One of the most common emails that I get on a daily basis is when is it time to stop waiting on (insert player here) to start hitting/pitching well? And my answer is usually to continue to stay patient unless there is a player of equal talent available on the waiver wire.
Kevin Slowey was a popular sleeper heading into the season, but hadn't really put up the kind of numbers some were hoping for. He made up for it all tonight. Slowey threw eight innings, allowed just one run, walked nobody (vintage Slowey), and struck out seven. I still stand by my prediction that he will win 15+ games this year and be a top 20-25 pitcher.
For you patient Alexei Ramirez owners, he is finally starting to make you happy. After his two hit game today, Alexei now has six hits in his last five games, and finally connected on his first homer of the season. Hopefully, this is the start of something big, and he can get his average over the Mendoza Line. But seriously, I still expect big things from him in 2009.
Prince Fielder just needed to almost take a pitcher's arm off with a hit to get him back on track. After crushing Cole Hamels' shoulder blade, Fielder has seven hits in the last four games, and had a two dinger evening on Saturday. Many, many people were ready to write him off a week ago, but it appears that he is on his way to another All-Star caliber season at the plate.
After it took him eight days to connect on his first home run, Chris Davis hit his fourth in the last ten days on Saturday. Davis is finally rewarding those of you who were patient with the young slugger, although he is still striking out at an Adam Dunn-like rate (28 times in 16 games, wow!). That seems to be the way that young power hitters are being groomed nowadays though. Davis should have a great 2009, after taking the AL by storm in the second half of 2008.
Mike Pelfrey was back on the mound for the Mets, and he was rather effective. Pelfrey was able to last 5.2 innings, allowed just two runs and picked up the win in his first start since dealing with tendonitis in his forearm. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners, Pelfrey walked three and only struck out one, but he did get the win and was able to stay healthy. I like Pelfrey to have a pretty solid season, just don't expect an ERA under 3.00 or a ton of strikeouts.
Ryan Church continues to hit which he needs to do to continue getting regular playing time. Church had two more singles today and drove in three more runs, bringing his season total to seven. I like Church as a bench option for your team, and I'm not sure why the Mets don't seem to want him to play every day. He isn't a guy who will make a big impact, but he is nice insurance against injury.
Yunel Escobar continues to be a good option for those of you who require a middle infield spot on your roster. Escobar had three hits on Saturday, including his second home run, and raised his RBI total to nine. He isn't going to excel for you in any category, but he won't kill you in any either. Plus, there aren't a ton of great shortstops available.
Robinson Cano continues his bounceback season after disappointing his fantasy owners badly in 2008. He is now hitting .366 and he is hitting for more power than he has in the past. Cano connected on two jacks on Saturday, giving him five on the young season. He had only 14 all of last season. I don't think this power surge will continue, but he isn't a guy that I would be trying to "sell high" on. I think Cano will have a really good season the whole way through.
As I sit here and write this tonight, I ask myself "Am I really watching the Pirates/Padres game?" The answer: Sadly, yes. Gotta love the baseball package!
Now while I wouldn't be selling Cano, I would definitely be trying to find a sucker.....I mean trade partner for Mike Lowell. Not only is he a notorious first half hitter, but I think he spends his offseasons in Florida, because isn't that where all the senior citizens spend their time? Lowell has had just about every kind of injury in his career, and these good times can't last. After connecting on his fourth homer tonight, and running his RBI total to an eye popping 22, his value will never be higher. Do yourself a favor, make a move. These are the kinds of moves that win you a league. Selling high on a player who is at his peak value.
Mitchell Boggs pitched a pretty solid game for the Cardinals, and could have solidified himself a spot in the rotation while Chris Carpenter is out. Boggs didn't allow an earned run over 5.2 innings and struck out three. He isn't a great strikeout pitcher, won't have an outstanding ERA or WHIP, but he could get you some wins, and is a decent spot starter against some of the weaker NL teams (Padres, Pirates, Nats).
