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Around the Majors: Fantasy Analysis for April 25

Eric StashinSenior Writer IApril 26, 2009

BOSTON - APRIL 7: Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett #19 throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during an opening day game at Fenway Park April 7, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Neither A.J. Burnett, nor Josh Beckett impressed.  Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter continue to slug.  Prince Fielder may have finally broken out.  Let’s take a look at these stories and all the rest from yesterday’s games.

Tampa Bay vs. Oakland

  • Orlando Cabrera went 0-3 with one run, and now has just two hits in his past eight games.  Needless to say, if you have another option you should be using it by now.  He’s just not a player with the imminent explosion that you need to endure this type of low.
  • Matt Garza threw up his second consecutive sub par start, giving up four runs on four hits and four walks, striking out six, over five-and-two-thirds innings.  While I’m not worried about him yet, his next start does come against the Red Sox.  If you have a better alternative you may want to use it.

New York (AL) vs. Boston

  • A.J. Burnett vs. Josh Beckett was supposed to be an epic pitcher’s dual.  Instead we saw both offenses going on all cylinders.  Burnett gave up eight runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out three, over five innings.  Beckett gave up eight runs on ten hits and four walks, striking out three, over five innings.  It happens, but it still hurts.
  • Robinson Cano has officially bucked the trend of being a slow starter.  He went 3-6 with two home runs, five RBI and two runs and is now hitting .366 with five HR and 15 RBI.  If you were an owner that grabbed him you have to have a huge smile on your face right now.
  • Mike Lowell went 2-5 with a homer, six RBI and one run, now putting him at 22 RBI on the season.  Did anyone see that coming?

Texas vs. Baltimore

  • Ian Kinsler’s unbelievable start to the season continued, going 2-5 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs.  He’s now hitting .384 with seven HR, 20 RBI, 18 R and seven SB.  Chase Utley who?
  • Derek Holland had another strong outing, going three innings giving up one run on one hit and two walks, striking out two.  As I’ve said, it’s only a matter of time before he gets himself a rotation spot so keep an eye on him.  Those in deeper leagues, if you have the room, should consider stashing him away.  He has the potential to be a real steal.

Toronto vs. Chicago (AL)

  • Alexei Ramirez broke out in grand fashion, going 2-4 with a homer, five RBI and one run.  The home run was a grand slam, breaking the game open and his five RBI more then doubled his RBI output for the season.  Obviously this could have been an aberration, but Ramirez is too good of a player to think he’d struggle as badly as he has for too long. 
  • Mark Buehrle improved to 3-0, giving up two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out four, over six innings.  He’s Mr. Consistent and as I’ve said before, that certainly has value for fantasy owners.

Minnesota vs. Cleveland

  • Jason Kubel went 3-5 with two HR, two RBI and two R.  He’s now 14-29 over his last seven games, so cash in while he’s hot. 
  • With a five-game hitless streak in tact the Cleveland Indians gave Jhonny Peralta the day off yesterday.  Without a home run yet this season maybe this day off will help him right the ship.  He is one of the best hitting shortstops available, so his cold spells are worth enduring.  A hot streak is coming, it’s just a matter of when, and after taking the bad you do not want to miss it.  Keep him active in all formats.

Detroit vs. Kansas City

  • Jose Guillen went 0-2 with a walk in his return from the DL.  It’s certainly nice to see him back and owners in five outfielder formats should slip him back into their lineup.  Even with the offensive problems in KC, he’s proven to be a potential 20 HR, 100 RBI guy.
  • We already know Curtis Granderson is one of the best hitting outfielders in the game and he continues to prove it.  He went 1-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs, giving him six RBI and seven runs over his past five games.  He’s a force at the top of the line-up, with the only detraction being his lack of stolen bases.

Seattle vs. Los Angeles (AL)

  • Is it time to sell high on Torii Hunter?  After going 1-5 with a home run, two RBI, and one run. He’s now hitting .317 with seven HR.  Yeah, the power outburst is certainly unexpected, so if that’s what you are using him for maybe you should.  The speed, however, hasn’t gotten there yet, with just one stolen base.  Even if the power starts to wane, he should offer something, but this is a topic that needs significantly more focus in the coming days.
  • Russell Branyan has been on fire the past two days.  After going 3-5 with a homer, four RBI and two runs, he’s 5-8 with two HR, six RBI and four runs.  Is he a great long-term player?  Probably not, but he has some value if you need a short-term fill-in. 

