Monday, April 6, 2009

What we learned from Braves' opener

Atlanta smacked the World Champs, launching three bombs off Brett Myers and won 4-1 in Philly.

What's this all mean? Big whoop.

One game. And the Phillies were missing their ace, Cole Hamels. Sure, it's nice to beat the defending World Series Champions, but that's about it.

Unless you're playing fantasy.

Opening Day has always been a close second for fantasy goose bumps. If Draft Day is Christmas Eve, Opening Day is that first good present you find under the tree, after the socks and wall calendar have been open.

So, quickly (you've got games to watch today and lineups to set), a few things we learned in the past 24 hours:

1). Jordan Schafer (pictured above waltzing around the bases): Real Deal? We can't be sure yet, even after homering in his first MLB at-bat. The Braves new CF is definitely a nice prospect whose spring was so impressive, it forced Atlanta to trade Josh Anderson. Most-likely Schafer's a 15-15 guy, who unless he gets moved from the 8th spot, stays an NL-only guy for the most part. But keep tabs on his batting spot (a move to the No. 2 spot could turn him into mixed-league money). And actually, 18-12 might be more accurate when talking how high this Jordan can fly his rookie year. Think poor man's Hunter Pence. In a recession.

2). Derek Lowe: Pitched 8 innings of 2-hits, no walks with 4 Ks. Count me among Lowe's skeptics as he few off many draft boards in the top 10 rounds. Yes, it's just one outing, but after silencing the bats of Rollins, Utley, Howard and Co., you start to wonder if Lowe might be Lincecum minus 100 Ks this year. Doesn't sound great, until you realize that makes him a Top 10 SP. Not a great time to buy low, however. But it looks like a sound investment by both fantasy owners and the Braves' brass, who gave him 5 years and $60 million.

3. Jayson Werth: If you're looking for this year's Shane Victorino, look no further than the guy who is now hitting in S-Vic's batting spot. Maybe Charlie Manuel is still tinkering, but if Werth sticks as the No. 2 hitter and Victorino stays at No. 6, Werth owners may have struck fantasy gold. 30-30? I wouldn't bet the farm, but maybe a few of the cows. And he might be the cheapest fantasy player to do so. The Flyin' Hawaiian doesn't lose all value, as he'll probably steal from anywhere, but goodbye 110 runs and hello 65.

4. Jeff Francoeur: After getting totally hosed by Francoeur's demotion to AAA last summer, I've vowed never to spend Francs again. He'll probably be waiver wire cotton candy tomorrow, but how much do you trust a guy who hit .239 last year. Even if he did change his approach in the box. Might be a good sell-high if he has a good April.

5. Jeff Samardzija: One of the hardest names to spell in all of sports, Mr. N.D. was option to AAA Iowa and will be used as a starter down there, until the Cubs need him. Hello, this is Rich Harden calling. You might wait to put down money on a Des Moines apartment. See if you can get one of those classy rent-by-the-week hotels.

6. Justin Upton: He was on my radar, but was too pricey for my frugal blood at our auction draft and I'm starting to wonder about his value this year. Bob Melvin throwing everyone in the dessert for a loop, sitting Upton and Mark Reynolds in favor of Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark. There could be some major ABs by someone in the 'Zona OF, if Byrnes is really back. My guess is it'll be Upton early, then a little bit of everyone later. Until Byrnes re-injures the hammy. But on the bright side, he'll have more time for his XM show.

7. Josh Anderson: Mentioned earlier, as a Braves castoff. He's reportedly starting in left for the Tigers today. AL-only leaguers, listen up. If Anderson puts up, he could get a lion's share of LF duties, but his playing time is 70 percent speculation.

8. White Sox: Today's opener already snowed out. And people have to ask why I moved south from Illinois. They'll try again Tuesday.


MichaelProcton said...

A "poor man's Hunter Pence?" Schafer was a better minor league hitter at a younger age. What he lacks in contact relative to Pence, he makes up for in plate patience and power. Will he get 20 HRs this year? Probably not, he's just 22. But he will spray a lot of doubles.