Category Archives: NL News

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.

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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.

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Observations (4/13)

By nichols33

Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, plays big…..real big. Both David Wright and Carlos Beltran smoked balls to dead center but they were just a can of corn for center fielder Jody Gerut. Down the lines are short but power alley to power alley, that place is big. Comparable to Petco park in San Diego.

Josh Johnson and Johan Santana had a good ole fashion duel in Miami on Sunday. One of the best games I’ve had a pleasure to watch recently. Johan struck out 13 Marlins and was only done in by a Daniel Murphy horrendous error. Johnson matched him frame for frame going the distance and nearly pitching a shutout. Peter Gammons predicted Johnson to win the NL Cy Young award this year. Some of Gammons’ recent predictions have been WAY off, but this one may come to fruition.

The Padres pitching staff after Jake Peavy and Chris Young might as well be a page ripped out of the yellow pages. Who are these guys? Frankie De La Cruz, Jae-Kuk Ryu, Kevin Correia, Luke Gregerson, Justin Hampson, Cla Meredith, Edwin Moreno, Edward Mujica, Luis Perdomo, Walter Silva!!??!?!? Bueller? Anyone?

Kevin Gregg will not be the closer for the Cubs on May 1st. It was ridiculous that he even won the job in the first place but you can see the frustration in Lou Pinella’s face as he watching Gregg pitch. Gregg had a 4 run lead last night versus the Brewers and had to strike out Prince Fielder who was the tying run to end the game. Carlos Marmol looked unhittable in the 8th.

Aaron Harang is an ace again. He threw a complete game shutout yesterday versus the Pirates after a very nice start against the Mets on opening day. He looked very good against the Mets in bad weather and followed that up with the gem yesterday. Harang will get a number of starts against poor teams like the Pirates, the Astros and the Brewers and is a low end #1 fantasy pitcher.

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Votto, Delgado, Beltran, Webb – Observations (4/8)

By nichols33

Brandon Webb is going to miss his next start this weekend versus the Dodgers. Big red flag for all Webb owners. No medical tests are scheduled at the moment and the Diamondbacks are playing it day-to-day. Fantasy Baseball Advice: Bench Webb in all leagues until he throws in a game and throws effectively. This is not good news. Hope for the best.

Joey Votto is good. He is real good. The 24 year old led all rookies in homers last season and he got his season going tonight. After a tough opening day versus Johan Santana, Votto had 3 hits tonight including an opposite field bomb off of Mike Pelfrey. Fantasy Baseball Advice: If you have this guy, sit back and enjoy. If you don’t have this guy….get him while the price is still relatively low.

Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado both had very good springs for both the Mets in Port St. Lucie as well as Team Puerto Rico in the WBC. Normally I don’t pay too much attention to spring stats for established veterans especially stars like Delgado and Beltran. But both of these guys are locked in and putting very good swings on the ball pretty much every at bat. Fantasy BaseballAdvice: I really like both of these guys this year. Delgado will be somewhere between his 1st half and 2nd half last year while I think Beltran will be slightly better than what he was last year which was the 2ndor 3rd best all around outfielder in the game.

David Wright looks lost at the plate. He is flailing at outside fastballs late in the count and swinging at off speed stuff int he dirt early in the count. To be fair, this is a very small sample and it was against a very sharp Aaron Harang and Edison Volquez. Wright did rip a double down the third base line and give a ball a good ride to the wall in right off the Reds bullpen tonight but an observation from a Mets fan who watches Wright daily….he looks lost at the plate. Fantasy Baseball Advice: Don’t worry, Wright will hit and he’ll hit soon. He is susceptible to long slumps where he looks lost for 10 or so games, but he always comes out of those slumps with a bang.

The Mets bullpen is sick. This is great news for all owners of Mets starters especially Johan Santana who had his bullpen blow 7 games last year in which he left the game with the lead. If Santana won 5 of those 7 games last year, Tim Lincecum might still be searching for his first Cy Young award.

The Braves bullpen is, well  not so good. They gave up 9 runs in the 7th inning today blowing a big lead over the Phillies including 4 bases loaded walks!?! Mike Gonzalez did not look so hot on opening night after Derek Lowe shut down the Phils for 8 innings. The Braves bullpen could cause a lot of hair lose for owners of Braves starting pitchers.

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How will Citi Field impact Fantasy Baseball?

By nichols33

The Mets are opening up a new ball park this year, Citi Field. Leaving behind Shea Stadium should be sad news to no one other than Chipper Jones. But before hitters start getting all excited, they should get a look at the new Mets ballpark……it may be an even better pitchers park than Shea.

The New York Times has an awesome interactive look at the new stadium you can check out here. The most telling aspect in that entire interactive piece is the graphic displayed here.

