Category Archives: AL at a Glance

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.

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AL at a Glance 4/9

by mrCane

Before we start this, I want to point out that everything we know can end without warning.  Nick Adenhart, a 22 year old pitcher from the Anaheim Angels was killed this morning when his car was struck by a van.  I obviously don’t know Nick, his friends, his family but want to acknowledge the tradgedy of what took place.  No one deserves to pass at the age of 22.

So far in this young season there have some performers who have stood out.  Many are people you would expect by their draft position, others are nice surprises.  Some we can expect this trend to continue, while others are much less likely to continue with their current performance.

Adam Lind has 2 HR including his 6rbi game against Detroit.  He is a kid I expect will continue his current trend, though not at this pace.  Two Detroit pitchers, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, have had very similar results.  The difference between the two is many owners drafted Verlander as a top 40 pitcher while Porcello in any league but a keeper probably went undrafted.  Fantasy Advice:  Ride the Lind wave, I feel like he is going to have a very good year; say 20hr 85rbi.  Verlander you should dump and get as much as you can from any owner willing to pay for the name.  Porcello is a guy strictly for keepers as he plays on a team with an awful bullpen.

Most of the Minnesota pitching staff has been medicore, which is suprising because they were at home against a lowly Mariners offense.  Glen Perkins was the one exception going 8IP 1ER.  Brandon Morrow finally got his first save of the year after his loss of control in his first appearance.  Fantasy Advice:  I like all the Minnesota pitchers, mostly for matchups.  Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey are all guys I start every week.  Glen Perkins and Nick Blackburn are decent larger mixed league options for the right match up.

A couple things I want to point out from the Orioles verse Yankees series.  An offense of Brian Robers, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff will cause fits for many of the teams in the AL EAST, and this is without Matt Wieters who hasn’t been called up yet.   Adam Jones in particular looked good, driving the ball to right center off Sabathia.  While CC looked bad, AJ Burnett was able to be quite effective going 51/3 IP with 6 strike outs.  The notoriously slow starters Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira both homered.  Nick Swisher even got the start and took advantage with a home run of his own.  Fantasy Advice:  Jump on the Jones bandwagon, I have been since spring training.  He will be 20/20 this year.  Be patient with CC but Burnett is a guy I never like on my team, deal him after a few good outings and avoid the DL stint.

Tampa Bay pitchers Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir looked great against the Red Sox.  With James Shields Tampa has 3 top 30 starting pitchers.  Throw in the ever steady Andy Sonnanstine and David Price waiting in the wings; Tampa has the horses to repeat as Division champs.  David Ortiz performance thus far is discouraging, even with the very small sample size.  The Red Sox and fantasy homers need Big Papi to approach 30hr this year to justify his draft day value.  Fantasy Advice:  Look for a guy like Garza, you might be able to still get him cheap, you won’t in a couple weeks.  If you can get some name recognition from a Big Papi fan, deal the slugger away.  It kills me as a sox fan but I think Ortiz is only good for 25hr this year, not worth his draft day price.

Kyle Davies was a source of hype as a sleeper pitcher and he lived up to that bill in his first start.  Unfortunately he was matched pitch by pitch by John Danks.  Jim Thome was a slugger I targeted late on draft day.  I feel Thome is a lock for 30hr with the possibilty of hitting more depending on his health.  The Royals pitching with Meche, Grienke and Davies is actually a formidable 1, 2, 3 combination with a closer to slam the door.  Fantasy Advice:  Danks I like to be a top 35 pitcher by years end and Davies seems like a viable larger mix league option now. 

The Cleveland Indians will not win the AL Central.  They don’t have the pitching to pull it off.  Carl Pavano is their third starter and Cliff Lee will regress from last years stellar performance.  Their offense is good, evidence by Grady Sizemores 2 hr game, but not great with lots of guys who strike out.  Kevin Millwood looked good in his first outing and has an offense to back him up.  Nelson Cruz is on the board with a 2 hr game, he may have finally arrived.  Fantasy Advice:  Sell sell sell Cliff Lee if you can, while I don’t think is as bad as his first start, I do see a 4 ERA and 12 wins, not what you expect if you draft him as your number 1 pitcher.  Kelly Shoppach is the guy behind the plate, check your waiver wire for a 20hr catcher. 

