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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS 3B DAVID WRIGHT (BECK) BACK IN LINEUP TUESDAY

                                                                              

New York Mets third baseman David Wright is back in the lineup on Tuesday after sitting out Monday with neck stiffness.

Analysis:  Wright's home run hitting has gotten off to a slow start but he is running well with six steals and is driving in runs.  He will once again be right there as one of the best fantasy baseball third baseman despite the lack of lineup protection.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARLINS OUTFIELDER GIANCARLO STANTON HAS GRADE TWO HAMSTRING STRAIN, OUT AT LEAST 3 WEEKS

                                                                                

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton got some more bad news on Tuesday as it was revealed he had suffered a Grade 2 right hamstring injury that will shelve him at least three weeks.  Stanton injured the hamstring during the team's extra innings win over the New York Mets Monday night and left the game sitting on only three home runs and a shoddy average. 

Analysis:  Not good.  Stanton has been as big a fantasy baseball bust as you can get, with not all of it his fault given the lack of lineup protection around him.  If you are an unfortunate Stanton owner, all you can do is bench him and hope 3 weeks is the most he is out. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX TO KEEP ANDREW BAILEY AS CLOSER, ACTIVATE JOEL HANRAHAN

                                                                       

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed on Tuesday that Andrew Bailey will remain the team's closer despite the fact that Joel Hanrahan was activated off the DL earlier in the day.  Hanrahan was on the DL with a hamstring injury off a series of blown saves and poor outings and Bailey immediately stepped up in his place to lock down the ninth inning. 

Analysis:  This is what I predicted all along from the day Hanrahan went out.  While Hanrahan is not as bad a pitcher as he showed early on before he got hurt, Bailey is a lockdown closer with some big time seasons under his belt.  No picture of health by any means, the long term outlook on Bailey is murky but for now he is as good as there is in baseball.


FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: GREGG OR FUJIKAWA IN CHICAGO?

We are late by a day with our latest edition of fantasy baseball closing time where we check in on all of the latest news and notes out of the ninth inning.

-Clearly the most chaotic closer situation in the game one month into the season has been the woeful Cubbies which is indicative of how awful the team is altogether.  After Carlos Marmol predictably threw away the job with his typically pathetic pitching, the Cubs than looked to Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa who lastes all of a week until hitting the DL with a strained right forearm.  James Russell and Shawn Camp were than given a look but they reinfroced why they have been career long setup men.  Finally the Cubs turned to an old friend in Kevin Gregg who they signed off the street and than immediately put into the closer role upon promotion.  Shockingly Gregg has pitched very well, racking up four saves without giving up an earned run as he looked to cement his status in the ninth inning.  With Fujikawa now beginning a rehab assignment that could have him return in the next few days, manager Dale Sveum has an interesting decision on his hands.  Fujikawa left to the DL with an ERA over 12.00 so he didn't leave much of a positive impact before he took ill.  Gregg however has shown that he still has something left in the tank after seemingly being kicked out of the league on the heels of horrid 4.37 and 4.95 ERA's his last two full seasons.  However Gregg is still young enough at 35 and has a ton of experience in the closer role having earned saves for 5 organizations that Sveum is likely to ride the hot hand.  After dealing with so much tumult early on, the last thing Sveum wants is more adventures there.  Now we all know Gregg has been a pitcher that made more than a few of us want to tear out our hair but he clearly is in a groove right now and should be picked up or ridden out until he cools off.  The implosions will come soon enough but for now enjoy the prosperity and take what you can get.  After all only 30 guys can get saves at any given moment in fantasy baseball and so that alone makes Gregg a must own.  Just keep Fujikawa on the WATCH list.

-New York Mets closer Bobby Parnell blew the save Monday night and has only two handshakes on the season which speaks to how pathetic the Mets are.  A 1.59 ERA is nice indeed but Parnell is not supplying much bang for the saves buck.

-Things have settled down for Arizona Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz who looked close to losing his job over a week ago on the heels of four straight blown saves.  Putz has thrown three straight scoreless inning since his latest meltdown, with two saves and a win during that span. 

-St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte played catch on Sunday which markes his first bout of throwing since being shut down with ongoing elbow trouble.  Motte has been told he needs Tommy John surgery but he is trying one last ditch effort to avoid the procedure.  The Cardinals will only give him another few weeks before the decision is made and in the meantime Edward Mujica has done a fine job putting games away in his stead. 

There you have it.  As always let us know your thoughts.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATS 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN (HAMSTRING) TO START REHAB ASSIGNMENT TUESDAY

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will begin his rehab assignment on Tuesday with the aims of being activated for Friday's game.  Zimmerman has been on the DL with a strained hamstring.

Analysis:  Great news obviously for Zimmerman's fantasy baseball owners but his long injury history is always a concern.  Get ready to place him back in the lineups at the end of this week.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS TO PLACE 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS (BACK) ON DL TUESDAY

The New York Yankees will place 3B Kevin Youkilis on the DL Tuesday after he suffered a setback with the lower back pain that falred up last week.  Youkilis had missed six games with the back issue before returning on Saturday and than suffered the setback during the game which has caused him to sit out ever since.

Analysis:  Tough call here with Youkilis if you are an owner.  He is far from a irreplaceable commodity and his injury history is getting worse as he ages.  With third base deeper than it has been in years, don't waste roster space waiting for his return.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NATS GM MIKE RIZZO SAYS STEPHEN STRASBURG'S ARM "SOUND"

Updating an earlier item, Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo went on record on Tuesday saying that SP Stephen Strasburg's pitching arm is "structurally sound" and that he was only suffering forearm "irritation" during his start Monday.  Rizzo said Strasburg should also be able to make his next start which refuted earlier reports he could miss a turn. 

Analysis:  We will take Rizzo at his word in saying Strasburg dodged an injury bullet but still I have concerns.  His violent delivery has been criticized endlessly and he already has a Tommy John surgery under his belt.  It is a long season but Strasburg is already causing some worry like I thought he would.  In redraft single leagues, use this scare as a reason to trade him for a more stable ace like Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels.



FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NATS SP STEPHEN STRASBURG LIKELY TO MISS START WITH FOREARM TIGHTNESS

Washington Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg came out of his mediocre Monday start against the New York Mets with right forearm tightness that he claimed wasn't a major deal and that he would make his next start.  However the Nationals are likely to have other ideas given how they want to protect their young ace who already has had Tommy John surgery. 

Analysis:  So yeah it was me who called Strasburg a BUST candidate going into the season after he violated the Verducci Rules in 2012 and here we go.  Forearm tightness can be a major deal because it sometimes leads to Tommy John surgery of which Strasburg is a veteran of.  His WHIP is rising as his control has been off and he has not racked up the strikeouts the way he has in the past.  Red flags are abounding. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARLINS OUTFIELDER GIANCARLO STANTON LANDS ON DL WITH STRAINED HAMSTRING

Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton landed on the 15-day DL Monday night after straining his right hamstring during that night's game against the New York Mets.  Stanton hurt the hamstring running to first base in the extra inning game and was immediately removed for testing.  Marcell Ozuna was called up to take his place.

Analysis:  A horrendous start to the season got a whole lot worse for Stanton who actaully got ab it hot with three home runs in the last week before getting hurt.  His fantasy baseball value can't get any lower and even a BUY LOW is not enticing given the lack of protection in the Miami lineup.  Just a mess all the way around with this.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Josh Willingham:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .246.  Willingham is is one of those streaks where every ball he makes contact with goes over the wall.  And again no one cares.

Prince Fielder:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .292.  Can Fielder reach 40 home runs like Miggy did for the first time last season?  Call it 50/50.

Max Scherzer:  7.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.02.  Perhaps the most impressive part of Scherzer's pitching line were the zero walks.  If he continues to keep that stat in check, than rotation mate Verlander will have some competition on his hands for the Cy.

Jason Kipnis:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .185.  Kipnis fell into one finally which is how I cam calling his first home run since he has been so brutal.  The tools are all there for superstardom but Kipnis continues to flail away since the middle of last season with no adjustment in sight.  Among the bigger disappointments thus far.

Andrew McCutchen:  1/4 while hitting .217.  I said during the winter that there was no way in hell McCutchen would approach his 2012 .327 average which was grossly inflated by a lucky BABIP.  A month into the season we are staring at a .217 mark.  Yuppers.  And as far as the overall package is concerned, McCutchen has 2 home runs and 6 steals which is just fine when you think back on how April was his worst power month last season.  Buy low my friends but just remember the average won't clear .290 unless he gets luck.

Norichika Aoki:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .253. Aoki has been hit or miss after a hot start but the power is on a better per game average than it was in 2012.  Just saying.

Carlos Gomez:  2/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .359.  Listen I am the biggest Gomez fan there is but even I will admit the average is in major outlier territory.  Other than that though, Gomez is putting up the juice numbers again (home runs/steals) and if he can stick in the top six of the order,

Jean Segura:  3/5 with his second HR while hitting .364.  Now the home runs are showing up with the batting title average and the massive steals?  I think I am going to pass out with delirium.

Yovani Gallardo:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.25.  Sorry the home run he hit doesn't count but at least you don't have to curse his name for a few days after finally putting up a solid outing.

Mat Latos:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.83.  As I said earlier the K's come and go like Viagra and ExLax but Latos is absolutely dealing in a month where he usually blows.

