Saturday, April 30, 2011


Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata was forced from Saturday night's game due to a strained hamstring which he felt while running to first in the first inning.  Tabata will likely be re-evaluated tomorrow or Monday and is likely to sit out tomorrow's contest. 

Analysis:  Tabata has really struggled lately after a hot start and now this.  A hamstring injury is usually a DL-bound one so that is very posssible.  Surely we should get more information on this tomorrow.


Boston Red Sox 3B Kevin Youkilis was forced out of Saturday night's game after re-injuring his hip.  Youkilis originally injured the hip during Thursday's game but played both Friday and was in the lineup Saturday until having to come out of it.  Its likely Youkilis will sit tomorrow and he could be re-evalauated Monday.

Analysis:  Youkilis is known for dealing with various aches and pains during the course of a season and lets
hope this is nto anything major.  From the fact that he played right away after first hurting it Thursday, its likely he will need only a few days of rest. 


So Fernando Salas got the save Saturday with a scoreless ninth inning which was his second in the last week.  This on the heels of Eduardo Sanchez earning a save and pitching in the ninth on Friday.  This also on the heels of Jason Motte earning that save in extra innings on Friday.  Which came on the heels of Mitchell Boggs earning a few saves before his first blown effort of the season.  Confused yet?  So am I and that's the dilemma facing fantasy baseball owners right now as we try and figure out who if anyone is going to the be the team's stopper.  The Cardinals are a very good team and so whoever takes the role is ensured of a nice haul of saves that go with a team that is that successful.  So today lets break things down a bit and see if we can eliminate and nail down who has the best chance to run with the job.

Mitchell Boggs:  The mad dash to add Boggs once Ryan Franklin ceded the job was fierce and he was the clear choice after the great start to season that he had.  He proceeded to seemingly get the job as he earned the first few saves after Franklin got the boot but a blown save earlier this past week seemed to sour Tony LaRussa's view of him as a closer candidate.  Boggs pitched in the eighth inning on Friday and than the 6th inning on Saturday.  Needless to say by the looks of that kind of usage, Boggs looks like he is already out of the running.

Fernando Salas:  Salas earned the save on Saturday which I noted earlier and he too has been outstanding all season with a 1.08 and averaging a K/IP.  This was one the heels of a 3.52 ERA last season as a rookie.  Salas is young at 26 years old but his power repertoire seems to fit well in the gig.  The two saves he was called upon and that he successfully completed speak volumes as well.

Eduardo Sanchez:  Sanchez has been insane this season as he has racked up 17 K's in only 10 IP.  Sanchez has the best power arm in the St. Louis bullpen but he is very young at only 22 years old.  He did earn a save earlier in the week but struggled by giving up 2 ER but he was than put out to pitch the 9th and 10th innings on Friday which is closer territory.  There is no doubt his stuff profiles the best as far as being a top power closer is concerned but the struggles in his first chance could give LaRussa pause.

Jason Motte:  You can forget about Motte despite the save he earned on Friday night.  That was a case of there being hardly anyone left in the St. Louis bullpen in the extra innings affair and Motte hasn't helped himself by walking too many hitters and failing to strike out batters.  He has made a mess of things in the past when called upon to close so don't count on him being involved.

Ryan Franklin:  Franklin continues to get hit after losing his job and even though the team called his demotion as temporary thing, I cant imagine any scenario where he gets the gig back.  Stick a fork in him as he is finished as a closer.

On the surface it really does in fact look like LaRussa is trying everyone out in order to determine on the fly who can be the best option going forward.  Sanchez and Salas seem like the best bets to me and they both can share the job for awhile until one takes off with it.  Salas going 2/2 with little difficulty tells me he is in the lead so take that for what its worth.  Its really one big mess is what it is and lets hope there will be some clarity soon enough.


San Francisco Giants  3B Pablo Sandoval will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a broken hamate bone in his wrist.  Sandoval was hit in the wrist during Friday night's game and will now see an interruption to what was looking so far as a nice comeback season.

Analysis:  Tough break literally here for Sandoval as he was looking great at the dish and was resembling the player he was back in 2009.  Stash him on the DL and hope its just a month he is out.


Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman will be out for six more weeks after undergoiing surgery on his injured abdominal muscle.  Zimmerman had already been on the DL for two-plus weeks in an effort to get back without surgery but it couldnt be avoided.  Terrible blow for the Nats and Zimmerman altogether here.

Analysis:  Awful news here as Zimmerman has gone even beyond the usual aches and pains he goes through every season.  Its been  a whiteout of a season so far for both Zimmerman and his fantasy baseball owners and there is no way to minimize the void he leaves in your lineup. 


Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz will likely come off the DL when first eligible on May 6th.  Feliz has been on the DL with shoulder soreness but he has had zero setbacks and claims he is already feeling ready to get back.  Darren Oliver has been closing in his absence.

Analysis:  Oliver is on borrowed time as Feliz is a week away from getting the gig back.  Get him right back out there and enjoy the top 3 production from the position.


Milwaukee Brewers SP Zack Greinke is likely to come off the DL this Wednesday and make his first start of the season.  Greinke had his final rehab start on Friday where he struck out 7 in over 5 innings.  So far Greinke has missed the entire season with a broken rib.

Analysis:  Great news for Greinke owners who have patiently waited for him to get back.  Get him right in there as his early schedule looks great and he will instantly be one of the better starters in the game. 


Anaheim Angels 1B Kendrys Morales has officially hit a setback in his rehab from last seasons broken leg and will now return to extended spring training.  Morales met with a foot specialist this week and was told he has to take it slower with his rehab work.  Manager Mike Scoscia claimed there is no timetable for a return but said June is now in play instead of May.

Analysis:  It just keeps getting worse and worse for Morales and honestly if you want to drop him by now than go ahead.  Its looking like June will be the best case scenario as far as a return and even than we cant be sure he gets back.  Its looking like a lost season here.


Buster Posey:  0/3 while hitting .250.  The first slump of his short career, it will be interesting to see how Posey responds here. 

Tim Lincecum:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K.  Lincecum was solid here and his control was very good which is the one concern you ever have with the guy.

Jason Marquis:  complete game 5-hit shutout.  Don't even think about it.  Trust me just don't do it.  Add at your own risk.

Ike Davis:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .352.  I spoke highly of Davis all spring as he was very impressive with his mature approach at the late at such a young age.  The new Paul Konerko.

Ryan Howard:  2/4 with 2 HR's (6 for season) with 6 RBI.  Howard set a club RBI record for the month of April.  Remember when many worried about the drop in numbers last season?  Silly peeps.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .323.  Cabrera is such an awesome hitter than even when he hasn't been mentioned much lately with big hitting games, he still always seems to be batting over .320. 

Carlos Santana:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .195.  Santana should be given plenty of leeway and by the end of the season I fully expect him to make his fantasy baseball owners happy.

Matt LaPorta:  1/4 with his 4th HR.  LaPorta's average is pretty stinky but the power is there to be had. 

Asdrubal Cabrera:  2/3 with his 5th HR and 2nd SB.  Been awhile since I mentioned Cabrera as the early BABIP luck regressed.  Nice game but the first two week April was a fluke.

Max Scherzer:  6.2 IP 6 H 5 ER 5 BB 7 K.  That's the Max Scherzer I love in order to remind you he really is not as good as his second half last season.

John Buck:  1/4 with his 2nd HR while hitting .210.  Buck was one of the easier fantasy baseball draft busts I wrote about this spring.  Its really that simple sometimes. 

Drew Stubbs:  1/4 with his 9th SB.  Even when Stubbs struggles at the plate, he is so locked in as an everyday fantasy baseball force that he still finds a way to contribute. 

Jay Bruce:  1/4 with his 4th HR.  His average looks like it never will be great and its possible this is the player he will forever be.  In other words a high K, massively streaky power hitter.  Still he can carry your for stretches.

Mark Trumbo:  2/5 with his 4th HR.  Rumor has it that Trumbo has a Kendrys Morales voodoo doll where he sticks pins in his foot every day.

BJ Upton:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .247.  Damn the average sucks yet again.  This is really the last time with this guy.  I mean it.  You know what I mean Alex Gordon?  Nevermind.

David Price:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 3.95 and WHIP of 1.27.  I wrote in the spring about how Price benefited from a somewhat lucky BABIP last season and that a regression was coming.  I still considered him a very good starting pitcher option but things are right on schedule here.

Mike Cameron:  2/4 with his first two HR's.  He is only a part-time player now so there is no use considering him for anything.

Ryan Braun:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .362.  Best player in the game this season.  How do you like them apples CarGo?

Prince Fielder:  2/3 with his 5th HR.  Prince hit this one so high that it brought down Purple Rain from the sky.

Michael Bourn:  1/3 with 2 steals (11 for the season).  This guy runs more than Forrest Gump.

Shaun Marcum:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.21.  Yeah Marcum's adjustment to the NL has gone swimmingly like we all thought.  Just stay healthy dude.

