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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: DONT COUNT SORIA OUT YET


The Memorial Day weekend through the schedule for a loop so I bring you a special Tuesday edition of Fantasy Baseball Closing Time where we look at all of the noteworthy ninth-inning news in the game.

-The biggest story obviously is the shockingly terrible season that Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria has had.  His five blown saves and ERA over 6/00 easily make him one of the biggest busts in fantasy baseball and now he has lost his job to Aaron Crow.  The current plan is for the team to eventually give Soria the closing job back after he rights himself in a setup role.  Crow has mowed everyone down this season with a very high K rate and he can succeed here with his stuff.  However Soria has been so good for so long that he deserves the chance to reclaim his job. 

-The Oakland A's have activated closer Andrew Bailey from the DL during the past weekend and so that means the end is mercifully here for the Brian Fuentes-Grant Balfour horror show.  Bailey has proven himself to be one of the best closer's in the game when healthy so if you waited out his DL stint, than good times are ahead. 

-Nothing new on the Los Angeles Dodgers' situation as the team hasn't had a save opportunity in almost a week.  Javy Guerra got the last save chance and everyone else has failed when given chances so he is still the one to look at for now.  We should know more when the team has another opportunity as Kenley Jansen could still get another opportunity.

-Keep an eye on the Baltimore Orioles situation as Koji Uehara is averaging a K/IP while Kevin Gregg is doing his unsightly thing again in the ninth inning.  Gregg is getting by but his WHIP is over 1.70 which is a joke.  Uehara is a Buck Showalter favorite so when Gregg stumbles again which is a given, the chance is there for Uehara to take over the gig.  Be proactive if you are desperate for saves.

-Its looking like Jon Rauch is back in the ninth inning chair for the Blue Jays as both Octavio Dotel and Frank Francisco have been terrible.  Rauch converted his last save opportunity while Francisco blew yet another on his last time out.  If Rauch is lurking on your waiver wire, go get him as he has done a nice job in the role despite some less than impressive stuff for a ninth inning pitcher.

-Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz has not been his overpowering self this season with a less than solid K rate and a WHIP that is almost identical to his ERA.  There are whispers that Feliz has lost some of his stuff due to the team attempting to convert him to a starter during the spring and one only has to look at what happened to Joba Chamberlain for evidence that this in fact is a plausible belief.  Feliz is not anywhere near losing his job but it deserves to be monitored to see if this continues.

That's all for now.  As always keep track here for all the latest closer news on The Fantasy Sports Boss.  Good luck.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CUBS OUTFIELDER ALFONSO SORIANO (QUAD) PLACED ON DL


Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been placed on the DL Tuesday due to the strained quad he first hurt in yesterday's game.  The Cubs felt it wasnt a severe injury but they didnt want to play shorthanded. 

Analysis:  Soriano's power is still very much in his bat but the rest of his game has eroded.  You can stash him since it seems like he will back after the 15 days but I dont see him continuing on the pace he showed in April. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS 1B IKE DAVIS (ANKLE) TO WEAR BOOT FOR THREE WEEKS


New York Mets 1B Ike Davis got some bad news today after undergoing an MRI on his injured ankle which he hurt more than two weeks ago.  Davis had not seen any improvement in the area and so the team ordered the test which showed things have not progressed much at all.  He will now be forced to wear the boot and will than likely need 10 more days to go on a rehab stint and get back. 

Analysis:  What was shaping up as a big time breakout season for Davis has been tremendously disrupted.  I wouldnt count on seeing Davis for another month and it could even be longer which is shocking.  Keep him on your DL slot.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARDNALS OUTFIELDER MATT HOLLIDAY SCRATCHED TUESDAY WITH PAIN IN QUAD


St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is out of Tuesday's lineup due to a recurrence of his quad injury.  Holliday has sat out games and come back twice now since first sustaining the injury and this is just the latest in an increasingly long line of setbacks.  No word on if the team will try to place him on the DL.

Analysis:  The Cardinals bumbled this from the start as a quad injury usually is a DL stint but they allowed Holliday to dictate the terms here and after yet another setback, it could finally spell a 15-day absence from the club.  Since Holliday played Monday, the team cant backdate it until today's date.  Frustrating for sure if you are an owner. 

FANTASY BASEBALL DEEP LOOKS: ADD AARON CROW FOR SAVES


By now you all have heard about how Kansas City Royals closer Joakim Soria has been pulled out of the closer role as he was spectacularly awful first two months of the season.  The replacement to add is Aaron Crow and he has the high powered stuff to be very good.  Crow highlightes the list of the next batch of adds in those deeper fantasy baseball leagues.

Nick Swisher:  Swisher hit a home run the other day which gives him only 3 on the season with a putrid average.  This is the same guy who cracked 29 homers each of the last two seasons and he still hits in the haven that is Yankee Stadium.  It wouldnt surprise me if he went on a tear over the next four months and we all know power is declining.

Angel Pagan:  Pagan just got off the DL and his power/speed game plays in all formats.  He is not as good as the player who looked like a young Carlos Beltran the first half last season but he also is better than the struggling hitter the first few weeks before he got injured.

Jose Tabata:  Tabata's bandwagon cleared out fast once May got underway as a long slump did him in as far as the good graces of his fantasy baseball owners are concerned.  Back at the leadoff spot, Tabata has shown signs of breaking out of his slump and is now stealing bases again.  The kid has tools and so the numbers will eventually get there.

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FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY



Victor Martinez:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .298.  Whats interesting is that Martinez has been the best fantasy baseball catcher this season and he is hitting right where he always is as far as numbers are concerned,  Yeah its been a rougher year than usual for catchers.

Miguel Cabrera:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .314.  Cabrera is getting going finally as he was pretty ordinary there for awhile.  This could get scary good.

Raul Ibanez:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .247.  Ibanez has come back to life yet again and if you play in 12-team or deeper formats, pick him up while he is hot. 

Danny Espinosa:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .208.  Espinosa has very good power for the position but the average is hideous.  No thank you.

Mike Morse:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .289.  Yeah its looking like the spring training binge was not a fluke.  Whats interesting is that Morse keeps his avearge at a very nice mark despite having a very high K rate.

Laynce Nix:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .305.  Nix is having a very good season but we have seen this act before.  Than again we cant totally discount the late bloomer scenario.

Ryan Howard:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .252.  I am curious to see how Howard's average plays out the rest of the way.  If he struggles again like he did in that department last season, we than have to consider this the new model the rest of the way.

Hunter Pence:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .312.  Pence has an insane amount of RBI which is a surprise since the Astros lineup looked pretty pathetic before the season started.  He once again is doing things the quiet way but its impressive for sure.

Tony Campana:  1/3 with 4 SB (5 for season).  Its Sam Fuld reincarnated.

Bartolo Colon:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.26.  I have a feeling that the miracle doctor who rebuilt Colon's arm will be finding himself with lots more appointments this season.

Trevor Cahill:  6.2 IP 4 H 4 ER 5 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.31.  The ERA still looks good but Cahill has been awful the last two outings.  Yeah lets bring up the BABIP regression that was a given this season.  What kept that in check was Cahill's K rate explosion this season but that has fallen by the wayside in May and now the numbers are going bad.  Coincidence?  It could be but I dont think so.

Mark Texeira:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .258.  Wow Tex has been great with the power.  If he gets the average up to .280 than this is a fantasy baseball MVP candidate.

Mark Reynolds:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .198.  The ultimate suck average/power hitter.  Remmeber those days where Reynolds actually hit .260?  I dont remember them either.

Torii Hunter:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .249.  The Torii Hunter regression was easy to see coming into the season but he has some value in deeper formats.  Just dont look for any speed.

Mark Trumbo:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .249.  Trumbo is locked in right now and I would snatch him right up for UTIL or CI.  That power is very real and he even has some speed.

Alex Gordon:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .279.  Gordon is starting to show the power now and so far is making good on all that promise.  This could be it finally. 

Joakim Soria:  fifth blown save with 3 ER in ninth with an ERA of 6.55.  It was finally time for Soria to be removed from the closer gig as Aaron Crow takes his spot.  Dont drop him yet as he could get the job back if he figures things out as a setup man but clearly there are big issues here.  Another example of why I yell every season not to draft closers early. 

