First, big kudos to Vin Scully who is celebrating 65 years as a broadcaster for the Dodgers. This is staggering when one considers the average person stays in the same job for 3-5 years nowadays. My father was a Tool & Die Maker for General Electric for 30 years. We just don’t see that anymore.
Pete Rose has taken a first step back towards the MLB scene. He signed a contract to join the Fox Sports 1 Team. I think that is a perfect marriage. Welcome back Pete. 😉
If you live in the Northeast you may have heard some strange “Snap, Crackle & Pop” sounds last week. Perhaps your neighbor went to New Hampshire for fireworks and decided to try some out early, or perhaps what you heard were the breaks, cracks and pulls that our AL East teams endured this week. The biggest snap from a fantasy perspective came from Toronto Blue Jays SS Jose Reyes’ rib cage while he was running to 1B. Shane Victorino has sore ribs as well, but the nastier crackle in Boston came from Rusney Castillo’s shoulder as he was placed on the AAA DL. The loud pop in Baltimore came from 2B Jon Schoop’s knee when he tore his PCL and sprained his MCL. That is not the pop that fans were hoping to hear with many Orioles hitters in a deep coma. There was also a loud thud when the door hit Grant Balfour on his way out of Tampa, thanks in part to the recent noise some of the Yankees bats are making.
Boston Red Sox:
There was also some positive noise being made in Fenway this week as the Red Sox are now 4th in MLB in runs scored. This underscores the depth and talent in the Sox lineup as they are getting little production from David Ortiz, Mike Napoli or Shane Victorino. Players like Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and even supersubs Brock Holt and Daniel Nava continue to hit after some opening week heroics. The Sox also had some near misses early last week when both Pablo Sandoval and Xander Bogaerts left games with injuries. Both missed a game and were back the next day, but it is scary with their injury histories. It gave the Sox a chance to show off the versatility built into their roster when Hanley came in from LF to play 3B and Brock Holt, who can play anywhere but C, went in to cover to cover SS one day and 3B the next. Daniel Nava moved from RF to LF until Allen Craig came in to play LF and Victorino came in to play RF. As fantasy managers we’d all love to move our guys around like that and barely miss a step in production.
The pitching continued to unimpress. The starting pitching was inconsistent while the bullpen had a welcome changing of the guard after a rough week. If it were not for Joe Kelly, Rick Porcello and Anthony Varvaro the Sox ERA would be up around 7.00 instead of the 4.45 it is at now. The good news is that in two games since being activated from the DL Koji Uehara has a save and a win. I am not giving up on Ed Mujica still leading this team in Saves this year, but I can’t justify holding onto him in leagues that don’t value middle relievers.
Hitter to Watch: Xander Bogaerts, SS & Mookie Betts, CF – This was reported by Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald: “I don’t think you could find anyone in baseball who would pick Bogaerts over Betts right now,” . It is not so much that Bogaerts has lost his luster, as Betts has taken it from him. All this means to me is that if Betts is still available you better scoop him up now. Sure, drop Adam Eaton for him, and if the Betts owner asks for any player on your team insist that Betts be thrown in on his side or no deal.
Pitcher to watch: Joe Kelly, SP – Kelly has been the most consistent Sox SP so far in 2015. In one year he has gone from undrafted fantasy afterthought to borderline 12 team must own.
On the farm: Yoan Moncada, 2B; Rusney Castillo, CF & Brandon Workman, RP – Brandon Workman likely needs TJ surgery. Rusney Castillo landed on the AAA DL with a shoulder problem after dealing with thumb and oblique injuries already since the calendar turned 2015. But, Yoan Moncada is another story right now. The Sox seem to like his work ethic and he got his first USA professional at bat in Extended Spring Training yesterday. He showed off both his power and speed, legging out this triple in his first AB. Yoan Moncada’s first pro AB. Thanks to David Dorsey of The News-Press for the video. Yeah, I can’t tell you to pick up Moncada any more than I can tell you to drop Castillo in standard leagues. All I can say is neither is contributing at the MLB level any time soon.
Toronto Blue Jays:
Unfortunately the turf problem has grabbed more headlines in Toronto than the on-field news, but there are still relevant issues. Jose Reyes has a fractured rib. All the King’s Horses and All The King’s Men somehow put Jose together again. The Jays say he’ll start Tuesday. The Jay’s recalled Ryan Goins. I think you’d be well advised to start looking too if you are a Reyes owner. Devon Travis is raking. I said to pick him up here and hopefully you did as he is gone by now.The Jays are trying to trade catcher Dioner Navarro into a starting situation. Leave him on the wire until he gets one. Mark Buehrle announced that 2015 would be his final season. If you use Buehrle, and I do, I would not change my strategy based on this announcement in the least. Finally, Liam Hendricks has turned into a quality reliever and his role may be expanding. He would not be the first mediocre starter that became a good reliever, and might be a good ad if you have the roster flexibility and/or play in a format that rewards MRs.
Hitter to Watch: Kevin Pillar, OF: He will be starting in the OF for the foreseeable future. If you are in a deep league he could provide some pop for a while.
Pitcher to Watch: Miguel Castro, RP – I read today that he was thought to be too lanky by many scouts and that he has an elbow that shows prior injuries. I say, “Ride the Wave.” Relievers have a short shelf life anyway.
On the Farm: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. OF – The Jay’s signed this international free agent to a $4.4M contract. Yes, genes are worth money. Dynasty’s take notice.