Jeff Samardzjia:  5 IP 4 H 3 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.35.  Ehhhh.  These are the kind of outings that were a part of Samardzjia's inconsistent past and they need to be few and far between for him to fully make good on the sleeper bouquets we all tossed at him.  No need to worry yet but it would behoove him to get back on track his next start.

Kevin Gregg:  scoreless 1.1 innings for his fourth save.  Kyuji Fujikawa is starting a rehab assignment soon so one wonders how much longer Gregg will be in the role.  Still the guy has more lives than Jason Vorhees so don't count on him going away anytime soon.

Matt Cain:  6 IP 5 H 4 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 6.49.  Boy he looks shot.  Cain gave up three more home runs in this one, all in the same inning.  The arm has only so much gas behind it before things go wrong and enough time has gone by this season to wonder if all those inning at such a young age and deep postseason runs are ruining Cain like they did Tim Lincecum in 2012.  Bench him outright until he puts up even a decent outing as Cain really is a major concern at this point.

Albert Pujols:  4/8 with 2 home runs (4 for season)  while hitting .265.  I have gotten very little joy out of owning Pujols for the first time this season as his body is taped up like a mummy but this one will pacify me for a day or so.

Brandon Moss:  2/8 with 2 home runs (4 for season) and first SB while hitting .298.  The average is holding steady which is the only concern I had coming into the season.  You can't teach Moss' power and this is a crucial season for him to establish himself as more than an Adan Dunn-like slugger.  The results are positive to this point.  Let's hope they continue on.

Dan Straily:  6 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 6.35.  So yeah that whole idea of putting up a good start in order to push Brett Anderson over the rotation cliff didn't work out too well I think.

Dexter Fowler:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .308.  Fowler took it upon himself to shove the latest STATUS REPORT I did on him up where the sun don't shine.  

Wilin Rosario:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .350.  I have to say other than Jean Segura, Rosario has been the guy I the most tingles with as far as players which I own.

Matt Harvey:  5.1 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.56.  The Mets let Harvey throw 124 pitches in this one which is a major red flag for his next outing.  Haven't they learned from the rest of the medical nightmares of young pitchers who were pushed too hard to early?  The start was much worse than we could have anticipated against the hapless Marlins and Terry Collins overworks him badly.  Idiot.






Monday, April 29, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS 3B DAVID WRIGHT OUT MONDAY WITH NECK STIFFNESS

                                                                            

New York Mets third baseman David Wright is out of the lineup Monday with a bout of neck stiffness.  Manager Terry Collins stated it was only a day-to-day situation.  Justin Turner will start in his place.

Analysis:  Look for Wright to return either tomorrow or Wednesday.  While Wright's power has been slow to come around, he is right near the top of the majors in steals with six which is nice to see.  Nothing major to worry about.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKS 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS (BACK) OUT AGAIN MON.

                                                                          

New York Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis is out again on Monday with ongoing back pain from the spasms that flared up early last week.  Youkilis missed six games and than returned Saturday, only to have the pain flare up again.  It is entirely possible he will be placed on the DL with the MRI he took earlier in the day likely defining whether he goes there or not.

Analysis:  The Yankees screwed this up as they should have just DLed him last week where by this point they would have been a week away from returning.  Now he can only be backdated to Sunday which means two more full weeks of missed games.  This is part of the story when it comes to owning Youkilis so no surprises there.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRAVES OUTFIELDER JASON HEYWARD (APPENDECTOMY) COULD BE OUT UNTIL END OF MAY

                                                                          

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward surprised some when he stated to reporters Monday that he could be out until the end of May after undergoing an emergency appendectomy last week.  While he has no official timetable for a return, both Heyward and the front office have said they will be extra cautious with their young multi-tooled outfielder.

Analysis:  Wow.  Not good.  Heyward was off to a horrendous start at the dish before the appendix issue as strikeouts continue to undermine his performance and now he could be out another month.  While Matt Holliday made it back within a week after his own appendectomy last season, he did admit later on that he cam back way too soon.  I think the end of May seems like a very long time away but there is no doubt the Braves will be very careful here. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: NOLAN ARENADO

 The Colorado Rockies couldn't wait any longer on two fronts.  The first was the underwhelming play of infielder Chris Nelson who struggled out of the gate and never righted himself in his bid to stake a claim at third base for the team.  The second front as the incredibly hot hitting of top third base prospect Nolan Arenado who was letting his bat do the talking as far as possibly being called up.  The two scenarios merged on Sunday as the Rockies DFA'd Nelson which opened up a roster space for the team to call up Arenado to take over third base.  Thus the immediate action to take is to race to your league's waiver wire and pick up the burgeoning star who has a chance to carve out a very useful fantasy baseball performance the rest of the way at an injury-marred position.

As far as Arenado is concerned, the 22-year-old has done nothing but hit the first month of the season, achieving an average of .364 with 3 home runs and 21 RBI.  Arenado was MVP of the Arizona Fall League heading into the 2013 minor league season which shows how solid a hitter he has been over an extended period of action.  While Arenado will bat in the awful eighth spot to start off, his ability to hit for average and supply developing power will have him moving up fast.  When you throw in the fact Arenado will be playing his home games in Colorado, the outlook gets even more rosier.

All in all, Arenado has the ability to make a name for himself with regards to fantasy baseball in 2013 and even if he struggles some at the start, patience needs to be in order given his nice amount of ceiling.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES SS TROY TULOWITZKI (SHOULDER STRAIN) OUT ONLY A FEW DAYS

                                                                            

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is out for only a few days after straining his left shoulder on a slide into home plate Sunday.  Tulowitzki strained the rotator cuff but is only going to be out for a day or two according to a team source. 

Analysis:  Wow what a bullet dodged there.  Consider yourself very lucky if you are a Tulo owner as injuries have interrupted more than a few of his seasons.  Hold your breath and hope Tulowitzki stays upright and he is capable of a monster season if he does so.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Giancarlo Stanton:  3/3 with 2 home runs (3 for the season) while hitting .243.  Stanton is finally showing signs of life in the last week with all three of his home runs coming during that span.  Now is the perfect time to try and SELL HIGH as the lack of any kind of support in the lineup will more times than not make Stanton a no-show stat-wise.  Again not an indictment of the player but the team altogether.

Cole Hamels:  6 IP 2 H 1 ER 6 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.78.  April is always Hamels' worst month and he is already working his way back to his ace level.  Hope you were able to buy low because that option is going out the window completely.  The walks are just a statistical anomaly as Hamels has generally very good control.

Tony Cingrani:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.50.  Have to admit that I didn't think Cingrani would be this good.  In fact Cingrani kind of snuck up on everyone as he was not discussed hardly at all in 2012 and if not for Johnny Cueto getting injured, would still being blowing guys away in the minors.  Kudos to those who got in on the bottom floor.  Anytime you can strike out guys at the clip he is doing at the moment increases the margin of error going forward.

Alex Gordon:  2/4 with his 3nd HR while hitting .352.  Swing season for Gordon who has to reestablish himself as a 20 home run guy after taking the year off there in 2012.  In respect to Gordon, he has made great strides in his K rate and previous issues against lefties to be a solid .300 guy.  However to elevate to outfielder 2 status, Gordon needs to reach that 20 home run threshold.

Alicides Escobar:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .291.  If I didn't strike gold with Jean Segura, I would have been annoyed about not owning Escobar since I touted him endlessly all winter.

Kevin Correia:  8 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.33.  Correia and the Twins seem to be a match made in fantasy baseball heaven but those in innings capped leagues should not even waste a second here since his K rate remains beyond mediocre.

Russell Martin:  3/5 with 2 home runs while hitting .267.  Martin has been atrocious in the batting average department the last four seasons which made him impossible to own even among catchers who get some more leeway there.  The power remains very nice but Martin still is only worthy of catcher 2 status.

Patrick Corbin:  6.2 IP 9 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.91.  This is proof positive that we are in the post-steroids era as there are more pitchers like the Kevin Correia's and Patrick Corbin's who are putting up very good ratios without good strikeouts in their arsenal.  Corbin was a decent prospect coming up in the D-Backs system but again I can't get too pumped up in innings capped leagues given the dearth of K's.  Know your league formats and react accordingly to this.

Carl Crawford:  2/4 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .307.  Like with Chase Utley, I had never owned Crawford until this season and it was only because of the drastically reduced draft price they presented.  Needless to say I have rolled 7's with both.

Clayton Kershaw:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 1.73.  Call this the Kershaw Special.  Can't think of anyone other than maybe Cliff Lee who supplies such ridiculous hit rates like this.

Mike Morse:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .233.  Morse has been in a funk since returning from his finger injury but we all know how hot he can get when he starts hitting the ball out of the park.  Could be the start of another nice run.

Hisashi Iwakuma:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.67.  Sigh.  Should have moved on this kid earlier.  The signs were there in 2012 for an Iwakuma breakout:  great pitcher's park, terrific control, sneaky K stuff.  Damn.  Crap.  %^&@#^&$*()#   You get the idea.

Nate McLouth:  4/5 with his 8th SB while hitting .354.  This is getting crazy now with McLouth who is hitting for an average we have never seen before out of him.  While that number will take a sizable fall, McLouth is a very adept basestealer who has also hit for solid power in the past.  Get him.