Robinson Cano:  2/3 with two home runs (8 for the season) while hitting .319.  Cano has 4 homers in his last three games.  If Cano could even steal 15 bases, he would be a top 3 pick.

Jose Bautista:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .372.  The guy has been one of the biggest misses in quite awhile.  At this point I do the requisite shake of the head when I see he hit another dinger and move on.

Rajai Davis:  1/4 with 3 steals (4 for season).  Davis was a complete bust until tonight and even now he has a long ways to go to get back into the circle of trust. 

Ricky Romero:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K.  The big key with Romero is for him to continue pitching like this in the second half.  If he does than he becomes one of the better fantasy baseball starters in the game.

Jon Rauch:  scoreless 1.1 IP for his 5th save.  So far Rauch continues to hold off Frank Francisco for the closer gig.  Francisco wont be happy about this so there has been a Francisco Chair Throwing warning for the fans in the front row for this weekend's games.

Nate McLouth:  2/4 with his first HR.  This guy's career has totally fallen off the track.  The tools are there but make him show you a bunch more before we even think about doing anything.

Martin Prado:  1/4 while hitting .243.  Yeah he has been very disappointing so far.  No pop, the average that was supposed to be great blows and he doesn't steal.  Something fell through the analyzation cracks this draft season.

Jason Heyward:  2/5 with his 7th HR.  Heyward is looking pretty locked in right now and he just may validate those early draft picks this past spring.

Matt Wieters:  2/4 with his 4th HR.  The Matt Wieters Hall Of Fame plaque is currently being taken out of storage as we speak.

Andrew McCutchen:  1/3 with his fourth HR.  The home run was nice but McCutchen has been horrendous.  Its gotten so bad that Daniel McCutchen was looking like the best hitting McCutchen on the club.

Garrett Jones:  2/4 with his 5th HR.  Jones does just enough to keep his name in fantasy baseball chats.  Still not to be owned in anything but deep or NL-only formats.

Eduardo Sanchez:  Sanches pitched in the 9th and 10th innings while Mitchell Boggs tossed in the 8th.  Jeep an eye on this possible closer change.

Carlos Gonzalez:  1/4 while hitting .216.  You can get a really good debate going about who is the biggest bust between CarGo or Hanley Ramirez.  Just pathetic all around.

Geovany Soto:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .228.  He is off to a slow start but he is one of the few catchers in the game who can approach 20 dingers.

Alfonso Soriano:  2/4 with 2 HR's (9 total).  Soriano figured he needed to get his money's worth in April since he starts to suck it once the calendar turns to May.  Whats funny is that even with the great start, I bet you cant get jack for the guy in a trade.  Try it.

Justin Upton:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .274.  Very happy with the progress Upton has made this season.  And even more so when you consider the rotten example his older brother sets.

Trevor Cahill:  7 IP 7 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K.  These are the kind of un-WHIP-friendly games I expected from Cahill this season.  Still time for him to prove me right.

Matt Kemp:  1/4 with his 6th HR.  I am starting to think there is a Rihanna dartboard in Kemp's locker.

Ted Lilly:  6 IP 5 H  1 ER 1 BB 4 K.  This is the Lilly I expected to see this season and think he can still get there.  Remember there are still 5 months to go.

Jonathan Broxton:  1 ER on 3 H in earning sixth save.  Ugly outing once again.  Don't drop Vicente Padilla quite yet as the Dodgers wont put up with this much longer I don't think.

Friday, April 29, 2011


So the good vibes that Red Sox SP Daisuke Matsuzaka engendered the last two starts has gone by the wayside due to the fact he exited Friday night's start with elbow soreness.  Matsuzaka's mileage was down on his fastball and was removed mid-inning after a leadoff hit.  He will undergo testing as soon as tomorrow.

Analysis:  You can say that Matsuzaka once again let down his fantasy baseball owners in that when he finally seemed like he was putting it together, he goes and gets hurt.  No need to hold onto him as he was benefitting from luck anyway as far as his last two starts were concerned. 


Boston Red Sox SP Daisuke Matsuzaka has left his Friday night start with an apparent injury.  Matsuzaka has poor control throughout the game and was throwing for 6-7 miles per hour slower than usual.  Stay tuned for more on this.

Analysis:  I just got done writing the other day that Matsuzaka's great start wouldnt continue but I didnt think it was going to be due to injury.  I will updated this as soon as more comes out.


Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios is out of the lineup Friday due to the ongoing toe pain he has felt all season.  Rios inflammed the toe during the past series with the Yankees while running for a catch in the outfield and he has suggested that its the prime reason for his big time struggles at the plate all season. 

Analysis:  Rios has been on the short list as one of the most disappointing fantasy baseball hitters around.  He still has not gone yard and his average is a joke.  Bench him until he shows any sign of breaking out of the slump.


Rehabbing SP Kevin Slowey could replace struggling Francisco Liriano in the Twins rotation according to manager Ron Gardenhire.  Gardenhire hinted that Slowey should be back with the team in the next 7 days and suggested that he could replace Liriano in the rotation if the latter continues with his awful pitching. 

Analysis:  Its unreal how quickly Liriano has fallen as far as fantasy baseball value is conerned.  In fact its not a stretch to say that Liriano has been the worst pitcher in the game this season and if he gets removed from the rotation in favor of Slowey would be the ultimate indignity for sure.


Its casual Friday and so lets check out the latest installment of the Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Adds and Drops:

Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Adds

Vicente Padilla (RP):  Padilla is the one to own in the Dodgers bullpen this week as he already has a save under his belt and will be the guy if/when Jonathan Broxton ever gets his act together.

Hiroki Kuroda (SP):  Kuroda gets the golden matchup against the San Diego Padres tomorrow.  You know what to do.  Really you should be checking out the Padres schedule in advance to see if there are good streamable pitchers to take advantage of their pathetic bats.

Adam Lind (1B, OF):  Lind is getting ready to go on an extended hot streak.  His average will never be great but the power is top notch in this day and age.  As soon as he gets cold you simply dump him.  Rinse and reuse.

Nick Swisher (OF):  Swisher finally went yard Thursday after getting the day off Wednesday to clear hid mind of the clutter.  Swisher is another one who can get very hot and he is a proven 25-plus homer guy.  Since he has only 1 right now, there are a lot more homers to earn here.

Jack Hannahan (3B):  I know I am a bit late to the party but I need to see more before I endorsed him.  Those suffering without Ryan Zimmerman should take a shot here.

Gaby Sanchez (1B):  Sanchez is once again hitting for a nice average with decent power.  He wont win you any fantasy baseball titles but that type of combination is growing rare in the game today.

Joel Piniero (SP):  Pineiro is coming off the DL to start this weekend and with the best defense in the majors behind him, has the chance to out up nice digits again.  The Angels gloves almost assure you good outings almost every time out if the starter has is stuff going.

Justin Smoak (1B):  Smoak flamed out with all of the hype tied to his name last season in his first go-round in the majors.  Now with no expectations this season, he is doing great.  Typical learning curve of a big time prospect who deserves to be owned everywhere.

Mike Aviles:  Aviles is available due to the slump he went through after the first week or the season but he has rebounded very nicely and remains a very good middle infield option.  Think Ben Zobirst without the 10 RBI outburst.

Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Drops

Chris Young (SP):  Young already has spent time on the DL and he struggled just to get through the fifth inning his first start back off the list.  His lack of ability to pitch deep into games limits his upside and the injuries area a constant worry.

Matt Thornton/Chris Sale (RP):  With Sergio Santos nailing down the closer role, there is no need to own either one of these guys.

Matt Harrison (SP):  Now that you itched that scab and made yourself bleed, time to apply a band-aid and recovery from the damage.

Juan Pierre (OF):  Pierre has been very shaky this season and there are some much more exciting stolen base guuys coming down the pike.  The closers on your roster will thank you for cutting him outright.

Colby Lewis (SP):  Could be all those innings from last season are showing up now.  It could be that maybe he wasnt that good to begin with and it took the league a bit to catch on.


New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner had some big time expectations attached to him this season and even more so when word got out that he was going to hit leadoff against righty pitchers.  Since most of the starters in baseball are righty, this was a very agreeable move for Gardner's value since he would get additional at-bats over the course of the season along with more additions to his already good stolen base totals.  However in this season of the fantasy baseball disappointments (Hanley Ramirez, Andrew McCutchen, Adrian Gonzalez, Alex Rios etc.), Gardner wound up laying a big egg to the tune of a .169 batting average was we close out May and only 4 steals to show for it.  He has lost the leadoff spot and once again is buried in the ninth slot in the order.  Many are also questioning whether Gardner is worth the aggravation and he already has been dropped in many leagues.  So now is a great time to dig a bit into the numbers and decide whether Gardner in fact is worth keeping around for the remainder of the season and what kind of numbers he could produce the rest of the way.  Lets get to it.

