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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: ADDISON RUSSELL 2B/SS CHICAGO CUBS

                                          

Another day and another top prospect promotion.  Whereas in the past May or even June 1st was the day many top farmhands got the official call to the bigs, we are seeing in 2015 that MLB teams will wait only a few weeks into the season to get their prospects into action as quickly as possible.  Just 5 days after the Cubs called up consensus number 1 prospect in all of baseball in the form of 3B Kris Bryant, they reportedly were prepared to add another top minor league infielder in Addison Russell for Tuesday's game.  Russell of course was the main piece the Cubs got in moving Jon Lester to the Oakland A's at the trade deadline last season and after operating mostly as a shortstop coming up the minor league ladder, the team had him work at second base the last five games at Triple-A which is where he will play at the major league level.  That is music to prospective owners' ears as Russell would now have eligibility at the two most shallow positions on the diamond at shortstop and second base.  Now as far as the numbers are concerned, the 21-year-old Russell has immense ceiling.  Last season at Double-A, Russell hit .296 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI while stealing five bases.  Those numbers don't jump off the page as Russell is still growing into his power but he has the classic look of a natural hitter who will be able to post a string of .300 batting averages soon enough.  Russell's power also outpaces his speed and he could eventually be capable of 25 bombs at a position starved for that certain type of production.  Since Russell can handle the bat very well, he could help hit around 15 home runs and even steal around 10 bases while hitting somewhere around .280-plus.  Again the numbers may not jump off the page yet but Russell is incredibly young and almost every league personnel guru will tell you that it is only a matter of time before he becomes a star. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Anthony DeScalfani:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 0.86.  DeScalfani was in last week's ADD'S,  Hoped you listened.  While he is pitching over his head DeScalfani doesn't walk guys and strikes guy out at a decent clip which is always a winning combination.

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .238.  Three weeks into the season and Braun finally has his first home run.  Yeah it is not 2011 anymore.  The wonders of steroids.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .375.  Yeah I think I was a bit too hard on Votto this spring and with an apparently sound knee, he is ready to reclaim his top tier status.  One of the best pure hitters in the game, Votto has been an absolute star in April.

Mark Teixeira:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .190.  I really have nothing else to add on Teixeira that I haven't already said a hundred times over.  Health=big power+ugly average.

C.C. Sabbathia:  8 IP 7 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.35.  This is about as good as you can ask for out of Sabbathia at this point of the season.  His peripherals are actually glowing as he has struck out 20 in 20.2 innings pitched.  He also has only four walks.  A ratio like that usually meant at least SP 3 territory.  While I won't go that far, Sabbathia is showing that he still can bring it when healthy. 

Justin Masterson:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.74.  Yup around 5 or 6 earned runs will be on tap for his next start.

Stephen Vogt:  3/3 with his fourth while hitting .366.  "Vogt has played almost exclusively at catcher despite having eligibility at first base and the outfield as well but still has been as good as we could have expected for a sleeper candidate.  Vogt clearly knows how to handle the bat and the power always pointed to a 20-home run guy.  At catcher that is called being a top-5-7 guy.  Which is what I told you all spring."  The previous portion was the blurb I wrote earlier about Vogt this season and going back to last January I told you all to draft him in saying he could be the sleeper of the year at catcher.  :) 

Matt Shoemaker:  5 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 6.46.  Shoemaker is starting to show up on waiver wires and I understand why.  I really like his arm overall but maybe he does belong in the bullpen.  The home run rate is extremely high and that can ruin any one start no matter how many guys he strikes out.  One bad pitch and the whole tone of an outing changes.  Hate guys like that.

Luis Valbuena:  2/3 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .244.  Valbuena showed last season that he can help supply some pop for you for a waiver wire price.  Those David Wright owners who missed out on Alex Rodriguez should now focus here.  The average sucks and will always be a problem but Valbuena can keep you afloat in the short-term.

Jake Marsinick:  1/3 with his fourth SB while hitting .324.  Cheap speed at its finest in this pitching era.

Hisashi Iwaukuma:  4 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 6.61.  Wow has Iwakuma been bad.  His home run rare is up and so are all of his pitches.  Here is the thing though:  Iwakuma has been plain bad as his FIP is 6.20 and his BABIP is in neutral territory.  That is a major problem.

