Wednesday, April 30, 2008

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.


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