Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Top Pickups On the Mound: Week 5


SP- Jonathan O. Sanchez- 36Ks in 28 innings will catch anyone's attention. Add to that a 1.18WHIP, and an ERA in the mid threes and people really will start buying in. The most impressive stat of all perhaps goes well beyond that. It's his 2-1 record on the putrid San Francisco Giants team, that has scored the 3rd least amount of runs in the majors this season, that is really the most telling, eye catching statistic Sanchez has this season. The numbers thus far are very good, and his ERA comes in as a bit inflated because of a 4inning 7run outing he had in his first outing.

His minor league numbers show similar dominance, and K rate as he is showing in the majors, so it is not like he is a fluke call up, who has had a few lucky starts. This guy is legit, and if he's still available in your league, go out and grab him.

A few draw backs I see are that since he strikes a lot of guys out, he throws a lot of pitches, and doesn't last very long into ball games, which could cost him wins. Of his 5 starts this year, 3 have been of 5 or less innings. I can also see the occasional rough outing, as he is still a young pitcher learning how to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues. And of course, the Giants awful offense could also cost him a few wins with their terrible run support.

All of that being said, I really do like Sanchez to continue his success. I think he can put up numbers similar to what Oliver Perez did for the Pirates in 2004. 12-10, with 200+Ks, 2.98ERA and a WHIP of 1.15.

SP- Chad Gaudin- Gaudin started off hot last season for Oakland, but tailed off as the season went along and ended up post rather mediocre stats. Well, this season he has started off similar to last season, with Gaudin pitching very well and becoming a hot fantasy add. Last season however, Gaudin was apparently pitching with a bad hip which required off season surgery that he had in December. Some would point to that as an explanation for why he pitched so poorly as the season wore on.

I recently added Gaudin to one of my fantasy teams, because my pitching isn't great and I feel he is the type of guy who could be lightning in a bottle. I remember ESPN's Buster Olney talking about how much his ball moves naturally, and when he struggles its because he can't a feel for where the movement is taking the pitch. If he struggles for 3-4 starts in a row I'll dump him fast, as it would show he is regressing like he was last season and isn't worth a roster spot.

If you are in need of pitching, Guadin is a fine, serviceable addition to your fantasy team, at least for the short term. For the long term I would be more skeptical, because he showed last season the wear and tear of a long major league season gets to him.

SP- John Lannan- In limited experience last season for the Nationals Lannan pitched with mediocre results that are typical of that of a rookie pitcher. This season the results have been much different. Lannan has posted a quality start in 4 of the 5 games he has thrown this year. The highlight being a 6inning, 11strikeout performance Lannan tossed against the Mets.

Lannan is posting numbers like he did in the minor leagues and generally that is the best indicator in being able to predict if a player is for real or not at the major league level. Similar to the aforementioned Jonathan Sanchez, I expect him have the occasional rough outing, and lose some close games because of his team's poor offense. Unlike Sanchez, I don't think he has the potential for many more huge strikeout games, or the same potential to dominate a game.

If your team needs the pitching, go out and grab Lannan. If he is still pitching well in August, sell high trade him before your league's trade deadline. Young pitchers will often be shut down when they reach a certain innings limit, and since it's doubtful the Nats will have nothing to play for, there will be no reason for them to keep trotting him out to the mound where he cna over tax his young arm.

SP- Daniel Cabrera- This old gag. Easy to fall in love with his stuff and strikeout rate. Easy to hate, with his WHIP and ERA make. Easy to hate the high WHIP, ERA and walk rate. Cabrera has been a guy who has been on the fantasy brink for a few years now, and every season he has a 3-4 start stretch that makes fantasy owners salivate and grab him before anyone else does. He has had that stretch this season, and while he has been very effective his last 4 starts, his last start raises those classic Daniel Cabrera Red Flags.

He had cut down on his walk ratefrom his first start when he walked one and progressively lowered the rate till his 4/23 start against Seattle when he walked none. In his next start however, we saw the old Daniel Cabrera. He walked 7 and allowed 4 hits in 6 1/3 innings, as he walked the tight rope and managed to avoid the big one for one night at least, while sporting a game WHIP of close to 2.oo. It may have been a fluke and perhaps Cabrera really has found himself and established a firm grip on his mechanics and what it takes to get hitters out. Or maybe he is back to his wild, walking ways, and the improvement he has shown this season was the real fluke.

Cabrera is a very good short term add. Grab him and stash him on your bench for a start or two, to see what he can do. He will have to dominate some games to earn wins because the Orioles offense will be inconsistent and struggle to score runs at times. His next start will come Saturday against Anahiem, a pesky team that can beat you with many different approaches, so if Cabrera can show something there it will be a very good indicator of the direction his season is going in. Personally I would hold off and let someone else take a flier on him, he has just shown so many flashes of brilliance, only to disappoint in the past, to get overly excited about what he has done on the season so far.

SP- Max Scherzer- Young pitcher for the D-backs was so impressive in his debut out of the bullpen that the team has already scheduled him for his first start on Monday against the Phillies. His line from that game, 4.1IP, 7K, 0R, 0.00WHIP. He has dazzling stuff and a fastball that routinely hits 98MPH on the radar gun. He is a great short term add, but with barely over a season at the minor league level, I worry about the D-backs shutting him down later in the season so they can save his arm.

A good idea here is to grab him QUICK, soak up some of his nasty stats for a few months then sell high in July and get what you can for him. He won't be of much use to you if he is shut down or sent to the bullpen to limit his innings. I am not saying that is definitely going to happen, but it's a strong hunch and is often done with young pitchers.

RP- Santiago Casilla- Has 17Ks in 13.1IP for Oakland this season, and if that wasn't good enough take a look at his 0.00ERA and .80WHIP. Cassila might be worth a good add in your league to help keep your ERA and WHIP down a bit, and will even gather up a decent amount of Ks for a set up man. If Oakland winds up trading Houston Street some where you can rest assured Casilla will probably get first crack at closing.

Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap - 4/29/08

Bat Of The Night: Scott Hairston – 3/4, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Big night for the San Diego outfielder putting up 3 extra base hits, including 2 homeruns, on his way to 3 RBIs. Hairston was struggling entering last night’s game but broke out in a big way against the Phillies. Hairston still has a ways to go before proving to be a viable fantasy option.

Arm Of The Night: Joe Saunders – 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (W)

Outside of Cliff Lee, Joe Saunders has been the biggest April surprise as he capped off a brilliant month by tossing eight innings of scoreless ball to move his record to 5-0. Saunders now has a 2.08 ERA and 0.95 WHIP and has only allowed 10 walks in 43.1 innings of work. He will never be a big strikeout pitcher but has proven to be very effective thus far in 2008. His next start is a favorable one against Baltimore on Sunday. Let’s see if he can carry his April momentum into May. Also keep in mind that Saunders trade value is at its peak right now, so if you are looking to deal pitching, there may not be a better time to move Angels lefty.

Bottom Line: Johnny Cueto – 1.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (L)

The Reds’ phenom who came out of the gates smoking this year has fallen back down to Earth now allowing 5 or more runs in 3 of his last 4 outings; going 0-3 over that stretch. Cueto still has a ton of fantasy upside given his ability to rack up strikeouts and the fact he’s pitching for a fairly underrated Reds team who should contend this year. However, owners need to temper their expectations in the short-term as the youngster makes the necessary adjustments.

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

Much needed breakout performance for the struggling Jose Guillen who racked up 5 RBI on the night. Ryan Zimmerman is also starting to heat up while Rick Ankiel makes his second appearance in as many night in the Top Five. On the pitching side, Boof Bonser was dominant last night, allowing one run and striking out eight over seven innings of work. Another tough luck loss for Roy Halladay who went the distance yet again.

Bats

Jose Guillen – 2/4, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Ryan Zimmerman - 3/4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Adrian Beltre – 2/2, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB
Rick Ankiel – 3/5, 2 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Jose Reyes – 3/3, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 3 BB

Arms

Boof Bonser – 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K (W)
Aaron Cook – 7 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (W)
Cole Hamels – 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (W)
Jon Lester – 8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K (ND)
Roy Halladay – 8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (CG,L)

Bottom Five

Some tough nights on the mound last night headlined by Jason Jennings putting up another poor outing and then leaving the game in the third inning with nerve irritation. He just doesn’t look major league ready right now. In other news, Phil Hughes has been comped a room at the Bottom Five hotel for being such a loyal patron.

Bats

Tony Pena – 0/5, 2 K
Edgar Renteria – 0/4, 2 K
Alex Rios – 0/4, 2 K
Mark Reynolds – 0/4, 2 K
Jermaine Dye – 0/4, 2 K

Arms

Jason Marquis – 5 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (L)
Jason Jennings – 2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (L)
Edgar Gonzalez – 2.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (L)
Phil Hughes – 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (L)
Blaine Boyer – 1 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (L)

Making A Case...

