“That’s Amore!” National League Central: Is It Blasphemy to Call Bryant “The Northside Savior?”
Well folks, the wait is finally over. The most hyped man to step foot in Wrigley Field since Steve Bartman has arrived. Kris Bryant received his call to The Show and it was a forgettable debut at the plate. Zero for four with three strikeouts. That’s one strikeout short of the Golden Sombrero. To be honest, he made up for it on defense with a few fantastic plays. His presence was felt from the standing ovation he received before his first at-bat. The following two games he was solid at the plate going two for three and one for three respectively collecting his first Major League hit and RBI. Not to mention, Bryant walked three times in game number two. This is what the Cubs need, a player that has an idea while he’s in the batter’s box.
Wacha This Way!
I mentioned before the season started that Michael Wacha would have a breakout season. His phenomenal Spring Training has carried over into the regular season. In two starts, Wacha is 2-0 with six strikeouts and a glistening 1.35 ERA. No, the strikeouts aren’t very high, but he’s pitching deep into ball games with a low pitch count. If you’re looking for a young gun to anchor a dynasty pitching staff, I’d make a move for him immediately. He has the huge frame to handle the work load for years to come. You can thank me years from now.
The Lester Woes Continue
To be fair, he’s not getting a lot of run support. On the other hand, he’s giving up entirely too many hits. Eight, ten and six. Those are the amounts he’s given up in his first three starts as a Cub. He has yet to last more than six innings and twice he’s lasted less than six. I want to see a quality start in his next start. I don’t care if he wins, but just get a quality start. And it’s official, he has finally thrown to first!
Week 2 Fantasy Studs
Brandon Phillips [2B – CIN]: Phillips had himself quite the week going 10 for 23. No home runs or extra base hits, but he managed to drive in two RBI and score three runs. If you’re looking for a nice shot in the arm and he’s available, go after him. He’s streaky, but he’s been solid for so long.
Zack Cozart [SS – CIN]: It’s becoming repetitive, but each week it seems like a few different guys from the Reds have phenomenal weeks. Cozart doesn’t fall short of this. Available in almost 90% of leagues, Cozart has the potential to hit 15-20 home runs. The strikeouts are there, but if he’s finally figured it out he could be a great addition as a utility player for your team. Last week Cozart went 9-for-22 with a double, one bomb and two RBI.
Matt Carpenter [3B – STL]: Building off a great first week, Carpenter has been an absolute stud. Week 2 saw him go 12-for-25 with seven doubles, one home run and five RBI. He’s off to a great start and looks to continue his torrid pace since 2012. He’s been an absolute steal and will continue to rack up the fantasy numbers. He’s definitely the working man’s ideal fantasy player.
Khris Davis [LF – MIL]: It’s hard for me to give love to all or nothing guys. I did reach for George Springer in MLFB 3, but I’m not fond of one-trick ponies. Davis definitely falls into this category. However, he had a pretty good week going 7-for-20. Of course, he struck out nine times. But hey, he batted .350.
Michael Wacha [SP – STL]: It’ll get old hearing this each week, but Wacha is the real deal. He owned Cincinnati for the second time this season, throwing 7.0 innings of five-hit, one run baseball. I’ll take the four strikeouts as well. He faces Washington on Thursday. The Nationals are off to a bit of a slow start, and hopefully Wacha will continue his dominance earning a third-straight “W.”
Travis Wood [SP – CHC]: Since being acquired in December 2011, Wood has absolutely dominated his former team. In 11 career starts against the Reds Wood has gone 3-5. The record may not reflect it, but Wood has a 2.69 ERA with 58 strikeouts and only 17 walks. This is the perfect example of a player who absolutely loves to play his former team. He’s a perfect spot start candidate each time he faces the Reds.
Gerrit Cole [SP – PIT]: Cole went 2-0 this past week with 14 strikeouts to only three walks. He absolutely owned Detroit and Milwaukee throwing 6.0 innings in each start. He’ll look to keep it up Friday at Arizona. Cole, along with Wacha, are my two favorite young pitchers to make a name for themselves this season.
Tony Watson & Jared Hughes [RP – PIT]: Both Pirate relievers threw four scoreless innings apiece. They both have the ability to close games if Mark Melancon runs into any trouble. If you’re looking for a Wade Davis-like impact, Watson and Hughes are great guys to own. It’s been said Watson is ready to close games now, and rumors have surfaced that a team could make a move for him down the stretch. I’d imagine this would only be possible if Pittsburgh were out of playoff contention.
Down on the Farm:
Jameson Taillon [SP – PIT]: Recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery, Taillon is inching closer to appearing in games. There’s no timetable, but Taillon could be back starting for Triple-A Indianapolis sometime in June.
Jesse Winker [OF – CIN]: Winker is off to a bit of a slow start, going six for his first 27 at-bats at AA Pensacola. He has only two strikeouts, so he’s making contact. A career .295 hitter, Winker will definitely bounce back quickly into the hitting machine that he is.
Addison Russell [SS – CHC]: He’s as ready as it gets to be called up. Starlin Castro has been solid this season hitting .311 with one home runs and six batted in. On defense, he’s only made one error in 51 chances. Castro is holding his own, but if the Cubs continue to get no production from the second base position, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Russell at second within the next few weeks. He’s already made the switch at AAA-Iowa. It’s early in the 2015 season, but Russell’s hitting .297 with one home run and seven RBI. I’m excited to see an infield consisting of Bryant, Castro, Russell, and Rizzo.
Favorite Matchups Week 3
St. Louis Hitters vs. Milwaukee Starting Pitchers; Round 2: As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .288 with nine extra base hits, 11 RBI and 12 runs scored. They’re 2-1 against Milwaukee and I can’t see Milwaukee stopping Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday’s hot starts.
A.J. Burnett & Francisco Liriano: [vs. CHI & @ ARI] They both get two starts against clubs that haven’t necessarily torn the cover off the ball. Both pitchers can easily go 2-0 with 10-15 strikeouts for the week. Burnett is available in at least 45% of leagues, while Liriano is probably owned in all the leagues you are in.
Kris Bryant: Bryant should get the start in all seven games this week. He gets to face NL Central foes Pittsburgh and Cincinnati on the road. I’m not saying he’s going to go crazy, but he has some favorable matchups against Vance Worley, Jeff Locke, Mike Leake, Anthony DeSclafani and Jason Marquis. I will be absolutely shocked if Bryant doesn’t get his first home run this week. The possibility is there for multiple home runs this week.
Matt Carpenter: There’s absolutely no way I’m not all-in on Carpenter this week. He’s hitting .400 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 10 runs. He’s been vital to fantasy lineups and I don’t see him slowing down at Washington or Milwaukee (three at each).
Kris Bryant Watch:
Right now, he’s three for ten with one RBI. The butterflies are gone and he will get to relax playing this week on the road. There is ground to be gained in the NL Central and he will see Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. I look for Bryant to start all seven games.
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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.