Let’s take a quick look around the anti-DH senior cicuit:
Arizona Diamondbacks- Ian Kennedy has an ERA under 4, as of Sunday the next lowest ERA among the starting rotation was …..5.46 by Armando Galarraga. That’s TERRIBLE. If you want to look for rebound potential in the staff, keep an eye on Daniel Hudson. Offensively Kelly Johnson is making last year’s success look like a fluke as he is hitting under the Mendoza line so far. He should rebound to at least mediocrity.
Atlanta Braves- Lowball for Dan Uggla now, clearly he is not a under .200 hitter. As I said on the closer report, Craig Kimbrel’s true value wouldn’t be decided until after he got punched in the mouth. Well he took two to the jaw with back to back blown saves. I suspect he will be fine, so if you own him don’t panic….yet. Just monitor his next couple of outings, and hope he comes back strong.
Chicago Cubs- 247, 227, 196. Those are Carlos Pena’s respective batting averages over the last 3 years. So there is no reason to be optimistic about a turn around to his .159 start. He is what the numbers say he is. Who is NOT what the numbers say are Alfonso Soriano and Matt Garza. Alfonso Soriano is hitting home runs like he is 28 again. Ride him while he’s hot but at 35 he can’t be trusted to keep it up. Matt Garza started out slow but seems to be pulling it together. He should be a good starter the rest of the way. Ryan Dempster on the other hand is officially a question mark. They say he is healthy and his velocity is fine, which means he should figure it out, but I am not holding my breath.
Cincinnati Reds- I told ya’ll Mr. Votto was the truth! (There is also an interesting blog about Votto on the Reds blog page here) Ok now that I finished my victory lap it seems that Jay Bruce may be turning it around. I LOVE this kid, and have been acquiring him in leagues where owners had decided to give up on him. Edinson Volquez is still way too inconsistent for my tastes but he has looked a lot better in his last has two starts.
Colorado Rockies- Ubaldo Jimenez has looked very mediocre to start the season. He should turn it around although you can’t expect him to ever get as hot as he was the first half of last season. Yes Jhoulys Chacin really is good. Carlos Gonzalez’s slow start makes him an obvious trade target. Of course it’s so obvious you may not be able to get a discount at all.
Florida Marlins- Josh Johnson will win a Cy Young someday. More interestingly Ricky Nolasco has been pitching well. It looks like he may finally offer up that quality season owners expected last season. Leo Nunez has been good as gold. Hanley Ramirez has been less than impressive so far, and quite frankly has me a little nervous. His home run total has dropped for three straight seasons prior to this one. I’d still say he is a buy low trade candidate but I’ve slightly adjusted my projections for him downward.
Houston Astros- As of Sunday Brett Wallace was hitting an amazing .382 but his power has yet to come. He may not homer much this season, but the fact that he is figuring out major league pitching is promising for keeper league owners. Carlos Lee, who I believe is finished, bruised his ribs on Sunday. If it turns out to be for any period of time keep an eye out on Jason Bourgeois as the speedster has done well when given the opportunity this season. For years I believed Hunter Pence was not as good as advertised. I have adjusted my opinion some. I think he truly is good, but being in that lackluster line-up makes him a mediocre fantasy option.
Los Angeles Dodgers- Jonathan Broxton is never returning to his dominate self; it is time to let that idea go. Ted Lilly should settle down and be fine at the middle or back end of your fantasy rotation. Matt Kemp is super talented, but he has had prolonged slumps before. Andre Eithier is another fine talent playing above his means. Not that I am saying either should be dealt, but you just can’t expect either to stay at this pace. Jerry Sands has not done much with his first look in the majors. He is someone to keep an eye on though, especially in keeper leagues.
Milwaukee Brewers- Zack Greinke will likely make his season debut this week. I would suggest that owners wait until next week before placing him in line-ups if you have an alternative. While Yovani Gallardo is inconsistent due to command issues he is much better than he is shown so far. When he is right he is an upper level talent.
New York Mets- Ok, I am just going to say it. Chris Young is an elite pitching talent. He proves it every time he is healthy. The problem is his arm is made out of wet toilet paper and can fall apart at any time. In weekly leagues, he should be amongst your first pick-ups whenever he has a 2 week start. I like Josh Thole but the kid better start hitting SOON now that Ronny Paulino is back.
Philadelphia Phillies- The Phillies vaunted rotation has made many overlook how mediocre the bats have been so far. The main missing piece, Chase Utley, may indeed be nearing a rehab stint but the high level of caution combined with the lack of information coming from the organization leaves me doubting that he will return any time soon. Also on the mend is Dominic Brown, who was activated from the DL and sent to AAA. Once he proves healthy, he will likely be brought back to the majors where a logjam of corner outfielders will ensue. Fantasy numbers will likely suffer all around until someone gets hot enough to take control. One of the candidates, Raul Ibanez may be playing himself right out of the line-up with his struggles so far.
Pittsburg Pirates- I thought Andrew McCutchen was slightly overhyped coming into the season. But his early struggles may have transformed him into a buy low candidate.
San Diego Padres- I quite frankly almost fell out of my chair when I saw their TEAM batting average of .213. I think ESPN’s Matthew Berry is a fantasy genius, but I want to fight him for tricking me in believing in Will Venable. In truth Venable may turn it around and Nick Hundley may be worth keeping an eye on in 2 catcher leagues but the line-up is just dreadful. On the pitching side, that thud you here is Aaron Harang remembering who he is and falling back to earth. Because of his spring training injury Matt Latos is still just getting his sea legs under him. It may take him a little while but he will likely be worth the wait.
St Louis Cardinals- Tony LaRussa has been a pain in the booty for fantasy owners for a while now. And here we go again, as he has gone to the dreaded closer by committee. Mitchell Boggs will likely get more save chances then the others, but I’d avoid them all if possible. If you have Lance Berkman do yourself a favor and try to deal that man as he will never keep playing at the rate he is now.
San Francisco Giants- I thought I saw small signs of regression and passed on Tim Lincecum in my drafts, looks like the joke is on me. I should never doubt The Freak. On the other hand Aubrey Huff has been plain bad. Since he hates me, watch Huff start hitting again now that I’ve finally dumped him. Both Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner will be better then they have been until now.
Washington Nationals- Ryan Zimmerman is expected to miss another 6 weeks. His injury is not only crippling his owners but causing problems throughout the Nationals line-up. Their line-up was thin WITH him in, without him they are plain awful. With that said Jayson Werth should come around. I think the change in ball parks and line-up will hinder his numbers, but not to the degree it has so far. And I expect the entire line-up will improve once Zimmerman rejoins them.
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Written by Mo Johnson