The “Fabulous Foursome” is a new column focusing on four players fantasy owners should be looking to acquire for various reasons (for example: new closer, prospect on the verge of a recall, buy low candidate, etc.). Let’s take a look at the debut edition:
1. David Robertson, New York Yankees, Relief Pitcher
Entering the season, we all knew that Robertson could vulture a few saves as the Yankees rested Mariano Rivera, but no one expected him to make much of an impact. All of that changed last night when Rivera tore his ACL while shagging fly balls during batting practice (before people question the move, it has been said that it has long been part of his routine).
Robertson has proven to be one of the elite setup men in the league, opening the year with a 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 18 K over 11.0 innings. Control, which has been an issue for him over his previous three Major League seasons, appears to be settled as he’s opened with a 2.45 BB/9.
Sure, he’s going to give up runs (100 percent strand rate) and the pressure is going to be on in New York, but he is the best option that they have and needs to be owned in all formats. There will be some speculation that Rafael Soriano will be the man to get the opportunity, but it is hard to imagine the Yankees entrusting him given his control issues this season (6 BB in 9.0 innings). The Yankees have been grooming Robertson for this, so the fact Soriano has closing experience likely won’t be a factor (though you never really know).
You also have to be left to wonder if the injury will spur a transition of Phil Hughes back to the bullpen, opening a full-time spot for David Phelps in the rotation? Time will tell, but Phelps is another pitcher worth stashing in deeper formats.
2. James Paxton/Danny Hultzen/Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners, Starting Pitchers
Just take a look at the ERAs of the five pitchers to make starts for the Mariners this season:
- Felix Hernandez: 2.23
- Jason Vargas: 3.38
- Blake Beavan: 4.45
- Kevin Millwood: 5.34
- Hector Noesi: 7.83
The top two are fine, obviously. Beavan has pitched well enough, though you have to wonder how long that will last. The other two need to be replaced, and soon. It remains to be seen which young starting pitcher will get the first shot in the rotation, but the Mariners clearly have three pitchers at Double-A who are primed to make an impact before long.
Paxton is 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA, 36 K and 18 BB over 28.2 IP.
Hultzen is 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA, 30 K and 12 BB over 26.1 IP.
Walker is 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA, 28 K and 8 BB over 27.2 IP.
All three will likely get an opportunity in 2012, so make sure you keep a close watch on the situation and, if you have room in deeper formats, start stashing them away.
3. Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers, Starting Pitcher
While he is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, the numbers are a bit deceiving. Greinke has actually pitched significantly better than the ERA, having been sabotaged by a .365 BABIP and somewhat unlucky 70.7 percent strand rate (though he has posted marks of 65.3 percent and 69.8 percent the previous two years).
You couple the luck with the fact that he continues to show tremendous strikeout stuff (30 K in 29.2 IP) and solid control (2.73 BB/9), and you have a pitcher who should be a fantasy ace from here on out. It’s well worth trying to see if you can get him at some type of discount.
4. Laynce Nix, Philadelphia Phillies, First Baseman/Outfielder
Since 2009, he’s played for three different teams, hitting 37 HR over 836 AB. In other words, there is no arguing the fact that he’s got some pop in his bat. In five-outfielder formats, that alone is going to give him some value.
He’s going to sit against lefties, but when there’s a right-handed starter, you have to think that he’s going to be in the lineup, whether it is in the outfield or at first base. The team has been hit with a slew of injuries, from Chase Utley to Ryan Howard to Jim Thome, and Nix should reap the benefits (along with Ty Wigginton).
He’s more of a deep league flier at this point, but one that’s worth considering depending on your need.
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