If you haven’t seen Mark Buehrle’s phenomenal play, check it out. www.mlb.com/video/play.jsp. Buehrle threw seven scoreless innings and allowed three hits, one walk and struck out three. He doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts and that may lessen his appeal in fantasy circles, but he’s still a good pitcher to own. He has thrown at least 200 innings in nine consecutive seasons and is good for an ERA between 3.50-4.00 and a 1.25-1.30 WHIP.
Paul Konerko homered and went undervalued in many drafts. It just goes to show how deep first base is also, but he should hit 25-30 home runs.
It’s easy to give up on Alex Rios since he has failed to live up to lofty expectations, especially after his abysmal showing following the trade to the White Sox last season. He homered in Game 1 and I think he has a good season. He has the tools and skills to go 20-20 and playing in Chicago should help. I was only able to get him in one league. I haven’t given up yet.
Carlos Quentin was hit by two pitches. Wonder why he can’t stay healthy? He basically stands over the inside corner.
Aaron Harang had a mediocre outing and was hurt the long ball once again, allowing two homers. He went five innings and allowed five hits, three earned runs, walked two and struck out two. I still think he has a good season.
Some wonder whether Adam Lind was a fluke last season. He wasn’t. He homered and went 3-for-3. It might be difficult to replicate last season’s numbers, but I don’t see a major decline.
I absolutely love Nelson Cruz and didn’t get him in any league. Keep in mind he was injured at the end of last season and still had 33 homers and 20 stolen bases in 462 at-bats.
A very good start for Shaun Marcum bouncing back from 2008 Tommy John surgery. He went seven innings and allowed two hits, three runs, one walk and struck out six.
Jason Frasor, recently named the Blue Jays closer, blew his first save, although he didn’t pitch as bad as the line indicated. He got just one out and allowed four hits, two runs with a walk and a strikeout. I was surprised he got the job since the Blue Jays signed Kevin Gregg. If they had faith in Frasor and Scott Downs, why bring in Gregg? Frasor will have a short leash because there are options behind him.
Another game blown for Zack Greinke. He pitched six innings and allowed six hits, one earned run, one walk and struck out four. He left with the lead and took a no-decision.
I was skeptical about Garrett Jones and even after his two home runs, I haven’t changed my mind. He has 23 home runs in 318-at bats with the Pirates. He is 29 and didn’t flash that much power in the minors. He could hit 20 home runs, but I doubt he steals as many bases as last season (10) and his average could be an issue. If he stays hot, look to trade him.
The spot in which you hit in the batting order is critical for fantasy. Casey Kotchman gets a boost hitting third for the Mariners. With Ichiro and Chone Figgins in front of him, he should get a lot of chances to drive in runs. He had four RBIs and I wouldn’t go crazy, but he should be a decent AL-only league option. Just don’t expect much power.
Dexter Fowler didn’t start and Seth Smith did. The Rockies have a lot of outfielders and Smith deserves some playing time.
Ian Stewart homered and the power is legit. He can definitely hit 30 home runs. He needs to show he could hit lefthanders and his batting average is also a concern.
Carlos Gomez hit second for the Brewers and went 4-for-5 with a homer and a stolen base. He will pile up the stolen bases if he can get on base. The last two seasons his OBP was below .300. He is just 24, but he still needs to improve his plate discipline.
I said a few weeks ago and all off season that Ubaldo Jimenez will contend for the NL Cy Young. He had absolutely filthy stuff yesterday against the Brewers. He threw a 97 mph fastball that tailed over the inside corner and got Prince Fielder looking. He went six innings and allowed eight hits, one run one walk and struck out six for the win.
Scott Baker wasn’t sharp against the Angels. He went 4 2/3 innings and allowed five hits, four runs, three walks and struck out three. He usually doesn’t walk many and I think it was just a bad start. He’ll be very good.
Vernon Wells is coming off a disappointing season and his big 2006 season was a career season, but he was undervalued in a lot of drafts I saw. I took him as my No. 5 outfielder in one league. He still had 15 home runs and 17 stolen bases last season and he had a bad wrist. As I said earlier, where you bat in the order is important and Wells is hitting cleanup. I’m not saying he hits 30 home runs again, but I could see 20-25.
I know you’re wondering where is Jason Heyward? Well, here you go. There’s no doubt about his talent. The hype has been incredible and he delivered in his first major-league at-bat with a bomb off Carlos Zambrano. In a non-keeper league, I would think about dealing him if gets off to a great start only because there are likely a few owners that will overpay. He’s just 20 years old and maybe he can be a stud immediately like Evan Longoria or Ryan Braun, but the odds aren’t high. I’m not saying to deal him. I’d explore it and if you get a top-notch player in return, I’d pull the trigger.
Someone needs to flip Adam LaRoche’s calendar to July. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Still, I think he has a great season hitting cleanup in Arizona.
If you haven’t seen him Sammy Gervacio’s pre-pitch antics, you have got to check it out. As I noted in last week’s column, he’s a darkhorse for saves in Houston.
And one more thing: Don’t sell high on Albert Pujols or Tim Lincecum.