Fantasy Baseball: Friday News and Notes

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Fantasy Baseball: Friday News and Notes
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
So, how many articles have been written about Manny in the last 12 hours? 50? 100? 
Look, I'm as disappointed as the next guy, but I can't say I'm surprised any more. Names that come out simply don't shock me. I almost feel like I should have expected it. A sad thing really. 
I won't bore you with my own personal diatribe on Ramirez. The out-pouring of self-righteous journalism will do that for you well enough (not a bad thing, just saying that there are plenty of people with opinions). I'm only going to focus on the fantasy implications of the suspension. 
That's what you've come to expect from these writings, so that's what you're going to get. 
Let's hit the notes. 

Thursday Rewind
  • So you're without your star outfielder. What do you do? There are some options. Juan Pierre will get the bulk of time for the Dodgers, and he certainly can bring speed to the party. Don't like his lack of power? Justin Upton is still available in about 15 percent of leagues, and Melky Cabrera is swinging a good bat too. Scott Hairston can help against righties, but he's been awful against lefties, and Chase Headley coming back will cut some of his playing time.
  • How long will the Braves put up with Kenshin Kawakami's performances and control problems when Tommy Hanson is pitching well in the minors. What about the Royals continuing to go with Sidney Ponson as Luke Hochevar dominates at AAA?
  • Alex Rodriguez will be in the lineup on Friday against the Orioles, seeing his first action of the season. Those of you that have been waiting for this should get him back in your lineups. Weekly leagues get the benefit of seeing him play the weekend.
  • Brian Bannister has had more success at home than on the road, and he showed that again last night. Bannister pitched well against the Mariners, picking up another win. He worked six innings, giving up no runs on five hits and a walk. He's not normally going to strike out seven batters, but that was a nice bonus. AL-only leagues should keep him in mind.
  • Jarrod Washburn pitched just as well as Bannister in the loss. He went seven innings and gave up just one earned run. Washburn lowered his ERA to 2.68, and didn't walk a batter. Five of his six outings this year have been more than solid. He's got a decent defense behind him, and is throwing very effectively. At 45 percent owned, he's someone owners need to consider. I could see a Joe Saunders-type season.
  • It's getting to the point that if you even have a moderate home run hitter in your lineup that you need to start them at Yankee Stadium. SportsCenter pointed out this morning that 32 home runs have already been hit to right field in that ballpark. We're at the beginning of May. Insane.
  • Cleveland's bullpen is simply awful. While starter Jeremy Sowers didn't help himself and got into trouble in the sixth, the bullpen then allowed everyone and their mother to score before anyone could record an out. Yes, Kerry Wood is solid at the end, but you need a bridge to get to him. That just isn't there. It will cost starters wins, and Wood saves.
  • Anibal Sanchez left yesterday's start with an apparent shoulder injury. Sanchez has had issues before, and adding another to the list isn't going to make him more desirable. He is what he is, a nice matchup play. Even in NL-only leagues, he doesn't have enough upside to be owned.
  • Rick Ankiel has been placed on the DL after the collision he suffered with the outfield wall. You're going to be looking at the same type of players to replace him as you are Ramirez. It's just more likely that you'll be able to replace the production. Colby Rasmus will get the playing time in center, and we should see more of Chris Duncan as well.
  • David Ortiz added to the Red Sox injury woes, as he was scratched from the lineup last night with stiffness in his neck. Ortiz is listed as day-to-day. Julio Lugo was the DH in his place. Kevin Youkilis was also held out with back stiffness, still no word on his availability this weekend.
  • Mark Buehrle simply dominated the Tigers last night, showing that, again, stats can lie. Prior to this start, the Tigers were well over .300 against Buehrle in his last eight starts or so. On the road, he made quick work of them.
  • Last night's results: Wins-Andy Pettitte, Jair Jurrjens; Losses-Looper, Ohlendorf, Buehrle (Season: 75-57-2)...time to get back on a streak here...

 

