“In Lou Of”- AL West: MIP’s (Most Intriguing Players):
The AL West has been pretty strange after one month this season. The Astros, who were many experts pick to Win the AL pennant this season, find themselves in last place, while a team like Oakland whose outlook was bleak entering 2016, finds them selves right in the thick of things. At this point, all 5 teams have a chance at the post season, but when you take a look at each teams roster, only Seattle, Texas and even Houston seem like playoff caliber ball clubs. The Angels are inconsistent and I’m not sure the A’s success will last.
The Texas Rangers:
The winners on the AL West in 2015 look like the most complete team in this division. They have loads young talent on offense to go with their veterans and they have a great bullpen. When SP Yu Darvish returns, their rotation could be deadly, anchored by him and Cole Hamels. Ian Desmond has finally seemed to settle in as well at the dish, adding another quality bat to a lethal line up that features Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Elvis Andrus and Sin Soo Choo.
OF: Nomar Mazara:
This 21-year-old has burst on to the scene this season and after 20 games he’s been nothing less than spectacular. He’s created quite the log jam in the Rangers outfield and even with a .325 avg, 3 HR, 9 RBI and top notch defense, he may not stay up with big club when the Rangers get healthy. We saw it happen with Joey Gallo last season, I’m just thinking it may be time to sell high on this kid if you don’t play in a league where he has value for next year.
SP: A.J. Griffin:
Griffin has been excellent so far this season. After having TJ Surgery and missing the last 2 seasons, he’s given the Rangers 5 great starts in 2016. He’s 3-0, with a 2.32 ERA, 31 IP. He has 26 K’s and is keeping players off the base paths with a 1.00 WHIP. We will see how long he can keep this success going, I’d ride it while he’s hot.
The Seattle Mariners:
The 2015 Mariners had high expectations but with slow starts from players like Robinson Cano and Taijuan Walker, they failed to meet them. Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager had excellent seasons in 2015 though and are carrying that into 2016 so far. The Mariners made some great off-season additions like Leonys Martin, Adam Lind, Steve Cishek and Nori Aoki, who are all contributing already. Lead by Felix Hernandez, Isashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker, this pitching staff that also includes Wade Miley and Nathan Karns has the potential to be fantastic. Playing in SEA will surely help as well, it’s not much of a hitters ball park.
2B: Robinson Cano:
Robbie is off to a much better start in 2016 after a terrible start in 2015. He already has 9 HR, 16 R and 25 RBI and is easily the top 2nd baseman in MLB. He has 28 H, and although his avg, at only .267 is low for the moment, he’s shown that he can have a 2-3 month spurt of hitting over .320, just look at his 2nd half numbers last season. Even if his AVG stays around .265 to .270, it’s not out of the question (9 HR in 2016), he can reach the 35-40 HR mark.
SP: Taijuan Walker:
It was a really shaky start to last season for Walker as well. He pitched better in the 2nd half but was not nearly as effective as people who drafted him needed him to be. His value heading into 2016 definitely took a hit because of it, for those of you who showed faith though, you’ve been heavily rewarded. In 5 starts this year, Walker is 2-1, with a 1.80 ERA in 30 IP. He has 29 K’s a 1.033 WHIP and has been one of the best SP in the league. He’s got the stuff to keep it going, and the Mariners are going to need him to if they want to reach the post season.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:
We all know about how good Mike Trout is. We also know that Pujols is getting older and his production is on the decline. Cole Calhoun has developed into a fine young player and he will be a crucial part of the Angels lineup if they have any hopes at making the postseason in 2016. The problem is, beyond these 3 guys, their lineup is weak and so is their starting rotation. It doesn’t help that they are paying a stupid amount of money to Josh Hamilton (who is currently on the DL) to play for the division rival Texas Rangers. That money could’ve been very useful to them this offseason.
OF: Mike Trout:
No introduction necessary here. The Angels will go as far as Mike Trout can take them this year. This is a messy looking team that is getting messier by the minute. Trout is doing his part so far, with 31 H, 15 R, 6 HR, 20 RBI, and a .310 AVG. He does only have 2 SB on the season, which is troubling when you consider his steals have been on the decline every season.
