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Monday, April 30, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RAYS 3B EVAN LONGORIA SUFFERS APPARENT KNEE INJURY

Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria suffered an apparent knee injury while sliding into second base on a steal attempt Monday night.  Longoria walked off the field in quite a bit of pain immediately and headed to the clubhouse for testing. 

Analysis:  It is officially hold your breath time if you are a Longoria fantasy baseball owner.  No word yet on the severity but it didn't look good to begin with.

FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED FIRST BASEMAN RANKINGS

With the season completely underway, let's take a closer look at the updated first baseman rankings where there has been quite a bit of movement since the season began.

Time to once again check out the updated 2012 fantasy baseball first baseman rankings with the season just a few days away.

1. Miguel Cabrera

2. Albert Pujols

3. Adrian Gonzalez

4. Joey Votto

5. Prince Fielder

6. Mark Texeira

7. Paul Konerko

8. Billy Butler

9. Eric Hosmer

10. Pablo Sandoval

11. Mike Napoli

12. Edwin Encarnacion

13. Nick Swisher

14. Mark Trumbo

15. Justin Morneau

16. Freddie Freeman

17. Adam Dunn

18. Kevin Youkilis

19. Mike Morse

20. Kendrys Morales


-Flat out Albert Pujols has been a colossal bust for his fantasy baseball owners, no matter how much you want to say to be patient.  To go the entire month of April with a goose egg in home runs after inking that ridiculous contract is downright insane.  Obviously he is much too good a hitter to struggle like this much longer but the fact of the matter is that it is a pipe dream to expect Pujols to go near 40 home runs.  If he goes a few more weeks with a power outage, he could struggle to get to even 30.
-This could be the year that Billy Butler finally gets to the 25 home runs mark as he already has 5 to go with 16 RBI.  We all know that Butler is a lock to hit .300 and is a solid bet for 90-100 RBI which no doubt has tremendous value.  However if he can in fact reach 25 home runs, than Butler takes another decent step up in value.  So far so good.
-Kendrys Morales has not had the impact that most of his fantasy baseball owners expected with only 1 home runs but we need to be patient here.  This is a guy who hasn't played in a year and a half and so far he actually has not been awful with a decent batting average.  Hold the fort as 20 home runs is still very possible.
-Eric Hosmer has been just pathetic this season from a batting average standpoint.  Yes he is dealing with an unlucky BABIP and has hit for decent power but there is no way you as an owners expected him to be where he is right now from a stat perspective.  Ultimately you can't sell low on the guy so ride it out.  Hosmer is too good a pure hitter to stay this bad for much longer.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BRAVES OUTFIELDER JASON HEYWARD SCRATCHED MONDAY WITH SIDE SORENESS

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward has been scratched from Monday's game due to feeling some soreness in his right side.  Heyward says the pain is not severe and that he anticipates being out only a few days.

Analysis:  Heyward has been no stranger to injuries since coming into the league but this doesn't seem like such a big deal at this point.  He has been a very good fantasy baseball asset to this point after letting his owners down in 2011, with his 8 stolen bases being the biggest boost.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES OUTFIELDER NICK SWISHER OUT UNTIL FRIDAY WITH HAMSTRING STRAIN

New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher is slated to sit out games until Friday at the earliest due to the hamstring strain he suffered in Sunday's game.  Swisher hurt the hamstring while running to first base and immediately left the game for testing.  It has not been ruled out that he could wind up on the DL.

Analysis:  Its about 50/50 that Swisher will end up on the DL and so the fact he has not been placed on it yet is no cause to celebrate.  If he has not improved enough by even Wednesday, he could be officially placed on the list.  The real shame is that Swisher was off to a great start with six home runs and over 20 RBI.



FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: THINGS ARE A CHANGING IN CHICAGO/LOS ANGELES

Monday is here already and we have a ton to get to when it comes to Fantasy Baseball Closing Time.  Let's get right to it.

-The biggest news of the week was the quick hook that Los Angeles Angels closer Jordan Walden got from the ninth inning in favor of Scott Downs.  Walden of course didn't help himself by giving up a two-run game-winning home run last Thursday to blow the save and spike his ERA to over 8.00.  Walden has a history of shakiness in the job as he blew a league-leading 10 saves last season and despite having big time talent, he clearly is a work in progress.  The fact that the Angels spent a huge amount of money in the offseason and expect to be playing meaningful games well into October, its likely Mike Scoscia felt the pressure to put a more experienced veteran into such an important role.  Downs successfully converted his first chance on Saturday with a scoreless inning and he has been one of the best setup men in the league for years so he absolutely could run with the gig for awhile.  He is a must add if he somehow is still sitting on your league's waiver wire.  As far as Walden is concerned, don't drop him yet as word is he will pitch in the seventh and eighth innings in order to find his stuff and than be put back into the role.  While there is no guarantee of this, you have to hold him for awhile just in case.

-On the other side of town, the writing is clearly on the wall when it comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers and their closer carousel.  After a great start to the season, Javy Guerra has absolutely imploded the last week-plus, with a 3 ER blown save to go with another ugly outing where he gave up 1 ER in .2 IP Saturday to basically hand the job to Kenley Jansen.  Jansen actually pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his the save on Friday night after Guerra got the night off but this one is too easy.  Sunday brought another save as Guerra was apparently dealing with some foot issues.  Jansen had quite possibly the most explosive repertoire in the game when it comes to the bullpen and his 16.0 K/9 was the highest in baseball last season.  He has the classic closer look and will be one of the best in the game the rest of the way.

-Another ninth inning in flux is in Chicago as there is some confusion as to the current state of the White Sox' closer hierarchy.  Hector Santiago had pitched to an ERA over 8.00, with his last outing being a 3 ER/.1 IP meltdown last Thursday.  After the game manager Robin Ventura said Santiago was still his guy as he talked up his excellent K/BB rate and how he had been good in saving four games.  However since that Thursday outing Santiago hadn't pitched and Matt Thornton was called on to get the last four outs (which he did) in earning the save in Sunday's 4-1 win over Boston.  Thornton has been completely dominant all season and so it is now fair to question whether or not he is the guy going forward.  With Santiago fully rested, it was telling that Ventura kept Thornton in the game after getting an out in the eighth.  At this point it tells you that Thornton and not rookie Addison Reed is the correct handcuff to Santiago.  Pick up Thornton in all leagues if available as this situation could be turning out like what is going on with the Dodgers.

-Heath Bell had another epic meltdown this past week as he walked four New York Mets to blow his third save in four chances this season.  Bell has been just awful this season but we can't consider this a total shock after I pointed out this past winter how his velocity was noticeably down in 2011 and his K rate was sinking as well.  At 36 years old, Bell is clearly on the downside of his career and, never a fitness buff, his body could be betraying him.  The Marlins paid a fortune for their new closer so his leash is quite long but if you want to debate over who is next-in-line, it would be either Edward Mujica or Steve Cishek.  Cishek if a lefty but he has pitched great while Mujica has not been pitching great.  If you are a Bell owner, you have to keep putting him out there as saves are saves no matter how ugly it might be in collecting them.

-Sean Marshall looked very good in nailing down the save on Sunday which opens up some distance between he and fireballing Aroldis Chapman,  Dusty Baker is notorious for leaning on his veterans so Marshall has some more blown saves in him before he loses his gig.

-Things are not getting any better for New York Mets closer Frank Francisco who blew yet another save Sunday in giving up a game-trying home run to Carlos Gonzalez, which followed a shaky save conversion the night before when he gave up an earned run.  Jon Rauch, who had been unblemished prior to Sunday's game, gave up three earned runs in the eighth inning which means Terry Collins may not make the move just yet but if anyone could come out of this chaos with the job, it could be Bobby Parnell.  Yes the same Bobby Parnell who pitched horrible in a closer trial at the end of last season.  Parnell has been a different pitcher in 2012 with a very high K rate to go with very good stuff.  Francisco was on my short list as one of the first closer's to lose his job this season and he is making good on that prediction to this point.  Either way this is one big mess that needs to be sorted out soon. 

That's all for now.  As always check back for more closer news as it takes place.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS CLOSE TO NAMING KENLEY JANSEN CLOSER

Apparently Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has seen enough as reports indicate he will name Kenley Jansen closer over the struggling Javy Guerra.  Guerra gave up another earned run in only .2 IP Saturday night which came on the heels of an ugly blown save Thursday when he gave up 3 earned runs in .1 IP.  Meanwhile fireballing Kenley Jansen earned the save with a scoreless ninth on Friday night and his extreme K rate is perfectly suited for the role.

Analysis:  Not a surprise as I named Guerra as a prime bust candidate going back to the winter.  Jansen is a strikeout machine and will be a tremendous stopper going forward.  Check your waiver wire immedately.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Dan Haren:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.34.  Consider the BUY LOW door slammed completely shut.  It was foolish for any of us to even think something was wrong with Haren physically after his first two ugly starts.  Lesson learned as far as ever doubting this annual stud pitcher.

Scott Downs:  scoreless ninth for his first save.  Downs looked real good in his first save chance since replacing Jordan Walden.  Its not out of the realm of possibility that Downs can run with the gig as long as he is converting saves.  Hold onto Walden for a little bit longer though.

Aramis Ramirez:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .227.  One of my favorite annual fantasy baseball traditions is searching out the ARAM owner in my league and making a lowball offer as he is always gets off to slow starts.  It would be wise if you did the same.

David Freese:  1/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .343.  Freese has now gone an entire month tormenting me after calling him a 2012 bust candidate.  MERCY!

Carlos Beltran:  0/3 while hitting .253.  The SELL HIGH window is closing real quick.

Yadier Molina:  4/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .324.  Molina has been the rare catcher who continues to get better the older he gets.  The classic case of waiting on drafting a catcher and than scooping up this All Star real late.

Kyle Lohse:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 4 BB 2 K with an ERA of 1.62.  Lohse is now 4-0 but the good times are about to end as the calendar flips to May.  Lohse's splits are incredibly stark when it comes to the fact he is Sandy Koufax in April and than Miguel Batista from May-September.  This start is already heading into that direction as he really wasn't that good despite only three runs given up.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .300.  To think how laughable it is that there was even a debate between Cabrera and a certain so-far high-priced hitting bust out there in Los Angeles when it came to who should be picked first in drafts.