Mike Cameron – 3/5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Cameron got right after it in his 2008 debut piling up three hits and driving in two runs. The veteran outfielder looked good after missing the season’s first 25 games due to a suspension for stimulants and will hit second in a powerful Milwaukee lineup adding to his fantasy appeal. Despite missing 25 games, Cameron is still a legit 15 HR-15 SB candidate with a good chance to even put up a 20-20 season hitting in the friendly confines of Miller Park.

Joel Pineiro – 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 3 K (W)

Pineiro finished the 2007 season strong, making him a decent sleeper candidate entering 2008. After his season debut was delayed by injury, Pineiro struggled in his first outings getting rocked by the Giants. Looking back, we can chalk this up to a pitchers simply shaking off the rust as Pineiro has continued to improve over his last 3 starts allowing only 4 earned runs in his last 20.1 innings of work. The 29 year old righty put together his best performance of the young season last night pitching 1 hit, shutout ball of 7 innings. Pineiro is quietly becoming a nice fantasy option but faces a tough matchup at Colorado in his next start Monday.

Max Scherzer – 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

Talk about good first impressions! Max Scherzer threw 4 1/3 innings of no-hit ball in relief of D’Backs starter Edgar Gonzalez while striking out 7 batters. Gonzalez has been struggling and it’s possible that Scherzer could take his job. However, don’t count on Arizona to rush their phenom into the rotation. More than likely he will start out in the bullpen giving the Diamondbacks yet another great arm to bridge the gap to Brandon Lyon.

Closer Corner

- After talking up him up in this week’s Closer Report, Rafael Betancourt went out of his way to make us look bad allowing 3 runs in only 0.1 of an inning to earn his first loss. Regardless of the poor outing, Betancourt has all the makings of a solid closer and we still don’t think Joe Borowski will be getting his old job back upon returning from the DL.

- Brian Fuentes is now two for two in save opportunities since taking Manny Corpas’ job earlier in the month. It doesn’t look like he’ll be giving it up anytime soon.

- Jonathon Papelbon got his second win of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

- Jose Valverde locked down save number five last night against his former mates. Valverde now has now put together five straight scoreless outings over the past 10 days and locked down four saves in that time. Hopefully his early season struggles are behind him for good.

- That is now 11 saves for league leader K-Rod and 10 for George Sherrill who like his overachieving Orioles squad, refuses to go away.

- Billy Wagner and Joe Nathan maintained their perfect ERAs in different ways. Nathan notched his 8th save while Wagner blew a save but the run he allowed was unearned.

- Kevin Gregg took his first loss of the season, unable to keep the game tied in ninth against the Dodgers. He now has 3 Wins and 4 Saves to go along with his 1 loss.

- Other Saves From Last Night: Jon Rauch (5), Todd Jones (5) and Eric Gagne (8), Takashi Saito (3).

Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- Tim Lincecum took his first loss of the season last night in a 3-2 San Francisco defeat against Colorado. Lincecum continues to pitch well however and is looking like a sure fire future ace.

- Joe Crede and Nate McLouth both hit their 7th homers and continue to be pleasant early season surprises.

- Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones hit their 8th homers and are two potential MVP candidates looking forward.

- Ben Sheets moved to 4-0 but didn’t look overly impressive in 5 innings of work. He doesn’t appear 100% just yet, coming off an injury to his triceps.


Check out the Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap every weekday on Fantasy Sports Experience!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A-Rod To The DL: Posada Update: FANTASY IMPACT


As if the news in Yankeeland couldn't get any worse the Evil Empire placed Alex Rodriguez on the 15 day DL on Tuesday with a strained quadricep in his right leg. Rodriguez had initially hurt the quad a couple of weeks ago, and missed some time that coincided with the birth of his second daughter, so it was time he would have missed anyway. The injury was aggravated on Monday night when Rodriguez said he felt a "pull" in the leg. He was immediately replaced in the game and sent for an MRI on Tuesday where the strain was revealed

The news comes on the heels of the Yankees getting initial word back from Dr. James Andrews that All-Star catcher Jorge Posada will not need potentially season ending surgery. However the Posada saga does not end there. Posada is still plans to get his shoulder's MRI examined by 3 more doctors including Reds team physician Dr. Timothy Kremchek who is a shoulder specialist,
Yankees team physician Stewart Hershon and finally the MRI World Tour will come to an end Thursday when New York Met medical director Dr. David Altchek has a chance to look at the MRI as well. Posada said he won't speculate on the MRI findings until all the parties involved have had a chance to give him their diagnosis and reveal if they feel surgery will be necessary.

FANTASY IMPACT

This is a complete disaster for A-Rod owners. He was probably the first pick in most drafts following his success last season, and is if his underachieving numbers this season weren't bad enough, now he won't be putting up any numbers for at least the next two weeks. The injury might actually help A-Rod long term as it will give the quad a good amount of time to heal, and perhaps some time off surrounding the birth of his child and early seasons struggles will give him a chance to clear his head and get himself right. It is widely accepted that most of A-Rods struggles in New York stem from him putting too much pressure on himself to perform, so the time off might do some good.

Look for Morgan Ensberg to fill in for A-Rod for the time being, but don't expect to see the Ensberg from the seasons of yesteryear, he is a different player now, without the power he once owned. Other good fill in options might be guys like, Jorge Cantu, Pedro Feliz, Andy Marte, or the recently recalled Angel's minor league slugger Brandon Wood.

We gave good fill in options for Posada when word officially broke that he would be going on the DL with the shoulder injury.
While none of these players can actually "replace" the production you'll get from A-Rod or Posada, they can give you some decent, productive numbers to help you stay afloat until they get healthy.

Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap - 4/28/08

Slow night in the majors on Monday with only 5 of the scheduled 7 games able to be completed.

Bat Of The Night: Daric Barton – 2/6, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI

The A’s put up 14 runs Monday so you knew one of their players would be taking home top bat honors. Barton hit his first homer of the season and drove in 3 runs in the Oakland romp. Barton is the unquestioned starter at first in Oakland and has a knack for getting on base drawing 19 walks already on the season and scoring 17 runs. Barton has the ability to hit around .300 but the biggest question mark with him is whether he will ever hit for any power.

Arm Of The Night: Matt Cain – 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 3 K (W)

An underwhelming line based on the past recipients of Arm Of The Night honors. Cain finally notched his first win of the season pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings leaving Barry Zito as the only winless Giants starter or former starter I should say. It’s well-documented that the Giants can’t hit but keep in mind that this team can certainly pitch. We are seeing the makings of a dominant young staff in San Francisco.

Bottom Line: Ryan Ludwick – 0/5, 4 K

Golden sombrero for Ryan Ludwick due in large part to the efforts of Bronson Arroyo who entered the game 0-3. Ouch.

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

Rick Ankiel broke his homerless drought while Carlos Quentin slugged homerun number seven for the White Sox. Good to see Frank Thomas making an immediate impact in his return to Oakland. He could be a nice sleeper capable of providing cheap pop throughout the year if healthy. Another strong outing for Javy Vasquez in a no decision.

Bats

Carlos Quentin – 2/6, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Frank Thomas - 3/3, 1 2B, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Rick Ankiel – 2/5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Ray Durham – 2/4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 SB
Aaron Rowand – 2/3, 2 R, 1 RBI

Arms

Chad Gaudin – 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (W)
Mike Mussina – 5 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (W)
Dan Haren – 7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (W)
Javier Vasquez – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (ND)
Brandon Lyon & Mariano Rivera – 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 Save

Bottom Five

Just because there weren’t many games scheduled Monday doesn’t mean we couldn’t fill out our Bottom Five with ease! Travis Hafner is really struggling…

Bats

Travis Hafner – 0/3, 2 K
Jim Thome – 0/3, 2 K
Todd Helton – 0/4, 2 K
AJ Pierzynski – 0/6
Orlando Cabrera – 0/5

Arms

Jon Garland – 6 IP, 5 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (L)
Franklin Morales – 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 K (L)
Chris Sampson – 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (L)
Chris Bootchek – 0.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (L)
George Sherrill & Bobby Jenks – 1 IP, 1 ER (Both blew saves)

Making A Case...

Emil Brown – 1/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI

My deep sleeper pick entering 2008, Brown has lived up to the minimal hype I created in the FSE sleeper picks article. Brown has been an RBI machine in April driving in 25 batters on the month to go along with 15 runs scored and a .293 batting average. In his last 15 games, Brown has at least 1 RBI in 12 of them while hitting safely in 13. Brown is only owned in 20% of CBS leagues of now and will be given every opportunity to prosper in Oakland.

Closer Corner

- The saves by Mariano Rivera and Brandon Lyon was the 8th of the season for both closers. In addition, Rivera still hasn’t allowed a run in 2008.

- Francisco Cordero finally got a save opportunity and made the most of it, closing out Cincy’s 4-3 win over the Cardinals to notch save number four on the young season.

Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- Indians youngster Aaron Laffey had a no hitter for 5 innings before imploding in the 6th against the mighty Yankees lineup. He should see a few more starts with Jake Westbrook on the DL and could be a good play against weaker offenses such as the Royals on Saturday.

- The Mets-Pirates game was rained out and will be replayed on August 11. Both team pushed their starting pitchers back a day thus, yesterday’s starters Johan Santana and Ian Snell will throw tonight.

