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Friday, April 18, 2014


C.C. Sabbathia:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.19.  Sabbathia has a lot more work to do with regards to making that ERA a lot less ugly.  However this was progress and the bump in K rate is promising as far as Sabbathia figuring out how to use deception to get outs with his fastball well below what is once was.

Yangervis Solarte:  3/5 with his first HR while hitting ..373.  Nice story developing here as Solarte looks like he was a guy who fell through the cracks.  The kid has been locked in since the start of spring training and that is a lot of games since than where he has failed to go into a slump.  The average is pretty empty right now but the infield eligibility keeps this interesting. 

Alfonso Soriano:  3/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .259.  Everything predictably is going in the right direction now once Soriano cleared the fence for the first time this season.  What is funny here is that because Soriano is technically old in baseball terms, his draft stock sank once again this season despite a monster second half of 2013 after arriving in a trade with the Yanks.  Launching pad ballpark=fountain of youth.

Brian McCann:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .226.  Just like with Soriano, McCann is likely to start pounding out the home runs now that he finally connected twice the other day.  Veteran guys roll like this and as along as you accept that the .280 average from his youth are gone for good, no disappointing will be attached to this name. 

David Price:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.39.  Ugly start no doubt but the biggest key with Price this season is the rebound in his K rate which changes the story for the better from his disturbing 2013. 

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Ryu continues with his magnificent start and the scary thing is that he actually has a BABIP that is a bit unlucky.  Yes this is a legit performance all the way around.

Madison Bumgarner:  4.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.48.  Something is not right here as Bumgarner has been pretty shaky all season outside of one dominant start.  The walks are puzzling as Bumgarner is known for his control.  I won't panic yet but as a Bumgarner owner I am annoyed to say the least.  Wasn't expecting seeing a 1.79 WHIP even this early in the season.

Adam Wainwright:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.80.  Boy do I miss owning Wainwright.  Helped me win titles the last two seasons.  Now he is but a distant memory of a relationship I remain depressed is no longer possible.  Breaking up is hard to do.

James Shields:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Finally a starting pitcher I own who actually did something other than take a blow torch to my team ERA and WHIP.  Old reliable Mr. James Shields is. 

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .269. 

Brian Dozier:  2/4 with his fifth HR and 2 steals (5 for season) while hitting .207.  Dozier is already 5/5 and we are barely past the halfway point of April.  At this rate he will take the second round spot the disappointing Jason Kipnis had this past winter.

Sergio Santos:  3 walks and 0 outs generated while giving up 3 ER.  Really bro?  My four-year-old son could have thrown more strikes than you.  Way to embrace the news that Casey Janssen had a setback and that you can firmly make the closer gig yours.  Here is a giant middle finger pointing northward for you dude.  Keep Steve Delabar close by. 

Gaby Sanchez:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .259.  This is Gaby Sanchez saying "yes I really do still play major league baseball."

Andrew McCutchen:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .262.  Slow starts are part of the deal with McCutchen.  Than May comes and he will hit 10 home runs with 10 steals and all will be forgiven.

Pedro Alvarez:  2/3 with is sixth HR while hitting .186.  Somewhere Dave Kingman is watching and shedding tears of pride. 

Xander Bogaerts:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .268.  Hooray he hit a home run.  I said all spring Bogaerts was going to be more empty average than power/speed asset.  Yup.

Jon Lester:  8 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.17.  Lester is looking more and more like his 2008 top tier self.  While I won't go so far as to say he is back to being that guy again, the early results at least give us pause to consider it which means Lester is already yielding tremendous value.

Koji Uehara:  scoreless ninth for his third save with an ERA of 0.00.  Drop Edwatd Mujica.  It was fun while it lasted.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Early games were on the docket this fantasy baseball Thursday and as always we have it covered.  Here is what I saw early on in these early outings.

Robinson Cano:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .271.  Yeah it took awhile for Cano to hit his first home run and he had to go to Texas to do it.  We talked all winter about the challenged of calling Safeco Field home for an entire season and we already are seeing Cano's home run rate drop which makes perfect sense.  His whole first season in Seattle will go a long way in determining if Cano can retain first round fantasy baseball value.  I think he will fall short.

Corey Hart:  2/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .233.  Played the outfield for the first time this season and Hart should regain eligibility there soon enough which will add to his already solid sleeper value.  Was incredibly underrated going into the season and despite missing all of 2013, there doesn't appear to be much rust.  The Profit Monster is roaring.

Shin-Soo Choo:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .293.  Choo finally gets on the board with his first knock but this is an overall package of numbers so don't ever get hung on any one stat when it comes to his game.  An additional 2-3 home runs due to the ballpark was the only gains we were ever going to see out of Choo in moving from Cincy to Texas. 

