NL Roundup (4/28)

By nichols33

NL East:

Atlanta: Jo-Jo Reyes is struggling and Tommy Hanson has 29 Ks in 20.6 innings in AAA. If Hanson is available in your league, go get him. He could be a two start pitcher in week 5 if the Braves call him up.

Florida: Hanley Ramirez dodged a HUGE bullet on Monday night. He was hit in right hand by a John Maine pitch. At first I thought for sure it was broken but he was back on te bench, all smiles, a few innings later. X-Rays were negative and Ramirez will be back to mashing soon enough.

Matt Lindstrom has be horrendous and the WBC curse may be the cause. Lindstrom was injured during the WBC and has not been the same since. Leo Nunez would be the Marlins closer should Lindstrom lose the job. Neither warrant consideration in leagues of 12 teams and under.

New York: David Wright is struggling. He is striking out at an alarming rate. But there are signs he is about to bust out of his slump. He is starting to go the other way a bit more, hitting deep line drives to center. He just missing some pitches as well, fouling them off instead of putting them in play. Expect week 5 to be the start of this notorious slow starter’s MVP runner up season (Pujols might win the next 5 MVPs).

Philadelphia: Brad Lidge has a bum knee and Ryan Madsen got the save on Monday night. Watch this situation closely. The Phillies win a ton of games and will provide ample save opportunities for any closer.

Washington: Joe Beimel is going to be the closer when he comes off the DL next week. Joel Hanrahan has been the worst closer in baseball in this young season. The Nationals won’t get too many save opportunities for Beimel, but he’s worth a look in large leagues.

Don’t look now, but Adam Dunn has hit HRs in back-to-back games. This could be the start of a hot streak for Mr. Dunn where he hits 4 to 5 HRs in a week.

NL Central:

Cincinnati: Going into the season, the Reds looked to have one of the better starting rotations in the league. But so far they’ve been pretty erratic. Up until tonight’s start, Harang was the only one putting up consistent solid starts. Edison Volquez, Jonny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings has all had flashes of brilliance but also some flashes of Oliver Perez.

Chicago: Derrek Lee is done. He had a great career but he is done. He’s hit 8 HRs since last May. He has no power and is hitting .209 this year. If you own him, see if his name can get you anything for him. I don’t think you can name a starting 1B I would not trade him straight up for.

Houston: Jose Valverde is going on the DL and manager Cecil Cooper has said he’ll play the match-up game when choosing who will close games out while Valverde is out. LaTroy Hawkins may get some saves in the interim.

Milwaukee: Mike Cameron is on fire. Cameron is hitting .328 with 5 HRs and probably most telling 12 BBs to 13 Ks. Don’t expect this to last but see if you can ride him until he goes back to hitting .250 and striking out 3 times for every walk.

Pittsburgh: Did you know Freddy Sanchez was hitting .359?!?! Neither did I, that hasn’t to be the quietest .359 month I’ve ever seen. Sanchez is capable of winning a batting title so if you need average and runs and have plenty of power already in your lineup, Sanchez may be a nice fit.

St. Louis: Quick, who leads the NL in wins? Some of you might have guessed Chad Billingsly and you’d be correct, but how many of you said Joel Pineiro? Both Pineiro and Billingsly have started the season 4 and 0. Expect Billingsly to continue his dominance of the NL while Joel Pineiro should come back down to earth.

NL West:

Arizona: Ouch….Stephen Drew just hit the DL and news came out that Brandon Webb will not be ready for another 6 weeks. Drew is an early candidate for bust of the year. If you got him this year you got him early, let’s hope he gets healthy and continues to develop into one of the top offensive shortstops in baseball. As for Webb, MRIs have revealed no structural damage, just fluid in the shoulder. If you are a gambling fantasy player see if a frustrated owner will give you Webb for $0.25 on the dollar. 3 and 1/2 months of Webb could propel you to a championship.

Colorado: Ian Stewart has played 5 games at 2B. In some leagues that makes him 2B eligible and if Stewart can stay in the lineup day after day he could be a top 10 2B in mixed leagues.

Los Angeles: Andre Either is an on-base machine. He has a .429 OBP and is on pace to drive in 154 runs. Obviously he’ll cool down, but this 27 year old is taking the step!!