It didn’t take long for Brian Fuentes to raise doubts about his ability to close games in the AL.  With two great arms in back of him (Jose Arredondo, Scott Shields) he won’t have much of a leash with Mike Scioscia.  Oaklands young guns, Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, are both in the starting rotation and Brad Ziegler is the closer with Joey Devine out of the picture and in Dr. Andrews office.  Fantasy Advice:  I’m not sold on Fuentes, if you have a spot on your bench I would grab Arredondo.  Stay away from the young Oakland pitchers, though they will have good outings, they will be inconsistent and frustrating.

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AL at a Glance..

by mrCane

Brett Gardner (OF NYY) was able to beat out Melky Cabrera to start in CF for the Bombers.  This is significant because Gardner as the ability to wipe 30 bags with regular playing time.  Fantasy Advice:  Pick this guy up off waivers in larger  Roto leagues for his SB potential.

News out of Cleveland is that Kelly Shoppach is only going to start 2 or 3 days a week.  This isn’t great news for a starting C.  Fantasy Advice:  Hold on to Shoppach because otherwise they are going to have to find Ryan Garko a spot in the lineup, this would not be the best option for the Indians.  Shoppach should register more than 400 AB, plenty for a catcher.

Mark Teahen (OF KC) continues to rake and has even chipped in 3 SB with his 6 hr.  Teahen has teased before, but some ballplayers take longer to develop.  Fantasy Advice:  Teahen is probably available in your leage. He could be a good pickup as a 4th outfielder.

Chris Davis (3B Tex) continues to put his slow start behind him.  His batting average is up to .310 and Davis has 5hr to go with the lofty BAvg.  He has slowed considerably in striking out, but still represents an awful 23K in 71AB, almost 33%!!  Fantasy Advice:  Look for Davis after the top 3B are off the board and expect 30hr.

Taylor Teargarden (C Tex).  Taylor is currently a battle for a starting position with the big switch hitting Jarrod Saltalamachia.  After a slow start Teargarden is beginning to make a case for himself;  .297avg and 3hr.  Fantasy Advice:  As of right now the job goes to Saltalamacchia but Teargarden could take that spot via trade or by performing to the level we expect from him.

Brandon Inge (C Det) Very few people probably even realize Inge does qualify for catcher.  Fantasy Advice:  Any catcher who qualifies and hits 20hr has value. 

Carl Crawford (OF TB)  He’s baaaccckkkk.  Crawford has swiped 7 bags this spring with only 1 caugt stealing.  Fantasy Advice:  Expect numbers around .285 12hr 40sb; lets hope Carl is all done dealing with leg injuries from last year.

Kansas City sent Luke Hochevar(SP) to the minors while giving Sidney Ponson (SP) a chance in the rotation.  Neither warrant any fantasy consideration.

Over in Oakland Brad Ziegler (RP) is going to become a valuable fantasy asset in the absence of Joey Devine and his elbow trouble.  Fantasy Advice:  Add Ziegler in all large mixed or AL only leagues.  Devine has never proved healthy and a visit to Dr. James Andrews is never positive.

Justin Verlander (SP Det) has a deceiving 2.30 era.  Verlander has walked more batters (15) than he has struck out(14).  Fantasy Advice:  At this point Verlander is no higher than top 40, and that may be generous.

Kyle Davies (SP KC) is starting to get some praise by lot’s of baseball people.  Davies is still young (25 years old) and has the ability to put up decent fantasy numbers, evident by last Septembers 4-1   2.27 era display.  Fantasy Advice:  In larger mixed leagues and AL-only leagues Davies now deserves consideration.  He should not be a go to option at this point but may return reliable fantasy numbers in the future.