Now there is no argument against the fact that most of Gardner's value is in the stolen base and the fact he only has four is a major letdown.  Visions of 70 steals were rightfully dancing in the minds of his fantasy baseball owners this spring and it made sense since he had 47 batting in the bottom of the lineup all last season.  However we can forget that dream and instead recalibrate what we can expect from here on out.  Gardner still has the green light to run whenever he wants and so the steals will still be a big part of the package.  However his lagging average obviously cuts into the chances he gets and so he needs to do a better job of getting on base to maximize that strength.

As far as the average is concerned, we all know Gardner wont ever win a batting title but we also can say with confidence here that he is a much better batter that he has shown.  Looking at Gardner's BABIP tells the story here.  Gardner's BABIP is currently below .200 which is incredibly unlucky since .300 is the average mark in the major leagues.  Last season Gardner's BABIP was .311 so you can see how poor his luck has been so far.  The correction will come soon and the average will rise with it.  That's a given.  As he gets on base more and the hits starts to fall in, Gardner will than get to run more and score runs to boot.  So he will surely start looking like the player we all loved last season. 

Really its that simple here as far as Gardner is concerned.  Don't even think about dropping him and if someone in your league did, be proactive and pick him up if you can.  The bad luck will start to turn around and so will his outlook as a fantasy baseball force.  Hold tight and you will start seeing the results come your way soon.



Sometimes when you look at a fantasy baseball boxscore, you have to do a double take by what you see.  In the case of Tampa Bay Rays 2B Ben Zobrist, I had to do a double, triple, quadruple, and whatever else comes next in the order when I looked at his output tonight in the team's doubleheader.  Zobrist went a combined 7/10 for 2 home runs and 10 RBI with a steal to boot.  Say what?  Zobrist did more in those two games than Andrew McCutchen, Carl Crawford, and Hanley Ramirez did combined all season.  The average seems to be a bit of an issue but the power is back and the steals have remained.  Don't doubt the man anymore people.  He is all right.  Here is what else I noticed in fantasy baseball last night.

Andrew McCutchen:  0/4 while hitting .202.  What????....wait I mean.....What????

Jose Tabata:  0/4 while hitting .255.  My how quickly things change in this game.

Michael Pineda:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 9 K.  Its almost uncanny how much Pineda reminds me of a young King Felix.  And he even wins games!  Will be a top ten starter in a blink of an eye.

Adam Lind:  1/5 with his 4th HR and 3rd in two days.  Lind is in one of his hot runs which will go back and forth all season.  His crazy swings in production are not worth the aggravation.

Elvis Andrus:  2/4 with 3 steals (7 for the season).  Andrus forgot to do his pregame running so he used to the game to get his wind back up.

Brandon Morrow:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K.  One of Morrow's biggest issues last season was his trouble on the road but he passed a big test here.  Keep starting him every time out.

Alexi Ogando:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K.  Ogando was one who slipped through the cracks for me and damn he has been awesome.  Obviously he cant stay at this level but there is big time potential here.

Ian Desmond:  2/4 with his 3rd HR.  Desmond hit a home run in his first game back after seeing his son born.  The team than ordered him to get to work on having another baby seeing how he responded at the plate tonight.

Nick Swisher:  3/4 with his first HR.  Swisher is about to go on a tear so strap yourself in.  And really Swisher cant hit a bigger home run than the one he hit when he married Joanna Garcia.

Brett Gardner:  2/3 with his third HR with his 4th SB.  Gardner's BABIP has been unlucky so his average will rise up soon but the lack of steals is annoying since the power would look great with the thefts he usually provides.

Edwin Jackson:  6 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 5.86.  Jackson has been doing a great job in showing me never to recommend him ever again.

CC Sabbathia:  7 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K.  Sabbathia has been great so far this season and its typical excellence from him this season.  Nothing more to say than that.

Vladimir Guerrero:  1/4 with his 4th HR.  Guerrero has been all right but that's pretty much a description that fits the entire Orioles lineup. 

Jon Lester:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K.  Will stage a great battle with Jered Weaver for the Cy Young this season.

Alex Gordon:  0/4 in his first extended slump of the season.  Lets see how far his average will drop here.  Very crucial time for Gordon here to show he can adjust.

Shin-Soo Choo:  2/4 with his 4th HR.  Choo is up to .250 with the average as he has already put his early season struggles behind him.  In a related bit of news, Andrew McCutchen, Hanley Ramirez, and Carl Crawford were lighting up his phone asking him "how do you do that?"

Grady Sizemore:  2/4 with his 4th HR.  I am very impressed with Sizemore's power right now and really we all knew he was one big mystery this season.  The power looks like its back to pre-injury form.  The steals are still to be determined.

Carlos Santana:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .192.  Santana is much too good to keep struggling like this but don't forget he is still very young and is off a major knee surgery.  It very well could be a deal where that big breakout comes in 2012.  You know the year the world ends.  So yeah I can understand the pressure Santana is feeling to prove himself before its too late. 

Lance Berkman:  4/5 with two HR's while hitting .410.  I always have a soft spot for Berkman and am riding the hot streak for all its worth here.  Again its all about the lineup spot as he gets great pitches to hit and he is making good on them to this point. 

Chris Johnson:  1/4 with his second HR.  I saw the drop in average coming since he got lucky last season in the BABIP number and he did his best to show us all that by performing the standard poor average power hitting special.  The strange thing is that I don't even consider Johnson a power hitter.  Yeah he doesn't look so hot to own.  Johnson shouldn't worry though, they just ended the lockout in the other sport he is much better at.

Stephen Drew:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .324.  At shortstop Drew has his best value.  Anywhere else on the diamond and he is likely a borderline free agent.  He is the most valuable Drew in the game right now though so there is that.

Miguel Montero:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .295.  Last season it was a cheap Geovany Soto.  This season it was a cheap Miguel Montero.  Who says drafting catchers is difficult?

Ryan Dempster:  0.1 IP 7 ER with an ERA of 9.58.  Time to throw Dempster in the Dumpster.  Tough to beat this outing as the worst start of the season.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Before the 2010 fantasy baseball season began, Cleveland Indians SP Justin Masterson was a sleeper that was on just about everyone's draft list.  Masterson came up in the Boston Red Sox system with much hype as a young power arm and he opened some eyes with very poised pitching at such a young age in the microscope that is Beantown.  Most of this work was done as a reliever and so when Masterson was dealt to the Indians in the Victor Martinez trade, the excitement was palpable as he would finally get the chance to be a starter from day 1 of the season.  Hence the sleeper label that caused Masterson to be a decently priced fantasy baseball draft pick that spring.

Unfortunately as what happens with many sleepers, Masterson failed to justify the hype as he finished off the season with a terrible 4.70 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 140 K in 180 IP.  Ugly was the word to use here and so Masterson quickly fell out of favor in the fantasy baseball community.  Much of the problems from 2010 came from a ridiculously poor effort against lefty batters along with a somewhat high walk rate.  Masterson also was victimized by a somewhat unlucky BABIP but all in all his season was considered a big letdown. 

So fast forward to spring of 2011 and it was almost a complete 180 when it came to hype and expectations when it came to Masterson.  In other words there was none.  In fact its fair to say that Masterson went undrafted in the majority of standard fantasy baseball leagues as a result of what he did last season and no one could blame owners for feeling this way.  However from the early looks of it, it appears as though the joke is on us.

With April getting ready to close, right at the top of the wins leader board in the American League sits Masterson with a perfect 5-0 mark along with sterling secondary numbers to the tune of an ERA of 2.18 with a WHIP of 1.12.  Masterson has also struck out 22 batters in 33 innings and looks like the big time pitching prospect he was hyped up to be when he first came out of Boston.  So with those great results in the bag, many have bought into what Masterson is selling right now and he is once again being owned everywhere.  This brings me to today's Fantasy Baseball Trend or Mirage feature where I will examine whether or not Masterson's early season results are legit and whether or not he can continue to produce the rest of the way.  Lets get to it.

Now there are a few things that I will speak highly of here with Masterson that I think can continue.  For one, he is a decent strikeout pitcher who surely has the ability to continue being a presence there.  I am not talking about a 200 K mark or anything in that ballpark but something along the lines of 160-170 seems reasonable.  That number is not terrible by any means and is actually quite useful.  Also with the team playing much better on offense, wins continue to bear out since he is now getting better run support than he ever did in a Cleveland uniform.  Now for the bad stuff.

As always when it comes to examining fast starts and whether or not they are legitimate, I dig into the advanced stats to find out.  The best way is to examine Masterson's BABIP which currently sits at a very lucky number.  I wasn't surprised by this because that's usually the case when a pitcher puts up better than expected digits and that's clearly whats going on here.  Also, Masterson is benefiting from a luckier than usual strand rate and that too will regress back to normal levels in conjunction with his BABIP.  That means a rise in his WHIP and ERA as his luck evens out.  In fact when you take into account Masterson's FIP ERA which measures what only a pitcher can control such as walks, HBP's, home runs, etc., we find his adjusted ERA to be at 3.78.  That's much worse than his current mark of 2.18 and it shows you just how much Masterson could fall in the coming weeks.