Matt Kemp:  3/4 with 4 RBI while hitting .368.  Both Kemp and Justin Upton are destroying the baseball in Petco Park despite the dimensions.  Also Kemp has surprised me with some early speed on the bases which is huge as that would elevate him back to near outfielder 1 status if he can keep that up.  Sometimes some swell deals can be made in guys going to San Diego and Kemp at least so far is providing such a case.

Jorge De La Rosa:  7 ER in 2 IP with an ERA of 31.50.  De La Rosa would have been better suited just staying home.

Edinson Volquez:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.99.  Volquez continues to just "pitch" and not try to strike everyone out which has been the key to his mid-career success.  Of course every Volquez start is tums-inducing as you worry about that 5 earned run in 2 innings bomb but he is starting to put a second season back-to-back of very good pitching.


 

Monday, April 20, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JONATHAN LUCROY TO THE DL WITH FRACTURED TOE

                                         

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy will be placed on the disabled list after he suffered a fractured toe on his left foot after a fouling off a pitch on it in Monday's game. 

Analysis:  Unbelievable.  The hits keep on coming around fantasy baseball with injuries taking down more than a few big-name guys.  Lucroy was off to a good start to the season and was a firm top five overall fantasy baseball catcher so his loss is tremendous.  There is no word on whether or not Lucroy will be ready to come back when the 15 days are through.  Martin Maldonado will take his place behind the dish and he has zero fantasy baseball value.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: UPDATED CLOSER RANKINGS NEEDED

We already delved into the promotion of Wade Davis at closer for the Kansas City Royals after Greg Holland went on the DL with a pectoral strain so no need to go over that again.  Also for the time being it looks like Fernando Rodney has staved off Danny Farquhar or Yoervis Medina in the ninth inning for Seattle after he tossed a clean frame for a save Saturday night.  With so much turmoil already inflicting itself on the closer world, now is a good time to check on in how the rankings currently stack up amongst this group.

1.  Craig Kimbrel:  Whether in Atlanta, San Diego, or Mars, Craig Kimbrel remains at the head of the line among all closer.
2.  Aroldis Chapman:  Holland going on the DL moved up the fireballing Cuban one spot as these two along with Kimbrel remain in a tier unto themselves.
3.  Greg Holland:  Should only be out two weeks or so with the pec but boy those who own Wade Davis would love for it to be more.
4.  David Robertson:  Had a rough spring but Robertson has been ridiculous so far this season in his new home in Chicago. 
5.  Jonathan Papelbon:  No longer has the heater but Paps still has figured out how to remain on top of his game.
6.  Glen Perkins:  Gets the edge over some of the younger upstarts due to his consistency and the fact he has held the closer role down for awhile.
7.  Kenley Jansen:  Should be back in about three weeks and on stuff alone Jansen deserves mention as one of the best in the game.
8.  Huston Street:  As long as he stays healthy which his always an iffy proposition, Huston Street is a clear top ten guy.
9.  Cody Allen:  Racks up the K's with the best of them and seems poised to be a perennial top guy.
10. Andrew Miller:  Closer for the Yankees is always a lofty spot and Miller has been perfect so far after he upset Dellin Betances for the ninth inning.
11. Trevor Rosenthal:  Walks too many guys for my taste and gets into trouble more than he should since he has a 100 mph heater.  Still when Rosenthal is on his game, you can't touch him.
12. Steve Cishek:  Has been simply atrocious so far this April but he did the same last season as well before dominating the last five months.  Like with Perkins, has been doing it for years so he has a long leash.
13. Zach Britton:  Doesn't have the K rate that the guys listed above him have but you can't argue with the results so far.
14. Jeurys Familia:  You can forget right now anyone else manning the ninth inning for the Mets as Familia comes off an 8 day stretch where he logged 6 saves.  Has the high K rate to be very good for awhile.
15. Santiago Castilla:  Steady closer who doesn't wow you.
16. Drew Storen:  Arm is very lively but the mind can't be trusted.
17. Koji Uehara:  I don't think he finishes the summer as the Red Sox closer.  Just a hunch.
18. Hector Rondon:  This is the season where Rondon has to show he can be counted on as a solid closer after his nice 2014 debut.
19. Adam Ottavino:  Will be higher on this list the next time I update it.  Count on that.
20. Francisco Rodriguez:  The Brewers are awful and Rodriguez has not saved hardly anything.  Can't trust him fully off his comeback in 2014.
21. Tyler Clippard:  Should get another month of finishing games before Sean Doolittle gets back.
22. Joakim Soria:  Not sure how long Joe Nathan will be out or even if he will get the closer role back as Soria clearly is the better pitcher.
23. Luke Gregerson:  So far has done a nice job as the Houston Astros closer after some shaky stints closing games in the past.
24. Brad Boxberger/Jake McGee:  Would love to see the capable Boxberger hold onto the ninth inning but McGee is just as good if not better. 
25. Jason Grilli:  Has looked good so far for the Atlanta Braves but at Grilli's advanced age performance/health iffy. 
26. Mark Melancon:  Been absolutely brutal as Tony Watson becomes more interesting. 
27. Neftali Feliz:  Still has not found his old velocity and would not feel comfortable in any one outing. 
28. Miguel Castro:  Who knows who the Blue Jays closer will be next week let alone next month.  Keep an eye on Roberto Osuna. 
29. Fernando Rodney:  K rate is in the toilet, blowing saves, hit rate going way up, this is going to be nasty.
30. Addison Reed:  Remains the worst closer in baseball in my book.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JUSTIN UPTON (QUAD) BACK IN LINEUP MONDAY