Watch out for Gavin Floyd (SP ChiW).  Last year Floyd struck out only 145 batters; has 20 strike outs in 21 IP this spring.  Floyd was once a can’t miss, monster prospect with the Phillies organization.  He has a great knock out pitch, his knee buckling curve.  If he keeps pounding the zone, getting ahead of hitters, he will rack up more strikeouts.  Fantasy Advice:  Coming into the season I had Floyd right around top 60, in light of his performance this spring, new contract, and good offensive team I am willing to bump him up a few spots to 45-50 range.

Jon Lester (SP Boston) continues to take steps toward ace material.  More than a strike out per inning with a 1.72 era, on an offensive machine only makes Lester’s value more appealing.  Fantasy Advice:  You will be able to get tremendous value with this pick.  He will be anywhere from the 15th-25th pitcher off the board on draft day.  He might just pitch you a top 10 return as soon as this year. 

Cliff Lee (SP Clev) has been getting pounded this spring.  Lee has given up 37 hits in 16IP.  I know spring stats don’t count for much but they counted for Cliff last year when he had a lights out spring.  His control is still excellent which gives us a sigh of relief; somewhat.  Fantasy Advice:  I’m looking for Lee to take a step back this year but still put up respectable numbers.  He is a top 30 pitcher at this point in my rankings.

Nick Adenhart (SP ANA) is the beneficiary of injuries to the Angels staff.  With injuries to John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar, Adenhart now has the opportunity to start a few games for the Angles this April.  If he pitches well, who knows what could happen from there.  His spring stats are 3.26era  19IP  13/4  K/BB ratio.  Fantasy Advice:  Take a flier on Adenhart in larger mixed leagues, he has the ability to pitch himself into the rotation even as the other return from injuries.

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AL at a Glance

by mrCane

Mike Jacobs (KC 1B) hit his league leading 6th homerun of the spring.  In addition he is tied with Josh Hamilton for the league lead in RBI with 17 while batting a robust .327.  Fantasy Advice:  Draft Jacobs late in drafts for his 30hr power potential.

Wilson Betemit and Josh Fields (CHW 3B), this is a situation worth monitoring because the winner is likely the starter for the Chi Sox.  Both guys are having great springs batting .341 and .413 respectively.  Betemit is actually only a year older than Fields at 27 years of age and has 6 hr this spring, twice as many as Fields.  Fantasy Advice:  It does seem Fields has the job but warrants a roster spot more in AL only leagues at this point.  Monitor both individuals progress!

A couple young guys to keep an eye on are Billy Butler (.348 3hr), Adam Jones (.341 7sb) and Nelson Cruz (5hr .906SLG).  All three are big time prospects who’s time may have arrived.  I could see Butler pulling off a .300 85 20 90, Jones a .290 90 18 90 25 and Cruz .270 90 25 90 10 season this year.  Fantasy Advice:  Look for these guys late in drafts for cheap but productive alternatives to their older counterparts.  All of them should be taken in 12 team roto mixed leagues.

Coco Crisp (KC cf) and Alexi Casilla (MIN 2B) are a couple of guys flying under the radar.  Coco is having a great spring with 2hr 2sb .417 which are reminiscent of his Cleveland days (20/20 type player).  He is guaranteed a starting gig in KC.  Casilla offers decent SB potential toward the end of all drafts.  He is a good hitter, who will hit toward the top of the Minnesota lineup, score runs and swipe about 20.  Fantasy Advice:  Both have larger mixed league potential.

What do Francisco Liriano and Zach Grienke have in common?  They both have 19K through 21 IP this spring.  The difference is Liriano has an era about 6 runs lower than Grienke.  Grienke has been getting pounded, but don’t get scared away.  Fantasy Advice:  Take Liriano as 1 or 1A type guy and Grienke as a solid number 3 who has the potential to pitch like a #2.

