Tag Archives: Nelson Cruz

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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Opening Day

by mrCane

One of the best day’s of the year, besides draft day of course, is baseball opening day.  It’s when fantasy owners finally get to the see rosters they’ve assembled put into action.  Some teams and players will get off to amazing starts while others will inch out of the gate.  Keep your emotions stable and enjoy the ride.  Here are just a couple of things to look for today, opening day.

Aaron Harang gets to take on Johan Santana and the NY Mets.  It will be interesting to see how Harang fares after his awful 2008 season.  On the other side, Johan is not pitching in nice weather right now.  I will be curious to see if the cold has any effect on his arm tightening up over the course of the game.  Remember that Johan did have elbow stiffness earlier this spring.  A couple other young players to watch are Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, who I predict will both struggle a great deal with Johan.  I think the mets take this one 4-2.

Cliff Lee is going to get pounded by the Texas Rangers.  Look for Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz to have big games.  Micheal Young is over at third base adding to his eligibility this year.  Let’s see how Travis Hafner responds to offseason shoulder surgery.  I predict Hafner hits less than 20hr, say 17 this year. 

Ricky Nolasco is going to have a day with the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals have far too many guys who whiff, most notably Adam Dunn.  Nolasco should strike out 9 while the Marlins kick this season off with a win.  Its time to Cameron Maybin excite fantasy managers across the nation.

Toronto and Detroit square off where Justin Verlander will no doubt lose to Roy Halladay.  I don’t like Verlander this year, not one bit.  There are about 40 or more pitchers I would take before him.  I think Verlander struggles to get through 5IP and then the Detroit bullpen gets lit up by the Toronto bats.

In a battle of Aces, King Felix duals Francisco Liriano with two teams who’s offenses need work.  I like the Twins in this, because they are at home and their team has the ability to manufacture runs when needed.  Twins take this one 3-2 on opening day.  I am curious to see who the Mariners send out to the mound in the 8th and 9th inning if they are ahead. 

Another battle of aces are Roy Oswalt and Carlos Zambrano.  I like the Cubs all the way in this one.  Lance Berkman is still struggling with his shoulder and without him in the lineup, its a different Astros team.  Soriano was red hot to end the spring and Oswalt got off to a slow start last year, it will be interesting to see what happens this year.

These are just some of the games that are going to be fun to watch in what should be another great fantasy baseball season.  Good luck to all!

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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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Who’s Playing in the WBC?

By tallkid1

The WBC is now scheduled to take place every four years and it’s good to know what notable fantasy players will be taking.  Here’s a quick list:

USA:

  • B. McCann
  • C. Iannetta
  • D. Jeter
  • C. Jones
  • D. Pedroia
  • J. Rollins
  • D. Wright
  • K. Youkilis
  • R. Braun
  • A. Dunn
  • C. Granderson
  • S. Victorino
  • T. Lilly
  • R. Oswalt
  • J. Peavy
  • J. Guthrie
  • B. Fuentes
  • J. Broxton
  • (G. Sizemore withdrew)

Canada

  • J. Morneau
  • J. Votto
  • J. Bay

Dominican Republic

  • A. Beltre
  • R. Cano
  • H. Ramirez
  • D. Ortiz
  • A. Rodriguez
  • M. Tejada
  • J. Reyes
  • J. Guillen
  • N. Cruz
  • W. Tavares
  • J. Cueto
  • E. Volquez
  • U. Jiminez

Japan

  • D. Matzuzaka
  • Ichiro
  • K. Johjima

Mexico

  • Ol. Perez
  • J. Soria
  • J. Cantu
  • A. Gonzalez

Puerto Rico

  • J. Sanchez
  • J. Vazquez
  • G. Soto
  • M. Aviles
  • F. Lopez
  • C. Beltran
  • A. Rios

Venezuela

  • A. Galarraga
  • F. Hernandez
  • F. Rodriguez
  • R. Hernandez
  • M. Ramirez
  • M. Cabrera
  • C. Guillen
  • J. Lopez
  • M. Mora
  • B. Abreu
  • M. Ordonez

Panama

  • C. Lee
  • M. Corpas

FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE:  Don’t worry too much about the WBC, they only play a 8 games max over a 17 day period so the workload isn’t too much different than spring training – though the competition levels will be much higher.  The biggest concern is with starting pitchers but keep in mind they will be on strict pitch counts through all rounds of the tournament.  If it comes down to a scenario where you’re picking between Jake Peavy, Cole Hamels and Dan Haren then the extra work Peavy will get in the WBC (mixed in with his injury history) might help you lean toward the other guys but it shouldn’t be too much of a factor in your drafting strategy.

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