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Thursday, April 30, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: BRAVES TO START MICHAEL FOLTYNEWICZ FRIDAY

The Atlanta Braves will call up top pitching prospect Michael Foltynewicz to make his MLB debut Friday and he could firmly take the rotation spot of the struggling Trevor Cahill.  Foltynewicz is sporting a 2.08 ERA and 30 punchouts in only 21.2 innings at Triple-A.

Analysis:  This is an actionable move as the kid really can strike people out and he has a prime chance here to stake a claim to Cahill's rotation spot.  While we won't go overboard predicting anything, guys who can strike guys out at the rate Foltynewicz can are always worth bringing aboard.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WEEKLY ADDS: 4/30/15

Another week gone in fantasy baseball as we turn the calendar to May tomorrow.  Let's check out who makes the cut with regards to prime pickups for this week.

Andre Ethier: With both Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig on the DL, Ethier has stepped in and slugged three home runs.  The power is still good enough in short spurts and Ethier is batting .300 which is another short-term bonus. 

Ichiro Suzuki:  Christian Yelich could return in about ten days but Suzuki continues to hit enough to be interested.  While he is obviously far from the stud he once was, Ichiro is still capable of a good average and a bunch of runs hitting near the top of the Miami lineup.

Ken Giles:  Giles has righted himself after a rough first two weeks and it is likely someone dropped him in your league because of it.  It is only a matter of time before Jonathan Papelbon is moved (why Toronto has not done that yet is beyond me) and Giles is the easy replacement who could be very good in the ninth inning.

Rusney Castillo:  Yes Castillo is still in the minor leagues but he is off the DL down there and could quickly move into the vacated spot that was filled by the now injured Shane Victorino.  Castillo has tremendous tools that should lead to instant MLB success.

A.J. Ramos:  Hedge bet here as Steve Cishek has been a mess due to lost velocity and sagging confidence.  When you are blowing saves and visibly shaking your head as much as Cishek is, that is a problem.  Ramos is the logical handcuff with his very high K rate.

Adeiny Hechevarria:  There is hot and than there is Adieny Hechevarria who is scorching at the dish right now.  What is funny is that he was went hitless for what seemed like forever to begin the season but now is hitting a solid .300.  Yes that hot.

Brett Cecil:  Cecil converted his first save since being moved back to the closer role no matter how shaky overall he has been this season.  Saves are saves.

John Axford:  Three saves in three chances so far for Axford but he is the definition of walking a major league pitching tightrope.  Keep Rafael Betancourt close by.

Marco Gonzales:  Gonzales will take over the vacant rotation spot of Adam Wainwright who is finished for 2015 after tearing his ACL.  He pitched well in spring and is capable of good ratios and a 7.0 K/9.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Miguel Cabrera:  3/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .370.  I call games like this the Miguel Cabrera Special.  Because only he can engineer such ridiculously pretty boxscores with just a few flicks of the wrist.  Any concerns about the depressed power from last season should already be put to rest.

J.D. Martinez:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .273.  Martinez had gone a bit quiet with the home run ball the last two weeks but no one was worried.  This is just the start of another run.  By now Martinez has graduated to solid outfielder 2 status.

Oswaldo Arcia:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .250.  Yes he actually got a second hit in a game he homered in.  So far no positive signs with the K rate which is a bummer since Arcia could have 30 home runs in that bat if he worked on curbing that tendency.

Shane Greene:  7 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.60.  Greene has gone from best pitcher in American League the first two weeks (tongue in cheek) to the worst pitcher in the AL (again tongue in cheek) the last two weeks.  This is a funny game sometimes.  Just goes to show you that Greene was never as good as he showed early on and in fact is somewhere in between the two distinct levels of performance.

Chase Headley:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .252.  This is about as good as you can expect out of the perennially disappointing Headley.  Even being a Yankee full-time this season has not jumped up the home run rate which pretty much restores his status as being outside the top 12 in standard formats.

Drew Smyly:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Very nice.  Smyly is picking up right where he left off with his big second half finish with the Rays last season and the K Rate is not a fluke either, although it won't hit double-digits often like this.  Smyly's injury caused him to be a massive buy low and a tremendous profit looks like it could be had.  Congrats to those who had the foresight of which I didn't. 

Erneso Frieri:  scoreless ninth for his second save with an ERA of 4.66.  Past Frieri owners are starting to twitch just seeing his name.  Simply a matter of extra innings necessitating his usage to close this one out.  Move on.

Andrew Miller:  two scoreless innings with an ERA of 0.00.  Miller is now up to 17 K;s in only 9 innings.  Incredible.  Yeah those who drafted Delin Betances have gotten screwed but those who went the other way with Miller could very well have ended up with a top five closer. 

Jake Marsinick:  2/4 with two steals (8 for season) while hitting .389.  Sometimes I really think major league players also take part in fantasy baseball and own themselves which makes them extra aggressive in taking bases if they have the ability.  Hence I bring you Mr. Marsinick.  No one knew who he was a week ago but now we are all getting acquainted.  I have no idea how much longer this can go on but he clearly is a "pick up now and ask questions later" guy.

Dallas Keuchel:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 0.73.  Who needs Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke when you have Dallas Keuchel and Colin McHugh?

Andrew Cashner:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.61.  Tough luck loss for Cashner but at least it is nice to see the strikeouts which have mysteriously come and gone the last two seasons despite big-time power stuff.

Ryan Braun:  3/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .254.  Whatever.  That's what I got to say about the guy I despite more than any other.  Hit your home runs bro.  I really don't give a rat's behind.  Enjoy the next injury.

Adam Lind:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .333.  I mean seriously Lind is set up for 25 home runs and a .280-ish average, yet he is not universally owned by a decent margin.  Some guys habitually get ignored every season and Lind is the charter member of that club.

Khris Davis:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .247. I don't anyone really cares.  That's what happens when your first home run coms on April 29th when that was supposed to be your most positive aspect of your game.

Todd Frazier:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .240.  Just call him the George Springer of third base.  Or first base.

Jay Bruce:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .188.  Wow has Bruce really taken the all-of-nothing approach to an extreme after he was at least capable earlier in his career to bat even .260.  One guy who I have never owned and never will.  I am not beat up about it.

Chris Davis:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .268.  If Davis can freeze his average even at .260, we would be ecstatic about him. 

Manny Machado:  3/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .254.  Classic "its only a matter of time" hitter.  Machado has all the hitting talent in the world and after a slow start that was due to so much missed time since he arrived in the majors, the numbers are going to start ringing up quick.

Jeff Samadzjia:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.78.  Yeah Jake Peavy is very understanding about what is happening here.  Former ace pitcher who goes to the White Sox and instantly sucks.

Ubaldo Jimenez:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.59.  I am not going to talk about Ubaldo Jimenez.  We have been down this road a hundred and one times.  He still stinks and will stink soon enough.

Hanley Ramirez:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .293.  A motivated and happy Hanley+AL offensive ballpark=MVP.

Rick Porcello:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.34.  Sometimes no mater how hard you try you can never figure some things out.  Like how the definition of a mediocre pitcher in Porcello could so completely tame quite possibly the most powerful lineup in baseball. 

Eric Hosmer:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .313.  Two home runs in April?  Yeah that sounds like Eric Hosmer.

Jason Kipnis:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .232.  Really starting to wonder if 2013 really ever happened.

Yordano Ventura:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 4.94.  Boy was Ventura really in need of a good ass kicking.  Karma at its finest.

Danny Salazar:  6 IP 6 H 4 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.32.  Please don't let the earned runs fool you as Salazar really made only one bad pitch with the home run.  And how about no walks?  This could get interesting. 

Denard Span:  2/6 with his second HR while hitting .317.  The engine that is awakening this team finally.  You can't get Span out right off as this comes after a day where he collected five hits. 

Alex Wood:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.03.  And just to add to the aggravation quotient, Wood struck out 8.  Nothing the kid has done this season has made any sense and we are now a full month into it.  Click the DROP button if you must. 

Michael Cuddyer:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .247.  I don't understand the people who have send me emails asking what is wrong with Michael Cuddyer.  You can see he is not Colorado anymore right?

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .284.  Do yourself a favor and queue up the Stanton home run video.  Even that is worth interrupting your reading of this fine piece of literature.

Ichiro Suzuki:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .263.  With Christian Yelich out another 10 days or so, you can do a whole lot worse as your outfield replacement.

Josh Collmenter:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.76.  Collmenter is not for everyone as he doesn't make hay in innings-capped leagues with the mediocre K Rate but the ratios have been very good for awhile now in a Kyle Lohse-prior-to-this-season's-mess way.

Mike Trout:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .315.  Trout has curbed the surprisingly high K rate from a year ago which is pretty much the only thing to talk about when it comes to the number 1 player in the game.  Yeah he has not exactly lit it up yet but do you really think he won't? 

Joc Pederson:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .298.  What a beautiful player.  Of course knowing Don Mattingly he will likely sit Pederson for two days for rest and than bat him 9th behind the pitcher for strategy purposes.  With previous leadoff guy Jimmy Rollins also homering, Mattingly really has to look up the phrase "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Jimmy Rollins:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .185.  Rollins can only be expected to bat .240 at this stage of his career as his trend there is now well established.  However it is crucial he continues to post power/speed numbers or else his values falls completely off the map. 

Adrian Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .383.  Aging like a fine wine.

Andre Ethier:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .304.  With both Ethier and Ichiro homering in the same day, I had to check to see if MLB sponsored some sort of RETRO night.  Told you to pick him up where available as Ethier can still slam home runs which are as rare as a liberal appearing on Fox News.

