Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Phillies, Nats cash in at Citzens Bank

What do you get when you mix a 12-mph gust to center with Citzens Bank Park? Roughly 24 on 26 hits, including 7 HR and 2 grand slams.

Just your typical night in Philly.

Let's look at some of the movers and shakers in last night's 13-11 Philadelphia victory.

Ryan Howard: Always a slow starter (last year, I trade him for Derek Lee a month into the season and there was an outcry that I was getting ripped off), Howard seems to be hitting his groove a bit earlier with his 4th HR and 15 RBI (after last night's grand salami). The window to buy low isn't slammed shut, but expect to pay closer to retail to get him now. With 47 and 48 HR the past two years, 50 and 150 isn't out of the question, especially in a re-loaded Phillies lineup that is averaging 6.2 runs a game.

Raul Ibanez: This guy just keeps hitting the ball. Earlier this year, he was swapped in one of my leagues for Dice-K straight-up and a couple owners raised an eye brow, thinking Ibanez wasn't fair value. But with 6 HR, 16 RBI and a .342 average, it's becoming clear that Ibanez's move to Philadelphia has increased his worth and we may be getting returns of the 2006 Ibanez (33-123-.289).

Adam Dunn: The move to Washington seems to be fitting Dunn swimmingly, launching his 5th HR and plating RBIs 13 and 14 last night. You know exactly what Dunn is: 40 HR, 100 RBI, .245. It might be a good time to sell high with his .311 average. But the good news is (for Dunn owners), the move out of the small Cincy park doesn't seem to diminish his value.

Ryan Zimmerman: Asked who hits a longer ball between him, Dunn and Elijah Dukes, Zim could only tip his cap to the other two, but last night's 457-foot bomb shows there's a lot of moxie in the 24-year-old's bat. That's right, he's still just a kid and the promising power numbers are just getting started. Look for 28-30 bombs this year, if he stays healthy and 100 RBI is a good bet. Hitting ahead of Dunn will definitely improve his diet of steady fastballs.

Elijah Dukes: The big question for Dukes' owners is how much will Elijah run. Hitting fifth, he's in a surprisingly good spot. With 3 attempts already, Dukes is showing 20-SB potential (although he's only been successful one time). There's gobs of talent here. With 2 HR and 13 RBI already, there's 25-100 potential. This year. But the real question with Dukes, still 24, is where his head will be. Disciplined once for being 5 minutes late to a team meeting, because he was making an appearance at a local little league parade, the Nats are playing hardball with Dukes, who has had plenty of off-season trouble. A good guy to trade for, as his value (and checkered past) makes him still a buy-low candidate. But do it quick before those steals start rolling in.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hamels' charmed life drilled by line drive

By all accounts, Cole Hamels is living the life.

The Phillies 6-foot-3 lefty was named World Series MVP last fall and since, then it's been a whirlwind of public appearances.

He also signed a 3-year, $20.5 million deal in January, some three years after marrying former Survivor legend Heidi Strobel, who along with Jenna Morasca, made a splash by taking off their clothes for some Oreos and Peanut Butter. Oh, yeah, that Heidi.

But things have been anything but paradise for Hamels this season. It started in spring training, when elbow soreness and inflammation required a cortisone shot on March 17 and cost him an opening day start.

Then, Hamels was rocked in his first two starts, leaving him with an 11.17 ERA and 2.17 WHIP. Thanks, a lot, fantasy owners grumbled, desperately trying to be patient with Hamels, who logged over 260 pitches in the Phillies' World Series run.

Then, came Thursday's outing in Milwaukee. Hamels was starting to look like Hamels again and fantasy owners were breathing a sigh of relief. Their third-round pick was not turning into a bust. Hamels breezed through the first three innings, striking out 6 of the first 9 batters he faced before giving up a 2-run HR to Milwaukee's Ryan Braun. No biggie.

Then, on the next pitch, Prince Fielders smacked a line drive that hit Hamels' left shoulder. Hamels doubled over and was immediately pulled from the game. All the team is saying is it's a shoulder contusion. As their Phillies announcers aptly put it, "Why don't they just say he was hit in the shoulder and is really sore and is going to ice and it and we'll see what happens."

Essentially, that's what a contusion can be translated as.

Good news for Hamels, is he's playing at home, so maybe he can get Heidi to help him ice it.