- The Orioles and White Sox were tied at 3 at the end of the 11th inning when their game was postponed due to rain. The teams will finish the game starting in the 12th inning at a later date.

- What do the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s and Florida Marlins possibly have in common? They all currently sit atop their divisions while the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies occupy the cellar! Gotta love April…


Check out the Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap every weekday on Fantasy Sports Experience!

Top Pickups Around the Diamond- Week 5


C- Jarrod Saltalmacchia- The young slugging catcher came up last season for the Braves and saw some good results. Following his trade to Texas for Mark Teixeira, Salty struggled a bit, but picked it up late and put up some respectable fantasy numbers. Salty can hit for power and draw a walk and once he gets enough at bats at the major league level the batting average will come around also. He is a 25-30HR bat waiting to happen, he just needs the chance. Many were surprised he didn't get that chance in 2008, but Gerald Laird won the catcher's job out of spring training outright and Salty was sent down the AAA for seasoning and to work on his defense.

Salty has been brought back to the majors and is going to be splitting time with Laird behind the plate in a bit of a surprise move. By many scouts accounts Salty's best place to play on the diamond would be 1B, because at 6'4" they feel his hight hurts him defensively. Another reason why 1B would be best for Salty to play is because with Laird behind the dish Texas already has a serviceable offensive and defensive catcher, and in reality on the days when Salty plays there it hurts the team defensively.

Right now, while it would be great to add such an offensive threat behind the plate, Salty isn't playing everyday and no matter how good he is or will be it's not worth it to add him, unless Texas trades Laird. Of course with Ben Broussard manning 1B for the Rangers I think a move to first makes a bit more sense. Broussard isn't the type of bat a team can build around, and he has proved himself over the course of his career to not be an everyday player, but rather a journeyman with some pop. Keep your eye on Salty, but right now, he isn't worth adding unless Texas does something to get him more playing time.

C-Dioner Navarro- After a good second half to his 2007 season Navarro was a hot sleeper at catcher going into most 2008 fantasy drafts. That blew up pretty quickly when Navarro wound up on the 15 day DL after needing stitches in his right middle and ring finger following a fluke fall at Yankee Stadium. Navarro is back and hitting like the player most think he can become.

On the season Navarro is hitting .416 in 24 at bats, with 5R and 4RBI and only 2strikeouts. There are still many things to like about Dioner. First off he is a switch hitter who knows how to draw a walk. Though he has struggled to get the bat going in previous years, his OBP was always at least 50-70 points higher than his batting average. The ability to draw a walk means a player can stay out of prolonged slumps and still do some damage on the base paths. Another thing to like about him is that he is only 24, so is still developing as a hitter and has room to grow in that part of the game.

If given the choice between the two, I would definitely take Dioner. He is playing everyday, and is in a better, more energetic line up in Tampa. This might change a bit if Salty can get everyday at bats somehow, but until then go get Dioner if you are hard up for a catcher.

1B- Eric Hinske- You can try and sell Hinske to me, but I am not buying it. Hinske has offered Tampa some vercitility this season and has seen time at 3B, 1B and OF. He is hitting .292 with 5HR, 12R and 13RBI, and is off to his best start since his rookie season when he hit 24HR with 13SB. His numbers since his rookie season have done nothing, but steadily regress as a hitter. I do not understand how a player can get worse and worse over the course of 5 years and then all of a sudden refine himself at the age of 30 and become an impact player again. Hinske is hot, but he won't keep this pace up all season. Expect a max of 15HR with 50RBI, Hinske is a fine role player now, but thats all. Don't get caught up in the early season numbers and a hot streak and confuse that with a player who is ready to produce for the long haul of a major league season.

2B/SS-Felipe Lopez- A few seasons ago with the Reds Lopez looked like a prime breakout candidate, who looked like he was ready to become a solid fantasy option for years. He could steal a base, hit a HR here and there and score runs. Then Lopez was traded to Washington and his numbers began to steadily decrease, bottoming out when he was taken out of the lineup in favor of a Christian Guzman, Ronnie Belliard combo. The door was opened for Lopez this season when Belliard slumped early and the struggling National's lineup could not afford to have his weak bat in the lineup any longer.

On the season Lopez has 1HR, 3SB, 8R, 8RBI and 8 walks while hitting .268. The average is a bit low, but since becoming the everyday 2B Lopez is hitting .357 and seems to be enjoying playing baseball again. It looks like it took a benching for him to realize what he wold be missing, and he has really efforted to keep his starting role for the rest of the season this time. Lopez is a solid addition in most formats. His versatility makes him useful, because he can play both of the middle infield spots and in some formats he might even have outfield eligibility. He could hit as many as 15HR with 25SB a lock, if he can continue to remain focused on the game and continue his phoenix impression.

3B- Edwin Encarnacion- The classic criticism of Encarnacion is that he is streaky, makes a lot of errors and hasn't been able to keep a firm hold of the starting 3B job in Cincy despite their attempts to hand it to him. It looks like all of that is changing this season, as Encarnacion already has 6HR, with 14R, 12RBI and 13walks to go along with a .282 average. I am very high him and think he is ready to show what he can do on an everyday basis.

The biggest positive for me is the walks, he already has 13walks in 2008, as compared to the 39 he had in all of the 2007 season. The power is legit and Encarnacion even adds another unique stat that most 3B don't because he can steal a bag, and might finish with about 10 or so for the season.

Go out and get him if someone in your league hasn't taken him yet. He will be a bit streaky, which will hurt his value in head-to-head leagues, but in rotisserie, the numbers all even out by the end of the season, so his value will be even greater.

2B/SS- Ryan Theriot- I have never been sold on Theriot, but he is scrappy player who can hit a little, steal a base and really adds a spark to the Cubs' line up. Lou Piniella really likes what he can do, so he will have no problem staying in the lineup on a daily basis. He offers little in the power department, and is prone to hot and cold streaks. He does have that 2B/SS eligibility like Lopez does which is really helpful in fantasy, incase you need to plug him into of those spots because of injury or trade.

If you need 2B Theriot offers a solid speed and run scoring combination. There is a decent chance he is already taken in your league, but if he is available go out a grab him. If you want to compare him to Felipe Lopez, I like Lopez's upside more, as he can hit for more power, but Theriot might be the safer bet as far as speed and playing time goes.

OF- Jayson Werth- Been around for a while now, and while he's never been a spectacular addition before, it's time to see if he is really Werth adding. He has been getting everyday play while Shane Victorino has been on the shelf with a bad calf. In a five game span from the 21st through the 25th Werth hit 4HR, 6RBI and 8R, making him easily the hottest player in the game, for both reality and fantasy. It was one of those streaks that can single handedly ruin an opponent's week, of course if your team actually owned Jayson Werth at the time, chances are it wasn't that good before hand the hot streak was really needed.

Don't go crazy for Werth, he is a decent player, he is not a good fantasy player. He is really a utility outfielder who went on a hot streak, and will come back down to Earth sooner and not later. Don't go out of your way to add him, he won't be Werth it in a week.

OF- Adam Lind- Toronto's top hitting prospect struggled a bit in his 2007 time in the majors and started the 2008 season in the minors. He was called up to more or less replace Frank Thomas's bat in the lineup, so no pressure there. Lind is going to be handed an everyday spot in the Toronto lineup and has been hitting the cover off of the ball in AAA, so I like his chances to succeed on the major league level in 2008. Generally when a young player has some time in the minor leagues to start the season they develop good habits at the plate and bring that with them when they are called up to the major leagues.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Week 4 Closer Report - Top 10 Closers, Injury Updates & Next In Line

Every 2 weeks, FSE takes a look at the closers around the majors breaking down the top 10 as well as guys that are struggling, injured and next in line to close. Note: Stats are up to date through the games of 4/27. 

Top 10 Closers

#1 Jonathon Papelbon - 0-0, 8 S/0 BS, 18 K, 1 BB, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 4
Papelbon stands atop our closer rankings after week 4 after a sizzling start to the season. Paps is third in the league in saves but leads all closers in strikeouts and will get a ton of save chances pitching for the defending World Series champs.

#2 Francisco Rodriguez - 0-0, 10 S/1 BS, 9 K, 7 BB, 4.22 ERA, 1.50 WHIP 
Week Two Rank: unranked
K-Rod has really come on fast over the last two weeks to take the major league lead in saves with 10. Since returning from injury on April 13, Rodriguez has 7 saves and has allowed only 2 earned runs in 7.1 innings of work. The Angels are a contender and play a lot of close games so another 40 save season looks like a distinct probability for Rodriguez as long as he can stay on the field.

#3 George Sherrill - 1-0, 9 S/0 BS, 8 K, 5 BB, 4.66 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 1
Sherrill continues to pile up the saves as the Orioles continue to beat the odds and play good baseball. Sherrill has shown he is a legitimate major league closer, however, the Orioles are destined to come down to Earth soon which will hurt their closer's value. We said week 2 and we'll say it again here in week 4 - time to sell high.

