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“In Lou Of”- AL Central Notes Week 4

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After 3 weeks, the Tigers and Royals are still proving to be the best teams in the highly competitive AL Central division. Both teams did struggle this week though. The Tigers lost 3 of 4 at home to the Yankees, and the Royals lost both games they played this past weekend against their division rivals, the White Sox. The Royals and Tigers will match up later this week and we’ll finally get to see who the superior team is in the early going. The Indians are still struggling to play with any consistency in 2015, and the Twins just don’t have the SP to win enough games to stay afloat. The White Sox started slow, but it appears that they have begun to find their stride. This week features a number of divisional match ups for the five teams so we may begin to see some more separation in the standings.

 

Alfredo Simon- DET- “Simon Says” last year wasn’t a fluke:

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He has gotten off to a smoking hot start and has arguably been the best pitcher on the Tigers ball club. It is worth mentioning that through the first 2 months in 2014, he was one of the top SP in the NL, but seemed to tire out and was unable to maintain his success. Before 2014, he had no success as a SP and was known more for his work out of the bullpen. In my opinion, that is the main cause for his decline as the season progressed. When you’re not used to throwing more than 100 innings, it can be a big adjustment when all of a sudden you’re asked to do so. He is now in Detroit where his home stadium is known for being more of a pitchers ballpark, which will definitely benefit him. The Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is known as a hitters paradise, so his overall statistics should improve. Last years experience as a full time starter should also help him this year as his innings total rises.

 

Yordano Ventura- KC-Disgr”ACE”ful display on the mound:

imageThere is no doubt that Ventura has some of the most electric stuff in all of baseball, not just SP, but all pitchers. It is not his pitching that concerns me though, it’s his attitude and demeanor on the mound that’s troublesome. Manager Ned Yost has yet to pull Ventura from any of his starts so far this year, not because he has pitched complete games though. Ventura got injured in two of his starts and was ejected in the other two. He is currently awaiting a ruling on two different suspensions for throwing at hitters and running his mouth, leading to bench clearing brawls. Pitching is as much mental as it is physical, if not more, and one can’t stop to wonder if eventually all of this drama created by Ventura will come back and bite him later on. Not to say it will happen again, but I refer you to a few years ago when Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin, a fight ensued and Greinke’s rib was broken. He missed 4-6 weeks, something that the Royals cannot afford to see happen to Ventura. The ace of a pitching staff also needs to be the leader of the staff, and although Ventura is very young, his behavior is unacceptable, especially when he is relied upon to lead his staff.

 

Michael Brantley- CLE- is he back? (pun intended):

imageA couple of weeks ago I was very worried about his status going forward due to the nagging back injury he’s had since the start of spring training. In the beginning of the season he was in and out of the lineup, which was even more concerning for his fantasy owners. Since returning to the lineup 12 days ago he’s been extremely productive, both offensively and defensively. His power has been non existent thus far, but I expect him to start driving the ball out of the park as the season progresses. He is even attempting stolen bases again which is just another facet of Brantley’s game. He was one of only two players last year to hit at least 20 HR and steal at least 20 bases, and although some may not agree with me, I think he will do so again in 2015. That’s assuming he stays healthy and that the players around him in the lineup stay healthy too.

 

Joakim Soria- DET- Soria to Nathan owners who didn’t pick him up right away:

image Since Joe Nathan had a major set back in his minor league rehab start last week, there is now no doubt surrounding the closer situation in Detroit. Nathan will miss the remainder of the 2015 season, opening the door for Soria to hold down the position all year long. So far so good for Soria as he is a perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities through the first three weeks of the season. Now that he is in line for all the save opportunities, he is one of the best options at the closer position in all of fantasy. The Tigers are undoubtedly one of the best teams in all of baseball and will provide Soria with the chance to finish with more than 40 saves. There is no chance that this guy is available in any leagues at this point. He has had some injury problems in the past, but they appear to be well behind him now.

 

Edinson Volquez-KC – No clever line for him, but he has an impressive pitching one:

image He had a fantastic season in 2014 with the Pirates, which lead to him landing a pretty lucrative 2 year contract with the Royals. I’m not so sure that he will fill the void left by the veteran James Shields’ departure, however, he has been one of the many early season bright spots for the Royals. He has given the team a chance to win in all of his starts so far, pitching into at least the 6th inning in all of them. With a team like the Royals and the amazing bullpen they have, that’s all they really ask out of their starters. Since the start of 2014, the Royals lead all of baseball in wins when they have a lead after 6 innings. This fairs very well for Volquez moving forward and it doesn’t hurt that the Royals are scoring runs with more consistency this season as well. If he’s still on your waiver wire, he’s certainly worth a look and an add.

Carlos Rodon-CWS- He’s “on the road” to becoming a starter:

image I talked about Rodon being called up last week to join the White Sox bullpen. It was suggested that he would get some work in that way and then be eased into the starting rotation if all went well. It now appears that he will get his chance to prove himself much sooner. He is expected to get a spot start for one of the two soon to be suspended pitchers, Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija. I have also discussed in recent weeks that Jon Danks and Hector Noesi are both weak links in the current White Sox rotation, making Rodon’s spot start all the more important. If he impresses and gives the Sox an opportunity to win the game, he could see another chance to start and then push one of the weak links out of the rotation altogether. Keep an eye on the White Sox probables this week and consider Rodon if you need a spot start.

That wraps up my week 4 notes for the AL Central. If you have any questions about  MLB, fantasy baseball or just want to talk sports, email me at loulandersbaseball@hotmail.com.

 

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(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 3rd from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596. This week we will be discussing everything out west. The A.L. & N.L. West divisions and everything fantasy relevant within.

Our special guest this week is Professor Mark Rush of Washington and Lee University. Mark is a professor of politics and law at W&L, an author, writer, and a frequent guest on National Public Radio as well as the Arabian News Network. With all of that on his plate he still has time to write baseball columns and player analysis for Ron Shandler who we all know as a guru in fantasy baseball. He also contributes on Ron’s league site shandlerpark.com.
 Also joining us is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports, Bryan Luhrs. Bryan also writes a weekly article with MLFS published every Friday morning about the N.L. West cleverly called “Alluhring Strategy”.
 Joe Ciccone will be joining us as well. Joe is the Chief Editor for MLFS, Champs League owner, and writes a weekly article published every Thursday about the A.L. West.
 And last, but very not least, is Lou Landers. Lou is a writer with MLFS, the co-host of our new YouTube fantasy football show starting June 20th, and you can read his articles about the A.L. Central every Wednesday.
 If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”

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