The Melky Cabrera suspension sent a shock wave through fantasy baseball Wednesday, and with that, we'll focus on the outfield in this week's Batter Stock Watch.
Eric Young, 2BOF, Rockies: He's been a monster this month (11 runs, three homers, .447 average), taking advantage of the leadoff spot and Colorado's thin air. Young's also collected 13 steals in limited playing time for the year (157 at-bats); imagine what he could do if he landed a regular spot. Manager Jim Tracy is notorious for being a lineup tinkerer, but he says Young will stick in the Colorado mix even after Michael Cuddyer returns Thursday. Good enough for us, we'll keep running with Young.
Jon Jay, OF, Cardinals: He's getting a shot at the top of the St. Louis lineup, and the results have been terrific: 20-for-45 binge this month, two homers, three steals. The Cardinals as a team lead the NL in batting average and runs scored, so it's a handy place for rotisserie value. Jay's strong defense also keeps him in the lineup the team needs to be strong up the middle, because the corner defenders are very weak.
Rajai Davis, OF, Blue Jays: He doesn't offer strong fundamentals in the field or at the plate, but Davis knows what he's doing as a baserunner (35-for-43 on steals this year, with 12 swipes since the break). The injury-ravaged Jays don't really have a choice any longer in their outfield they need to play Davis every day. Don't let your past opinions on Davis cloud your judgement; he's a strong play down the stretch.
Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays: His first-half mess was a sore spot for fantasy owners, but Jennings has been back on the beam since the All-Star break (.308, four homers, seven steals, 24 runs). Most importantly, he's trimmed his BBK rate down to a more acceptable area (nine free passes, 21 strikeouts). With Evan Longoria back in the fold, it's a good time to be rolling with most of your Tampa Bay offensive options.
Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals: He's going to be a superstar someday, no one disputes that. But Harper has been a gaping hole in Washington's lineup of late (.178 .267.254 since the break), and he's only batting .221 against lefties for the year. In a keeper pool, you should flip Harper's wonderful future for someone who is wonderful right now. Flags fly forever.
Garrett Jones, 1BOF, Pirates: He's been a lefty liability his entire career, and that story hasn't changed this year (.595 OPS). But so long as we live in a right-handed world, why worry? Jones rakes against the northpaws (.293.327.547, 15 homers), and the Pirates have been a run-scoring juggernaut since the beginning of June. Enjoy the ride.
Brandon Belt, 1BOF, Giants: The Melky Cabrera suspension gives Belt another way into the Giants lineup and further protects him from the whims of Bruce Bochy. Belt's swinging sweetly at a .472 clip this month, with just two strikeouts over 36 at-bats. That should earn him some lineup cred for the balance of August.