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A.L. West

“In Lou Of”- West Coast Notes heading into week 4:

Happy weekend every body! Week 3 of the MLB season is coming to an end tomorrow and although it’s still very early, there are two teams in the west that have surprised me so far and both are for different reasons. There are also some hitters and pitchers I want to discuss heading into week 4.
The first team is the Astros. I don’t think anyone could have expected them to start so poorly, they’re sitting at the bottom of the AL West on April 21st. They are a very young and talented squad, however they do strike out at an alarming rate and after Kuechel, there are some question marks in their rotation.
The second team is the Rockies. There is no doubt that they can hit the ball as well as anyone in the National League, especially at home. Their issue for years has been pitching and even though it likely won’t last, they’ve been getting solid performances so far. They are also missing arguably their 2nd or 3rd best player in Charlie Blackmon which makes what they’ve accomplished in the early going that much more noteworthy.

 

Hitters:

OF: Nomar Mazara- TEX

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Mazara is one of the Rangers top prospects and because of a DL stint for Shin Soo Choo, the 20-year-old has now gotten his first taste of MLB action. So far so good for Mazara. He’s been playing great defense in RF and has been on a tear at the plate. He’s likely not available  in deep leagues anymore but if you play in a shallow league, scoop him up while you still can. There is no guarantee that he stays in the majors once Choo returns, which of course hurts his value, however he is clearly a big part of the Rangers future so I recommend holding on to him in any keeper/dynasty format.

OF: Melvin (BJ) Upton Jr.- SD

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After signing a huge FA deal with the Braves a few year ago, Melvin (formerly known as BJ) completely fell off the map. In 2016, he’s been given a new lease on life and his currently the clean up hitter for the Padres. I know it’s early, however Upton has been pretty impressive so far. He’s hitting for a decent average, he still has pop in his bat and he’s swiping bags. Someone has to drive in runs for the Padres this season so as long as Upton is in the 4 hole, he’s worth having in almost every format. Just his RBI and SB potential alone give him fantasy relevance. He is still only 31 years old, which means he could be on the verge of a resurgence this year and is likely still available in a number of formats considering how deep the OF position is.

3B: Yunel Escobar- LAA

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His value in fantasy is definitely diminished as a 3B rather than as a MI but Escobar seems to be continuing where he left off last season with WSH. 2015 was a career year for him in many ways and he will play a major role for Angels in 2016, hitting at the top of their lineup. He hits for a solid avg and has the potential to score a lot of runs hitting in front of Trout, Pujols and Calhoun. There are still some leagues that give him MI eligibility so if you are in a league such as that, take advantage and nab him off the wire if he’s still there.

SS: Andrelton Simmons- LAA

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Simmons was acquired from the Braves during the offseason to help shore up the Angels defense. He is known much more for his glove rather than his bat and really hasn’t has a productive offensive season since 2013. In that season he still hit under .250 and had an OBP under .300. He’s off to a great start in 2016 though and has a 12 game hitting streak heading into his matchup vs Chris Sale on April 20th. If he continues to swing the bat with this consistency, he will be worth a look in fantasy. Monitor the situation and see if his solid start moves him up in the Angels lineup.

Pitchers:

SP: Archie Bradley- ARZ

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Bradley is a former 1st round pick of the D-Backs and although he has explosive stuff, he is still very young and does struggle with his command. He was re called this week to make a start against the division rival Giants and it went pretty well. This is a good sign of course for Arizona and fantasy owners who bought into Bradley last season when he made his big league debut. He’s currently back in the minor leagues, however, if a D-Backs starter goes down with any significant injury, we could see Bradley back up with the MLB club sooner rather than later.

SP: Eric Surkamp- OAK

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So far, I’m not really sure what we can expect from this 28-year-old LHP. He seems to have a rotation spot with the A’s right now by default and he will need to have more performances like he did against the Yankees on Tuesday night if he wants to keep his spot. He doesn’t really do anything well on the mound and seems like more of a stop-gap until either Henderson Alvarez recovers from his injury or until A’s prospect Sean Manaea is ready to pitch in the big leagues. Surkamp shouldn’t be owned in any format yet but I would keep on eye on him because the A’s, like the Rays, seem to do a great job with their pitchers. Oakland is also a great park to pitch in so he could be considered as a spot start type of player when he has the right matchup.

SP: Robbie Ray- ARZ

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Ray has easily been the best SP in the D-Back rotation in the early going. That is saying a lot when you consider that he’s their number 5 starter and the rotation has players like Zack Greinke, Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin. So far this season, in 18 IP, Ray has 17 K to go along with a dazzling 1.96 ERA. I don’t think he will maintain that ERA number, however it’s worth noting that in 127 innings last season with Arizona, he pitched to a 3.52 ERA and he’s only 24 years old. There is still room to grow for Ray and if he’s not owned in your league, I highly suggest you add him now. The D-Backs have a great lineup, even without A.J. Pollack, so he should get solid run support. The back-end of their bullpen is also solid with Tyler Clippard and Brad Ziegler, which should mean that if he leaves the game with a lead, he should get a W more times than not.

CL: Shawn Tolleson- TEX

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Tolleson was a huge X-factor in 2015 for the Rangers. His 9th inning dominance played a major role in them winning the AL West. So far this season he has really struggled, and although I don’t doubt his skill set, managers are typically not very patient with their closers. If you are a Tolleson owner, I’d watch this situation very carefully because if he continues to struggle, he will likely be replaced. For those of you who are looking for closers on the waiver wire, I suggest keeping an eye on Sam Dyson and Keona Kela, who are the 2 players I see as potential replacements.

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(Click the RED link to listen)

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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