#4 Joe Nathan - 0-0, 7 S/0 BS, 8 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.88 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 3
Nathan has yet to allow a run or a walk in 8 innings of work this season and has notched 7 saves in the process. Nathan's success comes as the Twins are playing poor baseball and clearly better time are ahead in Minny this season. Nathan may end up 2008's finest closer when all is said and done.

#5 Brian Wilson - 0-0, 8 S/1 BS, 8 K, 6 BB, 3.48 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
Week Two Rank: unranked
Wilson leads the NL in saves with 8 and has pitched very well of late locking down 6 saves over the past two weeks. Like George Sherrill, he pitches for a team that is playing well now but should finish among worst in baseball. Thus, save opportunities may become scarce at certain stretches in the season. Wilson is another sell high candidate. 

#6 Joakim Soria - 0-0, 6 S/0 BS, 11 K, 0 BB, 0.00, 0.33 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 7
Soria has been about as dominant as you can be possibly be thus far. In 10 innings he has yet to allow a run or walk and has struck out 11 on his way to notching 6 saves. The Royals are definately a team on the rise, but they will struggle for extended periods this season playing in the tough AL Central. Regardless, Soria is quickly establishing himself as an elite closer.

#7 Mariano Rivera - 0-0, 7 S/0 BS, 8 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 7
Rivera has quietly been dominating American League batters. He has pitched 9 scoreless innings to open the season and has allowed only 4 batters to reach base; none of those coming on walks. With a new contract in hand, Rivera seems poised for a throwback dominant season.

#8 Brad Lidge - 0-0, 6 S/0 BS, 12 K, 6 BB 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Week Two Rank: unranked
Lidge looks right at home in Philly, opening the season by throwing 11 scoreless innings and notching 6 saves. The former Astro is also putting up nice strikeout totals, an added bonus for fantasy owners.

#9 Billy Wagner - 0-0, 6 S/ 0 BS, 9 K, 2 BB 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP
Week Two Rank: unranked
Wagner has yet to allow a run or a hit this season in 9 innings of work. The Mets play a lot of close games and Willie Randolph is not shy about using his bullpen so Wagner should get plenty of save chances before all is said and done.

#10 Matt Capps - 0-0, 6 S/0 BS,  8 K, 2 BB, 2.31 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
Week Two Rank: 10
Capps remains in the 10 spot and has been solid the last two weeks, pitching 5 scoreless innings and locking down 3 saves. Capps has now gone 11 innings without allowing a run dating back to his first outing of the season where he was touched up for 3 earned runs in only 2/3 of an inning. The fact he plays for a poor Pittsburgh team hurts his value, but make no mistake, Capps has elite stuff and is a solid fantasy closer.

On The Rise

Brandon Lyon - After a rough start and rumors that Lyon was going to lose his closing job in Arizona, Lyon has come on strong over the past two weeks. Since April 15th, Lyon has thrown 8 straight scoreless innings notching 5 saves over that span. Lyon remains an injury risk with more than capable closing options in Tony Pena and Chad Qualls lurking behind him. However, as of right now, his job is safe. 

Rafael Betancourt - After not seeing a save chance in his first week as the Indians' closer, Betancourt closed out two games last week. Betancourt has now pitched 4 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 5 since being named closer following an injury to the ineffective Joe Borowski. It's becoming clear that Joe Borowski's days of closing in Cleveland are over and Betancourt will be the man in ninth inning going forward.

Shaky Closers & Next In Line

#1 Jason Isringhausen - Rough week for Izzy as he blew two saves to division foes Houston and Milwaukee. Izzy has been used a ton early in the season and it may be catching up with him a bit. He just didn't have his best stuff Friday night, giving up 3 ER in one inning of work. On the bright side, Izzy did also save two games so it was not a lost week for his owners. Kyle McClellan worked 3 perfect innings Sunday to close out the game against Houston giving Izzy a rest. He or Ryan Franklin would most likely be the next in line should Izzy go down.
Next In Line - Kyle McClellan or Ryan Franklin

#2 Eric Gagne - Gagne has now blown 4 saves in Milwaukee but at the same time he has 7 saves and has looked good in his last 3 outings. The Brewers bullpen has been a bit of a disaster thus far and there aren't any other great closing options available to Ned Yost right now. He will ride or die with Gagne at this juncture.
Next In Line - Derrick Turnbow

#3 Jose Valverde - After a poor week 3, Valverde has begun to turn the corner putting together four scoreless outings with 3 saves and a win over that time. You certainly can't trust Valverde yet, but Valverde owners have to be feeling a lot better about their closer. Doug Brocail remains the top fallback option, but he too has struggled a bit lately. 
Next In Line - Doug Brocail 

#4 Takashi Saito - The ageless wonder hasn't been his usual dominant self thus far in 2008. He has only blown 1 save but his WHIP of 1.35 is high compared to the numbers we've seen over the past two years from the Dodgers closer. Saito should get it together but if he doesn't, future stud closer Jonathon Broxton is ready to work the ninth in LA.
Next In Line - Jonathon Broxton

Closer News

Brian Fuentes Replaces Manny Corpas As The Closer In Colorado

Click here for our full analysis.

JJ Putz Returns

Putz returned on April 22nd and has posted mixed results since. In his first outing he pitched a scoreless ninth to lock down his second save of the season. However, in his second outing Saturday, Putz allowed 2 earned runs and walked 3 in an inning of work. Putz is one of the elite closers in baseball and is just shaking off some rust after missing nearly 3 weeks with a ribcage injury. He will be fine.

Injury Updates

Rafael Soriano - Soriano experienced soreness in his elbow after a bullpen session on Sunday, pushing his return back another week at least. Bobby Cox said that he wants two pain free bullpen sessions from Soriano before he will return to the closer role.   

Fantasy Impact: With Soriano out, Manny Acosta will continue to close games in Atlanta. Also, keep an eye out for Mike Gonzalez who should return from the DL in mid-may and could vulture some saves.

Fantasy Baseball Weekend Happy Recap - Week 4

Bat Of The Weekend: Brandon Phillips – 6/12, 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB

Phillips went 30-30 in a breakout 2007 campaign and entered 2008 as the top rated second baseman in some preseason rankings. Phillips got off to a slow start from a power perspective but is really beginning to turn it on as we head into May. The Reds’ 2B is a legitimate 30-30 threat and one of the elite players in fantasy baseball give his position.

Arm Of The Weekend: James Shields – 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (CG, W)

James Shields was nasty Sunday afternoon in Tampa, throwing a complete game 2 hitter and in the process giving the Rays their first series sweep of the rival Red Sox. Shields becomes the second straight Rays starter to take home top weekend honors, following Andy Sonnanstine. Don’t look now but the Rays starting pitching ranks among the best in baseball and will only improve once Scott Kazmir returns in early May.

Bottom Line: Geovany Soto – 0/8, 8 K

Eight strikeouts in eight at-bats, yikes. Someone send this man 2 golden sombreros courtesy of the FSE Bottom Line.

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

The youth movement dominates the weekend Top Five headlined by Josh Hamilton and Nate McLouth at the dish and strikeout machine Jonathon Sanchez on the mound.

Bats

Josh Hamilton - 8/13, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Nate McLouth – 4/12, 4 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI
David Murphy – 6/13, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI
Matt Kemp – 5/12, 2 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Alex Rios – 7/13, 4 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Arms

Pat Maholm – 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Vicente Padilla – 9 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (CG, W)
Jonathon Sanchez – 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K (W)
Brian Burres – 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (W)
Chien-Ming Wang – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (W)

Relief Stud

Billy Wagner – 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 Saves

Back to back Relief Stud honors for he has now tossed 10 scoreless innings to start the season while locking down 6 saves. The hit allowed by Wagner this weekend was the first he’s let up this season.

Bottom Five

Struggling veteran pitchers are found early and often in this weekend’s Bottom Five. Barry Zito’s latest debacle moved him to 0-6 and possibly the bullpen while Matt Morris finds himself out of a job.

Bats

Alex Gordon - 1/11, 6 K
Casey Blake – 0/9, 5 K
Jim Thome – 1/9, 6 K
Gary Matthew Jr. – 0/10, 3 K
Kevin Youklis – 0/10, 3 K

Arms

Barry Zito – 3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (L)
Livan Hernandez – 2.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (L)
Matt Morris – 1.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (L)
Miguel Batista – 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K (L)
Ubaldo Jimenez – 2.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (ND)

Relief Dud

Bob Howry – 0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (L)

Once favored to be the closer in Chicago, Howry has struggled mightily thus far in 2008. He is now 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA and finds himself in Sweet Lou’s doghouse. If something should happen to Wood, it appears that at this point Carlos Marmol would most likely fill-in at closer.

Making A Case...

Scott Rolen – 4/11, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 SB

Rolen was a difference maker in his first weekend of play this season. The Blue Jays’ 3B did a little bit of everything cranking 2 doubles, a homer and even stealing a base. If he can stay healthy, Rolen will get every opportunity to succeed in Toronto and hit in the middle of an underrated lineup. He looks to be a decent option at a thin fantasy position.