Yoenis Cespedes:  2/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .222.  Cespedes is striking out at a rate worse than his rookie season which is why the average is so low but figure on him making adjustments as we go on.  The power however is big time and even though he spent time on the DL with the hand injury, 30 is still not out of the realm of possibility.

Buster Posey:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .286.  Ever since I wrote the Posey status report, he has made big time gains in his average which was a given and the power is showing up right on schedule.  This one was too easy.

Chase Headley:  3/3 with his second HR while hitting .250.  I still have big time doubts Headley can replicate the outlier home run output from last season but 20 and 15 steals would still be a great haul at the hot corner.

Austin Jackson:  1/3 with his 2nd HR while hitting .288.  In need of runs in one of the Experts Leagues, I made a trade offer for Jackson prior to Sunday's game.  One home run later I took the offer down.  No one ever trades a player to you the day after he hits a home run.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .375.  I remember it took Cabrera a bit of time to get the home run swing going last season too and he finished with the Triple Crown.  Just about the only player in the game who is as automatic as it gets.

Mike Minor:  6 ER in 6.2 IP with an ERA of 3.13.  As a Minor owner, I wanted no part of this one against Detroit.  Hopefully you played it safe there as well.  Basically if you see Detroit on the schedule and your starter is anyone other than Verlander, Kershaw, or King Felix, your best bet is to just avoid that outing altogether.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: REDS SP TONY CINGRANI K'S 11 SUNDAY

                                                                          

Cincinnati Reds SP Tony Cingrani was absolutely electric on Sunday in striking out 11 Washington Nationals in only six innings in the team's 5-2 victory.  Cingrani gave up only 2 hits and a walk in six scoreless innings.  He now has a cumulative ERA of 1.50 and 28 K's in only 18 innings.

Analysis:  When Johnny Cueto comes back, Mike Leake is now certain to lose his rotation spot as Cingrani has been too dominant to remove right now.  Those who took a flier on the previously unknown prior to 2013 Cingrani are being handsomely rewarded as the strikeout machine is showcasing his explosive stuff at the major league level. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES SS TROY TULOWITZKI EXITS WITH SHOULDER STRAIN

                                                                          

Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was forced out of Sunday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks with what the team is calling a left shoulder strain.  Tulowitzki injured the shoulder sliding into home plate in the first inning and immediately left the game.  The Rockies will offer more information upon the game's conclusion.

Analysis:  Well Tulo almost made it out of April without the annual injury cropping up and when it comes to his annual DL stint, it all comes down to how long he will out.  Last season was the worst case scenario as Tulowitzki missed almost half the year with injury and we can only wait to see what the prognosis is before proceeding.  In the meantime start getting your replacements ready if you are a Tulowitzki owner as a DL stint is likely. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WEEK 5 ADDS/DROPS

Here are the hot adds and drops for this week as we continue to move quickly through the fantasy baseball season.

WEEK 5 ADDS

A.J. Pollack:  Now hitting .269 with 3 home runs and 3 stolen bases, Pollack is bringing the juice.  Anyone who can help across the board no matter how anonymous they are deserves to at least be taken for a test drive.

Nate McLouth:  As long as you don't buy into the .320-plus average, McLouth makes for one of the better pickups this week.  He swatted his first home runs of the season Saturday and is running wild at the top of the explosive Orioles lineup with 7 stolen bases.  Remember it was only a few years ago when McLouth was considered an outfielder 2 in fantasy baseball terms so be aggressive with this guy.

Kevin Gregg:  Brought in off the street and svaed three games his first week.  We all know he sucks it bad but for now as they saw "saves are saves."

Andrew Cashner:  Did a sleeper post on him in March and stand by it. Could easily average a K/IP and be a must start at Petco. 

Jose Quintana:  The rare Verducci Rules violator who is exceeding his production from the season before but Quintana has been helped by a 3 mph uptick in velocity.  Thus we are seeing strikeouts that were missing in 2012 so buy all means give it a go. 

Travis Wood:  I have liked Wood in the past as a good control and decent strikeout guy.  However injuries and home run troubles have undermined him more than once along the way.  However no one can argue with a 2.25 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.

Jason Hammel:  Hammel has done more than enough in 2012 and so far this season to be worth a look.  Currently sporting a nice 3.82 ERA and 1.14 WHIP and there are more strikeouts under the surface. 

Shaun Marcum:  Was just all right in his debut Saturday but Marcum has proven himself to be a classic SP 4 who can put up a 7.0 K rate and solid rate numbers.

Dan Straily:  Called up to start Monday's game against the Angels in place of Brett Anderson who gets skipped due to ongoing ankle problems.  All Straily has done is strike out over a batter per inning between the minors and majors the last year-plus and another big time outing could force the A's to keep him in the rotation.

WEEK 5 DROPS

Carlos Marmol:  Some picked him up after he got a save last week but that was just because Gregg needed a rest since he was playing in a beer league the week before. 

Wade Miley:  I have Miley here as a suggested SELL HIGH since his 2.37 ERA still looks interesting after his 7 walk meltdown Saturday night.  The 1.29 WHIP speaks to how much luck Miley has had in reaching that ERA stratosphere as his strand rate is insanely lucky. 

Zack Wheeler:  No sense holding onto Wheeler who is showing some control problems in the minors and is nowhere near getting called up.  If you have one prospect slot (NA in yahoo leagues) than use it on someone who could help you more immediately. 

Josh Johnson:  Getting hit around like we predicted in going to the AL East with a loss of velocity and now has a tricep injury.  Nothing good to  talk about with the former ace starter.

Mark Burehrle:  Was once a stalwart SP 5 but Buehrle has been rocked all season with a 6.35 ERA to show for it.  Since he doesn't strike guys out, there is no reason to stay involved.

Emilio Bonifacio:  Has been a non-factor on the basepaths which was the only category that made him relevant.  Nothing to talk about if he is not running.

Anthony Rendon:  Clearly is not ready given his struggles and Ryan Zimmerman is starting a rehab assignment. 





FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: REDS TO PLACE OUTFIELDER CHRIS HEISEY ON THE DL WITH A STRAINED HAMSTRING

The Cincinnati Reds will place outfielder Chris Heisey on the DL with what the team is calling a strained hamstring. 

Analysis:  The replacement for Ryan Ludwick will now be shelved for two weeks but Heisey is worth holding onto due to his decent power/speed game.  No sign of Billy Hamilton being called up however so no need to make a grab there yet.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: A'S ACTIVATE OUTFIELDER YOENIS CESPEDES (HAND) FROM DL SUN.

The Oakland A's activated outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the DL Sunday and included him in that day's lineup.  Cespedes was on the 15-day DL with a hand injury but has had no setbacks in his rehabilitation outings.

Analysis:  Great news for Cespedes' fantasy baseball owners who have surely missed his thunderous bat.  While his average was a bit low at the start of the season, Cespedes is a must day in daily leagues due to his uptapped ceiling.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS (BACK) SCRATCHED SUNDAY

New York Yankees 3B Kevin Youkilis has been scratched from Sunday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays with ongoing back stiffness.  Youkilis has just returned to the lineup Saturday after missing most of the past week with back soreness but deemed himself ready to go for the weekend.  No word on whether he suffered a setback that could require a DL stint.

Analysis:  Here we go again.  If Youkilis does land on the DL, it would be backdated only to Saturday which would be a blow to his fantasy baseball owners.  While Youkilis has gotten off to a hot start at the plate, he has little wiggle room as far as his owners being patient enough to wait out more injury problems this season.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING PROSPECT NEWS: ROCKIES TO CALL UP TOP PROSPECT NOLAN ARENADO

The Colorado Rockies DFA's Chris Nelson on Sunday in clearing a spot to bring up to third base hitting Nolan Arenado Sunday.  Arrenado has been on a tear while at Triple-A while Nelson failed to take hold of a regular gig with the Rockies this season. 

Analysis:  More on Arenado later but right now you need to run to your waiver wire and pick him up in all formats.  His hitting ability is extremely impressive and he could be a big time producer right away. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: JOEL HANRAHAN NOW EXPECTED TO GET CLOSER JOB BACK

According to a report from the Boston Globe, Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan is expected to get his closer job back when he comes off the DL from a strained hamstring.  Hanrahan is close to being activated since he is already throwing without issues and the news comes as a shock given how dominant Andrew Bailey has looked in his place. 

Analysis:  I will believe this when I see it.  Yes you shouldn't lose your job due to inujury but Hanrahan was pitching horribly before he hit the DL and Bailey is not an ordinary backup since he has a decent history of being a top closer.  Hold onto Bailey even if this is true as Hanrahan will get yanked quick if he struggles some more.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Shin-Soo Choo:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .360.  Choo is right on target as far as getting back to the 20/20 level which he reached in 2009 and 2010.  Yes 2011 was rough given the injuries and the DUI but since than Choo has more than made us all forget his struggles that season and in turn has returned to the fantasy baseball outfielder 2 status he was before.

Bryce Harper:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .323.  The power is not really the most impressive part about Harper this season.  Its the batting average.  He has cut his K rate and been much more patient at the dish which is setting the "launch" button back for the power game.  There is not one negative thing I can say about Harper to this point and perhaps the best thing I could say is that at least for this season, Mike Trout is no Bryce Harper.