                                         

San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton is back in the lineup Monday after missing the weekend games with a quad strain. 

Analysis:  Upton already has three home runs and at .326 is hitting above his career norms in batting average.  While the latter will drop more than a bit, Upton can once again challenge the 30 home run mark even in a huge park like Petco.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BEN ZOBRIST (KNEE) OUT MONDAY

                                      

Oakland A's infielder Ben Zobrist is out of the lineup Monday due to the knee sprain he suffered over the weekend.  Zobrist is being called day-to-day and could return as soon as Tuesday.

Analysis:  Zobrist remains a lower-end starter at shortstop or second base in fantasy baseball leagues but his aging body is taking away his speed part of his game.  He still can get the job done but Zobrist's best days are a thing of the past.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: GREG HOLLAND DIAGNOSED OFFICIALLY WITH GRADE 1 PEC STRAIN

                                    

Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland was officially diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his pectoral muscle and the indications are that he could return at or soon after his 15 day stint on the DL is up.  Wade Davis will continue finishing games in his stead.

Analysis:  Those who own Holland have to be ecstatic about this while those who own Davis are not kicking their heels.  Davis could be a monster closer if he had a clear chance to be the top guy but that is not going to happen in Kansas City.  Enjoy him there while it lasts.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: SCOOTER GENNETT LIKELY GOING ON DL WITH CUT HAND

                                      

Scooter Gennett is the early front-runner for freakish injury of the season as he could be place on the DL Tuesday after he cut his hand while in the shower after Sunday's game.  Stitches were needed and the Brewers will wait until tomorrow to see if he can play with it.

Analysis:  That is crazy.  Gennett doesn't have much value outside of NL-only formats due to the fact he doesn't do anything above-average but still what a crazy situation.  Stay tuned Tuesday to see if he winds up on the DL and cut him loose if he does.  Pardon the pun.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS : ALICIDES ESCOBAR (KNEE) RETURNS MONDAY

                                         

Kansas City Royals shortstop Alicides Escobar is back in the lineup Monday after he sat out the weekend with a knee sprain. 

Analysis:  It looks like Escobar is fine after there was some fear he might go on the DL after he sprained the knee Friday night.  He was hitting prior to the missed games and continues to serve as one of the better shortstop values in fantasy baseball.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BILLY HAMILTON (GROIN) RETURNS TO LINEUP MONDAY

                                           

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton is back in the lineup Monday after he missed a few games with a slight groin strain. 