San Deigo: I’ve read a number of reports where people are alarmed at Chris Young’s radar gun readings. Last night he was consistently in the mid 80s topping out around 87 mph. News flash, that’s Chris Young. Yes he’s 6’10” but he’s never thrown hard. Young is a spot specialist and has 3 real good games this year and 2 blow ups including last nights 5 BB, 7 ER loss in Colorado. His two bad games have been in Philly and Denver. Young may be this year’s Wandy Rodriguez where you start him at home and avoid him on the road.

San Francisco: Pablo Sandoval has been behind the plate in Barry Zito’s last two starts. His bat is going to play much better at C when compared to 1B or 3B if he can get catcher eligibility.

Leave a comment

Filed under Injuries, NL News, Observations, Pickups, Prospects

Can C.C. Sabathia be overworked?

si-cover-cc-sabathia2By nichols33

Owners of C.C. Sabathia are going through another tough April this year as Sabathia is struggling a little bit early in the season. His struggles are not as bad as last year; last year after 5 starts he was 1 and 3 with a 10.13 ERA…this year 1 and 2 with a 4.73 ERA. Will Sabathia turn it around like he did last year and become one of the best pitchers in baseball post-April or are his early season struggles a sign that his past is catching up to him?

In 2007 Sabathia threw 3,581 pitches, good for the 6th most in baseball that year. Last year, including his one playoff start, Sabathia threw 3,814 pitches (106 pitches per start). That was 132 more than any other pitcher in baseball (Lincecum threw 3,682). That included 5 games where he threw over 120 pitches including a 130 pitch complete game on August 18th versus the Astros where the Brewers won 9 to 3.

Now the Yankees just signed Sabathia to a huge contract including a salary of $15 million this season and you would expect them to be cautious with their new investment, right? Through 5 starts Sabathia has thrown 537 pitches or 107.4 pitches per start. He’s on pace to throw more pitches this season than last!?! Well, at least the Yankees may give him a break in October when they are watching the playoffs on TV.

Some may say “hey, C.C. Sabathia is a big man and his body can handle the work,” after all he is listed at 6-7, 290 lbs. The guy is a workhorse, no doubt, but you have to wonder if this work is going to catch up to his prized left arm.

If I owned C.C. Sabathia, I would wait for him to throw his next gem and try and see what I could get for him. His previous pitch counts and fact that the new Yankee Stadium is playing like a little league field all lead me to believe C.C. is in for a disappointing season.

What’s your take?

6 Comments

Filed under Observations

AL at a Glance 4/26

by mrCane

Has anyone noticed Chris Davis has 3hr in his past 4 games?  Davis is starting to heat up after a very slow start.  His teammate Nelson Cruz is doing just the opposite hitting at a .200 clip over his past 20AB, although one of those hits was a homerun off Roy Halladay.

Ian Kinsler just might be the best fantasy player right now.  To date Kinsler has 7hr and 7sb, 21RBI, 18RS and has not missed a beat since getting a sports hernia last year to end his season.  If he can only stay healthy is a great candidate to approach 30/30 this year.

Carlos Pena, a notoriously streaky hitter has 8hr and 21RBI.  In my opinion Pena is a great sell high candidate right now.  He won’t continue at his currently clip, and when he slumps it can get ugly. 

Big Papi continues to struggle at the plate.  As a die hard Red Sox fan my heart says everything will be ok.  As an experience fantasy baller I say sell if someone is buying. 

Zach Greinke continues to be dominant with 29IP and 36K.  The most impressive thing is that Zach still hasn’t allowed an earned run.  Don’t sell!  He will continue to be impressive all year, and will top 200K.

Eric Bedard has squashed owners injury fears to this point with some great pitching.  With more than a strikeout per inning Bedard is looking like the guy from a couple years ago.  When his value gets high enough, look to get a more sure arm in a trade and let someone else deal with the injury waiting to happen.  I do think that Bedard makes 25 starts, but I would rather get a number two guy back who will make 34 starts.

Jarred Washburn add a new pitch to his arsenal.  He did get shelled today but is a good bet in spacious Safeco to be a respectable number 5 in larger mixed leagues. 

James Shields has only 13K in 27IP.  This is showing a progression over the last couple years, where Sheilds has decreased his K’s from 184 in 2007, 160 in 2008 and is on pace to go right below those numbers now, 103 k’s!!  Sell high cause his other numbers look pretty good.