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Now 4-0, Greinke is outpitching Clayton Kershaw.  Has his plaque already crafted in the Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Hall of Fame.

Gerrit Cole:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.76.  It is all coming together now as Cole has been locked in from the start unlike last season when it took until July for him to find any sort of consistency. 

Nelson Cruz:  with his 10th HR while hitting .337.  How about that average?  In Seattle?  And the San Diego Padres are blowing up scoreboards left and right?  I give up.

Felix Hernandez:  6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.82.  Wish I had him.  I don't.  Very sad. 



 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: JOC PEDERSON ELEVATED TO PRECIOUS LEDOFF SPOT

Sometimes you have a moment in fantasy baseball where a young player sees the first day of likely the rest of his major league life.  One such moment could be taking place Wednesday night when it as learned that Los Angeles Dodgers rookie outfielder Joc Pederson will be in the leadoff spot for the team for that night's game.  After Pederson's owners (myself included) continually beat their heads against the wall as stubborn manager Don Mattingly kept on starting Pederson in the awful 7th or 8th spots for almost all of April, it appears that our patience at least for one night has paid off.  And truth be told Pederson did his past as he goes into Wednesday night's game hitting .296 with 3 home runs and 9 RBI to go with 12 RBI.  The only blemishes were a very high K rate (21 in 54 at-bats) that so far has not taken any toll on his average and 1 stolen base in 3 attempts.  However Pederson was hitting major league pitching very hard going back to the start of spring training and if it weren't for Kris Bryant, would have been the big story as he slammed six home runs.  Like with George Springer last season, Pederson likely is finding his timing when it comes stealing bases and that skill will show up before you know it.  Meanwhile Pederson is already swinging a powerful bat and the move to the leadoff spot will do extreme wonders for his outlook.  Pederson and his five tool ability has early round superstar written all over him and it is only a matter of time before all the skills unite.  For now let's hope this is not just a one-game deal but when it comes to Mattingly you can never know.  Jimmy Rollins has been dreadful so far for the team and so one can't blame Mattingly for trying something new.  Here we go.

 

2015 FANTASY BASEBALL BUY LOW

With the season now nearly one month into the books, it is the perfect time to check out which players who are off to slow starts due to slumps or injury make for the best buy low investments.  Let's see who these players are that you should target and attempt to steal away from your competitors. 

Cole Hamels:  We have been over this a million times as it has been an annual tradition for Hamels to stink up the joint in April and than morph back into his ace self the last five months of the season.  This year is no different as Hamels has gotten hit hard this first few starts right on schedule and now has starting to find his stride as May nears.  The buy low window is almost closed. 

Jon Lester:  Along the same lines as Cole Hamels, Lester sees his worst month by far being April.  Lester's velocity was down early on but he has picked that up as May nears and he is still racking up the K's.  He will surely start earning his big money soon.

Ian Desmond:  Desmond has lacked impact plays at the plate so far this season in terms of the home runs and steals which is annoying but the bigger story has been the awful defense he has played which has gotten a ton of attention.  All the talk about his defense has been overshadowing the lack of overall hitting which means Desmond's owners might be giving in to the negative feedback.  This is still a guy who has gone 20/20 the last three seasons so the ability is there.

George Springer:  While Springer has had nothing but a horrible April hitting-wise, he has stolen seven bases in showing that he is getting his timing down there after doing virtually no running as a rookie.  The average will never be great when you strike out 30 percent of the time as Springer does but the cap has yet to come off on his power which is only a matter of time.  You want to have Springer on your roster when that does occur so strike quickly. 

Christian Yelich:  Yelich is currently on the DL with a back injury that likely caused a lot of his early struggles as the dish.  I am still very high on the power/speed ability by Yelich who knows how to handle the bat.  Guys who are on the DL and have a lot of potential as Yelich does always make god trade targets. 

Manny Machado:  Manny Machado has certainly had his setback on the way to the stardom everyone predicted for him.  Two serious knee injuries have stunted his growth and Machado is showing rust early on with some depressed statistics.  However despite an ugly average, Machado has gone 3/3 in the home run/steals category early on and there is a whole lot more where that came from.  The hitting ability was always considered to be extremely good and the talent almost always rises to the top with guys as well-regarded as Machado.  Be aggressive with the kid.

Daniel Murphy:  By now Daniel Murphy has well established himself as one of the better pure hitters in baseball which you wouldn't think could be the case considering he is heading into May with an average that could stay under .200.  Murphy missed a bunch of time in spring training however and we often see these players need up to three weeks to find their legs as they are still on spring time when they do return.  Such is the situation going on with Murphy.  While Murphy never has lit up any one category, he is a consistent five-category guy at a shallow position on the field. 

Hunter Pence:  While Christian Yelich is still not a finished product, Hunter Pence is a firmed up low-end outfielder 1 who is not due back from his fractured forearm until mid-May.  Pence's owners are likely beyond impatient now waiting for him to come back and thus it might be time to try a low ball offer to see if you can steal him away. 

Denard Span:  Span just returned to the lineup last week after starting the season on the DL recovering from abdominal surgery.  He is the catalyst atop the Washington Nationals lineup who is capable of scoring a bunch of runs, hit .300, and steal a good numbers of bases.  So far Span has not done much which makes it the perfect time to strike with a low ball offer.  He was never a buzzy guy to begin with which means it won't cost much of anything to get your hands on him.

Juan Lagares:  It was surprising to see Curtis Granderson and not Juan Lagares leading off for the New York Mets in the season opener after the team was seemingly grooming him all spring to do the job.  Terry Collins wanted Lagares to comfortable first before he ascended to that lofty spot and the trick seems to be working as his Gold Glove centerfielder is red hot at the dish going into May.  Lagares has yet to steal a base or hit a home run but those tools are coming quick.  Get on the ground floor. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .227.  No truth to the rumor Braun is now day-to-day after straining his elbow popping a sunflower seed into his mouth.

Aramis Ramirez:  1/2 with his second HR while hitting .209.  It would not surprise me in the least if the typically slow starting Ramirez had a decent season from this point on but we have reached the point where like 12-14 other third base options are better.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .316.  All of Votto's numbers are through the roof right now and he has been the fantasy baseball MVP along with Hanley Ramirez in April.  Yeah I think I blew this one royally but even I fall victim to undervaluing guys who burned me the year prior.

Brandon Phillips:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .263.  Amazing that at one time this guy was a 20/20 monster at second base.  When was that again?

Kendrys Morales:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .321.  Basically if you are a Kansas City Royal, you are batting well over .300 and crushing the baseball at every turn.  Morales has clearly found a home in Kansas City after bouncing around the last two years and I think this very well can continue. 

Alex Gordon:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .293.  We see this all the time with hitters who miss time in spring training.  It takes at least two weeks to work through the rust and than takeoff time as we see with Gordon.  Always a firm outfielder 2, don't think the rate of home runs that Gordon has smashed the last week will stay that high.  He is a 20 guy at best.

Brandon Moss:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .236.  See Gordon, Alex above about the rust issue.

Rafael Montero:  5.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.50.  This was just a one start cameo for Montero who will go right back to the minor leagues after this.  Dillon Gee did not cooperate with his gem Monday night as far as Montero maybe threatening his rotation spot.  News item for another day.

Steve Cishek:  scoreless ninth for his second save with an ERA of 9.82.  Cishek is still fighting it as he gave up a leadoff walk and is still down two miles on his fastball which is a problem.  However his already long leash added a few more links, especially after A.J. Ramos have up a run in the game.

Jose Bautista:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .170.  Bautista just got back after missing a week with a bum shoulder and he has to do better with that .170 average.  At his age that is not a given.

Josh Donaldson:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .349.  Should have put money on my Josh Donaldson MVP prediction which is looking like a lock. 

Hanley Ramirez:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .295.  While Ramirez doesn't steal bases like he once did, he is set for a monster MVP-like season with only Joey Votto in competition right now.

Brett Cecil:  scoreless ninth with 1 hit given up for first save and ERA of 6.00.  All right we'll take it,  Cecil is one big pitching ulcer when he takes the mound but it is a nice sign that he put down the potent Red Six in the ninth inning. 

Starling Marte:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .243.  If you didn't know any better, you would think Starling Marte was Andrew McCutchen the way he is hitting home runs.  McCutchen at .179 is now looking like a good bet to go into May with zero steals and an average under .200.  Amazing. 

Addison Reed:  1 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 4.50 and a WHIP of 2.17!!!  How is this guy still closing, let alone pitching in the major leagues?  The worst closer in baseball by a mile.

Brett Lawrie:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .224.  Had to scramble to find a third baseman after the carnage in Baltimore took away Manny Machado for a few days.  Settled on this fool but at least for a day I have one opportunity to say something good about Lawrie. 

Jered Weaver:  6 ER in 7 IP with an ERA of 5.83.  Weaver can barely throw over 80 right now and has no chance of getting anyone out with that type of stuff.  It was a sun mini-run for Weaver as a top pitcher but we should all be done for good with the guy.

Sonny Gray:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.98.  Precise and fine are the two words to describe any Gray start.  He never blows your socks off but the guy is as good as any starter in baseball.  Numbers don't lie. 

Buster Posey:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .263.  Posey has been pretty cold for large stretches of April but guys with his type of top-end pure hitting ability don't stay down for long.  In this season of complete catching carnage, Posey remains without peer and should be back near a .300 average by the middle of May.

Madison Bumgarner:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.73.  Very, very encouraging outing by Bumgarner who has been pretty crummy for most of April amid widespread concerns about his arm after his 270-plus innings from last season.  The fact Bumgarner boosted up the K rate is key here as a tired arm won't generate strikeouts like that.  Maybe Bum just took some time to work through an issue there but the signs are more encouraging.