Justin Upton:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .302.  Upton is on pace for 78 home runs.  Allow that to sink in for a minute.

Kris Medlen:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 3.26.  Just like with the movies, sequels to a blockbuster are never as good as the original.  No doubt a rough one for Medlen but five earned runs against Detroit is like 2 against anyone else.  No worries.....yet.

John Buck:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .263.  Back when Buck was hitting .380 and swatting a home run every day, I said to sell high first of all and that second of all the average would come tumbling down like Jack and Jill.  As Buck would say if he were Popeye, "I am what I am."

Nate McLouth:  3/5 with his first HR while hitting .319.  Seriously what are you waiting for?  Pick him up already damnit.

Adam Jones:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .350.  I got some e-mails asking me "what was wrong" with Jones since he is not hitting home runs.  Well he is hitting home runs but just not at the outlier rate he was at last April.  Stop overthinking it.

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .188.  I closed my eyes when I saw Bautista hit a home run and than guessed it was his only hit of the game.  Hey what do you know I was right.

Travis Hafner:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .309.  Listen I know I stroke my ego on more than a few occasions to the point that I get tired of hearing myself but seriously where else did you read about anyone touting Hafner for this season?  The answer is no one. 

Josh Willingham:  2/4 with his fourth HR and 1st SB while hitting .254.  First Willingham hits a bunch of home runs when no one is watching and now he is trying to steal some bases under that scenario as well.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/3 with his 2nd HR while hitting .209.  Stanton finally got a pitch to hit and he sent it over the wall.  Figure another 3 weeks goes by before he gets another one.

Matt Moore:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.12.  What we are seeing out of Moore right now is a beautiful thing.  The classic case of a power pitcher who went through a bit of an adjustment period at the major league level and than had his talent take over in a crazy good way.  Moore is right there at the top of the league in hit rate and he also has curbed the walks that undermined him in 2012.  Awesome.

Ervin Santana:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Santana's career is about as up and down as you can get but right now he is locked in and pitching great.  I don't trust him and won't pick him up unless desperate but that's a personal choice.  The numbers are there.  Do what you must.

 Wade Miley:  4.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 7 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.37.  I have gotten more than a few e-mails telling me I have lost my marbles hating on Miley after yet another big start to a season.  Well 7 walks and 4 hits in 4.1 innings are doing the arguing for me and when you have a WHIP of 1.29 to a 2.37 ERA, it indicates how lucky one is which is the case with Miley, especially in his crazy strand rate.  I stand by what I have said all along.

Carlos Gomez:  3/5 with his 3rd HR while hitting .338.  Gomez gets a boost to the hallowed second spot in the Brewers order with Jean Segura out and the results were obvious.  Truth be told Gomez has been swinging a red hot bat for a few weeks now and is already validating his breakout 2012 season. 

Desmond Jennings:  1/6 with his 3rd HR while hitting .222.  I swear sometimes I think B.J. Upton is still batting leadoff as he and Jennings are so much a like in their hitting profiles.  We are starting to get to the point with Jennings where we may have to consider that there won't be much improvement in the average which is a shame since the power/speed profile could have turned him into a near outfielder 1 if he could hit even .280.

Wilin Rosario:  3/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .333.  Unbelievable.  And Buster Posey owners continue to curse their luck since they could have had Rosario five rounds later in the draft.

A.J. Pollock:  3/5 with his third HR and third SB while hitting .269.  Pollack is screaming out to all of us "hey check me out."  We always have our eyes instantly forced onto Hit and Run specials and so Pollack needs to go right to the top of your WATCH list to see if this continues. 

Felix Hernandez:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.90.  Only a Mariners pitcher can have such a tremendous ERA and 2 losses.  Wow.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX OUTFIELDER SHANE VICTORINO (BACK) RETURNS TO LINEUP SAT.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will return to the lineup on Saturday after missing a few games with a sore back. 

Analysis:  Victorino has looked comfortable in his new surroundings, hitting well to start the season before the back acted up on him this past week.  While aging and showing an increased struggle against righties, Victorino should be able to help enough to hold onto outfielder 3 status.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: NATS 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN (HAMSTRING) CLEARED FOR REHAB ASSIGNMENT

Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman has been cleared to start a rehab assignment this weekend and could return to team Friday when he is first eligible to come off the DL.  Zimmerman has been on the DL with a strained hamstring but has been good progress since which allowed him to begin the rehab.

Analysis:  Zimmerman should be good to go on Friday but as we all know the next injury is right around the corner.  Meanwhile Anthony Rendon will likely be sent down as he has not looked ready in his first major leaue action.

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: STARLING MARTE OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Every once in awhile, a top fantasy baseball prospect will slip through the cracks.  In the case of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, that is just what took place during his debut 2012 season all because his name wasn't Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.  Harper and Trout were so ridiculously great in their MLB debuts that it was easy to fly under the radar despite being a buzzy prospect like Marte was.  Marte got the call midway through the 2012 season at only 24 years old and he quickly cemented a spot atop the Pirates' lineup by showcasing his underrated power and terrific speed.  The results was a very Andrew McCutchen-like 5 home runs and 12 stolen bases while batting .257 in only 167 at-bats.  It was no doubt an impressive debut but again due to the excellence of Trout and Harper, got somewhat swept under the rug.  Thus when the 2013 fantasy baseball season began, Marte was available to be picked in the middle rounds which was a lot lower than one would expect given his power/speed debut.  Either way, Marte has once again shown himself to be one to watch as he climbs the fantasy baseball outfield ladder.

As we head into Saturday's games, Marte is continuing with a red hot start to the season with a .322 average with 1 home runs and 6 stolen bases.  While the power/speed game is not a shock, the .322 average is as Marte was a bit strikeout happy in 2012 and during his minor league career.  He had quickly made strides in his K rate this season which resulted in the average shooting up to where it is.  When combined with the aggressiveness on the basepaths and his ability to pop some home runs, Marte iq quickly taking on the look of a possible oufielder 2.  If somehow Marte is still sitting on your league's waiver wire, do yourself a favor and pick him up right away.  His ability to contribute across the board is a major fantasy baseball bonanza and Marte is capable of much more given his untapped ceiling and ability.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS ACTIVATE SP SHAUN MARCUM (NECK/SHOULDER) FROM DL SAT.

The New York Mets activated SP Shaun Marcum from the DL to make his start Saturday.  Marcum has not pitched in 2013 due to neck and shoulder issues but he made it through his rehab starts with no further setbacks.

Analysis:  Marcum has generally been an underrated fantasy baseball pitcher who is capable of putting up a mid-3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and a K rate around 7.00 which is nothing to sneeze at.  Pick him up for the back end of your rotation if you are need of another arm. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: PIRATES 2B NEIL WALKER TAKES SIX STITCHES TO FINGER FRI.

Pittsburgh Pirates 2B Neil Walker took six stitches on his right index finger after taking a deep cut there in Friday night's game.  Walker cut the finger while trying to break up a double play and is expected to miss a few games.

Analysis:  Walker remains what he is which is a guy who is on the extreme lower end of ownership at 2B in standard leagues.  Solid across the board, Walker doesn't do any one thing great which limits his fantasy baseball value. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .185.  More of the same for Bautista.  The longer his average languishes, the more we start to believe 2012 mark in that category was not completely hurt by the BABIP.

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .225.  There was a rumor that Bautista got second degree burns sitting next to the red hot Encarnacion on the bench. 

Brett Gardner:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .256.  Gardner has always had the ability to pop close to 10 home runs which makes him more valuable than the regular stolen base specialist.  However where are the steals?

Paul Maholm:  8 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 3.30.  This was bound to happen since Maholm was pitching way over his head.  Feel free to still use him but only on a matchup basis.  You were pressing your luck if you rode this one out against that crazy Tiger lineup.

Anibal Sanchez:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 17 K with an ERA of 1.34.  I didn't watch this game so I actually checked to see if this wasn't some sort of box score misprint.  Damn Sanchez has been ringing them up this season and it is not entirely a fluke since he has a 200 K season under his belt.  The bigger issue is his career-long tendency to wear down in the second half so a SELL HIGH is absolutely the plan of action to take.  Now would even be the best time to do it.

Jordan Zimmerman:  9 IP 1 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Listen let's stop talking about the lost strikeouts because they look like they are never coming back.  We don't need them however as Zimmerman's approach can't be questioned given how incredible he has pitched the last two-plus seasons.  The guy is completely legit as too much time has gone by to think he is not and believe it or not Zimmerman is giving Stephen Strasburg a run for his money for the title of staff ace.

Kyle Kendrick:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.41.  I group Kendrick into the realm of "guy who has sucked throughout his career, doesn't strike guys out, and is going to see a major spike in his rate stats in due time."  Sorry if I ruined the illusion of what you thought he was.

Anthony Rizzo:  3/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) and his 2nd SB while hitting .200.  There was talk that the Cubs were thinking of sending Rizzo back to the minors given his struggles lately but the kid had other ideas.  This was great as Rizzo pretty much said "F-you" and made sure to go out and contribute across the board.  Be patient as the power is top notch and he also can do a Joey Votto-impression on the bases with 10 steals.

Kevin Gregg:  scoreless ninth for his second save.  I really just can't understand how this guy never goes away.