Albert Pujols:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .262.  Usually at this point Pujols is at around 16 home runs with a .320 average.  I'm starting to think that Pujols is dressed in a Lance Berkman costume.

Dillon Gee:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.83.  Gee has been fantastic this season but keep in mind the high K number came against the Pirates.  He is more for those in deeper formats for now but if he continues on this path, look his way in regular setups.

Jay Bruce:  3/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .294.  Should be fun watching the Jose Bautista-Jay Bruce home run battle this summer.

Justin Upton:  5/5 with his 10th HR and 10th SB while hitting .261.  Upton has made good on the tremendous season he had in 2009 and clearly 2010 was looking like an adjustment season.  Uoward and onward we go here.

Kelly Johnson:  4/5 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .224.  Johnson is probably the hottest hitter in the majors right now and he is on the cusp of double digit homers and steals.  If someone happend to drop him on the wire, pick him up immediately as the average was depressed by an unlucky BABIP.  Get him quick.

Monday, May 30, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ROYALS REPLACE CLOSER JOAKIM SORIA WITH AARON CROW


The Kansas City Royals mercifully pulled the plug on struggling closer Joakim Soria after he blew his fifth save of the season in spectacular fashion against the Anaheim Angels on Monday.  Soria has been shaky all season and a drop in velocity is being looked at as the biggest culprit.  Crow has been one of the best setup men in baseball and has the powr stuff to do well in the gig.

Analysis:  Not surprising that Soria is out as he has been awful.  He was likely the first or second closer drafted this past spring and it just goes to show you that not even elite guys are good investments in fantasy baseball.  Crow is a guy that has to be added in all leagues as he has the stuff to get the job done here.  Soria however could get back into the role if he begins to figure things out as a setuip man.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CUBS OUTFIELDER ALFONSO SORIANO STRAINS QUAD, HEADED FOR MRI

Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano strained his quad during Monday's game and is now headed for an MRI.  Its likely Soriano is on his way to the DL as he seemed to be in big discomfort and was removed from the game.  Soriano has been better than expected as a fantasy baseball force this season but this will curtail what was shaping up as a comeback season.

Analysis:  It was only a matter of time before a slump or injury interrupted Soriano's campaign.  Let him go in shallow leagues. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TWINS PLACE SP FRANCISCO LIRIANO (SHOULDER) ON DL

The Minnesota Twins have placed SP Francisco Liriano on the DL on Monday due to ongoing soreness in his shoulder.  Liriano was originally only supposed to miss one start but he reported more soreness today when he tried to throw.  The stint was backdated to May 23.

Analysis:  Not unexpected news since it involved the shoulder.  Liriano has been one of the biggest disappointments this season and so this cements it. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARDINALS OUTFIELDER MATT HOLLIDAY (QUAD) BACK IN LINEUP ON MONDAY

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday is back in the lineup on Monday after sitting out two seperate stints due to quad soreness.  Holliday wound up avoiding the DL and is ready to go.

Analysis:  Great news that he avoided the DL and its safe to get him in there once again.  When on the field he has been one of the best hitters in the game.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TWINS SP FRANCISCO LIRIANO STILL HAS SHOULDER SORENESS MONDAY

Minesota Twins SP Francisco Liriano continues to feel soreness in his pitching shoulder after attempting to throw on Monday.  Liriano was forced to skip his most recent start as a result of the soreness and a DL stint is looking probable as a result. 

Analysis:  Not looking good here for Liriano to avoid the DL and really his entire season has been a mess.  He is even starting to get cut in some fantasy baseball leagues so its gotten to very low depths here.  I would not quibble for making that move in shallow leagues.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY



Dustin Pedroia:  1/4 with his 4th HR and 2 SB (12 for season) while hitting .245.  Disregard the average and Pedroia is looking like the top two second sacker I said he would be.  We all know he will hit near .290 so dont fret there. 

Jacoby Ellsbury:  1/4 with his 19th SB while hitting .298.  I have to admit I was wrong to steer you all away from him this spring.  Its just that he was such a washout last season that I didnt trust him.  Now that I am finally on board, the hamstring will go any day.  Wait for it.

David Ortiz:  1/1 with his 11th HR while hitting .303.  You know you are turning back the clock when you come off the bench and casually swat yet another bomb in the ninth.  Ride it out.

Josh Beckett:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.80.  As good of a pitcher as Beckett is, he was one of the bigger BABIP benefitters during the first two months easily.  Sell if you get an offer you like.  I already did before this start for Shin-Soo Choo.  Buy low and sell high.

Justin Verlander:  7.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.12.  He is more ALL than NOTHING but there really is no in between with this guy. 

Carlos Quentin:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .253.  His value has gone up this season for the simple fact he can clear the fence.  Not rocket science in this era of the dead home run ball.

Aaron Hill:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .240.  For one day Hill decided to abandon his attempt to morph into Nyjer Morgan.

Jimmy Rollins:  2/4 with 2 SB (12 for season) while hitting .271.  With all that running I am just waiting for Rollins' hammy to scream.

Justin Masterson:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.07.  You knew this was coming if you read the site.  You cant be surprised that the BABIP is taking a nap here after two months of partying.

Matt Cain:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 3.88.  Cain has been pretty mediocre this season compared to his standards.  Remember when I said in the spring the heavy workload could impact San Fran pitchers other than some Freak guy??  Just saying.

Yovani Gallardo:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.89.  Gallardo has been very good his last few starts but he still has work to do to reach the lofty goals we all had for the guy.  Well not all of us since I wasnt in that cult.

Mark Trumbo:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .244.  He is Quentin playing 1B.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .281.  Ramirez is now only one home run up on Hill.

Ian Kinsler:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .240.  Kinsler is hitting leadoff which is the best spot for his value.  The average needs work but the BABIP was a big enemy the first two months. 

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .220.  Cruz' strikeouts have been ridiculous but he is still getting ahold of at least one ball a game.  I have to say though that the .300 average and 20 SB we predicted are not even going to be close.  Throw in the injuries and Cruz is looking like a bit of a bust.

Michael Young:  2/4 with his 3rd HR while hitting .335.  How nutty we were for wondering if he would get enough playing time to be relevant.  Looks good to me.

Alexei Ogando:  5 ER in 6 IP with a 2.33 ERA.  Finally Ogando got the regression script.  Please do yourself a favor and get out now if you can.  If your league reads the site however than your screwed.

Josh Willingham:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .244.  Willingham can get crazy hot for weeks so its looking like we are close to liftoff with his bat.

Zach Britton:  6 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 2.93.  As great a pedigree as Britton has, he is still a kid and the BABIP he used to put up the numbers so far is starting to break.  Get out quick before the roof caves in.

Brian Fuentes:  scoreless ninth for his 11th save.  The guy returns more than a horror movie villain.

Ricky Nolasco:  8 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.82.  I think its safe to say that Nolasco struggles some in this game.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: TWINS TO PLACE RP JOE NATHAN ON THE DL WITH ELBOW SORENESS

The Minnnesota Twins will place RP Joe Nathan on the DL with soreness in his elbow as its looking more and more like he will never be the pitcher he was before having to undergo Tommy John surgery.  Nathan was hit all spring and during the season as its clear his once dominant repertoire has disappeared altogether so far this season.

Analysis:  So this eliminated Nathan as a candidate to take over the closer role from the struggling Mattt Capps.  This is looking like a sad ending for a once great pitcher.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ASTROS PLACE SP WANDY RODRIGUEZ (ELBOW) ON DL

The Houston Astros have placed SP Wandy Rodriguez on the DL with fluid in his pitching elbow.  Rodriguez was scratched from his last start as a result of elbow discomfort which was later found out to be fluid.

Analysis:  Tough break as Rodrigeuz was pitching pretty well before the injury.  Its possible he could return after the stint is up a sthere are no structural issues there.  Stash him if you can.

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: HANLEY RAMIREZ SS FLORIDA MARLINS

When the 2011 fantasy baseball draft season came around, the shortstop position was looked at as the shallowest of any spot on the field.  Headlined right at the top was the Florida Marlins' Hanley Ramirez and the Colorado Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki.  Both guys had it all as far as offensive tools were concerned and so it was no surprise when both when early in the first round of all drafts.  Fast forward through two months of the season and what we have with Ramirez and even Tulowitzki to a lesser extent are guys who have let down their owners to this point.  Since we are discussing Ramirez today, lets take a look at his stats so far and you can see why his owners look at him this way.  As we head into June Ramirez is hitting a woeful .210 with only 4 home runs and 17 RBI.  He does have a nice total of 29 runs and 11 steals but clearly Ramirez is letting people down when it comes to the power and average contributions.  So in our latest Fantasy Baseball Status Report, lets break things down in order to discover what is ailing Ramirez and also discuss where he can be going from here.