Analysis:  Hamilton is doing his thing again on the bases with 8 steals in 8 attempts already but his lack of pure hitting is standing out once again as he carries a .195 batting average.  This is as close as one can get to being a one-trick pony but a great one trick it is. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: CARLOS RODON PITCHER CHICAGO WHITE SOX

                                        

The top prospects from around baseball are already arriving in the majors, what with the Chicago Cubs promoting the number 1 guy in the minors in Kris Bryant last Friday.  The Cubs' cross-town rivals the White Sox are making a prospect move of their own as they will summon fireballing pitcher Carlos Rodon to throw out of their bullpen starting with Monday's game.  To say that the 22-year-old Rodon is electric would be a gross understatement as he absolutely lit it up in spring training as he struck out a batter per inning and showed off his blazing fastball that can touch at times triple digits.  The White Sox plan to begin using Rodon out of the bullpen as a likely means to keep his inning under control and than proceed to move him into the rotation at some point during the early summer.  All that is standing in the way of that happening is the very mediocre Hector Noesi who will be pushed aside when the team feels Rodon is ready.  Rodon is widely considering among the top 1-3 pitching prospects in all of baseball and his power arsenal will make him a prime fantasy baseball strikeout weapon right out of the gate.  That goes for the bullpen also as Rodon can do a nice Dellin Betances 2014 impression with a boatload of K's in relief.  If he is sitting on any waiver wire, get him right this minute.  The kid is a star in the making by the looks of it. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Pedro Alvarez:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .256.  Alvarez's batting average was nice while it lasted but you knew as well as I did that he was on borrowed time there.  The earth still spins on its statistical axis in fantasy baseball.

Gerrit Cole:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.18.  Cole has pitched very well in his last two starts after a shaky first.  The strikeouts are averaging one per inning which is where he should be at for the next ten years with his type of potent arm.  Was only a matter of time before Cole became a star and we could be seeing that in its infancy right now.

Adam Jones:  4/5 with his 5th HR and 5 RBI while hitting .457.  There is not a hotter hitter on the planet right now.  Now you also know why I have such a man-crush on Jones.  Maybe someone will finally listen and admit like we have been saying in print for years that Jones is a mid-first round guy.  The greatest compliment I can give Jones is that he is now statistically boring like Miguel Cabrera.  He is so good that there is nothing left to talks about despite so many words in this blurb.

Hanley Ramirez:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  Ramirez is falling madly in love swinging at the fences in his new division.  So this is how the other half lives?

Rick Porcello:  8 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 6.63.  Soft-tossing control pitcher going to the AL East=Rick Porcello 8 earned run in 5 innings pitched.

Stephen Strasburg:  7.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.50.  Now that Strasburg got his typical early April struggles out of the way, the rest of baseball is screwed.

Albert Pujols:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .186.  Prince Albert is not a pure all-or-nothing slugger now but his age has taken a major bite out of his average.  The power is not going anywhere just yet however.

C.J. Cron:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .143.  People are throwing in the towel way too quick on Cron as guys who have natural hitting skills like him will eventually figure it out.  That's what happens with unproven guys.  They only have three weeks tops to get it going or waiver wire it is. 

Garrett Richards:  5 IP 5 H 3 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.40.  Richards was not very good and he got hit around in his only rehab start as well.  He likely needs 2-3 starts to get it together so be patient.  His rate stats checked out fully from last season so stick with it.

Wade Davis:  scoreless ninth for his first save while striking out two with an ERA of 0.00.  Immense strikeout rate going back to last season means Davis can be a top five closer while Greg Holland is out.  What a gift.

Carlos Santana:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .244.  See Alvarez, Pedro above.

Torii Hunter:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .225.  Thank you Torii for helping me launch my fantasy career.  It was on your skills that made me look so smart in winning leagues in the first place.

Will Middlbrooks:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .240.  Boy there are a lot of crap average/power hitters at third base.

Jon Lester:  5.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 6.89.  I guess this is progress.  Boy are Lester owners pulling their hair out right now and the guy himself likely would be doing the same if he can some.  Still want to know what I am doing?  Trying to trade for him and Cole Hamels.

Andrew Cashner:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.65.  On the short list as one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball. 

