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A.L. Central

“Sauer Notes” Central Divisions Week 3 Recap

AL Central

  1. Kansas City Royals 9-4
  2. Chicago White Sox 9-5
  3. Detroit Tigers 7-5
  4. Cleveland Indians 6-5
  5. Minnesota Twins 4-10

Kansas City Royals

dysonAs of today the Royals have claimed the top spot in the division over the White Sox who they were tied with at this point in time last week. Jarrod Dyson got his first start in the outfield for the Royals last night after returning from a Grade II oblique injury that landed him a stint on the DL to open the season. Dyson went 7-for-22 with seven runs and four steals during his time at Triple-A Omaha. He made an immediate impact in his first game back going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Dyson can be a valuable asset just for his speed alone, so if you need help in such categories to supplement the loss of an ailing Charlie Blackmon than Dyson is your guy. He expects to see regular playing time in the Royal outfield in 2016, and if he starts to see everyday playing time he is rosterable in all formats. Ian Kennedy has been lights out so far for Kansas City and will look to continue providing your fantasy team with value as he will be a two-start pitcher heading into week four. Although both starts are on the road and against tough opposing pitchers in Garrett Richards and Taijuan Walker, the Angels and Mariners lineups have not been anything to write home about so far this season, so look for Kennedy to get possibly two quality starts and at least one win.

Chicago White Sox
Believe you me, when it comes to streaming two-start pitchers, I have found myself to pretty much start anybody that has two legs (not indicative of my love-life, however). The one guy I can not advocate under any circumstances, is John Danks. That statement has probably held water for the past four or five years, and I’m convinced that I would have a better shot at getting a big league win than he would at this stage of his career. All joking aside, there are some other really low end options available if you need to scrape the bottom of the barrel for some innings and cheap production.  We will talk about them later. “Buy low” opportunities hardly exist these days in fantasy sports because there are so many numbers, tools, and advisory information that players no longer slip through the cracks in any league. Furthermore,  owners want to feel that they are getting full dabreuollar on their investment, so they  won’t move a struggling big name for half of his draft day stock. Nevertheless, two guys you should and could actively target as a buy low candidates are Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier. Both are struggling out of the gate here in 2016, but believe by the end of the season they will have approximately all the counting stats one could have actually envisioned for a full seasons work.

Detroit Tigers

saltyThe Tigers have stayed smack dab in the middle of their division since last week’s article and hope to keep getting timely hitting from others beside their usual suspects like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Nick Castellanos. Over the past week Salty has gone 7-for-20 with 4 homers and 10 RBI while slashing a .350/.381/1.000. This is not sustainable.  But, he is definitely a player you want to ride while hot and, with the volatility at the catcher position always being high, he definitely is a player worth rostering for the here and now.  Castellanos has slashed .450/.450/.700 over the past week.  He will not maintain this level of production especially since he has 13 strikeouts in 42 plate appearances  with no walks  so far this season.

With regard to my note that you should not loo to the White Sox for low tier two-start pitchers this week, you could look to Mike Pelfrey.  Now, I do not love recommending Pelfrey, especially if we were just talking talent alone. Fortunately, we are not.  The pick is completely opportunistic:  Pelfrey will face two putrid lineups in Oakland (at home vs. Rich Hill) and the Twins (on the road vs. Tommy Milone). With the high-powered offense behind him against those pitchers, we are looking at a possible week where you can steal two wins. Keep in mind that Pelfrey gets roughed up even when he is favored.  So this recommendation is better for points-league where you do not have to worry about ratios.

Cleveland Indians
Last week we were looking at a .222 start for players like Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana. Over the past week, Kipnis woke up and has gone 8-for-23 with three doubles, one home-run, two steals and a line of .348/.423/.609. Santana, however, has  managed to underperform even more, sporting an ugly .095/.231/.238. The Tribe expect Michael Brantley back within the next week or so depending on whether he clears the last hurdle in his rehab  and manages to play consecutive games on back-to-back days. His return should help the whole lineup, especially the guys who will bat around him like the aforementioned Kipnis and Santana. We all know about the pitching staff in Cleveland and while I really think Corey Kluber will finish as the third best pitcher on the team, there is no reason to panic with his slow start.You should not be actively shopping him. Instead see if you can buy him at a discount from a worried owner.

Minnesota Twins
Fortunately for Minnesota and its fans, they are no longer the T-zero-WINS thanks to the scuffling Angels. It seems that everyone besides Joe Mauer remembered that they could bring a bat to work. With Trevor Plouffe landing on the 15 day DL,  Eduardo Nunez will man the hot corner for the time being. Nunez has been playing really well lately, going 9-for-20 with a .450/.522/.650 slash line while compiling two steals over the last week. The masher who came to the Twins from the KBO, Byung Ho Park, has finally shown some of the power he displayed in the Korean League. He smashed three home-runs over the past week while going .318/.375/.818.

Whereas I offered a lukewarm recommendation on former-Twin, Mike Pelfrey during his two-start week, I would not do so for current-Twin, Tommy Milone.  Whereas Pelfrey  has favorable matchups and run suport, Millone will square off against t Danny Salazar. So a win will be tough to come across.