George Springer:  2/5 with his third HR and 8th SB while hitting .197.  Springer is seemingly making it a point to fill up the boxscore each and every night now and the buy low window is almost shut for good.  The fact Springer is running so much is perhaps the most encouraging thing since he seemed very hesitant to do so last season.  And as great as Springer has been on the bases, the home runs are still in front of him as I expect the kid to explode there as the weather heats up.  30/30 not out of the question. 

Evan Gattis:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .162.  Amazing that Gattis was dropped in the Experts League two weeks ago and now one has picked him up.  In a very catcher-needy season.  He has been off-the-charts brutal.

Chris Carter:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .176.  Let's see who can win the batting average race between Gattis and Carter.  Should be a good battle to get to .200 all season.

Wil Myers:  2/4 with his 4th HR and third SB while hitting .287.  I have to be fair here in saying that Myers has played very well, hitting for power and scoring runs out of the leadoff spot while killing you with average.  It is quite possible that moving to leadoff was the guy as it made Myers work the count and streamline his swing instead of going for the fences when he was hitting third or fourth.

Justin Upton:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .273.  Upton's average has eroded as one would expect given his K rate and career trends there.  As long as he continues to pound home runs at a high rate he will more than make a profit for you.

Tyson Ross:  5 IP 5 H 4 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.55.  Ross will go into May with a WHIP of 1.63 and his starts have been ragged to say the least.  The arm could be bouncing from the high of innings he threw last season but at least the strikeouts are still piling up as always.

Jose Altuve:  4/6 with his 9th SB while hitting .348.  We could be looking at a two-season stretch of some of the best average hitting ever from this guy.  Simply amazing stuff from a guy who is likely not taller than your 11-year-old kid.





 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MASAHIRO TANAKA TO DL WITH FOREARM STRAIN

                                    

Heading into the 2015 fantasy baseball season, there was not a bigger injury risk than New York Yankees ace SP Masahiro Tanaka.  After all Tanaka was going into the season pitching with a slight tear in his UCL that could go pop at a moment's notice and lead to season-ending Tommy John surgery.  Despite some early struggles his first few times out, Tanaka came back and wound up pitching very well his last three starts.  Tanaka also continued to strike out a batter per inning as he did in 2014 as well.  However the good fortune ran out Tuesday as Tanaka was placed on the DL with a strained forearm.  The strain is not related to the UCL according to the team but Tanaka will still miss about a month with the injury.  He will be shut down for the next 7-to-10 days before he begins baseball activities again and will be replaced by Chase Whitley in the rotation who has zero value.  I did tell you all to avoid the headache that would be Tanaka this season and he didn't even make it out of April.  While I wouldn't cut Tanaka loose, it is going to be one big season of frustration for his owners.



 

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ANDREW McCUTCHEN OUTFIELDER PITTSBURGH PIRATES


If I were to tell you that with just days to go before the calendar flipped to May that Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder and top five overall player Andrew McCutchen would be sitting there with a .186 batting average with 2 home runs and 0 stolen bases, you would have told me I should be writing about fantasy golf.  Unbelievably however those numbers are the actual statistics that McCutchen lugs into action Monday night as he has had every bit the month of April to forget.  While McCutchen’s average has been hurt by some pretty bad BABIP luck which we will get into, there is also the matter of the bagel in the stolen base column for a guy who annually has between 20 and 30 bags which helps him keep the five-tool status.  It is there where one than thinks back to spring training and how McCutchen missed almost three weeks of games with some sort of knee injury that the team was incredibly vague on.  What was really disturbing was the fact that it was only spring training but yet the Pirates were treating McCutchen’s knee issue as some top secret that you see usually in the playoffs.  Something clearly is amiss with McCutchen given his utter lack of speed and terrible results so far at the dish and the knee is the first area we can look into for the reason why.  The fact that McCutchen has not even stolen one base can be seen also as proof positive that physically the guy is simply not right.  Any sort of knee problem will not allow any player to use their speed the way they want to and that obviously takes stealing bases out of the equation.  And then there are the overall hitting result.

As I noted earlier, McCutchen has dealt with some pretty horrific luck on the batted ball as his BABIP going into Monday’s game was an as unlucky as you can get .191.  When you consider that .300 is the average mark, we can see just how badly McCutchen has fared there.  The luck will undoubtedly turn around soon enough and that means the hits will start falling in.  The average will swing back north as well which means McCutchen should be back to at ;east the .280 range before too long.  That is if he is healthy of course which we come back to again. 

In discussing the knee injury again, a big deal of a player’s power comes from the drive from the knees and any sort of issue there will hurt that cause.  Hence McCutchen sitting there with only the two home runs which leaves him at a pace for only 14 for the season.  That is a far cry from the 25 we usually see out of McCutchen and again speaks to how disappointing he has been.

So what now?  Obviously if you are a McCutchen owner you are going to see this out.  No sense getting low-balled when it comes to offering up around your league.  The name brand is as high as any player in fantasy baseball but his awful start and memories of the knee injury has likely gotten around to all the members of your league.  The talent is way too immense for McCutchen to stay down for much longer but again it all depends on that knee.  The Pirates are not talking so for now we just got to think that the turnaround is surely on its way.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: BRETT CECIL BACK IN AS CLOSER, NICE KNOWING YOU MIGUEL CASTRO

                                        

In a major about-face from the start of the season, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed on Tuesday that veteran lefty Brett Cecil is now the closer again as he pushes aside overmatched rookie Miguel Castro.  The ninth inning has been an utter disaster for the Blue Jays this season, what with Cecil losing his job after a blown save to Castro, only to see the kid give up runs in four of his last five outings after a good start.  Clearly Gibbons likes what he has seen recently out of Cecil who still carries a 7.20 ERA back into the ninth inning.  Cecil himself has not pitched great, giving up runs in two of his last four outings which included Monday night when he surrendered one run in the classic 0 IP.  Be that as it may, Cecil should be picked up where available and it is not like the guy doesn't have talent.  Keep in mind Cecil put up ERA's of 2.82 and 2.70 the last two seasons while striking out a ton of batters.  He has the stuff to succeed there but of course his mind has to go along for the ride which is a major question mark.  Meanwhile Castro was a short story that got exposed quickly.  He threw hard and could pick up the K's but outside of the fastball the kid had nothing.  Roberto Osuna would figure to be next man up if Cecil is out again.  What a joke this whole deal is.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RYAN BRAUN RETURNS TO LINEUP TUESDAY

                                         

After sitting out two straight games with an undisclosed injury, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is back in the lineup Tuesday versus the Cincinnati Reds. 

Analysis:  Whatever.  Braun gets Jonny Cueto so don't count on him improving much on his ugly .226 average.  Braun also has only one home run in April and looks like nothing more than an outfielder 3 at this stage post-steroids. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JASON HEYWARD (HAMSTRING) RETURNS TO LINEUP TUESDAY

                                       

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward is back in the lineup on Tuesday after he sat out Monday's game with a tight hamstring. 

Analysis:  Heyward remains a huge riddle as not even going to St. Louis where everything turns up roses has led to him finding any hitting consistency.  The tools are always there but Heyward just can't seem to be able to make inroads on his high K rate.  Be that as it may, he should be around 20 stolen bases and 80 runs with anywhere from 10-20 home runs which is nothing to sneeze at. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PABLO SANDOVAL (NECK) OUT OF LINEUP TUESDAY

                                         

Boston Red Sox 3B Pablo Sandoval is out of the lineup Tuesday with a sore neck.  Sandoval suffered a whiplash-type injury in Monday's game which was the second straight game of him hitting a home run.  He is listed as day-to-day.

Analysis:  Terrible timing as Sandoval finally hit his first two home runs and was looking to get into a groove.  He has not taken a quick liking to his new surroundings based on the numbers unlike Hanley Ramirez but the Fenway Park effect should have Sandoval as a top 12 fantasy baseball third baseman if he stays healthy.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: DEVON TRAVIS 2B TORONTO BLUE JAYS

What happens when you pair up a power/speed capable youngster second baseman with a team and a ballpark known for hitting home runs?  The answer is emerge with new Toronto Blue Jays second base sensation Devon Travis who is adding much-needed youthful impact at a very shallow fantasy baseball position that is second base.  Coming in just slightly behind shortstop, second base has been a very rough place to find viable everyday fantasy baseball-friendly options which is what makes Travis' meteoric rise so exciting.  For a guy who was solidly off the fantasy baseball prospect radar going into the season, Travis has fully taken advantage of the opportunity given to him in spring training to stake a claim to the second base job on a Blue Jays team desperate for help there.  Travis has done nothing to disappoint and than some as he slammed his sixth home run Monday night as part of his 2/4 night that had his batting average sitting at a ridiculous .368.  Just two nights earlier Travis hit his fourth home run and stole his first base of the season to send the hyper meter into overdrive.  Clearly Travis has some major skills and since he is doing the power/speed/average thing at a shallow position like second base, his initial impact has been as big as you can get this early in the season.

So why wasn't Travis on the radar more going into the season?  Well that could possibly be due to the fact he as originally a 13th round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers who send him to Toronto for outfielder Anthony Gose.  Having turned only 24 this past February, Travis first began getting notice in 2014 when he put together a big season at Double-A when he hit .298 with 10 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 441 at-bats.  Travis struck out only 13.6 percent of the time at Double-A that season which showed that he had a nice swing and a good grasp of the strike zone which almost always lessens the learning curve once a player arrives at the major league level.  So far Travis has even lowered that K rate as a Blue Jay this season at 12.9 percent which is phenomenal.  A .372 BABIP is the only quibble as Travis in no way can maintain such a lucky number there.  We all knew this though as Travis is not going to maintain his .375 batting average anyway.  The BABIP will sinks and Travis' average will also.  However don't get carried away there either as Travis has the hitting profile to bat .300 as soon as this season and maybe even as good as .315 the way his approach is. 

