Early Season Standouts
For some reason my fantasy baseball article today deals with players whose names all start with an “S” or lower in the alphabet. It wasn't a plan mind you, I don't have some deviously delectable ulterior motive, it just worked out that way. How about that?
Hector Santiago is the closer for the White Sox, a move that I didn't understand at the time it appeared to be taking shape (see Lunacy in Chicago?). Less than two weeks in the experiment has been a success, but still, it hasn't been smooth sailing. Santiago is three for four in converting saves but he blew his last outing and has allowed three runs over his last three innings. Even worse, the guy has already been taken yard three times in four innings on the season. He is still the White Sox arm to own if you are looking for saves, but tread carefully here cause this story is not yet ready to be made into a Hallmark Movie of the Week.
Stephen Strasburg flat out dominates hitters. Period. A prime example of this fact is that over his last 50.1 innings no one has elevated a pitching into the seats. On the negative side, everyone was weary of Strasburg because of the 160 IP limit he was placed on. Well, turns out, the 160 IP limit was completely a media driven number. The team never actually said they would limit Stephen to 160 innings. From Big League Stew over at Yahoo:
"Look, the media put (the 160-innings limit) out there, not me." Nat's GM Mike Rizzo said. "It probably comes from what Jordan Zimmerman pitched last year... "I don't have a specific pitch count in my mind, a specific innings count in my mind... when we feel he's had enough, we're going to shut him down."
What all of that means is that Strasburg isn't likely to throw 200-innings this year but there also isn't an artificial floor of 160-innings for him this season either.
B.J. Upton is finally close to a return. He was supposed to only miss a couple of days after running into Desmond Jennings, but that “couple of days” has stretched out to weeks. He went 2-for-4 Monday night and will likely appear in two more minor league games before being activated to return to the lineup on Friday against the Twins. Now might be your last chance to acquire him on the cheap. Speaking of Jennings, he does have four hits the last two days, though that has only brought up his slash line to the following levels: .250/.333/.300. I'm not going to condemn or exalt any player based on 10 games, but this is not exactly the start that Jennings owners were hoping for. In addition to that terrible slash line Jennings has also failed to go deep and he has a whopping 12Ks.
Chase Utley (knee) is improving according to the latest report from Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. Here's the quote. "His strength seems to be improving," Amaro said. "He's moving forward." Uh Ruben, what the hell does that mean? I'm improving from yesterday too since I got a good nights sleep. The Phillies continue to be, lets just say difficult, when it comes to updates with Utley. It almost feels like they are guarding the secrets to cold fusion.
Matt Wieters went bananas Monday night with three hits to raise his average to .344. Two of the hits were homers, and he also plated five runners, leaving him with four homers and nine RBI through nine games (how is he only owned in 82 percent of leagues over at Fleaflicker?). This is the type of production everyone thought was possible when he was taken 55th overall in the 2007 draft. It's very early, but it's possible that we're finally witnessing the emergence of a supremely gifted talent who could, if everything breaks right, end the year as the most valuable catcher in the fantasy game.
I've long been a fan of Chris Young. Not the broken down hurler but the dynamic outfielder of the D'backs. Ranked #25 in the BBGuys Preseason Draft Guide in the outfield, he's been a top-25 overall player in the early going. In point of fact, Young has been a top-5 overall performer thanks to a .405 average, five homers, seven RBI and two steals. Despite all that greatness the most amazing part of his early season heroics might be his BB/K ratio of 1.20. It won't hold up, he's never had a mark above 0.58, but his ratio has improved for 4-straight seasons showing the type of growth that is indicative of a player who could bust loose for a monster season.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
- Chase Headley (calf) going on the disabled list
- C.J. Edwards suffering from shoulder fatigue
- Mike Bolsinger earns 1st career MLB win
- DeAndre Jordan grabs 22 boards with 5 blocks
- Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring) to miss a few games
- George Springer continues to struggle
- Josh Donaldson goes yard twice Thursday
- Dice-K picks up 1st career save
- Panthers exercised fifth-year option on QB Newton
- Victorino returns to Red Sox lineup Thursday