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.
Brett Myers was throwing batting practice tonight. John Miller wouldn’t stop talking about how Myers doesn’t throw his fastball enough, but in this case, he is right. Myers throws change-up after change-up mixing in some sliders and hardly throws the fastball. And when he did tonight….it ended up in the 5th row. Myers battled back to give the Phils some innings but he looked more like the 2008 1st half Brett Myers rather than the 2nd half Myers. A disappointing first start to say the least. The Phils staff could be in big trouble if Myers continues to struggle. Hamels has already had some elbow issues, Blanton an average starting pitcher at best, Moyer is like 50 years old coming off a season of a near 5 ERA and Chan Ho Park (yes, remember him) is the 5th guy. Yikes.
Chipper Jones can hit. That statement shouldn’t surprise anybody, but it needs to be said. When watching a healthy Chipper you wonder how a pitcher can get him out.
The Braves are going to have trouble scoring runs this year. Their line-up is just not that good. When Chipper goes down, they only have one premium bat in that line-up with McCann. All others are average to below average.
So much for Charlie Manuel wanting to break up his lefty sluggers. He hit Utley 3, Howard 4 and Ibanez 5. Did he notice the Braves closer Mike Gonzalez is a lefty?
D Lowe was on tonight. I don’t understand how he is still so effective, I mean these guys know what he’s going to do. He’s going to keep the ball down in the zone and when he gets you in a pitchers count he is going to throw the slider down and away to righties. Yet it’s just ground ball after ground ball. He was on tonight.
McCann’s home run was a bomb. 2 -0 count and Myers hung a change up that McCann hit into the upper deck in right field.
Mike Gonzalez was hit hard. The Phils had some very good swings on him. He did make Ryan Howard look silly. 200 strikeouts anybody? Howard is off to a good pace at reaching that milestone.
A lot of activity on the waiver wire in all leagues today. Seems like every fantasy owner on the planet was looking at their teams today and making changes.
A look at who is going to be getting save opportunities division by division. Average Draft Position courtesy of CBSSportsline.com.
Boston: Jonathan Papelbon is downplaying concerns over his arm. (ADP: 53.74) New York: Mariano Rivera is locked and ready to go. (ADP: 82.57) Tampa Bay: Troy Percival has looked very strong this spring coming off an injury shortened season. Take him late, but expect a trip or two to the DL. (ADP: 209.87) Toronto: B.J. Ryan is the man in for the Blue Jays. His poor spring might be a bit concerning but he is a very solid 2nd closer, not so much as your one. (ADP: 141.78) Baltimore: George Sherrill (ADP: 222.29) has looked horrible this spring and has even been quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind if Chris Ray (ADP: 231.02) started the season as the closer. Avoid both unless you are really digging for saves.
Chicago: Bobby Jenks is the big man for Ozzie. Lower end #1 closer, great #2. (ADP: 135.99) Cleveland: Kerry Wood is going one closer after Jenks in most drafts. I might take him ahead of Jenks but wouldn’t fault anybody for going the other way. Be sure to have a good back-up, Wood already has been injured. (ADP: 137.08) Kansas City: Joakim Soria is a top 5 closer. If Kansas City is as improved as Peter Gammons is saying…..more save opps! (ADP: 119.16) Detroit: Joel Zumaya is on his way to the DL. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon (ADP: 230.60) are stinking it up…..avoid everybody in Detroit. Minnesota: Joe Nathan is money. Has a case to be the first closer taken. (ADP: 76.12)
Los Angeles: I like Brian Fuentes this year, I like him a lot. Yahoo.com has concerns with his low velocity this spring, but I’m not. The Angels’ style of play is condusive to close games and lots of save opps for Fuentes. (ADP: 129.22) Texas: Frank Francisco is a sleeper, draft him as your 2nd closer and watch him outperform the 10 closers taken right before him. He’s going far too late. (ADP: 197.58) Seattle: Brandon Morrow is being moved to the bullpen and immediately jumps up to a top 15 closer. Only injuries are holding him back from being a top 6 closer. (ADP: 146.11) Oakland: Joey Devine (ADP: 199.10) and Brad Ziegler (ADP: 219.04) are going to split closer duties to start the season. Devine has the better stuff and will most likely be the one to take the job full-time at some point this season.
New York: KRod is ready to take the big apple by storm. His celebratory style is going to win the fans over so long he converts the majority of his early season save attempts. The Phillies fans are going to HATE Rodriguez. (ADP: 47.53) Philadelphia: Brad Lidge is closing in on the consective save record after converting every save last season. Should be the 5th or 6th closer taken. (ADP: 85.55) Atlanta: Mike Gonzalez (ADP: 183.81) appears to have the job over Rafeal Soriano. But his velocity issues this spring are concerning. Nothing more than a back-up closer or a 2nd closer in a deep league. Florida: Matt Lindstrom (ADP: 203.30) still hopes to be ready by opening day after his WBC injury. Leo Nunez will get any save opps if Lindstorm is not ready but Lindstrom is the man when he is back. Washington: Joel Hanrahan is going after guys on the DL, guys who are pushing 50 years young….don’t make that mistake. He has no competition and the Nationals improved offense may keep them in more games this year….if their pitching hasn’t yet give up 10 runs. (ADP: 217.17)
Chicago: The Cubs have named Kevin Gregg (ADP: 199.92) the team’s closer over Carlos Marmol (ADP: 128.70) ruining a number of Fantasy team’s draft. You had to see this coming….Sweet Lou loves the veterans. Marmol will be the closer by July 1st…..mark it dude. Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero is a quality #1 closer. Nothing else to say. (ADP: 159.70) Pittsuburgh: Matt Capps is underrated. He is going after Chad Qualls, Trevor Hoffman and Huston Street in some drafts….why I do not know. (ADP: 188.72) Houston: Jose Valverde is one of the last #1 closers on the board. He, along with Broxton, should close out the run of top end closers. (ADP: 132.66) Milwaukee: Trevor Hoffman (ADP: 186.38) is going to start the year on the DL. Carlos Villanueva will get the saves to start the season. St. Louis: Chris Perez (ADP: 229.78) was sent down to AAA earlier today leaving Jason Motte (ADP: 225.44) appears to have won the job but Ryan Franklin could get some save opps.
Los Angeles: Jonathan Broxton should be one of the top closers in the game for the next 5 years. Feel comfortable with him as your first closer. (ADP: 122.75) San Francisco: Brian Wilson has a near 5 ERA last season but is getting plenty of love from the fantasy world. The Giants are improved this year which may open up some vital save opps for Wilson. (ADP: 140.00) Colorado: The Rockies look to be playing it smart and showcasing Huston Street (ADP: 188.01) for trade bait later in the season. Street will start the year as the closer over Manny Corpas (ADP: 242.97). San Diego: Heath Bell is the closer but how many save opps is he going to get in San Diego. They’ll be lucky to win 60 games this year. (ADP: 201.40) Arizona: Chad Qualls excelled in the closer role late last season and will be the closer in the desert to start the season. Be careful though…he is one of those guys who was underrated in February but has swung to the overrated category rather quickly. (ADP: 183.36)
One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer…..
Here is a guide to let you know who is getting the saves across the league. This list will be updated throughout the year as players go down to injury or lose their jobs.
Keep an eye on some of the on-going battles through the spring. Once the season starts you have to be quick on the trigger to pick up a soon-to-be closer.