Overall, its clear to me that Justin Masterson's fast start, while impressive, has been aided more than a bit by some good luck and that a regression is on the way.  My best advice if you are a Masterson owner is to talk up his fast start and try to trade him for a more stable fantasy baseball stock.  You don't want to be holding the bag when things go south here.

Verdict:  Justin Masterson's Early Season Performance:  MIRAGE


Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (viral infection) admits he rushed back too soon to the lineup in order to be ready for Opening Day from his offseason knee surgery.  Mauer is currently trying to come back form a viral infection and more issues in his knee and there is no timetable for when that will be. 

Analysis:  Joe Mauer could very well be one of the biggest fantasy baseball busts over the last two seasons.  After his major power outage last season, we have the injuries for this season with no return in sight.  For the first time in awhile, Mauer is no longer the top catcher in fantasy baseball and its a question if he will ever be again.  His inability to stay healthy and his ballpark are major detriments to his value going forward in his career.


Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman is still a ways a way from getting back into the lineup according to team sources.  Zimmerman has been on the DL for almost the entire season with an abdominal strain and he is only having a light catch right at this point.  Zimmerman apparently is also not ready to even swing a bat.

Analysis:  Things are getting a bit worse here for Zimmerman and his fantasy baseball owners as it looks like it will be awhile before he gets back.  This is the story of Zimmerman as he is very talented but always is dealing with injuries every season which holds him back from fulfilling all of his ability.  Lesson learned for next season when you are debating between him and David Wright. 


Thursday brings us to Hit and Run day and today we look at the harder and harder seach for power in this post-steroids era.  In addition, the latest Trending Up and Trending Down stock watches.  Lets get to it.

Trending Up

Justin Upton:  Many fantasy baseball owners were leery of Upton this season off his very disappointing 2010 campaign but those who are a little more savvy saw that he was hurt and is still incredibly young which is reason enough to expect some bumps along the road to being a star.  Upton currently has 4 homers and 4 steals while hitting a respectable .284.  All signs are positive here and its looking like that big time season could be upon us.

Curtis Granderson:  Granderson is now entrenched in the two hole in the explosive Yankees lineup and he has done his part with 7 home runs with 2 steals while hitting .294.  The average has been up and down throughout his career so we can predict anything there but his swing is perfect for the stadium which could very well lead to a 30 home run season at a bargain price.



Andre Ethier:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .380.  Ethier has some hit streak going right now but despite that, he hasnt been mentioned here much due to Matt Kemp hogging the spotlight.  Still six feet under and full of bugs, Joe D has taken notice.

Hanley Ramirez:  0/5 while hitting .197.  Ramirez and Carl Crawford are challenging each other to see who can be the biggest fantasy baseball first round busts this season.

Vicente Padilla:  scoreless ninth for his first save.  Padillas becomes interesting now that we hear Jonathan Broxton has elbow issues.  He is prone to the blowup and never seemed to pitch as well as his stuff suggests but Jose Contreras was another mediocre pitcher who took to the new gig so there is that to ponder.

Drew Stubbs:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .271.  Stubbs now has 5 homers and 8 steals.  We said 30/30 possible.  Why stop there??  Do I hear 35/35??  Even 40/40?

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .379.  Votto dropped his average a bit as he no longer hitting .400.  Yeah he's got some nerve there.

Ryan Braun:  0/4.  Braun decided to take a night off from embaressing Carlos Gonzalez.

Yovani Gallardo:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.70,  Doesnt it feel like this guy is going backwards when he is at an age that says he should be going forward?  Call it the Nick Markakis Effect.

Tommy Hanson:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.57.  Remember when I said not to worry when Hanson started a bit slow?  I'd say its been a nice comeback.  And speaking of comebacks did you see Hanson's singing cousins on Dancing With The Stars the other night? 

Mat Latos:  7 runs given up in 5 IP with only 1 earned.  Latos looks nothing like the pitcher we saw last season.  He has already been hurt, he remains an injury risk, and he wont get wins pitching for this sad sack club.  I would say the honeymoon phase is over here.

Shane Victorino:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .289.  Victorino has been great all year and is pacing the power/speed guys right now.  Looking at your Alex Rios, BJ Upton, and my favorite whipping boy CarGo.

Ryan Howard:  1/4 with his 4th HR.  Been awhile since I mentioned Howard.  He is still there folks.  I mean you cant really miss anyone that gigantic.

Jimmy Rollins:  2/5 with his first HR.  Rollins still annoys me and I dont own him.  The power looks to be going the way with his speed and health. 

Chris Young:  2/4 with 2 HR's (his 6th and 7th).  We all know Young can pop dingers but along with that comes the sickening batting average.  This is a guy only his mom and Mark Reynolds would be proud of.

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K.  This is the first time in awhile I dont own Hamels.  Sometimes I dont really like it when you all listen to me.

Justin Smoak:  2/4 with his 4th HR.  Smoak is Smoaking right now.  Go get him as the talent is starting to take shape.

Justin Verlander:  6 IP 5 H  3 ER 3 BB 8 K.  This was one of those annoying Verlander starts where he was ragged but still struck out a ton of guys.  Yeah I am being overly dramatic.

Jeff Francoeur:  2/4 with his 5th HR.  Francoeur is benefitting from a lot of BABIP luck right now so that average will be correcting itself soon. 

Mike Aviles:  1/4 with his 4th HR.  Aviles is coming around and making me look less stupid everyday for touting him up all spring.

Jack Hannahan:  1/4 with his first SB.  Hannahan is opening some eyes with his play and people are even more impressed that he stays so sharp after taping so many of those animal specials he is known for.

Robinson Cano:  1/4 with his 6th HR.  Cano is getting ready to go on one of those long streaks where he hits everything thrown at him. 

Bartolo Colon:  1 ER in 8 IP with an ERA of 2.77.  Ride his arm until it falls off.  Which should come in about three more starts. 

Andrew McCutchen:  0/4 while hitting .212.  I just give up with some of these guys like McCutchen and Hanley.  With golden oldies like Berkman and Colon having big seasons, I am starting to think we are on like one of those episodes in lost where we keep time traveling back and forth. 

Howie Kendrick:  0/4 while hitting .280.  Yeah so the timing was great after I just wrote the Howie Kendrick's early season is a fluke post.  I love it when players cooperate.

Dan Haren:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.23.  Nothing else to say here but WOW....and ...WOW.

Kevin Youkilis:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .214.  Youkilis is doing his power thing but now we just need to work on that average.

Carl Crawford:  0/4 while hitting .156.  As they say in texts, LOL!

Adrian Gonzalez:  2/4 while hitting .290.  The power is not there right now and remember I told you this could occur coming off that big time shoulder surgery he underwent.  Just saying.

Adam Jones:  2/4 with his 5th HR.  I would be more excited if Jones' average was a bit better but he is now one to keep and eye on.

Mitch Moreland:  1/4 with his third HR.  I would be more excited if Moreland was playing against lefties.  He also deserves to be looked at.

Matt Holliday:  3/4 with his 3rd HR while hitting .429.  There may not be a better pure hitter in the game than this guy.  Every day is a Holliday when you hit behind Mr. Pujols.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


St. Louis Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols will return to the lineup Wednesday after missing a few games with a strained hamstring.  Pujols injured the hamstring during Sunday night's game but its was very mild and he didnt undergo tests.

Analysis:  Get him back in the game.  Pujols is ready to resume his assault on baseball.


The Los Angeles Dodgers have revealed today that embattled closer Jonathan Broxton is suffering from some elbow soreness and will be shut down for a few days.  Vicente Padilla got the save in Wednesday's matinee and figures to continue getting closing opportunities until Broxton is ready to go or when Hong-Chi Kup comes off the DL.  Either way this is a messy situation.

Anlaysis:  I suggested not to bother with Padilla yesterday but I will reconsider based on this news.  If Broxton ends up on the DL than Padilla takes on more value and there is no denying his stuff.  His inexperience in the role is an issue though and Kuo is still a big name of interest here.  In any event Broxton is looking like he is heading for a washout. 


The last installment of the early season fantasy baseball rankings finish up with the starting pitching and here is how they currently stack up through three weeks of the season.