Nick Swisher:  2/4 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .288.  Figures that I just cut Swisher the day before.  In fact I can almost guarantee you that the hitters I cut will automatically hit a home runs (and maybe two) the very next day.  It's like they are collectively saying "how dare you cut me and take this shizzz."

Curtis Granderson:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .269.  Don't understand why Joe Girardi has Grandy in the sixth spot against lefties.  Did he pay any attention how he used lefties as a batting tee last season? 

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/3 with is sixth HR and 5 RBI while hitting .302.  Encarnacion is a guy I have been infatuated with for years while everyone asked me "why?"  Here you go.

Brandon Morrow:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.03.  Morrow continues to be a fantasy baseball puzzle as his strikeouts were left behind in spring training until this start where he was purely dominant.  By now the book is getting clear on Morrow as a guy you absolutely start at home but play the matchups on the road.

Jay Bruce:  2/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .295.  If only we could just bottle up Bruce's current .295 average and lock it in for the rest of the season.  And on the heels of the mockery that was the Miguel Cabrera-Albert Pujols debate, how is that Bruce-Giancarlo Stanton argument looking?

Chris Davis:  3/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .313.  Yeah David is killing it right now but I can't get past the fact that the power-hitting-loving Texas Rangers decided to dump his ass for a song last season.

Shane Victorino:  1/4 with his 7th SB while hitting .241.  Victorino now has four home runs to go with seven steals but the average is ugly.  He has been real good despite turning 32 years old this season.  Ultimately the average is due to Victorino's increasing fly ball rate as he ages but the wheels are still in fine working order.

Erik Bedard:  5 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.48.  As soon as Bedard signed with the Pirates, he once again screamed out "sleeper" like when he was with Seattle.  Bedard has annually been one of the best back end starters in baseball when his arm is in one piece and he is not calling the Boston Red Sox home.  Keep using him.

Jake Peavy:  9 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.67.  I am tickled pink with how awesome Peavy has started out for me this season but is Robin Ventura kidding with having him throw 9 innings each of his last two starts?  Has he seen Peavy's medical history? 

Jon Lester:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.65.  It was all so ridiculous the hysteria that some fantasy baseball owners had with regards to Lester.  Like with CC Sabbathia, April is his kryptonite and so good times are ahead.

Alfredo Aceves:  scoreless ninth for his fifth save.  Aceves still has a 12.00 ERA but he has converted

Anibal Sanchez:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 2 BB 14 K with an ERA of 2.73.  Damn this guy was dealing.  Sanchez is fully capable of outings like this when it comes to strikeouts but keep in mind he is another guy to tails off dramatically the second half of the season.  In fact I would try to trade him now as his price will never be higher and he also in an injury risk.

Matt Joyce:  1/3 with his fifth HR while hitting .323.  I am not doing cartwheels over Joyce's nice start due to the fact he is as big a liability as you can get against lefties.  I hate owning guys like that because than you have to check the opposing pitcher each day and bench him for 25 percent of the game which puts stress on your bench.  There is no doubt Joyce has big time power but he strikes out a bunch which means the average is headed for a fall as well.

Josh Hamilton:  2/3 with his 2nd SB while hitting .388.  There is something doubly exciting about seeing supreme home run slugging Hamilton stealing some bases as well.  Next up Hamilton will be coming in to close out the next Rangers save opportunity. 

Nelson Cruz:  0/4 while hitting .235.  As much as I have loved Nelson Cruz over the years, it was mostly based on potential.  I don't like the finished product that Cruz has become due to massive leg injuries taking out a chunk of his stats each season to go along with his sixth spot in the order (which further takes a bite out of his counting stats since he loses plate appearances.  Cruz also doesn't run much anymore and his high K rate makes his average a liability.  Yeah lots of negatives there for a guy who was a top outfielder selection.

Anthony Bass:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.30.  Ahhh the beauty of being a pitcher who calls Petco Park home.  Bass has sneaky good strikeout stuff (7, 7, and 8 K's his last three starts) but despite not issuing any in this start, walks are a huge problem ordinarily.  Stream him when he is at home and reevaluate in two more weeks.

Tim Lincecum:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 5.74.  Finally a good start for Lincecum which was his first of the season with May coming up quick.  Ultimately I think Lincecum will be just fine because we haven't seen anything in the past to concern us but we are not completely out of the woods yet as far as saying he is 100 percent back.

Matt Kemp:  1/4 with his 11th HR and 2nd SB while hitting .442.  The hit and run special was one for Mr. Kemp here as he continues to open up the field between himself and the rest of baseball.

Bryce Harper:  1/3 with 1 RBI in his debut.  What a joke.  I can't believe he didn't hit three home runs at least.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: BRYCE HARPER AND MIKE TROUT

It was just about as big a fantasy baseball prospect day ever on Friday as the word came out that not just top hitting prospect Bryce Harper would be called up by the Washington Nationals but that he would be joined by consensus number 2 Mike Trout who was to be brought up by the Los Angeles Angels as well.  Both of these wunderkinds are labeled as "can't miss" and both will have immediate fantasy baseball value for as long as they are up.  What's always great about prospects who come up during the season is the fact that they are lottery tickets who you could hit the jackpot on like when Ryan Braun came up his rookie year and proceeded to hit like an immediate MVP.  While Harper and Trout will likely not produce in that extreme manner right out of the gate, both have unmeasurable ceiling that could yield scary numbers real soon.  So without further delay let's take a look at what we could expect from each the rest of the season. 

Bryce Harper:  What is interesting about the Harper call-up is the fact that right now he is not hitting much at all at Triple-A with only a .250 average.  At only 19 years old, Harper is still just a kid and will go through some extended slumps as he gets himself acclimated to major league pitching.  A good comparison is to Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward and his rookie output of 18 home runs and 11 stolen bases with a .277 average.  Harper has extreme power so he might be able to get to the 20 home run and he has a nice batch of speed which will result in some steals as well but you can't expect the blockbuster numbers just yet.  In fact in non-keeper leagues, the best course of action is to offer Harper up for trade immediately if you are an owner.  It is possible his value will never be higher than it is right now before he even plays a game and his the pop that comes attached to his name will have some other owners wanting to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the kid.  In keeper formats obviously he is as precious a commodity as you can get so don't even think of doing anything but holding him onto your squad the rest of the way.

PROJECTION:  .278 19 HR 73 RBI 70 R 10 SB

Mike Trout:  Unlike with Harper, Mike Trout comes up to the majors on fire as he was hitting an absurd .403 at Triple-A and he also had a cup of coffee stint with the Angels at the end of last season when he hit .220 with 5 home runs and 4 stolen bases in only 123 at-bats.  Trout can do it all on the baseball field and some have even suggested that he could even wind up the better player than Harper.  While he doesn't have the raw power that Harper has, Trout can run like the wind and thus steal a boatload of bases to go with his very solid pop.  With Trout's ability to contribute in all five ROTO categories, he actually could wind up being the more valuable fantasy baseball commodity the rest of the 2012 season.  I have compared him many times to Bobby Abreu, who ironically was just released on the same day Trout was brought up, and ultimately its Trout's knack for hitting home runs while also stealing bases that makes them similar.  This is going to be exciting to say the least.

PROJECTION:  .272 17 HR 65 RBI 79 R 23 SB

Friday, April 27, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ANGELS CALL UP OUTFIELDER MIKE TROUT

Following on the heels of the promotion of Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper earlier in the day, the Los Angeles Angels will call up Mike Trout to start Saturday's game.  Earlier the Angels released Bobby Abreu which opens up a spot for Trout to play starting this weekend.

Analysis:  What a day for prospect promotion.  It used to be that June 1 was when all the top guys on the farm would get promoted but not this season.  Trout is right behind Harper in the top prospects in all of baseball rankings and he profiles as the next man he just replaced in Abreu.  Pick him up pronto.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATS SP BRAD LIDGE TO THE DL WITH ABDOMINAL STRAIN

Washington Nationals co-closer Brad Lidge will be placed on the DL Friday with an abdominal strain which will place Henry Rodriguez solely in the stopper role.  Lidge had been complaining about soreness in his abodminal region and the pain did not subside in the days since. 

Analysis:  Rodriguez now has the closer's role all to his own and he has been very good so far this season.  He tends to walk too many batters but the opportunity is there for him to run with the role until Drew Storen gets back.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATIONALS TO PLACE 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN ON THE DL SATURDAY WITH SHOULDER

Updating an earlier item, the Washington Nationals will officially place 3B Ryan Zimmerman on the DL Saturday with an injured shoulder.  Zimmerman has missed almost a week of games since coming down with soreness in his shoulder and he also went to see a specialist where the results are not known yet.

Analysis:  On and on it goes with Zimmerman who just can't ever stay on the field to realize his vast potential.  He obviously has to be stored on the DL but either way the guy continues to slip in the eyes of fantasy baseball owners everywhere.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ANGELS REMOVE JORDAN WALDEN FROM CLOSER'S ROLE TEMPORARILY, SCOTT DOWNS MOVES INTO THE GIG

The Anaheim Angels have removed closer Jordan Walden from the closer's role on Friday and promoted Scott Downs to the hot seat.  Walden lost the job after blowing the save Thursday in giving up 2 ER without getting an out which increased his ERA to over 8.00.  He will pitch in the seventh and eighth inning until he straightens himself out.

Analysis:  Not a surprise as Walden has not been very good to say the least and that goes back to last season when he was at the top of the league in blown saves.  He has all the talent to be a very good closer but he is still learning and the Angels have plans to be in the World Series hunt.  Downs is a very good pitcher but he is anything but a given. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NATS TO CALL UP BRYCE HARPER FOR SATURDAY

The Washington Nationals can't wait any longer as they will call up super outfield prospect Bryce Harper from the minors and have him start Saturday's game.  After the news that Ryan Zimmerman will be placed on the DL, the Nationals moved quickly to fill the void.  He will not be able to delay his service time for another season since he is coming up before June. 

