’s final month. In 126 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this season, the 21-year-old has K’d 137 and walked just 30 en route to a 2.79 ERA. Even four or five Pineda starts will have huge implications in head-to-head leagues and playoff formats.

Crunch Time 2010: Speed to burn

By Ian Kay
With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010

You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some widely-available dudes (listed in the order I’d claim them) who can help with the latter and won’t cost much more than a roster spot. 
We looked at power sources yesterday and will cover pitching later in the week. Today is the speed demon edition.
Mixed leagues
  • Desmond DeChone Figgins is on the wire in nearly one fifth of Yahoo! leagues (81 percent owned), but you’ll probably need to trade for him in competitive groups. That would be a good move right now. The dual-eligible (2B, 3B) infielder has a .384/.430/.493 line with six steals over his last 19 games and has trended better in the second half throughout this career.
  • Ryan Kalish (3 percent) profiles as more of a 15-20 steal player than a true burner, but he has enough power to compensate. Baseball America’s No. 5 Red Sox prospect before the season went 10-for-29 with a homer and a steal in his first nine big league games and should should enjoy starting duties in hitter-friendly Fenway Park at least until Mike Cameron is healthy.
  • In a league where everyone hits, Peter Bourjos (1 percent) hit the most. The speedy outfielder, who forced Torii Hunter to right field, set Pacific Coast League records with 56 hits and 37 runs in July. He’s also stolen 27 bases in 32 tries this season after swiping 32 in Double-A last year and 50 at Class A in ’08. Playing time over Juan Rivera is assured and a future move to the leadoff spot could pay big time dividends. 
  • Only four Major League teams have stolen more bases than the A’s this year. Coco Crisp (7 percent) and Cliff Pennington (11 percent) won’t provide power, but they should each hit between .255 and .265 with 8-10 swipes the rest of the way. 
  • Lorenzo Cain (1 percent) is just a flyer at this point. The outfielder showed speed, contact ability and a decent eye in the Minors, but it’s unclear how much he’ll play once Carlos Gomez returns from the DL. An 8-for-16 start is encouraging, though. 
  • Manny Acta continues to bat Michael Brantley (7 percent) leadoff most days despite a .167 average and two steals in 128 at-bats this season. A turn in luck (.180 BABIP) could reward that faith in a guy with a .303 career Minor League average and 59 thefts in 183 Triple-A games. 

Crunch Time 2010: Power upgrades

By Ian Kay

With eight weeks of regular season remaining, I think we can officially declare it CRUNCH TIME 2010. 

You know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Here are some widely-available dudes (listed in the order I’d claim them) who can help with the latter and won’t cost much more than a roster spot. We’ll look at power sources today, then speed and pitching later in the week. 
Mixed leagues

  • Check if Adam LaRoche (62 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues) is still hanging around your waiver wire. He’s LaRaking .339 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last 16 games and has a career .301/.363/.547 line after the All-Star break.
  • Pat Burrell (3 percent) loves him some National League. The outfielder is hitting .283/.378/.493 in 164 at-bats with the Giants and is now batting fifth or sixth regularly.
  • Matt LaPorta (11 percent) has a career .563 Minor League slugging percentage. He’s going to start hitting home runs at some point. With a pair of dingers in his last four games, this could be that point.
  • Third trade’s a charm for Brett Wallace (4 percent). A hot streak could land him regular at-bats from the Astros’ three-hole and the third base eligibility is a bonus. Expect 6-8 home runs with an average that won’t kill you. 