Lastly, AJ Burnett got destroyed by the Boston Red Sox saturday after cruising through the first 5 innings.  I was not a Burnett fan coming in, his best years being in contract years.  Most owners either love him or hate him.  Expect a roller coaster of a year with some DL stints included.

Leave a comment

Filed under AL at a Glance

Now I’m a Believer…

by mrCane

Some players we draft in the first round and get 4th round production from them. Others we draft in the 10th round and get 5th round production from them. Below are a few players that have impressed me based on when they were drafted and the impressive production we have received.

I think number one on this list is Ryan Ludwick..Coming into the season I wasn’t a believer. My feeling was something around 25hr and 85rbi would be a good year. Right now Ludwick is 3rd in the majors in RBI with 5hr and an OPS north of 1.000, last year was obviously not a fluke. Fantasy Advice: Keep Ludwick and ride the wave. Chances are most people won’t give you fair market value. Another option is to go out and get him. If you can convince another owner he is only a 25hr guy, take him off that owners hand and watch the 35hr leave the yard this summer.

Kevin Youkilis, a member of my beloved Red Sox is making me realize that he might just be a guy who can top 30hr and 120rbi. I always felt he was more of a 20hr hitter, but it looks to me like he is upper echelon at this point. I think by years end he will out perform all first basemen not named Pujols or Cabrera. His 3rd or 4th round draft position will be a steal at this point. He has guys on base he will be driving in, and with Drew, Bay and Lowell hitting behind him he will score plenty of runs. Fantasy Advice: Look for a year of 110RS 120RBI 32HR and .308BA….he is elite.

Bobby Abreau is a stealing machine. I’ve seen reports of many who think he’ll wind up with 25 stolen bases, something I completely disagree with. Abreau plays for a team now (LAA) notorious for running. He is a efficient base stealer and this will be taken advantage of by the Angels. I’m looking more for 32 stolen bases this season. Fantasy Advice: Expect .300BA 100RS 100RBI 30SB and 15HR which will make Abreau a top outfielder.

Nyjer Morgan is another bonafide base stealer. He is very one dimensional which limits his value but hitting leadoff will provide ample opportunities to score runs. I project upwards of 40 stolen bases for the speedy outfielder making him useful in all roto leagues. Fantasy Advice: Most owners picked Morgan up off waivers. Check your ww to see if he is still available.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Will David Wright K 234 times?

david-wrightBy nichols33

Yes, I know, I know, we are a little over a week into the season. BUT, David Wright is on pace to strike out 234 times!?! Owners of DW in points league are seriously worried right now.

Wright is striking out at more than double the pace he walks. With the exception of Wright’s first year in the league (2004: 4o Ks; 14 BB) DW has had very solid K/BB ratios. Check out his ratios over the last few years:

2008: 118 Ks / 94 BBs

2007: 115 Ks / 94 BBs

2006: 113 Ks / 66 BBs

2005: 113 Ks / 72 BBs

Lets be real, David Wright is not going to strike out 234 times. He probably won’t even approach 150 Ks, but this is a very alarming start to the season. Wright has put tremendous pressure  on himself after two straight Mets collapses and the New York media never lets him forget his .243 average with runners in scoring position last season. Wright may be pressing. Brand new stadium, back-to-back collapses, rivals winning the World Series, etc.

Wright will turn it around and will put up top 5 fantasy player numbers, but right now, it is frustrating to be a Wright owner. Just sit back an remember Wright had his worst month of the season last year in April.

2 Comments

Filed under NL News, Observations

Diamonds in the Rough – Fantasy Sleepers

by mrCane

Before the draft there is always talk about sleepers.  This year guys like Nelson Cruz, Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson come to mind.  Now that we are in week two many owners will go into panic mode, cutting guys they had previously thought so highly about.  In many roto leagues it is difficult to understand your teams weaknesses until the first month is complete (assuming its not H2H).  Its ok to make some adjusments before then, but waiving guys simply because they are batting .200 is unjust.  If this same hitter was playing well and went into a 2 week slump but it was June, you would never think twice about keeping them.  Here are some names who have recently been cut, and might be your Diamond in the Rough.

Kelly Shoppach/Ramon Hernandez – Both catchers coming into the year were seen as sleepers.  With Shoppach now in an opportunity to surpass last years AB’s, 20 hr is still a reasonable expectation.  Hernandez playing in that little league park in Cincy should be able to hit just under 20hr.  Now neither player is going to crack to the top tier, but in virtually all leagues, both guys should be owned.

