I know the Phillies lineup turned Pedro Feliz into a useful fantasy player, but I beg you after today to not fall into thinking the same thing is going to happen with Placido Polanco. Certainly, it was a great first day for Polanco, but I caution you that this is not a sign of things to come. He is a slightly better than average guy as far as getting hits are concerned, but don't expect him to approach 20 home runs, I would be surprised if he got 15. His circumstances have changed for the better, but unless he is your middle infielder for those kinds of leagues or perhaps a utility guy, you are asking too much out of him.
Jimmy Rollins came into the season with a lot of questions, mostly about his power. A season after his home run total was slashed by more than half, Rollins got off to a great start on Opening Day with two hits (including a triple) and his first stolen base of the season. I would say that the days of him hitting 30 home runs are in the rear view mirror, but Rollins is still a quality starting shortstop in fantasy, and not every fantasy team can boast having that in today's climate at the position.
Not much to report about on the Roy Halladay front, just another ho-hum stellar performance. Sure it was against the Nationals, but Halladay went seven innings, gave up just one run and struck out nine. You think the Phillies got their money's worth in that trade? Ah, yeah the guy is a stud and will lead your fantasy team to great things.
There are many, many Ifs for the New York Mets coming into 2010, it had to be great for their fans to see one of those questions finally come back with a resoundingly positive answer. Johan Santana was masterful over six innings, allowing just one run on four hits with five strikeouts. He seemed to have lost a step over the past couple years and offseason surgery didn't instill a lot of confidence in fantasy players based on where he went in drafts. He isn't the Santana of old where he just blew everyone away, but he is still a viable fantasy ace and a bargain where you drafted him.
David Wright was one of the more debated player this offseason as his production in 2009 was a huge disappointment from what his fantasy owners had been used to. Would he return to the superstar status that he held his entire career? Or was last season a sign of things to come? It is obviously too soon to make that call, but if the first day was any indication it could be another great season for Wright. He had just one hit, but it was his first home run of the season and now he is just nine short of the number he had for all of last year. I like Wright to get to at least 25 homers this year with a great batting average and some stolen bases as well.
Cameron Maybin has a very bright future ahead of him. The Marlins' centerfielder has a ton of talent, a ton of speed, and a ton of potential. Unfortunately, I think until he learns some more plate discipline, he is going to have his fair share of days like today. It didn't help that he was facing Johan Santana, but nevertheless, Maybin was 0-4 with three strikeouts on the day. I think that he might be a year away from his big breakout, but at worst Maybin should give you a good number of steals in his first full season in the majors.
If you wonder why I have been touting Albert Pujols as the no doubt first overall selection in any fantasy draft this year, just see his Opening Day line. Pujols went yard in his first at bat of the season (would you expect anything less) and also jacked another one out in the 7th inning. Albert added two singles on the day to end the day 4/5 with three RBI. If you were lucky enough to draft Pujols, enjoy, he won't disappoint.
If you are looking for one of the brighter young stars in the major, take a look at Colby Rasmus playing centerfield for the Cardinals. He showed it all on Monday as he hit a LONG home run, had a clutch RBI base hit and his highlight of the day may have been his catch in the outfield. He will still have some growing pains this year, but there is no doubt that Rasmus will be a star for a long time both defensively and fantasy wise.
I would like to send out some BIG props on Opening Day to Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks as he only struck out one time today. Baby steps Mark, nice work.
Drew Stubbs didn't start the game for some inexplicable reason today for the Cincinnati Reds, but the rookie did come in midway through the game and showed why he should be in the lineup on a daily basis. Stubbs had two hits and his first RBI of the season, far outperforming Laynce Nix and Chris Dickerson who started the game in the outfield. I am a Stubbs owner in more than one league, and I am not concerned about the fact that he was not out there to start the game today.
I think today came to show that the only thing that Vicente Padilla is good for is that ESPN Fantasy Baseball commercial where the dopey guy picks him after taking his entire allotted time to draft. How a team with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley selects Vicente Padilla is beyond me. He gave up seven runs in less than five innings to the PIRATES, and got the Dodgers off to a bad start. It is only one start, but hopefully if you have Padilla it will send you to the waiver wire looking to replace him.
Garrett Jones was a breakout star in 2009, but not many people gave him a chance to repeat it again this year. Well Jones gave us all a big inappropriate gesture today as he connect3ed on two home runs and drove in three runs. Granted it was against the aforementioned Padilla, but still. Jones isn't going to hit 30 homers (I don't think) but he looks like he will be a viable fantasy player and perfect for the corner infield or utility spot on your roster.