Whats interesting to note with Ramirez in regards to his power is that its been on the decline since he hit 33 bombs back in 2008.  His totals since than?  24, 21, and now the 4 which is a pace of 14.  So whats the deal?  Looking under the hood with Ramirez and the homers, one would find that his fly ball rate has been in decline throughout those seasons which coincide with the drop in total dingers.  For whatever reason, Ramirez is going the wrong way when it comes to hitting the ball out and thats surprising since he is only turning 28 this season where he should still be on the way up.  What could be the cause?  Hard to say since his age is not agreeable to a regression.  Whats surprising is that Ramirez' average has dropped along with the homers.  Usually its the opposite in that the more homer happy a hitter gets, the more likely the average falls as a result of swining for the fences.  Ramirez could possibly be messing up his swing due to his movement from the leadoff spot to second and third which he has been at during the season but I dont think thats the real cause?  Some have whispered that Ramirez, like a lot of other hitters, was a steroids user and since the drugs are now banned, he has seen a drop in the power as a result.  The evidence is daming here but again with no proof there is no way to go on this for sure. 

As far as the average is concerned, I am much less worried about this.  Ramirez has been dealing with some poor luck with the batted ball and so his average will start climbing soon.  Will he hit .300?  It will be tough since he off to such a bad start but .280 is very realistic if he gets going.  Count on a major rebound in that respect.

All in all I think Ramirez is somebody who is seeing some change in his offensive game.  He very well might not ever get back to the levels he was at in 2008 for whatever reason but overall he is still very gifted when it comes to his numbers.  I believe firmly that he is a major buy low target and that you should try whatever you can to add him to your roster as the expense of a panicky owner.  A final line of .280 with 100 R 20 HR 80 RBI and 25 SB is possible and that it still first round territory in my book.  Go send the offer.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Andrew McCutchen:  2/4 with 2 SB (9 for season) while hitting .251.  McCutchen's average has been a liability all season but he now has 8 homers nad 9 steals which you would have been very happy with if I told you that would be where he was at by the end of May.

Alfonso Soriano:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .276.  Predictable Soriano's home run output slowed once we hit May and it will likely continue to do so with nagging injuries thrown in.  Sell sell sell sell.

Mike Morse:  2/4 with his 6h HR and 4th in four days while hitting .288.  Buy buy buy buy.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  2/5 with his 6th HR and 18th SB while hitting .299.  Ellsbury has been one of the most productive players in all of fantasy baseball this season and if he continues to hit homers, he could unbelievably fund himself at the end of the first round next season in drafts.

Carl Crawford:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .245.  I imagine Crawford will not go higher than sixth in the order since the top five are established which will cut into his steals dramatically.  Keep that in mind if you own the guy since I still think its a good idea to sell the name brand.

Jhonny Peralta:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .306.  We have always seen Peralta hint at having a season like this before but he was never able to sustain it.  At the thin shortstop position, he is already proving to be a major asset who was picked off waivers in most leagues.

Jon Rauch:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save.  I saw someone picked up Rauch in one of my leagues before looking at the scores and I figured Rauch got the first chance in this new committee setup than John Farrell.  Do what you must.

Ryan Madson:  1 ER in securing 10th save.  A few more of these rocky outings and maybe Jose Contreras becomes relevant again.

Evan Longoria:  0/4 while hitting .209.  Bigger fantasy baseball bust so far this season?  Longoria or Hanley?

Josh Tomlline:  4 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.74.  The Josh Tomline Regression Tour begins.

David Price:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 3.54.  Price is weird to me in that he will strike out only 3 in 7 innings one outing and than do this the next.  Everything ends up where it should be though.

Drew Stubbs:  0/6 while hitting .255.  I think Stubbs could use a day off today.

Ramon Hernandez:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .321.  Quick:  who has been the most productive catcher in the NL this season?  Soto, Hernandez, or Posey?  Yeah its one of those years.

Alex Gordon:  2/6 with his 6th HR while hitting .286.   Gordon has hit 3 homers in the last week and is really showing the total package now. Pick him up if someone dropped him.

Eric Hosmer:  4/7 with his 4th HR while hitting .284.  He is hitting a bit like Mr. Braun did when he first came up.  I am not saying he will match those ridiculous rookie numbers but Hosmer can maybe come close.

Melky Cabrera:  2/6 with his 7th HR while hitting .280.  Melky Freakin'Cabrera has 7 homers!!!!

Ian Kinsler:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .238.  Just get that average up my friend and we will be good.

Neftali Feliz:  third blown save with 1 ER in ninth.  Feliz' WHIP of 1.39 almost matches his ERA of 1.50.  Obviously something is not right here as his strikeout rate has plummeted and he looks nothing like the studhe was last season.  Just remember what happened to Joba Chamberlain when the Yankees tried to make him a starter a few years ago.

Juan Miranda:  2/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .270.  I like the game but I dont like the overall impact he will have in most leagues.

Rickie Weeks:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .296.  Robinson Cano and Rickie Weeks is starting to look like an interesting debate in drafts as we head into drafts next season.

Tim Lincecum:  7 IP 6 H 3 H 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.22  Thats two straight starts without a walk which tells me there is no way to beat the guy anymore.  Seriously though he has been in a zone and can claim the rank of best pitcher this season.

Shaun Marcum:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.80.  I got to admit I was happy to see this result since I traded him a week ago.  Yeah I am sick.

Eric Aybar:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .312.  I hit the ADD PLAYE button last night.

Ubaldo Jimenez:  6 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 5.86.  I want to throw Jimenez into the Longoria-Hanley bust debate as well.

Andre Ethier:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .317.  For a guy hitting so well, the power has been light.  Still try to buy low here as his shots come in large doses.

Michael Pineda:  5 IP 3 H 3 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.42.  I went against my better judgement and started Pineda against the poweful Yankees and paid for it.  I really found it tough to bench the best pitcher in the AL though so I cant lose too much sleep over it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

FANTAYS BASEBALL ISSUES: THE BUSTER POSEY FALLOUT


So by now its old news that San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey will miss anywhere from 2 months to the entire season with a broken leg and ligament damage to boot.  It will be very hard for Posey to come back from this during the season and so its likely we wont see him again until 2012.  On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being severe, this is a 9 in that Posey wasnt a superstar but who was the top dog at his position and cost a very high draft pick.  So with that gaping hole on fantasy baseball owners' rosters, lets try to look at some guys you might want to take a look at in order to minimize some of those missing stats the rest of the season.

JP Arencibia:  Arencibia has now grabbed the lion's share of starts behind the plate for the Blue Jays as he continues to show off his major home run bat.  JP is up to 8 home runs with a solid RBI total and he easily could lead all catchers in dingers this season.  His average is also not hideous which makes him look even better as far as value is concerned. 

Jonathan Lucroy:  Lucroy has opened just as many eyes this season as he is hitting well over .300 with  home runs for a high slugging Brewers club.  Lucroy had put up some nice average seasons in the minors and its likely his body has filled out as evidenced by the solid power.  Ride the hot bat and see where it takes you.

Matt Wieters:  Wieters is still not the Hall of Fame bound slugger we all thought he would be but he also has made some nice strides in his approach at the dish.  Wieters is collected an above average amount of RBI forthe position and he also has 4 home runs with a solid average.  He has hit better in the second halves in his career so this is also something to be aware of the rest of the season.

Those are the three guys I would look to first but if those are all taken, some other names you can aim at are Carlos Ruiz, Miguel Olivo, and Jarrod Saltalammachia.  Good luck.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY



Nolan Reimold:  4/4 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .544.  I would say he had a nice game.  Dont forget it was only last season where Reimold was a sleeper on everyone's list.  The guy can hit.  Do what you must.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .296.  Ellsbury is putting up fantastic numbers this season and its amazing what can happen with a little health. 