John Lannan – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (W)

That makes 2 straight outings in which Lannan has tossed 7 innings of shutout ball. The Nats’ lefty exploded on the fantasy scene following an 11 strikeout performance against the Mets April 17th and hasn’t looked back allowing only a single run over his last three starts spanning 20 innings. Lannan will probably never put up double digit strikeout totals again this season, its not really his game, but he is proving to be a reliable fantasy starter capable of shutting down good offenses.


Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- Josh Beckett struck out 13 but was outdueled by James Shields and those pesky Rays.

- Brandon Webb became the majors first pitcher to 6 wins (6-0) while Chien Ming-Wang moved to 5-0 throwing 7 shutout innings against the Indians.

- Edinson Volquez is now 4-0 after striking out 10 batters in Cincinnati’s win Sunday. The preseason trade of Josh Hamilton for Volquez is working out well for both teams.

- Strong outing for Clay Buchholz allowing 2 ER in 8 innings of work against the Rays. Despite being the tough luck loser, Buchholz is beginning to establish himself as a legit fantasy starter with big upside. The buy low window on the Red Sox phenom might be officially closed.

- Two homers yesterday for Carlos Delgado as he tries to work past a ridiculous 6/58 slump (.103 BA for those scoring at home). Delgado isn’t this bad, but he also doesn’t appear to have a ton of upside as age is catching up with the 35 year old slugger.

- John Smoltz struggled on Sunday at New York giving up homers to Delgado and Raul Casanova of all people. Smoltz is clearly bothered by pain in his throwing shoulder but has stated he will pitch through it. While we don’t doubt the toughness of the future Hall Of Famer, he seems destined for a DL stint at some point this season.

- Michael Cuddyer hit his first homer of the season after coming off the DL Friday. He is a nice buy low candidate right now.

- Kyle McClellan pitched three perfect innings to earn his first save of the season in the Cards 5-1 win over Houston. It looks like McClellan may be the team’s fallback option to closer Jason Isringhausen who struggled mightily last week.

Check Out The Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap Every Weekday On FSE!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Posada Season in Jeopardy?


Acoording to a report in the New York Times, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada's season might be in jeopardy after the pain in his right shoulder flared up again before Sunday's game against the Cleveland Indians. Posada will leave the team following the game on Sunday and see Dr. James Andrews to have the shoulder evaluated by the esteemed orthopedist. Posada has already seen Andrews once this season and at that time the Doctor told him that while he does have a tear in his subscapularis muscle, that surgery was not necessary. However, the shoulder still is not getting better and is becoming more of a concern for the Yankee catcher. The Yankees went ahead and placed Posada on the 15 day DL folling their game on Sunday.

Following Sunday's game against Cleveland, Yankee manager Joe Girardi played down the Times report that Posada was going to see Andrews and that there was a tear in the shoulder. Girardi followed that up by saying that they did have an MRI done earlier in the season and it showed that there was nothing structurally wrong with the shoulder, a contradiction to the Times report.

No matter which account is true, at the very least Posada is headed for the 15 day DL so the Yankees can try to get this injury healed and taken care of, so it does not linger throughout the season. At worst this could mean shoulder surgery for Jorge and more or less end his season. Aside from a pitcher, the catcher's role is the position where having a strong throwing arm is necessary to be successful and useful to a team.

There are still a lot of questions, contradictions and speculation, but you can be sure we will update you as we know more. According to our source, the injury is serious the fact he is seeing Andrews only perpetuates that belief.

FANTASY IMPACT

Not good for Posada owners, you better go out and get a replacement for him quickly, as there is no telling how long he'll be out for. Obviously if he is complaining of pain again, it will be a while before he is behind the plate again. Look at players like Dioner Navarro, Ryan Doumit, JR Towles, and Greg Zaun, as possible replacements in your lineup. Yankee back up Jose Molina has also played very well when he filled in for Posada when he missed time earlier this season. Jarrod Saltalamacchia might be the popular name right now, but he is splitting time behind he plate with Gerald Laird, so won't see a whole lot of at bats.

With Posada on the DL, you should stash him there on your roster and see what comes out of this situation. He might only miss a little time, but if it is anything major you want to make sure you have a serviceable guy in there to put up numbers.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Francisco Liriano Sent To The Minors - Great Buy Low Candidate Or Bust

Following a disastrous outing against Oakland Thursday in which he allowed 6 earned runs and walked 3 batters in only 2/3 of an inning, the Twins have sent Francisco Liriano to the minors to get his act together. The lefty phenom has been awful since making his return to the majors April 13th following Tommy John Surgery, going 0-3 with a 11.32 ERA and 2.71 WHIP over 3 starts. In 10 1/3 innings, Liriano has allowed 13 earned runs and 13 walks while only striking out 7. 

Fantasy Impact

This is a tough pill to swallow for Liriano owners, many of whom rolled the dice on the lefty stud fairly early in the draft hoping he would return to his dominant 2006 form. While Liriano has indeed been awful in his first 3 outings, fantasy owners must realize that he has not pitched at the Major League level in nearly a year and a half and these struggles are to be expected. 

Command has been Liriano's biggest issue. In his first three 2008 outings, he has walked more than a batter an inning and failed to put up significant strikeout totals. Liriano is having trouble locating his fastball and has been unable to put his best pitch, a Santana-esque changeup, where he wants it. Further, the velocity on his fastball has been down around 90-91 MPH as opposed to the mid-90's heat he threw consistently before TJ surgery. This lack of juice on his fastball also serves to hurt the effectiveness of his change up. 

No one knows for sure how much time Liriano will spend in the minors; could be a month or even longer. A loss of command is a common and correctable problem amongst pitchers returning from TJ surgery as is loss of velocity. These issues can normally be fixed with repetition and Liriano will get ample time to work on his mechanics and build up strength in a low pressure atmosphere in the minors. 

Barring injury, Liriano will certainly be back in the majors at some point in the season and thus it is in the best interest of his owners to try to work out a way to stash him until he returns. The difficulty in this is that unless your league offers minor league roster spots, Liriano would have to be placed on the bench in your active roster as he is ineligible to fill a DL spot.

Remember Liriano owners, it is only April and while having an unavailable pitcher on your roster may limit you a bit in the short-term, he could be a big difference maker come the second half of the season. Two words: Stash Him.

As for the rest of you, this demotion to the minors has made Liriano the top buy low candidate out there right now. Savvy owners should be looking to make a deal for the 24 year old for 40 cents on the dollar while you still have the chance. 

Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap - 4/24/08

We have added a new Closer Corner section to the Happy Recap which will take a look at all of the important news regarding closers from the previous day’s play and document all saves.

Bat Of The Night: Magglio Ordonez – 3/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI

That’s 37 runs for the Tigers in the last 3 games! Magglio has been hot this week going 6/15 with 3 homers, 7 RBI and 4 runs scored. Mags should emerge as a legitimate MVP candidate this summer and is a must-start outfielder.

Arm Of The Night: Cliff Lee – 9 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K (CG, W)

It is hard for a pitcher to have a better month than Cliff Lee’s April. Seriously, take a look at what this guy has done thus far in surprisingly quiet fashion. Lee is a perfect 4-0 with a ridiculous 0.28 ERA, 0.41 WHIP, 29 K and only 2 walks. Let’s look a little deeper into these numbers shall we. In 31.1 IP Lee has allowed only 1 earned run and a total of 13 batters to reach base while striking out nearly a batter an inning. We must mention that Lee has yet to face a powerful American League offense, doing his damage against Oakland twice, Minnesota and Kansas City. Thus, a drop off is to be expected as the weather warms and competition stiffens. Lee takes the mound Wednesday at home against Seattle and is a must-start right now.

Bottom Line: Francisco Liriano – 0.2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K (L)

Liriano’s rough start continues as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Although he is a risky start right now, Liriano still has great long-term potential especially as we head into the second half of the season. His recent poor outings make him quite possibly the best buy-low candidate in all of fantasy baseball right now. There is no way he is this bad people… remember 2006…

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

Donnie Murphy broke out yesterday slugging two homers while Josh Willingham, Chipper Jones and Lance Berkman continue to rake. Tim Lincecum quietly moved to 4-0 and has been dominant in the early season despite receiving little to no pub. He is a future elite fantasy starter, and is quickly making a name for himself.

Bats

Donnie Murphy – 3/5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Josh Willingham - 3/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Lance Berkman – 3/3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 SB
Chipper Jones – 3/3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Melky Cabrera – 2/3, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

Arms

Tim Lincecum – 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 9 K (W)
Joel Piniero – 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (W)
Aaron Cook – 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K (W)
Greg Smith – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (W)
Chris Young – 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K (L)

Bottom Five

AL and NL west batters show up early and often in the Bottom Five today sporting some ugly lines while Dustin McGowan had his first poor outing of the season.

Bats

Mark Reynolds – 0/4, 3 K
Adrian Gonzalez – 0/4, 3 K
Ryan Ludwick – 0/5, 2 K
Josh Hamilton – 0/5, 2 K
Torii Hunter – 0/5, 2 K

Arms

Burke Badenhop – 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (L)
Brett Tomko – 4 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (L)
Adam Loewen – 2.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (ND)
Dustin McGowan – 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 7 BB, 6 K (L)
David Riske – 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (ND)

Making A Case...