For those of you who don't know their story, Heidi and Cole met at a Clearwater Phillies game in 2004. Heidi was throwing out the first pitch and signing autographs, fulfilling her post-Survivor contract of traveling to 30-some baseball parks. The mild-mannered Cole, still a relatively unknown pitching prospect, got in line to get her autograph and asked her out.

Heidi had just moved back to Missouri from L.A. and jokingly told him, "unless you plan on flying to Missouri to take me out."

Two weeks later, Cole flew to Missouri for their first date and less than 3 years later, the couple married on New Year's Eve, 2006.

Their latest endeavor is to adopt an Aids orphan in Africa and possibly build a girls school in Malawi.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weekend Wrap: Wandy, Edwin or Ricky?

So, your pitching staff's taken a beating. There's more red DL marks than Red Cross. 

Fear not. Help is here.

Three pitchers have risen from Waiver Wire mediocrity to pickup worthy status in just about every format, except the shallowest.

Your wire will vary, depending on how many folks are in an early-season comma, but here are three names to look at, currently ranked 15-17 by Yahoo! scoring, if you need armed reinforcements. (Listed in order of preference:)

Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Astros (1-1, 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 18Ks, 19 IP): Time to wave the magic Wandy? You bet. OK, so I'm a bit biased, as a Wandy owner in the Observer mixed-league, but after flirting with the left-handed Minute Maid strikeout artist in previous seasons, Wandy is proving himself early to be someone you can trust. Will this short-term relationship last more than a few spring dates? We shall see. But after mowing down the Reds with 7 innings of 2-hit, 2-BB, 10K wizardry, there's a sneaky feeling this one could go the distance. 

Edwin Jackson, RHP, Tigers (1-0, 2.14 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 13 Ks, 21 IP): The first time I heard about Jackson was in 2003, working for the Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. After moving up to the No. 4 ranked prospect in all of baseball in 2004, Jackson battled injury and inconsistency (where have we heard that before), before landing with the Rays and putting together a nice, but pedestrian season as Tampa Bay's fifth starter. With too many cooks in the Rays' kitchen (namely David Price), Jackson became expendable  and sent packing for OF Matt Joyce. Playing in spacious Comerica, this could be year his 4-pitch arsenal, including a 95 mph fastball and lethal 89 mph slider all come together. He's especially tempting in a 4x4, as the 6.1 K rate will keep you above water in strikeouts, but just barely.

Ricky Romero, LHP, Blue Jays (2-0), 1.71 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 13Ks, 21 IP): Romero and Jackson are almost waiver wire twins. Only with Jackson, we've seen what he can do pitching a couple years in the AL East, while Romero is a virtual unknown. Both have the same K rate this year, and both have checkered minor league pedigree. Romero has never been that highly-touted (ranked just 8th best prospect in Toronto's system in 2009), but injuries to Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan have opened the door. Control has always been an issue with Ricky (3.8 BB rate in the minors), but so far, just 4 walks in 21 IP has Romero sounding like a real estate agent: Location, location, location. His latest gem against the A's is not exactly like facing the '27 Yankees. We don't really know what to expect from Romero, but he just got snapped up in our 10-team mixed league and he's worth rostering in yours, too. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grab a Ranger - any Ranger

Yeah, I know, they say things are bigger in Texas.

But that doesn't include the baseball parks.

If there was ever any doubt that the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was a fantasy baseball launching pad, Wednesday night's 19-6 slugfest proved you can never sleep on any Texas hitter.

(And you may want to Rip Van Winkle on each and every Texas hurler).

Exhibit A: Ian Kinsler (above)

All Kinsler did was hit for the cycle, on a 6-for-6 night with a HR, 4 RBI, 5 runs scored and a SB. Kinsler is batting .474 with 2 HR and 13 RBI.

Exhibit B: Nelson Cruz

Cruz went 2-for-5 with a grand slam, 6 RBI on the night, and now has 12 RBI for the season, one off Kinsler's team-leading mark.
Exhibit C: Marlon Byrd

Byrd was more than just the word. How's 5-for-6 with 3 RBI sound for a platoon outfielder? Byrd's hitting .417, which may give David Murphy and his owners more splinters and headaches than they had planned on.

Exhibit D: Andruw Jones

The former Braves/Dodgers flameout only had 1 hit, but walked twice and scored 4 runs, proving his worth in all AL-only leagues, even on the wrong side of a platoon.