Alex Wood:  8 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.67.  I can't get a decent start out of Madison Bumgarner, Danny Salazar, and Shelby Miller in one of the Experts Leagues and Alex "Freakin" Wood is pitching like Roy Halladay.  I hate this game.  Meanwhile Wood owners are saying they love this game. 

A.J. Burnett:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.74.  Has had one of the better late-career renaissance's I have seen out of anyone in quite some time.  Continues to pitch like an ace despite the change for the worse in ballpark.

Jonathan Papelbon:  scoreless and perfect ninth for his fourth save with an ERA of 4.26. Told you all not to panic after the early meltdown from Papelbon this season.  Yeah the velocity numbers are down but Papelbon's secondary stuff is still very potent.  Has been money in the bank since that ugly blip.

Michael Brantley:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .286.  Brantley has become an nice player but one who overall comes up short in my opinion outside of AL-only leagues when it comes to fantasy baseball.  There is a "little bit of this" and a "little bit of that" out of Brantley but nothing to attach his name to as far as dominance in any one stat.

Ian Kinsler:  2/5 with his second HR and third SB while hitting .327.  Once again Kinsler is defying the general consensus which he has made a career out of doing.  He is showing more interest in running again and the average is sky high from his usual norms.  A very lucky BABIP has a lot to do with it but Kinsler is really driving the ball and playing well.  Those who ignored me and the rest of the fantasy baseball community are getting the last laugh right now.

Justin Verlander:  5 IP 6 H 0 ER 4 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Yet another start where Verlander gave up more hits and walks than innings pitched by a decent margin which shows you the erosion that has taken place in his game.  He is still obviously missing bats and getting himself out of jams with the strikeouts but the control is the worst its been since Verlander's early days.   Digest on the number 4.72.  That is Verlander's XFIP which shows you how he has been lucky to have the 2.08 ERA he has with all of those hits yielded.

Danny Salazar:  4.2 IP 6 H 5 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 7.71.  Already posted yesterday about how Salazar could be demoted to the minor leagues off this latest disaster.  He is a complete trainwreck right now and is not fooling anyone no matter how hard he throws.  What a disappointment.  As someone who spoke as highly about Salazar as anyone this season, I have nothing to say about this that is positive right now.  Sometimes these things happen.  Ricky Nolasco 2009 anyone? 

Kyle Gibson:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 0.93.  Only six K's in 11 innings speak to how Gibson has benefitted from his ridiculously lucky .235 BABIP.  Gibson's FIP ERA?  4.10.  His XFIP ERA?  A scary 5.58.  Wow this is going to hurt when the luck evens out.  SELL SELL SELL!


It was another horrific start by Cleveland Indians starter Danny Salazar on Thursday and things have gotten so bad only three outings into the season that a team source indicated the conversation was broached about possibly sending him back to the minors to "clear his head."  Salazar gave up 5 earned runs in only 4.2 innings Thursday versus the Detroit Tigers when he gave up 6 hits and 3 walks. That raised his season ERA to a horrid 7.71 and generated more talk that he could use a refresher on the farm.

Analysis:  This wouldn't be a shock because clearly something is amiss here.  We have heard that Salazar was tipping his pitches during his first two starts and than more control issues and a high hit rate continued to dog him Thursday.  Nothing is working right now and overall the guy has been a huge bust in fantasy baseball terms.  While I would say to hold Salazar if you can, I wouldn't criticize you if you cut him loose.



Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain will be placed on the 15-day DL by the team on Thursday due to the groin injury he suffered Wednesday.  Cain was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain and will be replace by Jarrod Dyson in the lineup.

Analysis:  Cain at one time had some interesting fantasy baseball potential as he showed some power/speed game.  However his penchant for injuries and his failure to break through now are making him into just another name.  Dyson is an interesting short-term buy if you need steals though.



Boston Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli is back in the lineup Thursday after sitting out a game due to the dislocated finger he suffered on Tuesday.  Nothing serious showed up on the X-rays and Napoli is not expected to be inhibited by the injury.

Analysis:  Obviously it was nice Napoli avoided the DL.  He remains a medicore fantasy baseball first baseman but Napoli is capable of good power numbers but an ugly average. 



Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu is getting the day off on Thursday after a 1-for-20 stretch at the plate.  Paul Konerko will start in Abreu's place.

Analysis:  As hot as Abreu was last week with his two two-homer games, he has been ice cold since.  Overall Abreu has struggled which is not so shocking since he is a rookie facing much tougher Major League competition.  Stay the course as Abreu will be finding consistency soon enough and in the process cement his status as a top ten fantasy baseball first baseman. 