Felipe Lopez – 2/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Lopez has slowly worked his way back into the Nationals’ lineup and helped his cause mightily with a grand slam and 6 RBI versus the Mets last night. Lopez was a great fantasy option in 2005 and 2006 hitting 34 homers and stealing 59 bases over those two seasons. He hasn’t been the same since a mid-2006 trade that sent him from Cincinnati to Washington and really struggled last year. Lopez is quietly emerging as a sleeper candidate especially for owners looking to add speed. He has the potential to put up .270, 80 R, 10 HR, 20+ SB which makes him a decent option in mixed leagues.

Adam Jones – 3/4, 2 2B, 3 RBI

The centerpiece of the Erik Bedard deal, the highly touted rookie outfielder struggled out of the gate in Baltimore but he has come on a bit of late. He is now up to .270 and has hit safely in 8 of his last 10 games. The power production hasn’t come around yet as he has hit only 1 homerun, scored 2 runs and drove in 6 in those 10 games. However, the fact that he is hitting on a consistent basis indicates that the still only 22 year old outfielder might be turning the corner at the Major League level. He is a risky start right now, but keep an eye on Jones going forward as he will get every opportunity to succeed for a rebuilding Baltimore franchise.

Closer Corner

- Newly minted Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, who just regained his closing job from Manny Corpas, locked down his first save of the season yesterday in a 4-2 win against the Cubs. Fuentes should be added in all leagues.

- 2 inning save for Manny Acosta last night in the Braves 7-4 win against Florida. Acosta has a great arm and should serve as the primary setup man once Rafael Soriano returns from the DL on May 1st.

- Jason Isringhausen and George Sherrill locked down save number 8 while K-Rod grabbed the league lead with his 9th save of the season.

- Jose Valverde continues to work his way back from an awful start, locking down his 3rd save of the season.

- Other Saves Yesterday – Brian Wilson (7), Brandon Lyon (6), Brad Lidge (5), Troy Percival (4).

Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- Coco Crisp got the start yesterday and stole 2 bases. If Crisp is dealt to a place where he can play everyday, he could become a very viable fantasy option. He simply does not fit in Boston.

- Chad Billingsley allowed 5 earned runs and took the loss last night but not before striking out 12 D’Backs. This guy has a ton of talent and is going to put it all together sooner rather than later.

- Josh Willingham hit his 6th homer of the season last night for the Marlins joining Mike Jacobs and Hanley Ramirez (7 HR a piece) among the league leaders.

- Jayson Werth hit his 4th homerun of the season and has played well in Shane Victorino’s absence. With Victorino returning early next week, Werth will most likely be forced into a platoon with Geoff Jenkins in RF. Give the way Werth has been playing, there is a really good chance he wins the Phils’ RF job outright sooner rather than later.

- That is now 6 stolen bases for Luis Castillo for all of you counting at home!


Check out the Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap every weekday on Fantasy Sports Experience!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Batter Injury Updates and Fantasy Impact - Week 4

Each week, FSE takes a look at the key injuries affecting fantasy baseball owners and offers updates, projected return times and the impending fantasy implications. Here we focus on the hitters.

Welcome Back

Curtis Granderson (Broken Right Hand) – Granderson returned to the lineup on Wednesday going 2/4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. He followed that up Thursday with a solo homerun.

Fantasy Impact: Get him in your lineup as fast as you can.

Welcome To The DL

Jimmy Rollins (Ankle) – Rollins officially hit the DL Sunday and is scheduled to take batting practice today at Florida. He may begin playing in rehab games as early as next week.

Fantasy Impact: Huge blow to fantasy owners but it could be worse people. Rollins looks to be healing well and his rehab process is moving along on schedule. Eric Bruntlett will start in his place.

Projected Return: Early May

See You This Weekend?

Michael Cuddyer (Finger) – Cuddyer is coming off the DL Friday and start that night at Texas.

Fantasy Impact: With Cuddyer back, Denard Span will return to the bench while Jason Kubel and Craig Monroe may split DH duties. Kubel had some nice potential entering the season. However, if the Twins choose to platoon him at DH it will mean he is not guaranteed at-bats on a nightly basis thus making him a risky fantasy option.

Projected Return: Friday at Texas

Michael Bourn (Groin) – Bourn sat out Thursday’s game and hopes to be ready to go on Friday. He has said repeatedly that he does not want to rush back and risk further injury, a bad sign for owners of the Astros’ speedster.

Fantasy Impact: Bourn is a terror on the basepaths, leading the league with 13 steals entering play today. Darin Erstad has started in Bourn’s absence and done an admirable job but clearly isn’t worth adding.

Projected Return: Saturday vs. St. Louis

Alex Rodriguez (Quads) – Although he will rejoin the team today, Rodriguez will not play tonight. The Yanks have said they want to be cautious with their 3B so he might even miss the weekend series at Cleveland with a quad strain.

Fantasy Impact: With Arod out, Morgan Ensberg will continue to start at 3B for the Yanks.

Projected Return: Saturday or Sunday at Cleveland

Scott Rolen (Finger) – Rolen is finished up a Class A rehab assignment and it appears he might be activated off the DL as early as today.

Fantasy Impact: Don’t expect much from Rolen early as he works his shakes off the rust. In time he could be a serviceable third base option hitting in an under the radar Blue Jays lineup.

Projected Return: Friday at KC

Gary Sheffield (Shoulder) – Sheff who has been battling shoulder problems throughout April and has missed the last 4 games could be back as soon as Friday.

Fantasy Impact: The Tigers offense is scorching right now putting up 19 runs on Wednesday then following that up with 8 more today. When healthy, Sheffield should thrive in Detroit’s potent lineup.

Projected Return: Friday vs. LA Angels

Moises Alou (Hernia) – Alou has been raking in rehab and more importantly has not experienced any setbacks. He received 7 at bats in an extended spring training game, an indication that he is very close.

Fantasy Impact: When healthy Alou is a force at the plate and should be a solid fantasy contributor hitting 5th in a strong Mets’ lineup. Alou’s return will send fantasy darling Angel Pagan back to the bench.

Projected Return: Monday vs. Pittsburgh

See You Next Week…

Alfonso Soriano (Calf) – Soriano will not rehab and instead will just needs to pass a series of physical tests. He is targeting a return the first day he is eligible to come off the DL – May 1st.

Fantasy Impact: Given the strong play of Ronny Cedeno and Ryan Theriot in the infield coupled with Soriano’s return to the outfield, Mark Derosa should return to a part-time role. Derosa has played well enough to be a viable fantasy option but will revert to being a spot starter and super utility man come May 1st.

Projected Return: May 1 vs. Milwaukee

Shane Victorino (Calf) – Victorino is currently on a class A rehab assignment and has not experienced any setbacks. The plan is for Victorino to play in a AA game on Friday and then a AAA game Saturday or Sunday before returning to the majors early next weeks.

Fantasy Impact: Jayson Werth has filled in nicely in center and has been hot over his last 4 games going 6/19 with 2 HR, 6 runs scored and 3 RBI. Once Victorino returns, Werth will platoon with Geoff Jenkins in right field and no longer receive regular at bats. If he were to win the starting role in right field outright, Werth may be an intriguing under the radar fantasy option playing in a great hitter's park and batting in a powerful Philly lineup. 

Projected Return: Tuesday vs. San Diego

Mike Lowell (Thumb) - Lowell took batting practice Tuesday and will begin a AAA rehab assignment on Friday. He is expected to return early next week. 

Fantasy Impact: Jed Lowrie and Sean Casey have seen some additional playing time in Lowell's absence. Lowrie has looked good since his call up, hitting .350 with 4 runs scored and 5 RBI in 20 ABs. The 24 year old will likely be sent back to the minors once Lowell returns; however, his minor league numbers and short stint in the majors have shown that he will eventually be a productive big leaguer. He projects to be a Dustin Pedroia-type .300 hitter with more power. 

Projected Return: Tuesday vs Toronto

Getting Closer...

Andy Laroche (Thumb) - Laroche, who has been out since March 7th with a torn ligament in his right thumb, went 1/6 in a AA game and has not experienced any setbacks in his rehab.

Fantasy Impact: The Dodgers offense has been weak in the early going, so you can bet Joe Torre is excited about getting the highly touted young third baseman back in the lineup. He should start at third base for LA immediately upon his return sending Nomar Garciaparra to the bench. 

Projected Return: Mid-May

On The Shelf

Eric Chavez (Back) – Chavez was moved to the 60 Day DL but his target return date of late May remains intact.

Fantasy Impact: Chavez hasn’t contributed much since 2005 and will most likely be a stop gap option at best this year as he fights his way back from a back injury.

Projected Return: Late May

Suspension Updates

Mike Cameron – Cameron who is currently serving a 25 game suspension for stimulant use will begin a class A rehab assignment today and is scheduled to return Tuesday. Brewers manager Ned Yost said that Cameron will start in centerfield and bat second upon his return.