David Ortiz:  1/4 with his 2nd HR while hitting .500.  Was crazy that Ortiz was available in as many leagues as he was before he got off the DL.  Typical discriminatory case against aging veteran who begins the year hurt.  Always a nice profit play for you however since you read these words daily.

Will Middlebrooks:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .184.  Someone dropped him in one of the Experts Leagues.  Yup thank you.

Ryan Dempster:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.30.  I should just re-name the site "The Ryan Dempster Official Fan Club."  Who drools over him more than yours truly?  What straight guy would admit he drools over another?  One who plays fantasy baseball.

Evan Longoria:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .277.   Is giving Encarnacion a run for his money in the scorching department.  Longoria is right where he should be since he is now hitting around .280, cracking homers, and not stealing. 

Carlos Beltran:  2/4 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .293.  It is the first half of 2012 all over again for Beltran whose home run stick is still kicking around nicely.  Beware July though when those legs are yelling "help!"

Lance Lynn:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.10.  This is Lynn's chance in 2013 to show us he won't wear down for the second season in a row.  He is putting up the high K rate and very good ratios like he did in the first half last season before the wheels fell off and his assignment is to make sure that doesn't happen again.  If it doesn't than I am sold.

Wilin Rosario:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .309.  Average has sunk a bit but that was to be expected due to the K rate.  Power on track like it was in 2012 so Rosario is now entering a stable projection point in his young career.

Wei-Yin Chen:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.53.  Call him the East Coast version of Hisashi.

Ryan Braun:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .269.  Braun is now searching all over his closet in a quest to find the steroid bottle for "batting average."

Jean Segura:  2/5 with his 7th SB while hitting .359.  Pickup of the season so far.  Called by yours truly.  I am good.

Andrew Cashner:  6 IP 5 H  ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.26.  I called him a sleeper in the winter and so that means you pick him up now that he was finally moved to the rotation.  Took long enough.



Friday, April 26, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS SP IVAN NOVA EXITS WITH UNDISCLOSED INJURY

                                                                                  

New York Yankees SP Ivan Nova exited Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays with an undisclosed injury.  Nova walked off with the Yankee team trainer in the third inning and no word has been released as to what the issue is.

Analysis:  Nova is really not worth owning in almost all fantasy baseball formats as he has been absolute ERA and WHIP destroyer the last two seasons.  Those in the deepest of leagues should cut him loose if he does go on the DL injured.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS SP JOSH JOHNSON HEADING FOR MRI ON TRICEP

                                                                           

Toronto Blue Jays SP Josh Johnson will head for an MRI on the tricep soreness that scratched him from Friday's start.  The Blue Jays maintain that the test is only for precautionary reasons and that he should miss only the one start.

Analysis:  Johnson was once one of my favorite starters to own but he has been an absolute mess the last season-plus.  His decreased velocity and penchant for injuries don't make one optimistic that he will ever come close to replicating his All Star numbers ever again.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: DODGERS SS HANLEY RAMIREZ (THUMB) TO BEGIN REHAB ASSIGNMENT SAT.

                                                                                 

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez will begin a rehab assignment on Saturday as he works his way to returning to the team from a broken thumb.  Ramirez broke the thumb during spring training but has made nice progress since which should get him back before the original 8 week timetable he was given after the injury.

Analysis:  Ramirez is a puzzle to me as he was once considered the number 1 guy in all of fantasy baseball but who has had two straight letdown campaigns when he should be in his prime.  Obviously he is capable of big time power/speed production at a shallow position so his owners will be more than happy that he has returned.  Figure sometime early next week Ramirez will get activated.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS C FRANCISCO CERVELLI SUFFERS BROKEN HAND FRI.

                                                                              

New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli suffered a broken hand in Friday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays and will be placed on the DL immediately upon its completion.  Cervelli suffered the break after taking a foul tip off his hand and it is likely the team will call up Austin Romine to take his place.

Analysis:  Cervelli was off to a nice start at the dish this season with three home runs that saw him get picked up in two catcher formats but obviously he needs to be cut loose after this.  Romine has been considered a decent prospect for the Yankees but mot one who should be added for fantasy baseball reasons.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BLUE JAYS SP JOSH JOHNSON SCRATCHED FROM FRI. START DUE TO TRICEPS STRAIN

                                                                           

Toronto Blue Jays SP Josh Johnson has been scratched from his Friday start due to a bout of right triceps tightness.  The Blue jays stated this was a precautionary move and that he should be able to make his next start.

Analysis:  Johnson is no stranger to injury and he is pitching like a shell of his former self, with a decrease in velocity the main issue.  If you still are trusting him on your fantasy baseball roster, sit him on the bench until he shows some signs of consistency.


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CLAY BUCHHOLZ SP BOSTON RED SOX

For those of you who have been longtime readers of yours truly (I don't know where you all have been if you haven't) than you would know that there are certain guys I hate on each and ever season for one reason or another.  Whether it is the BABIP-fueled Jeremy Hellickson or the steroids-fueled Ryan Braun, there are some guys I just want no part of each and every year when the drafts roll around.  Yet another one of these guys who fit this discriminatory mold is Boston Red Sox SP Clay Buchholz who I have taken great pleasure in ripping apart since he first came into league.  It began I suppose when Buchholz put up one of the more luckier BABIP-aided seasons in recent memory in 2010 when he pitched to a 2.33 ERA and 1.20 WHIP (while also violating the Verdiccui Rules) which made into one of the more sought after starters in 2011 drafts.  I warned anyone who would listen that a massive falloff was coming when Buchholz'  luck regressed back to the mean or that he would get hurt and boy did he ever come through on that prediction by landing on the DL and seeing his ERA rise to 3.48 and WHIP to 1.29 in only 82.2 innings.  Buchholz followed that up with a 4.56/1.33 horror show in 2012 which cemented my thoughts on him in the first place as a guy who without luck was nothing more than a SP 5 candidate.  Well a funny thing happened during the 2012 offseason as Buchholz went to work on perfecting a new addition to his arsenal in the form of a splitter which when combined with his decent fastball, gave a much different look to opposing batters than they were used to seeing out of him prior.  The results in 2013 have been spectacular to say the least as Buchholz comes off a 10-strikeout gem Thursday night to lower his ERA to 1.19 and his WHIP to a tiny 1.01.  The strikeouts?  How about 39 in only 37.2 innings.  Clearly the splitter is doing its thing as far as giving opposing batters something else to think about and when Buchholz pops the fastball, the speed looks faster than what it really is.  Thus what we have here is a classic case of a pitcher refining his game on the fly with great success and when looked at through the prism of fantasy baseball, make Buchholz one terrific value play this season. 

So where do we go from here?  If you are fortunate to be a Buchholz owner do you sell high or hold pat?  Well the answer is not completely clear.  No doubt Buchholz will not finish the season with an ERA less than 2.00.  The BABIP has been a bit on the lucky side but nothing like it was in 2010 so some regression will arrive.  However the strikeouts have changed the dynamic of Buchholz and make him more stable than he would be without them.  Pitchers will big time strikeout rates can buck the BABIP trend better than their soft-tossing counterparts and so Buchholz should still be able to be at least an SP 3 and possibly an SP 2.  The strikeouts alone make Buchholz worth holding onto and what we are getting elsewhere is a terrific bonus.  All in all I would hold onto Buchholz since many other owners may not be completely buying into his start and thus you may not get offers sufficient enough to make a move.  If he continues to pitch like this through May, that should change and than maybe you can think of sending him on his way for someone with a longer track record.  Either way, it is all good times for Buchholz and his owners and all because of the addition of a single pitch.


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Chase Utley:  1/3 with his fourth SB while hitting .309.  What is really nice to see with Utley is the fact he is still so aggressive stealing bases.  At an age when most guys lose that skill entirely (35), Utley is proving to be quite the value play off two injury plagued seasons.  Even if he does hey hurt again, Utley's draft price was so cheap this season that the loss is not devastating. 

Alex Gordon:  2/6 with his 2nd HR while hitting .337.  Gordon's 2012 home run total (14 in 642 at-bats) was pathetic but he can get back to 20 like he sis in 2011.  That stat alone will make or break his fantasy baseball season. 

Ike Davis:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .174.  Davis is Adam Dunn right now, like it or not.  He has now been shifted down to the sixth in the order which no doubt is a wake up call from Terry Collins.  Maybe Davis is simply a more extreme version of Mark Texeira in that he just can't wake up until May hitting wise.  Either way this is not a good follow up by any means to the 32 home run 2012 salvage job.

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.41.  Of course.  I dropped Ryu stupidly off his rough outing last week and paid for it dearly.  I am just as guilty as the next guy sometime in quickly casting off non-sleeper rookies who get out of the gate fast.  The fact of the matter is that Ryu now has 33 K's in 31 innings and should be used every time out at home and against select opponents on the road.  If someone in your league copied my stupidity, pick him up pronto.

David Ortiz:  3/4 with his first HR while hitting .550.  Told you all to pick up Ortiz if he was sitting there on the wire due to starting out the season on the DL and so far he is picking up where he left off in 2012.  Despite getting up there in age, Ortiz is still loving the DL slot and 25 home runs is not out of the question.