When you put it all together, there is nothing but good things happening with Devon Travis so far this season.  He has already been the most productive second baseman in fantasy baseball this season and he likely will continue being a top ten guy the rest of the way.  There is a very good chance Travis can go 20/20 this season and post a good average as well.  That is a blockbuster statistical line for a guy who many nabbed off the waiver wire this spring.

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: JOSE REYES PLACED ON 15-DAY DL WITH CRACKED RIB

Boy the Toronto Blue Jays bungled this whole rib issue with Jose Reyes.  After Reyes missing a few games last week when it was revealed he was battling through a fractured rib, the Blue Jays had him rest and than return to the lineup for the weekend's games.  Well Reyes made it only to Monday when he finally gave in to the pain caused by the cracked rib and the Blue Jays quickly placed him on the 15-day DL as a result.  So in essence the Blue Jays cost themselves about six days where they could have backdated a stint and get Reyes back sooner.  Be that as it may, Reyes had a month of April to forget physically and it is a reminder of just how fragile he is, which is just growing as he is now in his 30's.  We have talked forever about the fact that Rogers Center and the artificial turf is about as bad a matchup for Reyes' fragile body as a place can get and we are seeing that now in a very ugly way.  Those who own Reyes knew the risks going in though and thus this can't be a total shock.  The good thing is that Reyes still stole three bases before he went on the DL so he is still aiming to run.  The bad news is that he could be out until the latter part of May when it didn't have to originally be that long if the Blue Jays had played it correctly early on.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Daniel Murphy:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .174.  There we go.  Murphy was in spring training mode for the last few weeks after missing most of spring training with injury.  The rust is wearing off and a string of lines drives and some occasional pop is ready to launch.

Steve Cishek:  second blown save with 3 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 11.37.  Figures the one year I won the guy and he does this.  Cishek got screwed by Marcell Ozuna coming in too quick on a ball that sailed over his head and an error could have been given.  Be that as it may, Cishek has been garbage for most of April but his leash is pretty long considering how good he has been the last three seasons.

Corey Kluber:  6.1 IP 10 H 4 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.24.  Not sure if Kluber is tipping his pitches but his last two outings have been a mess.  Kluber is still striking out a batter per inning though so his stuff is still potent but his next outing needs to be watched to see if this trend continues.

Devon Travis:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .368.  Tomorrow I will be posting a tremendously gushing article on how Devon Travis is the greatest thing since the wheel was invented.  Amazing stuff going on here as Travis is right there as the MVP of April. 

Pablo Sandoval:  2/2 with his second HR while hitting .294.  Sandoval was spotted talking to Hanley Ramirez after his second homer in two games saying "so that is how you do it?"

Miguel Castro:  1 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 3.60.  Castro has been getting hit very hard in giving up runs in four of his last five outings.  We soon also learned that Brett Cecil would have gotten the save chance.  Hence begin throwing darts against Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. 

Joe Kelly:  6 IP 5 H 5 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.94.  Not sure where all of those strikeouts are coming from with Kelly but it is not helping his bottom line.  The entire Boston Red Sox rotation is a joke right now and all five guys should be avoided at all costs unless you want to just donate your money to your league.

Brian McCann:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .250.  The shift is killing McCann right now but that has been going on for years now with no adjustment made.  Still catcher has been ravaged by injury this season and McCann is still standing being capable of smacking 20-plus home runs.

Jason Hammel:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.55.  Hammel does not get as much pub as Jake Arrieta but his numbers the last season-plus WITH the Chicago Cubs are right on par.  While I would still take Arrieta over Hammel every single time, the later has been pitching like a top SP 3 for awhile.

Jimmy Nelson:  2.1 IP 6 H 6 ER 5 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.63.  I own Nelson but I didn't start him as young guys on the road in their first full season is always a bad bet, especially in a hitter's park.  I do like the power arm that Nelson has but he looks like a work in progress.

George Springer:  0/2 with 2 stolen bases (7 for season) while hitting .183.  So last season Springer hits a ton of home runs and doesn't steal bases.  This season Springer steals a bunch of bases but doesn't hit any home runs and goes into May likely with an average under .200.  Eventually these two skills will merge (not the average) and Springer will be paying off on his very high 2015 draft price.  But boy that average is scary but that's what happens when you strike out 30 percent of the time. 

James Shields:  6 IP 6  H 1 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.90.  Yup against the Houston Astros as even Kyle Lohse will likely be able to punch out double-digits against this lineup of massive whiffers.  That is not totally fair to Shields though who has upped his K rate after a few years od decline there which makes sense moving to the NL and especially Petco Park.  Back up to lower ace value after Shields came into the season as a number 2.

Joc Pederson:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .296.  As a reward for the big game Don Mattingly will try to petition MLB to create a tenth spot in the order to put Pederson in.

Justin Morneau:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .297.  The current version of Morneau will average only 2-3 home runs a month and he is lucky he is playing in Colorado which will inflate the average to make him look better than he really is.  He makes the grade as a UTIL bat though so I would pick him up if he is sitting on a wire after his slow start.

John Axford:  scoreless ninth for his third save with an ERA of 0.00.  Axford put three runners on base in his typical high-wire fashion.  Buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy ride Axford owners.

Tajuan Walker:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 6.86.  Walker was so downright brutal until his last two starts that it will take another 1-2 outings like this before we can feel fully comfortable again.  Still love the arm but that ERA still is a vivid reminder of the early carnage he caused.

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.19.  There you go.  This is why I never draft Hamels because I just trade for him in mid-April when his ERA is in the 9.00-range and than he suddenly turns back into the ace he always is when May draws near.  Rinse and repeat.

David Price:  6.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.48.  Price is really annoying him again with all the hits given up.  He has to dial back being around the strike zone so much as it is inflating his ERA for the second season in a row.  Yes the strikeouts are terrific but enough already.



 

Monday, April 27, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: HOMER BAILEY TO UNDERGO TOMMY JOHN SURGERY

On the same day that Los Angeles Dodgers SP Brandon McCarthy was told he suffered a torn UCL in his pitching elbow that will require season-ending Tommy John surgery, the same end result is now being faced by Cincinnati Reds starter Homer Bailey as well.  After starting the season on the DL in recovering from offseason surgery, Bailey made it through only two starts before it was revealed suffered a right elbow ligament sprain.  Tommy John surgery has been recommend which means Bailey is finished for 2015.

Analysis:  It was a brief run of good pitching from Bailey in 2012 and 2013 but now this.  He has been nothing but a major enigma since being drafted in the first round years ago and the next time he will appear in a major league game won't be until late 2016.  It is also the time where we have reached the end point of seeing Bailey as anything but a spot guy.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BRANDON McCARTHY FINISHED FOR 2015 WITH TORN UCL IN ELBOW

Los Angeles Dodgers SP Brandon McCarthy has been diagnosed with a torn UCL in his pitching elbow and he will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.  McCarthy began complaining of elbow discomfort after he was shelled in his last start Saturday night and an MRI revealed the tear. 

Analysis:  Amazing.  Yet another pitcher falls by the Tommy John wayside.  Just a terrible turn of events for McCarthy who had a nice comeback season in 2014 after being traded to the New York Yankees and despite a high ERA fueled by a bunch of home runs given up, a terrific K/BB ratio for 2015.  Cut him loose in all formats.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ROCKIES PLACE ADAM OTTAVINO ON DL WITH TRICEPS INJURY

The Colorado Rockies placed closer Adam Ottavino on the DL Monday with a right triceps injury.  The move was backdated to April 26 and now structural damage was found.

Analysis: Yet another closer change.  John Axford is the next man up here as he has picked up two saves already this season.  Meanwhile the fact there was no structural issues found was huge but triceps injuries are slow to imrprove.  

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING ISSUE: RYAN BRAUN SITTING AGAIN MONDAY WITH SOME SORT OF INJURY

                                           

Here we go again.  I mean doesn't it ever stop with this guy?  Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is hurt AGAIN and sitting out AGAIN on Monday with an undisclosed ailment the team won't discuss.  While the Brewers did say it had nothing to do with his thumb, Braun did in fact ask out of the lineup on Sunday which was a red flag right there.  Braun earlier suffered from some rib cage pain two weeks ago that cost him some more time and in between he has not done much hitting.  So for what seems like the 80,000th time, Braun is day-to-day.  This is getting very old real quick with Braun whose body is starting to ravage no doubt due to the steroids he got pinched for in 2013.  Batting only .230 with 1 home runs, Braun has not even shown he can be even an outfielder 2 right now.  A pathetic situation that is only growing worse as we go on. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: J.T. RELAMUTO ERA OFFICIALLY BEGINS IN MIAMI

The Miami Marlins finally did the obvious on Monday by designating for assignment high-priced catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia who just returned from paternity leave.  The move barely comes more than a year into a sizable free-agent deal that Salty signed with the Marlins prior to the 2014 season.  Unfortunately for Saltalamacchia, he fell flat on his face in his debut with the team as he hit only .220 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI in 373 at-bats.  So putrid was Saltalamacchia that the Miami front office fast-tracked top hitting prospect J.T. Realmuto in having him break camp with the team and than go right into pretty much a starting role right out of the gate.  Realmuto proved up to the task as he goes into Monday's action hitting .265 with 2 RBI and 5 runs scored.  Not anything to write home about but Realmuto is a catcher who is known to handle the bat well and could start hitting for power soon enough.  At the very least he can't be any worse than Salty, especially when discussing the batting average.  Right now Realmuto has value only in two catcher formats as he figures to go through a few growing pains.  However along with his counterpart tonight in the New York Mets' Kevin Plawecki, they have infused the injury-filled catcher spot with some youth this season. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING ISSUES: JAKE McGEE TO GET CLOSER ROLE BACK UPON RETURN

                                          

A team source connected to the Tampa Bay Rays front office has said that Jake McGee will go right back into the closer role once he comes off the disabled list sometime next week.  McGee has now been cleared to start a rehab assignment where he will make anywhere from 3-5 appearances before being activated.  Brad Boxberger and his very high K rate have done a very nice job in McGee's stead but the latter revealed himself to be a very good closer himself the second half of last season.  Thus the Boxberger show looks like it could be seeing curtains in the next 7-10 days.  I would still hold Boxberger as his extreme K rate is as good as there is in baseball and he can help in innings-capped formats.  Meanwhile McGee has surgery on his elbow in the offseason and we have seen many setbacks with other pitchers along the way under a similar procedure.  Also if McGee is lurking on any wires (he shouldn't) than pick him up right away.

