Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
There were three late-July trades that may have changed the dynamics of your fantasy team and most certainly changed the makeup of the major league teams involved in the deals. It may have you asking whether your players will perform as they have from April to July.
How will Manny Ramirez hit with the Dodgers after leaving the productive Boston Red Sox lineup? Will Chipper Jones continue to hit in Atlanta without Mark Teixeira? Will Nate McLouth still put up big numbers in Pittsburgh without Jason Bay and Xavier Nady behind him?
Are these the questions you are currently asking yourself?
At the beginning of the year there were questions of who would protect Albert Pujols in the St. Louis Cardinal lineup. They were quickly answered as the Cardinals own the No.2 offense in the National League. Similar questions were put forward in San Diego as we all wondered why anyone would pitch to Adrian Gonzalez.
Despite very different lineups surrounding each team's star hitter, they are both producing.
In St. Louis, Pujols is having another solid season. He is hitting a robust .344 with 65 runs scored, 21 HR and 67 RBI. He has been walked 72 times (league leading 26 intentional). Pujols has three solid hitters surrounding him in Ryan Ludwick (.306, 75 runs, 27 HR, 78 RBI), Rick Ankiel (.283, 57 runs, 22 HR, 59 RBI) and Troy Glaus (.273, 52 runs, 19 HR, 74 RBI).
Meanwhile, Gonzalez has very little protection around him, certainly nothing like Pujols has in St. Louis, yet he continues to put up the numbers. The San Diego first baseman is hitting .279 with 66 runs scored, 26 HR and 83 RBI. Despite a lineup that is ranked 15th of 16 in the NL, he has stats similar to Pujols - except for batting average. With only Kevin Kouzmanoff behind him (.273, 48 runs, 15 HR, 56 RBI) Gonzalez has been walked just 46 times (11 intentional).
Apparently it doesn't matter to Gonzalez if he has protection behind him. Or maybe pitchers and managers don't believe Gonzalez is that good. There are other players in similar situations. Grady Sizemore (.275, 71 runs, 27 HR, 64 RBI, 27 SB) is one example.
What does this mean for the fantasy owner?
If Gonzalez and Sizemore are any indication, you don't have to worry about Manny, Chipper or Nate, because they will continue to pound the baseball.