1.  Roy Halladay
2.  Felix Hernandez
3.  Josh Johnson
4.  Jered Weaver
5.  Cliff Lee
6.  Tim Lincecum
7.  Jon Lester
8.  Dan Haren
9.  CC Sabbathia
10. Cole Hamels
11. Justin Verlander
12. Clayton Kershaw
13. Roy Oswalt
14. Tommy Hanson
15. David Price
16. Ubaldo Jimenez
17. Matt Cain
18. Chris Carpenter
19. Yovani Gallardo
20. Brett Anderson
21. Mat Latos
22. Max Scherzer
23. Brandon Morrow
24. Shaun Marcum
25. Jonathan Sanchez
26. John Danks
27. Chad Billingsly
28. Jeremy Hellickson

-The performances of Jered Weaver and Josh Johnson have been unreal and both guys deserve top five recognition here.  Both are legit aces and so an entire season of dominance is very realistic.
-Roy Halladay had a 14-K outing on Easter to remind everyone why he still is the top pitcher in the game.  His teammates though have not been slouches as Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt have all pitched like top guys.  Its crazy how great that staff is. 
-Ubaldo Jimenez has come back to earth off his crazy good 2010 season but realistically, he came back down the second half of that campaign as some of the BABIP luck he took advantage of evened out.  He is better than what he has shown so far so don't worry yet.
-So far Tim Lincecum looks fine and there are no worries about the workload from last season and the strange August shellings he took.
-Brett Anderson and Shaun Marcum have quietly have big time starts to their seasons.  They both just need to stay healthy and the sky is the limit here.
-Yovani Gallardo keeps confirming to the public of why I kept saying he was one to be leery of.  His poor control, lack of wins, and terrible pitch efficiency are not getting better and the fact that he is struggling already when he usually waits until the second half to drop off is a big worry.
-Brandon Morrow is the next Curt Schilling if he can stay on the field.  The strikeouts will be nutty.
-Mat Latos was on my Risky/Injury Pitchers To Avoid In 2010 section of my draft guide and he already showed us why.  If you play in a non-keeper setup, you would do well to try and trade him as he is a significant injury risk this season.

That's how I see it.  Post below what you think.  Keep checking for more as we go on through the season.


As always Wednesday is Balls and Strikes day as we look at everything and anything which has to do with pitching in fantasy baseball.  First the latest Trending Up's and Down's and than a discussion on how to handle innings capped leagues.

Trending Up

James Shields:  Shields has made a nice return to prominence after his terrible luck season of 2010 where nothing went right.  Its rare when you see a pitcher in the top ten of two negative advanced stats but Shields was able to do it.  His control is great as usual and he is not giving up the boatload of hits he did last season.  He also has held onto the impressive K rate from last season as well so all signs are positive.

CJ Wilson:  Wilson has been a strikeout machine the last two starts and he is showing no negative signs from his innings increase last season.  We are reaching that point where we have to consider the guy a top line starter.



Dustin Pedroia:  1/3 with his third SB.  Pedroia is running lately which goes with his usual great average and solid pop.  I loved Pedroia coming into this season and he looks all the way back from his broken foot last season.

Carl Crawford:  0/4 while hitting .163.  Now you know why this country is in massive debt.  Talk about wasteful spending of cash.

Clay Buchholz:  6.2 IP 12 H 4 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 5.33.  Call him the Carlos Gonzalez of pitching.

Kevin Gregg:  scoreless ninth for his 3rd save.  Gregg is once again back from the edge.  I am starting to think he wont give up until he is a terrible closer for every team in the game.

Grady Sizemore:  3/4 with his third HR.  Sizemore attempted a steal and was cut down which is not good but everything else has been great.  We are in mystery territory as we go forward here and it could go either way.

Shin-Soo Choo:  2/4 with his third HR and 5th SB.  Choo is really starting to come around and lets hope you were able to swing a deal for him before this game.

Justin Masterson:  6.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.18 and a 5-0 record.  Masterson has always had big potential but walks and an inability to get out lefties ruined his progress.  You cant argue with the results but I was burned by him last season so I need to see more than a good month.

Justin Smoak:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .288.  Just in:  a post hype special bulletin.  Do what you need to do with this.

Felix Hernandez:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 K.  Hernandez threw a lot of pitches but got the all-important win. 

Paul Konerko:  2/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .319.  Konerko is the man.  Nothing more to say.

Adam Dunn:  0/3 while hitting .150.  Adam Dunn sucks right now.  Nothing more to say.

Robinson Cano:  1/4 with his 5th HR.  Cano is going to be the best second baseman in fantasy baseball for the next ten years.

Brett Gardner:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .145.  Cameras showed Gardner closing his eyes and doing the sign of the cross while he swung the homer. 

Gavin Floyd:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.60.  Floyd has pitched great in a month where he usually stinks.  Hell in a season where Mark Texeira is hitting bombs in April, all bets are off.

Sergio Santos:  0.2 scoreless innings for second save.  Santos is the guy now in the ninth inning for Ozzie Guillen.  That is until he makes a trade to bring back Bobby Jenks to complete the circle.

Wilson Ramos:  3/4 with two home runs (3 for the season) while hitting .378.  Sleeper catcher alert here. 

Jayson Werth:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .220.  Werth is doing just all right and so far has not been Werth the insane dough it took to bring him to Washington.

Gaby Sanchez:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting .309.  Sanchez has a lot of Billy Butler in him from where I stand.

Clayton Kershaw:  5.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 2 BB 5 K.  This is the third straight shaky start for Kershaw but no worries here.  He did the same last season and finished in dominant style.

Andrew McCutchen:  0/4 while hitting .225.  McCutchen and Crawford hung out way too much with BJ Upton in the offseason.
Matt Cain:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K.  Typical Cain here.  In fact its been reported that he has regularly tutored Trevor Cahill on how to continually defeat the BABIP regressions.

Matt Harrison:  3 IP 8 H 7 ER 3 BB 1 K.  It was here where you read not to pick up Matt Harrison off his hot start.  I hope you didn't have a computer virus that day.  If you owned him than I'm sorry.  Noticed how I said owned since I am sure he was dropped by the fourth inning of the game.

Hunter Pence:  3/5 with his 4th HR.  Pence will really start to take off now that May is almost here.  The funny thing is that despite being a very good player year after year, no one ever notices.

Jaime Garcia:  5.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 6 K.  Ragged start for the second outing in a row.  Maybe the fantasy baseball regression gods are finally making some gains here.

Adam Lind:  3/5 with 2 HR's (3 for year) while hitting .256.  Lind is very capable of having these types of games but he can go weeks without making a contribution as he just finished up such a run.  2009 Adam Lind season we hardly knew you.

Todd Helton:  2/5 with 2 HR's (3 for year) while hitting .317.  Helton can still be an asset in fantasy baseball as a good average and RBI guy.

Alfonso Soriano:  1/4 with his 7th HR.  Enjoy the Soriano run while it lasts because its over in 2 days when May hits.  Check the splits people.

Jorge De La Rosa:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K.  No walks????  How about that?  See Jorge it can be done.  Things are going to be rocky from time to time here but here's hoping JDL finally figured out how to not walk everyone including the beer vendor.

Brandon Phillips:  1/4 with his 3rd HR.  Phillips has been in the zone all season as he continues to send chocolates to Drew Stubbs for finally doing his job as a leadoff man and keeping away from that personal sinkhole.

Rickie Weeks:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .297.  So far the Dan Uggla-Rickie Weeks argument from this spring is a moot point.

Prince Fielder:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .341.  Back to the solo shots for Fielder but this season he is keeping the average up.

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .372.  The best hitter in fantasy baseball right now and its not close for second.  Somewhere Carlos Gonzales is saying to himself, "Yeah I remember the feeling.  Wish my good luck would return."

John Axford:  scoreless ninth for his 5th save as he delivered Money Shot pitches to get out without damage.

Ben Francisco:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .262.  Francisco woke up and realized he needed to jack one out with Domonic Brown lurking. 

Ryan Roberts:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .333.  Brian Roberts's brother continues to wield a potent stick.  Even John Axford is impressed.

Roy Oswalt:  5 ER in 3 IP.  Happens to the best of them.  Nothing to see here.

Chipper Jones:  3/5 with his 3rd HR while hitting .291.  You read here that I suggested Jones as a fill-in for Evan Longoria as he can still hit when on the field.  Yeah I have been hot this season.

Jair Jurrjens:  complete game 2 ER outing against the pathetic Padres.  I told you all to add Jurrjens to the end of your rotation.  He always has made the perfect back end starter.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Your truly has undertaken yet another journey in the world of writing and fantasy baseball as I am currently hard at work on my first E-Book: An Expert's Guide To Winning Your Fantasy Baseball League....Guaranteed!" which goes for only $14.99 as an early-bird price. The E-Book will be completed in a few weeks and will be quite large. It will be made up of EVERY fantasy baseball secret and strategy that I have perfected over my 15 years playing the game and for the first time ever I am sharing it all in one big book. Everything from how to draft each position and stat to advanced metrics will be included. I leave no stone unturned and this will be a priceless guide I guarantee you will revisit for many years. Use the BUY now tab above to get your copy and I look forward to creating more E-Book's in the future for you.


The Milwaukee Brewers will likely activate outfielder Corey Hart from the DL to make his season debut on Tuesday.  Hart has been sidelined since the spring with a severe oblique strain and just completed a rehab assignment. 

Analysis:  Hart had a big 2010 season but a lot of that was fueled by a lucky BABIP and he will obviously have an impossible time replicating those numbes, even before the injury. 


St. Louis Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols will not be in the lineup Tuesday as he and the team will play it safe with his strained hamstring.  Pujols is considered day-to-day and will likely return Wednesday.