Notes for Friday

  • I'm liking Randy Winn tonight against Chad Billingsley. Winn has hit .435 in 20 at-bats against him. Unfortunately, the good news for the Giants ends about there. Billingsley has already faced the Dodgers twice this year, and has given up just three earned runs in 14.1 innings of work along with just 13 hits.
  • While Barry Zito was roughed up in his last trip to Dodger Stadium, he's still 3-2 there over his last five starts. The Dodgers don't have much luck in terms of individuals against him, but Matt Kemp has raked and Rafael Furcal is solid. Zito could still get a good start here, but his run support makes a win unlikely. The Giants starter has allowed just three runs in his last 20 innings.
  • Don't let the stats fool you. Many people will throw out that James Shields has had no luck at Fenway Park. Yes, by the numbers, that's true. Still, Shields gets his data skewed by the fact he had a couple short outings. One ended by ejection, another he was roughed up. Take out those two, and he looks like an All-Star against Boston.
  • CC Sabathia has largely had his way with the Orioles lineup. I'd keep Brian Roberts down if you have the luxury. He's just 3-for-18 against the Yankees hurler. Aubrey Huff, at .250, is the best of the Baltimore regulars in this one.
  • Robinson Cano is just 1-for-19 against Jeremy Guthrie, and Hideki Matsui hits just .235 against the Baltimore starter. I'd look for other options for them here. Your other Yankee regulars all have decent numbers against Guthrie, and they did put up five runs against him in the opener of the season.
  • Let's add to Derrek Lee's struggles by throwing Dave Bush at him. Lee is 4-for-27 against Bush for his career. Aramis Ramirez has hit .286, and has three home runs to go with it. Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome should be good plays here as well. I'm rethinking my call from yesterday. Outside of his stellar performance at Philly, Bush has given up at least three runs in every start, only once getting through the seventh.
  • Scott Richmond will get to continue to take advantage of easier matchups. While he does have to pitch on the road, he'll get to do it in a big ballpark against a suspect offense in Oakland.Richmond is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.67. Sure, likely won't stay this way all year, but I like it for one more performance anyway.
  • I'm keeping Cole Hamels down again in this one. It's like my comment on Ricky Nolasco yesterday. Neither has given owners any indication that they are ready to be thrown out there. Until something good happens, hold each back here. Hamels could be in line for a good start based on his history against the Braves, I'm just hesitant. Yunel Escobar and Jeff Francoeur both have struggled against the Phillies pitcher.
  • Brandon Inge deserves a start against the Indians tonight. He's swinging well as it is, and has hit Cliff Lee to the tune of .394 in 33 at-bats. Add three home runs and eight RBI, and I like what I see here. If you are using Gerald Laird, he's just 1-for-12 against Lee and represents the biggest red flag. Should only matter in deep AL-only leagues.
  • Spot Starts: Richmond, Wandy Rodriguez, Joel Pineiro

 

Weekend Notes

  • Scott Kazmir pitches well against nearly all of the Red Sox lineup as individuals, he just can't seem to come up with a way to get Dustin Pedroia out. A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury is a decent play, and Mike Lowell has an average of .243, but four of his nine hits are home runs.
  • Jonathan Sanchez is struggling with his pitch efficiency like crazy. He's throwing near 100 pitches without getting out of the fifth inning in many cases. The Dodgers are hitting well as a team, and still scored nine runs against average pitching on Thursday. The only Dodger to be concerned with here is Andre Ethier, a 3-for-13 hitter against Sanchez. Sanchez hasn't recorded a win in his last four starts against the Dodgers.
  • Need a reach play for the weekend? With so many catchers going down with injury or struggling, Jason Kendall may be an option on Saturday. Why? He has hit .400 in 40 at-bats against Ryan Dempster. Prince Fielder is at .296 and Rickie Weeks is at .308, but you will likely want to avoid all other Brewers in this one. No other Brewer cracks .200.
  • I wouldn't reach for any Cardinals against Aaron Harang. Skip Schumaker is going to be as deep as you want to go. Chris Duncan and Khalil Greene have really struggled in their at-bats against the Reds pitcher. Stick with what you know here.
  • Be careful with Kyle Lohse this weekend. On May 5, the Cardinals site reported that he was feeling some soreness in his elbow. It may not impact his availability this weekend, but could impact his performance. He pitched well in limited starts against the Reds last season, but this steps outside of those numbers.
  • Paul Konerko and Scott Podsednik are at .429 and .364 respectively against Kevin Millwood. Not bad plays, especially Podsednik, for a day here.
  • Matt Garza has been lights-out against Boston, and he gets them in prime time on Sunday night. I'm not hesitating to start him in this one, and I'd actually hold back most of my Red Sox regulars based on the numbers and the recent performances.
  • There should be room on your roster for Glen Perkins on Sunday against Seattle. Perkins is a near automatic start at home in deeper leagues, and this one is no exception. Seattle's offense struggled against Kansas City, and coming off Liriano on Saturday, Perkins could get a good start.
  • Surprisingly, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are both below .240 against Jeff Suppan and each have at least 40 at-bats against him. Still, you aren't going to keep them out against a guy that has struggled against the Cubs as much as Suppan has. Start all your Cubs, as they make great fill in options for others that may have poor Sunday matchups.
  • Brett Myers struggled in his opening start of the season against Atlanta, and has had trouble with home runs early this season. While Jeff Francoeur and Kelly Johnson have struggled against him, I'm tempted to hold back Myers here. Johnson is a concern, at just 3-for-20. Otherwise, your Braves should be fine starts.
  • Spot Starts: Paul Maholm (come on guys, 50 percent owned? We can do better!), Doug Davis (you could throw five good innings against the Nats), and Joe Saunders (even against Greinke), Nick Blackburn, Sean Marshall (Jeff Suppan Corollary), and Ian Snell
  • Keep on the Bench: Kevin Millwood, Brett Myers

Collin Hager writes The Elmhurst Pub fantasy blog. You can get your questions answered by sending an email to elmhurstpubroundtable@yahoo.com. He's also on Twitter @TheRoundtable.

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