Clay Buchholz:  7.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.19.  Buchholz is now 5-0 as he sports 39 K's in 37 innings.  Amazing.  Buchholz has never sniffed this kind of power pitching before and like I said after his last start, I am willing to buy in only due to the fact he developed a cutter during the offseason which clearly is working.  I actually wouldn't be in a rush to sell high here due to the cutter addition.

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .293.  Votto has really ramped up the power the last two weeks to go with the usual stellar average.  Nothing to see here.

Bryce Harper:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .364.  It is amazing how Harper is doing the Mike Trout impression this season while the latter evidently is dealing with some sort of sophomore slump.  Upward we go.

Gio Gonzalez:  8 IP 1 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.50.  This is what Gonzalez' owners have been waiting for all along.  The K rate is down and the home runs are up but clearly something clicked in this outing.  I think Gonzalez will be just fine but he needs to get on a nice run here in order to fully push Biogenesis in the rearview mirror for good.

Brett Lawrie:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .167.  Lawrie batting eighth which is not as bad as doing it in the NL but still not great given the lost plate appearances.  Lukewarm on him going forward until he gets up to at least sixth.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .212.  Major power explosion out of Encarnacion the last week as he starts his charge to proving last season's 40 was no fluke.  Get the average up a bit too while you are at it.

Robinson Cano:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .322.  It must be nice to own Cano.  One of those deals where you just plug him in and concentrate on the rest of your team. 

Vernon Wells:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .293.  Do yourself a favor and go back to read what I wrote about Wells with a week to go in spring training.  I will wait for you to get back........(waiting)........Yup that was pretty good huh?

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .325.  Nothing but good signs all around for Goldy who is showing a decrease in K's which is showing up in the average.  He hasn't been collecting the steals yet but they will come.  Another guy I hyped all winter but was beaten out from getting.  Double Damn.

J.J. Putz:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save.  Putz lengthens the leash some with this outing and really that's all it takes with a struggling closer.  Re:  Holland, Greg.

Nate McLouth:  2/5 with 2 steals (7 for season) while hitting .302.  I am liking McClouth as a nice waiver add this week as he turns back the clock to his Pittsburgh Pirates days.  We all loved him than so why change now?  The results speak for themselves and hitting atop the loaded Orioles lineup, McLouth at the very least will be a nice boost in steals and runs.

Chris Davis:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .368.  Davis is up to 21 K's in 72 at-bats as he is getting a bit more whiff happy as the season nears May.  The home runs have dried up a bit as a result of pitchers finding that hole in his swing again which means the average should continue to plummet.  The key is where the line of settlement ends up.  Anywhere .280 and above would be the JACKPOT line when combined with all those home runs.







Thursday, April 25, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS DEMOTE IKE DAVIS TO SIXTH SPOT IN LINEUP, LUCAS DUDA BATTING FOURTH

                                                                           

After struggling badly in April for the second season in a row, the New York Mets demoted 1B Ike Davis to sixth in the batting order while at the same time moving outfielder Lucas Duda to cleanup.  Davis is hitting only .169 going into Thursday's games while Duda checks in at .275.  Manager Terry Collins didn't say whether the move would be permanent or not.

Analysis:  Davis once again is trying the patience of his fantasy baseball owners given his awful struggles early on the last two seasons.  Stay patient as Davis went on a major power tear the second half of 2012 and could do so again going forward.  This move boosts the value of Duda however who has looked good at the dish early on.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWSl CARDS 1B MATT ADAMS (OBLIQUE) HEADED TO SEE TEAM DR.

                                                                            

St. Louis Cardinals 1B Matt Adams is scheduled to visit with the team doctor in order to determine the severity of the oblique injury he suffered last weekend.  Adams has not played since Sunday but the team doesn't think he will need a DL stint.

Analysis:  Adams has been red hot when in the lineup and is an Allen Craig or Carlos Beltran injury away from being a major pickup item.  This doesn't sound serious but anything to do with the oblique needs to be watched closely.  If all goes well with the visit, Adams could return in a few days or so.


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JEAN SEGURA SS MILWAUKEE BREWERS

It bears repeating that the shortstop position in fantasy baseball historically has been one the most shallow spots in the entire game, with a few top heavy top heavy options that quickly drop off to more than a few mediocre ones that leave owners wanting.  The 2013 season was no different as Troy Tulowitzki was followed by a second tier of Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Starlin Castro, and Jimmy Rollins.  After those five were a slew of questionable shortstop options that made it difficult for an entire standard 12-team league to fill out the position with effective players.  To make matters worse, injuries have hit the position hard as both Ramirez and Reyes have landed on the DL and Tulowitzki historically being among the more injury prone players in the game.  Hence the search is always on for new blood to help infuse talent to the position and give fantasy baseball owners a potential big time value play if they land such a guy.  One player who seems to fit this bill is the Milwaukee Brewers' Jean Segura who in less than a month has shown himself to possibly be the next talent to join the upper tier of the shortstop position and be a fantasy baseball weapon that can make a nice difference for his owners.  With all that said, let's take a closer look at Segura in order to look at what he has supplied his owners this season and what could be in store the rest of the way.

In looking at Segura the player, the one thing that stands out the most is his speed which shows up in the always precious stolen base.  I have gone on record countless times preaching the need to fill your middle infield slots (2B, SS) with guys who can steal bases and on that front Segura fits the bill clearly.  Segura came up in the minor leagues as a big time stolen base threat which hinted at what was to come in 2013.  Specifically speaking, Segura stole 37 bases in Double-A last season between the Milwaukee and Los Angeles Angel systems, while also batting .294 and .433 in the two locales after being involved in the Zack Greinke deal.  So in essence Segura was already revealing himself to be a major stolen base threat but also as a batting average asset.  He has more than carried that over to the Brewers this season, heading into Thursday's game batting .356 with 6 steals.  Slotted in the number 2 hole, Segura is getting a ton of fastballs to chew on in front of Ryan Braun and clearly taking advantage of it.  Yours truly said to pick up Segura two weeks ago when he began to get his timing down on the bases and since that time he has picked up five steals and continued with his high average hitting.  Going along with the steals and high average are the runs scored and Segura could threaten 90-100 trips across the dish with such firepower behind him in the lineup.  That is three categories that Segura could excel in which is more than you can ask for from your shortstop.  While home runs and RBI won't be part of the equation, you can more than live with that kind of production from a position that is in major need of some new youth.

All in all, Jean Segura looks like a new age Jose Reyes without the home run ability.  He could score 90 runs with 30 steals while batting .300.  That statistical haul plays well in all leagues and is a batch of numbers that make Segura a major value option this season.


FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: JOHN AXFORD COULD GET CLOSER ROLE BACK SOON

Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke indicated on Wednesday that John Axford could be close to getting his closer role back after a string of solid outings.  Axford was replaced in the ninth inning soon after the season began due to a string of poor outings and Jim Henderson has done well in his place.  However when asked Wednesday what Axford had to do to get the job back replied "not much."

Analysis:  Ughh.  Those who picked up Henderson can't be happy about this.  It would be a ridiculous move for Roenicke to make considering how good Henderson has been.  Yes Axford has pitched better lately but still he has disaster written all over him if he goes back into the gig anytime soon.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Jose Bautista:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .190.  Bautista is in the midst of a second straight Adam Dunn/Mark Reynolds home run specialist season.  He is fully capable of hitting .260 but Bautista has to get to work there soon.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .210.  We really can't start looking at batting average until May as far as worrying about a low mark.  Power numbers however are less prone to fluctuation so Encarnacion's home run spike the last few days speaks well to his ability to replicate 2012.  I still reiterate though that Encarnacion is more likely to hit 30 bombs instead of 40.

J.P. Arenciabia:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .268.  I have always said that Arencibia needs to hit at least .250 before he can be for daily usage and so we are clearly at that point.  If he can say above that line of demarcation, Arencibia can threaten 30 home runs which is blockbuster numbers at catcher.  This should be of major interest for Victor Martinez owners who continue to wait for his bat to get going.

Todd Frazier:  1/2 with his 6th HR while hitting .263.  When it comes to Frazier, his major sleeper appeal came in the power and not the average.  While Frazier won't hit .240, he won't hit .290 either.  Be that as it may, Frazier is completely fulfilling his sleeper potential which as we have seen countless times in the past, surely is anything but a given.

Mat Latos:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.16.  Latos is a not a 200 K guy outings like his 10 K outing his last start come around only once in awhile.  The bigger story is that Latos is absolutely dealing right now and looks primed for his best season ever as a pro. 

Jayson Werth:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .259.  Nothing to talk about here other than that Werth is healthy which means he is a quiet 20/20 threat.  Do with that what you must.

Alex Rios:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .297.  Rios has burned so many people in the past with his great one year/crap one year performances that his draft price was way too low this winter considering how nice his 2012 season was.  Still lots of life left in his legs.

Jose Quintana:  5 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.78.  I didn't buy in to Quintana's rookie debut in 2012 but this season is different due to the fact he has picked up 3 mph on his fastball which is showing up in his much inflated K rate.  He is a Verducci Rules violator which gives me pause but riding this out until the wheels fall off is the easy play.

 Addison Reed:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save with an ERA of 1.00.  Right there with Jason Grilli as far as being one of the best closers this season.  Reed struggled badly when given the closer role last season but fatigue from his first full major league campaign took some of the bite off his stuff.  With a full offseason to recharge, Reed looks like the big time prospect he was touted to be.  I am convinced.