Analysis:  Here we go!  Harper is widely regarded as one of the best hitting prospects to ever come down the pike and he should be added in all leagues if available.  He will be a must see attraction and could very well be a very good fantasy baseball bat the rest of the season.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX OUTFIELDER CARL CRAWFORD LIKELY OUT UNTIL ALL STAR BREAK WITH INFLAMMED UCL IN ELBOW

Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is now likely out until the All Star break with irritation in the UCL of his elbow.  Crawford has not played in 2012 due to recovering from offseason wrist surgery but than he went out and hurt his elbow while rehabbing the wrist.  No surgery is being advised at this point but Crawford will be shut down for at least a month and than slowly make his way back.

Analysis:  Boy is this guy a joke.  Only a season into his ridiculous 7-year contract, Crawford is already in the running as one of the biggest free agent busts in MLB history.  As far as fantasy baseball is concerned, I wouldn't even blame you if you cut him loose.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATIONALS 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN LIKELY HEADED TO DL WITH SHOULDER

Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman is likely to go on the DL with continued problems with his injured shoulder.  Zimmerman is heading to see a specialist in order to determine what exactly is going on with his shoulder and he hasn't played in almost a week. 

Analysis:  Here we go again with Zimmerman who annually is one of the most disappointing yet skilled players in the game.  This is further proof that he can't be counted on as a high draft pick going forward as he can't stay on the field.

2012 NFL DRAFT ROUND 1 ANALYSIS

The Fantasy Sports Boss was represented at the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall as our own fantasy football writer Randy Richutta was granted a media credential in filing reports on all of the action.  Without further delay here is the breakdown of round 1 and reactions to each selection:

1.  Indianapolis-Andrew Luck QB Stanford:  No-brainer pick of the century, Luck is a superstar in waiting who will be the next Peyton Manning real soon. 

2.  Washington Redskins-Robert Griffin III:  Griffin has all the natural athletic ability you could want but there are questions on his mechanics and whether he can operate under center.  However those were the same issues surrounding Cam Newton and we all know how that ended up. 

3.  Cleveland Browns-Trent Richardson RB Alabama:  The Browns panicked and foolishly traded up a spot when the Vikings were going to take Ryan Kalil all along but either way they get the guy many compare to Adrian Peterson.  Richardson can run and catch the football and will be the workhorse back for the Browns from Week 1 which means he has immense fantasy football value for the coming season.

4.  Minnesota Vikings-Ryan Kalil OT Southern Cal.:  Thought maybe they would go with CB Morris Claiborne since both Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall are in the division but Kalil is a tremendous blocker who will be their offensive line anchor for the next decade.

5.  Jacksonville Jaguars-Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma State:  Boy did the Rams get screwed here as they were all set to pick Blackmon until the Jags traded up to grab the big-play receiver.  Blackmom is more polished that former OSU WR Dez Bryant when coming out and will be a big time weapon right out of the gate. 

6.  Dallas Cowboys-Morris Clairborne CB LSU:  Once again Jerry Jones trades his first round pick to move up and he gets the guy he to fill their biggest need which is the secondary.  Claiborne in my opinion was the third best player in the draft behind the two QB's and will be a stud for years.

7.  Tampa Bay Buc;s-Mark Barron S Alabama:  Barron is a huge hitter and ball hawk who will be a tremendous force in the Tampa Bay secondary.  With Ronde Barber retiring after 2012, Barron was a must add.

8.  Miami Dolphins-Ryan Tannehill QB Texas A @ M:  Obvious pick since Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was his head coach at A @ M.  I think there is major bust potential with Tannehill as he made a ton of bone-headed throws last season when plays broke down.  He is a project who shouldnt get on the field for at least one season and maybe two. 

9.  Carolina Panthers-Luke Kuechly LB Boston College:  A bit surprised they didn't take Fletcher Cox but I love Kuechly who re-wrote the record books for tackles in college.  The next Brian Urlacher will go a long way toward improving the awful Panthers defense.

10. Buffalo Bills-Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina:  A do-over pick for the Bills after Leodis McKelvin went bust and Gilmore has the skills to be a top end corner.  South Carolina has produced some very nice defensive players the last few seasons and so Gilmore has a good chance to be very productive.

11. Kansas City Chiefs-Dontari Poe DT Memphis:  The biggest potential bust pick of the first round.  Poe was a workout and athletic freak while at the combine but the history of guys who did well there like Mike Mamula and Vernon Gholston went bust in a tremendous way once drafted.  For as athletic and big as Poe is, he still couldn't prevent Memphis from being one of the worst run defenses in college football last season which is a major problem.  The best chance to be this draft's Gholston.

12. Philadelphia Eagles-Fletcher Cox DT Mississippi State:  Andy Reid loves to build up both of his lines and he did real good here with Cox who should have been a top ten pick.  Big and stout, Cox will control the defensive line for the Birds.

13. Arizona Cardinals-Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame:  I didn't like this pick for the Cards despite the fact I really think Floyd could be a tremendous player.  The better fit was an offensive tackle like Riley Reiff since the passing offense has rough QB's John Skelton and Kevin Kolb under center.

14. St. Louis Rams-Michael Brockers DT LSU:  Once again the Rams got screwed as they just miss on getting Floyd and settle for Brockers who I am not high on.  For as big and supposedly athletic as Brockers is, he had only two sacks his entire college career.  Not good.  Also LSU has not done well with sending DT's to the NFL as high draft picks (Glenn Dorsey anyone????).

15. Seattle Seahawks Bruce Irvin DE West Virginia:  The absolute worst pick of the first round and one of the most surprising picks I have seen this high in years.  Irvin has MAJOR off-the-field issues that landed him in jail and than onto the JUCO

16.  New York Jets-Quinton Coples DE North Carolina:  There is a debate over Coples due to the fact he had a down 2011 season compared to 2010 as he went from 10 sacks to 7.  Despite having a reputation for taking plays off, I like this pick for the Jets as Coples could wind up being the best pass rusher in the draft.  John Abraham is a good comparison and Rex Ryan will get his head on straight.  Fills  major hole for the Jets.

17. Cincinnati Bengals-Dre' Kirkpatrick CB Alabama:  The Bengals had a big need here as Leon Hall had offseason surgery and Jonathan Joseph left before the 2011 campaign.  Kirkpatrick is not as athletic as Morris Claiborne or Stephon Gilmore and his height is an issue.  However he plays hard and was coached by Nick Saban which speaks well to his pedigree.

18. San Diego Chargers-Melvin Ingram LB South Carolina:  This was one of the best picks of the first round as Ingram is a top ten talent.  Yes his arms are a bit short but this guy is a big play waiting to happen who can play either end or OLB. 

19.  Chicago Bears-Shea McClellin LB Boise State:  Like with Ingram, McClellin can play either end or OLB.  Is a big time pass rusher who needs to work on stopping the run.  A lunc pail guy who will outwork everyone.

20. Tennessee Titans-Kendall Wright WR Baylor: Wright looks a lot better than he really is due to having RGIII as his QB.  Is not nearly athletic enough to be a WR 1.  Very good after the catch and has a nice set of hands but could have trouble getting off the line.

21. New England Patriots-Chandler Jones DE Syracuse:  Leave it to the Pats to get their hands on the fastest rising defensive player in the draft.  Jones is a bit raw but has natural pass rushing explosiveness that could have him a double-digit guy when it comes to sacks in a season or two.  Among the highest ceilings in the first round.

22. Cleveland Browns-Brandon Weedon QB Oklahoma State:  A major debate stock due to the fact he is turning 29 years old already which means he can't sit and watch for long like a Ryan Tannehill.  Put up video game numbers while throwing to Justin Blackmon and made all the throws.  Turnover prone however and his arm strength is a bit of question mark.  Should be better than Chris Weinke which is not saying much but the ceiling is really unknown.  Could go either way but his age makes him doubly risky.

23. Detroit Lions-Riley Reiff OT Iowa:  Brilliant pick as Reiff should have gone much higher.  Lions need to keep Matthew Stafford in one piece and Reiff will be their anchor for the next decade. 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers-David DeCastro OF Stanford:  If DeCastro was an offensive tackle, he would have been a top five pick.  He is an absolute mauler and has a big time mean streak.  Will finish all blocks and is almost impossible to beat one-on-one.  Will be the next Steve Hutchinson and thus be a perennial Pro Bowler.  On talent along is one of the top ten players in draft. 

25.  New England Patriots-Donta' Hightower LB Alabama:  Was the leading tackler on the best defense in the nation in Alabama.  Hightower has a high motor and can go sideline-to-sideline but his ceiling is a bit in question.  Was pushed around at time and didn't always show the best instincts.  Compares to London Fletcher as a guy who won't be a star but who can rack up big time tackle digits.

26. Houston Texas-Whitney Mercilus DE Illinois:  Has the best name in the draft and has potential to be a very good pass rusher.  Will need some coaching to get the most out of his ability but the Texans did a nice job in trying to fill the giant Mario Williams void this season.

27. Cincinnati Bengals-Kevin Zeitler OG Wisconsin:  Played on one of the best offensive lines in college football history.  Zeitler has a nasty disposition and big time strength that will not get him pushed off his block. 

28. Green Bay Packers-Nick Perry DE Southern Cal.:  Perry really broke out for the Trojans in 2011 to put his name toward the top of the defensive end class.  Is a better pass rusher than a run stopper but wasn't bad in the later area.  Fills a big time need for the Packers.

29. Minnesota Vikings-Harrison Smith S Notre Dame:  Reminds me of Eric Weddle as a big hitter whose smarts and instincts overcome natural athletic deficiencies.  Rose in drafts off a good combine and has a nose for the football.  Great leadership qualities.

30. San Francisco 49ers-AJ Jenkins WR Illinois:  Would have much preferred to see them take Stephen Hill or even Alshon Jeffrey who have higher draft grades but Jenkins was a late riser who has some untapped ceiling.  Coby Fleener though would have been the best pick of all to team with Vernon Davis in a two-TE attack like the Patriots perfected.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Doug Martin RB Boise State:  Broke the Giants' hearts who were all set to take the Ray Rice-clone until the Buc's pounced.  Will team with LeGarette Blount to give the Buc's a ridiculous offense.