Carl Crawford:  4/5 while hitting .244 while batting sixth.  Crawford is red hot for the first time this season as he makes his way up the lineup.  I am still not bullish on his prospects the rest of the way since he wont be hitting first or second but we all know he is better than what he has put put there.

Max Scherzer:  2 IP 7 H 7 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Yeah saying not to trust Scherzer this season was not going out on a limb.

Jay Bruce:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .289.  Bruce is nutty right now with 4 bombs in 5 games.  The next Adam Dunn with a better average. 

Chase Utley:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .143.  How about Utley getting in on the action?  Better late than never applies here for sure.

Raul Ibanez:  2/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .250.  Its been a rough season for Ibanez but those in deep leagues could still grab one more useful season out of the guy. 

Cliff Lee:  8 IP 10 H 4 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.50.  Now let me say this.  Lee has been good this season.  But he hasnt been Cliff Lee.  You know what I mean? 

Carlos Pena:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .215.  You know the drill here.  If you have good average guys, than by all means go for it.

Mark Trumbo:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .245.  Bascially the scouting report was right on with the guy.  He hits home runs with a suck average.  In other words the sucky average/power hitter special.

Brett Anderson:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.84.  Very few people are talking about how good Anderson has been the season.  Call it the cloud of Oakland.  Anderson has become a different pitcher since bursting into the league in that he is using less breaking pitches to prevent injury which caused some slippage in his strikeouts.  Whatever it still works.

Grant Balfour:  3 ER in 1 IP.  This a day after getting the nod as the team's closer.  Andrew Bailey cant get here soon enough.

Anibal Sanchez:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.60.  I havent discussed him much this season but Sanchez has been one of the better starters this season.  The low sticker price has made him seem even better.

Yunel Escobar:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .283.  Escobar deserves to have our attention again after being a bum the last season plus.  Hitting at the top of the powerful Toronto lineup ensures boatloads of runs with a solid amount of dingers and a nice average.

Brandon Morrow:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.38.  I could have told you Morrow would pitch well after being gross the last few times out.  Can you guess if I started him or not?  Go with the latter answer.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: INDIANS OUTFIELDER GRADY SIZEMORE (KNEE) TO RETURN FRIDAY

Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore will return to the lineup on Friday as his sore knee has responded in rehab games.  Sizemore went on the DL with pain in the knee that wasnt surgically repaired last season and so he appears ready to get back on the field with no lingering issues.

Analysis:  Good news here as Sizemore was hitting well before he got hurt.  The speed has been nowhere to be found so far which is not a surprise.  The power has been real evident though so get him back in the lineup. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: GIANTS CALL UP 1B BRANDON BELT

The San Francisco Giants have called up 1B Brandon Belt for his second stint in the majors.  Belt was summoned after the season ending injury to catcher Buster Posey as a no doubt goodwill move to try and keep some positive vibes for the franchise.  Belt struggled in his firts go round earlier this season but he has done nothing but hit when he was sent back down.

Analysis:  Belt was somone I was very excited about when he was first summoned but he let me down.  He wouldnt be the first young player to struggle coming up so he deserves a mulligan.  He has tremendous plate discipline and a great batting eye so the numbers will surely be on the way eventually.  He may even be ready to contribute this time around. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: GIANTS CATCHER BUSTER POSEY OUT FOR SEASON WITH BROKEN LEG

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is likely out for the season with a broken leg suffered in Wednesday night's game.  Posey suffered ligament damage as well and already has been placed on the DL.  Eli Whiteside was called up to take his spot.

Analysis:  As far as the position is concerned, it doesnt get any bigger than this as far as impact.  Just devastating news for Posey fantasy baseball owners but thats the risk you run in drafting a catcher high.  He was already struggling a bit at the plate after a tremendous rookie season but now the whole campaign is washed out.  Grab JP Arencibia, Jonathan Lucroy, or Matt Wieters as a replacement and have a tall drink. 

FANTASY BASEBALL HIT AND RUN: THE THIRD BASE DISASTER OF 2011



Trending Up

JP Arencibia:  We all knew the kid had power but with eight home runs before the month of May is complete has Arencibia on the move up the catcher rankings.  Catchers have performed so badly in fantasy baseball this season that a guy who has this type of rare pop deserves attention.  There is no reason why he cant hit at LEAST 20 home runs. 

Mike Stanton:  Speaking of power, Stanton is making his claim to being the best pure power hitter in the game outside of Jose Bautista.  Stanton already has 10 home runs this season and is carrying an all right average as well.  He, Bautista, and Jay Bruce look to lead baseball in home runs for the next ten years.

Jayson Werth:  Werth is starting to get his act together after a small adjustment period in Washington and the overall numbers outside of average have been on par with what he in Philly.  His price was much cheaper than it should have been this spring and so those who went to the well here look to be primed for a nice value season.

Trending Down

Billy Butler:  We all keep waiting for the home runs to come from this rotund slugger and we might be waiting forever,  Butler is still stuck on only 3 home runs this season and is starting to look like he will be another Sean Casey hitter.  A guy with a big frame but who doesnt have much power.

Alex Gordon:  Gordon is another Royal who sees his value drop as his average has taken a plunge.  We all knew the BABIP would correct itself which it certainly is doing now.  Gordon still has 4 homers and 4 steals which is nice but so far he has not impressed.

Aramis Ramirez:  Sure he has a nice average but Ramirez has completely lost his power stroke.  Without the power, Ramirez is just another hitter and so even at a shallow spot like third base, its not acceptable.

WHAT IN THE NAME IS GOING ON WITH THIRD BASE????

The third base position in fantasy baseball without a doubt has been one big bust this season.  It clearly stands alone from the rest of the positions in that regard and injuries and downright ineffectiveness are to blame.  One just has to take a quick glance at the top guys heading into the season to determine just how bad this position has performed.  Heading into the year, third base was already looked at as a very shallow spot on the diamond which made drafting one of the top four of David Wright, Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Zimmerman imperative.  All of these guys however have crapped out to some degree or another and thus now would be a good time to take a look at some of the under the radar and younger hitters from this position so as to be mroe familliar with some of the other options there are out there that cane be of service in the future.  First lets take a look at what has gone wrong and how the top guys have fared, followed by the replacements.

1.  Evan Longoria:  An injured oblique wiped out most of his April and upon his return in May, struggles at the plate have basically yielded nothing of value so far.  Heading into Monday's games, Longoria was hitting .227 with only 2 home runs and 1 steal.  Nothing even close to the numbers for a guy who went on average as the number 6 overall pick in drafts.  This after a lackluster 2010 season which saw a dip in his power.  Obviously Longoria is way too talented to keep struggling like this but the power outage is still a concern that will need to be watched closely the rest of the way.

2.  David Wright:  Even before Wright landed on the DL with a back fracture, he was scuffling at the plate with a .226 batting average.  Wright did have 6 home runs and 9 steals but he was as streaky as they came this season.  Now he could be out for awhile with the bad back and there is no telling how effecive he will be when he gets back.  A negative campaign could be avoided if he gets back soon but thats a big "if" right now.

3.  Alex Rodriguez:  Rodriguez has picked it up lately after going through a massive two week struggle at the plate at the beginning of May.  Still he his far from the superstar he was in his prime with an almost complete absence of steals and a batting average that is hovering in the .280 range.  He has been the most healthy though of the top four guys however which is a positive but this clearly is a diminishing product.

4.  Ryan Zimmerman:  Zimmerman has had a complete washout of a season so far as abdominal surgery has basically wiped out his season.  There is no timetable for when he will get back and so he once again has had injuries interrupt what could be a big season. 

On top of the issues with the Big Four, we have also seen a major power outage from Aramis Ramirez and a DL stint for a broken hand by Pablo Sandoval.  Also everyone's favorite sleeper Pedro Alvarez has been horrendous with only 1 home run and a DL stint thrown in.  Needless to say its been a rough go of it for third baseman this season.  Now for who could be next in line to move up the list of third baseman for the rest of this season and beyond.

Mike Moustakas:  Moustakas is on his way and its only a matter of time until he takes the league by storm by hitting massive amounts of home runs.  He could get called up as soon as June 1 so get ready to move quickly here.  In a league where home runs are becoming more and more rare, Moustakas is a must have option.