 

FANTASY BASBEALL BREAKING NEWS: DEVIN MESORACO (HIP) OUT AGAIN MONDAY

                                          

Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco is out of the lineup again on Monday as he continues to be bothered by a persistently sore hip.  Mesoraco has not started since April 12th and is only being allowed to pinch-hit.

Analysis:  Wow have the Reds bungled this whole thing.  Instead of having Mesoraco pinch hit, they should have placed him on the DL and been done with this.  Now the fact they let Mesoraco get into a game to pinch hit as recently as Sunday means that any backdated DL stint would go to that late date.  2015 has been a massive disaster among the catchers as Buster Posey, Evan Gattis, and Russell Martin have been horrible, while Mesoraco, Yan Gomes, and Jonathan Lucroy have gotten hurt. 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: FERNANDO RODNEY/MARK MELANCON COOL THE CALLS FOR THEIR HEADS

As always, Monday means it is time to take a look at all of the happenings coming out of the ninth inning.  Let's get right to it.

-Often here at Closing Time, we almost always discuss closers who are struggling and begin to forecast their demise and look at possible replacements.  While this is a crucial and time-tested exercise leading to fantasy baseball success, we also sometimes have to salute those who pulled themselves from the brink and held onto the job when everyone else was calling for their heads.  Over the last week-plus we have seen two such cases emerge with Seattle Mariners closer Fernando Rodney and Pittsburgh Pirates stopper Mark Melancon.  Both men were off to truly horrific starts to the 2015 season and both men were just one blown save away from losing their jobs to power upstarts below them in Yoervis Medina and Tony Watson respectively.  However both guys successfully staved off the coup and instead reaffirmed their standings as the present-day closers for their times at least for the time being.

As far as Rodney was concerned, his ERA stood at hideous 16.20 after gave up two runs in .1 IP in blowing a save on April 14th.  Since that time, Rodney has successfully converted two saves and thrown a total of three scoreless innings while giving up two hits and striking out four.  The four strikeouts were key as Rodney's K rate was abysmal before that stretch and at age of 38 one had to wondering if age was finally catching up with him.  While Medina and even Danny Farquhar could be solid options sooner rather than later, Rodney at least for the time being has lessened the heat hanging around his head. 

Along the same lines as Rodney, Mark Melancon was on the brink when he gave up three runs in 1 innings on April 21st which bloated his ERA to a horrific 8.53.  The problem with Melancon is that his fastball was down a full five mph from last season which made him incredibly hittable and qidely lessened his margin for error.  When Melancon was given the day off the next night, Tony Watson tossed two scoreless innings to show he would be next in line.  However Melancon came right back and converted three straight saves with three scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 5.79 and quiet the Watson talk.  The remaining issue with the velocity is a big one though as Melancon still has now found those 5 ticks and he struck out just one in those three innings.  I would continue holding Watson for the next week but at least for now Melancon seems to have righted the ship.

-You can forget about either Bobby Parnell or Jenrry Mejia ever closing a game for the Mets in 2015.  As Parnell has now been shut down with more arm problems and Mejia injured and sitting out 80 games due to a PED bust, Jeurys Familia has stepped in to absolutely dominate in the ninth inning for the league-leading Mets.  Already 8 for 8 in save chances, Familia has struck out 12 in his 9.2 innings while giving up only 4 hits.  I was on record over the winter in saying Familia had the stuff to close and challenge Mejia this season but no one saw it coming right out of the gate.  Three is widespread chatter that Mejia will never pitch another game in a Mets uniform as the front office is disgusted about the PED bust but either may Familia is the guy for now and well into the future.

-Don't look now but Santiago Casilla is starting to make his owners a bit fidgety.  Fresh off a blown save on Saturday that raised his ERA to 3.12 and his WHIP to a pathetic 1.62, Casilla is starting to replicate his shaky past when it came to closing games.  Long one of the best setup men in baseball, Casilla more often than not have struggled when given extended looks at closing games and maybe the same is starting to happen in 2015.  Meanwhile former closer Sergio Romo is dealing again in setup with a 2.45 ERA and 11 strikeouts in only 7.1 innings.  While Casilla is not in any present danger, another few outings such as the one on Saturday will change the narrative quick.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Miguel Cabrera:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .377.  Yes everything seems back to normal here.  Health?  Check!  Ridiculous average?  Check!  Power coming along?  Check! 

Carlos Carrasco:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.60.  Carrasco had nothing in this one as he gave up 9 hits and 2 walks and it just so happens his only rough start of the season comes a few days after the team said he was removed early from his last outing with body "tightness."  Whatever the hell that means.  This is something that has to be watched the next time out as Carrasco's violent delivery makes him a major injury risk and the only thing that can keep him back from being a monster starter.

Anthony Rizzo:  0/3 with his fifth SB while hitting .328.  Dee Gordon....Billy Hamilton....Anthony Rizzo?  What the?

Todd Frazier:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .254.  This is exactly what I thought Frazier would be this season.  Batting around .260 with a bunch of home runs and steals that are not anywhere near last year's caught-too-many-pitches-sleeping rate.

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.03.  I think enough time has now gone by to fully buy into what Arrieta has been able to accomplish since last season.  High-end SP 2 health permitting.

Anthony DeScalfani:  5 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.04.  The breakout continues.  If you took my advice when I told you to pick up DeScalfani after his first outing, you would have been there for the last three swell starts.

Chris Archer:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.84.  You know when a month into the season you look at a pitcher who is dominating and you realize you should have been higher on his ability when drafts were taking place?  Yeah Chris Archer is that guy for me and likely many other players.

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .270.  Has zero stolen bases and been caught on both attempts.  Starting to look like Harper took the Evan Longoria "losing the ability to steal bases despite being in their mid-20's" path.

Gio Gonzalez:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.01.  This guy makes you consistently want to smash your head against a wall.  He gives up five runs but also strikes out 8.  Roller Coaster Gio should be his nickname.  Don't cut him as Gonzalez has been awful the last two Aprils.

Ryan Howard:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .193.  Yup the only hit Howard picked up was one the home run.  .200 here we come?  Wow how much does this guy suck now?  Amazing.

Hanley Ramirez:  2/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .300.  I said that Ramirez should have been drafted ahead of Troy Tulowitzki in all leagues this season.  Was easy to see how HanRam would take off after signing with Boston and getting to hit in that park.  But even his owners have to be beyond stoked about output thus far.

Pablo Sandoval:  1/2 with his first HR while hitting .273.  Maybe Sandoval didn't get the memo that Ramirez got as far as being able to hit more home runs while calling Fenway home.

Chris Davis:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .269.  Chris Davis says to Ryan Howard "that's how it's done."

Adam Lind:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .318.  I see Lind available in way too many leagues.  Please just give me your league ID and password and I will add him for you.

Lance Lynn:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.63.  If this were August everyone would be saying "here we go with the second half fades again."  Alas just a bad start.

Mike Fiers:  1 ER in 4 IP while giving up 9 hits with an ERA of 5.79.  Even when he is better he still stinks.

Alex Gordon:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .262.  Gordon is finally getting into a groove after missing almost all of spring training recovering from surgery.  This is like the first week of the season for him which coincides with the hot stretch.  Would pick him up if someone got impatient waiting.

Alex Guerrero:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .500.  On and on it goes.  If Don Mattingly doesn't have Guerrero in the lineup every damn day from now on, especially with Yasiel Puig out, than something is going on with maybe management telling him to play the high-priced guys so as not to have so much dead money on the bench.

Matt Kemp:  1/3 with his fourth SB while hitting .350.  Really surprised with the way Kemp is running but you can't convince me that he is not chapped by the Dodgers paying so much to send him down the highway in the offseason.  Starting to look like 2012 all over again.

Derek Norris:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .324.  Norris is looking set to make the All-Star team again this season and people tend to forget that he was once a decent prospect for the Oakland A's.  An extra respect should always be given to a catcher who is capable of hitting .300 as Norris is.

Jake Marsinick:  2/4 with his 2nd HR and 2 steals (6 for season) while hitting .364.  This is Marsinick making sure you finally take notice of him by jamming as many stats as he can in this one.  The guy was a journeyman prior to this so don't get carried away but the power/speed dealio is certainly intriguing.