Analysis:  Nothing to worry about here as this is just a precautionary move.  He will be back shortly. 


The Los Angeles Dodgers have removed closer Jonathan Broxton from the closer role for now and GM Ned Colletti claims that he will share chances going forward with Vicente Padilla and Hong-Chi Kuo.  Kuo is due to come off the DL on Friday but has seen a drop in velocity and Padilla has never pitched much in relief.  Still Broxton has been so shaky this season, the club decided it needed to shake it up.

Analysis:  This is one big mess here and who knows where it will go.  I dont buy the Broxton sharing gig.  Kuo is the guy I would add as he proved last season he could do the job but he is dealing with his own issues with velocity and control problems as he recovers from a back injury. 


Your truly has undertaken yet another journey in the world of writing and fantasy baseball as I am currently hard at work on my first E-Book:  An Expert's Guide To Winning Your Fantasy Baseball League....Guaranteed!" which goes for only $14.99 as an early-bird price.  The E-Book will be completed in a few weeks and will be quite large.  It will be made up of EVERY fantasy baseball secret and strategy that I have perfected over my 15 years playing the game and for the first time ever I am sharing it all in one big book.  Everything from how to draft each position and stat to advanced metrics will be included.  I leave no stone unturned and this will be a priceless guide I guarantee you will revisit for many years.  Use the BUY now tab above to get your copy and I look forward to creating more E-Book's in the future for you.


In a week filled with big time pitching performances in fantasy baseball, one guy who stood out among all those great outings was Boston Red Sox SP Daisuke Matsuzaka who spun two straight one-hitters in dominant fashion.  As a guy who first came to the major leagues from Japan with expectations of being a big time ace strikeout pitcher, Matsuzaka has all in all been a big letdown due to terrible control and poor pitch selection which blew up his WHIP and ERA and cost him plenty of wins every season.  In fact Matsuzaka's last two seasons in particular have been atrocious to the tune of ERA's of 5.76 and 4.69 and so instead of leading a fantasy baseball pitching staff like everyone thought he would, he instead sat rotting on league waiver wire's for most of that time period.  So off these two ridiculously good outings, many are asking if Matsuzaka can finally be trusted on a fantasy baseball roster.  Lets dig in and find out. 

As far as Matsuzaka's current stats, he has an ERA of 4.09 with a WHIP of 1.14 to go with 16 K's in 22 IP.  So right off the bat the ERA is pretty mediocre looking but before those two starts it was 12.86 so he has come a long way since.  Now there is no doubt that Matsuzaka's outings were really impressive and he has been adding like crazy in all fantasy baseball leagues the last few days in response.  However there are some underlying issues that need to be discussed here.

The biggest issue to look at is the fact Matsuzaka has gotten very lucky with a fortunate BABIP.  You all know I am huge on the BABIP number because more times than not it determines what direction a player is going to go.  Anything under .300 is considered lucky and anything over is considered unlucky for a pitcher.  As far as Matsuzaka's number is concerned, he currently stands at .210.  That's a very lucky number and it tells me that Matsuzaka is due for a decent sized regression.  His numbers will surely take a hit as a result and so that already is a big negative going forward.

Looking at the rest of the Matsuzaka makeup, the walks have always been a big problem in the package and so far he has only 9 free passes in 22 innings.  That surely wont last at that level as Matsuzaka has proven to be a very wild pitcher throughout the season and so the tide will surely turn here as we go on.  That brings back into play the loss of wins due to the fact he wont be able to pitch deep into games and also a big impact on the WHIP and ERA with having more runners on base.  So Matsuzaka can be a bomb waiting to go off anytime he goes out there due to the combination of the walks and BABIP regression. 

So as you can tell, I am not high on Matsuzaka keeping up this kind of performance.  His luck is bound to change at any moment and than the sharp rise in his digits will follow which could get scary for your stats.  Its a nice run for sure but one that will end soon.  The best thing you can do as a Matsuzaka owner is to take advantage of the run and try to deal him for something more stable. The risk is not worth it here.


Tuesday means fantasy baseball Deep Looks day so lets take a look at some of the latest hot pickups for those of you who play in more deeper formats.

Mike Aviles:  Aviles is back on the fantasy baseball radar off his two homer performance on Sunday.  His average has been a bit of a drag but Aviles has proven himself to be a guy you can never count out. 

Juan Uribe:  Uribe is a very good option to have on your bench as he qualifies for three positions and his power has come around after struggling badly his first few weeks in LA.  The average wont be anything to write home about but Uribe is a proven 20-homer bat who is dirt cheap.



Sergio Santos finally got the call in the ninth inning for the White Sox in the team's first save chance since the epic Chris Sale-Matt Thornton meltdown over a week ago.  Santos actually came in to get an out in the eighth after giving up a hit and than gave up a leadoff hit in the ninth before shutting the door.  It was as smooth as would have liked to have seen it but he got the save and that's all that matters.  He is the guy right now in the ninth and so cut loose Thornton and Sale if you havent done so yet.  Here is what else took place in fantasy baseball last night.

Jon Garland:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K.  That's two very good starts in a row for Garland since he came off the DL a week ago.  Start him at home and on the road when he is in a ballpark such as Florida's.

Ricky Nolasco:  6.1 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K.  Nolasco is still not there yet and his layoff this spring due to injury is the likely reason.  He generally starts out slow so no worries here at this point.  In fact if would be a good idea to see if he is available in a cheap trade.

Jonathan Broxton:  first blown save after giving up 2 unearned runs in the ninth. Hard to totally blame Broxton here due to the error that opened things up but before that he gave up a walk and a hit with two outs which is what we have seen all too often this season from the guy.  Broxton numbers are scary right now and he likely would have been out of the job if Hong-Chi Kuo werent on the DL.  Kuo however is due back Friday so keep a very close watch here.

Chris Coghlan:  3/4 with 2 home runs (his 3rd and 4th of the season).  Coghlan has started off better than I expected but he is mostly an empty average with occasional pop.

Danny Espinosa:  0/4 while hitting .265.  Despite the good start, Espinosa was bound to drop to his customary blah average before all was said and done here.

Jorge Posada:  0/3 while hitting .145.  Yes he has some home runs but that has more than been wiped out y the average. 

Brett Gardner:  0/2 while hitting ..136.  On and on Gardner's struggles go.  What a shame here as Gardner has a shot to be a huge fantasy baseball value at the top of this lineup.

Gordon Beckham:  0/3 while hitting .200.  Boy that hot start seems like years ago doesn't it?  So does the notion that this guy would be anything more than a guy with a famous last name.

Phillip Humber:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K.  Anytime you one-hit the Yanks, you had it going on.  Be that as it may, I wouldn't touch this guy under any situation.

Jose Bautista:  1/2 with his 8th HR while hitting .364.  I guess he will hit 60 home runs this season as he continues to harass me in my dreams.

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .250.  Cruz is perpetually torturing his fantasy baseball owners either with injuries are a cold spell that would make the eskimos in Antarctica nod in sympathy.

Colby Lewis:  5 IP 7 H 6 ER 4 BB 3 K.  The bounce from last season innings jump is in full swing.  Its funny we all worried Lewis wouldn't make it through the end of last season with all those extra innings.  Who knew we had to worry about him making it through April this season with hardly any innings.

Jon Rauch:  1 ER in earning fourth save.  The only one cheering harder than Nelson Cruz after he hit his home run was Frank Francisco.

Matt Garza:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K.  Garza's stuff has been good but he is being knocked around by an unlucky BABIP.  Stay the course as the correction will come but than so will the winds in Wrigley which could even this out.

Darwin Barney:  1/5 with his first HR.  The guy's name sounds like a gangster cartoon character.  Picture a big purple dinosaur with guns.

Carlos Gonzalez:  0/4 while hitting .217.  I'm sorry I cant get enough of his struggles.  I will revel in this all season if I can.  His season in 2010 was one of the flukish I had seen in awhile and boy are we seeing it here.

Troy Tulowitzki:  0/4 while hitting .317.  Still awesome but I guess that 80 homer season wont happen.

Drew Stubbs:  3/5 with 2 steals (8 on the year).  I keep waiting for the average to drop but its not happening.  I will admit that Stubbs is the guy I don't own but envy those who do more than anyone in the game.

Jay Bruce:  1/4 with his 3rd HR and 3rd SB while hitting .235.  Bruce was never going to be a decent average guy anyway due to the high K rate but the power was nowhere to be seen either until tonight.  A big slate of righties is on the schedule this week so that big run could be upon us.

Ryan Braun:  2/5 with his 8th HR and 3rd SB while hitting .378.  Its all Braun is saying "take that" to all those lost souls who drafted CarGo ahead of this stud. 

Chris Narveson:  2.1 IP 8 H 7 ER 1 BB 2 K.  I am guessing that the nice Chris Narveson story ended abruptly for about 99.9 percent of his owners after this abomination.

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his third SB.  Upton has been aggressive on the basepaths and is fulfilling expectations this season.  Somewhere brother BJ is saying to himself "what does fulfilling expectations mean?"