 

citifield4

The old Shea Stadium fence is the red line on the image and the wall was 8 feet high all around. Not only is the new park deeper almost all the way around, but the walls are nearly double in height in the power alleys.

Jerry Manual, the Mets manager, has already been quoted as saying that the new field is going to play “huge” which has to have the likes of Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey excited.

What does this all mean for fantasy purposes? Well, I think we are going to have to wait and see how the field plays throughout the entire year. The weather could play a huge factor as well as any wind tunnels that may exist with the new open structure. But this could spell very good news for Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Livan Hernandez.

As for the hitters, I don’t think the new dimensions are going to effect Jose Reyes at all. Perhaps with the wierd walls in right center will provide some wierd bounces changing a triple or two into an inside-the-park homerun, but if that’s the case it’s probably at the expense of an over the wall dinger or two.

Carlos Delgado’s homers are normally not wall brushers so I don’t see the park taking away too many homeruns from him. I do think the park will steal 3 or 4 dingers from David Wright especially his opposite field dingers. Guys like Ryan Church, Daniel Murphy and Brian Schneider may be impacted because they don’t hit tape measuere shots by any means.

For the most part though, expect the Mets pitchers to benefit by the new dimensions and expect some of the less powerful Mets hitters to lose a dinger or two but the Mets stars (Beltran, Wright, Reyes & Delgado) will be good hitters regardless of the park.

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NL Round Up

By nichols33

A quick trip around the National League team by team.

Oliver Perez (SP, NYM) Ollie is in the Mets doghouse after returning to the team from the WBC where he pitched horrible for Team Mexico. Mets coaches commented that he is “overweight” and did not do his conditioning during his time away froris m the team. Hopefully that explains his 6 BBs and 6 ERs yesterday.

Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL) The Japanese import got back on the mound yesterday and threw 5 innings of 1 hit, 1 ER ball. The injury scare appears to be behind him and Kawakami could be a very useful fantasy pitcher this season. Don’ t draft him as a starter but take a flyer on him for your bench.

Cameron Maybin (OF, FLA) Maybin is hitting .313 this spring and will hit leadoff for the Marlins. Spring stats normally are not indicative to how well a player is going to perform during the season but it is nice to see a kid of this talent having success against major league pitchers. A very nice sleeper in all leagues, but don’t be counting on him as a starter.

Jayson Werth (OF, PHI) It looks like Charlie Manuel likes Werth in the 5 spot in the lineup breaking up the left handed bats (Utley, Howard & Ibanez). This should create more RBI opportunities for Werth but also allow him to hit quasi-leadoff at least 50 times a game (after Howard homers) where he can get on and steal a bag.

Nick Johnson (1B, WAS) It appears as Nick Johnson will be starting regularly at 1B for the Nationals. He may be a nice pick up during the season but he should not be drafted in any league outside a NL only league. Dunn, Milledge and Dukes appear to be the OF with Willingham & Kearns on the outside looking in.

Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) The apparent minor injury Bruan suffered in the WBC looks like it could be something of concern. Braun is headed in for an MRI today after being pulled in the 4th inning yesterday for a pinch hitter. Bruan insists it’s nothing but the Brewers staff seems very concerned. Perhaps that is why Braunfell to me at pick #11 in a 5×5 league this past weekend. He should be a top 8 pick in all drafts even with this injury.

Jason Motte (RP, STL) Looks like Motte has a leg up on the competition for the closer role in St. Louis. Chris Perez has been injury and Motte has outperformed veteran Ryan Franklin thus far. If you take Motte in a draft take him after nearly all other closers are off the board. He may open the season as the closer but Perez will be given an opportunity at some point this season.

Andy LaRoche (3B, PIT) LaRoche will be the starting 3B for the Pirates this season and he is having a fine spring. The former Dodgers prospect is hitting .375 albeit mostly singles (13 singles, 2 HRs). He is a breakout candidate and should be stashed away on a bench in every league that has benches. Perhaps he is this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Kevin Gregg / Carlos Marmol (RP, CHC) The Cubs have yet to name a closer but are said to be close to a decision. Kevin Gregg has out pitched Marmol this year but it’s hard to ignore Gregg’s failures last season in Florida. If Gregg wins the job, it won’t be long before Marmol is given a shot. Fantasy wise, I would take Marmol but I’m seeing him go far to early in nearly every draft. He should be the 16th or 17th closer off the board, not the 10th.

Jonny Cueto (SP, CIN) Cueto threw 6 innings yesterday with 5 Ks and 0 ERs against a number of Red Sox starters. Cueto had an excellent spring last year andtook his lumps during the season. With a full year under his belt, expect better numbers from Cueto and draft him as your 4th starter at the earliest. He’d be a better gamble as your 5th.