32. New York Giants-David Wilson RB Virginia Tech:  This pick was a "settled" selection for the Giants after Doug Martin went off the board.  Thought Coby Fleener or even Jonathan Martin were better picks but GM Jerry Reese has earned the reputation of not being questioned for his picks.  Wilson is a Jamaal Charles type who has explosive speed and can take it to the house on any carry.  Is a sketchy receiver and fumbles a lot however.

So round 1 is in the books and we turn to rounds 2-3 Friday night.  Check back for more write-ups Saturday based on all the latest selections.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Santiago Casilla:  struck out the side for his second save.  I would venture to say there is nothing more to see here when it comes to the future closer of the Giants.  Wow was he awesome in this game.  Expect to see Sergio Romo's name among the most dropped today.

Angel Pagan:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .241.  I picked up Pagan in both of my Experts Leagues for Thursday since it was a light schedule.  Ka-Zam!  I only wish I played the lotto yesterday because if I did I think I would have been retiring as the Fantasy Sports Boss.  Which would have been bad news for all of you.....or good news depending on those who avoided drafting David Freese.

Jay Bruce:  3/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .268.  I can see this .268 average that Bruce currently has being his final number in that arena.  With 40 home runs to go with it.  Expect a Carlos Pena run (you know like 8 home runs in a week) at any moment.

Sean Marshall:  3 ER in 1 IP for the blown save.  Truth be told Marshall hasn't pitched all that well after being a top setup man the last two seasons.  I am starting to wonder if he has the stones for the gig.  Luckily for his owners, Dusty Baker will need to be tortured to replace the veteran Marshall with the green Aroldis Chapman.

Justin Smoak:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .197.  This is a very big season for Smoak to prove that he is more than a suck average/power hitter slug.  So far not so good.

Miguel Cabrera:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .288.  Take that Pujols!  This guy is the best first baseman in the game.

Brandon League:  scoreless ninth for his seventh save.  Believe it or not he and Jim Johnson have been about the best closers in the game this season.  Both were drafted toward the bottom of the relief pitcher hierarchy.  Yes you can wait on saves people.

Jose Reyes:  0/4 while hitting .205.  In the winter I said I had a better chance of marrying Angelina Jolie than of Reyes ever approaching his batting title BABIP-fueled 2011 average.  Ummm....yup.  Call his slump the Pujols Special.

Ricky Nolasco:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.20.  Please don't do this to me again dude.  Please stop pitching good so I don't have the urge to add you for the one hundred millionth time and tell everyone you have been the most unlucky pitcher in the game the last three years.  Ohhh crap!  I just can't help myself.

Mark Trumbo:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .342.  Trumbo's average will take a Titanic swim real soon but he and Vernon Wells are among the better values sitting there on your league's waiver wire at this point in the season.  Go take a look.

Jordan Walden:  blown save with 2 ER and no outs gained while spoting an ERA of 8.31.  I think I can speak for all Walden owners when I say (@^&$(@)$()@*)@#^$*%)!!!!!

Adam Jones:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .361.  Don't miunderstand what I am about to say.  No doubt I dropped the ball on Jones in the winter in not talking him up more and I wholeheartedly believe you should hold onto him and not sell high.  However his home run/fly ball rate is way out of whack and so the home run rate will start to normalize real quick.  So no he will not hit 40 home runs and he may even struggle to get to 30.

Kevin Youkilis:  2/4 with his second HR which was a grand slam while batting .241.  After the bomb Bobby Valentine was spotted in the dugout smirking and nodding his head. 

Jarrod Saltalamacchia:  2/4 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .261.  I hate seeing this guy do good because than I have to write about him and type out that last name.  Imagine being a Duke basketball beat reporter and having to type of coach Mike Kzcywhfhalhnfonglbjsbkski's name every week?

Phillip Humber:  9 ER in 5 IP off his perfect game.  Hahahahaha so many foolish fantasy baseball owners got screwed by this after picking him up off his perfecto.  Here is what I said last week after the outing:  "Despite the perfecto, Humber has been a waiver wire guy since breaking into the majors, with some good stretches being mixed in. Don't rush to pick him up as he is still a mediocre pitcher and especially when you look at the terrible pitching history for those in their start right after a no-hitter or perfecto."  Yup, yup, yup, yup, and yup!



Thursday, April 26, 2012

FANTASY BASEBAL ISSUES: CAN'T ANY OF THESE GUYS CLOSE A FUCK&NG GAME?

We knew this was going to be a bad season for closers in fantasy baseball what with all of the injuries hitting some of the best in the game but this is getting to be absurd.  In fact in all the years I have been playing fantasy baseball, I can never remember it being this bad.  The influx of setup men into the closer's chair has exposed the soft underbelly of the position and the sats are disgusting.  Take the last two days for example.  On Wednesday we had Hector Santiago get one out while giving up three earned runs on a Yoenis Cespedes HR to blow the save.  Later on that night we have Javy Guerra do the exact same thing with 3 earned runs with only one out gained.  It was more of the same early on Thursday as first Sean Marshall gives up a three-run HR to Angel Pagan to blow the save and invite Aroldis Chapman to the job and than Jordan Walden gives up a two-run bomb without getting an out to blow the game.  What a joke!  All of these bums of course are on my two rosters (Walden, Marshall, and Santiago on one, Santiago, on the other.  Yeah good times for my team ERA and WHIP.  I am off to a tremendous hitting start in both leagues and my starting pitching has been good but the closers are single-handidly ruining my team stats in ERA and WHIP.  There is nothing worse than having your closer give up a bunch of runs and blow a game.  It surely twists my guts like nothing else.  So yeah there has been a lot of runs to the bathroom since.  Any other tales of horror you all want to share?  Let's be there for each other.

FANTASY BASEBALL SELL HIGH: LANCE LYNN SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

One of the biggest stories of the 2012 fantasy baseball season from a pitching perspective is the job being done by St. Louis Cardinals SP Lance Lynn who, as the calendar turns to May, currently has a 4-0 record with a 1.33 ERA and 0.81 WHIP.  Lynn has been a real find so far for those fantasy baseball owners who took a flier on the guy off his impressive spring and no doubt the vibes are nothing but positive a month into the season.  So why is Lynn the subject of a SELL HIGH post?  Allow me to explain why Lynn is headed for a sharp fall.

First things first.  There is little debate that Lynn has some nice stuff in his arsenal which is proven by his very solid K rate with 24 punchouts in 27 innings pitched.  Lynn also has the benefit of being a new kid on the block where most opposing hitters haven't seen much of him and so the element of surprise is clearly in play.   However as always whenever someone comes out of nowhere to put up big time numbers, than it is always a good idea to look under the hood at his advanced stats.  It is here where there is some major concern about whether or not Lynn can keep this up and in reality, he likely can't.  The first numbers that jumps out is Lynn's .182 BABIP which is extremely low and beyond lucky.  Consider that the average is .300 and you can see just how drastic a different those two numbers are.  There is a ton of room for a correction to take place and so Lynn's numbers will take a turn for the worse as a result.

The second major issue is the fact that Lynn's strand rate is 98 percent which is an absurd number and is more solid proof about how he has had a major dose of luck on his side.  There is zero chance that Lynn will be able to keep up that kind of strand rate and so again his numbers will take a hit as a result. 

Overall you can see that Lance Lynn is headed for quite a steep fall as the season progresses.  Thus if someone were to come to you asking to deal for him, I would absolutely listen and be very aggressive in working something out.  The good time can't go on forever when it comes to Lynn and so this is a clear stock that you need to sell before it starts to go the wrong direction soon.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Carlos Gonzalez:  0/7 in doubleheader.  When you have a superstar like CarGo playing a doubleheader, there is an extra dose of excitement you picture a huge boxscore of like 4 or five hits with one or two home runs and 4 or 5 RBI.  Than you get what you got last night and proceed to kick the dog.

Jose Altuve:  4/5 while hitting .377.  For goodness sake's don't make me hack into your team's to pick him up for you.

Ryan Braun:  2/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .275.  Yeah so that whole Ryan Braun/Matt Kemp draft debate looks pretty silly right about now. 

Corey Hart:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .305.  Its criminal how underrated this guy is and has been for the last few seasons.  Please trade him to me! 

David Freese:  2/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .339.  Freese is no longer on a 162-HR pace at least.

Carlos Beltran:  1/3 with 2 stolen bases (5 for season) while hitting .265.  The average is starting to stink...I mean sink....and the SELL HIGH window will follow suit real quick.  Remember folks he is a 36-year-old man on 80-year-old legs.

Bryan LaHair:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .364.  Been talking about him a lot lately.  At home Michael Morse nods to himself and says "this looks familiar."

Lance Lynn:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.33.  Unbelievable.  That's about all I can about this guy right now.

Paul Konerko:  3/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .357.  I think if we came back 20 years from now, Konerko would still be hitting .300 with 30 home runs,

Yoenis Cespedes:  3/5 with his fifth HR while hitting .269.  The average is the big determining factor when it comes to Cespedes' value this season and in that respect he is heading into positive territory.  A possible 25/25 season could be on tap and if combined with a .275 average, than we are looking at third round status next winter.

Chris Sale:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with a 3.12 ERA.  This was an obvious one when it came to predicting Sale as a fantasy baseball sleeper.  Guys with his high K rate and low walk rate are almost a given to succeed.  Just be prepared for a rocky finish as he hits uncharted innings territory AND the bigger issue is whether Sale violates the Verducci Rules which already claimed Michael Pineda and Daniel Hudson.

Hector Santiago:  3 ER in .1 IP for his second blown save with an ERA of 8.53.  Robin Ventura is kidding himself if he thinks Santiago is still his closer.  What is always amazing to me is how we as fantasy baseball players staring at the games on our computer know this when the manager doesn't.  Tough call on who to pick up as a his replacement, with Matt Thornton and Addison Reed being the candidates.  If Thornton were righthanded he would be the guy but you know the lefty bias is always at work. 

Cole Hamels:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.73.  I have owned Hamels pretty much every season of his career until this year and so right now every time I watch him pitch its like seeing an ex-girlfriend making our her new boyfriend.

Jordan Zimmerman:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.33.  This guy is so good its silly.  With Gio, Strasburg, and Zim, the Nationals are the cream of the crop right now when it comes to pitching.