Joaquin Benoit:  scoreless ninth for first save with an ERA of 1.13 as Craig Kimbrel got the day off to rest.  Ah what might have been.

Shelby Miller:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.69.  The 1.19 WHIP is a bit elevated but not terrible.  Miller always had had a live arm and the Braves did well buying low on him.  As far as fantasy baseball is concerned, he burned me so bad last season that I can't get overjoyed about the guy until we get to May and he is still doing stuff like this.

Yoenis Cespedes:  2/4 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .300.  J.D. Martinez is not the only Detroit outfielder who can slam baseballs over the wall.

Jose Quintana:  8 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 8.10.  Look away Quintana owners.  Actually this is so bad that we are likely to see a mass amount of fantasy baseball soul cleansing as owners send him to the wire in disgust which is a bit rash considering how solid he has been the last couple of seasons.

Shane Greene:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 4 BB 3 K with an ERA of 0.39.  New York Yankees fans are so loving that Greene for Didi Gregorious deal right now.  What a horrible move by the looks of it.

Steven Souza:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .289.  Wonder how many people dropped Souza after the first two weeks of the season.  Regrets, regrets. 

Matt Harvey:  6 IP 8 H 4 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.50.  Harvey has seemed to tire a bit last the fourth inning in his last two starts which is something to keep tabs on.  Otherwise his stuff is just as potent as it was pre-surgery.

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/3 with his fifth HR while hitting .313.  He is good.  Overstatement of the day.

Joc Pederson:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .289.  Pederson got caught stealing for the third time already so he clearly has to work on his timing there but the power is starting to blossom at the major league level.  As long as Pederson continues to work on closing the holes in his swing, his move to the top in the order is a given.

Howie Kendrick:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .370.  Kendrick is a guy you could have drafted in the late middle rounds this past spring but now you won't be able to pry him away from his smart owners who took advantage. 

Brandon McCarthy:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.50.  The peripherals are pointing to an ace pitcher which we all know McCarthy is not.  The guy can flat out dominate however if he can keep the ball in park like he did in this start.  If he is still sitting on a wire out there, pick him up pronto.

Adam Wainwright:  8 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.71.  Wainwright has looked healthy which as my biggest concern for him going into the season but we have to continue to watch this as the innings start adding up as we go along.  The K rate remains down like it was last season when the arm trouble began so that is somewhat telling as well in terms of Wainwright maybe losing some juice on his fastball.  So far those who bought slightly low are doing well with this investment.

Matt Carpenter:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .400.  Any home run from Carpenter is nice but runs and average are his calling cards in terms of his impact.  That doesn't now that he is only third base eligible where lack of power stands out as a very big negative.







 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: KEVIN PLAWECKI GETS CALL TO REPLACE TRAVIS D'ARNAUD FOR METS

One guy's misfortune is another guy's opportunity. Such is the scenario unfolding behind the plate for the New York Mets as the team quickly called up top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki from Triple-A to serve as the starting backstop in place of the injured Travis D'Arnaud who suffered a fractured hand by an HBP Sunday.  The 24-year-old Plawecki had a nice spring training for the Mets but with DArnaud and veteran backup Anthony Recker ahead of him on the depth chart, there was no room for him.  Plawecki was hitting only .219 at Triple-A but a small sample size for sure so nothing to go crazy about there.  It is better to look at Plawecki's Double-A and Triple-A numbers last season when he performed as the following:

Double-A:  .326 6 HR 43 RBI 33 runs in 249 at-bats
Triple-A:  .283 5 HR 21 RBI 25 R in 170 at-bats

Right out of the gate Plawecki has value in two-catcher formats only as he has to prove he can hit major league pitching which is always a major struggle for even the top-rated backstops.  Still he has above-average hitting ability that should help him be of some value over the next two months when D'Arnaud is out.  Monitor in single-catcher leagues for now.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: TRAVIS D'ARNAUD BREAKOUT INTERRUPTED BY BREAK IN HAND

                                        