                                                          Jesse Chavez

He wasn't even supposed to be in the starting rotation.  The previous sentence sums up mightily the amazing and unexpected start to the 2014 fantasy baseball season for Oakland A's starting pitcher Jesse Chavez, fresh off a 7-inning gem Monday night when he gave up only 4 hits and 1 walk while giving up only 1 earned run and striking out 9.  That brought Chavez' totals through three starts to a minuscule 1.35 ERA and 0.85 WHIP to go with a shockingly good 22 K's in only 20 innings pitched.  The only reason Chavez has yet to register a win through his three starts was due to shoddy bullpen work behind him but nothing really can dampen what has been to this point a remarkable and surprising breakthrough. 

As I stated at the top, Chavez was not even supposed to be in the A's starting rotation to begin the season by injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin necessitated the team turning to the righty, who was a valued member of the bullpen the previous year.  Having made his way through five other organizations previously, Chavez finally put up a decent season in 2013 in relief for the A's when he pitched to a 3.92 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while striking out 55 in 57.1 innings.  No one however could have foreseen what was in store for 2014.

As they say opportunity is everything and somewhere through his tours of six MLB organizations, Chavez discovered a repertoire that worked to get hitters out.  When looking more closely at his pitching profile, what we see are some positive indicators that almost always point to success.  The first is that Chavez has terrific control, having walked only 2 batters in his first 20 innings pitched.  In addition Chavez has a solid fastball and good complementary stuff that generates swings and misses as evidenced by the 22 punchouts thus far this season.  Finally, we all know that O.Co Coliseum is one of the best pitching parks in the game and that helps to negate the biggest negative when it comes to Chavez which is his propensity to give up home runs.  Thus what we are seeing out of Chavez right now is not a complete mirage.  While he no way is a 1.35 ERA pitcher, he has the stuff and the ballpark to keep on putting up good to very good outings every time he goes out there.  If you haven't checked to see if Chavez is available on the wire, be sure to do so right away.  He is worth an add in all formats in order to see where this goes.  We all love strikeouts and some upside to go with it and on that front Chavez passes the test.


Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen has been shut down again after another flare up of back pain.  Janssen was making his way back from shoulder and back trouble and was likely around two weeks from activation before the back acted up again.  Sergio Santos will continue to close in Janssen's place.

Analysis:  It is looking more and more like it will be a lost season for Janssen with all the injuries.  If Santos continues to pitch well, there would be no need for the team to make a change.  Santos owners are looking like they got a nice closer bargain.


                                                         Stephen Strasburg

Perhaps no other pitcher in fantasy baseball 2014 has generated more concerned e-mails shot into my inbox than the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg.  That was especially the case after his meltdown Tuesday night against the Miami Marlins when the righty gave up six earned runs in only 4 innings while giving up 8 hits and 3 walks.  That brought Strasburg's overall line to a composite 6.00 ERA and ungodly 1.57 WHIP through four starts.  Needless to say this is not what Strasburg's fantasy baseball owners signed up for when they made him a top five selection out of the pitching fraternity.  So with the latest carnage in the rearview mirror let's take a closer look at what is going on here in order to determine if this is just a minor short-term struggle or if there is something more worrisome to look at.

Out of the four starts Strasburg has made this season, only one was useful to his fantasy baseball owners which was his April 10th outing against the same Marlins team that beat him up Tuesday.  In looking at the overall numbers, Strasburg's hit rate has gone up sharply, yielding 24 in 21 innings, while also issuing 9 walks and 3 home runs.  In short Strasburg's mechanics are clearly messed up right now and he is missing his spots by a decent margin.  However Strasburg has also suffered from some very poor luck with his BABIP, currently sporting a very high .396 mark which means everything is falling in on him right now.  As a better indicator of how Strasburg really is pitching, his FIP ERA is 3.28 and XIP an even lower 2.65.  We all knew Strasburg was not as bad as pitcher as he had shown and the adjusted FIP and XFIP ERA's show you that better times are ahead.  In addition Strasburg has struck out 33 batters in his 21 innings so his stuff is still fooling hitters by a high margin.  The K rate of 14.14 is as good as it gets and it really shows you that the stuff is still very good. 

Earlier yesterday I brought up Tim Lincecum as a comparison to what we were seeing out of Strasburg.  A former ace who still racks up strikeouts at a high rate but whose stuff was diminished some due to loss of velocity and a possibly tired arm from high usage earlier in his career.  That was a bit harsh in retrospect but there is also no denying the fact Strasburg has had more than a few injuries since breaking into the majors and that his violent delivery takes a toll on his arm.  The advanced indicators support a firm rebound from Strasburg though and a so a BUY LOW is in order here if possible.  While I admit I am not the biggest Strasburg fan due to his injury risk, I can say that he still has his stuff and the ability to be a pitching ace.