Felix Hernandez:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.48.  I don't know what is more shocking.  The fact Hernandez won the game or that he only struck out two batters.

Billy Butler:  2/5 with two home runs (4 for season) while hitting .292.  That's more like it.  Butler is on a nice pace right now and with Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon hitting in front of him, should close in on 100 RBI by season's end.

Alex Gordon:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .197.  Look whose bat is starting to percolate after I called him a BUY LOW candidate. Exactly.

Eric Hosmer:  2/3 with his fifth HR while hitting .225.  You get the feeling with Hosmer that if you close your eyes for a few seconds and than open them up, he will be hitting .300.

David Wright:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .364.  Now if we can just get a stolen base or two than we could really be cooking here.

Albert Pujols:  0/3 while hitting .222 with zero home runs.  Since when did Pujols turn into Michael Bourn overnight when it comes to power?

Ben Zobrist:  1/4 with his third HR and first SB.  The hit and run special for Zobrist who joins Alex Gordon as good BUY LOW options.

Adrian Beltre:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .312.  Injuries continue to sneak up on the aging Beltre but when in the lineup he is as good as it gets at third base.

Mike Napoli:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .271.  I wonder what kind of odds you would have gotten for Napoli having seven times as many home runs as Pujols as the calendar gets ready to flip to May.

Mike Aviles:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .328.  If you scan back a really long time, you will find my Mike Aviles 2011 fantasy baseball sleeper post.  Its still good.

Matt Kemp:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .449.  The number 1 pick in the 2013 fantasy baseball draft has already been locked up by this monster.

Javy Guerra:  second blown save with 3 ER in .1 IP.  Call it the Hector Santiago Special.  Yeah I did call this guy a bust back in the winter. 



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: HECTOR SANTIAGO STILL WHITE SOX CLOSER AFTER MELTDOWN

Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura indicated Wednesday that embattled closer Hector Santiago is still his ninth inning man despite giving up 3 earned runs while only getting one out in blowing that night's game in spectacular fashion.  Santiago has now blown two saves this season and has an ERA north of 8.00. 

Analysis:  Ventura is already showing that he is a rookie manager by sticking with the struggling Santiago.  Whereas Santiago was an intriguing add once camp broke, the fact he revealed in an interview the other day he hasn't thrown his signature screwball much because he is having trouble gripping American baseballs is a major red flag.  Couple that with a home run tendency and its only a matter of time until he is out.  Matt Thornton and Addison Reed have both been unhittable pitching setup and either one of them could get the job next.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKEES SP MICHAEL PINEDA OUT FOR SEASON WITH LABRUM TEAR

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda is out for the entire 2012 season with a torn labrum which will require surgery in the next few days.  Pineda was traded for prized hitting catcher Jesus Montero in the offseason and will wind up not throwing a pitch for the Yankees until 2013.

Analysis:  What a joke Pineda is.  I wrote way back in January that he would be a fantasy baseball bust and that was before he came to camp fat and with decreased velocity.  Also you can't convince me either that he was damaged goods as it never made sense they would deal such a young power pitcher in the first place.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX OUTFIELDER CARL CRAWFORD HEADED TO SEE DR. ANDREWS WITH ELBOW SORENESS

Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is headed to see Dr. James Andrews after experiencing pain in his throwing elbow.  Crawford has been on the DL the entire 2012 season so far after recovering from wrist surgery but the elbow issues arose in the last few days and it has been bad enough to warrant further testing. 

Analysis:  Leave to Crawford to have to see Dr. Death with an injury that pitcher's wind up with.  It is actually possible Crawford could have Tommy John surgery if they find a ligament tear and thus miss the entire season.  All in all he has been nothing but a colossal bust for both his fantasy baseball owners and for the Boston Red Sox club.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS CLSOER SERGIO SANTOS OUT A MONTH WITH SHOULDER INFLAMMATION

The news just keeps getting worse for Toronto Blue jays closer Sergio Santos who will now be out the next month with right shoulder inflammation.  Santos was placed on the DL last weekend with the hope he would return in two weeks but the latest MRI showed quite a bit of inflammation which needs more time to heal.  Francisco Cordero will continue to close in his place.

Analysis:  Major blow for Santos and his fantasy baseball owners.  By now Cordero is long gone from the free agent wire and at this point you can consider Santos anything but a bust. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Matt Wieters:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .294.  I have owned Wieters every season of his career until this one of course as his draft price comes back to life after many ran for the hills after his early struggles.  Its like watching your son grow up and go out into the world on his own.  Very sad indeed.  30 home runs?  Possible.

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with two home runs (2 for season) while hitting .278.  CarGo finally gets on the board which was about two weeks later than his owners expected.  In related news, the Angels showed the video to Albert Pujols in order to remind him that it is all right to hit home runs.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .308.  What's interesting is that Cabrera is so consistently good that when he hits home runs it hardly registers.  That my friends is called a fantasy baseball gem.

Alex Avila:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .244.  I warned you that Avila's average was going to drop big time as he has been mediocre there going back to his minor league days. 

Max Scherzer:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 8.24.  Going the way of Francisco Liriano as a fantasy baseball outcast who is not worth even discussing anymore.

Josh Johnson:  6.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.63.  Tough to gauge this one since it came against the punchless Mets who make Seattle look like the Yankees but Johnson was dealing.  I always have a soft spot for the guy but don't go out making offers for him since his shoulder is still one pitch away from exploding.

Johan Santana:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.00.  Santana has been amazing this season and he was completely dominant Tuesday.  He is striking out guys at his Minnesota Twins clip and is making good on my sleeper predictions for 2012.  Love it.

Buster Posey:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .373.  Moving quickly back to the top of the catcher rankings after last season's no-show due to injury. 

Brandon Phillips:  1/3 with his 2nd HR while hitting .244.  Phillips is so out of sight/out of mind for me now that he no longer steals bases.  Once that aspect of his game went, the rest of the picture didn't look so great.

Matt Cain:  3 ER in 6.1 IP with 7 K along with an ERA of 2.37.  His WHIP?  0.63!  Amazing.

Mat Latos:  7 shutout innings.  Now people are going to start asking me whether to BUY LOW on Latos.  The answer is a resounding "NO!"

Desmond Jennings:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .261.  Jennings has holes in his swing so his average is not much of a shock but the rest of the package is starting to percolate and it is going to be very nice to see what transpires over the remainder of the season.

Carlos Pena:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .300.  Enjoy the 3 in front of Pena's average because in a day or two it will be gone for the rest of the season.

BJ Upton:  1/2 with his first HR while hitting .300.  Hopefully you read the BUY LOW feature I posted yesterday and swung a trade for this guy before the game.

David Price:  complete game shutout with 6 K's with an ERA of 2.62.  Price was clicking on all cylinders and reminds us that even though he can be inconsistent at times, the bottom line is top ten material in the fantasy baseball pitching arena.

Matt Holliday:  1/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .215.  You could say that Holliday's Adam Dunn impression is due to the absence of Albert Pujols but the way Pujols is hitting, he might have seen even fewer pitches to hit if the slugger was still in St. Louis. 

Bryan LaHair:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .375.  Report:  LaHair goes up to the injured Mike Morse and say I will be you this season.

Adam Wainwright:  1 ER in 6 IP with 7 K's with an ERA of 7.32.  Much better in this start for Wainwright but I don't advise you to BUY LOW since he will be on fumes by the end of July.

Ian Kinsler:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .284.  Kinsler sees Hamilton moving further away in the Texas Rangers home runs pool and so he decides to get back onto his power horse.

Yu Darvish:  8.1 IP 7 H 0 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.42.  Very impressive outing considering it came against the Yankees.  It could be his "ahh-haa" moment but Japanese pitchers tend to walk the ballpark way too much (Hideo Nomo, Dice-K, Kaz Ishii) so there remain drawbacks. 

Mike Aviles:  4/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .333.  My old friend Mr. Aviles is hitting his butt off right now and should be picked up in most formats. 

David Ortiz:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .444.  Ortiz is almost single-handedly preserving Bobby Valentine's job.  In related news, Kevin Youkilis told Ortiz to "stop."

Jose Altuve:  2/4 with his first HR and fourth SB while hitting .344.  The home runs will struggle to move over the number 8 but Altuve

Rickie Weeks:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .188.  Weeks is starting to fall into the "overrated" column with a terrible average, a loss of RBI in the leadoff spot, and with the steals drying up in the same desert where Brandon Phillips went. 

Corey Hart:  2/4 with his fifth HR and first SB while hitting .286.  The guy keeps chugging along and hitting home runs with no one paying attention.

Hunter Pence:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .258.  Pence resoundingly told the Philly front office that in fact his shoulder is fine.

Shane Victorino:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .271.  Victorino continues his transformation into a guy swinging for the fences more which cuts into his average.  As long as he is running I don't care how he combines the two.

Vance Worley:  1 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.16.  This is a guy you need to SELL HIGH on as his BABIP is incredibly lucky, his strand rate is as well, and his K rate is way above anything he ever did. 

Gio Gonzalez:  6 shutout innings with an ERA of 1.52.  Yeah me calling Gio a darkhorse CY Young candidate is looking more than solid.

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JAKE PEAVY SP CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Its been a love-hate relationship when it comes to fantasy baseball owners of SP Jake Peavy.  We loved him during his heyday as a top five starter while with the San Diego Padres and we hated him during his injury-plagued/poor pitching era with the Chicago White Sox.  So heading into the 2012 campaign, Peavy's name was not mentioned as anything more than back end rotation filler in standard mixed formats.  Those who wound up taking a flier on the veteran however must be dancing in the streets as nearly a month into the season, Peavy has been one of the bets starters in baseball with a 3-0 record to go along with a 1.88 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 28.2 IP.  This was all highlighted by Peavy tossing a complete game shutout Monday night against the Oakland A's.  So what exactly is going on here?  Is Peavy back to being the stud he was during his Padres days?   Or is he just setting us up for more letdowns with bad pitching and injuries ruining the rest of his season?  In our latest Fantasy Baseball Status Report, let's dig in and find out what the current state of Peavy is all about.