Unbelievable.  Some guys just have purely rotten puck when it comes to injury and New York Mets catcher Travis D'Arnaud is planted firmly in that class.  After two years of toiling between the minors and major leagues despite having been universally considered a top hitting catching prospect, it finally appeared as though D'Arnaud had finally figured it out at the major league level early in 2015 as his 2/3 day in the New York Mets' game against the Miami Marlins brought his season average to .317 which included 2 home runs.  Unfortunately D'Arnaud never made it through his fourth at-bat unscathed Sunday as he suffered a fractured right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.  D'Arnaud immediately recoiled in noticeable pain after getting hurt and went right to the dugout where he joined teammate Jerry Blevins.  Lefty setup man Blevins suffered his own fracture, this time in the forearm, due to a comebacker hit also in the seventh inning.  It is a real shame with D'Arnaud who was looking primed for a big offensive season and he was even moved up to the number 2 spot in the order as a reward for how well he was batting.  Now he is likely going to be out for months and not weeks so in shallow leagues you have no choice but to cut him loose if you play one catcher.  Those who take part in two catcher formats can try and stash him if you can.  Anthony Recker will replaced D'Arnaud but he has little to no value.  Some names to check out on the wire include the ageless but still hitting A.J. Pierzynski, rookie J.L. Realmuto, and Miguel Montero.  Yuck is right.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS : ROYALS MULLING WHETHER TO PUT SS ALICIDES ESCOBAR ON DL WITH KNEE SPRAIN

Kansas City Royals shortstop Alicides Escobar is out of the lineup again on Sunday which marks his second missed game in a row after suffering a knee sprain Friday.  The Royals are discussing internally whether Escobar needs a DL stint or not.  He has been replaced by Christian Colon.

Analysis:  Ugh.  Another one of my guys who are injured, joining David Wright who has his own leg problems.  Escobar got off to a nice start at the plate after cooling the last few days leading up to the knee injury.  50/50 he goes on the DL but Escobar is worth holding onto if possible.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JUSTIN UPTON (QUAD) OUT OF LINEUP SUNDAY

San Diego Padres outfielder Justin Upton is out of the lineup Sunday after he injured his quad in Saturday's game.  Will Venable is starting in Upton's place, with the latter listed as day-to-day.

Analysis:  Nothing major here as Upton just needs a day or two to recover.  His power is already impressing in his new home and 25-30 home runs is in play once again this season. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL TWO-START PITCHERS

For those who take part in weekly formats, here are the pitchers who have two starts this week in ranked order.

1.  Matt Shoemaker:  VS. Oakland, VS. Texas
2.  Jake Arrieta:  @Pittsburgh, @Cincy
3.  Carlos Carrasco:  @White Sox, @Tigers
4.  Gio Gonzalez:  VS. St. Louis, @Miami
5.  Lance Lynn:  @Washington, @Milwaukee
6.  Chris Archer:  VS. Boston, VS. Toronto
7.  Hisashi Iwakuma:  VS. Houston, VS. Minnesota
8.  Francisco Liriano:  VS Cubs. @Arizona
9.  Alfredo Simon:  VS. Yankees, VS. Cleveland
10. Mike Fiers:  VS. Cincy, VS. St. Louis
11. Jose Quintana:  @Cleveland, VS. Kansas City
12. A.J. Burnett:  VS. Cubs, @Arizona
13. Trevor Bauer:  @White Sox, @Detroit
14. Anthony DeScalfani:  @Miami, VS. Cubs
15. Brett Anderson:  @San Francisco, @San Diego
16. Travis Wood:  @Pittsburgh, @Cincy
17. Drew Pomeranz:  @Angels, @Houston
18. Dan Haren:  @Philadelphia, VS. Washington
19. Brandon Morrow:  @Colorado, VS. Dodgers
20. C.C. Sabbathia:  @Detroit, VS. Mets
21. Wily Peralta:  VS. Cincy, VS. St. Louis
22. Nathan Eovaldi:  @Detroit, VS. Mets
23. Mark Buehrle:  VS. Baltimore, @Tampa Bay
24. Jon Niese:  VS. Atlanta, @Yankees

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Jose Abreu:  3/6 with his third HR (grand slam) while hitting .250.  Abreu is looking ready to launch into a monster home run tear.  The strikeouts tend to fluctuate a bit which goes with the average being a little low right not but otherwise Abreu is locked-in for 2015 as a top five overall guy.