The big question in Baltimore is when will Jon Schoop be back? He was off to a great start until he sprained the MCL and partially tore the PCL in his knee. Initial reports say he will be back in 6-8 weeks, but Buck Showalter has been quoted saying, “I know more than I am going to talk about here, but we see Schoop back this season” Yeah, I’d just drop him. The one silver lining to this is that Everth Cabrera will not be losing playing time soon. This is good for us holdouts who thought it was a good idea to pick Cabrera up this Spring. The biggest problems in the O’s attack are coming from Manny Machado and Steve Pearce. Machado will straighten himself out, but Pearce does not have a lot of positive data to back up a complete turn around. The trio of Travis Snider, Delmon Young and Alejandro de Aza continues to hit, but you’d have to be far more patient and analytical than I want to be to decide which to play any given day. There does not seem to be a good timetable for Matt Wieters return, but Caleb Joseph has done the job pretty well in his absence. Ride the Wave as you will read many times here today.
On the pitching front Kevin Gausman is still in the pen while Mike Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez keep pitching lights out. The story out of Baltimore is to be patient while they work out a trade for Norris or Jimenez so they can get Gausman into the rotation. Fine, but Gausman is worthless in the meantime. Ride the Ubaldo wave while it lasts. The O’s have stated they want to keep Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia which probably cost Ryan Webb his job. He was traded this week to the Dodgers.
Hitter to Watch: Chris Davis, 1B/3B – This may be your last chance to try and trade for him. The Wave is coming.
Pitcher to Watch: Ubaldo Jimenez, SP – He always had the promise. Right now he has the results. Maybe it is a theme this week, but Ride the Wave!
On the Farm: TJ McFarlane, SP & Michael Wright, SP – Organizationally the O’s think these two pitchers are ready for MLB. Gausman is not the only one waiting for a trade or injury for his chance. I can’t suggest any of them for a roster spot right now unless it were a Dynasty League.
Tamp Bay Rays:
The big news in Tampa was the jettisoning of Grant Balfour after giving up a game losing HR to the Yanks Chris Young. There is one less former closer in Tampa’s bullpen now, but I am still hesitant to repeat my statement last week that Kevin Jepson would lead the Rays in Saves in 2015. There is still too much fluidity here for my liking. Plus, how can you trust a management staff who fires a reliever after a Spring Training interrupted by the death of his father? Yeah, yeah, his velocity is way down. What have you done for me lately Grant? Erasmo Ramirez was sent to the pen after two brutal starts. Hopefully this did not affect your own team in the least. JP Arencibia was signed to a minor league contract to play 1B and DH. That news was almost as big.
Hitter to Watch: Kevin Kiermaier, OF and David DeJesus, OF are the only regular Rays hitters batting more than .275. Like I said last week take a shot on Kiermaier.
Pitcher to Watch: I’ve lost all interest in Nathan Karns and Ernesto Frieri, but I have a very short leash when it comes to pitching.
New York Yankees:
It is the 2000’s all over again. A-Rod and Chris Young are stinging it. No one expects either to last, but isn’t it remotely possible? At the same time Carlos Beltran looks like a shell of himself. I’m buying on all three, as hitters hit. Another noise you may have heard yesterday was the sigh of relief when Masahiro Tanaka finally pitched a gem of a game. We needed to see that from him. Too bad Adam Warren did just the opposite, reminding me that he was great as a reliever in 2014. I’m dropping him. The Yanks latest reclamation project is Kyle Davies. He was never fantasy worthy before so I’m not seeing a reason to expect it now.
Hitter to Watch: A-Rod, 3B/DH – What else is there? Ride the Wave man!!
Pitcher to Watch: Nathan Eovaldi, SP – New York is not patient. Nate better step up quick or get swallowed up by the Staten Island Ferry. I think he will be fine, as he has a blazer of a fast ball. He better hurry up though.
On the Farm: Jose Pirela, 2B – Here’s the deal; The Yanks have inquired about Braves 2B prospect Jose Peraza, who is actually a natural SS. It is no secret the Yanks brass is not exactly thrilled with the early returns on Didi Gregorious. Now picture a double play combination of Peraza-to-Pirela-to-Teixeira. Now say that three times fast. That may be the most fun you will get out of that exercise, real or fantasy. Well, maybe not. Pirela batted .294 with 40 2B, 16 HR, 124 R and 107 RBI adding 24 SB in AA ball. He followed it up with a AAA showing of .305, 85 R, 10 HR and 15 SB. Peraza is a stolen base machine who can hit, but it remains to be seen if the Yanks have enough prospect value to trade for him. Like I’ve said before, there may not be enough 2015 value to worry about this, but Dynasties should be all over it.
Pitching grabs for next week: Bolded pitchers are two start pitchers for the week.
Mon: CC Sabathia @ Detroit, Justin Masterson vs Balt, Wei Yin Chen @ Boston (Just kidding on all three. Pray for rain!!!)
Tue: Wade Miley @ Tampa
Wed: Joe Kelly @ Tampa, Ubaldo Jimenez @ Tor (for those who are risk averse)
Thu: Chris Tillman @ Tor, Clay Buchholz @ Tampa
Fri: Michael Pineda vs NYM, R. A. Dickey @ Tampa
Sat: Sabathia is facing Matt Harvey @ Yankee Stadium. I’m watching that game.
Sun: Chris Archer vs Tor
(Click the BLUE link below to listen)
Major League Fantasy Sports Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday April 26th from 7pm-8:30pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Sports radio show sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596. This week will be discussing all things fantasy related in the A.L. East and the N.L. Central.