  • Hey, the Royals are finally giving Kila Ka’aihue (1 percent) and his .521 career Triple-A slugging percentage a big league shot. Leis for everyone!
  • Mike Morse (2 percent) is very quietly batting .316 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 114 at-bats for the Nationals this season. He’ll hit sixth behind ZimmermanDunn and Willingham while Nyjer Morgan is on the DL. 
  • Mitch Moreland (0 percent) looks more like an average/doubles hitter than a true masher, but all bets are off in Rangers Ballpark and that lineup. He’ll see regular at-bats as the left-handed side of a first base platoon with Jorge Cantu.
  • Dan Johnson (0 percent — don’t all jump on the bandwagon at once!) hasn’t seen regular Major League playing time since ’07 and spent last year hitting .215 in the Japanese Central League. He’s probably not very good. Even so, he hit second on Saturday and cleanup Sunday, and that should lead to some runs and ribbies on the days when Tampa Bay manages more than one hit.

Tradespin deadline roundup: Lilly in L.A., new closers in Cleveland, Pittsburgh

By Ian Kay
Pencils down, people — he non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed.
Here are the CliffsNotes: Grab Chris Perez and Joel Hanrahan. Trade for Ted Lilly. Drop Kerry Wood and Octavio Dotel. Keep an eye on James McDonald
Read on for the full rundown.
Dodgers acquire SP Ted Lilly and SS/2B Ryan Theriot from Cubs for 2B Blake DeWitt and two prospects:
  • This is a major win for Lilly owners. The left-hander has pitched well this season (3.69 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 6.8 K/9) but has just 3-8 thanks to the third-worst run support of any NL starter. The Dodgers offense should provide a boost and Dodger Stadium is a much better fit for his flyball tendencies than Wrigley Field. Consider Lilly a top 40 SP the rest of the way.
  • Theriot’s value should remain roughly the unchanged as Joe Torre starts him regularly at second base. Extra playing time for Ronnie Belliard or Jamey Carroll could complicate things. The new ballpark is more pitcher-friendly, but a stronger lineup and a more frequent green light on the bases is a plus. 
  • The 24-year-old DeWitt flashed promising power for a keystone in the Minors but it hasn’t translated to the big leagues yet. While a change of scenery could help, he’s not mixed-league relevant at this point.
Yankees acquire RP Kerry Wood from Indians for PTBNL: 
  • Wood loses just about all of his value with the move. He’ll be setting up for Mariano Rivera instead of recording his own saves from here on out.
  • Chris Perez is the guy to grab. The 25-year-old converted 11 of 14 save opportunities — including each of his last six — while Wood was on the DL and is now entrenched in the stopper role. Barring further control issues (4.7 K/9), he should be good for at least 10 more saves.
Dodgers acquire RP Octavio Dotel from Pirates for SP James McDonald and a prospect:
  • Dotel is basically in the same situation as Wood. He’ll lose his save opportunities — and almost all of his fantasy value — in L.A.
  • Either Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek will now assume the Pirates’ closer role. Meek has better numbers on the year but Hanrahan has closing experience and 10 straight scoreless outings. I’d add Hanrahan first, but we won’t know for sure for at least a couple days.
  • McDonald will likely slot into the Pirates rotation. He hasn’t impressed in 53 career Major League games (five starts) but was a highly touted prospect as recently as two years ago. The Minor League numbers — 3.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9 — should entice pitching-needy NL-only owners immediately. Don’t be shocked if he gains spot-start usefulness in mixers late this year. 

Continue reading

Tradespin: Christian Guzman — Kinsler insurance or Kinsler replacement?

By Ian Kay

In a relatively minor deal, the Rangers acquired infielder/outfielder Christian Guzman (.282 AVG, 44 R, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 4 SB) from the Nationals on Friday for a couple of low-level pitching prospects.