Chris Young:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .213.  Young was in a massive slump before the homer and that was still his only hit.  He is a mess at the plate who hits mistakes.  No thank you.

Cliff Lee:  7 IP 5 H 4 ER 1 BB 12 K with a 4.18 ERA.  In the spring I said here that Lee's highest K rate from all his stops was when he was in Philly.  Just saying.

Ian Kennedy:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K.  Kennedy is a maddening pitcher to own.  I guarantee you he sat on the bench in over half of the fantasy baseball leagues he was owned in off his previous struggles and since it was Philly.  I also guarantee you that said people did a Mike Tyson on their PC screens this morning upon seeing the result.

Jason Heyward:  1/5 with his 6th HR.  The power is coming around and the average will too eventually.  After all you cant expect too much from the kid since his prom is in a few weeks and finals follow thereafter.

Ryan Ludwick:  2/6 with 2 HR's (4 for the year).  Ludwick hasn't been relevant since his breakout St. Louis fluke of a season and I don't think anyone wants to own any hitter in San Diego.

Jered Weaver:  9 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 10 K.  Unreal.  The guy just keeps getting better and better.  One big worry though:  I really think Scoscia played golf in the offseason and shared pitcher handling ideas with Dusty Baker.  Weaver has throws a ton of pitches and innings already this season and in a 5-0 game you would have liked to have seen him take a seat earlier.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Way back in early November of last year, I released my official 2011 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for only $5.00 to the general public.  One feature among many in the over 50 page guide was dedicated to who I thought were the injury risk pitchers to avoid for the 2011 season.  I focused in on guys who saw a significant jump in innings from 2009 to 2010 which has been proven over and over again that the risk of injury in the follow up season is very likely and at the very least lead to a drop in numbers across the board.  So below is the actual players and writeups from November as I check the status of the guys I discussed.  For those who purchased the draft guide, you were well ahead of the game.  For those who didnt?  Ummm why not???  It could have been a big help.


By now its fairly easy to see the wisdom in drafting hitters over pitchers when all things are equal. Pitchers have certainly proved to be a very volatile commodity who can be incredibly susceptible to injury along with wildly fluctuating performances. The threat of having a top draft pick pitcher end up on the DL for months is a very real threat and no position has done more to wreck a fantasy baseball season that those who toe the rubber. With that in mind, I once again deliver to you my list of the biggest injury risk pitchers for 2011. The criteria is simple: I identify those starters who greatly exceeded their previous high in innings pitched as this has been a proven formula for increased injury risk the next season or at the very least a rise in peripherals. I am not saying to avoid these guys altogether. What am I saying is don’t reach too for them and be aware that there lies a good chance this group will give you negative value. You have been warned here.

Phil Hughes:  Hughes completed his first full season as a starter with the Yankees in 2010 after being a reliever the entire 2009 campaign. As a result Hughes went from throwing only 86 innings in 2009 to 191 counting playoffs last season. That is a very significant jump and thus places Hughes squarely in the danger zone for injury risk. The formula has always been for young pitchers to not exceed an extra 30 innings over what they supplied the previous year until they reach a certain age level and Hughes obliterated that last season. When you also figure the negatives of pitching in Yankee Stadium and in the AL EAST, Hughes looks like an injury waiting to happen.

Mat Latos:   Latos was the breakout pitcher of the year in 2010 as he went a ridiculous 22 straight starts with giving up only 3 ER or less. The kid was downright dominating and he combined a high K rate with a low BB walk which should ensure many more years of top level production to come. The only caveat however are the 184 IP he threw last year at only 23 years old. That’s way too many for a young starter and so Latos is a prime candidate to struggle in 2011 as a result or even to get injured which he is no stranger to in his young career. His draft stock is soaring off of last season and so Latos could end up being one of the biggest negative yield starters in fantasy baseball this season.

Brandon Morrow:   Morrow was just like Phil Hughes in that he was primarily a reliever in 2009 before becoming a starter for 2010. As a result he saw an increase from 69 IP in 2009 to 146 IP in 2010. The Blue Jays did shut him down early last season which was smart but this is a guy who has a massive history of injuries to worry about. No doubt his ridiculously high K-rate will get the attention of the fantasy baseball community but his struggles on the road and his high walk rate further make him iffy.
Jamie Garcia:  Garcia missed the entire 2009 season with injury but than came back an ace in 2010 with top notch numbers. He wound up throwing 163 IP and the Cards shut him down early but the large increase in frames combined with an iffy injury history make him very likely to let you down if you select him during your draft.
Colby Lewis:  Lewis ventured off to Japan during 2009 where the regular season is shorter than an MLB campaign along with the fact starters there pitch every 6 days instead of every five here. No doubt he was one of the better value plays in 2010 but the fact he threw an insane 227 IP as the Rangers made the World Series is an insane jump in work. Lewis is one of the most volatile starters this season based on this fact along and he easily could revert back to the non-fantasy baseball starter he was all of his career before last season arrived.
Shaun Marcum:  There is no doubt Marcum came back strong from TJ surgery as he resembled the solid starter he was before he got hurt. The issue here centers on how he goes from throwing very few late season minor league starts at the end of 2009 to tossing 195 innings last season. We all know he is not the most stable guy healthwise as it is and this makes him even more risky. Unlike some of the above guys though, Marcum will still come cheap enough in 2011 that he will be worth the late round pick it takes to land the guy.
CJ Wilson:  Wilson is yet another former reliever turned starter who went from 73 innings to an insane 224. He got a bit fortunate in 2010 and so a regression was coming anyway for Wilson this season but likely tired arm makes him even more of a prime risk guy.
Ian Kennedy:  Kennedy has always had a load of potential and he finally showed in 2010 with Arizona as he put up a decent K-rate along with a solid ERA and excellent WHIP. The big bugaboo here as with the other guys on this list is the major jump in innings from 1 IP in the majors in 2009 to 196 in 2010. The stuff is there but its wont be as crisp due to last season’s jump.


Now that we have some data to go on with the guys I talked about, lets see how accurate I have been so far to this point.

Phil Hughes:  The Golden Boy for the injury/ineffective follow up to a drastic jump in innings.  Hughes has been on the DL since getting blasted his first two starts and is now on his way to see a doctor after having an aborted bullpen session today.  Always nice when you nail the top guy on the list.

Mat Latos:  So far 2/2 as Latos wound up going on the DL in the spring with a sore shoulder and since he has returned, has not looked sharp.  Latos was a double offendes in the innings jump the last two seasons so he remains a big risk.

Brandon Morrow:  Now 3/3.  I tell you sometimes its just too easy.  Morrow just got back from being on the DL for most of the spring and through this past week with an elbow ailment. The Jays treated his with kid gloves last season but he still went above what he should have. 

Jaime Garcia:  So far nothing happening here as Garcia has looked great.  Its still early though.

Colby Lewis:  Lewis has not gotten hurt but he has been shelled all season as his stuff has lost some bite.  As I said earlier this column was about injury risk guys for sure but also factored in how guys can see their numbers drop as their pitches lose mileage or are not sharp due to a tired arm from the overwork of the previous campaign.  That pretty much sums it up here.

Shaun Marcum:  Marcum has an injury scare this spring but didnt need any time on the shelf.  He has looked a bit shaky to start the season but so far so good.

CJ Wilson:  Wilson also had an injury scare this spring but he has looked great the last two starts.  All good here.

Ian Kennedy:  Kennedy has gotten hit hard to start the season as he could be dealing with a tired arm and some velocity decreases.  Still he is healthy which is a plus.

So overall we saw 5 of the 8 guys have some kind of injury with 3 needing the DL.  The other 3 guys have two that have gotten hit hard so far this season.  Tired arm?  Velocity?  Very possible.  So I would have to say that only 3 weeks into the season, I think this list speaks for itself for sure.


Its Monday so lets check in on everything and anything that has to do with saves in Fantasy Baseball Closing Time.

-The Phillies have placed closer Jose Contreras on the DL Sunday with a strained flexor in his elbow and so that marks two stoppers who have gotten hurt this season to go along with Brad Lidge.  The team will now turn to Ryan Madson as closer who saves two games in a row on Friday and Saturday and he is the man now for better or worse.  Madson has a bad history as the closer on multiple occasions but he looked good in his two successful save conversions.  So pick him up and hope for the best.  As far as Contreras, this could be the end of the road, especially when discussing a 40-years old plus elbow which is a real shame since he was looking so dominant in the job.  Lidge on the other hand is not due back for at least another month so no use discussing anything with this guy.

-Still no save chances since that horrible White Sox bullpen meltdown last week but manager Ozzie Guillen hinted that he is ready to give Sergio Santos a try the next time an opportunity comes about.  Santos still has a perfect ERA on the season and he could be a big time bargain if he gets the chance.

-Kevin Gregg has distanced himself some from Koji Uehara who got hit up a few days ago while Gregg threw some clean innings.  Still when it comes to Gregg this is always a situation worth watching.