Chris Carter:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .221.  Carter is going to have flashbacks to his other life when the NFL Draft kicks off tonight. 

Brett Anderson:  6 ER in IP with an ERA of 7.32.  Anderson has to either be tipping his pitches or he is hurt because he is not this bad a starter.  I can't see a situation where the A's would demote him to the minors but Dan Straily fans wait with baited breath.

Brandon Crawford:  3/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .320.  So far Crawford is holding steady on the nice start he has had to the season and along with Jean Segura, is supplying some much needed young  blood to a incredibly shallow fantasy baseball position. 

Madison Bumgarner:  7.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.87.  The only suspense with owning Bumgarner is to see if he deal with fatigue again in September.  Until than, enjoy the best priced ace in the game.

Matt Reynolds:  scoreless ninth for his second save.  J.J. Putz was given the day off and a vote of confidence after he blew yet another save on Tuesday.  Check out Reynolds' last two full season ERA's.  Yeah so picking him up is not looking so enticing now I bet.

Michael Cuddyer:  1/5 with his fifth HR while hitting .333.  Don't let Cuddyer just sit there. Pick him up.  This is the classic case of a boring veteran guy who is hitting but no one seems to care.  So what that he lost second base eligibility.  He plays in Colorado folks.

Josh Rutledge:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .230.  That's now three home runs and five steals while showing eligibility at second base and shortstop.  The average will come up as Rutledge is dealing with some poor BABIP luck and when it does, that nice power/speed juice will look all the more better.

Justin Upton:  failed to homer.  Get out of town.  Damn he sucks.

Chris Young:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season) along with his 5th SB while hitting .174.  It wouldn't be Chris Young if he didn't hit home runs, steal a bunch of bases, and struggle to hit .200.  No one makes the most out of his hits than this guy does. 

Jon Lester:  5.2 IP 6 H 3 ER 6 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.27.  We can look past this start given how good Lester has been but no more of that please.  The glimpse back to 2012 was not pretty.

Andrew Bailey:  scoreless ninth as he struck out the side for his fifth save.  Nice knowing you Mr, Hanrahan. 

Alex Cobb:  8.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.82.  Cobb is just the latest Tampa Bay pitcher to come up their system throwing darts and he is already showing signs of having a breakout 2013 season.  Do a quick search in your league to see if he is still hanging around on the wire.  Cobb has above average strikeout stuff when he is on as he showed in this outing. 

Starling Marte:  2/4 with 2 steals (5 for season) while hitting .329.  You should have picked him up two weeks ago when I told you to but now it is likely too late.  Sorry.

Chase Utley:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .308.  I own Utley in both Experts leagues so it is like having Christmas back-to-back days when he hits a home run.  A bit too dramatic?  No this is fantasy baseball.

Ryan Howard:  2/4 with his 2nd HR while hitting .273.  This was a quick reminder that Howard was not in fact retired which I started to think he was due to the lack of impact hits.

Roy Halladay:  6 IP 1 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.08.  Halladay is striking out a batter per inning and his WHIP is 1.08.  His last three starts have been brilliant so time to come in off the ledge Halladay owners.  Clearly the guy still can get outs without his best stuff.

Matt Kemp:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .250.  By this time last season he had like 15 home runs but you take what you can get at this point.  Ultimately Kemp is way too talented to stay down offensively the way he is and April has been like his spring training since he got so few at-bats in Grapefruit League play.  He will be all right

Nelson Cruz:  3/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .300.  Cruz has shown himself to get red hot like this for two weeks at a time which could be where we are at right now.  Than the steroid pills run out and he has to order some more. 

Yu Darvish:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.65.  Four wins now for Darvish who is placing himself near the front of the list in a VERY early Cy Young watch. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED RELIER PITCHER RANKINGS

Closer rankings are like a dime a dozen given all the upheaval but we give it a shot nonetheless.  Here is how the ninth inning men currently stack up with the season only a few weeks old.

1.  Craig Kimbrel
2.  Aroldis Chapman
3.  Jonathan Papelbon
4.  Mariano Rivera:  So far so good for the Yankee closer but really you couldn't doubt the guy anyway.
5.  Rafael Soriano
6.  Jim Johnson
7. Jason Grilli:  Still has not given up an earned run as of this writing and is perfect in save chances.
8.  Tom Wilhelmsen
9.  Fernando Rodney
10. Joe Nathan:  Still going strong and Joakim Soria now out until June.
11. Huston Street:  Just stay healthy guy.
12. Andrew Bailey:  Doubling my bet in saying Bailey will lead Boston in saves this season.
13. J.J. Putz
14. Sergio Romo
15. Rafael Betancourt:  Only a matter of time until he gets traded.  Get something for him before than.
16. Casey Janssen
17. Ernesto Frieri:  Like I said in February, Frieri will run with the Angels ninth inning.
18. Grant Balfour
19. Chris Perez
20. Jim Henderson:  Big time K rate upside speaks well for him doing well in the gig.
21. Glen Perkins
22. Addison Reed:  Need to see more but Reed is moving on up.
23. Brandon League:  Successfully holding off Kenley Jansen.
24. Bobby Parnell
25. Greg Holland:  Taken the heat off himself with good pitching lately. 
26. Edwin Mujica
27. Steve Cishek
28. Jose Veras
29. Jose Valverde
30. Any Cubs Closer










FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: A'S OUTFIELDER YOENIS CESPEDES (HAND) TO START REHAB ASSIGNMENT THURSDAY

Oakland A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is expected to begin a rehan assignment Thursday from the injured hand that had landed him on the DL.  If all goes well, Cespedes could be activated as early as Sunday.

Analysis:  Great news for Cespedes owners who have missed their five tool outfielder.  While Cespedes strikes out a bit too much, his power/speed game is big time and could lead to him putting up a big time fantasy baseball season. 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER NEWS: RED SOX CLOSER JOEL HANRAHAN (HAMSTRING) TO BEGIN REHAB ASSIGNMENT

Boston Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan will begin a rehab assignment starting on Friday as he continues to recover from the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL.  Hanrahan was struggling before he got injured and Andrew Bailey has finished four of five games in his place.  No word on whether manager John Farrell will go back to Hanrahan or stick with Bailey in the ninth inning when he returns.

Analysis:  Look for Bailey to retain the closer role as he has been so much better than Hanrahan this season that there is no reason to make a move there.  Hanrahan owners should wait for confirmation and thna cut him loose if he does get removed.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CUBS SP MATT GARZA (LAT) TO BE EXAMINED

Chicago Cubs SP Matt Garza is slated to see a specialist in order to determine why he is experiencing soreness in his right arm.  Garza has been on the DL all season with a strained lat suffered in spring training and he had just started ramping up his rehab work lately.  No word on whether or not the issue is a joint or muscle problem.

Analysis:  Garza has appeal due to his strikeout ability but his complete lack of health make him almost useless.  Leave him on the wire for now until we get a better idea of when he could return to the club.

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKS 1B MARK TEXEIRA (WRIST) WON'T BE READY MAY 1

New York Yankees 1B Mark Texeira won't be ready to come off the DL May 1st as he stated he might be able to do when he first tore the tendon sheath from his wrist.  Texeira is still doing some limited exercises that don't require swining a bat to this point and is now pointing to the middle of May as a possible return date. 

Analysis:  When Texeria first got hurt I said it would be June before we saw him in uniform and I stand by that argument.  The power is still very good but Texeira's average has sunk and he is now becoming very injury prone.  Stay patient. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: JOSE VALVERDE NAMED TIGERS CLOSER

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland has officially named Jose Valverde the team's closer after his call up for Wednesday's game.  After going with a committee at the start of the season and than going with Joaquin Benoit, Leyland named Valverde the closer after he was got into shape in the minors after signing his minor league deal earlier in the month.

Analysis:  Drop Benoit in all formats as this news makes him a moot option.  Valverde is aging and a shell of his former self so it could be a very rocky road if you picked him up.  Still saves are saves and people are picking up Kevin Gregg this morning so there is that.  Do what you wish.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Oswaldo Arcia:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .154.  First of many home runs for Arcia in his future and like I said when he got the call, he makes for a smart pickup due to his ability to clear fences alone.  The average could be shaky as it is with most rookies but if .200 hitting Adam Dunn finds regular playing time in fantasy baseball, so can Arcia.

Jose Fernandez:  5 IP 6 H 4 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.50.  Boy this story turned quick.  I told you after his first start when he was dealing against the Mets that trading Fernandez was the slam dunk thing to do since his value would never be higher and sleeper power pitchers like he is command inflated prices.  Consider that thought a giant opportunity missed.  Now I still like Fernandez who has some incredibly good stuff but he is still only 20-years-old which is an age where any player excels only at being inconsistent.

Justin Upton:  3/8 with his 10th HR and 11th HR's while hitting .307.  I should just write "Justin Upon Homered Again" as the caption every day of the season so that I can save typing time.

Evan Gattis:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .250.  Gattis' average has sunk fast and now he looks just like the man who will replace him in a few weeks, one Mr. Brian McCann.

Mike Minor:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.80.  I think someone said that Minor could have the kind out bustout season that Kris Medlen had in 2012.  Oh yeah I forgot that was me.