A couple young guys to keep an eye on, none who have starting jobs as of right now are Clay Buchholz (BOS sp), Trevor Cahill (OAK sp) and Brett Anderson (OAK sp).  They have era’s of 0.46, 3.94 and 2.25 respectively.  Buchholz is the better strike out guy with 15 in 19IP but all could be very useful by years end.  Fantasy Advice:  Get these guys in keeper leagues and monitor their progress for this year, they could all make an impact.

John Lackey (ANA sp) has some discomfort in his elbow recently.  This is a wait and see because Lackey insists he is ok, nothing like the injury last year.  Fantasy Advice:  If guys like Shields, Beckett, King Felix, Liriano or Chad Billingsley are on the board I would take them before Lackey.  Let someone else deal with the injury, you can have a perfectly healthy pitcher with the same numbers.

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The AL at a Glance 3/15

by mrCane

Through another week of the season we’ve seen a couple people emerge, some continue to slide and a few hidden gems that could help your fantasy team.

…Kendry Morales is going to bath 5th or 6th behind Bobby Abreau, Vlad, and Tori Hunter.  With the already impressive spring and the vote of confidence by manager Mike Scioscia who believes he can hit between 20 and 30 hr Morales can be had at a very cheap price.  Fantasy Advice:  Look for him late in mixed league drafts to be a solid run producer.

….Chris Davis has improved his BA over the course of the week, up to .235.  Fantasy Advice:  Davis will be a good source of power, but be careful not to get caught up in the hype.

…Paul Konerko is batting .345 with 3hr and is off everyones radar.  Fantasy Advice:  Another good run producer that can be had LATE in a draft.

…Brandon Wood continues to hit and limit his strike outs.  He is still batting .379 this spring.  Fantasy Advice:  Wood will be a solid late round pick.  Look for a .260 BA and 20hr from the use to be can’t miss prospect.

…Has anyone noticed Carlos Gomez has an OBP or .375 with a nice BB/K ratio?  Don’t rely heavily on Gomez but monitor his progress in the crowded Minnesota outfield.  Fantasy Advice:  Highly valuable in AL only leagues but a reach at this point in mixed leagues.

…Bradley Bergesen, the 23 year old righty has an amazing 11k/1bb ratio in 11.2 IP.  This is not unexpected success as Bergesen was the Orioles minor league Pitcher of the Year last year posting a 3.10ERA with 16 wins.  Fantasy Advice:  If Bergesen is able to lock down a rotation spot he will be valuable in deep AL only leagues.  Keeper leagues should take notice!

…Glen Perkins has a 1.50 ERA this spring is should be able to put nice peripheral numbers together this year, minus strike outs.  Fantasy Advice:  For a solid starter who won’t hurt your team Perkins will have value in AL only and large mixed leagues.

…A couple young to keep monitoring are Gio Gonzales (SP Oak), Luke Hochevar (SP KC), Wladimir Balentien (OF Sea), Jeff Clement (C/DH Sea), Gaby Sanchez (1B Fla).  All these guys could help your team this year and be bargains in the later rounds of any draft.

Now for some injury concerns in the AL…

…Bad news from the WBC for the AL MVP Dustin Pedroia.  The Red Sox second baseman has an abdominal strain.  Fantasy Advice:  No need to panic yet, it looks minor at this point, but monitor the situation.  Word is it’s about a one week hiatus for Pedroia at this point.

…More bad news for the Red Sox as Julio Lugo had arthriscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  Fantasy Advice:  Lugo was an intriguing late option both at SS and for SB’s, the surgery really puts a damper on his worth.  Expected to be ready in April it’s best to keep an eye on him and snag him off the waiver wire if he starts seeing playing time upon his return.

…Justin Duchscherer’s elbow soreness is becoming a major concern for the 2008 surprise break out.  Fantasy Advice:  Duchscherer had limited fantasy upside because of his low K numbers even though he did have great peripherals last year.  If his elbow is still bothering him on your draft day, pass, a move from the pen to the rotation may have caused this injury and derailed this hurler.