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs 11-3
  2. St. Louis Cardinals 7-7
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates 7-7
  4. Cincinnati Reds 7-7
  5. Milwaukee Brewers 6-8

Chicago Cubs

fowlerWith all of the star-studded youth that this team brings to the table (Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber (out for season), Addison Russell, and Javier Baez), the team has been riding leadoff man Dexter Fowler of the Orioles (oh wait: he flip-flopped back to the Cubbies at the last moment). In 48 plate appearances Fowler has a sparkling .375/.508/.708 slash line and leads the majors in reaching base 31 times,  He has failed to do so in only one game so far.  Even thought the team has the best record in baseball, one wonders  what will happen when the Cubs fire on all cylinders (not just Fowler).

The Cubs pitching staff has excelled early with four of their five starters having a sub-3.00 ERA. Kyle Hendricks owners will get the pleasure of having a two-start week in which he will face off against two awful lineups in Milwaukee and Atlanta.  Use him with confidence next week.

St. Louis Cardinals

martinezThe Cardinals have two starters with two-start weeks in week four of the season. Carlos Martinez will first face Arizona’s Shelby Miller (a scary match-up considering the park and lineup).  He will then get a home start against the Nationals (vs. Joe Ross). Neither is the most ideal match-ups.  But can not sit a guy as electric as Martinez.   Jaime Garcia will also take a crack at the Diamondbacks (vs. Zack Greinke), before a home start against Washington (vs. Stephen Strasburg). Garcia arguably has the tougher opponents.  But you do not want to sit either of these guys. Kolten Wong has really struggled and you may want to explore other options. He has been ice-cold, hitting .154/.250/.154 and dropping his season slash line to .200/.277/.200. It does not help that the Cardinals brought in Jedd Gyorko who can play second base, and will continue to take more at-bats away from Wong if he continues to struggle at such a colossal rate.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Leading off for the Pirates, John Jaso is off to a great start. He has gotten on base at a great clip while supporting a .346/.417/.462 slash line. While Jaso does not provide you with prototypical lead-off speed, he is getting on base often and that is all you can ask for from your leadoff man. Josh Harrison continues to hit at the bottom of the order, but is raking it in thus far.   He sports a solid .304 average alongside three steals. He has multiple position eligibility, so you need not worry about lost playing time once Jung Ho Kang returns off of the DL . Winless Gerrit Cole will take the mound twice for the Buccos next week and should be a bet to get at least one win although his first start will be in Coors Field (vs. Chad Bettis). His second match-up is at home in pitcher friendly PNC Park against rival Cincinnati (vs. Brandon Finnegan). The Coors start is scary in terms of ratio damage.  But, it offers a good chance to earn a victory and you should weigh that start according to your league scoring.

Cincinnati Reds
Maybe Gerrit Cole’s second matchup versus this Reds team is the scarier of the two match-ups, given Brandon Finnegan’s effectiveness so far.  He has arguably been Cincinnati’s best pitcher and as far as the numbers are concerned he has been their best batter slashing .571/.571/.714 (albeit in 7 at-bats. All joking aside, Finnegan will take his 2.04 ERA on the road for both of his tilts in his two-start week (@NYM-Colon, @PIT-Cole). The ability  to slide him into the RP slot makecozarts him more appealing in points leagues.  But his early season numbers make him a must-start across the board until further notice. Over the past week, Reds’ table-setter Zack Cozart has been red-hot as he has raked a .450/.429/.600 slash line and sits at a lofty .432 average on the season. While these numbers are due for some correction and regression, keep in mind that he did hit well in his 194 at-bats last year (9 HR, 28 RBI) before suffering a season ending injury around the All-Star break.  Cozart can give you some valuable production at the scarce shortstop position and he is  probably available on the waiver wire.

Milwaukee Brewers

lucroyThere is not too much to write home about with the Brewers so far this season because, as Dennis Green famously said, “they are who we thought they were.”

Ryan Braun has gotten off to a nice start as he has hit for a solid .319/.385/.533 line with three home-runs and zero steals. Time will tell if Johnathon Lucroy can become one of the top offensive catchers as he was before injuries derailed him. His slash line currently sits at a modest .277/.333/.340. I would not question using Jimmy Nelson in his upcoming two-start week. He will first face the Cubs on the road (vs. Kyle Hendricks).  They put up runs in bunches, but they also strike out a lot and and have been shut-out on occasion (see Tyler Chatwood). His second start is an easier match-up at home against the Marlins (vs. Tom Koehler). It offers a solid chance at a quality start and victory.

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 21st, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #10 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week end games.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Joe Iannone. Lenny Melnick is a fantasy baseball legend and a pioneer in the business. He is credited with starting the very first fantasy baseball show in 1993 along with Irwin Zwilling and Sandy Stolle. He also has a website which you can find at lennymelnickfantasysports.com where you can find all his work, and it is a great overall free community. Joe is a veteran writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a tenured fantasy baseball expert, and a big part of our community.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday April 24th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.

Our guests this week are Ron Shandler, Joe Iannone, and Andy Macuga. Ron is a legend and pioneer in the fantasy baseball world. He has been part of fantasy baseball world since 1986, and is a member of the FSTA Hall of Fame. He is currently a writer with ESPN, and runs ronshandler.com. Joe is a veteran writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com as well as a tenured fantasy baseball expert. Andy is the head baseball coach at Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California, and a veteran owner in MLFS leagues.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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