Washington vs. New York (NL)

  • What does Ryan Church need to do in order to be left in the line-up on a daily basis?  He went 2-4 with three RBI yesterday, putting him at .358 with one HR and seven RBI.  He was thought to be a main piece to the Mets puzzle last season before concussions prematurely ended his season.  He seems to be back to form and simply needs to play.  Hopefully, with five RBI in his last three games, the Mets finally just let him play. 
  • Mike Pelfrey had a nice start after being skipped his last time around.  He went 5.2 innings giving up two runs on six hits and three walks, striking out one.  No, it wasn’t perfect by any means, but good enough to relieve some of the concerns.  Still, with a start at Philadelphia up next, I’d probably leave him on my bench if you have better alternatives.
  • Elijah Dukes went 2-4 with two RBI, raising his average to .302.  He had just two RBI in his previous seven games and has scored just two runs in his last 8 games. 

Atlanta vs. Cincinnati

  • Yunel Escobar went 3-4 with a home run, four RBI and three runs.  Great game, but don’t let it fool you.  He hadn’t had an RBI in his previous seven games.  He had scored just two runs in his previous nine games.  He really just doesn’t offer the upside potential in any category to make me want to use him very much.
  • Bronson Arroyo has been very hit-or-miss for the past season plus now.  He got bombed yesterday, giving up nine runs on nine hits and three walks, striking out five, over 5.2 innings.  I would not write him off, as he showed last season that he has the potential to turn things around at the drop of a hat.

Chicago (NL) vs. St. Louis

  • Geovanny Soto went 1-3 with a run.  Not really note worthy, but the hit was a double, his first extra base hit of the season.  Hopefully it’s the start of something big from him.
  • Mitchell Boggs was impressive, giving up just one run (unearned) on six hits and a walk, striking out three, over 5.2 innings.  With his next start scheduled against the Nationals, those who need a pitcher for next week certainly should consider him.  He’s got some upside and has the potential to stick in the rotation for the long-term.  At the least keep your eye on him.

Milwauke vs. Houston

  • With Ryan Braun hot, all the Brewers needed was to get Prince Fielder going.  Yesterday may be the day to mark down that things got rolling.  He went 3-5 with two HR, three RBI and three runs. 
  • Mike Hampton’s outing was alright, though far from impressive, giving up four runs on eight hits and three walks, striking out four, over six innings.  No, it’s not yet time to write him off once again, but his WHIP is sitting at 1.41, certainly not what anyone wants to see.  The strikeouts are also more in line with what we’d expect, though his overall season numbers were skewed by his eight-strikeout performance against the Pirates.  He’s got the Braves on the schedule next, which is really a take it or leave it game.  If you have a steadier option, I’d use it.

Philadelphia vs. Florida

  • Chris Volstad seems to throw up good start after good start, regardless of the opponent.  He went seven innings in this one giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk, striking out two.  He made two costly mistakes, home runs to Ryan Howard (2-5, HR, RBI, R) and Chan Ho Park.  Yeah, the home run to the pitcher has to frustrate you, but the end results are still very encouraging.  Overall he’s 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA.  His next start is scheduled against the Cubs, and while he’s not a must start I certainly would consider using him in deeper formats unless you have significantly better options available to you. 

San Francisco vs. Arizona

  • In need of some speed?  Emmanuel Burriss is getting the playing time and now has five SB on the season.  Unfortunately, he’s doing it with an average of .157.  He’s a better hitter then that, but as we’ve talked about before, was making a huge jump.  These struggles should not be unexpected, but I am confident he’ll settle in soon enough.  Keep your eyes on him.
  • Max Scherzer vs. Randy Johnson…The veteran strikeout artist vs. the up-and-coming stud.  Unfortunately, the match-up was all smoke and no fire.  Johnson went just 3.1 innings giving up two runs on three hits and seven walks, striking out two.  Scherzer lasted 4.2 innings giving up four runs on five hits and two walks, striking out six.  Scherzer’s upside necessitates him being on your roster, so do not give up on him despite his slow start to the season.

Los Angeles (NL) vs. Colorado

  • Clint Barmes went 0-4, dropping his season average to .250.  Could Ian Stewart start seeing more time at the position?  It certainly wouldn’t be surprising…
  • Ubaldo Jimenez gave up six runs on eight hits and four walks, striking out three over four innings.  While I wouldn’t drop him, it’s going to take a lot for me to ever have the confidence to slide him into my lineup.  If there’s someone willing to give you value in return, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger and rid yourself of this enigma.

Pittsburgh vs. San Diego

  • Zach Duke has had a tremendous start to his season, improving to 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA after giving up a run on six hits and two walks, striking out five, over 8.1 innings.  He’s given up one run or less in three of his starts (Cardinals, Astros & Padres), while getting shelled against the Braves (six earned runs).  I could see how one could argue that he’s done it against weaker teams, but all you can do is pitch against the opponents put in front of you.  Next up is Cincinnati, an offense that could go either way.  It’s been a long time since Duke showed this type of talent (2005), so it’s possible a regression is coming sooner or later.  Still, while he’s hot, he’s a pitcher to use in deeper formats.

What does everyone think?  Anything you want to add?

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