Joey Votto:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .327.  There may not be a better pure hitter in all of baseball.  When Votto is putting balls over the outfield wall to go with his always high average, it is a beautiful thing indeed. 

Chris Heisey:  1/3 with his third SB while hitting .310.  Once again Heisey is doing a nice job when pressed into service.  There is some nice stolen base juice here to go along with the ability to pop a home run every once in awhile.  In five outfielder formats Heisey should have been added a week ago.

Johnny Cueto:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 1.50.  Cueto looked like Pedro Martinez out there in this one.  No exaggeration.  I had made a trade offer for Cueto the other day and as of the game's start it was still not answered.  After seeing what Cueto did in this one I took the offer down.  It didn't matter who is was offering.  There was no way in hell short of Mike Trout I was wrestling Cueto away from any owner.  A few more things on this because I have neglected to say much about Cueto to this point.  The first is that he has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last four years.  Quietly because Cueto's incomplete season's due to injuries have taken the spotlight away form his magnificent numbers.  Also Cueto has not struck guys out at this rate since be burst onto the scene as a rookie.  Being healthy certainly has a lot to do with it.  He remains very brittle and selling high off this one for a more durable player is not the worst idea in the world.  However Cueto looks determined to add a Cy Young to his mantle based on this start so I can't blame anyone for seeing this through.

Miguel Gonzalez:  5 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 6.28.  Ladies and gentleman the highlight of Miguel Gonzalez' 2014 fantasy baseball season.

Eric Young Jr.:  1/4 with 2 steals (9 for season) while hitting .255.  Great battle brewing already for the NL stolen base crown between Young Jr., Dee Gordon, and Billy Hamilton.  Young is hitting and working the count and as soon as he gets on he is running.  Start playing him every day, especially now that Juan Lagares is out.

Anthony Recker:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .286.  Don't look now but Anthony Recker is telling Travis D'Arnaud "move over kid."

Aaron Hill:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .222.  Hill has looked putrid so far but he is prone to long cold spells like this.  Maybe the home run will get him on track.  I still have faith.

Paul Goldschmidt:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .338.  Nothing new to add here.  We all know Goldy is awesome and the average is swell despite the still high K's.  Someone please trade him to me.  Please. 

Jose Valverde:  2 ER in ninth in non-save situation with an ERA of 6.14.  This is what I said in Closing Time the other day for Insider subscribers (if you aren't already an Insider subscriber I don't know what's wrong with you)  "Jose Valverde predictably blew up Saturday night in throwing away the save against the Los Angeles Angels.  I say predictable because despite the nice start Valverde has had on his minor-league deal from the New York Mets, he had to settle for that minor-league deal for a reason after bottoming out with the Detroit Tigers in 2013.  The velocity has sunk dramatically the last two seasons which has made Valverde more hittable than ever to go with shaky control.  The Mets don't have hardly anything invested here and since they keep preaching how they want to be in contention, won't likely have a lot of patience here either."  Yes Valverde is imploding right before our eyes.  His velocity was down Wednesday and he couldn't locate anything.  Not discussing the Hanrahan issue unless he officially signs, Jeurys Familia is the name to watch, with Gonzalez German, Carlos Torres and (hold your nose) Kyle Farnsworth.  The Mets are actually 8-7 right now and have a ton of pressure to win in New York so they won't let Valverde ruin things for them this season.

Dillon Gee:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.71.  One of the more underrated starter's in the league, Gee should be off the wire in all non-innings capped leagues.  Doesn't beat himself with walks and has deceptive stuff.  Perfect for your SP 4 or 5.

Allen Craig:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .154.  A few days ago Craig was leading all of baseball with his ground ball rate.  Call him the extreme Eric Hosmer.  That is kryptonite for Craig's power and since his average is horrendous right now, he is pretty much useless.  I said in the preseason Craig was overrated and now he just looks like one big mess.

Carlos Beltran:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .313.  Beltran has perfected the art of the first half surge and truthfully if you would have told me four years ago he would still be this good, I would have laughed in your face.  And it is not all ballpark related with Beltran's longevity as St. Lousi was no Coors Field by any means.  As long as the legs hold up, 25 home runs is a lock.

Masahiro Tanaka:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.05.  If this keeps up we will have a debate about who is the best Japanese pitcher in baseball:  Yu Darvish or Tanaka.  I don't know who I am more excited about owning this season, Tanaka or Yordano Ventura.  Good times all around.

Cliff Lee:  9 IP 11 H 1 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 4.00.  This is why you never worry about Cliff Lee.  The K's tend to fluctuate from start to start but will once again end up at or above the 200 mark.  The 1.56 WHIP reflects an increasing hit rate but get this number .431.  No that is not Mike Trout's batting average.  That is Lee's BABIP which is a number that can't possibly be any more unlucky.  Even in this one Lee was completely dominant yet he gave up 11 hits.  The balls were falling in all over the place and have been since the start of the season.   While you can't buy low anymore, Lee's owners really should not worry about anything.