The most important aspect of Peavy's so-far renaissance season is the fact that he is now 100 percent healthy for the first time in years.  Peavy said as much during spring training when he claimed he never felt better which was met with a bunch of eye rolls after he proved himself to be completely unreliable when it came to his health.  The results so far back up Peavy's claim however as he has life and explosiveness back into his fastball and he has the stamina to pitch deep into games as evidenced by Monday's complete game.  Ever since Peavy was traded to the White Sox, he has had a ton of arm injuries, some of them freak by nature.  Peavy has had a reputation for having a rough delivery which puts strain on his elbow and shoulder which many have blamed on all of his injuries.  Thus the threat of more injuries to come is still in play as Peavy's delivery is pretty much what it has always been.  So in essence health is the biggest reason for his comeback, while at the same serving as the threat that could undermine everything.  Peavy is thus anything but a guy who we can depend on to stay on the field the rest of the way but the fact that we got him so cheap in the first place means we don't have much of an investment to lose with the guy.

Really when it comes to Peavy, you want to simply ride the guy until the wheels come off.  Again you didn't pay much of anything to get the guy onto your roster and so if he gets hurt again, than you simply cut him loose and move on.  The signs were there for Peavy to be doing what he currently is doing as he is still a relatively young guy and with good health still can shut down any lineup with his arsenal.  Props for those who got on board with the guy and simply keep your fingers crossed that the fun can continue on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS SP MIKE PELFREY LIKELY HAS PARTIALLY TORN UCL

Updating an earlier item, New York Mets SP Mike Pelfrey likely has a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow which will necessitate Tommy John surgery and in the process finish his season. 

Analysis:  Say goodbye to Pelfrey for the rest of the season.  It is kind of a shame as Pelfrey was actually pitching well for the first time in years.  Yet another victim to the dreaded surgery named after the former Yankees great.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS PLACE SP MIKE PELFREY ON DL WITH ELBOW INJURY

Things are going from bad to worse for the New York Mets as a few hours after putting outfielder Jason Bay on the DL, SP Mike Pelfrey was added as well with an apparent elbow injury.  GM Sandy Alderson announced that there could possibly be a ligament tear in the elbow which of course would be the worst case scenario. 

Analyss:  Unreal.  Just when Pelfrey was starting to re-enter the trust of the fantasy baseball universe, he comes down with a bad elbow.  The fact Alderson mentioned a possible ligament tear is about as bad a thing as you can say when it comes to a pitcher so Pelfrey could be headed for Tommy John surgery. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PHILLIES OUTFIELDER HUNTER PENCE HEADED FOR MRI ON SHOULDER

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence is headed for an MRI on his sore left shoulder, which he hurt during Sunday's game.  Pence has been called day-to-day by the team and the MRI was labeled precautionary.

Analysis:  Its likely the MRI is being done just to rule out anything major and Pence should be good to go in a few days as long as something doesn't turn up.  He is primed for a big time season in the bandbox of Philadelphia. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS OUTFIELDER JASON BAY PLACED ON DL WITH FRACTURED RIB

New York Mets placed on the DL with a fractured rib.  Bay hurt the rib making a diving catch in the second game of Monday's doubleheader and it is a non-displaced fracture. 

Analysis:  Just as Bay started to get his bat going, the curse of him signing with the Mets rears its head once again.  Either way Bay was not a fantasy baseball option in anything but the deepest of formats and so his loss is not one to worry about.

FANTASY BASEBALL BUY LOW/SELL HIGH

With a few weeks of the fantasy baseball season already in the books, its time to take a quick tour of the leagues in order to try to unearth some players who make great BUY LOW targets, while also trying to identity those you should SELL HIGH on.

FANTASY BASEBALL SELL HIGH

1.  Josh Hamilton:  This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Hamilton hits like he is Babe Ruth and everyone clamors for his services as they picture a 40 HR/120 RBI/.330 hitting monster campaign.  The only problem is the other shoe that always inevitably drops and that of course are the injuries that annually take a large chunk out of Hamilton's seasons.  The guy flat out is one of the most injury-plagued players in the game so you are constantly walking on glass as an owner of the guy.  Hence while the going is great, it is a tremendous opportunity to get out now and trade him for a more stable commodity that you know will be there for the stretch run when you need to clinch your league's championship trophy.  Yes is can be brutally hard to part with someone who is hitting so well but we have seen this show repeat itself each and every season so do yourself a favor and cut bait while you still can do it.

2.  Carlos Beltran:  Beltran has opened up many eyes in the fantasy baseball community due to this the fact he seemingly has turned back the clock to his Kansas City Royals days when he was a power hitting/stolen base dynamo.  There is no debating the fact he is playing great in all avenues of the game this season but like with Hamilton, Beltran has a long history of injuries, in particular his legs and knees which could go out at a moment's notice.  Even if Beltran does somehow stay on the field, fatigue will be an issue later on and thus the running is likely to stop altogether.  Investing in 35-year-old outfielders is always a risky proposition and so there is nowhere else for Beltran to go but down the rest of the way.

3.  Vance Worley:  Worley has had one clunker against the New York Mets this season but otherwise has been very good in all of his starts.  He is putting up a K rate over 9.00 which is much higher than anything he has every done before both in the minors and in the majors.  Worley's strand rate is also at a ridiculously lucky region right now and so there is no way he can continue on the path of excellence that he is currently on.  The tide will start to turn real soon and thus you don't want to get swept out when the fantasy baseball gods come calling.

FANTASY BASEBALL BUY LOW

1.  CC Sabbathia:  I have touched on this already a few times as Sabbathia is a notoriously slow starter whose ERA in April for his career is 4.12.  After four starts in 2012, Sabbathia's ERA is currently over 5.00 which no doubt has given some owners pause.  The only thing that number represents to me however is one of the strongest BUY LOW opportunities in the game in getting the most durable ace out there.  What is interesting is that despite the ugly ERA, Sabbathia is missing bats with more strikeouts than innings pitched.  His XFIP ERA is in the mid-3.00's which tells you that he also has been dealing with poor BABIP luck.  May is almost upon us which is when the big guy really turns it on so now is your last chance to get on the ground floor.
2.  BJ Upton:  Upton just recently returned from a stint on the DL with a back injury and he has been a little slow out of the gates naturally due to all of that time off.  What is interesting too is that Upton's stock in fantasy baseball has fallen dramatically over the last few seasons, despite the fact that 2011 was his best overall campaign since first coming into the league.  Sure his average has been a liability for a long time now but Upton also is a 20-HR guy who will score and drive in 80 runs to go along with nearly 40 steals.  That is a very appetizing statistical batting line that qualifies as an OF 2 in our make believe game.  He has fallen off the radar a bit due to the fact that so many owners expected more out of him by now and have sworn off drafting him again, good seasons notwithstanding.  This is where you can make a serious profit in fantasy baseball and Upton is that guy.

3.  Shin-Soo Choo:  Finally we come upon Mr. Choo who has been driving his owners crazy for the last year-plus.  We all know about the DUI bust last season and than the injuries that followed which ruined his entire 2011 campaign.  It also ended a string of two straight years where he went 20/20 and hit an even .300.  What was interesting is that Choo was actually hitting at his 2009-2010 pace last season before a thumb injury derailed him for good and even though he is off to a slow start in 2012, the guy is still only 31 years old and in his prime as a player.  A toolsy guy like Choo can be a major fantasy baseball asset and his price will only go up going forward as we move on in the season.

There you have it.  Check back next Tuesday for more Fantasy Baseball BUY LOW/SELL HIGH.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS CLOSER SERGIO SANTOS SHUT DOWN FOR 10-14 DAYS WITH SHOULDER

Toronto Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos won't be allowed to throw a baseball for the next 10-14 days due to the recent shoulder impingement that landed him on the DL.  No structural damage was found on an MRI performed over the weekend but the team wants to be cautious with their new closer.  Francisco Cordero will continue to close in his place.

Analysis:  This sounds worse than it really is since the big news is that only inflammation was found in Santos' shoulder.  If he feels good after the 10-14 days, than it won't be long until he returns.  Still shoulder injuries can be tricky and so there is no guarantee he will be able to return at that point. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Derek Jeter:  4.5 while hitting .411.  It is starting to look like Jeter followed the Matt Kemp script to hitting excellence.  You know when you dump a singer/television star and than immediately turn into Ted Williams.  Keep on putting him out there people.  Its shortstop we are talking about where anyone who can hit a single has our attention.

Alex Rodriguez:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting .250.  I am very curious to see what Rodriguez' batting average is going to be a month from now because that will set the bar on what he currently is as a player.  Over/Under?  .280

Josh Hamilton:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .408.  Honestly we have been down this road plenty of times with Hamilton before so the way he is hitting is no shock.  The bigger shock is that he is still in one piece.

Derek Holland:  7 ER in 6 IP.  Kudos to those who had the foresight to bench him against the powerful Yankees.  Two teams should give you pause when evaluating whether to start your SP's not named Halladay, Verlander, and Kershaw and they are the Bronx Bombers and Texas.

CC Sabbathia:  8 IP 7 H 4 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.27.  Sure the ERA is still ugly and the 4 ER are one more than you want to see but Sabbathia is actually pitching very well as he racks up a ton of strikeouts.  The pitching version of Mark Texeira, May is almost here to cure everything. 

Buster Posey:  1/4 in Game 1 with his second HR while hitting .375.  Posey absolutely crushed a bomb in this game and looks to be all the way back from last season's gruesome injury. 

David Wright:  0/8.  I would say his hot start to the season is officially in the books. 

Tim Lincecum:  5 IP 4 H 1 ER 5 BB 8 K with an ERA of 8.20.  Despite the K's, Lincecum was not very good yet again.  He was all over the strike zone and threatened the walk the ballpark in the fifth inning until he got a ridiculously good DP to get him out of the inning.  Obviously don't even think of selling low here but we are now almost in May and he still hasn't had a good outing.

Pablo Sandoval:  2/4 with Game 2 with his third HR while hitting .333.  The guy is a hitting machine who now has a 16-game streak going.  Kung Fu Panda is saying "F U" to Giants management for bringing up his weight again in the winter.

Madison Bumgarner:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.96.  Bumgarner has been everything I expected so far this season.  Yes you want a few more K's but that quibbling. 

Kelly Johnson:  1/2 with his fourth HR while hitting .224.  Yup Johnson is officially the second base version of Adam Dunn.