Adam Wainwright:  8.1 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1/93.  Yours truly picked Wainwright to win the Cy Young this season.  The second year back from TJ surgery yields a return to pitcher's prior form.  Double Yup.

Barrtolo Colon:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.42.  Waiting for Colon to get busted for steroids again so we can have Dan Straily called up already.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting .208.  So far Regression Police 1 Edwin Encarnacion 0.  Still you can hit 25 home runs in your sleep in Toronto and I am of the opinion that 2012 was legit for the guy.  Send some buy low offers.

Tony Cingrani:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.25.  Loving what we are seeing so far from Cinfrani who when he sleeps sees Kkkkkkkk's over his head and not Zzzzzz's.  I will say for the 17957394 time that young rookie pitchers will go up and down more than Ben Affleck's film career but the K's alone make Cingrani an every start play until the fatigue sets in later during the summer.

Kevin Gregg:  scoreless ninth for his first save after being picked up out of a cardboard box on a street corner somewhere in Indiana.  Gregg getting another chance to close?  Really?  I mean no one has gotten more opportunities to fail in the ninth inning than Gregg and it is almost comical how he just always seems to show up there despite 80 different teams he has played for in his career.   Please don't make me say it.  I have typed too many words on this bum already.

Evan Longoria:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .282.  Yup Longoria is right where he should be.  Hitting for mucho power and having his average settle in the .280 region.

David Price:  8 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 5.52.  He will be just fine.  Start breathing Price owners.  Let's visit some more pertinent information please.

Kendrys Morales:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .267.  Yesterday I told you that veteran players who are struggling and still in their prime need a much longer leash before you send them to the wire.  Case in point Morales who has hit a home run two games in a row and seems ready for a nice hot streak.

Hisashi Iwakuma:  5 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.99.  Iwakuma's WHIP is a ridiculous 0.73.  If it wasn't for Matt Harvey, Iwakuma  would be the slam dunk breakout pitcher of the season.

Howie Kendrick:  3/5 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .297.  Maybe this is the season Kendrick becomes a batting cham......oh enough with that already.

Carlos Gomez:  average up to .312 as he steals his second base.  The biggest news is that the red hot Gomez has been moved up to sixth in the lineup which is much better than the eighth and seventh he was hitting early on.

Jean Segura:  3/5 with his sixth SB while hitting .377.  I am starting to think Jose Reyes is not really injured and instead has a second birth certificate with the name Segura on it.

Yovani Gallardo:  6.2 IP 8 H 3 ER 5 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.97.  Gallardo's WHIP sits at a sparkling 1.66.  Honestly I never understood what all the fuss was about a guy who can't control the strike zone, doesn't win games, and who struggles badly in April and September.

Matt Cain:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 6.59.  Better but still Cain gave up yet another home run and 3 earned in six comes out to a 4.50 ERA for that day.  Still are in the worry woods.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS SP JON NIESE EXITS AFTER BEING HIT BY COMEBACKER

                                                                      

New York Mets SP Jon Niese was forced out of his Tuesday start after taking a comebacker off his right leg against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Niese was in immediate and obvious pain and left the field within moments after being hit.  No update has been given as of this writing.

Analysis:  It is impossible to figure out how bad Niese got hit as this could range from a simple bruise to a fractured leg.  The Mets figure to offer an update after the game so check back later.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MARINERS PLACE OUTFIELDER FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ PLACED ON 15-DAY DL WITH HAMSTRING INJURY

                                                                            

Seattle Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez was placed on the 15-day DL Tuesday due to a strained right hamstring.  Gutierrez injured the hamstring over the weekend which interrupts a nice start to the season where he was hitting .259 with four home runs. 

Analysis:  No reason to hold onto Gutierrez as there will be no competition in your league for his services if he did end up on the wire.  He has not been useful since coming up as a sleeper before 2010 and playing his home games in Seattle doesn't engender much optimism that a breakout season will finally get here.  Let him go and revisit when he gets back.


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: YANKS 3B KEVIN YOUKILIS (BACK) OUT OF LINEUP TUES.

                                                                            

New York Yankees 3B Kevin Youkilis is out of the lineup Tuesday due to ongoing lower back spasms.  Youkilis was slated to return to the lineup Monday but he felt renewed soreness in the back after taking BP before the game.  He remains listed as day-to-day and could return as soon as Wednesday.  No mention of the DL yet either.

Analysis:  This is part of the story when it comes to owning Youkilis in fantasy baseball and so here we go again.  Hold onto him as Youkilis has gotten off to a nice start this season and still shows a powerful bat capable of hitting 20 home runs. 


FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX DH DAVID ORTIZ NOT IN TUESDAY'S LINEUP

                                                                                

Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz is not in the lineup Tuesday which was a scheduled day off after playing in three straight once he came off the DL last Friday.  Ortiz is slated to return to the lineup on Wednesday.

Analysis:  Adjust your lineups and don't worry about any sort of injury.  Ortiz has not hit a home run yet but that is surely to come soon.  Along with a solid average and RBI, Ortiz remains a nice UTIL or CI option.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRAVES ACTIVATE 1B FREDDIE FREEMAN (OBLIQUE) FROM DL TUESDAY

Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman was activated from the DL Tuesday and will be in that night's lineup.  Freeman had been on the DL the last two weeks with an oblique strain but made it through his rehab outings with no issues.

Analysis:  Freeman was a favorite of mine heading into the season and he quickly started to show why by going off in spring training.  The ceiling is impressive when it comes to Freeman who has a chance at slugging 30 home runs if all breaks right the rest of the season.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: WHITE SOX/INDIANS POSTPONED TUES/ DUE TO RAIN

Tuesday's game between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox has been postponed due to rain.  No makeup date has been announced. 

Analysis:  Get your Indians and White Sox players out of the lineup.  Weather has affected a bunch of games already this season and doubleheaders will be on tap to make them up. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRAVES OUTFIELDER JASON HEYWARD PLACED ON 15-DAY DL WITH APPENDECTOMY

Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward has been placed on the 15-day DL due to the appendectomy he had performed on Monday.  The move was retroactive to April 21.

Analysis:  Heyward has gotten off to a miserable start at the dish, batting only .121 which is a far cry from where his fantasy baseball owners expected him to be.  Still Heyward is capable of big things and the smart move would be to try and buy low if you can.  Still he has to get his high K rate under control in order to achieve his maximum potential going forward this season.

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BUSTER POSEY CATCHER SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Each year I reprise the tradition of advising all of you not to pick a catcher in the early rounds of your fantasy baseball draft, citing more than a few reasons why such as a high incidence of injury, the more off days they get which hurts counting stats compared to the other players picked in the round you got your catcher, and for the tendency for backstops to fade late due to the rough nature of the position.  This drafting season it was 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey who stood alone as a catcher who was slated to be picked in the first four rounds of the draft and he would wind up going as high as a late first round selection in some formats.  While no one could argue the ridiculously great .336/24 HR/103 RBI season he had in 2012, Posey still represented a big risk at that height of the draft for the reasons mentioned above.  Fast forward to present day as Posey went into Saturday night's games hitting .250 with 2 home runs.  There is no doubt some sense of buyer's remorse for Posey owners given the very slow start he has had to the season which makes now as good time as any to dig a little deeper in order to find out what the story really is here and if the Giants catcher can turn things around.

I always get the obvious points out of the way first and in this case, there is no sense arguing that Posey is anything but one of the best pure hitters in baseball.  Any catcher that can bat .336 while dealing with all the aches and pains of the job deserves some major props.  So this post has nothing to do with Posey the hitter when it comes to his batting average which will be just fine in due time.  Posey has had some poor luck with the batted ball which usually is the culprit when an established hitter at the level of Posey struggles so much out of the gate.  Posey is much too good a hitter to stay at the level he currently is at and when combined with his luck turning around, a sharp drive back to .300 will be in order.  The slow start will surely make it tough and almost impossible to replicate the .336 from last season though.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the lack of pop.  When Posey first came up as a rookie in 2010, I made it a point to note that the 18 home runs he hit that season were a bit fluky given that his fly ball rate was way better than anything he had done before in the minors.  However Posey validated that performance by hitting the 24 home runs last season and while 30 is a stretch, he absolutely should be able to be a consistent 25 homer guy as he heads into his prime years.  Thus the bagel he currently carries in the home run department can be looked at as a another fluke number and one that will turn around very soon. Thus when combined with Posey's luck changing in the average department, there really is no reason that he can't turn back into the stud hitter he was in 2012 and prior.

The real issue when it comes to Posey is not his hitting but whether he can stay healthy playing catcher.  We saw in 2011 how horribly wrong things can go when he snapped his leg blocking the plate in a May collision that finished him off for good that season and there is always a high risk chance that something could happen to Posey that would necessitate a trip to the DL just by the position he plays.  If you already are a Posey owner, than you have no choice but to stick with him since you can't trade the guy when his value is as low as it is now.  Smart opposing owners should be doing their best to lowball you in order to capitalize on a buying opportunity but it would make no sense to cut and run now.  Instead you just have to pray nothing happens physically to Posey which really is your only worry.  His numbers will come back soon since there is nothing in his stat profile that suggests they won't.  I would be all over trying to buy low on Posey if possible as he is much too good to stay on his current trajectory.  The numbers will be there before you know it.  Just as long as he says upright.