Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ubaldo In Top Form

A lot of experts were down on Ubaldo Jimenez in fantasy projections. He looked very impressive today versus a very strong Blue Jays team. He no hit the Jays thru 6 before finally surrendering a two run single to Brett Lawrie. Brandon Morrow was not as impressive but was effective over 6 IP. Both are relatively undervalued considering their talents and make for good trade targets.

More Opening Day Madness

Well, it never fails that after I publish a post something happens to completely contradict it.  Matt Thornton was brought in the eighth inning yesterday and although many are brushing it off as manager Robin Ventura's indecisiveness over the closer role, I can't help but speculate that he thinks Thornton is not the guy.  Of course, way to early to make a hasty decision in fantasy but it raises a red flag for me.  At this point in the season I would say err on the side of caution when dropping a player.  Guys with talent like Thornton's can come back to haunt you if you jump ship too early.

In other action:

Both Ian Kinsler  and Evan Longoria went long in their first action of the regular season.  Kinsler owners know the drill by now: if he's healthy the Rangers 2B is a stud fantasy player.  Longoria gets plenty of love in fantasy circles but this really could be the season he transforms into a top 5 player.  He's been around a while and is just now entering his prime years.  Oh and he's scary good.

James Shields didn't look as good but don't panic.  He's due for a bit of a regression from his superstar numbers of a season ago.  His skills are still top quality and if his owner is eager to move him, I'd be buying.

An interesting bounce back candidate could be Chone Figgins.  The Mariners continue to bat him lead off and he rewarded them last night with a 3 for 4 outing with an SB.  For deep leagues only right now.

This is a great start to the season with another home run for Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes who should be owned in all leagues.  He's a very talented Cuban import who boasts power and a bit of speed.

Lastly for today, do not sleep on Raul Ibanez, he could have a very solid year in NY.  Dismiss the age a bit and note that he had a poor year for BABIP in 2011.  Yankee Stadium caters to left handed power and there might not be a better line up in the American League.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Opening Day ?!?! and AL Bullpens

Sorry but I miss the good old days when all of the Opening Day games were on one day!  The fact that the season starts in Japan might be good for international exposure to the game but I find it takes away from the spectacle that is the first day of the season.  You remember right?  When there was a full day of games, most of them in the afternoon where plenty of people who should have been working were at the ball park. Anyway, I'm being nostalgic.  Baseball should continue to spread its wings internationally and for scheduling purposes they have to play the Japan games well ahead of the regular season.

As usual the closer situation in the major leagues is in fluctuation.  The AL appears to be more volatile thus far where there are new closers in Boston, Tampa and Kansas City.   Alfredo Aceves, Joel Peralta and Jonathan Broxton have inherited the roles thus far and are probably long gone in most fantasy leagues.  Also, I think the roles in Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore are hardly locks.  Although every statistician revels in Matt Thornton's abilities, he struggled in the role early last season, is left handed and is 36 years old.  Most managers prefer a right handed closer. That being said, I'm confident if Thornton can hold on to the job he could end up as a top 10 closer this season.  The Twins closer Matt Capps is coming off an awful 2011 season but the internal options aren't much better.  That being said, Glen Perkins, although left handed, boasts excellent skills from 2011.  He's the handcuff if Capps struggles.  In Cleveland, Chris Perez blew a save against the Blue Jays in an Opening Day marathon 16 inning loss.  With Vinnie Pestano showing considerably better skills last season, it would not surprise me if he takes over the role in Cleveland, possibly in the early going. Baltimore closer Jim Johnson didn't look very good in the spring and I kind of like Matt Lindstrom  as a sneaky source of saves.  Lindstrom has become a better control pitcher as he has aged.  If Johnson struggles, do not be surprised if Buck Showalter makes the change.

Wow, this post ended up being mostly about the bullpen.... next time out we'll step onto the field a bit.