Eric Hosmer:  2/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .203.  The kid is going to go on a tear any moment now, if it hasn't started already.  Moving to the fourth hole seemed to have awoken his bat, while Billy Butler is now the one struggling in the third slot. 

Cody Ross:  2/4 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .283.  Go ahead and pick him up if you wish.  It will be the most boring add you will ever make this season.

Jon Lester:  5 ER in 7 IP with an ERA of 6.00  Lester had one terrible inning but otherwise was pretty good.  He has not pitched as well as Sabbathia despite the ugly ERA's but he too turns it up a notch once May arrives.

Alfredo Aceves:  scoreless ninth for the save while Daniel Bard won after pitching the eighth.  Its funny that it took Bard only .2 IP to get his first win out of the bullpen after going 0-2 in two starts.  Aceves closing out the game immediately puts a knife into the Bard to be closer bit.

Ryan Braun:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .288.  Braun is already well behind last season's stats (and possibly steroids aided) 2011 campaign.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 8 H 2 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.56.  You get the feeling watching Greinke that he makes things so much harder on himself than they have to be.  Zack its the Astros for the goodness sake.

Shane Victorino:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .273.  I hate writing about Victorino because there really is not much to say other than that the continues to pop some home runs, steal some bags, and talk about Hawaii. 

Justin Upton:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .238.  The average could be hurting this season due to the thumb but its nice to see the power finally.  Now let's get to work on Mr. Pujols.

Adam Dunn:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .250.  Yes you can pick up Dunn but only up until he hits that 0-for-20 stretch that comes about 17947 times a season.

Paul Konerko:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .349.  Just wind him up and watch the guy hit.  It is that simple.

Jake Peavy:  3-hit complete game shutout with an ERA of 1.88.  Yup I told you all to pick him up after his first start.  How did that all work out?  Yes sir.

Monday, April 23, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: SLOWLY BUT SURELY DANIEL BARD MOVES TO THE NINTH INNING

It's Monday so that means it is once again to take a look at the world of the ninth inning in Fantasy Baseball Closing Time.  Let's get right to it:

-The biggest potential news is the fact that the Boston Red Sox have taken advantage of Sunday's rainout to place Daniel Bard back into the bullpen since his start was the one ultimately skipped.  Word is that its only a temporary deal as Bard is still slated to make his next start but there is no secret that Bobby Valentine has wanted him in the pen all along.  GM Ben Cherington on the other hand is committed to keeping Bard a starter so something has to give.  The Red Sox need a boost in the worst way and if Bard successfully converts a save or two, than how can Cherington possibly endorse taking him out?  Flat out Bard is the right man for the job and he should have been there in the first place.  Its likely he is already gone in most competitive leagues but check anyway because Bard could have a big time season in that gig.

-New York Mets closer Frank Francisco is on the hot seat after blowing two games in two days, giving up runs in his last three outings, and pitching to an ERA over 8.00.  Manager Terry Collins gave him the dreaded vote of confidence Sunday but word is that Francisco is one more blown save away from losing his job.  Jon Rauch is the handcuff as he has pitched great all season in the 8th inning.  We all have seen the Rauch show before and its not pretty but so far so good as far as he is concerned.  Be proactive and pick up Rauch is you are a Francisco owner.  Its not like I didn't warn you about this anyway.

-The alarm has quieted with Chicago White Sox closer Hector Santiago and Texas Rangers stopper Joe Nathan who both have pitched well in the last week.  Hold off on those Matt Thornton and Mike Adams endorsements. 

-Sergio Santos hit the DL on Sunday due to a shoulder impingement which means welcome back Francisco Cordero.  Cordero already went back to his high-wire act Sunday in giving up an earned run in gaining the save but the veteran is still a very solid pitcher who will be a nice help until Santos gets back.  As far as Santos is concerned, he has been terrible all season but perhaps he was hiding the injury.

-Nothing concrete yet on the San Francisco Giants situation but Santiago Casilla still got the only save since the Brian Wilson injury.  Still Casilla was removed after pitching only one inning the other day so this is still a bit of a mystery.  Watch closely since this hierarchy could change at a moment's notice.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Josh Hamilton:  3/3 with his 7th HR and first SB while hitting .418.  Hamilton is once again doing his best Mickey Mantle impression.  The sounds you hear though is the clock ticking on his health which will give in multiple times the rest of the season.  As tough as it is to do when a hitter is this red hot, you want to SELL HIGH here.  Hamilton is a proven letdown when it comes to his health and so get out while the going is great. 

Kyle Lohse:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 0.99.  You have one more start to use Lohse in your lineup before May comes up on the calendar which is when he usually turns to crap.  Check the lifetime stats. 

Desmond Jennings:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .262.  Jennings is finding his power swing now to go with his big time speed.  It was ridiculous that some people were already getting down on the guy.  I wish those fools were in my league so I can steal this gem of a hitter.

Jordan Schafer:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .263.  Schafer is a guy who can pop 10 home runs to go with 30 steals and an ugly average.  The one-time sleeper can be of help but just be realistic about what to expect.

Chad Billingsley:  5 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 3.04.  Billingsley has pitched well all season leading up to this mess but the jury is still hung on if he can be a long-term help.  Give me another start and be prepared to jump ship if he goes wrong.

Ricky Romero:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.29.  Romero has pitched well other than one ugly outing and even though I am never as excited about him as others, I can't ever say that he is not a very solid fantasy baseball pitcher. 

Daniel Duffy:  5 ER in 4.2 IP with 5 more walks.  Terrible outing for Duffy who was just starting to re-enter the fantasy baseball circle of trust.  Next!

Yovani Gallardo:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.65. Gallardo still has a poor 1.38 WHIP which has been a major problem in the past but Gallardo is looking like he is getting into a big time groove. 

Dan Haren:  7.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.07.  Two excellent outings in a row now for Haren after getting destroyed his first two starts.  Crisis averted for now.

Gerardo Parra:  2/4 with his second HR and fourth SB while hitting .244.  Parra had the bomb and theft combo and he has some sneaky value with Chris Young on the DL. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX TO PLACE DANIEL BARD IN THE BULLPEN FOR A SHORT WHILE....AND MAYBE LONGER

The Boston Red Sox will take advantage of Sunday's rainout to put Daniel Bard back into the bullpen to help out that beleagured unit.  After the Red Sox inexplicably blew a 9-0 lead in spectacular fashion against the New York Yankees on Saturday, with closer Alfredo Aceves unable to retire anyone, Bard will be skipped in the rotation and be moved to the pen.  There has been nothing said about how long the stint will last.

Analysis:  Consider this the first move to making Bard the closer.  I told you a week ago to pick up Bard as it was only a matter of time before this happened.  The Red Sox need a lift in a major way and this is the type of move that can do it.  Bard is by far and way the best closing option on the team and so look for him to be closing games the rest of the way.  Pick him up right now. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: A'S TO CALL UP SUPER PITCHING PROSPECT JARROD PARKER FOR A WED. START

The Oakland A's will call up top pitching prospect Jarrod Parker from the minors to start on Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.  Parker has made only one appearance in a major league game, which came last season in tossing 5.2 scoreless innings against Arizona.  No word on whether this is a one-time deal or whether he will stick around.

Analysis:  Big news as Parker has universally been considered a big time pitching phenom down on the farm.  He is worth an add in all formats due to the ceiling that he brings to the table and for the fact he pitches in one of the best home parks in the game. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS MANAGER TERRY COLLINS CLOSE TO PULLING FRANK FRANCISCO FROM CLOSER'S ROLE

New York Mets manager Terry Collins is reportedly getting fed up with struggling closer Frank Francisco, and things began to come to a head when he pulled his stopper during a meltdown in Saturday's game.  That outing marked the third straight poor apperance for Francisco who has has an ERA north of 8.00 and things have gotten so bad that Collins is ready to tab Jon Rauch if he blows the next save chance. 

Analysis:  Not a surprise as I said Francisco was a prime fantasy baseball bust and would be one of the first closers to lose his gig.  Rauch is the guy to own and he has piptched great so far this year.  Pitching in a pitcher's park make Rauch a better investment than he was in Toronto in picking up the pieces for Francisco so make the add.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: MARLINS/NATIONALS RAINED OUT

Sunday's Miami Marlins-Washington Nationals game has been postponed due to rain.  No makeup date has been set.

Analysis:  Push Josh Johnson and Gio Gonzalez to Tuesday for their next outings. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BLUE JAYS PLACE CLOSER SERGIO SANTOS ON DL WITH SHOULDER INFLAMMATION

The Toronto Blue Jays placed closer Sergio Santos on the DL Sunday with shoulder inflammation.  Manager John Farrell called it a "precautionary move" after Santos complained of some soreness in the shoulder after his last appearance on Friday.  Francisco Cordero will close in his place.

Analysis:  Another one bites the dust.  Truth be told Santos has not been any good this season after there were many high expectations attached to his name off his breakthrough 2011 campaign.  Cordero is a wily old veteran who can still get the job done so pick him up.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: LEE, PINEDA, HUDSON, ZIMMERMAN.....

It was beyond a rough day for fantasy baseball injuries on Saturday, with the biggest piece of news centering on Philadelphia Phillies ace SP Cliff Lee going on the DL with a strained oblique.  Let's take a closer look at that issue along with some of the other health news that has owners scrambling Sunday.

1.  Cliff Lee (strained left oblique):  Yes the dreaded oblique strain brings down another big time player.  This one came out of the blue as there was no mention of Lee having trouble with the oblique during his ten-inning outing the other day.  It is likely that Lee hurt the oblique while prepping for a bullpen session but either way he is on ice for the next 15 days.  There has been little said as far as the severity but any missed Lee start is impossible to make up.  Oblique injuries are notorious for their wildly varying degress of intensity and while some guys come back quickly, others take much longer.  Hold the fort as best you can until we get some more clarity on Lee's injury.

