Fantasy Baseball Thoughts From Around the League

by Howard Bender on May 29, 2013

gattisWe haven’t done a fantasy baseball round-up in a little while, so let’s get one in today, shall we? Remember, we’re not going to be able to hit every team and every situation, so if you have anything specific you want to ask about, just use the comments section below, hit me up on the Facebook page, or give a 140 character shout to @rotobuzzguy over on Twitter. I’ll get you an answer as quickly as possible. Now let’s see what’s going on in the world of MLB and how it’s affecting the fantasy game.

American League

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Despite a relatively lackluster debut in which he gave up four earned runs over five innings, rookie Kevin Gausman still received rave reviews from both Buck Showalter and John Gibbons after the game. From a pure talent standpoint, Gausman deserves another look from you and he’ll make his second start tonight to prove any naysayers wrong. Expect strong command, decent strikeout numbers and for the ball to stay in the yard.

New York Yankees

These Yankees are one of the most unrecognizable bunch from the Bronx in a very long time. When I look at the boxscores, it feels like the opening of Major League. I’m seriously expecting to see Mitchell Friedman in there one day. But help is on the way…supposedly. Mark Teixeira is goign to be starting his rehab at Double-A Trenton this week, Alex Rodriguez is now three weeks into on-field activities and is expected back mid-season and Derek Jeter is still on-schedule to come back just after the All Star break. Of course, any one of them could pull a Curtis Granderson (due back at the end of June), but how unlucky can one club be?

Tampa Bay Rays

Just how long a leash does Fernando Rodney have? That seems to be the question on everyone’s mind as he continues to give up runs and blow saves. But manager Joe Maddon says, “as long as he [Rodney] doesn’t lose confidence in himself, he [Maddon] won’t lose confidence either.” So if you grabbed Joel Peralta with the hopes of getting some sneaky saves, you’ll just have to wait. It might not be for too long, but long enough that stashing him will be detrimental to your roster flexibility.

Toronto Blue Jays

Not that you were exactly brimming with confidence in Brandon Morrow, but Tuesday’s start probably cinched it up for you as he was yanked after just two innings, having allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits with two strikeouts. Word is that it’s a strained forearm and not an elbow issues, but either way, this isn’t something positive. A DL stint could be in his future.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

The Pale Hose have an interesting dilemma on their hands this week as Gordon Beckham is supposed to be back mid-week from his hand injury. Jeff Keppinger moved over to replace him at the keystone and the club brought up Conor Gilllaspie to play third. Gillaspie has been solid thus far and is batting .293 with three home runs while Keppinger has been mired in a season-long slump and is batting just .211 on the year. Will they send Gillaspie back down or will Keppinger move to his usual spot as a utility player? They might be able to bring Beckham along slowly, but they’ll have to make the decision sooner than later. While I would prefer they put Keppinger on the bench, they’ll likely send Gillaspie back down.

Cleveland Indians

Chris Perez is hurt and Vinnie Pestano is struggling with a decrease in strikeouts, an increase in walks and lost velocity on his slider. So what’s a girl to do for saves in Cleveland? Hello Joe Smith. The veteran right-hander is pitching extremely well and has seen a serious increase in strikeouts. That coupled with a strong SIERA (2.77) tells me that he might see some obvious regression, but it probably won’t be much. He should slot in for now and notch a few saves in the coming weeks.

Detroit Tigers

If you haven’t already hopped onto the Anibal Sanchez bandwagon, there’s still plenty of room. His K/9 has taken a huge increase, but there’s nothing in his peripherals that would indicate some mammoth drop-off. His ERA is sitting at 2.38 while his FIP is a tasty 1.78 right now. Looking ahead, his xFIP is a 2.46 and his SIERA is sitting at a 2.65 which should indicate that he is not looking at much of a decline coming. He should be a strong option moving forward; one you don;t need to sell high.

Kansas City Royals

I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong and so far, Mike Moustakas is making a chump out of me. I thought his batted ball data would have leveled off by now and that his average would have improved, but he’s just stuck right now, mired in a very deep-seeded slump. The Royals have moved Johnny Giavotella to third down at Triple-A Omaha to see if he might be a worthy in-house solution, but they might just have to make a run at it with Miguel Tejada and Elliot Johnson splitting time.

AL West

Houston Astros

If you’re looking for help behind the dish, then keep an eye on Jason Castro. Very quietly, he has put together a solid season, batting .284 with six home runs and 15 RBI. Sure, his BABIP is a lofty .357, but should his strikeout rate regress to the mean, his contact rates could easily keep his batting average afloat. He does seem to be swinging for the fences a little more this month, but hopefully the plate discipline he showed in the minors will emerge once again.

Oakland A’s

While I’m sitting here waiting for Josh Donaldson to come back down to Earth, he continues to sit in my utility spot in one league and he just keeps on hitting. You’d think that, at some point, that .361 BABIP would come down, but he has maintained some tremendous numbers across the board. His plate discipline has been outstanding, his line drive rate is solid, and while his ground ball rate is a bit high, it’s still very possible to see it drop in favor of more fly balls which could mean more home runs. Good thing they’ve disproved the old Age-27 Myth.