Julio Teheran:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Teheran has been unhittable this season despite a noticeable drop in K's.  Could very well be that Teheran is maturing as a pitcher and not looking for the strikeout like he did when he first was coming up the ladder.  The arm is electric and Teheran is already a tremendous SP 2 with remaining upside.  I was a bit slow to come around on the guy after some ugly initial MLB forays but Teheran has won me over for good.

Evan Gattis:  4/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .378.  Wow.  We all knew Gattis had very solid fantasy baseball sleeper credentials heading into the season but this is ridiculous.  The BABIP is obviously inflated but not to an extreme level.  30 home runs here we come.  .280 average could come along for the ride also.

Jayson Werth:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .308.  Werth is now the best hitter on a team that has Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Ian Desmond on it.  Imagine that.

Jose Fernandez:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.66.  Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will likely be receiving chocolates by the car load today and its not the fans supplying an early Easter treat.  Instead the gifts are from the grateful Jose Fernandez fantasy baseball owners due to the fact that Salty's error made all three runs given up unearned.  More sick stuff from Fernandez who is now up to 3 K's in only 23.2 innings.

Felix Hernandez:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.91.  It's hard to imagine that the studly Hernandez could get even better but that is what it appears to be happening four starts into his season.  Hernandez has been a monster in every outing and he has thrust all of his fantasy baseball ratios into the improving direction.  Still doesn't get the credit he deserves.

Fernando Rodney:  blown save with 2 unearned runs in ninth with an ERA of 0.00.  Can't get on Rodney here as the Seattle lack of defense allowed this one to get away.  Don't worry there will surely be plenty of opportunities to rip apart Rodney during the season.

Michael Pineda:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.00.  Pine tar schmine tar.  Tanaka and Pineda did the daily double shutout for the Yanks and their respective fantasy baseball owners Wednesday.  And for those who own both Tanaka and Pineda (you know you are out there somewhere), life is very good in fantasy baseball land this morning as you stare at all of the green pluses you gained in the standings.

Alexei Ramirez:  1/6 with his fourth HR while hitting .390.  Robin Ventura has Marcus Seimen (enter jokes here) and the legendary Conor Gillespie hitting 2-3 and arguably one of the hottest hitters in baseball hitting 8th.  Than again this is the same guy who thought Matt Lindstrom was a good idea at closer so there you go.

White Sox Bullpen:  They all suck.  Maikel Cleto looked like he was given a shot in the ninth to protect a 3-2 lead and than proceeded to walk the first two batters he faced.  Up comes Lindstrom who can't put away Johnny Gomes away 0-2, giving up a hit.  He also fires a wild pitch and allows the tying run to eventually come around.  Enter Daniel Webb a run in the 10th to put the Sox in a 4-3 due to some shaky control.  Webb could go on to toss two shutout innings the next two frames but the damage was done.  Make of this what you must.  I devoted too many words to this already.

Jason Castro:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .209.  Nothing has changed from this storyline.  The power will remain and so will the average-killing Ks.  Still think you can do much better.

George Springer:  1/5 with a CS hitting in the number 2 spot.  Springer struck out twice and that stat will go a long away in determining just how impactful he will be from a fantasy baseball perspective this season. 

Brandon Moss:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .283.  Not sure why Moss is hitting at the bottom of the order but maybe Bob Melvin was talking with Robin Ventura too much.

Luke Gregerson:  blown save with 1 ER in 2 IP with an ERA of 1.86.  The last straw needed for Melvin to anoint Jim Johnson the closer sometime Thursday. 

Justin Morneau:  3/3 with his second HR while hitting .354.  Yes you should pick him up.  He plays in Colorado bro.  Anyways it looks like early on that Morneau has taken a page out of the Michael Cuddyer batting average book.  The power is still a big question mark despite the two knocks over the last week.  You ride name guys when they get locked in like this and Morneau is no different.

Andrew Cashner:  7.1 IP 9 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.27.  After being one of Cashner's biggest touts the last two years, still trying to figure out why he is not on at least one of my two Experts League teams.  Some mysteries just don't have any answers. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014



There are ankle sprain and than there are Kole Calhoun ankle sprains.  After Calhoun badly twisted his ankle late in the team's game Tuesday night, a 15-day DL stint seemed likely considering the video of his foot rolling almost completely to the side.  However that proved not to be no average ankle sprain as it was revealed Wednesday that Calhoun would now miss the next 4-6 weeks with a full ligament sprain in the ankle.  For Calhoun owners it was more than a sizable blow as just an hour earlier he had cracked his third HR of the season and had gone 7-for-his-last 15 at the dish.  While not lighting the world on fire with his .250 average, Calhoun had already scored 12 runs atop a solid Angels lineup and had the ability to hit 15 home runs with some steals tossed in for good measure.  Now we won't be seeing him until sometime at the end of May or early June and the Angels will turn to the beyond mediocre Colin Cowgill to take over his spot in the lineup.  The best course of action is to stash Calhoun if possible as he did more than enough to justify his inclusion in your DL slot and the upside that remains with him makes keeping him worthwhile.  As far as replacements go, Marcell Ozuna is doing a nice job with the Miami Marlins and Ben Revere is collecting steals and runs atop the Phillies lineup.