2. Daniel Hudson (shoulder impingement):  Daniel Hudson hit the DL as well Saturday as it was revealed he was suffering from a shoulder impingement.  This could help explain why Hudson got rocked in two of his first three starts to the season but the bigger concern is the fact he was a Verducci Rules violator last season which is a major red flag.  Even when Hudson comes back he could still be pitching with a tired arm and shoulder injuries themselves tend to reoccur.  I think Hudson's fantasy baseball value is very murky looking forward but if you are an owner you have to stash him since you paid a decent price at the draft for the guy.

3.  Michael Pineda (setback with his injuries shoulder):  The news just keeps on getting worse for Michael Pineda as manager Joe Girardi mentioned how he had suffered a "significant" setback Saturday with his previously injured shoulder.  Pineda has spent the entire season on the DL so far after first developing pain in the shoulder during the end of spring training.  This came on the heels of Pineda showing a drop in velocity and coming into the season overweight.  Basically he has been a disaster and an embarrassment for the Yankees and this latest problem will likely have him out until June.  You can hold onto him if you want but I wouldn't blame you if you finally get fed up enough and cut him outright.

4.  Ryan Dempster (right quad strain):  After a sizzling start to the season, Dempster hits the DL with a right quad strain.  Its a real shame in that Dempster was pitching like an ace before getting hurt but them's the breaks.  I would absolutely hold onto Dempster if you can as he is a proven high-K guy who up until now was very durable. 

5. Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder pain, day-to-day):  Many Ryan Zimmerman fantasy baseball owners had some heart palpitations on Saturday when they found out he was sitting out that day's game with shoulder inflammation.  No stranger to injuries, it was quickly reported that Zimmerman had no structural issues with the shoulder and that he was only going to miss a few days.  That surely sounds nice but you can never take it to the bank with Zimmerman.  Keep a watch on it.

There you have it.  As always keep track of the latest injury news all day long here on the Fantasy Sports Boss. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PHILLIES PLACE SP CLIFF LEE ON DL WITH OBLIQUE STRAIN

The Philadelphia Phillies got a major blow Saturday as ace SP Cliff Lee was placed on the DL with the dreaded oblique strain.  Lee's strained his left oblique and is coming off a 10-inning outing where he threw 102 pitches.  There is no word on whether he hurt it during the start or if it were something done on the side.

Analysis:  Terrible news for Cliff Lee fantasy baseball owners as this Black Saturday for starters (Daniel Hudson, Michael Pineda, Ryan Dempster, Cliff Lee) continues.  Pray its not a lingering issue and that he can get back after 15 days. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: WHITE SOX SP PHILIP HUMBER THROWS 19TH PERFECT GAME

Chicago White Sox SP Philip Humber stole the show Saturday by pitching the 19th perfect game in MLB history.  Humber set 27 straight Seattle Mariners hitters down in order, striking out nine, in completing his perfection. 

Analysis:  Great game for Humber but I don't think too many fantasy baseball players benefitted from this.  Despite the perfecto, Humber has been a waiver wire guy since breaking into the majors, with some good stretches being mixed in.  Don't rush to pick him up as he is still a mediocre pitcher and especially when you look at th terrible pitching history for those in their start right after a no-hitter or perfecto.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: D-BACKS PLACE SP DANIEL HUDSON ON DL WITH SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT

The Arizona Diamonbacks placed struggling SP Daniel Hudson on the DL Saturday with what the team is calling a shoulder impingement.  Hudson has gotten shelled in two of his three starts so far this season but nothing was said about any kind of injury until this weekend.  No word on if he will return once the 15 days are up.

Analysis:  That makes it two-for-two today when it comes to bad injury news for 2011 Verducci Rules violators, with both Michael Pineda and Hudson staying or hitting the DL.  Again this is a tried and true method of anticipating which pitchers to avoid each season when it comes to this as there has been a more than 75 percent chance of either injury or poor pitching for guys who saild past the recommended 30 innings increase.  Hold onto Hudson but anything to do with the shoulder is not good and tends to crop back up.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKEES SP MICHAEL PINEDA SHUT DOWN WITH SHOULDER SETBACK

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda has been shut down due to suffering a setback with his injured shoulder.  Pineda reportedly felt "weakness" in the shoulder while warming up to throw on Saturday and he will now stay on ice and head for more testing.

Analysis:  Well there you go.  If you were previously not a believer in the validity of the Verducci Rules, than look no further than what Pinda is going through. Pineda shot up way past the 30 inning increment advised by Verducci last season and he has had shoulder problems and a loss of velocity since.  Its a very similar case to what Phil Hughes went through last season as he too came off a Verducci Rules violation.  Either way it is now looking like we won't see Pineda until June. 

2012 FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED CATCHER RANKINGS

We started wih the starting pitchers in out last bit of fantasy baseball position rankings and today we look in on the catchers who are doing their thing early on this season.  Let's see how things stand.

1. Carlos Santana

2. Brian McCann

3. Mike Napoli

4. Matt Wieters

5. Buster Posey

6. Alex Avila

7. Miguel Montero

8. Joe Mauer

9.  Yadier Molina

10. Jesus Montero

11. Russell Martin

12. AJ Pierzynski

13. Wilson Ramos

14. Geovany Soto

15. JP Arencibia

16. Ryan Doumit
-All right let's get to the movers right away.  The biggest fall is Jesus Montero since he still doesn't have catcher eligibility and his hitting has just been all right.  If you have a 5-game limit for eligibility, than Montero needs only one more start behind the dish.  The real attractive part of his game is the fact he plays every day which helps in the counting stats and I would recommend him wholheartedly as a starter the rest of the way.  His bat is as good as any young hitter in the game.
-Alex Avila got off to a hot start with some nice power but his average has fallen off which is what I told you would happen.  His 2011 mark of .295 was way inflated with a lucky BABIP and his current .257 is about where I thought he would be.  Very good catcher but not as good as he looked during his nice breakout campaign.
-Yadier Molina remains the most underrated catcher in baseball.  He always seems to post a nice average, hits for good enough power, and even takes a couple of bases.  Love it.
-Old veteran AJ Pierzynski is showing he still has some life left in his bat with a position-leading four home runs.  He may not be the most likable guy but AJ is still a good option to use as a starter.
-Joe Mauer so far is showing he is healthy which is half the battle every season and his hitting is about where it always is when he is in one piece.  Let's hope it lasts.

There you have it.  As always let me know what you think.



There you have it. Let me know what you think of these rankings.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CUBS PLACE SP RYAN DEMPSTER ON DL WITH RIGHT QUAD STRAIN

The Chicago Cubs were forced to put ace SP Ryan Dempster on the DL Saturday due to a strained right quad.  Dempster hurt the quad after his last start and he reported no improvement since.  No word yet on the severity of the injury as an MRI was taken.

Analysis:  Tough blow as Dempster was pitching great before the injury.  Hold onto him if you can as Dempster is a proven strikeout pitcher who can help you out as a very good SP 3 or 4. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Nick Swisher:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .259.  Swisher is the guy who gets added and dropped 42 times during the course of the season in your league whenever an injury fill-in is needed.  However he would be the league MVP in a "Lucky SOB ballplayers who have hot girlfriends/wives league." 

Alex Rodriguez:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .264.  Speaking of hot girlfriends, AROD has been spotted with former WWE Diva Torii Wilson for quite some time now.  Joanna Garcia (Swisher) or Wilson (AROD).  Tougher choice than Matt Kemp-Ryan Braun.

Russell Martin:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .147.  You can be the worst hitter in the world and still fall into 10 home runs hitting in Yankee Stadium.  Martin is out to prove this theory.

David Ortiz:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .392.  Ortiz is about the only Red Sox player worth his weight in gold right now and that's saying something considering how much he likes to hang out with Pablo Sandoval at the world's greatest buffets.

Ivan Nova:  6 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.79.  Nova has the classic mediocre fantasy baseball pitcher look outside of winning games.  There is something to be said for always putting your team in position to come out on top and of course it is one of our 5 x 5 stats but Nova is someone who you couldn't get me to put on your teams due to the constant threat of abomination.  People that is no way to live.

Lance Lynn:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.42.  Its starting to look like we got something here with Lynn who opened some eyes last season as well which cuts into the fluke factor when looking at his long-term ability.  Any St. Louis pitcher tends to look like Cy Young these days (come out from behind that funny fake mustache and wig Mr. Duncan.  We all know you are hiding in that dugoout.). 

Ross Detweiler:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.56.  I haven't mentioned Detweiler much to this point since he had to put some decent outings together before getting a pop.  Mission accomplished as Detweiler has been really good.  He had a lot of fanfare attached to his name at times since getting drafted and the results are starting to show some nice stuff.  Spot start him for now as we are still in that "show me you can be a consistent pitcher" mode.

Evan Longoria:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .327.  You know how we all have those awesome fantasy baseball MVP's who we never seem to own?  That is this guy when it comes to my rosters.  And that's a crying shame.

Matt Moore:  6.1 IP 8 H 3 ER 3 BB 2 K with an ERA of 5.12.  It's just not any good right now for Mr. Moore.  I give him two or three more of these before we get the very ugly Wade Davis.

Matt Kemp:  3/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .481.  Watching Matt Kemp hit is like watching someone play wiffle ball.  A pure thing of beauty. 

Brian McCann:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .304.  McCann gets the shift put on him all the time now which will show up in his average but 25 home runs remains possibly in his reach.

Brandon Beachy:  7.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 0.47.  So how has my favorite sleeper SP Beach doing so far this season?  Fellow Beachy Booster Bill James is probably doing cartwheels on his office desk right now after naming him the NL's second best starter for 2012 a few months ago.  I am with you Billy.

Nolan Reimold:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .370.  I double-downed on Reimold this season and so far I feel like I am swimming in a pot of fantasy baseball gold.  Putting my chips on the table as far as a projection would be .275 23 HR 10 SB

Adam Dunn:  3/4 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .265.  You know Dunn's average is actually in a decent spot for right now so if you want to see if he goes all Carlos Pena (you know when someone hits 17 home runs in a week) than go for it.
Jesus Montero:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .261.  So far Montero hasn't blown things up but his bat is still potentially big.  One more start behind the dish and he gains eligibility. 

Chris Sale:  6.1 IP 7 H 3 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.50  Yup the Chris Sale fantasy baseball sleeper post's from the past few months are sitting right there with Mr. Beachy.  Unlike with Beachy, this one was all mine Bill James so sit on it.