Seattle Mariners

It’s about time someone in Seattle had enough and started making some changes. Jesus Montero is not only down in the minors, but they’ve also said he’s done as a catcher within the organization. He’s been playing some first base for Triple-A Tacoma and could find his way back to the majors at some point, but even if the team rids itself of Justin Smoak, Kendry Morales can take over at first and they have plenty of bodies who can act as a designated hitter. The team also grew tired of a struggling Dustin Ackley and shipped him off to Tacoma as well. Hot infield prospect Nick Franklin is up and should be scooped up in every league right now. He should be able to hit for a decent average with minimal pop and a little bit of speed.

Texas Rangers

The clock is ticking on Jurickson Profar as Ian Kinsler claims that he’ll be ready to return June 2, the day his DL-stint is officially over. Profar has played pretty well, batting .304 with one home run over 25 plate appearances, but it’s really not enough to keep Kinsler or Elvis Andrus out of the current lineup. He’ll be back in September, possibly earlier should there be another injury, but it just doesn’t appear that 2013 will be his year.

National League

NL East

Atlanta Braves

Is there a bigger story in baseball than Evan Gattis right now? The guy who was eating other people’s leftovers and scraping the bottom of the barrel for train fare just a year ago is now a cult icon in Atlanta. He’s batting .271 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI this season and is forcing the Braves into some hard and fast decisions now that Brian McCann is back from the disabled list. He’s easily surpassed Gerald Laird on the depth chart and continues to get regular playing time during interleague games in AL parks. Now the question is what do the Braves do with him the rest of the time. He’s proven far too valuable to limit strictly to pinch -hitting, so the possibility of him poaching at-bats at first and in the outfield is growing. Of course, there’s no guarantee, so if someone is banging down your door trying to get him, you might think about selling.

New York Mets

It looks like Ike Davis is on his last leg here. When the lineup was submitted for Tuesday’s game, he was in the eight-hole and it would appear as if Terry Collins is almost ready to cut bait. Nothing has been mentioned about a demotion just yet, but they do have the depth to at least park him on the bench for a little while.

Philadelphia Phillies

It’s a little early to say I told you so, but is it any surprise to see both Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list? Both are dealing with injuries that stem from their usual array of dings and dents and both are likely to find themselves on and off the DL throughout the year. Neither can really be counted on for a full season, so those Utley lovers that spent all of April, chirping away, can now sit back and remain silent.

NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals

Another hot, up-and-comer on the hill is set to make his major league debut this week as the Cardinals opted to promote right-hander Michael Wacha from Triple-A Memphis and will have him start against the Royals on Thursday. For those who don’t remember, Wacha made a pretty big splash during the spring but since he hadn’t pitched above Double-A, the club wanted to test him out first before throwing him to the wolves. Well, through nine starts for the Redbirds in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Wacha is 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA and a 34:15 K:BB over 52.2 innings. The dramatic drop in K/9 has to elicit some sort of concern, but not enough to keep him from being promoted. I really liked what I saw during the spring, so I’m definitely taking a flier on him.

NL West

Arizona Diamonddbacks

Things just aren’t looking too good for prospect Adam Eaton as he heads to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on his elbow. Let’s face it, anytime your guy goes to Andrews’ office, it’s not a good thing. Unless, of course, you’re an A.J. Pollock owner, that is. With Eaton still out, Pollock continues to get his share off the work in the D-Backs outfield and has been extremely productive. He’s not your ideal target because of the crowded nature of the outfield, but he’s got a little bit of power and a little bit of speed, so should you be in need of an injury replacement, he deserves a look.

Colorado Rockies

The demotion of Josh Rutledge¬† has me scratching my head a little here as his numbers weren’t really that bad actually. Yes, he was batting just .242 but he had five home runs and five steals which, for a second baseman, is pretty good right now. Considering that D.J. LeMahieu is average, at best¬† and Troy Tulowitzki is always a stone’s throw from the DL, he should be back at some point.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Yes, Hanley Ramirez is running the bases and could start his rehab assignment this week, but did they really need to send Dee Gordon down like this? He was definitely struggling after getting off to a hot start, but wouldn’t you rather see him at least try to live up to our expectations rather than settle for garbage like Juan Uribe or Luis Cruz? I know I would. The team is in some serious disarray right now, so we’ll just have to wait and see how this mess gets cleaned up.

San Diego Padres

Continuing to fly under the radar — obviously because he hasn’t played a game all year — is catcher Yasmani Grandal who is due back from his suspension this week. Obviously we’ll see how he performs without the help of PEDs, but he’s a switch hitter with gap power and could be a menace to pitchers even in Petco Park. Check out your waiver wire and see what’s going on there as he could be a huge boost to your squad, especially if you own a Montero.

San Francisco Giants

Pure speculation on my part here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Matt Cain isn’t being totally forthcoming about the condition of his arm/shoulder. We’ve see a slight decrease in velocity, a whole lot of long balls and some very poor command. It’s almost like he doesn’t trust his stuff right now and is nibbling the corners, or at least trying to. We’ll have to watch him a little more closely over his next few starts, but this is a bit unnerving.


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