Chien-Ming Wang –  I think people forget that Wang had a major foot injury and didn’t pitch for quite a long time.  I’m not the biggest Wang fan because of his lack of K’s but he should be owned in all AL-only leagues and deeper mixed (say 12 teams or bigger).  If you recall, in 2007 Wang had an ERA north of 5.00 for the month of April.  He finished the season with 19 wins and a 3.70 era. 

John Maine – Maine didn’t come into the season as hyped as last season, but people were optimistic he could be a servicable 3rd or 4th starter depending on the league.  He still has nice strikeout potential, and in match ups (assuming you have a bench) could be more valuable.  Two very important points about Maine; good offense, great bullpen equals wins.

Billy Butler/Pablo Sandoval  – Both of these portly men have been declared by many minds as very good hitters.  One NL scout said Sandoval could flat out hit.  Butler is a little different because he has played this tune before.  No matter how disappointing the first week is, these guys don’t get cut.  Both should hit about .285 reach 15hr and drive in 80 rbi.

These are just a couple names, and there could be others.  In a 15 team mixed league I’m in one owner cut Kelly Johnson the second day of the season.  Keep your eyes open on the waiver wire for players who can help your team.  Chances are if you liked them a couple weeks ago, you should give them a chance to prove their worth.

Leave a comment

Filed under Pickups

David Wright versus Evan Longoria

by mrCane

Only one week into the season I would like to raise a point that we may be looking at a changing of the guard in the 3rd base position.  Not that it would be dramatic, but it would definately benefit owners who took Longoria about 15-20 picks later than Wright.

What they both offer in real life is great defense, good character, young, athletic and talented.  In the world of fantasy we have two guys with very similar numbers.  Power – I would give the nod to Longoria.  With 27 bombs in 4 months last year he displayed what he is capable of on the Major League level.   Speed – This goes to Wright who should steal 5-10 more bases annually than Longoria.  Average – This goes to Wright, only because Longoria has yet to bat .300 in the Majors, but I do feel this gap will close rapidly.  RBI and RS – I would have to call a draw because they both hit on good teams in similar spots of the lineup. 

Ultimately the decision comes down to HR and SB, who offers more.  My intuition tells me that by year ends their numbers will look something like this

Longoria  .292  36hr 104rs  117rbi  9sb  Wright .307  27hr  108rs 113rbi  17sb  With numbers like these the slight bump goes toward David Wright and his +8sb.  If that gap were to close to say 5sb then my edge goes toward Longoria.

For what its worth, right now I would trade Longoria to acquire David Wright straight up.  My reason being that Wright has better numbers left and Longoria will not continue at a pace of 145hr.  No matter who you choose, you won’t be wrong.

In other news….

  • Elijah Dukes now has a starting position in Washington.  His combination of speed and power makes him an intriguing pick up in roto formats.  With the addition of Dukes comes the subtraction of Lastings Milledge who was sent to the minors.
  • Ryan Franklin closed the game last night and its likely he is going to get some opportunities in St. Louis.  If your looking for saves, he could be a nice pick up.
  • Jon Lester took another beating last night at the hands of Oakland.  Pitchers usually take longer to shake the cobwebs than batters do.  If you can you might want to bench him next start until he rights the ship; but you always run the risk of missing a gem.
  • Some other pitchers who had rough outings are Randy Johnson and Chien-Ming Wang.  In fact neither has thrown well since the season started.  It’s not time to throw the towel in, but monitor progress.  It should be noted that Wang is down 6mph on his power sinker.
  • I recently added Dexter Fowler in a 15 team no bench roto league, and I’m excited about that pick up.  First, I don’t see Seth Smith holding Fowler off for playing time.  Second, Fowler has batted leadoff for the Rockies, can run and has a little pop.
  • Josh Johnson is rewarding owners who drafted him as a 3rd starter with ace numbers.  I for one feel that Johnson will be excellent all year and if someone wants to sell high, this is a guy you can buy because his stats wont sink.
  • Mark Teixeira missed another game and could be in danger of landing on the DL.  Wrists are tricky business, just ask Derrek Lee, Nomar Garciapara and Big Papi all good hitters who suffered a major wrist injury.  Right now Tex doesn’t have a major injury and a DL stint may help to keep it that way.

4 Comments

Filed under Position Analysis