David Freese:  We started to see some nice things from Freese before he wound up breaking a hand and missing 8-12 weeks.  He was hitting for a very high average and some power as well.  Hitting in that loaded St. Louis lineup should net plenty of great pitches to hit and so Freese could be the next Aramis Ramirez in short order.

Danny Valencia:  Valencia surprised some by hitting over .300 with some nice power after being called up last season and he is driving the ball once again this season, albeit with a much lower average.  Valencia is a guy to monitor as he has a nice approach at the plate and his ability to bring in runners is a nice base to build off of as he grows into a better hitter.

Thats how I see it with the third baseman.  The top guys have been a complete bust so far this season which is why going after some of these younger guys going forward could be a good idea.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: GIANTS C BUSTER POSEY TO GET MRI THURSDAY ON ANKLE, LEG


Hold your breath.  San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey will undergo an MRI on Thursday on his leg, ankle area in order to determine what kind of damage is there after his brutal home field collision with Scott Cousins Wednesday night.  Posey had to be helped off the field and he was in terrible pain.  This could be anything from a badly sprained ankle to a broken leg.  Stay tuned..

Analysis:  This could be very bad Posey owners.  Even if nothing is turned up, a stint on the DL is likely.  Worst case is the broken leg which could keep him out months. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY



Dustin Pedroia:  2/6 with his third HR while hitting .249.  Its only a matter of time before Pedroia gets his average up and with the speed looking real good along the power thats coming along, a run at the top spot at second base could be in tbe offing.

Carl Crawford:  4/4 with his third HR while hitting .229.  Its really telling about how much Crawford has struggled that after this game he was still showing an ugly average.  The buy low window however is quickly closing here however and a move up the order is likely which will further boost his value.

Jarrod Saltalamachia:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .249.  Everyone's favorite last name is really been ot over the last week with all four of his home runs coming in that period.  This is the year of the unheralded catcher so pick him up and ask questions later.

David Ortiz:  2/6 with his 10th HR while hitting .303.  Its funny in that it was only a little bit more than a year ago where Ortiz looked like he was going to be run out of Boston.  I'd say he turned it around.

Jon Lester:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.36.  I feel like this is a Boston Red Sox wrapup.  Lester was pretty crappy lately but we all know he is a Cy Young waiting to happen.

Dan Uggla:  0/5 while hitting .180.  Will be interesting to see who will hit for a lower average:  Uggla or Adam Dunn.  Talk about a riveting batting race.

Andruw Jones:  3/3 with 2 home runs (4 for the season) while hitting .240.  Games like this for Jones are as rare as Haley's Comet at this stage of his career.

Mark Texeira:  1/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .253.  I know this sounds like whining but I am tired of Tex's crappy average/slugger specials.  He is better than this as far as the average is concerned but I think he is getting too pull happy in that park.

Mike Morse:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .281.  I feel like its spring training all over again.

Zack Greinke:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 5.79.  Greinke was dealing with horrid luck since he came off the DL so I went out and traded for him in one of my money league's.  Looking like a great deal already.

Erik Bedard:  6 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.48.  I grabbed Bedard for this start after seeing how he had gotten into a groove.  Flat out the guy can pitch when healthy.  Ride this out.

Matt Kemp:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .317.  There are no words to adequately describe how great he has been.  Much appreciation to Rihanna and Joe Torre for leaving the stage.

Michael Bourn:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .266.  Bourn has really carved out a nice career for himself and he chips in his annual home run.

Colby Rasmus:  0/4 while hitting .273.  Its not looking like he is there yet. 

Albert Pujols:  0/4 while hitting .261.  We are living in strange times folks.

Mat Latos:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.08.  I was pissed when I saw this result as someone stupidly dropped him in one of my money league's and I currently stand fifth in the order as far as waivers go.  Not looking like I will be able to get him now after this.

Melky Cabrera:  2/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .281.  Sometimes I get lost in the minutia of looking through boxscores that when I see M. Cabrera hitting a home run, I get really excited thinking its Miguel Cabrera.  Than it dawns on me that its Melky and a quick sadness envelopes me.  I need help.

Mark Reynolds:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .194.  He makes Dave Kingman look like Pete Rose.

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.57.  I keep saying to grab the guy if you need K's as he really has taken a big step forward in that department.

Trevor Cahill:  6 IP 10 H 3 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.02.  Slowly but surely Cahill is becoming the guy I thought he would in terms of not being as good as last season.  His WHIP is up to 1.22 and rising.  Maybe he will wind up fulfilling the regression prediction I had for him this spring anyway.

Ben Francisco:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .215.  Really this falls under the "a little bit too late cataegory" with Domonic Brown already up.

Ryan Howard:  2/7 with his 11th HR while hitting .251.  There has been some major leakage from Howard's average this season but lets see how it responds with Utley back.

Jay Bruce:  3/8 with his 13th HR while hitting .284.  The kid is completely fulfilling all of the expectations thrust upon him this spring as he heads to 40 dingers.

Francisco Cordero:  second blown save with 1 ER in ninth.  I got to give Cordero credit.  He is pitching great and with Aroldis Chapman out of the picture, will likely keep his closer job for the season. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL BALLS AND STRIKES: SOME KEY GUYS TO BUY/SELL



Trending Up

Shaun Marcum:  We all knew Marcum would see a boost in value going from the AL East to the NL Central but he has gone even beyond my expectations with a 2.37 ERA and 62 K's in 64 IP.  He is knocking solidly on the top ten fantasy baseball starting pitchers door.

Michael Pineda:  Pineda has been downright ridiculous this season as a 22 year old rookie for the Mariners.  Dominant is the better word as Pineda's explosive stuff have been a benefit in every start this season.  Innings limits and possible fatigue will be issues later on but for now enjoy the great ride.

Jake Peavy:  Peavy has looked like his old vintage self since coming off the DL and his complete game masterpiece against the Indians last week was tremendous.  There was some concern about how he would pitch coming off last season's surgery but that outing more or less confirmed he is ready to go.

Trending Down

Zack Greinke:  On the surface, Greinke has been pretty bad since coming off the DL with an ERA heading into Wednesday's games of 6.43.  He has given up a bunch of home runs which account for most of the damage though and looking deeper into the numbers, Greinke has actually pitched well with 29 K's in 21 IP.  Once he gets the home run ball under control, he will be back to being the stud we all know.

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FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED SECOND BASEMAN RANKINGS


We continue on with another look at the updated fantasy baseball position rankings and today its the second baseman's time in the spotlight.

1.  Robinson Cano
2.  Dustin Pedroia
3.  Ian Kinsler
4.  Brandon Phillips
5.  Rickie Weeks
6.  Ben Zobrist
7.  Martin Prado
8.  Howie Kendrick
9.  Dan Uggla
10. Michael Young
11. Neil Walker
12. Placido Polanco
13. Ryan Roberts
14. Kelly Johnson
15. Mike Aviles
16. Chase Utley

-Despite holding onto the top spot, it has been a tale of two seasons so far for Robinson Cano who was the league MVP in April and who than went into the tank in May.  Cano has looked a bit lackadasical so far this season in the field and at the plate and his average is way down.  Ultimately he is still among the best pure hitters in the game so the numbers will be there when we reach the end of the season.
-Few are talking about the very good season that Brandon Phillips is having.  Phillips had been a mediocre average guy who was coming off a season where he failed to go 20/20 for the first time in awhile.  Well his average is above .300 and he is contributing across the board.  He tends to wear down in the second half so be aware of this but overall Phillips has turned a nice profit in value.
-Its been an annoying start for owners of both Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler.  Both guys have struggled with the average and in Pedroia's case, with the long ball.  The biggest thing is that both guys are healthy and long term should be very good if they remain so.
-Chase Utley plummets all the way to 16 due to the fact he just got back into action.  He will shoot back up the rankings if he remains in the lineup but he is no longer the superstar fantasy baseball second sacker we all pined for.
-I spoke in the spring about how Dan Uggla's average in 2010 was a fluke and that he would go back to the negative marks he had almost annually posted.  Well Uggla followed the script as he struggles to hit even .200.  Yeah the power is top notch but that is negated by the horrible average.
-Howie Kendrick was fluky with the power early on which was proven with only 1 bomb in May.  Still he has been solid across the board and can be trusted again.
-Ben Zobrist has found the power that was missing from last season.  His average is also scary but again the rest of the numbers are solid.
-Neil Walker has been good as well as he was a cheap option that is supplying nice value.  The Pirates have some useful players and Walker is a shining example of this.