Jason Kubel has been able to stay healthy, and he continues to hit up a storm. Batting clean up for the Twins, Kubel is hitting .350, and is now up to four homers after connecting twice on Saturday. His 15 RBI lead the team, and barring injury he should be the second best hitter the Twinkies have. He brings absolutely no speed, but this guy knows how to put the bat on the ball and is a good third or fourth outfielder or perhaps in your UTIL spot.
Like I said before the season started, Mark Buehrle will never get you excited, in fact he might get you laughed at. But the guy is a professional pitcher and ran his record to 3-0 today, with another good start. If you are familiar with the Tortoise and the Hare, Buehrle is the tortoise. He is just slow and steady, never exciting, never flashy, but generally gets the job done. A lot of fantasy players, including myself sometimes, would rather have that flashy up and comer who generally disappoints you. But you can pretty much figure what you will get from Buehrle every year.
Man that Pujols guy is good. Another grand slam today against the Cubbies. Did you see that home run? What a freakin' SHOT!
Bill Hall had three hits tonight, stole a base, and drove in four runs, but don't get fooled by the one good game. Hall has been a wildly inconsistent and streaky player throughout his career. Unfortunately for him, most of those streaks have been long and cold. Don't get sucked in by a guy you have heard of having one good night.
Chris Volstad had another great start for the Marlins, and I wonder how much more he will have to do to get more love in the fantasy community. Volstad allowed just two runs over seven innings, walked just one and struck out six. This guy was a very highly touted prospect, so the numbers he put up last year weren't a fluke. He has an ERA under 3.00 after four starts, and you should be jumping on the bandwagon ASAP.
Traded after losing the starting job to Jordan Schafer, Josh Anderson is doing pretty good for the Tigers and could be a good source of steals. Anderson stole his fifth base of the season on Saturday, and all have come in the last nine games. Anderson had some big stolen base numbers in the minors (40+ in four straight seasons), and if he keeps hitting he should have regular playing time in Detroit.
Justin Upton finally hit his first home run of the season tonight, and has gotten his average near .200. I know that sounds horrible, but he didn't have a hit until April 14th. He appears to have staved off a possible demotion to the minors, but I still think it will be another wildly inconsistent season for Upton. His big breakout will come sometime in the near future, but I'm not banking on this season.
Josh Hamiton left Saturday's start after having an inflammed left rib cage. After beating out an infield hit, Hamilton appeared to injure himself sliding after a double steal. According to Hamilton, he expects to be in the lineup on Sunday. Don't be surprised if the Rangers decide to sit him, but it doesn't appear to be anything serious.
Joel Zumaya returned to the mound for the Tigers on Saturday, and didn't give up a run. Zumaya did not strike out a batter and allowed two hits, but it was just great to see him back out there. You have to wonder if the intimidating fireballer will ever be back, but given the Tigers bullpen you never know what kind of role he might end up with.
Aramis Ramirez will miss the next four to five games and might not return before next weekend thanks to the strained calf he suffered yesterday. This is the kind of thing you have to expect when you draft a guy like Ramirez, but the encouraging news is that he appears to have avoided the DL.
Brian McCann was finally placed on the 15 day DL with that blurry vision, and he will most likely be having the Lasik surgery again sometime in the next few days. It is good for the Braves to finally put this issue to rest and just sit their star catcher down for a couple of weeks now, instead of letting this linger any further.
The news on Brandon Webb is not good. The Diamondbacks have announced that Webb will be shut down for the next three weeks, and it is likely that he won't be back on the mound for Arizona for about six weeks. It is not clear exactly how serious this injury might be, but it doesn't sound good when a guy feels some tightness in his shoulder before a bullpen session, and the next thing you know he is out six weeks. I am very worried about Webb.
What do you guys expect from Justin Upton this season? Do you think he is just off to a slow start or is he still a year or two away?
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