Fantasy Impact: Cameron showed 20 homerun power in cavernous Petco Park and should benefit greatly from a move to the hitter friendly confines in Milwaukee. He will hit in a choice spot in the potent Brewers' lineup with Rickie Weeks in front of him and big bats in Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hitting behind him. Cameron could be in line for a fine season in Milwaukee and looks to be a fine fantasy option given his combination of power and speed.

Projected Return: Tuesday at Chicago Cubs

Fuentes New Closer In Colorado

Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has named 3 time All Star Brian Fuentes the closer in Colorado, replacing Manny Corpas. In 2007, Corpas bailed out the Rockies when Fuentes struggled for a period and blew four straight saves. This season has seen the opposite happen as Corpas has struggled and blown 4 out of 8 saves chances he has gotten thus far. With Colorado playing bad baseball, the blown saves become even more of an issue, forcing Hurdle to shake things up a bit.

FANTASY IMPACT

Go get Fuentes in all fantasy formats. It is A bit of a luxury for Hurdle to have a 3 time All Star, who has had great success closing out games in the past as a fallback option. Corpas is probably safe to drop, I doubt Hurdle trusts him in pressure situations right now. He has probably fallen behind Matt Herges in the bullpen pecking order as of now but could regain some of his skipper's confidence with a few solid outings.

Check back with FSE later in the day for analysis and updates on this story.

Frank Thomas Signs With Oakland: FANTASY IMPACT

Ending days of speculation slugging DH Frank Thomas has officially signed on with the Oakland Athletics. There is no word on how the A's plan on splitting time between Thomas, Mike Sweeney and Jack Cust, but it seems unlikely Thomas wouldn't have signed on if he wasn't going to be starting. Ironically enough if Sweeney winds up getting dealt the team that would benefit the most from getting them would be the Toronto Blue Jays, Thomas's old team.

FANTASY IMPACT

Frank Thomas still has power left in his bat and will hit 25 or so HR on the season. Oakland needs his bat in the lineup, but his increasing all or nothing approach would blend well the all or nothing approach Cust uses. If you need the HR help on your team grab Thomas and see if he can get it going. Thomas is currently hitting .166 on the season, but his OBP is over .300, so he is seeing te ball well, its just taking the old man a bit longer than usual to get his swing down, nothing unusual for a player the size of Thomas. Generally it takes players who are taller more time to get their mechanics down, and we see this all the time with both hitters and pitchers.

Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap - 4/23/08

Bat Of The Night: Prince Fielder – 2/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI

The Prince entered the night with only one April homerun and left with 3. The Brewers slugger also added 4 RBI, powering Milwaukee to a 5-4 win over the Phillies. Fielder remains a legitimate 45-50 homerun threat so don’t let his poor April get you down.

Arm Of The Night: Chad Gaudin – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (W)

Nice outing for Gaudin against the Twins as he tossed 7 scoreless innings of 4 hit ball. The Oakland righty displayed great control, walking no batters on the night while striking out 4. That makes 3 straight quality starts for Gaudin who has enjoyed a nice April going 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA and low 1.08 WHIP. He can be a serviceable fantasy starter when facing weaker offenses at home in Oakland where he is currently 2-0 with a miniscule 0.64 ERA in 2 starts.

Bottom Line: Chris Young – 0/5, 4 K

Chris Young makes his second appearance on the Bottom Line this season after putting on his second golden sombrero. Is there more of a feast or famine guy on a day to day basis then the young Arizona outfielder?

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

Couple of two-homer nights from Gary Matthews Jr. and Matt Stairs and a 5 RBI outburst from Carlos Guillen headline the night at the plate. Overall, it was a poor night for power production. Nothing spectacular to report on the pitching side as we saw effective outings from Johan Santana and Mike Mussina while Greg Maddux continues to prove that he’s still got it.

Bats

Gary Matthews Jr. – 2/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Matt Stairs - 2/4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Geovany Soto – 4/5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Jorge Posada – 4/5, 3 2B, 2 RBI
Carlos Guillen – 3/4, 1 R, 1 2B, 5 RBI

Arms

Johan Santana – 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (W)
Mike Mussina – 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (W)
Chris Sampson – 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (W)
Greg Maddux – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (ND)
Matt Cain – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K (ND)

Bottom Five

Rough nights for hitting studs Ryan Howard and Bobby Abreu and pitching aces Javy Vasquez and Dan Haren. Kenny Rogers’ poor outing was erased by the Tigers offensive explosion.

Bats

John Bowker – 0/6, 3 K
Yorvit Torrealba – 0/4, 2 K
Joey Votto – 0/4, 2 K
Bobby Abreu – 0/5, 2 K
Ryan Howard – 0/4, 2 K

Arms

Javier Vasquez – 5.1 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (L)
Bronson Arroyo – 3.2 IP, 10 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (L)
Dan Haren – 4.2 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (L)
Anthony Reyes – 1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (L)
Kenny Rogers – 3.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K (ND)

Making A Case...

Daniel Cabrera – 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (W)

Talent has never been a question for Cabrera as his high 90’s fastball and great movement have made him a potential breakout candidate every year. Location has been the soon to be 27 year old righty’s biggest issue early in his career and what has kept him from being consistent. Cabrera has now put together three straight quality starts in which he has gone 2-0 and walked a total of 5 batters. Play the matchups with Cabrera and be prepared for the occasional awful outing.

Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- Manny Corpas blew his second save in as many nights and his 4th on the season Wednesday and after the game Clint Hurdle hinted that his job is in serious jeopardy. I think he will get 1-2 more shots to redeem himself, after all, it is only April. If he continues to struggles, look for Brian Fuentes to regain the closing role he lost to Corpas last season.

- Speaking of struggling Rockies, Troy Tulowitzki hit his first homer of the season last night. Tulo got off to a slow start last season as well and I feel the best is still ahead for the Rockies SS. He should be fine.

- Welcome back Curtis Granderson! The Tigers spark plug returned last night and subsequently the Tigers dropped 19 runs on the Rangers. Granderson came out of the gates hot going 2/4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI in his 2008 debut. Big season ahead for the Tigers’ leadoff hitter…

- Those slugging Phils! Chase Utley hit his league leading 10th homer while Pat “contract year” Burrell cracked his 8th in a 5-4 loss against Milwaukee. Don’t worry Ryan Howard owners, the first baseman will join the Phillies offensive onslaught soon.

- Francisco Rodriguez has been on fire since returning from an ankle injury early last week. Krod has now registered 5 saves in the last 10 days tying him with Jonathon Papelbon for the league lead at 8. In addition, the improbable April run by George Sherrill continues as he locked down save number 7 last night while Brian Wilson, Huston Street, Matt Capps and Mo Rivera each notched their 6th saves.


Check out the Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap every weekday on Fantasy Sports Experience!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pacman Jones Traded to the Cowboys


ESPN's Ed Werder is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and the Tennessee Titans have agreed in principal that would move the much maligned cornerback, Adam "Pacman" Jones to Dallas. The deal has many loopholes and side agreements due to the uniqueness of the trade, that involves a player who might not even play next season.

Currently the deal calls for the Titans to get Dallas's 4th round draft pick in this Saturday's draft, but if Pacman does get "significant" playing time in 2008 the Titans will then also receive a pick from Dallas in the '09 draft.

Of course none of that matters if Pacman isn't reinstated to the NFL by commissioner Roger Goodell. If he does not play in 2008 then the Titans will send an undisclosed 2009 draft pick back to the Cowboys. One also has to wonder if there are still any legal issues that could be brought to the forefront in connection to his recent extortion case.

Pacman is an immensely talented player whose quickness and athleticism make him a threat all over the field. He is dangerous in all three major parts of the game, as a defensive player, as a dangerous kick returner and can even catch a pass or two when needed. His talent is clearly evidenced in the fact that it took the Titans so long for them to trade him. He has been in trouble in many off the field situations for years, and only following his 2007 season long suspension have the Titans finally agreed it would be better for both parties to part ways.

As if this story needed it, there is even more drama that could take place once Terrell Owens and Pacman are placed on the same team together. Credit Jerry Jones for taking another risk on a player who has had many difficulties in his past. It worked well for them with Owens, and Tank Johnson last season, so it will be interesting to see what happens in '08 with Pacman. I could really envision just disastrous media sessions with T.O. being asked about his new teammate and the ever attention seeking Owens shooting his mouth off and saying something that comes back to distract the team in the locker room.

FANTASY IMPACT

This helps the Cowboy's defense mostly, who was dangerous last season and could be even more dangerous next season if Pacman actually plays. Their special teams could also take a good step forward as Dallas really struggled to return kick effectively last season.

Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap - 4/22/08

Bat Of The Night: Casey Blake – 4/4, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI

Plenty of Indians receiving honors today on the heels of their 15-1 beatdown of the Royals last night. Blake was perfect at the plate piling up 3 extra base hits – 2 2B and 1 HR - and 6 RBI. At third base, a thin position in fantasy this season, Blake is a serviceable option who can provide decent power production when he is going well. He is a streaky hitter who gets most of his numbers in bunches which makes him a risky proposition as an everyday starter.