Seattle Mariners top pitching prospect Tajuan Walker has been shut down for the next two weeks due to a right shoulder impingement.  Walker was scratched from his final rehab start on Tuesday due to more discomfort in the shoulder which has been a problem going back to the winter.  Tests were than ordered and the impingement was found.  He will than begin to ramp up his throwing again after the two weeks and a return date has not been set.

Analysis:  It is looking more and more like we won't see Walker until June now.  This is a real shame as Walker looked dominant in his rehab outings and has an electric arm.  Stay patient for now. 



Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been scratched from Wednesday night's game due to more tightness in his left quad.  Harper has been dealing with the tightness since last Friday and even though he is still considered day-to-day, tests may be ordered if no improvement is seen in the next day or so.

Analysis:  This is getting annoying.  Harper has done next to nothing outside of a BABIP-fueled batting average this season and now he is hurt yet again.  Injuries are now a central theme when it comes to Harper and his fantasy baseball value and a DL stint is now becoming a bit of a threat since the quad is still a problem.


According to the Fantasy Sports Boss' Michael Wong, a team source close to Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura is saying that Daniel Webb will be named the closer as soon as Wednesday.  Webb got the win in relief Tuesday with a scoreless third of an inning and has greatly outpitched named closer Matt Lindstrom this season.  The source went onto say it is possible Lindstrom could get one more look but that internal discussions have already discussed the realization Webb is the best reliever the team has.

Analysis:  Go get Webb.  This is something we have said for weeks now and Wong's source has come through for us in the past when it comes to White Sox news.  Go grab Webb now before this begins to circulate.



Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel reported on Wednesday that he was "ready" to resume closing duties after missing a few days with a sore shoulder.  Kimbrel threw a 15-pitch bullpen session with no issues and manager Freddie Gonzalez had said he would go right back to closing when ready.

Analysis:  Sounds good to me.  We always worry about the shoulder but it looks like Kimbrel should be just fine.  A reminder that even the best closers are filled with volatility.



Washington Nationals SP Doug Fister is headed to Florida for extended spring training as the injured lat that caused him to miss all of spring training and to begin 2014 has healed sufficiently accoding to the team doctors.  Fister will begin with some throwing sessions and than progress to spring starts that should have him in line to return sometime after the first week of May.

Analysis:  Great news for Fister's fantasy baseball owners who have had to have quite a bit of patience early on given all his injury issues.  He should be primed for his best season ever in moving to the much easier National League and his already solid ratios should improve with it.


There is hot and than there is George Springer and his early hitting tear at Triple-A Oklahoma.  After a 3-for-4 outing on Tuesday which included a grand slam, the Astros couldn't wait any longer to call Springer up and immediately plant him in the lineup for Wednesday.  Overall Springer was hitting .a ridiculous .353 with 3 home runs, nine RBI, and four stolen bases in only 13 games.  Considered one of the very best hitting prospects in all of baseball, Springer has the look of the next great power/speed 5-tool fantasy baseball hitting monster along the lines of Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez, etc.  Well five tool might be a tad strong as Springer has some red flags to touch on.  For now if you haven't already looked to see if Springer is still available, it is likely too late for that now as the competition for him was fierce over the last 15 hours.  So with all that said let's dig in a bit further and see what Springer could provide those owners who were lucky enough to grab him in the first place.

As I said earlier, when it comes to the power/speed game Springer had no peer at the minor league level where he hit 37 home runs and stole 45 bases split between Double-A and Triple-A which are obscenely great numbers no matter the level.  Blessed with top end speed and power that is already good and still developing, Springer has it all athletically.  The only critique would be that Springer has a bit of a Chris Young in him when it comes to strikeouts and the negative impacts it has on his batting average.  He has not had that problem yet so far this season in the minors though so maybe some positive gains have been made there.  Either way there will no doubt be some struggles there, especially early on as Springer tries to get adjusted with major league pitching.  A decent concern but not one that will dilute the overall excitement Springer brings to the table this season.

When breaking it all down, George Springer has all the tools necessary to be an instant impact fantasy baseball outfielder who could fill up all the categories except batting average right out of the gate.  We are very high on the potential here and feel Springer will be a star in short order.  It should be fun.