That's how I see it.  Let me know what you think.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY


Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .252 in Game 1.  I will credit where credit is due.  Gonzalez is somewhat starting to look more and more like the first round pick he was in all leagues.  Noticed I said somewhat.

Seth Smith:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .304.  Smith always seems to do just enough to be intriguing but usually hits a DEAD END at that point.  Perfect for deep leagues though.

Josh Collmenter:  4.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 1.19.  The beginning of the massive slide back to mediocrity.  Hopefully you were all smart enough to realize what he was doing was one big joke anyway.

Jorge De LaRosa:  As the song goes with a little modificaton "See yooooouuuuuu in September.  See yoooouuuu when the summer's through.......of 2012."

Kelly Johnson:  2/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .198.  I know we all overrate average but if you ignore that for a second, the rest of the numbers look very solid.  Just saying.

Jason Giambi:  1/2 with his 6th HR while hitting .231.  Somewhere in the deepeest, darkest parts of the fantasy baseball netherworld, somebody just picked up Giambi.

JOse Bautista:  0/4 while hitting .343.  Damn he is slumping.

Curtis Granderson:  4/5 with his 6th SB while hitting .275.  Best overall fantasy baseball of 2011 so far. 

Russell Martin:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .270.  This guy is not far behind.

CC Sabbathia:  9 IP 8 H 4 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.17.  I was cursing Sabbathia after a 4 run fourth and than singing his praises after he got the complete game victory.  Yeah this game can drive you nutty.

Frank Francisco:  second blown save in a row with 2 ER in 9th.  Cue up Octavio Dotel. 

Matt Joyce:  3/4 with his 8th HR and 4th SB while hitting .367.  Obviously the average will start come down but the power is very real. 

Miguel Cabrera:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .311.  I am waiting for Cabrera to go on that insane home run hitting streak than he is fully capable of doing.  Maybe this is the start.

Alex Avila:  2/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .292.  Look at the guys who picked up Avila, JP Arencibia, and Jonathan Lucroy compared to the guys who burned early picks on Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, and Geovany Soto. 

Justin Verlander:  6 IP 9 H 6 ER 0 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Justin its not not April anymore. 

Josh Beckett:  6.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.69.  I sold high here because his XFIP is much higher than his actual ERA but Beckett is staying ahead of the curve.

Alex Gordon:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .283.  I treat Gordon like he is one of my kids since I have talked him up so much this season.  I live and die with each at-bat.  Needless to say my health has been better the last two days.

Daniel Duffy:  5.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Dont get invested here.  Duffy has not passed the eye test due to a high pitch count and walks that force him out early.  In other words Yovani Gallardo reincarnated.

Joakim Soria:  third blown save with 3 ER with an ERA of 5.12.  On the short list of the biggest fantasy baseball busts so far this season.

Ryan Madson:  3 ER in ninth.  This guy is a piece of work.  Just when Jose Contreras comes back he turns back into the mess he always has been in the ninth up until this season.  Watch this closely.

Starlin Castro:  3/5 while hitting .330.  The average is beyond impressive but its been mostly empty when it comes to homers and steals.  Those will come but if someone gives you a decent offer I would do it. 

Ryan Dempster:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 6.29.  He is getting better.  Trust me.  I still would be nervous though since we have had some false starts here before this season.

Javy Guerra:  got his first save with a scoreless ninth.  The kid is just a rookie and I seriously doubt this will continue.  Than again its not like the team hasnt tried everything to this point.

Carlos Quentin:  3/5 with three home runs (12 for season) while hitting .265.  Quentin did a Corey Hart impression and really there is not much more to say than that.  His average will be poor and he will hit for power.  There.

Adam Dunn:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .192.  I guess you can call this progress.

Mike Morse:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .282.  Keep a watch here as Morse is starting to look like the guy who took the spring by storm.  Remember power is a vanishing art.

Corey Hart:  2/4 with his 4th HR and 4th in two days while hitting .274.  I would say he is locked in right no wouldnt you?  Talk about going out on a limb with that statement.

Rickie Weeks:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .289.  We havent heard much from Weeks lately but I have to say the growth in average is close to putting him over the top as a fantasy baseball second baseman.

Jonathan Lucroy:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .333.  Lucroy has been one of the biggest surprises of the fantasy baseball season.  Yet more evidence of why you dont need to draft catchers early.

Dan Haren:  7 IP 7 H 5 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.24.  At the last second yesterday in one of my money leagues, I realized I didnt have Verlander and Haren in the lineup and I quickly threw them in as I exclaimed "whew."  Yeah I was much better off not checking my teams until this mess was over.  Ahhh this game.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ROCKIES SP JORGE DE LAROSA TO UNDERGO TOMMY JOHN SURGERY


The news is very grim for Colorado Rockies SP Jorge De LaRosa as it was learned Tuesday that he will need to undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow and miss the rest of the 2011 season and half of the 2012 season to boot.  It was shown through tests that De LaRosa had a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and hence the surgery. 

Analysis:  Obviously its always a big deal when any pitcher undergoes Tommy John surgery as we bid farewell for awhile.  Drop De LaRosa in all leagues and revisit this halfway through 2012.  Tough break.

FANTASY BASEBALL DEEP LOOKS: CONTINUE LOOKING TOWARD KANSAS CITY FOR HELP


I have spoken more than a few times since spring training about how the Kansas City Royals shockingly are a team that has some very useful fantasy baseball bats for the first time in a long time.  Billy Butler was an old yet underachieving name but this season saw Mike Aviles, Alex Gordon, Wilson Betemit, etc. contribute to those fantasy baseball rosters in mid-to-deep formats.  On top of that we got the much anticipated promotion of super hitting 1B Eric Hosmer who has not done anything to change the perception of him being a high end fantasy baseball bat for years to come.  As we get ready to turn the calendar to June 1, another big name could be on the horizon and that's 3B Mike Moustakas who might have the highest ceiling of any hitting prospect in the Royals organization.  We all know about the arbitration clocks being delayed a year after June 1 and so the door is wide open for Moustakas to make his entrance.  It may not happen right away but look for him to be up no later than July 1.  Those in deep formats need to be proactive and make the pickup now as the competition will be fierce once he gets that expected move up the chain.

As always there are some other names to look at this week in Deep Looks so here they are in no certain order.  As always react first and ask questions later.

Kenley Jansen:  Jansen is my pick to end up with the most saves on the Dodgers this season and that's saying a lot since we already have dealt with Jonathan Broxton, Vicente Padilla, Hong-Chi Kup, and Matt Guerrier.  His ridiculously high K rate is perfect for the gig and so its only a matter of time before he settles into the position.

Michael Cuddyer:  Cuddyer is a guy who never seems to fulfill expectations but he has insane eligibility at four positions which plays well in all leagues.  He wont wow you in any one category but he is a proven producer on a modest level.

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FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ROCKIES SP JORGE DE LAROSA EXITS START WITH ELBOW SORENESS


Colorado Rockies SP Jorge De LaRosa was forced from his Tuesday start with left elbow soreness.  De LaRosa was starting against the Diamondbacks until being forced from the game and being replaced by Greg Reynolds.  He will be reevaluated either later today or tomorrow.

Analysis:  Almost count on De LaRosa going to the DL like with Matt Garza today.  De LaRosa has had trouble staying healthy the last two seasons and this continues the trend.  He has been the definition of inconsistent in his career but had looked like he found a bit of a groove this season.  Stay tuned. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CUBS PLACE SP MATT GARZA ON DL WITH ELBOW CONTUSION


The Chicago Cubs placed SP Matt Garza on the DL on Tuesday with a right elbow contusion.  The team originally believed Garza would miss only one start but they decided to play it safe with their top starter.  Randy Wells will take his place in the rotation.

Analysis:  Tough break for Garza owners who were benefitting from a major strikeout spike this season.  Garza was actually pitching better than his actual numbers due to bad luck but now you have to do without for a bit.  Hope its nothing long term as elbows are never a good injury for a starter to have.

FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED FIRST BASEMAN RANKINGS


We continue along with the weekly look at the updated fantasy baseball rankings from around the diamond and today its the first baseman who go under the lights.  Lets see where they currently stand.