Mixed leagues: Owners in mixers with 12 or fewer teams only to worry about this deal for one reason: It may mean Ian Kinsler isn’t coming back from that groin strain any time soon. Sure, it’s possible Texas just wanted a better backup middle infielder than Joaquin Arias. But with an 8.5 game lead in the AL West, would they really trade for Guzman if they expected Kinsler back by mid-August? Owners invested in the All-Star keystone should make sure they have a backup they’d be comfortable using for most of August and possibly September, too — preferably one more productive than Guzman.
Ian Desmond and Adam Kennedy should each receive a playing time boost in Washington as a result of the move. Desmond is the more valuable of that pair. His approach at the plate is still a little raw (66K, 15 BB), but he has the talent to hit four or five homers and swipe as many bases down the stretch.
AL-only: A .280-plus average at a middle infield slot — even without much power or speed — certainly holds value in these formats. The Rangers’ stacked lineup and Arlington’s August heat figure to increase Guzman’s run and RBI totals, and the 32-year-old’s versatility (20-plus games at 2B, SS; 8 at OF this season) could earn him a few starts per week even after Kinsler returns. If you’re starting Maicer Izturis, Mike Aviles or Mark Ellis, Guzman will likely be an upgrade over the season’s final two months.

Tradespin: Jhonny Peralta to Detroit; Scott Podsednik to L.A.

By Ian Kay
Remember when Cliff Lee almost definitely a Yankee? Well, now Roy Oswalt has for sure been traded to the Phillies. Maybe. Unless he doesn’t like Philadelphia. 
That deal would be a hearty Trade Season entrée, but nothing is certain until the dotted lines are signed on and the prospects are named later. What we do know is that two other deals went down on Wednesday. They may only be soup-and-salad level, but they are 100 percent guaranteed to actually be real. Analysis awaits:
Trade 1: The Tigers acquired infielder Jhonny Peralta
Detroit has been overwhelmed by injuries of late, so this is more of a depth move than anything else. Peralta will take over at third base until Brandon Inge returns from the DL in mid-to-late August, then move into a time-share arrangement with Danny Worth at shortstop.
Once a valuable 20-homer middle infielder, the 28-year-old’s fantasy value has fallen off a cliff since the end of ’08. He’s now a batting average liability who doesn’t run and isn’t likely to hit more than five home runs the rest of the way. While Detroit’s lineup should produce more runs than Cleveland’s, Peralta’s career numbers at Comerica Park — .243/.293/.365 with five homers in 243 plate appearances — are less than encouraging. Mixed leaguers shouldn’t feel obligated to make a move, and even AL-only owners can consider his value roughly unchanged.
…from the Indians for pitching prospect Giovanni Soto.

A young catcher who can hit? That seems like a lot to give up for… Ohhh. That’s Geovany Soto. This is Giovanni Soto. Well, Giovanni was a 21st round pick in the ’09 Draft and wasn’t listed among Baseball America’s top-10 Tigers prospects before the season. A 2.10 ERA and 113 Ks in 128 1/3 career Minor League innings are impressive, but the left-hander has yet to pitch above Class A. At 19 years old, Soto is a long way from any kind of fantasy relevance. 
Trade 2: The Dodgers acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik
This one hurts. Podsednik has provided a ton of sneaky value for deep-league and AL-only owners with 30 steals and a .310 average as the Royals’ everyday left-fielder. The situation in Hollywood, however, is far more complicated. Once Manny Ramirez returns from the DL — probably mid-August — Podsednik is likely the odd man out in Joe Torre’s outfield. Even as a backup, he’ll compete with Reed Johnson (also on the DL) and Garrett Anderson (washed up) for at-bats. 
The Dodgers run almost as often as the Royals and a better surrounding lineup will mitigate some of Dodger Stadium’s run-suppressing effects, but all that will be moot if Podsednik is only starting once or twice per week. Mixed league owners can hang onto him for now but should start scouring the waiver wire and trade market for alternative speed merchants. The 34-year-old becomes an immediate drop in those formats when Manny returns. Podsednik’s short-term steal potential makes him worth a claim In NL-only leagues, albeit not a top priority one.  
…from the Royals for a pair of prospects — catcher Lucas May and right-hander Elisaul Pimentel.

MLB.com prospexpert Jonathan Mayo has all the details on Kansas City’s return here. May is 25 years old and could develop into a big league starter, but he’ll head to Triple-A for now. The Royals appear content with Jason Kendall for the rest of 2010. Pimentel has decent numbers at Class A but, like Soto, is probably several years from big league action.