New York Yankees closer David Robertson will return to the team April 22nd and immediately be reinserted to close games according to a team source.  Robertson has been on the DL since suffering a Grade 1 strain and Shawn Kelley has converted three saves in his place.

Analysis:  Great news for all Robertson owners but keeping Kelley close by is smart due to the former's increasing penchant of getting injured.  Robertson retains top end value in the ninth inning though so get him back in there right away. 



According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Seattle Mariners will call up top infield prospect Nick Franklin from Triple-A Tacoma with the thought of playing him in the outfield in place of the injured Logan Morrison.  After not making the team out of camp, Franklin got off to a great start at Triple-A by hitting .395 with 4 home runs and 13 RBI. 

Analysis:  Franklin has been red hot and despite him being beaten out by Brad Miller to start the season at shortstop, he retains very solid upside given his good power and ability to contribute some steals.  Franklin showed some pronounced holes in his swing during his 2013 debut however so he needs to work on that aspect in order to stick.  The fact Franklin has second base eligibility alone makes him intriguing and adding outfield even more so. 


Some more injury news to discuss yet again in this already chaotic fantasy baseball season.  Let's get right to it.

-San Diego Padres SP Josh Johnson has yet to throw a pitch this season after coming down with a flexor strain early in spring training and now it is looking like he won't throw a pitch at all in 2014 as he is visiting Wednesday with Dr. James Andrews.  Rumor has it that Johnson will be heading for Tommy John surgery, joining a very long list of pitchers who already have fallen victim to the procedure this season.  While Johnson had some interesting appeal in moving to San Diego and giant Petco Park, his lack of health completely sabotaged those thoughts.  Cut him loose and don't look back.

-Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli suffered a pretty gruesome dislocated finger Tuesday night that was caught on camera.  Don't watch if you are eating your breakfast. However X-rays performed afterwards showed no breaks and Napoli is being listed as day-to-day which is a relief to his fantasy baseball owners.  While currently maintaining a good average, Napoli will see a major drop there soon enough as he currently sports a lucky BABIP number.  And without catcher eligibility he is just another name at the deep pool of first baseman.

-Los Angeles Angles outfielder Kole Calhoun slammed his third home run of the season Tuesday night and than soon hit the DL with an ankle injury.  Calhoun hurt the ankle while running to first base in the 11th inning.  Cameras showed Calhoun completely roll the ankle and he was in quite a bit of pain afterwards.  Colin Cowgill is likely to play most of the games in his place.


Matt Holliday:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .250.  Slow starts are par for the course with Holliday so I am not concerned that he took so long to hit his first home run.  In fact even though Holliday is aging I would trust him for at least the rest of this season and a BUY LOW is not a bad idea.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .351.  Who knew that Ramirez and not Adrian Beltre would be the better 36-year-old third baseman so far this season?  The guy can still hit. 

Shelby Miller:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.67.  Much better.  Truth be told Miller's XFIP is high as well so he has not had that much poor luck early on to account for his very high ratios.  He is so much better than what he showed in his first two outings but I have some concerns here such as the uptick in home runs and some shoddy control. 

Jim Henderson:  3 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 5.06.  Cut him loose.  There is no way Ron Roenicke can even think of going back to Henderson as the closer right now over the so far unhittable K-Rod. 

Prince Fielder:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .185.  That seriously took way too long for Fielder to hit his first home run.  The power wane has now gone into a second straight season despite Fielder still being in his prime years.  Give this man a cheeseburger please.

Robbie Ross Jr.:  7.2 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 2 K with an ERA of 1.00.  Nice start no doubt about it but I wouldn't touch the guy with your team.  Smoke and mirrors personified.

Omar Infante:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .297.  Infante has been a nice player the last two seasons or so but he just doesn't do any one thing good enough to hang his hat on which means I can't ever endorse mixed league everyday usage. 

Yordano Ventura:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.69.  Appropriate ERA as there are nothing but good times going on right now with Ventura and his fantasy baseball owners.  A Ventura start is now an event until further notice.  Yes it was against Houston but the 100-mph fastball and electric complimentary stuff projects to possible otherworldly upside. 

Neil Walker:  2/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .283.  Geez since when did Neil Walker learn how to hit home runs like Robinson Cano at second base?  We have seen Walker for more than a few years now so this is nothing but a short power burst that will eventually fall back to his normal range.  Still got to give the guy props.  Walker has always been on the fringe of being an everyday guy but his early burst has pushed past that mark for the time being at least.

Todd Frazier:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .260.  I told you all to give Frazier another chance as his bat has always screamed out 30 home runs to me.  So far that deserves a "Yup."