1.  Albert Pujols
2.  Adrian Gonzalez
3.  Miguel Cabrera
4.  Joey Votto
5.  Mark Texeira
6.  Prince Fielder
7.  Paul Konerko
8.  Ryan Howard
9.  Kevin Youkilis
10. Lance Berkman
11. Ike Davis
12. Gaby Sanchez
13. Adam Lind
14. Billy Butler
15. Justin Morneau

-Adrian Gonzalez has become the monster we all thought he would be over the last month and there is nothing stopping him from winning the AL MVP award.  Its not out of the question to see a 40 HR, 125 RBI season which would have been unthinkable after finding only one home run next to his name at the end of April.
-Pujols still gets the top spot by as he deserves the longest leash possible to turn things around.  Honestly though he hasn't been anything like the best hitter in the game like he has been for the past decade-plus.  Everyone is due for an off year at some point and maybe that's this year for Prince Albert.
-Both Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera are hitting .300-plus and driving in runs.  Both guys though have been quiet as far as the long ball is concerned and truth be told have disappointed their owners some.  Don't worry one bit as both guys should have the numbers by seasons end.
-Mark Texeira has been very impressive with the long ball but his average has been shaky for the second time in two years.  Maybe the ballpark is causing him to swing for the fences too much but you cant argue with the power numbers.
-Adam Dunn has been a complete bust and Lance Berkman a complete revelation.  Honestly I would trade the latter for the former despite the regression that should arrive for the Big Puma.  Hitting behind Holliday and Pujols guarantees him good pitches to hit all season.
-Paul Konerko continues to do his thing at the age of 35 and at a very high level.  Never doubt the man.
-Ryan Howard's bat looked really slow over the last two weeks.  He is not hurt but his average is scary.  Whispers continue to be heard about how he is slowly declining since guys with his body type tend to fall out quicker than others.

That's how I see it.  As always I welcome your responses.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY


It was a light day in the fantasy baseball world Monday but Corey Hart brought the heavy lumber as he went all Jose Bautista in his team's win over the Nationals.  Hart cracked three home runs on the night with 7 RBI.  Hart was pretty useless since coming back from his oblique strain but this gets him back on track.  Unfortunately many fantasy baseball owners failed to benefit from this as his ass was nailed to the bench due to how bad he was.  Sorry. 

Here is what else caught my attention Monday in fantasy baseball.

Adrubal Cabrera:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .312.  This is just getting silly now.  I am starting to think Hanley Ramirez and Cabrera have switched bodies.

Carl Crawford:  2/4 with his 2nd HR while hitting .215.  Yeah that can be called progress for Crawford this season. 

Jay Bruce:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .282.  Dont look now but Bruce is hitting for a decent average to go with all that pop. 

Jimmy Rollins:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .266.  I like to think that the actual players get motivation for when I rip into them.  Your welcome Rollins owners.

Placido Polanco:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .339.  Could you imagine how awesome a fantasy baseball player Polanco would be if he had 25 homer pop to go with that great yearly average?

Evan Longoria:  0/2 while hitting .221.  What?  Oh yeah.....wait What??? 

Jeremy Hellickson:  6.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.14.  Hellickson was ragged tonight but overall he has turned a profit.  I would still sell if I could as fatigue will become factor later on.

Jose Bautista:  1/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .353.  On and on it goes.......

JP Arencibia:  2/4 with 4 RBI while hitting .252.  I am loving me some JP.

Bartolo Colon:  6 ER in 6 IP with 7 K with an ERA of 3.77  One of those good (K's) and bad starts (WHIP, ERA) in one outing.  Sell his fat ass if he throws well the next time out.

Matt Kemp:  1/4 with his 11th HR and 13th SB while hitting .312.  The power/speed special.  Nothing is sweeter to see in a fantasy baseball hitting boxscore.

Kenley Jansen:  3 ER in .2 IP and blown save.  Yeah that didnt go so well.  Cut up Matt Guerrier again.  (Sigh)

Adam Dunn:  0/4 while hitting .189.  At this point you couldnt get Colon for him.

Josh Hamilton:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .349.  Great first game back for Josh who hit a helluva shot.  Yeah wrong choice of words at the end of that last sentence.

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .220.  Both Cruz and Hamilton went yard their first games back.  At this point the White Sox are considering placing Dunn on the 7-day DL so that he can try to emulate this upon his return and get his dormant bat going.  And since that 7-day DL is for concussions, they can claim that Dunn has been playin in a fog all season and thus get away with it.

Alexi Ogando:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.81.  Just stab me in the eyes with this.  His XFIP is still almost 4.00 people.  Trust me the regression will come.

Mike Morse:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .267.  Remember when we all ran out ot grab him after he his 17893 home runs in the spring? 

Prince Fielder:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .282.  Fielder is one guy I have traded for that has paid off so far. 

Yovani Gallardo:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.35.  The numbers are still ugly overall but they are less ugly now than they were.

Jim Thome:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .237.  He was useful last season but pretty much being a Twin makes him garbage by default this season as far as hitting is concerned.

Matt Capps:  4th blown save with 1 ER in 1.2 IP.  Joe Nathan also gave up a run and so this is a full blown mess.  Glen Perkins is pitching the best out of this bullpen but I have no clue what Gardenhire will do here.  Throw a dart at the names.

Jered Weaver:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.35.  I still dont like the way Weaver is throwing since those complete games he threw back-to-back early on.  His fastball seems to have lost some zip as evidenced by a dip in K's.  Just saying.

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .268.  Pujols finally got a hold of one.  Wow I cant believe I just typed those words.  Strange season for sure.

Monday, May 23, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: DODGERS OUTFIELDER ANDRE ETHIER (BACK, ELBOW, TOE) OUT OF MONDAY'S LINEUP


Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is out of Monday's lineup due to injuries suffered while smacking into the wall on Sunday.  Ethier has a sore elbow, toe, and back so its not a surprise he will be on the bench.  No word on how long he will in fact be out.

Analysis:  I dont think Ethier will land on the DL but I also think he could sit a few days.  The power has been surprisingly light from a guy hitting for such a high average but Ethier has proven himself to be an upper tier fantasy baseball bat.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BRAVES PLACE OUTFIELDER JASON HEYWARD ON DL


The Atlanta Braves finally gave in and placed outfielder Jason Heyward on the DL late Sunday due to recurring soreness in his shoulder.  Heyward has been dealing with pain in the shoulder going back to the spring and so a rest is in order to try to get things right.  He received a cortisone shot this past week and an MRI revealed rotator cuff inflammation. 

Analysis:  Its been an awful season so far for Heyward with a .214 average being a glaring showcase of this.  His name value far outpaced his actualy value this spring so those who took the plunge likely did so way too early than he should have been picked.  Hope its only 15 days and not more.  Heyward needs to get back as soon as possible in order to salvage something of this terrible season.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: REDS DEMOTE SP EDINSON VOLQUEZ


The Cincinatti Reds sent struggling SP Edinson Volquez to the minors on Monday as his hideous performance this season gave the team no choice.  Volquez has been a mess since coming back from Tommy John surgery last season and its been highlighted with a lack of control. 

Analysis:  Volquez was a curiosity that needed to be monitored heading into the fantasy baseball season but obviously he has been nothing but a bust.  The strikeouts are always interesting but the rest of the package is terrible.  He will be back later in the season but dont go here unless he shows some improvement in his horrid walk rate.

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: LOOK FOR KENLEY JANSEN TO TAKE OVER NINTH FOR DODGERS


Another Fantasy Baseball Closing Time is upon us so lets get to the latest news in the ninth inning across the majors.

-The Dodgers bullpen has been a mess all season with a hat trick of relievers/closers landing on the DL in Jonathan Broxton, Vicente Padilla, and Hong-Chi Kuo.  That left Matt Guerrier as the fourth string closer and he successfully completed his first save opportunity.  Unfortunately the good times didn't last as Guerrier was bailed out Friday night when he was only able to get one out with Mike MacDougal completing things for the save.  This was on the heels of two scoreless and dominant innings by Kenley Jansen.  Jsnsen has been unhittable the last month of he season after going through some April struggles and his insane 15.00 K/IP ratio is incredible.  That type of strikeout ability is perfect for the ninth inning and so I wouldn't be surprised if Jansen is the man to get the call when another save presents itself.  Think of this situation as the new St. Louis Cardinals.