Tyler Clippard:  blown save with 2 earned runs in 1.1 IP with an ERA of 3.24.  Nice job there Clip in showing that he should remain the closer whenever Sean Doolittle gets back.

Leonys Martin:  2/6 with his first HR and 5th SB while hitting .234.  Martin is taking well to the leadoff spot with the Rangers other than having a bit of a depressed batting average.  There is 10-12 home run pop here to go with 30 steals and even if Martin bats only .260, that is near outfielder 2 territory. 

Mike Trout:  1/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .318.  Trout is still stealing far fewer bases than when he first broke into the majors and the home runs have not exactly come in bunches yet but no one even for a second can say he won't be the number 1 pick in 2016 drafts right at this moment.

Hector Santiago:  5.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 6 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.38.  It is very tough to be able to pitch long enough to walk six guys in one game but Santiago managed to do it.  I have said all along that he has very interesting strikeout stuff but that goes with horrific control that has not shown any signs of improvement.

Neftali Feliz:  1 ER in 2 IP with an ERA of 5.63.  The WHIP is an impossible to believe 1.88.  Told you all that Feliz would be in the running as one of the worst closers this season now that he velocity is kaput.  Yup.

Curtis Granderson:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .222.  As Granderson jogged around the bases after his first home run of the season in old home Yankee Stadium, he had a tear in his eye when he mumbled to himself "I left here why?"

Alex Rodriguez:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .267.  The home run came after a prolonger slump from Rodriguez which was his first cold stretch in his comeback.  It is a good sign that he was able to seize a big moment and pull himself out which means Rodriguez has the legs to continue with his level of hitting for awhile.

Nathan Eovaldi:  4 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.15.  He struck out six as the riddle continues.







 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JASON HEYWARD EXITS WITH LEG INJURY

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyward was forced out of the team's game on Sunday with an apparent leg injury.  Heyward pulled up while chasing a fly ball in right field and soon came out of the game after a few jogs proved futile.  An update is expected after the game.

Analysis:  Even moving to St. Louis has yet to unleash the potential that Heyward has always carried with him.  He continues to lose the battle versus the strikeouts and that has stunted his other potential numbers.  Check back for another update later.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YASIEL PUIG PLACED ON 15-DAY WITH BUM HAMSTRING

The Los Angeles Dodgers finally placed outfielder Yasiel Puig on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring and backdated the move to April 25th.  Puig had been battling the hamstring over he last two weeks and it flared up again on him this weekend.  Andre Ethier will start in his place in rightfield.

Analysis:  Puig remains somewhat of an enigma as he has never come close to the hitting and running paces he put up as a rookie in 2012 and injuries have also stunted his development.  Ethier slammed a home run Saturday night in Puig's place and at least for the next two weeks is worth an add. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MAX SCHERZER COULD MISS TUESDAY START WITH JAMMED THUMB

Washington Nationals ace SP Max Scherzer is in jeopardy of missing his Tuesday start due to a pain from a jammed thumb on his pitching hand.  Scherzer has only been able to throw off flat ground this weekend when he was supposed to get up on the hill to complete a bullpen session.  Tanner Roark is preparing for the start in case.

Analysis:  Ugh.  This doesn't sound like a DL situation at the moment but it fears watching nonetheless.  On a day where Adam Wainwright was lost for the season, any injury news for a top pitcher is concerning. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOSE REYES GIVEN DAY OFF SUNDAY

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes is out of the lineup Sunday due to being given a day of rest.  Reyes has been playing through a slight fracture in his rib cage and the Jays plan on giving him a day off at least once a week as a precaution. 

Analysis:  Reyes has been brutal in terms of only five runs scored and a .250 average with no home runs.  One also has to wonder how much running Reyes will be doing due to the rib and the carpet in Rogers Centers is doing a number on his fragile body.  This is not looking pretty. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DAVID ORTIZ GETTING DAY OFF SUNDAY

Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz is getting the day off Sunday as a regular day of rest.  Brock Holt is playing leftfield, Allen Craig is in right, and Hanley Ramirez is manning DH.

Analysis:  This is your typical Sunday day off for a veteran and aging player.  Ortiz has continued to hit for very good power but the average is slipping badly. 

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: AN ACE FALLS BY THE WAYSIDE AS ADAM WAINWRIGHT'S ACHILLIES GOES POP

Investing in a starting pitcher is always filled with risk no matter how big the name.  We have seen classic examples of this each and every season, what with Tommy John surgeries ruling this unfortunate grouping.  However sometimes it is not the elbow or even the arm itself that can send a pitcher to the sidelines for good such as what has transpired with St. Louis Cardinals ace SP Adam Wainwright who suffered a torn achillies tendon Saturday night that will finish his 2015 season dead in its tracks.  Wainwright came into the season with some blaring injury risk after he came down with a balky elbow down the stretch of 2014 and began leaking velocity.  However Wainwright pitched well in the spring and was even better once the season started as he compiled a miniscule 1.44 ERA.  That ERA was helped along by the four scoreless innings Wainwright threw Saturday night before his achillies popped and now the next time he will toe the rubber will be in 2016.  The fallout is monstrous as Wainwright was still being drafted as a fantasy baseball ace.  Marco Gonzales is the replacement but he doesn't hold a candle with regards to what kind of impact he can have on fantasy baseball teams.  So now with a major hole in their rotations, Wainwright's fantasy baseball owners need to look to some available names on the wire who could be of help barring a trade.  Some guys who could be there that are showing decent to very interesting ability are some of the following:  Jimmy Nelson, Jesse Chavez, Jesse Hahn, Wei-Yin Chen, Nathan Eovaldi, and Hector Santiago.  Obviously none will fill the Wainwright gape that he leaves but there is nothing you can do about that going forward.  The season still has five months to go so there is no use in looking back.  Still this one hurts and is a major early roadblock.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: TORN ACHILLIES FINISHES ADAM WAINWRIGHT FOR 2015

Updating an earlier item, St. Louis Cardinals ace SP Adam Wainwright suffered a torn achillies tendon Saturday night and will miss the rest of the 2015 season.

Analysis:  What a shot to the gut for all Wainwright owners.  He came into the season filled with injury risk to his arm and it is a leg issue that finishes Wainwright off after not even a month.  Cut him loose in all formats and start looking to the wire for a replacement.  Marco Gonzales is expected to fill-in and he pitched well during the spring.  However Wainwright was pitching like an ace before the injury and is a huge loss for his owners.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: FEARS THAT ADAM WAINWRIGHT COULD HAVE SUFFERED TORN ACHILLIES

When your ace SP admits that it felt like he "got hit by something" and that he felt pain in the back of his foot, major alarms begin blaring.  Such is the situation being faced by St. Louis Cardinals ace SP Adam Wainwright who will head for testing to day to determine what caused him to be forced out of Saturday night's start with an injured ankle.  Initial reports indicated that the achillies was involved and that of course is never a good thing as it 100 percent leads to season-ending surgery.  All Wainwright owners need to be holding their breaths right now and begin planning for a replacement in case the news is as bad as it may seem. 

Heading into the 2015 season, I had Wainwright firmly planted on the AVOID list after he came down with elbow trouble at the end of 2014 and saw his K rate drop sharply.  Wainwright made it to the start of the season in one piece however and actually was pitching very well (albeit with a lowered K rate again) until this.  Now it could be his leg and not his arm that knocks Wainwright out.  Stay tuned and check back for more updates later.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Rajai Davis:  2/4 with 3 stolen bases (6 for season) while hitting .297.  Davis batted leadoff as Anthony Gose got the day off.  The speedster is one of the best modern day stolen base artists and underrated for his career.  Davis however is also the same guy who will be cut and signed 10 times a season and end up on half the teams in your league when he is hot.

Alfredo Simon:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.65.  I guess we can start calling Simon the new Dan Haren of 2009 with a lesser K rate.  This is the second season in a row Simon has pitched like an ace in April and that has not changed since moving into the American League.  Of course he is a major sell sometime in July as his second half of 2014 was pretty ugly as the innings piled up.  Of course most of your league knows which means you probably won't get anything worthy of pulling off a move.

Joakim Soria:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save with an ERA of 1.17.  Soria has a WHIP of 0.26 and is putting next to no one on base.  With Joe Nathan finished for the season, Soria can absolutely be a top ten closer as his talent was never in question.

Lucas Duda:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .323.  The home run came off a lefty in C.C. Sabbathia and Duda is now hitting over .400 against southpaws with April getting set to flip to May.  Duda had been comically bad against lefties in his career including his breakout 2014 when he hit .180 against them so this is beyond encouraging.  The fact he has consistently hit lefties since the start of spring training is now becoming a large enough sample size to think this is legit.  If that is case, this could be a monster season for Duda.

Kevin Plawecki:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .286.  Very good swing here as Plawecki clearly knows how to handle the bat.  Power has been slow in developing but that is expected to soon join his .300 average.  You should have already picked him up.

Mark Teixeira:  3/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .254.  After mocking Teixeira a bit for the lack of hits outside of home runs, he goes right out and picks up two hits to go with yet another bomb.  An amazing homestand for Tex and the power output is starting to resemble his old Texas days.  The .300 average is gone for good but no one in baseball is hotter right now.  Just to show you how far Teixeira's value has fallen, I got him from the wire Wednesday. 

C.C. Sabbathia:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.96.  The last time Sabbathia started I told you to ignore the allure of his strikeout per inning average as the home run issue was only going to get worse as the season heated up.  Sabbathia can't throw the baseball by anyone anymore and he got strafed for 3 home runs against a power-deficient Mets lineup. 

