Wednesday, April 10, 2013

And So It Begins and Pick Up Suggestions - Baseball News 4/10/2013

The beginning of the season can be such a mess for fantasy owners, as they are often excited and over anxious. There is always a surprising 'drop' of a player off a roster even in deeper leagues.  You have to remember that the first week (or any one week period) is too small a sample size of statistics to give a player a realistic full season judgement on.  The take away is to ensure your roster moves are injury and playing time related in the early going.

Speaking of injuries, Jered Weaver and Cardinals reliever Jason Motte are both hung out to dry for at least the short term.  Motte's injury will ultimately resort in a season ending Tommy John surgery.  He has a tear in his UCL ligament.  If you weren't already scrambling to find a replacement, now would be the time.  I'm not certain how the St. Louis bullpen will shake out, but if you are betting on Mitchell Boggs keeping the role, look for a contingency plan.  The smart money is on the highly skilled, young power arm of Trevor Rosenthal.  Rosenthal's average fastball in his short stint in the majors has exceeded 97 MPH.  He generates alot of ground balls (53%) and strikes out enough batters to make him interesting (consistently around 9 K/9 throughout his career).  His control isn't remarkable but it will suffice given his other skills.  I don't think you should jump all over Rosenthal as two other bullpen arms, Fernando Salas and Edward Mujica, might get the call in the 9th before the rookie.  However, if you are one to bet on skills, I'd grab Rosenthal for now as at least he's going to get you strikeouts without hurting your WHIP.

The Jered Weaver injury, which early reports have him out at least a month with a broken elbow (although initially he will be on the 15 day DL), leaves a gaping hole in the rotation which will be filled initially by Garrett Richards. Richards is an interesting arm even though he struggled mightily when he was called up last season (6.0 K/9 against an awful 4.3 BB/9). He's got an average 95 MPH fastball and some solid strikeout stuff.  He was boasting a 7.6 K/9 in AAA before his recall last season.  Obviously, his ability to keep the ball in the park and runners off the base paths will have to be closely monitored.  However, there is a big league arm here and he's worth an addition in AL only leagues and those of similar depth.

What a find Lance Berkman has been thus far, although obviously small sample size.  The 37 year old has been red hot with a .480 BA thus far.  There is injury risk but for the price you have to pay to trade for him, pick him up or draft him, he's a great value.

Chris Davis has been fantastic as well.  For those fortunate enough to draft him, this could be a huge year for him.  He's just entering his prime years at age 27.

I have to finish today with at least a nod towards Roy Halladay who's been a mess thus far this season.  I have always had huge respect for his worth ethic. I just hope this is not the end of the road for one of baseball's best pitchers.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Coke Gets The Save - Baseball News 4/1/2013

Argh!  That's the sound of a frustrated Al Alburqerque owner.  I'll be honest in stating that you will want to steer clear of the Detroit closer situation in mixed leagues.  However, AL only leaguers and the like are stuck speculating on what Jim Leyland will do with three pretty talented bullpen arms in a committee.  My guess is the traditionalist Leyland, well known for his odd batting line ups (if you played 2B you bat 2nd, regardless of your skill) ends up sticking with Phil Coke from here on out.  Why?  Just to mess with us.  Coke is a solid reliever but the high strikeout and right handed arms of Joaquin Benoit and Alburqerque seem like the more obvious choice. As usual in April, its definitely not time to overreact.  However, if you are seeking saves, I'd probably snag Coke as quickly as possible.   Just don't drop anyone proven for him at this point.

Alot of preseason talk about Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks after an awesome spring.  His major league debut was less than stellar striking out three times with Tigers ace Justin Verlander on the hill.

Nice outing from Jon Lester, striking out seven over 5 IP against the Yankees (get used to this New York).  Interesting to note that Junichi Tazawa was in the set up role today.  Not that this is 'news' at this point, but keep an eye Tazawa as his skills in limited innings last season were incredible.

AJ Burnett looked great striking out ten Cubs over 5.2 IP.  His mound opponent Jeff Samardzija was simply better striking out nine over eight shut out innings.  Carlos Marmol was awful in the ninth and was quickly pulled for Kyuji Fujikawa who nailed down the save.  If you are speculating,  I believe Fujikawa takes this role and runs with it.

Collin Cowgill had a monster day for the Mets with a home run and a double, collecting four RBI in the process.  Cowgill's bounced around a few teams but he's one to watch.  The only thing that's held him back from regular playing time has been a history of injuries.  His minor league track record suggests he'll be a solid source of steals and boasts a nudge of power if he can stay in the line up.  Obviously, keep your expectations in check, but if you came up short in the OF in a deep league, he's worth a speculative pick up.

The fantasy story in Washington is playing out just like many pundits thought (after one game of course).  Stephen Strasburg walked no one and struck out three over seven innings and Bryce Harper mashed two home runs, the only scoring in the game.