FANTASY PLAYER UPDATES & NEWS

Nelson Cruz went 2-for-5 with a double, two RBI and one run scores in Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the Astros.

Cruz stayed hot on Monday as he is now slashing .358/.404/.830 with eight home runs and 16 RBI through his first 53 at-bats. Although this pace is certainly unlikely to be sustained long term, he is still a safe bet for 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI as long as he can stay healthy as he contniues to be one of the best poiwer hitters in all of baseball.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Hisashi Iwakuma surrendered four runs on five hits while striking out three batters over 5 1/3 innings against the Astros on Monday.

Iwakuma ha yet to really get going this season as he has now allowed four runs in each of his first three starts as he sits with a 6.61 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a 11:3 K:BB rate through 16.1 innings. His biggeset issue in the early going has been his home runs allowed, which sits at five following Monday's loss, which should be a major concern for fantasy owners, considering that mark is already a quarter of last season's total for the Mariners righty. He will look to get things moving in the right direction when he takes on the Twins on Sunday.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Luke Gregerson collected his third save of the season after allowing one walk while striking out one batter in a scoreless ninth inning Monday against the Mariners.

Gregerson has now converted all three of his save opportunities in his first season with the Astros as he has yet to give up an earned run through seven appearances. Unless his production takes a serious nosedive in the near future, he is someone who can be trusted in the saves category for the time being.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Asher Wojciechowski lasted just four innings giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out six batters against the Mariners on Monday.

Wojciechowski has now lasted just four innings in each of his first three starts this season as he continues to struggle to get anything going. Now sitting on a 6.00 ERA and 1.92 WHIP with a 12:5 K:BB rate through 12 innings, the Astros righty will really need to turn things around if he wants to stay in the big leagues. He will look to right the ship when he takes on the Athletics his next time out. Analysis: Matthew Beck

Jed Lowrie went 2-for-4 with two RBI in Monday's 7-5 win over the Mariners.

Lowrie has gotten off to a slow start as he is now slashing .233/.327/.465 through his first 43 at-bats. Despite the low batting average, Lowrie has already smacked three home runs, which give him fantasy value for those in deep league formats at the very least.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Luis Valbuena smacked two home runs while driving in three runs in Monday's 7-5 victory over the Mariners.

Valbuena stayed hot Monday, as he has now blasted four home runs over his last four games. Clearly this is not something that he can sustain long term, but considering how weak the hot corner is this season he is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the upcoming days.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

David Freese went 1-dor-4 with a two-run single in the first inning against the Athletics on Monday.

Freese has now hit safely in four of his last six games, but is still slashing a mere .216/.245/.412 through his first 51 at-bats. Although his three home runs out the gates has been a nice surprise, he will have to show more consistency before resurfacing as a fnatays option outside of AL-only leagues.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Matt Shoemaker coughed up five runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out two batters over just three innings of work against the Athletics on Monday.

Shoemaker has had a rough go at it of late as he has now allowed at least three runs in each of his first three starts. When owning a batting average against of .311, there is very little good that could come from it, especially having allowed four home runs in just 15.1 innings thus far, so fantasy owners may want to leave him in a reserve role until he gets back to basics. He will look to turn things around when he takes on the Rangers on Saturday.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Tyler Clippard picked up his first save of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning against the Angels on Monday.

Clippard managed to work through a pair of walks in the ninth inning to secure his first save since taking over the closer role for the injury Sean Doolittle. Although this was just his first save opportunity of the season, more chances should be expected down the road once the Athletics offense cools off a bit, as a few long-sided victories prevented Clippard from being of service in the early going.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Kendall Graveman had a short outing as he allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and three while striking out two batters over three innings against the Angels on Monday.

Graveman needed 73 pitches to work through three innings on Monday night but was able to escape with a no-decision thanks to the efforts from the Athletics offense. He is now sitting 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA, 1.97 WHIP and a 6:8 K:BB rate through 11.2 innings, which will need to improve drastically in order to remain in the Athletics starting rotation long term. The Athletics righty will look to get back on track when he takes on the Astros on Saturday. Analysis: Matthew Beck

Marcus Semien went 1-for-4 with a home run in Monday's win over the Angels.

Semien has flashed some power in the early going, as he is now sitting with two home runs and nine RBI through his first 52 at-bats. Although both his batting average (.250) and on-base percentage (.304) need some work, Semien is still a solid deep league option considering his position eligibility.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Stephen Vogt went 1-for-3 connecting on his fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot, in Monday's 6-3 win over the Angels.

Vogt is now slashing .366/.435/.780 with four home runs and 12 RBI through his first 41 at-bats. The Athletics backstop flashed some sign of his power a season ago following his promotion, but the fact that he has been able to do it again this season gives a strong indication that his power in legitimate, making him a must-start in all but the shallowest of league formats.  Analysis: Matthew Beck

Nolan Arenado says his sore wrist "isn't a big deal" and he expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday.

Arenado has been one of the best players in baseball during the first two weeks of the season, slashing .311/.380/.644 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 10 games. The former top prospect was a popular breakout candidate heading into the season, and it looks like the wrist issue will only be a minor hiccup.  Analysis: Spencer Silva

Derek Norris was 3-for-5 with three runs scored alongside two doubles and an RBI in San Diego's 14-3 win over Colorado.

The former Athletic continues to be a great addition to the Padres' line-up, slotting into the two-spot in the order. Norris has not hit a homer this season, but has been able to score runs and get on base for a middle of the order that is producing early. If he can keep getting on base, Norris is going to turn into a good fantasy option behind the dish.  Analysis: Rob Trayah

Will Venable went 1-for-2 with a homer and two RBI in San Diego's 14-3 win over Colorado.

Venable had a pinch-hit home run as he filled in for Matt Kemp, adding to the rout of the Rockies that San Diego delivered. He has turned into the fourth outfielder with the offseason that the Padres had, but Venable has the ability to put up numbers in his small samples sizes. After a miserable 2014 season, it is going to take an injury or a great stretch for Venable to get consistent time. Analysis: Rob Trayah

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