-A's closer Andrew Bailey has begun his rehab assignment and he figures to stay on the farm for the next week plus.  Bailey will take his closer job back as soon as he is activated so Brian Fuentes owners will only have one more week of usage to enjoy.

-The Twins bullpen has been very shaky lately as Matt Capps is coming off his third blown save of the season on Saturday.  Unfortunately Joe Nathan also gave up a run that night as well as so a change is not likely to take place for the time being.  I still believe that Nathan will get the job back at some point but he has to start putting together some more scoreless outings in a row before that can happen.

-Blue Jays RP Octavio Dotel got the save on Saturday night for the Jays which got some notice around the fantasy baseball community.  Jon Rauch pitched in a setup role again and Frank Francisco was not seen.  Rauch and Francisco have been terrible lately so the door could be ajar for Dotel to gain some traction in the ninth inning.  Ultimately Francisco should get the next chance since he likely just got a day off Saturday after pitching a bunch lately but that outing could go a long way to determining whether Dotel moves in.  After all Dotel was originally signed to be the team's closer for keep an eye here.

That's all for now.  As always stay tuned for the latest closer changes as reported here as they happen.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY



Curtis Granderson:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .263.  Every time I look at Granderson's box score's, I flash back to the 2010 version of Jose Bautista. 

Alex Rodriguez:  4/5 while hitting .284.  Yeah I would say the hip is just fine.  You all know this is a diminshed AROD somewhat but the guy can still hit with the best of them this season.

Mike Pelfrey:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 5.37.  I havent mentioned Pelfrey much so I figured I would check in.  Yeah he still sucks.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .335.  The home runs have been a little light this season but I will try another Adrian Gonzalez prediction and say he hit 10 the next month starting now.

Jay Bruce:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .271.  Bruce Almighty has been pretty mighty this season.  A dying breed of pure slugger.

Michael Brantley:  2/4 with his 6th SB while hitting .296.  Brantley owners were delighted with the news that Grady Sizemore might not return when eligible.  I would surely like to see where this goes. 

Asdrubal Cabrera:  5/5 with 2 home runs (9 for season) and his 6th SB while hitting .302.  I will go on record in saying I was wrong about Cabrera being a fluke with the power earlier this season.  What crazy is that you can say he has been the best overall shortstop in fantasy baseball this season.

Hunter Pence:  2/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .295.  Look up underappreciated fantasy baseball hitter and there lies a glossy photo of Mr. Pence.

JP Arencibia:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .244.  I am officially on board with this slugger as I clicked the ADD button today.  I kept Matt Wieters on the roster since I am no sure Arencibia will play everyday but you cant ignore the power this guy has.

James Shields:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Could you imagine if I said in the spring that James Shields and Michael Pineda would be the front runners for the Cy Young this season in the AL?  Yeah that might have lent a little more credence at the time to yesterday's false apocalypse. 

Vladimir Guerrero:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .309.  The old man can still hit a bit and the fact the team allows him to use a wheelchair to get around the bases certainly helps out some.

Jordan Zimmerman:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.98.  I wrote a post last week about how Zimmerman is a good BUY LOW candidate.  Yeah it still applies so go make the move here.

Jimmy Rollins:  0/4 while hitting .262.  Rollins didnt want Ryan Howard to feel lonely in the hitting suckhouse.

Jhonny Peralta:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .295.  He is hitting so play him.  Sometimes this game is that easy.

Rick Porcello:  8 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.08.  Porcello cant strike you out but he is starting to make good on his pedigree.  Not for use in innings capped leagues however.

Ubaldo Jimenez:  8 IP 2 H 2 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.44 What a difference a year makes as Jimenez has zero wins and is a mess with his control.  I still think he makes a good BUY low guy.

Alexei Ramirez:  4/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .288.  Ramirez is going to really take off in the next few months as always so be sure you have him in there.  Now if he can only help out brother by another mother Hanley figure out his issues.

Alex Gordon:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .280.  Gordon is still hitting leadoff for what its worth and it was a nice game.  He still needs to show he is nothing more than a stopgap.

Jeff Francoeur:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .282.  Francoeur is getting closer and closer to his standard mediocre average.  Again if you just wait things out, the stats will usually settle where they should be.  Unless your name is Jose Bautista.

Dan Uggla:  0/4 while hitting .185.  How long can you go is Uggla's favorite game.

Torii Hunter:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .231.  Hunter is on fumes right now so its nice to see a glimpse of the past here.

Delmon Young:  2/4 with his first HR.  Yeah took long enough.

Francisco Liriano:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.73.  Once again we are reminded about hwo the guy can drive you nuts.  If you get a semi-decent offer for the guy than cut bait.

Daniel Hudson:  8 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.82.  Hudson has done exactly what I thought he would once his BABIP got back to normal.  I hope you listened when I told you to pick him up.

Eric Hosmer:  0/5 while hitting .288.  Yeah momma said there would be days like this.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARDS OUTFIELDER MATT HOLLIDAY REAGGRAVATES QUAD STRAIN


St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday was forced out of Sunday's game after apparently reaggravating the quad strain that he suffered early last week.  Holliday likely hurt it while legging out an RBI fielder's choice and stayed in game initially.  Holliday however failed to come out of the dugout the next inning and he will likely be reevaluated tomorrow.  A DL stint is not out of the question.

Analysis:  Holliday could very well go to the DL for this as clearly the issue wasnt completely cleared up.  This would mark the second DL stint so far for Holliday this season and it has interrupted what is looking like a big time fantasy baseball campaign.  Stay tuned. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: DODGERS ACTIVATE SS RAFAEL FURCAL


The Los Angeles Dodgers have activated SS Rafael Furcal on Sunday.  Furcal has mised most of the season with a hip flexor strain but his solid performance in the minors convinced the team he is ready to go. 

Analysis:  Good news for those who waited out the injury with Furcal.  The guy is older but he was productive last season when in the lineup and he figures to do the same this season.  Since shortstop is so shallow, he no doubt has his place in lineups in all formats.

FANTASY BASEBALL IN-SEASON UPDATED CATCHER RANKINGS: A SECOND LOOK


Its been a few weeks since we took a look at the updated fantasy baseball catcher rankings.  So without delay here is how this underachieving group shapes up. 

1.  Victor Martinez
2.  Buster Posey
3.  Brian McCann
4.  Carlos Santana
5.  Joe Mauer
6.  Russell Martin
7.  Matt Wieters
8.  Miguel Montero
9.  Alex Avila
10. JP Arencibia
11. Mike Napoli
12. Chris Iannetta
13. John Buck
14. Jorge Posada
15. Ramon Hernandez
16. Geovany Soto

-Victor Martinez is the clear top dog at the catching spot this season as he has combined solid power with a plus .300 batting average.  Looking at the overall numbers, you might not be that impressed but at catcher this is as good as it gets.
-Buster Posey is looking more like the catcher I thought he would be than the guy who took the league by storm last season.  The power he showed last season was a bit flukish to me due to the very high fly ball rate he had and when you combine his struggles at home, seeing a drop in his digits shouldnt be much of a surprise. 
-Brian McCann is driving in a ton of runs but that 30 homer season we all thought was possible is simply not going to ever occur.  It seems like he has not had a high amount of big impact games but McCann has been out there everyday which you cant say about a lot of these guys on the list.
-Joe Mauer continues his free fall down the rankings as there is no sign of when he will be getting back into the lineup.  His bilateral leg weakness continues to be an issue and so the overall value will continue to drop the longer he is out.
-Carlos Santana has had a major issue with the batting average but the power has been really solid.  The average will come around as Santana is much too good a hitter to allow it to hover where its at so now would be a good time to try and buy him low.
-Few are talking about how good Matt Wieters has been over the last month.  His average is nearly .280 and he is driving in a nice bit of runs.  The growth is very clear here and if it continues, further movement up the list will be a given.
-The Russell Martin comeback story continues as he cracked another home run on Saturday night.  At this point you cant say that its not legit. 
-Miguel Montero has been slumping a bit after a hot beginning to the season but overall he has given what was expected.  He will not be a star but his overall solid play will be a boost to your roster all season.

Thats how I see it.  Lets hear what you think.  Post below.