Fantasy Baseball Tonight: 4/23
Through three innings, Cole Hamels looked like his old self again. He struck out six of the first nine batters he faced. Then in the fourth he gave up a two run homer to Ryan Braun, and then was struck on the shoulder with a batted ball by big ole' Prince Fielder. Fantasy owners around the country have been holding their breath but, thankfully, tonight I am reading that it is just a bruise, and Hamels says he will be out there for his next start. It appears as of now that it is safe to put him back in your lineup the next time he takes the mound. The first three innings must give you hope.
Speaking of Prince Fielder, he had two more hits today and drove in three runs. He is still off to a dreadful start, but perhaps this game gets him going. He is batting under .200 on the year and is striking out more than he usually does. Fielder is still a young guy, and I just have a hard time believing that he has "lost it". I know it is hard, but stay patient with Prince, or else I'll tell him to sit on you!
Jeff Samardzija was called up yesterday by the Cubs to have another power arm in their bullpen. He was impressive in his time with the Cubs in 2008, and even recorded a save. He has been starting a couple of games while in the minors, but he has been pretty average. In three appearances (two starts), Samardzija has a 3.75 ERA with 11 Ks in 12 innings. He only allowed seven earned runs in 27 innings last season with the Cubs, but has already allowed five in just those 12 innings at AAA. For deep leagues he could offer you some value, but don't think he is going to get any chances to lock down saves with Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg ahead of him. Personally, I don't wish bad things on him, but I hope he doesn't have much of an impact because I don't like typing out the name Samardzija.
Here comes Rick Ankiel. The Cardinals' power hitting outfielder has finally started to kick it into gear. After three hits on Friday, Ankiel had another three on Thursday including his first home run of the season. Even with his two RBI today, he still only has five on the season. Ankiel hit 25 homers in only 120 games last year, and look to him to be able to match those numbers again in 2009.
Dave Bush took a no hitter into the 8th inning and allowed only one run and two hits. However, unless you are in a deep league, I would probably stay away from Bush. He has consistently been a .500 pitcher and has never been much of a strikeout pitcher either. Don't think because he had this one great start that he is going to go out and win 15 games this year.
Has Aaron Harang officially turned the page from his subpar season in 2008? It appears he is on the way to that. For the third time in his four starts, Harang has allowed one run or less, and today against the Cubs he also only walked one batter. The Reds are scuffling badly on offense or Harang would be 3-1. His strikeouts are not QUITE at the level they were when he was at his best, but they are still above average. At this point, if Harang is available in your league, make sure you don't leave him out there anymore. Once the Reds bats come alive, he should be even more valuable.
Joey Votto continues his ascension to elite fantasy status with a four hit game on Thursday. Votto is now hitting .373 on the season with three homers and 15 runs batted in. He doesn't have elite power, but he is going to give you a really good batting average, and he should surpass 100 RBI.
Adam Eaton had a tremendous game tonight for the Orioles as he allowed just two runs over 7.1 innings and struck out nine. PLEASE don't fall into the trap of wanting this guy. If you are interested, go and look at his career numbers and tell me what gets you excited. Hell, look at his first two starts from this year. You know what they say about the sun shining on a dog's ass? The definition of that was Adam Eaton's start tonight.
B.J. Ryan was placed on the Disabled List today because of "soreness in his back and shoulder." The reason for the " "s is I am just not believing the injury. I think this is just a reaction to his inability to get players out and his drop in velocity. My guess is he is on the DL to give them time to get him straight. I assume he will be ok when he comes back, but who knows. Scott Downs will be the closer in his absence and if you have Ryan, I would go get Downs right now.
Another Blue Jays' pitcher, Ricky Romero, was also placed on the DL with a strained muscle on his right side. Although there is no set timetable for his return, these kinds of injuries tend to linger. The way a pitcher needs to torque his body to deliver a pitch, I would think that he would be out for more than the required two weeks.
Joel Zumaya is finally set to rejoin the Tigers most likely this coming Monday. Zumaya has had a laundry list of injuries over the past couple of years, and has gone from a "can't miss" closer prospect to an afterthought in fantasy baseball. He won't be closing right away, if at all for the Tigers so I'm not sure he is worth adding. If you are one of those people who don't draft closers and have to play the "carousel", then Zumaya is worth having on your team for his strikeout potential, and the fact that the Tigers don't have an established guy that you can count on to close. But given his string of injuries and some loss in velocity, I'm not predicting big things.
I have a question for all of you. As you all know I live in upstate New York and the big Yankee/Red Sox rivalry ramps back up on Friday. Of course, it is all over the papers and radio around here, and ESPN seems to always give it great coverage. Please leave me some feedback to this. Does the rest of the United States even give a crap about this rivalry? Or are you all sick of hearing about the Yankees and Red Sox? I am not a fan of either, but living here I can't help watching it and following it. But does it really matter to anyone else? Just wondering.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss “The Fantasy Baseball Gurus Show” every Wednesday night at 10pm EST on Blog Talk Radio. The show is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com. To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru.
The Fantasy Baseball Scouting Report is also back! Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10pm EST for all the news, free agent pickups, minor leaguers, and injuries. A can’t miss if you plan on winning your league. I also just met the people over at Baseball Trade Rumors and I invite you to visit their site. They have a page for rumors for every major league team, constant updates on the latest rumors, interactive polls, and overall some great content.
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