When toiletries attack: Marlins call up Logan Morrison

By Ian Kay

The Marlins have wanted to get Logan Morrison into the Major League lineup for a while, but probably not like this.

Left fielder Chris Coghlan will miss six to eight weeks after suffering a knee injury in a shaving cream pie celebration gone bad following Florida’s walk-off win on Sunday. Morrison has been promoted from Triple-A to take Coghlan’s roster spot and presumably keep an eye on any uppity toothpaste, shampoo or hair gel hanging around the Marlins clubhouse. 
Losing Coghlan isn’t a major blow for most owners. The outfielder had a big June but did little in the season’s other three months, hitting .268 with five homers and 10 steals overall. Morrison, however, could be the real cream filling in this unfortunate situation.
Baseball America’s No. 16 mid-season prospect, Morrison profiles closer to current Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez than right fielder Mike Stanton at this point. The 22-year-old has a career .292/.383/.465 Minor League line and is hitting an even more appetizing .307/.427/.487 with six home runs in 293 Triple-A at-bats this season. He controls the strike zone very well (48 BB, 35 SO this season) and hasn’t shown a major platoon split, which should make for a relatively easy transition to the big leagues. 
Morrison is primarily a first baseman, but he’s played 19 games in left field this season and figures to see most of his lineup time there unless the Fish deal Jorge Cantu before the Trade Deadline and shift Sanchez to third. While skipper Edwin Rodriguez said Morrison will initially share playing time with Emilio Bonifacio, that arrangement shouldn’t last long. Bonifacio can’t hit; Morrison can. 
While he’s probably long gone in dynasty formats, Morrison should be an immediate add in all NL-only leagues and 12-team mixers. As long as an early-season shoulder injury isn’t an issue, he’ll provide immediate help in the average category and could surprise with his power. Owners in OBP leagues should pay even closer attention. I peg him for a .291 AVG, 26 R, 7 HR, 23 RBI and 2 SB the rest of the way, with more value than Johnny Damon, Jose Guillen, Troy Glaus and Ike Davis.

Tradespin: Dan Haren done dealing in the desert

By Ian Kay

The Angels and Diamondbacks got together on a deal Sunday, with right-hander Dan Haren heading to Lala Land in exchange for left-hander Joe Saunders, pitching prospects Rafael Rodriguez and Patrick Corbin and a player to be named later — reportedly pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs.

What the Angels got:

In Dan Haren, the Halos receive…well, that depends. Between ’05 and ’09, the right-hander was one of the baseball’s great under-appreciated assets. Over those five seasons — the first three with the A’s, the last two in Arizona — he averaged 15 wins per season with a 3.53 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 7.8 K/9. His K/BB paced the Majors in each of the past two campaigns.
This year, however, has been a different story. Despite increasing his K-rate once again (he’s done that in each successive season of his career) to 9.00 and keeping his walks at a better-than-respectable 1.9 BB/9, Haren is 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. The difference? Our old friends, BABIP, HR/FB rate and LOB percentage. 
Haren is seeing more balls in play drop for hits (.350 BABIP in ’10, .305 career), more of his flyballs leave the park (13.9 percent in ’10, 11.1 career) and stranding fewer runners on base (70.9 percent in ’10, 73.2 career) than usual. Plain and simple, it’s bad luck. That’s really the only explanation for a 4.86 K/BB ratio producing an ERA worse than the league average.
Sometimes, a change of scenery is the perfect solution to luck-induced mediocrity. Haren moves to a tougher league, but he’ll also toss home turns in a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark and have a much more reliable bullpen protecting potential victories. There’s no guarantee he’ll turn things around this year, but the percentages are in his favor. I liked him as a buy low before and I like him even better now. How does 7 wins with a 3.11 ERA, 84 Ks and a 1.08 WHIP sound? Good? I thought so. Make an offer if his owner isn’t into the whole “advanced stats” thing.
What the Diamondbacks got:

In short, not much fantasy owners need to worry about. This looks more like a salary dump than anything else.
Joe Saunders is what he is at this point: a pitch-to-contact lefty whose ERA is mostly dependent on luck. He posted a 3.41 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in ’08 thanks to a .257 BABIP, but a 4.61 mark in 306 innings since then is probably a better indicator of his true talent level. Chase Field deflates his fantasy value slightly, but Saunders was just spot start material in 12-team mixed leagues anyway.
The other players the D-backs received figure to have even less immediate fantasy value than Saunders. Rafael Rodriguez is a right-handed reliever with 32 2/3 Major League innings under his belt. Arizona’s ‘pen has been a mess all year, but even Raf-Rod isn’t a high-K option and probably won’t factor into the saves picture any time soon.
Neither Patrick Corbin nor Tyler Skaggs has pitched above Class A, but Arizona’s return in this trade will ultimately depend on their development. Skaggs, the 40th overall pick in the ’09 Draft, has a 3.60 ERA and 82 Ks in 82 1/3 innings with Class A Cedar Rapids. Corbin, a second-rounder a year ago, has a 3.88 ERA and 64 whiffs in 60 1/3 innings one level higher at High-A Rancho Cucamonga. Both should be on the radar for owners in deep dynasty formats, but they’re still at least two years away from contributing in the Majors.

Take your pick: Reyes or Kinsler?

By Ian Kay
Working on a trade in a 10-team mixed league this morning, I was offered a choice between Jose Reyes and Ian Kinsler.
Both are middle infielders with stud potential but plenty of  injury issues. One is a shortstop with 70-steal wheels. The other is a 30/30-caliber keystone. 
Who’s the better value the rest of the way? Let’s pro/con this together, folks.
Why Reyes?
Speed: It’s probably the most valuable commodity in the roto game, and Reyes has more of it than just about anyone. He’s stolen at least 56 bases in each of his five full seasons and is 19-for-21 in theft attemps this year. Kinsler is a speed merchant in his own right, but Reyes is in a whole different category.
Position: There are fewer quality shortstops than second basemen this season. Besides Hanley Ramirez, which of baseball’s star offensive options play short? There’s Troy Tulowitzki (currently on the DL), Jimmy Rollins (down year) and, uh, that’s about it. In a 12-team league, guys like Marco Scutaro and Cliff Pennington are starters at short. Check out the Yahoo! position rankings for three players who qualify at both slots: Ben Zobrist: No. 4 SS, No. 8 2B; 
Juan Uribe: No. 10 SS, No. 14 2B; Jeff Keppinger: No. 15 SS, No. 19 2B. Juan Uribe as a 10-team starter? That’s a serious lack of depth.
Why Kinsler?
Power: What Kinsler loses to Reyes in speed, he makes up for in power. The second baseman hit 31 homers last season and has a career .472 slugging percentage. Reyes’ career high was 19 bombs back in ’06. His career slugging mark is nearly 40 points lower at .433. While the pair is dead even at six homers each right now, that likely won’t be the case for long. Kinsler’s gone yard five times in his last 20 games — including one each of the past two nights — and is slugging .617 in that span.
Environment: Rangers Ballpark is a hitter’s paradise, especially when the weather really heats up late in the summer. Kinsler’s lineup spot is also pretty cushy — behind Michael Young‘s .353 OBP and in front of Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero‘s combined 145 RBIs. Reyes, meanwhile, plays home games at cavernous Citi Field and won’t see many RBI opportunities leading off for an NL team. 
The Verdict
Personally, I’m going with Reyes. The gap between these two is razor thin, but the chance at 20-plus second half steals without hurting my batting average is too much to pass up. That said, if I needed a second baseman more or was hurting in the power categories, I’d have no reservations adding Kinsler to my squad.