Ryan Doumit proved again today that when he is healthy he is a formidable force with a bat in his hands. Doumit had his first homer of the year and drove in three runs. His inability to stay on the field is the only thing that keeps Doumit from being one of the top five or six catchers in fantasy. If you need a catcher he isn't a bad choice, just realize that eventually you will probably need a replacement.
Vernon Wells had a great start to the season but he is another guy that I urge you not to believe the hype after one day. Wells has failed to be the guy we knew in the middle part of the decade, as he has only topped 20 homers and a .260 average once in the last three years. He could hit .270 with 20 homers, but if you are expecting more than that I expect that you will be disappointed.
Carlos Gomez did it all today, but it is hard to expect him to have this kind of performance again. Gomez had four hits, including a home run and a double, and even stole a base against the Rockies. Gomez has never even shown double digit home run power in the major leagues, nor has he even really hit for anything that resembles a decent batting average in the majors. Unless you just have an open spot or are in dire need of saves, I would wait and see if Gomez can at least put a decent week together before you go make a move on him. Can you say Emilio Bonifacio?
The slow and steady White Sox Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko continue to not be sexy, but get the job done. It may have been against the lowly Indians, but Buehrle threw seven shutout innings to earn his first win of the season. Buehrle is not a big fantasy guy because he doesn't get a lot of strikeouts, but he is one thing that I value and that is consistency. You can pretty much write him in for 14 wins, a 3.75 ERA, and 120 strikeouts. I know that isn't exciting, but on the back half of your pitching staff that is more than acceptable. Konerko got on base three times, including his first home run of the year. You can put him on the boooooooooaaaaard for 28-30 homers and a .265 average, a great choice for a corner infielder or utility and there is a chance he wasn't even drafted.
The young talented Rockies Ian Stewart and Carlos Gonzalez both showed why their fans (and fantasy players) are so excited about them. Gonzalez led off the game and go four hits for Colorado, and even though he got picked off on the basepaths, I like where he was batting and that he was trying to run. This kid is the bee's knees (I know, that was bad). Stewart has a ton of power potential, but you worry about his ability to hit for a decent batting average or hit left handed pitching. It was just one day and it was against a right hander (although a quality right hander), but my excitement about Stewart continues.
The Jason Heyward hype machine just continues to chug and chug and chug, and after Opening Day it just might go into overdrive. Heyward had two hits, including his first major league home run, and drove in four runs even hitting in the 7th spot. I continue to say to expect a .280 average with 20 homers, 20 steals, and 80 RBI, so just keep your expectations under control even after a great first day. I am trying, even though I really love this kid.
Delmon Young homered in his first at bat of the season and also included a stolen base for good measure. Young is someone to keep your eye on based on the potential that he has. A few years ago, Young was a can't miss prospect who was going to be the next big thing but so far as just been a big disappointment. But Young is supremely talented and I am still waiting for him to flip the switch and be the guy that we were all waiting for. Is this going to be the year? I'm not making a move yet, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on the Twins box scores this week.
Carlos Zambrano's career has taken a strange step back as he no longer seems to be the ace that he once was. Sure, he is going to throw his fair share of gems during the season, but I no longer think of him as one of the top 20 pitchers in baseball anymore. Zambrano couldn't get out of the second inning today, which I am sure made all the water coolers in the Cubs dugout very scared. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Zambrano didn't win more than 12 games and his ERA was over 4.00. He still has values in the number of strikeouts he gets, but he is not the guy he used to be.
Chipper Jones stole a base????? Are you serious? Easy there Larry, don't get hurt the first day!
Neftali Feliz did not have his best outing in the first game of the year. Feliz came in to start the seventh inning and by the time he left he had only recorded one out, walked two batters, gave up two hits and an earned run. That all sounds very bad, but it is not time to panic right now. Feliz has one of the best young arms in the major leagues and will have his fair share of spectacular outings and will help your fantasy team. Stay patient with Feliz and it will pay off.
Ben Sheets had a reasonable debut for the Athletics, most of which is because he got through it. Sheets allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings, walked four, and struck out three. He did get hit hard a few times by Casey Kotchman and Rob Johnson (not exactly Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig), but overall for his first appearance in over a year, you have to think that it is ok. I still wouldn't touch Sheets with a ten foot pole due to his injury history, but it was nice to see him back on the mound.
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