Adam LaRoche:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .242.  Remember I told you after LaRoche signed with the White Sox that he was an excellent investment due to the fact he would primarily be a DH and thus have less wear and tear on his body.  His average picks up as the season goes along and with 25 home runs, LaRoche will earn every penny you invested.

J.D. Martinez:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  The average has tumbled a bit but Martinez continues going back to last season with his consistently above-average home run rate.  30 home runs?  Maybe.

Chris Sale:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.25.  So far through two starts Chris Sale has looked like his old dominant top five starting pitcher self.  Wish I owned him when healthy but I never want to take that risk so I never do.

Danny Salazar:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.00.  Of course he does this.  Salazar waits until a year later after he made a fool out of me in 2014 by pumping him up to no end.  The arm is electric and Salazar pretty much is a worse Trevor Bauer which is saying something.  In other words both just need a compass to the strike zone and than they can pile up insane strikeout totals and elevate themselves to upper tier status.  Pick up Salazar as he is worth watching on your bench for one more start to see if this was not just a one-game anomaly.

Jason Heyward:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .227.  Heyward has a 19 percent K rate right now which is higher than his career norms.  (Sigh).  Maybe he will never fully get it with that.

Carlos Martinez:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.08.  So far, so good with the control for Martinez as that was the only thing that could have held him back.  The arm is potent and can average a K/IP which means those who took advantage of the 200-plus average draft spot are sitting beyond pretty.

Bryce Harper:  2/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .279.  Second game in a row Harper went yard and I really like the way he is swinging the bat right now.  Superstardom sometimes takes an extra year to occur.

Jordan Zimmerman:  6.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 4 BB 3 K with an ERA of 6.14.  You can't convince me that Zimmerman is not hiding an injury. His velocity has been down for more than awhile now and him walking four guys in one start is a red flag as Zimmerman can go two weeks giving up that many free passes. 

Matt Kemp:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .340.  Kemp does not have the type of immense natural power that Justin Upton has which means he has to collect a lot of his home run on the road like he did here.  The average is showing however that at the very least Kemp is tuned in at the dish.

Miguel Montero:  2/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .174.  Wonder how many actually benefitted from this.  I don't think it is many as Montero has lost most of his luster from mid-2014 onward.

Tyson Ross:  5.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 5 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.08.  This is a start that would make Trevor Bauer proud.  Ross is a guy who I love in terms of his arm but stayed away from due to his overreliance on cutters.  The elbow is a ticking time bomb folks. 

Kyle Hendricks:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 6.10.  Nice outing for sure but I really don't think I will be mentioning Hendricks much this season given hos blah his overall body of work remains.

Hector Rondon:  blown save with 2 earned runs in 1 IP with an ERA of 2.57.  Rondon is far from a proven commodity at closer which means he has to show he is not some sort of John Axford or Derrick Turnbow one-hit wonder.

Josh Donaldson:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .340.  Third home run in two days as Donaldson is hitting everything in sight.  In the past I said that Donaldson may struggle to hit .280 due to a high K rate but a full season in Rogers Center will help the cause greatly.  I think he wins the AL MVP.

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .150.  Bautista surprised with his good average last season but early on his age is showing a bit there.  Remember that like with David Ortiz last season when he still hit for major power but saw his own average slip, Bautista can still be a big force if that happens to him also this season.

A.J. Pierzynski:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .300.  Everyone hates him but I have to be honest for a second.  This guy has quietly had one of the better careers at catcher in the modern era.  Go check for yourself.  Age just doesn't ever seem to be an issue for Pierzynski who still retains catcher 1 value if he continues hitting like this.

Freddie Freeman:  2/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .256.  It will shock me every time Freeman hits a home run considering how awful the rest of the Atlanta Braves lineup is.  That does indicate however that Freeman remains immensely talented and the power growth we expected in 2014 could be happening in 2015 instead. 

Alex Wood:  6.2 IP 9 H 3 ER 2 BB 0 K with an ERA of 3.93.  We got a problem here.  How on earth did Wood not manage to fall into at least one K in this one considering how good his stuff is?  I mean for real.  Wood looks nothing like the future ace he was looking like last season and major concern is warranted.

