Aaron Harang threw the ball pretty good today. He had good location pretty much staying on the outside corner all day against all of the left handed bats the Mets put up against him. Good to see he has his control early. He threw a lot of pitches but he looked good.
Johan Santana is off to a good start. His change up was on today and he didn’t give up a hit until Jay Bruce’s double of the wall that nearly left the yard. The Mets bullpen came in and did just as expected shutting down the Reds for 3.3 innings. If Santana doesn’t win the Cy Young award in the NL this year, I’d be really surprised.
Chris Ianetta’s homerun off of Brandon Webb would have left any park including Yellowstone. Webb could not spot his fastball and was pitching behind in the count nearly every batter. Aaron Cook was far worse if possible. Hopefully for Webb, his control will come back in his next start and he’ll keep the ball down. His ball stayed up an awful lot today.
Tony Clark started for the Diamondbacks at 1B today and hit 2 HRs. Chad Tracy played 3B and Mark Reynolds was on the bench. I’d expect these three guys to split the ABs for these 2 positions. Bob Melvin also started Eric Byrnes over Justin Upton. Interesting stuff, but I’d expect Justin Upton to get more at bats than Byrnes. Conor Jackson and Chris Young will likely start nearly every day at the other two OF spots.
Chad Qualls looked real good today. He was throwing strikes and throwing hard. He is a very solid closer in all leagues and could be top 10 by the end of the year.
CC Sabathia really struggled today. The Orioles got a lot of good wood on the ball and really waited for Sabathia to throw strikes today. If that wasn’t tough enough it seems like every little dribbler in the infield found a hole or bounced off the ends of the infielders glove. The Yankee’s infield defense was not doing CC any favors today.
It’s funny how things change so quickly in just a few years. It wasn’t that long ago when second base was the dearth of the infield (excluding catcher of course, since it’s pretty consistent in its lack of offensive depth). Yet this year it’s the hot corner that is light in depth. Sure there are at least two superstars in ARod and David Wright leading the pack as elite players. Following the big two you have perennial slugger Aramis Ramirez and a potential future MVP in Evan Longoria but after those two guys things start to look scary. Yet then you quickly move onto older guys like Chipper Jones, Troy Glaus and Mike Lowell who can certainly still be effective. Chipper led the majors with a .364 BA in 09 but he’s 37 years old and misses a lot of time and Glaus and Lowell are big time injury risks themselves. Then you have a group of “never was” superstars in Ryan Zimmerman, Garrett Atkins and Adrian Beltre who have shown flashes of brilliance but leave you reaching for the Mylanta every week. There’s also a group of somewhat promising young players such as Alex Gordon, Mark Reynolds and Ian Stewart that have a chance to break out but are certainly no locks mixed in with a group of flat out question marks in guys like Jorge Cantu and Ty Wiggington that somehow manage to come out of left field and rack up points. The bottom line is that third base is not what it used to be and it should be interesting to see how things shake out in 2009.
FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE: If you have the opportunity to jump on one of the big four (ARod, Wright, Ramirez and Longoria) then do it. You can make it up in deeper areas such as first base, starting pitching and dare I say it, second base. If you’re left out in the dark after that, don’t pay too high for the rest of the field. Look to get two solid starters in the middle rounds. And if you’re in keeper leagues there is some good news as a few big prospects such as Pedro Alvarez (Pirates), Mike Moustakas (Royals), Matt Dominguez (Marlins) and Brett Wallace (Cardinals) are on their way up in the next 1-2 years to help add needed depth to a traditionally strong position.