I won't even go into the Rangers best two pure hitters (Michael Young and Josh Hamilton). Both were relatively quiet, although each stole a base early on when it was still a game.

Probably the most intriguing thing about Arlington on Wednesday was the wind was blowing in 14 MPH.

This place has long been a crackerjack box, where pitchers go to die. And now, with the emergence of Kinsler and Hamilton, the upcoming stars, including Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Elvis Andrus and steady cornerstones like Michael Young and Hank Blalock, the 2009 Rangers could easily lead the league in runs scored. As the summers heat up, the ball keeps flying further and further off the bats.

Hopefully your buddy isn't reading this. Not that it's top secret info, but the Rangers haven't had this promising a lineup in quite some time. Sure, there's no guarantee all their prospects will produce as advertised, but even at 70 percent, you might be looking a Texas team that plates 1,000 runs.

Get a piece of this pie while it's still affordable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wieters treats sparse Knights crowd

FORT MILL, S.C. - On a soggy, bitterly cold night at the Castle, fantasy hype machine Matt Wieters broke out of a 1-for-11 hitting slump with a pair of sharp singles in Norfolk's 7-0 win over Charlotte on Monday night.

Wieters, the Orioles prized catching prospect, finished 2-for-4 with a walk, a towering flyout to center that had the sound of a HR when it left his bat, and a strikeout swinging.

Official attendance was listed at 1,334, but if there were even 334 folks braving conditions, included seeing your breath by the 7th inning as the rain started falling hard, I'd be surprised.

So instead of playing at Camden and Fenway and Yankee Stadium, in front of tens of thousands, Wieters is playing in front of tens. 

On a night like this, Wieters must be thinking how different his life would be with a big league call-up.

If you've followed Wieters this spring, maybe drafted him on one of your teams, you know what kind of year he had in 2008: .350 avg., 27 HR and 91 RBI in 452 at-bats between A and AA. Oh yeah, his on-base-percentage was a sizzling .450.

Here's what you probably don't know: Wieters swing is about as smooth as homemade ice cream on a mid-August afternoon. He's Joe Mauer, but with serious pop. 

Just from the eye test, Wieters doesn't look 6-foot-5 and his swing doesn't come across as something that can produce 30 HR in the big leagues, but it's had to ignore the numbers. Wieters did smack 35 home runs in about 700 Georgia Tech ABs, hitting at least .355 each season.

At worst, Wieters hits for average and modest power in his rookie season when the Orioles finally wake up, or stop being cheap and let his arbitration clock start ticking. Think A.J. Pierzynski. At best, he'll smack 20 HR and hit .330 after an early-to-mid May call-up. Think Brian McCann.

A switch-hitting catcher who can hit for average and power is something that comes along once a decade. If you're holding onto Wieters, don't let go. If he's available and you have a bench spot, he's worth grabbing now. His swing is that sweet.

The Knights host Norfolk tonight (7:15), Wednesday (11:15 a.m.) and Thursday (7:15 p.m.) and my guess is Wieters, who has played in all four of Norfolk's games, will probably play in all three, either as catcher or DH, as the O's try to get him everyday at-bats. Don't expect to catch Wieters the next time the Tides return on July 6.

One side note: Former Cubs No. 1 draft pick (3rd overall), Luis Montanez is now hitting .588 (10-for-17) after a 3-for-5 night. Yeah, it's only the first week, but keep Montanez on your radar, especially in keeper leagues. He had a breakout 2007 season, batting .335 with 26 HR in 451 AA at-bats. In a 38-game tryout with the Orioles, he batted .295 with 3 HR in 112 at-bats. Just a name to remember.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Angels SP Adenhart killed in hit-and-run

Hearts are heavy around the baseball world today.

Shocking news out of Anaheim where Angels SP Nick Adenhart was killed in a hit-and-run accident, just hours after he threw six scoreless innings against the A's on Wednesday night.

This news, beyond horrible, for both the Angels and the Adenhart family, was first reported by TMZ late this morning.

Police say a person driving a minivan ran a red light, causing the Mitsubishi that Adenhart was in to hit a light pole. Three of the four people in that Mitsubishi died, while the fourth person remains hospitalized.

Adenhart, 22, was a promising 6-foot-4 righty, who was drafted out of a Williamsport, Md., high school in 2004, and was being counted on by the Angels, who were already struggling with injuries to John Lackey and Ervin Santana.