Miguel Castro:  first blown save with 1 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 1.23.  Castro is incredibly raw but his arm fits in the ninth inning so he will get another chance.  Another blown save however and it becomes time for us to check out Roberto Osuna.

Starling Marte:  2/4 with his third HR and 5 RBI to go along with his 2ndwhile hitting .189.  You know you had a good night when your introductory wrapup sentence is one big run-on. 

Ryan Braun:  2/3 batting with a .265 average while batting leadoff for the first time.  Got to try something to get this human piece of garbage going. 

Kyle Lohse:  6 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 10.34.  I guess getting by with smoke and mirrors after all those years finally has an expiration date with this guy.  Worst pitcher so far this season.

Yordano Ventura:  5 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 4.80.  I always think this kid is hurt and in actuality I would be right since Ventura has come down with some various aches and pains already.  Just not possible to be as smallish as Ventura is and be able to throw as hard as he does for very long before something physically goes out of whack.

Dee Gordon:  5/5 while hitting .400.  Maybe the kid can hit after all.  Seriously Gordon is unconscious right now and he is still quite young which means he has every right to improve. 

Mike Morse:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .244.  Morse was so much more interesting when he was hitting .300 with the power.

Travis D'Arnaud:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .289.  Hitting ability is always the last thing to show up with a young catcher given how much they have to learn about calling a game.  D'Arnaud is looking like a firm top ten fantasy baseball catcher who is now ready to stay there.

Wilmer Flores:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .222.  Flores is getting hot and is starting to do a better impression of J.J. Hardy than the guy himself.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 0.93.  Two straight shutouts for DeGrom and when your WHIP (1.14) is higher than your ERA, you are kicking some ass.  There is nothing to hold us back now from saying DeGrom is a firm SP 2 given what we have seen.

George Springer:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .150.  Springer has to stop doing the Chris Young impression when it comes to the K's and the woeful averages. 

Dallas Keuchel:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.90.  One can make the statement that the Houston Astros have one of the better 1-2's in fantasy baseball in Keuchel and Colin McHugh.  Yeah I can't believe I just said that either.

Masahiro Tanaka:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.94.  This is Tanaka telling all of us to suck it when it comes to velocity.  Damn he was good here and if he continues on like this, all will be forgotten.  Sometimes it is that simple.

Jake Odorizzi:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.74.  Now has 19 K's in 20 IP.  Told you all to draft him as a sleeper candidate.  Yup.  Will likely repeat this blurb all season with updated strikeouts and innings. 

Chris Davis:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .256.  If you could bottle up Davis' .256 average, I would be signing up to lock it in at that mediocre number.  Alas you can't and Davis will be at .230 soon enough.

 Brandon Crawford:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .167.  J.J, Hardy, Wilmer Flores, Brandon Crawford,....they are all the same.

Chris Heston:  7.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 0.87.  How about this guy?  Heston now has 16 strikeouts in 20 innings and has given up 0, 1, and 1 earned runs in his three starts.  As long you only use him at home, Heston has done enough to warrant a look.

Joc Pederson:  0/3 with 3 strikeouts while batting .267.  Pederson has now 15 K's in 34 at-bats which is an ungodly number for anyone.  The natural tools are incredible but the lack of contact could stunt things for a bit.  Kid is way too talented not to stay the course however.

Joel Peralta:  scoreless ninth for his third save with an ERA of 0.00.  Now we can mercifully retire the name "Chris Hatcher" from our consciousness forever.

Mike Zunino:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .139.  So much for that nice spring training average. 

Felix Hernandez:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.37.  This kid is as close to Pedro Martinez as I have seen.  Seriously.  The fact Hernandez is coming off his best season ever in a string of Cy Young caliber campaigns in 2014 spells this out in spades.  Amazing stuff. 

Fernando Rodney:  scoreless ninth for his third save with an ERA of 12.46.  The heat comes off a bit here but Rodney's K rate is in the toilet and his velocity is well down from where it should be.  This is not going to be a turn back to his 2014 form.  Instead consider this a one game reprieve for akl of his owners to try and dump him onto someone.