Matt Harvey:  8.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.04.  Terry Collins ought to get his head examined after he allowed Harvey in his fourth start coming back from Tommy John surgery to pitch into the ninth inning.  Yes he was at 80-something pitches to start the ninth but what was that proving in a blowout game and when you want to conserve innings as the Mets look to make a deep postseason run.  I am worried about a bounce effect in Harvey's next start but let's hope that is the worst of it.

Giancarlo Stanton:  3/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .262.  Maybe Stanton can inspire Marcell Ozuna (zero home runs) to send maybe just hit one baseball over the outfield fence.

Stephen Strasburg:  6 IP 8 H 4 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.88.  Don't worry.  May is almost here.

Ryan Howard:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .189.  What has a better chance of happening:  Howard hitting .220 or 25 home runs?

Mike Napoli:  3/4 with his first HR while hitting .183.  With the Red Sox playing a bunch of interleague NL-ballpark games early on, Napoli has been stuck on the bench too often to get into any sort of groove.  Never been remotely interested in him once the catcher eligibility went by the wayside so I want to move on.

Xander Bogaerts:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .298.  I maintain my stated opinion from early last season that Bogaerts is a grossly inflated empty average. 

Koji Uehara:  blown save with 2 earned runs in .1 IP with an ERA of 4.15.  Should be the first of more than a few of these this season as I think Uehara is going to be one big headache.  Keep Edward Mujica close by.  Age+diminished stuff= no closer gig in July.

Josh Donaldson:  2/4 with his first two stolen bases while hitting .352.  Now he is stealing bases?  How much can you possibly love someone in fantasy baseball terms?  All's I know is that just looking at Donaldson in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform makes me weak in the knees.

Russell Martin:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .167.  Martin is still hitting home runs but boy has the bottom fallen out with the average which is disturbing in Toronto of all places.  Left only for those in two catcher formats and even that is iffy.

Miguel Castro:  second blown save with 1 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 2.79.  The WHIP is now up to 1.34 and Castro has been getting hit the last week.  Unfortunately do did Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil in this same game.  Its like the Chicago White Sox ninth inning all over again,

Matt Holliday:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .358.  Holliday is still picking up hits all over the yard but his power is really slipping as he barely hit 20 home runs last season. 

Adam Wainwright:  4 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.44.  Wainwright was headed for another big outing until leaving with an achillies injury.  A DL stint is likely.  When I said to avoid Wainwright this season, it was due to injury fears of his arm and not his legs.

Mark Melancon:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save with an ERA of 5.79.  It wasn't smooth as Melancon gave up one hit and a walk but he has now converted two saves in a row without giving up a run.  The leash lengthens just a bit but hold Tony Watson a bit longer.

Brandon McCarthy:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.87.   What a joke.  McCarthy continues to somewhat get his ass handed to him despite glowing K/BB numbers.  I tried him out for this one but needless to say there won't be an encore.

Ian Kennedy:  8 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 10.80.  That makes it TWICE in the past week where one of my pitchers gave up 8 earned runs in a start.  I compare it to trying to gauge my own eyes out with an ice pick.

George Springer:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .200.  The last week is showing signs that Springer woke up from his own personal extended spring training.  Springer didn't go from super prospect to garbage overnight so there was never any reason to panic but boy that K rate is unsightly. 

Jose Altuve:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .315.  And when Springer has as many home runs as this guy, you realize how stark the Astros outfielder's slump has been.

Austin Jackson:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .275.  Austin Jackson is one of those radioactive names in fantasy baseball where you instantly start gagging as soon as you see his name.  No one wants him or trusts him at this point in his very disappointing career and that won't change with a rare home run game.

Nori Aoki:  0/2 with his 5th SB while hitting .303.  Cheap speed, cheap speed, cheap speed.

Troy Tulowitzki:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .303.  Remember when I said all throughout the winter and during spring training that Tulowitzki may have his power negatively impacted by the serious hip surgery he underwent?  Yup.

Carlos Gonzalez:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .197.  Gonzalez has been beyond disgusting this season as he continues with his career trends of either being hurt or with royally pissing off his owners.  There are zero steals so far as I correctly predicted the team would not allow him to run in order to keep him healthy.  Of course you can't run when you don't hit and that is the bigger problem right now.  Remember that before he went out for the season last year, Gonzalez' hitting stats were down vastly across the board.  Trends.

Santiago Casilla:  blown save with 1 ER in .2 IP with an ERA of 3.12.  I am at least watching this situation as Castilla's WHIP is 1.62 as he is putting a ton of runners on base which of course is a very bad thing to do while throwing in he ninth inning.  Sergio Romo has thrown well all season so add him to the watch list.

Andre Ethier:  3/4 with his second HR while hitting .353.  Yup it was Ethier and not Alex Guerrero who got the start in place of Yasiel Puig.  And Ethier of course homers to give Don Mattingly no reason to make a change.  Feel free to pick up Etheir if Puig goes on the DL but I will instead just mourn another Guerrero opportunity lost.

Juan Uribe:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .244.  Of course Uribe homered.  Why wouldn't he?  If Alex Guerrero could pitch and had a shot at a spot in the rotation, the entire Dodgers fivesome would not allow another earned run the entire rest of the season.

Adrian Gonzalez:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .403.  Gonzalez is back in his red-hot run like he was the first week of the season.  He is in the running for April MVP and is on pace for 40-plus homers which would be a nice trip down San Diego memory lane.

Howie Kendrick:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .308.  The funny thing is that Kendrick will finish as a firm top ten fantasy baseball second baseman but yet no one wanted him during the draft.

Wil Myers:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .272.  Since when did Petco Park become Coors Field?  7 home runs in one game?  Did the poles shift and we not even know it?  Maybe it was simply the Little League lineups the Padres put out all those years.  Be that as it may, Myers continues to do a decent job out of the leadoff spot for the Padres but the average is slowly leaking as we go along.

Justin Upton:  2/3 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .303.  No matter what park it is, Upton can't be held in it.

Chris Hatcher:  1 earned run in ninth inning with an ERA of 9.95.  I laughed when I actually read on another publication that Hatcher and not Yimi Garcia would close in place of Joel Peralta who could hit the DL with a dead arm.  What are they watching?



 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: JOEL PERALTA COULD HIT DL SUNDAY WITH DEAD ARM

Los Angeles Dodgers fill-in closer Joel Peralta could be placed on the DL Sunday due to a bout of dead arm.  Manager Don Mattingly said that Peralta will be revaluated on Sunday and that a decision will be made than. 

Analysis:  Some outlets are saying Chris Hatcher will close in Peralta's place if he lands on the DL but Yimi Garcia has been electric all season and locked down a clean save Friday night.  Garcia has 16 strikeouts in only 9.2 innings so he would make more sense than the shaky Hatcher. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JACOBY ELLSBURY EXITS EARLY WITH TIGHT HIP

New York Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury was forced out of the team's loss to the New York Mets on Saturday with a bout of tightness in his right hip.  He was replaced by Chris Young and a further update is expected later tonight.

Analysis:  Always something with his guy.  It just never ends.  Usually it is two weeks tops before something else comes up with Ellsbury's health and that will just get worse as he continues to age.  He has not exactly lit it up at the plate either which makes this situation doubly frustrating.  The Yankees will be cautious here which means don't count on seeing Ellsbury in the lineup Sunday.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: SELL, SELL, SELL ON MASAHIRO TANAKA

                                                 Masahiro Tanaka

If you are a current owner of New York Yankees ace SP Masahiro Tanaka, A.) You have stones for drafting him in the first place and B.) You couldn't have asked for a better start out of the guy considering the circumstances.  Those circumstances of course are the partially torn UCL in Tanaka's elbow that is as close to a ticking time bomb as any injury can get and thus made the Japanese hurler quite possibly the biggest risk among any pitcher or hitter in 2015 fantasy baseball to invest it.  The tear has caused Tanaka to completely abandon his 4-seam fastball which generated the most heat out of all his offerings.  Whereas Tanaka routinely hit 95 and 96 with his fastball last season, not he is sitting only in the 90-92 range as he leans on two-seamers.  The results his first two times out were more than a little shaky as Tanaka was quite hittable and he struggled to even go five innings.  However Tanaka has rebounded in a big way in his last two starts as he went 7 scoreless with 8 K's against Tampa Bay and than followed that up with 1 runs in 6.1 innings with 6 K's versus the Detroit Tigers.  All the while Tanaka remained in the 90-92 range.  Be that as it may, Tanaka still has his strikeout stuff which is a testament to how good his other pitches are as he punched out 24 batters in 22.1 innings. 

With all that being said, now is the perfect time to try and sell high on Tanaka and get out from any upcoming injury drama.  All Tanaka owners should be making it their missions to talk up Tanaka and say how he is still an ace starter in order to get something out of him before the elbow goes.  In addition, Tanaka has not actually pitched as well as his numbers indicate.  Specifically, Tanaka's 3.22 ERA has been helped by an incredibly lucky .211 BABIP which is about as low as that number can go.  The ERA will undoubtedly go up and maybe by more than a little once that number normalizes as the season continues.  Tanaka can still make it as an SP 3 but depending on his health and his numbers are beyond shaky.  Hence the only move to make here as someone who may own stock in Tanaka is to get him off your roster for something more stable and that can be more dependable help.  It will only get dicey from here on.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: KNEE SURGERY COULD BE ON TAP FOR BEN ZOBRIST, PLACED ON DL SATURDAY

I guess Ben Zorbist was not ready to return after all.  After missing nearly a week of games due to a left knee injury suffered last Sunday, Oakland A's infielder Zobrist returned to the lineup Friday night in pronouncing himself fit and ready to play.  Renewed soreness during the game however gave the A's cause to put Zobrist on the 15-day DL Saturday and reports are beginning to circulate that he is likely to need knee surgery that will keep him out more than a month.  Turning 34 in May, ZObrist is starting to enter the injury Danger Zone as he continues to age.  For a guy who derived a decent amount of value on his ability to steal bases, Zobrist has seen that aspect of his game slip badly as he has posted declining numbers there in each of the last five years going into 2015.  Last season saw Zobrist steal only 10 bases and his power came in at the same number to go with a .272 batting average.  Not very impressive numbers to say the least as Zobrist is now clearly into his decline years and is being drafted more on past accomplishments than anything he is capable of doing now.  If knee surgery is needed, cut Zobrist in all formats.  He is a shell of his former self and the present is looking very ugly.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Brandon Moss:  3/5 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .214.  Moss had been pretty much dreadful before this one but like all classic home run hitters, once a few go out, a whole bunch follow.  You never invest here for average as Moss will struggle to bat .260 however.