SP: Garret Richards:
The future of the Angels pitching staff starts with Garret Richards. He’s their most talented, reliable and effective pitcher and he’s been showing why in 2016. In 6 starts, he has a 2.34 ERA in 34.2 IP and 34 K’s. His WHIP is higher than you want to be at 1.327 so he needs to improve upon it. I do urge you to ignore his 1-3 record though, the way he’s been pitching, he could and should be 3-1 or 4-0.
(Update: Richards out for the season. Will undergo TJS)
The Oakland Athletics:
So far so good for the A’s to start 2016. They were expected to be a basement dweller in this division, however, to date they have been very competitive. Now that Jesse Hahn and their top pitching prospect Sean Manaea are up in the majors, the A’s rotation is very exciting. Their bullpen has been sharp with the addition of Ryan Madson, who for the moment is the closer over Sean Doolittle. This is a scrappy line up that possesses sneaky power as well, and as an overall team, the A’s may surprise a lot of people and stick around in the playoff hunt for most of the season.
2B: Jed Lowrie:
This was the guy whose injury in 2015 opened the door for Carlos Correa with Houston. It also meant the end of Lowries time as a SS. He is off to one hell of start for the A’s in 2016. He’s fit in quite nicely as the every day 2nd baseman and has been a force at the plate. He has 30 H, a .316 avg and .356 OBP. Lowrie has also scored 8R and driven in 14. It has definitely been a resurgence for him since re joining the A’s, let’s see if it continues.
CL: Ryan Madson:
After a very strong season for the World Champion Royals, Madson signed a 3 year deal to be the set up man for the A’s but has actually stepped into the closers role and done a hell of a job. So far this season in 12.2 IP, he’s 1-0, with 8 SV, a 1.42 ERA, 10 K, and a 0.947 WHIP. Sean Doolittle will still get SV opportunities as well, Madson is definitely worth keeping around though as long as he’s getting looks in the 9th inning.
The Houston Astros:
Only the Cubs have more young talent than the Astros. They are a team that is built to compete now and win in the future.. Or so it seems. So far this season, the Astros have looked more like young kids trying to feel their way through an MLB season rather than g to win their way through. It doesn’t help that last years AL CY Young award winner Dallas Keuchel is off to a very slow start and their starting rotation is filled with questions. Their offseason trade for RP Ken Giles has been disastrous so far and although you don’t win divisions in April and May, you can definitely lose them. The Astros need to start playing better ball soon or they will find themselves looking up all season long.
2B: Jose Altuve:
He is one of the best players in MLB and contributes offensively across the board. He has 33 H, 22 R, 8 HR, 17 RBI, a .306 avg, .390 OBP and 10 SB. He’s really been the only consistent hitter on the team, especially since Colby Rasmus has come back down to earth a little bit. Altuve will continue to put up great numbers, he just needs everyone else around him to start chipping in as well.
CL: Luke Gregerson:
He had 31 saves last year for the Astros, yet they still went out this offseason and traded away prospects and a MLB ready pitcher to get Ken Giles. It was assumed that Giles would be named closer, and then prior to opening day it was announced that Gregerson is the 9th inning man. So far he’s made A.J. Hinch’s decision look like a good one. In 11 IP, Luke has 6 SV, 8 K, a 1.64 ERA, 0.636 WHIP and has been a force at the back end of the bullpen.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 5th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #12 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. 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 guest this week is Eric Paulen. Eric Paulen is an Emmy and Peabody Award winner with significant experience leading large film/video production projects spanning all genres of television with A&E, ESPN, HBO Sports, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, The Travel Channel, WWE Network, The NBA, NHL Productions, NFL Films, and NCAA.
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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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 8th, 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 Mark Rush and Marc Foster. Mark Rush of Washington and Lee University is the professor of politics and law, an author, writer, and a frequent guest on National Public Radio as well as the Arabian News Network. He used to write baseball columns and player analysis for Ron Shandler a guru in fantasy baseball on shandlerpark.com. Mark has joined our writing staff at majorleaguefantasysports.com, and his articles publish every Monday. Marc Foster is a former writer with MLFS, a two-time MLFB champ, and frequent guest on the shows this year.
“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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