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The AL at a Glance

By mrcane

As we finish another week of preseason baseball and roll toward the starting point some players are performing above and beyond expectations and others are faltering.  Let’s get the most scrutinized player of the year out of the way…Alex Rodriguez will now miss 6 to 9 weeks as reported by most major sources.  From a fantasy perspective if your going to draft him then you better have a reasonable back up because Arod won’t be gracing your lineup until as late as May.  It is reasonable to expect upon his return there will be some muscle atrophy and his numbers will not be what we have come to expect from Alex

….has anyone noticed Ryan Sweeney is leading the AL in hits this spring, and with Oakland’s lack of punch he could find his way into the lineup on a regular basis.  Keep him in mind for AL only leagues and deep mixed

….Jason Lane has resurfaced in Toronto and has 3 spring home runs!  He was a decent option only a few years ago and his performance might be worth monitoring

super prospect Brandon Wood has only 1 strikeout in 17 at bats!  He is batting .471 and with his ADP at 341 he could be a steal on draft day

….in the battle of the Texas backstops J. Saltalamacchia is dominating Teargarden with a tune of .438 BA 3BB 4K to Taylor’s .200 0BB 5K

…..On the downside the highly regarded Chris Davis leads the AL with 11K’s in 22 AB.  Davis is going very early in most drafts because of his power potential at a weak position.  Something to consider would be taking a player like Adrian Beltre and his 20-25 homeruns up to TEN rounds later!  Any player who strikes out that much is going to need time to adjust at the big league level

….Mike Jacobs new team has not helped his numbers, he is batting .208 for his new team

Andruw Jones has continued where he left off last year and is batting .273 with a ton of strikeouts, avoid Jones in all mixed formats

…..Kelly Shoppach has done little to help his case of stealing AB’s away from Travis Hafner, Ryan Garko andVictor Martinez in what could be some kind of rotation for him and V-Mart, Shoppach is batting an awful .133 and because of his position still warrants consideration on draft day in deep mixed leagues and AL only formats

…Alex Gordon just can’t seem to get it in the bigs, his ADP is 176 and for that spot there are better options later on like the previously mentioned Beltre

….Remember Phil Hughes?  How does 6 strike outs in 5 IP with a 0.00 ERA sound?  Hughes has fallen to a 343 ADP and could be a steal on draft day pitching for the Yankees

….Francisco Liriano one year removed from surgery is doing a fine job with 7K to 1BB; he will regain the form of two years ago.  Draft him as a fantasy ace for the K’s, era and whip

…..another super prospect from the Tampa organization Jeff Niemann has had a stellar spring with a 7:1 K:BB ratio, he doesn’t warrant any consideration at this point but if a starter struggles, get’s hurt or David Price stays in the bullpen Niemann might get the call

….John Danks get’s very little respect among fantasy owners being drafted behind the likes of Jeff Weaver and Zach Grienke (who I am a fan of) but Danks has continued where he left off last year with 6K’s and no walks this spring, oh ya his era is 0.00

….and two more words for you “Erik Bedard” has been pretty good, that could be the steal of the draft

….On the downside Justin Verlander remains very hittable and has more BB than K’s this spring

…Jeremy Sowers went from big-time prospect to big-time nothing, he warrants no consideration in any format

….three guys with very high hopes coming into this spring were Cliff Lee, Joba Chamberlain and Brandon Morrow, what they all have in common is an 18.00 era through 1 inning pitched.  Now we shouldn’t let spring stat’s influence our decisions that much but they should make us evaluate our personal rankings. Last year Cliff Lee was lights out during the spring, he should still be drafted in all formats I just think he falls into the 2nd tier of pitchers, not an ace.  Joba has had trouble staying healthy in the past so it will be interesting to see how he does as a starter and Morrow will move into the closer role if he falters, Morrow is the most intriguing of them all.  You can get Morrow late and worst case scenario is he racks up 25 saves in 4 months because he wasn’t a good starter, definately worth a late round pick.

That was quite a glance, and one more time…keep an eye on Bedard.

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