-John Axford threw a scoreless ninth on Sunday as he collected the save so he once again keeps the dogs at bay for a few more days.

-Oakland A's closer Andrew Bailey will be facing live hitters in the next day or so and he will than head out on a rehab assignment.  Brian Fuentes has been very good in his place but figure on another two weeks or so until he gives the job back to Bailey when he returns.

-Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz is on the shelf for the next two weeks and Darren Oliver is the guy to own.  He successfully converted his first save on Saturday but Arthur Rhodes got the chance on Sunday.  Oliver was given a rest that day so don't look anywhere else but here when it comes to saves until Feliz returns. 

-David Aardsma is about a week away from returning to action so the Brandon League show will be closing shop real soon.  Aardsma should have no trouble handling the gig as soon as he gets back to the club.

-Feel free to cut Sean Burnett now as Drew Storen is clearly in control of the gig right now.  It was fun while it lasted Sean.

-Finally you got to continue monitoring the Brandon Lyon situation after another blown save.  Right now you would have to say top setup guy Mark Melancon would be the guy to grab if a change is made in the Houston's closer spot.


After much planning and research, I am actively underway in my next venture which is the production of my very first E-Book titled "An Expert's Guide To Winning Your Fantasy Baseball League....Guaranteed."  This will be the most comprehensive collection of fantasy baseball strategies and tips ever put together in one place and its through years of hard work and research that has enabled me to undertake such a work.  It will be available about a month from now ($14.99) so it will still have plenty of relevancy for this season and especially beyond.   I will be placing a BUY NOW link soon so you can pre-order your copy.  Cant wait to share with you all of my secrets and knowledge in one batch of literature. 


First of all I hope you all had a wonderful Easter holiday and there was plenty of great fantasy baseball action to discuss.  Lets get to it.

Adam Dunn:  0/3 while hitting .145.  Dunn has been atrocious and is on the short list of worst fantasy baseball players of the season so far based on draft position.  You know the homers will be there but I am starting to fear the days of the .230 Dunn are returning which is a terrible thing to see.

Max Scherzer:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K.  Scherzer has been much better of late and has a great 4-0 record to show for it.  You know I am not a fan and I wont go against my instincts here but I cant argue with the result here.  Still his inconsistency will rear its ugly head at some point and I will be happy I am not invested.

Ricky Romero:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K.  It was a great day of pitching all around baseball and it seemed every starter had at least 7 K's.  Romero is another guy I never own but he is a very good first half pitcher who craps out in the second. 

James Shields:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K.  This turnaround was one of the easiest for me to talk up this season as Shields was in the top ten of two advanced stats metrics that in essence proved how unlucky he was last season.  If he is sitting on your wire, by all means pick him up.

Ben Zobrist:  2/4 with his 5th HR and 3rd SB.  Zobrist seems to maximize everything he can from a shoddy batting average.  He is a nice player for sure but the average makes him a guy I wouldn't use.

David Wright:  2/4 with 2 HR's (his 4th and 5th) along with his 5th SB.  As miserable as Wright was last week, he has been scorching the last three days.  He seems to be getting more and more streaky as he gets a bit older but he can fill up the stat sheet with the best of them.  Making a mockery of the Ryan Zimmerman-Wright comparison in the spring where yours truly spelled out for you that Wright was the man.

Josh Johnson:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K.  This guy is the best pitcher in baseball that no one talks about.  For the third straight start, Johnson took a no-hitter into the sixth inning.  That's just nutty and shows you how he flat out might be toughest pitcher in the game.

Ubaldo Jimenez:  5 IP 1 H 3 ER 4 BB 7 K.  Terrible pitch efficiency by Jimenez today who channeled his inner Yovani Gallardo.  Jimenez has wild control at times and so far he has been not even in the ballpark as far as the dominator he was last season.

Mike Stanton:  1/3 with his second HR.  Remember when I said in the spring that Stanton would get off to a slow start due to all those precious missed games for a 22 year old due to injury?  Well its starting to look like the clock has run out on that slow start period.

Hanley Ramirez:  0/4 while hitting .182.  I give up with this bum.  I am betting he had an argument with the manager and is doing his best to get him canned again.  That's just me. 

Carlos Gonzalez:  0/2 while hitting .228.  Some accuse me of going over the top in my criticisms of CarGo but that was nothing compared to all the heat I took for calling him a fantasy baseball bust this spring.  Yeah whose laughing now? 

Mark Reynolds:  1/5 with his 2nd HR.  The classic poor average power special.

Curtis Granderson:  3/5 with his 7th HR.  Granderson's lefty swing is tailor made for Yankee Stadium and so a 30 homer season is not out of the question.  A tremendous fantasy baseball value this season as many were down on the guy off his yawner of a 2010 campaign.  And he is even hitting .292.  Good stuff for a great guy personality wise. 

Freddy Garcia:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K.  Memo to Phil Hughes.  You can in fact get by in the majors without your fastball. 

Adam LaRoche:  2/5 with his third HR.  LaRoche is working out the kinks before he goes on his Mickey Mantle second half run.

Andrew McCutchen:  2/5 as he raised the average to .233.  McCutchen is going to explode this week.  You heard it here first. 

Drew Storen:  scoreless ninth for his third save.  Sean Burnett enjoy your ride back to obscurity. 

Rickie Weeks:  2/4 with his fifth HR with his second SB.  Has the average at .280 which about the best you can expect here but the steals could put him over the top is he stays aggressive.

Wandy Rodriguez:  7 IP 10 H 4 ER 3 BB 9 K.  I have a chance to pick him up off waivers in one of my fantasy baseball leagues but I know as soon as I do it I will get one of those 8 ER Wandy specials

Randy Wolf:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 4 K.  Come on do you even have to ask????  Don't do it.

John Axford:  scoreless ninth for the save.  It sure is funny if you ever get to see DP (for double play) when attached to Axford.

Geovany Soto:  1/3 while hitting .250.  I already threw in the towel with this guy in one league for Mike Napoli (how is that working out for me???) and am close to dumping his ass in the other.  But I just know as soon as I do, Soto will hit 6 HR's in a week.  As Charlie Brown said in A Charlie Brown Christmas:  "Am I right?  I said am I right?"

Hiroki Kuroda:  6.2 IP 9 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K.  Again how crazy good was the pitching today?  I'm telling you all the hitters must have overloaded on PEEPS and chocolate bunnies before taking the field.

Mike Aviles:  3/5 with 2 HR's (his 2nd and 3rd) along with his 4th SB.   I really had an attachment to Aviles coming into the season off his tremendous finish last season but his slow start emptied out the bandwagon and sent some hate mail my way.  Don't give up yet.  He is coming around.

Adrian Beltre:  2/2 with his 7th HR.  Beltre can do no wrong right now and is aiming at that 30 home run plateau.

Mike Napoli:  1/3 with his 5th HR.  I picked up Napoli off waivers as soon as Taylor Teagarden got called up.  Thank you very much lost soul who dropped him into my lap.

Bruce Chen:  4.1 IP with 6 ER.  Chen finally realized that he does in fact stink.

CJ Wilson:  7 IP 8 H 4 ER 1 BB 10 K.  Wilson is channeling his inner Roger Clemens without the roids the last two starts. 

Carl Crawford:  2/4 with his first HR.  Look who finally decided to start playing some baseball?

John Lackey:  8 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K.  You really know something strange is happening with the pitching today when you see this. 

Jason Heyward:  3/5 with his 5th HR while pushing his average up to .250.  I told you not to worry here.  Give the kid a break.  He just got out of 8th grade.

Dan Uggla:  1/3 with his 5th HR.  Scroll up and see what I wrote about Mark Reynolds.

Buster Posey:  1/5 with his 4th HR.  Posey is hitting .280 which is about right.  He is not giving up the top catcher spot in fantasy baseball for awhile I predict.

Brandon Beachy:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K.  Son of a Beach.  I had a chance to pick him up and start him today but didnt pull the trigger.

Shane Victorino:  1/5 with his 3rd HR.  Kicking myself for picking BJ Upton over him in one of my drafts. 

Roy Halladay:  8.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 14 K.  You knew this was going to be pretty to see when the Padres were the opponent but come on.  This is just insane.  The guy is on another planet when it comes to pitching. 

Coco Crisp:  3/5 with his 8th SB.  I am Coooco for Coco.

Brian Anderson:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K.  This guy is going to be a real contender for the Cy Young for years.

Doug Fister:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K.  I wonder if Fister and John Axford ever worked together.

Jose Reyes:  1/5 while hitting .316.  Reyes is on his way to getting traded with his great start.  Keep tabs on this as his value could go through the roof depending on where he goes. 

Ichiro Suzuki:  2/5 while hitting .309 with his 8th SB.  Suzuki is all by himself with the Mariners as far as the lineup and its getting ugly as far as his lack of stats which is no fault of his own.  This is why I advised not to look this way when it came to drafting this season.  He is not worth the headache. 

Lets hear what you have to say about all this.