Ivan Rodriguez (C, HOU) Don’t let Pudge’s torrid spring fool you. He had an outstanding spring last year hitting 6 HRs in the spring only to hit 7 HRs during the season. Rodriguez is nothing more than a backup catcher in the fantasy world and even then, you have better options (Napoli, Pierzynski, Navarro, Suzuki).

Kyle Blanks (1B/OF, SD) Did I read that right?!? The Padres are trying Kyle Blanks in the OF? This is a very large man who scouts have said may not even be able to play 1B and the Padres are trying him in the OF due to Adrian Gonzalez being comfortably set at 1B. While he may be relatively fast for a big man, don’t expect Blanks to find a permanent home in the OF. He may be San Diego’s 1B in the near future if the cost-cutting franchise decides to move Gonzalez. Blanks will probably have no fantasy value in 2009 but keep an eye on him for 2010.

Manny Ramirez (OF, LAD) Manny played the OF yesterday with no complications, he even man a slick play cutting off a ball before going to the wall holding the runner to a double rather than a would be triple. Manny will be ready when the season starts and will be an absolute monster when in the lineup. Manny should go late in the 2nd round or early in the 3rd in most drafts.

Ryan Spilborghs (OF, COL) Spilborghs appears to have the CF job in Colorado andis hitting .386 this spring with 5 SBs. He does not strike out and provides some speed that could be very useful to a fantasy team. Take a flyer on him late in the draft if you have a bench or a number of OF spots to fill in your starting lineup.

Matt Cain (SP, SF) Cain is really struggling this spring giving up 9 runs and 12 hits in his last 2 starts. Not that spring stats matter all that much to a guy that has a job but as you get closer to the start of the season you like to see young pitchers put together some solid starts especially when they disappointed as much as Cain did last year. Cain would be a solid 4th starter in most leagues but I’d be very nervous if he was my 3.

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NL Impact Players

By dtb23

Ryan Howard – If you’ve seen Howard lately you’ve noticed that he has slimmed down quite a bit in the offseason. Hopefully the hard work he put in during the offseason will help him avoid another slow start. If you are concerned that Howard lost some of his power when he dropped the lbs; don’t be, he already has 5 HRs in 31 at bats.

Carlos Delgado – It is nearly impossible to get this guy out right now; he is getting on base 75% of the time. The veteran first baseman will be 37 this year but don’t discriminate! Delgado could be a top 10 fantasy first baseman in 2009.

Skip Schumaker – The move to second base improved Skip’s fantasy value. He should be taken as a late round flier but he could end up being your starting 2B, if you don’t draft an elite player at that position.

Dan Uggla – Uggla has terrific power but he struggles to put the ball in play. He leads the league with 15 strikeouts in only 35 at bats. That is an alarmingly high rate even at this point.

Jose Reyes – There has been some talk that Reyes may bat in the three spot for the Mets this year. I personally don’t think that is the right move to make, not because Reyes doesn’t have the tools to be a number three hitter but because I think the Mets offense will be better served with Reyes leading off and Luis Castilla batting in the eight hole. Regardless Reyes is the second best fantasy shortstop and the difference being Hanley and Jose is slight.

Andy Laroche – The Pirates have plenty of young talent at this position but Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker better try their luck in the outfield. Adam’s younger brother could have a breakout year in 2009.

Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman is still a good option at this position. The 24 year old never got back to his rookie year number but he is still young. Take him in the later rounds and you could get top 6 production out of him.

Jayson Werth – The lanky RF ended up in Charlie’s dog house when he showed up for spring training “not ready to play.” He has been battling some shoulder problems but if he stays healthy for an entire season he could be a 30 – 30 guy.

Ryan Braun – He may be the best OF in the NL. He is listed as day to day due to soreness in his side. Check back for updates, but it doesn’t appear to be too serious right now.

Manny Ramirez – Manny is expected to miss at least a week due to a tweaked hamstring. He is a freak of nature and I would definitely take him with a late first round/early second round pick. When motivated he will put up incredible numbers.

Derek Lowe – The veteran RHP is moving back east, away from the “pitcher friendly” NL West. Luckily, for the Braves this guy knows how to pitch and I expect him to have another solid year. He is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and would be a terrific #3.

Barry Zito – Stay away, this guy can’t get the job done. He struggles with his control and when he does throw it in the strike zone he gets hit hard.

Josh Johnson – I am a huge fan of Josh Johnson. I know he is coming off of some serious injuries but his arm looks better than ever. Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are pitchers I would love to have on my staff.

Yovani Gallardo – The Brewer’s ace could be ready to be a fantasy ace. Again, his health is a concern.

Cole Hamels – Yikes, elbow soreness!?! That is not cool. Hopefully, it is just some inflammation but this situation needs to be monitored closely.

Chris Carpenter – The Cardinals love what they are seeing from Carpenter so far. I hope he can take the ball every fifth day, but I’m not willing to take that risk. If he stays healthy he could be a huge impact player.

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