Arm Of The Night: CC Sabathia – 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K (W)

CC is back people! Just a dominant, old school outing for Sabathia who pounded the strike zone and put pitches wherever he wanted on his way to 11 strikeouts over 6 scoreless frames. Location was the biggest issue for the big lefty during his early season struggles and it appeared he has straightened out many of those problems over the last week. We expect Sabathia to return to form going forward in what is a big contract year.

Bottom Line: Carlos Gomez – 0/5, 4 K

Tough night for the youngster who edged out fellow golden sombrero donning buddies Carlos Pena and Jose Guillen for this most unwelcome distinction.

Honorable Mentions

Top Five

Some unexpected power tonight from Jacoby Ellsbury and Ronny Cedeno. Adrian Gonzalez is beginning to roll while Bobby Abreu continues to look strong at the plate in his walk year. On the pitching side, Ted Lilly and Justin Verlander took a step in the right direction as they try to put their early season struggled behind them while Edinson Volquez is coming into his own. The best line in the Top Five comes from the only pitcher to lose John Smoltz, striking out 10 over 7 innings of work and recording his 3000th strikeout in the process. First ballot hall of famer for sure…

Bats

Jacoby Ellsbury – 3/5, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Bobby Abreu - 2/5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Ronny Cedeno – 2/5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Adrian Gonzalez – 3/4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Johnny Damon – 3/5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Arms

Ted Lilly – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K (W)
Paul Maholm – 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (W)
Edinson Volquez – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K (W)
Justin Verlander – 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (W)
John Smoltz – 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K (L)

Bottom Five

The golden sombreros abound as we saw some real rough nights at the plate Tuesday as well as a host of blown saves. Manny Corpas has been shaky and blew his 3rd save of the season last night while Jason Isringhausen couldn’t hold a one run lead in the 12th against the Brewers. Izzy owners really can’t complain however as the Cards’ closer already has 7 saves and this was the first game he has failed to close out.

Bats

Carlos Pena – 0/4, 4 K
Jose Guillen – 0/4, 4 K
Jeff Kent – 0/4, 3 K
Aaron Rowand – 0/4, 3 K
Nick Johnson – 0/4, 3 K

Arms

Gil Meche – 3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (L)
Vincente Padilla – 3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (L)
Jason Isringhausen – 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (BS, L)
Manny Corpas – 1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (BS, L)
Heath Bell – 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (L)

Making A Case...

Jorge Cantu – 3/4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI

We put out a sleeper alert for Cantu when he won the third base job in Florida at the end of Spring Training and he has done nothing but make us look good. Cantu pounded his third homer of the season last night and is now batting .337 with 12 runs scored and 8 RBI on the season. He is the Marlins’ unquestioned starter at third base and hits 5th or 6th in a lineup that is far better than people realize. Cantu should continue to thrive in Florida and could even be moved to the 2 hole in time if Dan Uggla struggles. He is currently only owned in around 30% of leagues so if you need a third baseman, he is your man.

Fred Lewis – 3/5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI

Lewis has enjoyed a fine April hitting .338 and scoring 11 runs at the top of the San Francisco Giants lineup. Lewis has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games with 7 multi-hit games over this time. The centerfielder will not hit for power but he is speedy and can help you in runs scored and stolen bases while he is hot.

John Lannan – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (W)

John Lannan has now put together two very impressive starts following up his 11 K effort against the Mets with 7 scoreless innings versus another NL East foe, the Atlanta Braves. Lannan is only 23 years old and does have some nice minor league numbers to provide some backing for his strong pitching of late. The lefty has shown good control through the ranks so his WHIP may actually go down but his ERA is destined to finish over 4.00 as he is pitching over his head a little right now. Right now, Lannan can be considered a good spot starter given the right matchup but it will take a few more starts for him to prove he’s for real.

Fantasy Observations & Thoughts

- JJ Putz returned last night and locked down his 2nd save of the season. You may all now mercifully drop Mark Lowe and Ryan Rowland-Smith from your rosters.

- In the D’Backs-Giants game last night, Brandon Webb notched his league leading 5th win while Barry Zito took his league leading 5th loss.

- Evan Longoria hit his 2nd homerun of the season. The rookie third basemen has been inconsistent since being called up but be a force come June. Do not drop this guy.

- Jonathon Papelbon closed out his league leading 8th save last night while Brandon Lyon notched his 5th save and second in two games.


Check out the Fantasy Baseball Happy Recap every weekday on Fantasy Sports Experience!

Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen To Switch Positions: FANTASY IMPACT


In a bit of a surprise move on Tuesday, Detroit manager Jim Leyland told the press that Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Guillen will be switching positions, with Cabrera moving to first and Guillen going to third. Leyland said that the move was bing done in the best interest of the team, and we are sure that Cabrera's 5 errors have something to do with it as well. While Guillen hasn't played 3B since 2003, the former SS turned 1B, turned 3B does have better range and a better glove.

FANTASY IMPACT

The good news is that in most leagues Cabrera will have 3B eligibility and 1B eligibility, not only for this season, but next season as well. If your league counts errors, than this is good news for you Cabrera owners as he should certainly cut down on his E's a bit. I doubt long term this hurts his value, even though 1B is a deeper position that 3B is for fantasy, Cabrera is such a good, elite hitter you have to take him regardless of where he is positioned.

Carlos Guillen's position eligibility will be the one of real interest for the rest of the season. Currently he owns 1B and SS eligibility and will soon gain 3B as well. The flexibility is great to have as it allows him to fill in for injured players on your roster or in a spot of high need use for your team. Next season he should have 1B and 3B eligibility, while he is not an elite player at either position, he is better than average and will be underrated at both spots come draft time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Weekly All-Star Team & Awards - Week 3

Awards Ceremony

Bat Of The Week: Chipper Jones - .565, 6 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1.773 OPS

Chipper had a monster week, making only 10 outs on the way to hitting 4 homers, driving in 7 and putting up an OPS north of 1.700. Buster Olney had an excellent piece Sunday about how Jones now meticulously breaks down pitcher film before games and the ways in which it has made him a better hitter. Additionally, Olney talks to scouts who say Chipper’s approach at the plate right now is the best it has ever been. Jones’ injury history certainly has to scare fantasy owners as naturally none of this means anything he isn’t on the field. Given the gaudy numbers he has put up over the past 3 years (in remarkably quiet fashion) he is simply a risk worth taking at this point.

Arm Of The Week: John Danks – 2 GS, 2-0, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K

Danks pitched 2 shutouts this week and was dominant in both outings lasting 7 or more innings in each start. Danks also showed excellent control walking only 2 batters over 14.2 inning while striking out 12. If you take out Danks’ awful outing against Minnesota on April 9th, the young lefty has allowed 1 earned run in 21.2 innings spanning 3 starts. Danks will try to build on his big week 3 on Saturday against the Orioles at home.

Pickups Of The Week: Mark DeRosa - .421, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 1 SB, 1.222 OPS

John Danks - 2 GS, 2-0, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K

We have discussed Danks who entered the week owned in about 30% of CBS leagues so let’s focus on the Cubs’ super utility man who has filled in admirably for Alfonso Soriano. Derosa has seen his ownership rise from 43 to 73% after putting together a hot week where he hit .421 and drove in 8 runs.

Worst Week Ever: Tadahito Iguchi – 0/21, 4 K, 1 R, 1 SB

The 1 run and steal accounted for all of Iguchi’s production this week as he did literally nothing at the plate going 0/21. Thus, it is no surprise he was subsequently dropped to 8th in the lineup with the next stop being the bench.

FSE All-Week One Team

C Ivan Rodriguez - .291, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .916 OPS
1B Conor Jackson - .480, 10 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 1 SB, 1.599 OPS
2B Chase Utley – .391, 6 R, 1 2B, 5 HR, 8 RBI, 1.548 OPS
SS Jose Reyes - .428, 7 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB, 1.305 OPS
3B Chipper Jones - .565, 6 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1.773 OPS
OF Manny Ramirez - .480, 7 R, 1 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1.475 OPS
OF Alex Rios - .392, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB, 1.075 OPS
OF Aaron Rowand - .444, 2 R, 3 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI 1.278 OPS
U David Wright - .521, 5 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 1 SB, 1.633 OPS
U Miguel Cabrera - .428, 7 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1 SB, 1.204 OPS

SP John Danks – 2 GS, 2-0, 14.2 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K
SP Scott Olsen – 2 GS, 2-0, 14 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
SP Andy Pettitte – 2 GS, 2-0, 14 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 10 K
SP Ervin Santana - 2 GS, 2-0, 15 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 14K
SP Randy Wolf – 2 GS, 2-0, 13.3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 16 K
MR Scot Shields – 3 Holds, 1 Save, 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
CL Billy Wagner – 3 Saves, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Honorable Mentions – Victor Martinez, Derrek Lee, Garrett Atkins, Justin Mourneau, Dustin Pedroia, Ryan Theriot, Derek Jeter, Edgar Renteria, Bobby Crosby, Hank Blalock, Kevin Youkilis, Miguel Batista, Francisco Rodriguez, Jake Peavy, Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Jair Jurrjens, Paul Byrd and Cliff Lee.