Nick Castellanos:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .259.  Castellanos is making small but steady progress as he gains more experience but he was never projected for stardom.  We want more pure power out of our fantasy baseball third baseman but in deeper formats he does just enough to get by.

Shane Greene:  8 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.00.  Listen we all knew Greene was not as good as his first three starts indicated and everyone is bound for a bad day along the way.  But would it have killed him to keep it at most six runs?

Danny Salazar:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Where do I begin.  As you all know Salazar was THE sleeper pitcher I touted more than anyone else last season and we all also know how that royally blew up in my face.  Maybe I was a year too early.  He has been every bit the strikeout monster in his two starts that I projected him to be in 2014.  Salazar has a fastball that touches 100 and incredible movement on his pitches as well which makes him a candidate to continue putting up gems like this.  The WHIP may never be ideal due to the walks but wow has the kid been impressive.

Jordan Zimmerman:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.23.  Better.  Zimmerman still is leaking velocity and I won't say he is back to his normal ace-like self until we see this again. 

Anthony Rizzo:  3/4 with his second HR and 4th SB while hitting .345.  What is with all of these stolen bases all of a sudden?  Rizzo must have had a Derrek Lee posted on his wall growing up as one look at him would lead you think he can steal one base tops and that would only be if the catcher suddenly developed a case of narcolepsy mid-inning.  If this keeps up to go with the immense power, Rizzo could threaten Paul Goldschmidt and Jose Abreu.  Really.

Chris Coghlan:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .239.  I like owning guys like Coghlan who can give you decent enough numbers across the board with some versatility and who won't cost you hardly anything.  Its little investments such as with this guy that can help you win a league title.

Billy Hamilton:  2/4 with 3 steals (12 for season) while hitting .230.  Pretty much now when you see that Hamilton had either a hit or a walk, you know you will see the SB next to his name as you continue to scroll down the page. 

Jon Lester:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 6.23.  The weather is heating up and so is Lester right on schedule.  Talk up the ugly ERA and make one last attempt to buy low because that door is closing quickly.

Mike Leake:  7 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.90.  Who is this guy and what did he do with Mike Leake and his 5.00 K/9 IP?

David Ortiz:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .211.  Ortiz even threw in a bonus hit for good measure.

Hanley Ramirez:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .274.  One has to wonder how much more incredible HanRam's career numbers might have looked like if he had never been traded for Josh Beckett.

Chris Davis:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .237.  I said 10 days ago to take a picture of Chris Davis' inflated batting average because before you knew it, he would slip right back to his .230 ways.  Almost hit it on the nose.

Drew Smyly:  4.2 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Not bad for the first time out this season as Smyly gets back from injury.  Remember that he was terrific after coming over to the Rays last season in the David Price deal and the K rate is doubly intriguing.  Pick up where available.

Devon Travis:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .375.  Travis is hitting right now like his goal is to see his name called in the second round in drafts next season.  Hope you all listened when I told you to pick him up two days into 2015.

Alex Wood:  5.2 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.00.  That is now only one K in Wood's last two starts?  What the...?  Right now all Wood owners are getting the strong temptation to dump him onto the wire.  I would still wait out another start or two but the K's need to show up and fast.

Aaron Harang:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.37.  Aaron Harang has a 1.37 ERA.  And Bartolo Colon is 4-0.  Who needs to drafts pitchers until the last few rounds?

Carl Crawford:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .244.  Great.  Just want Alex Guerrero owners need.  But wait there is this:

Yasiel Puig:  0/2 while hitting .279 before exiting with aggravated hamstring injury.  Count on Puig being placed on the DL Saturday which at least moves Guerrero up another rung to every day status.  But of course who does Don Mattingly replaced Puig with?  Andree freakin' Ethier.  Also holding out hope Joc Pederson can move up to Puig's spot in the order but again when you wish for something with Mattingly as the manager, the only guarantee is that it won't happen.

Zack Greinke:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.35.  I swear if I had another son I would name him Zack after this perennial ace who the fantasy baseball community took until only now to respect as such. 

Yimi Garcia:  scoreless ninth for his first save with an ERA of 0.00.  Told you all to pick up Garcia in this past Thursday's ADDS column and this is the first smart thing Mattingly has done in 2.5 years.  Kenley Jansen continues to make progress for a May return but Garcia is much more interesting with his extreme K rate that veteran Joel Peralta. 

Jason Heyward:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .212.  Even moving to St. Louis where everyone becomes great overnight has not done much to unleash that potential we always talk about with Heyward.  He has struck out 13 times in 66 at-bats which still doesn't jive with any sort of full move to stardom that the tools seemed like Heyward was destined for.  We have pretty much reached the point now where Heyward is what he is and that is barely an outfielder 2. 

Carlos Martinez:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.35.  Example number 2679370 of a power arm who just needed to get some shoddy control in order to become a potential monster.  I present to you Mr. Carlos Martinez.  For a guy who was drafted on average of the 220 pick in drafts, Martinez is on the short list as early value play of the season.

Danny Santana:  0/4 while hitting .203.  Give this another ten days and than cut bait if things don't make a turn for the positive.  You can't steal any bases if you are not getting any hits.  Could be a case where a guy where not much was known comes up and surprises opposing pitchers and than falls to victim to an offseason of those same hurlers identifying all of Santana's weaknesses.

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .328.  Nelson Cruz homered again!  Going to just start cutting and pasting the previous sentence so I don't have to write about the guy hitting yet another home run every damn day of the week.

Phil Hughes:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.39.  I was really hoping that someone would have dropped Hughes in my leagues after some early struggles but to no avail.  His tremendous 2014 season when he pitched like a near-ace was actually a bit UNLUCKY and should have even been better. 

Felix Hernandez:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.61.  I said the last time out for Hernandez that he reminded me of Pedro Martinez which of course is a very heady comparison.  Even if you don't agree with me, Hernandez is engineering a truly special career and he now looks poised to challenge Clayton Kershaw for the number one overall ranking among starting pitchers this season.

Garrett Richards:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.75.  It took just one start for Richards to work off the rust.  I went on and on all offseason in telling you that Richards presented himself as one of the very best value plays in fantasy baseball and I ended up with him in the Experts League and one other competitive setup in the ultimate put your money where your mouth is.  The K rate is not all the way back yet but that will shoot up with the improvement of the weather.  Forget about buying low here as the owner who has patiently waited for Richards to come back with see this through.

Charlie Blackmon:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .269.  Told you all to proceed with caution with Blackmon who saw a lot of his 2015 value based on his ridiculous April last season when he surprised the league.  Blackmon's power was in major outlier territory there and instead he is more of a 2-3 home runs per month guy which is what we are seeing now.  That means Blackmon has to be very aggressive on the bases which he at least has tried to do in order for him to retain outfielder 2 value.  I don't think he will get there though and instead will be more an outfielder 3 which will undoubtedly disappoint his owners.

Marcus Semien:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .279. Semien is doing a nice job without blowing anyone away.  Steady is the name of the game so far for the young Semien and that is all you can ask for when you invest in a sleeper. 

Dallas Keuchel:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 0.62.  I don't even know how what to say anymore about Keuchel as I have exhausted my "sleeper", "value", "how the F-ck is he doing this" talk.  I am just going to make a mental note to draft any Houston Astros starter next season.

Scott Kazmir:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.99.  Now has 30 K's in 27.1 innings.  Only three more months until you sell high on Kazmir.  Truly one of the more remarkable stories after Kazmir was pitching in Independent Ball as recently as 2012. 

Mark Texeira:  2/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .218.  The wind was blowing out last night to rightfield which meant that t-ball players could hit one out.  Be that as it may, Teixeira is in a major power hitting run right now but his all-or-nothing approach is stark.  Consider that Teixeira has only 12 hits this season with 7 being home runs and only one single. 

Jacoby Ellsbury:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .294.  First bomb for Ellsbury who can replicate the 16 he smacked a year ago just by being a lefty in that ballpark.  What I am really interested in seeing though is how many steals Ellsbury will have as he is aging a bit at 32 and he has been caught already 3 times in only 7 chances.

Jacob DeGrom:  5 IP 8 H 6 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.96.  This is the most runs DeGrom has ever given up in a start and he was visibly uncomfortable in the cozy confines last night with the wind at near-Tropical Storm levels (slight exaggeration).  There is no reason to quibble here as DeGrom came in with 18.2 scoreless innings. 

Michael Pineda:  7.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Pineda was filthy from the start in this one as he struck out the first two and never was in any trouble.  With 27 strikeouts and only 2 walks in 25.2 innings, you are almost guaranteed success with a splendid ratio like that.  Just stay healthy my friend.