Gerrit Cole:  6 IP 9 H 5 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.74.  Michael Wacha, Sonny Gray, Tony Cingrani 1, Gerrit Cole 0.  Not the best of start to the season for Cole as the hits are up and the K's are down.  Not the trends you want to have but I wouldn't go overboard worrying yet.  Cole took some time to find his footing last season upon his promotion and that could be what is happening again here early on.  The stuff is just too good to hold him down for long.  I would absolutely explore a BUY LOW if you can do so.

Mike Leake:  6.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.96.  Mike Leake has been begging to be owned going back to last season and truth be told his ratios and results have been consistently good during that period.  The 8 K's tonight will only happen once in a blue moon as Leake is more for non-innings capped leagues but he does have some Doug Fister when he is healthy going on.

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .317.  Maybe this is the monster season we all have been waiting for out of Stanton now that this was the first year he elicited some yawns when his name was mentioned.  I have always said any reason for me not drafting Stanton had only to do with the lack of supporting cast and not the player himself.  A .385 BABIP though will not sustain that .317 average so if you are weighing a trade, keep that in mind.

Stephen Strasburg:  4 IP 8 H 6 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 6.00.  What I am about to say will likely send a shiver down the spines of all Strasburg owners out there but here it goes.  The way Strasburg is pitching so far this season reminds me a bit of Tim Lincecum 2012-present.  The increasing walk and hit rates, the sharp rise in ERA, and the baffling fact that through those red flags he still manages to strikes out a bunch of guys like Lincecum still does.  Wow I broke out into a sweat just typing that.  Now you can tell me to shove that comparison where the sun don't shine and I would understand since we are only four starts into this but also tell me I am not way off base either when you really break it down.  This falls under my personal "just saying" heading, to be revisited in five days. 

Tom Koehler:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 5 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.89.  Sorry I am never interested in a guy whose optimum start has more walks than strikeouts.

Jake Peavy:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.93.  The arrow is pointing up again on the elevator post-San Diego portion of Peavy's career.  One of those guys who will be picked up and dropped about 8 times in your league this year, many times from start-to-start.

Adam Dunn:  1/1 with his third HR while hitting .294.  Take a picture of that batting average.  No it is not an optical illusion.  Well sort of since Dunn's BABIP is a crazy. 389.  Even big lumbering 40 seconds to first base DH's can fall into some luck once in awhile.

Brett Lawrie:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .132.  This is Lawrie saying "hey Adam this is how you do the whole hit for power and an ungodly batting average."

Kirk Niewunhuis:  3/5 with his first HR while hitting .600.  One game anomaly for Niewunhuis and for that I am eternally grateful because I can't imagine typing out that last name again.

Travis D'Arnaud:  0/2 while hitting .154.  Yup through all those runs D'Arnaud still sucks.

Jenrry Mejia:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.81.  That makes is three good starts out of three for the hard-throwing Mejia but he has walked the ballpark at times and that is a very combustible trend.  If you have benefitted from Mejia to this point congrats.  Just consider cashing in your chips before that 8 run bomb comes because it will.  Only a matter of time.  Like when the sun burns out.

Kole Calhoun:  3/6 with his third HR while hitting .250.  Hits a home run and than hits the DL.  Yeah Calhoun was locked in.

Mike Trout:  3/6 with his fifth HR and first SB while hitting .317.  For some strange reason Trout likes to bide his time out of the gate when it comes to steals.  They will start coming in bunches don't worry.  And no just because he has only the one steal doesn't mean you should offer a BUY LOW.  A BUY LOW for Trout will only require you to send back half your team and not the whole roster.

Garrett Richards:  7 IP 8 H 5 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.84.  This is what I said about Richards a week ago off his big start on the 9th "Want to know what 1.41 is?  Richards' career WHIP.  Nice game sure.  Don't bother with a pickup.  Only will go downhill from here and at times it will get downright ugly.  Don't do that to yourself."  I will say it again.  I don't know why you read any other fantasy baseball site.  Shame on you.

Sean Doolittle:  blown save with 2 ER in ninth.  Lefties were up and soon Doolittle was down as he blew this one in Jim Johnson as the closer fashion.

Jim Johnson:  2 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 1 K with an ERA of 7.56.  I have said ever since Johnson got pulled from the ninth that the A's would find a way to get him back there before too long.  After five straight scoreless innings since his demotion, I wouldn't be surprised if the announcement is made today that is the closer again.  Pick him up now.

Dee Gordon:  0/3 while hitting .372.  Gordon's average could be .272 in two weeks as his current BABIP is an insane .417.  Speedsters can stay ahead of the BABIP curve and Gordon obviously fits that mold.  However we all know he all of a sudden did not become a batting champ or even a .290 guy.  I still wouldn't trade him as the steals are immense and very tough to find like that on a per game basis.