Two years ago this month, the St. Louis Cardinals lost pitcher John Hancock, 29, in a 2007 car crash, when his Ford Explorer crashed into a tow truck.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elvis has left the building

Man, if feels good to get that cliche in the books.

Texas Rangers SS Elvis Andrus hit his first career HR Wednesday night, tagging former Cleveland closer catastrophe Rafael Betancourt with a solo shot in the sixth inning.

How significant is this long ball (outside the nifty headline possibilities)?

Not very. Andrus won't approach double digits in dingers, even in Arlington, but it's important if you're an Elvis owner (and I'm not talking memorabilia), that the Michael Young Heir Apparent get off to a good start (and a .429 average easily qualifies) and not turn into the next "Hound Dog."

Not that the Rangers would change course if Andrus struggled, but a hot start validates the controversial move of Young to 3B, making that left side of the infield ... wait for it .... "All Shook Up."

Fantasy spin: While Andrus hasn't attempted a steal yet, it's just a matter of days as the defensive whiz has some major grease on those "Blue Suede Spikes, er, Shoes," swiping 53 bases in 482 Frisco at-bats. Andrus was caught 16 times, which probably translates to 35-40 bags in his rookie campaign to go along with a .280-ish average.

Combine that with a spot that's ahead of Ian Kinsler, Young and Josh Hamilton and there's an outside possibility a No. 9 hitter could break the 100-run barrier, which would be quite a rarity.

Don't have "Suspicious Minds," grab Elvis now, while he's still on your wire.

(I know, it's just awful)

Pick me up: Gutiérrez, Morgan

The coffee is brewing in the other room. You can smell it.

Latte? Cappuccino? Doesn't matter, as far as you're concerned.

Your fantasy team is already in need for a pick-me-up and, really, any black, stiff drink will do. 

Welcome to Waiver Wire Wednesday, with your host desperate measures. 

Hopefully, you can see the dripping sarcasm here. It's way too early to be hitting any sort of panic button. Many teams have played just one game. Give it a couple weeks before jumping to any conclusions about category deficiencies. 

But that doesn't mean you should be asleep at the waiver wheel. Every year, there's a handful of gems plucked in the first 2-3 weeks. Even Albert Pujols was a waiver add in most leagues in 2001 and ended up batting .329 with 37 HR, 130 RBI.

That happens once or twice a decade, but here are a couple options that may do more than just patch a hole on your squad.

American League

Franklin Gutiérrez, Seattle, OF: The Cleveland Indians import (from the 12-player J.J. Putz trade) has landed an every-day RF job, replacing Raul Ibanez. But more importantly, he's earned the No. 2 spot in the M's batting order as Jose Lopez has been moved to 6th in the order.

Gutiérrez is a career .280 avg./.349 obp. guy in the minors, but he has just enough power and speed to be mixed-league relevant. And if he stays in the 2 hole, between Ichiro and Griffey, you could be looking at a end-season line of .270, 18 HR, 10 SB, 95 runs, 70 RBI. Already, he's hitting 3-for-8 with a HR, 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Of course, there's a chance Lopez takes back over the 2 spot, which would diminish the number of fastballs this righty sees and cut his run production by a third, but this is the season of taking chances.

National League
Nyjer Morgan, OF, Pirates: The en vogue add of Opening Day was undoubtedly Emilio Bonifacio, the unknown Marlins leadoff batter who posted one of the best fantasy lines you'll see all year: 4-for-5, HR, 3 SB, 4 runs, 2 RBI. 

And I'm not saying Bonifacio doesn't have his beneficios. But if you missed out on this fast fish, take a look at the Pirates new leadoff speedster.

Morgan only stole one base in his opener, but comparing pedigrees (Morgan, Bonifacio), Morgan had one more steal (231-230) in almost 600 fewer at-bats. Further, he hit 9 points higher and carried an obp. of 29 points higher, plus he plays in a division with far weaker pitching than Bonifacio, if you're into looking at that stuff. 

Of course, leading off for the Pirates is sort of like being the tallest midget in the circus, but hitting ahead of McLouth, Doumit and LaRoche isn't the worst spot. Morgan's hitting .444 for the year with a steal, 2 RBI and 2 runs, which he plated last night, despite a 1-for-4 outing, providing us a glimmer of how easily the runs may coming.

Morgan has no power, but a total of 50 steals, 105 runs, 40 RBI with a .280 average is not just a pipe dream.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day: Felipe, Cliff and Emilio


After what seemed like half an eternity of Spring Training, baseball's official door-opening ceremony commenced in Cincinnati, like usual.

Unusual was Bessemer City's Kevin Millwood shutting down a moderately-potent Indians squad (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 hits, 1 BB, 5 Ks). For those of you getting an itchy Millwood finger, remember his June ERA is usually a run higher than his 4.22 April one.

Not unusual was the rash of bad weather that smacked an ugly ppd. next to the Royals-White Sox and Red Sox-Rays. Nothing says April like come back tomorrow. And don't forget the stocking hat.

Here's a couple other interesting fantasy nuggets from the afternoon tilts you may want to chew on for a minute or two:

Felipe Lopez: In one day, Felipe has matched his HR total of all 100 games with the Nationals last year. Two long balls in a temperature-controlled Chase Field. How is this possible? Don't ask, but I beg you to take your finger off the add button. Just walk away. From 46 SB in 2006 to 8 last year, Felipe is just not worth your headache. OK, in an NL league, I suppose. But, please. I'm begging you. There's no real power or speed left. This won't end well. Just heartache. 

Brett Gardner: Yankees everyday CF is hitting 9th, which in this lineup is almost like prime real estate. Sure, he'll be lucky to scrape up 500 ABs, but with 40 SB and 85 run potential, he might be the cheapest of the cheap speed. The Yankees have scored 1 run so far, and guess who's touched the plate? You betcha.

Adam Jones: Last spring in Fort Lauderdale, Jones told me he's hoping to get 40 steals. He got 10. Yeah. Well, this year, he's talking about running more and while that could be anywhere from 11-40, what can't be denied is the number of fastballs he'll see, hitting between Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis. In his second at-bat today, he tripled in two and scored. A 15-15 year is possible and if the moons align, he might be a 20-20 guy and finish as a top 30 OF.

Cliff Lee: The knee-jerk reaction is to say 2008 was simply a fluke. But it's still a little early. Lee was finally healthy and won the Cy Young. Today, he was awful, just like he has been all spring. Yeah, he gave up 10 hits and 7 runs in 5 IP, but this was Arlington. The wind was blowing out 12 mph. The jacks by Hank Blalock and Salty may have been park/wind dated. Still, I'm not feeling good as a Lee owner, but don't sell too low yet. Stash, if you can. Hold your breath if you can't. Remember Sabathia last year.

C.C. Sabathia: Well, look at that. Speaking of the devil (as Red Sox fans may say, not in jest), C.C. turned into a WHIP killer, giving up 6 runs, 8 hits, 5 walks and most disturbing didn't strike out anyone. Worse news is it's came against the Orioles. Fear not, as he started worse than this in 2008 and turned into fantasy gold. Or maybe his arm's about to fall off after 400 IP in August/September. 

Seth Smith: The Rockies LF has a bomb and a bag already today. Smith projects to be a 20-10 prospect, but maybe not quite this year. Hitting second in a relatively weak lineup sans Matt Holliday, it's hard to see a ton of upside, but certainly a fine speculative pickup in gigantic mixed leagues and NL formats.

Emilio Bonifacio: Keeping with the theme of obscure top-of-the-order guys, Bonifacio is the Marlins 3B and somewhat surprise leadoff (Cameron Maybin pressure relief valve?), but I'd say he's done alright today: 4-for-4, an inside-the-park HR, 4 runs, 2 RBI. Bonifacio, a legitimate 45-50 SB candidate, is the beneficiary of hitting in front of Hanley Ramirez, who just hit a granny and all those who invested a No. 1 overall pick celebrated with an air-five to yourself and hope nobody was looking.

Tony Clark: OK, what's going on in the closed-roof of Chase Field. The Diamondbacks now have five dingers (two by Clark), as Charlotte native Chad Tracy got into the act. The Rockies have three long balls, too. Clark is part of a crowded platoon system and figures to have minuscule value in most leagues. Tracy should get more PT. Monitor his at-bats this week and consider him a mixed-league option (he hit cleanup today), but be forewarned as Bob Melvin is looking to do his own mix and match, depending on matchups. Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds both sat today.

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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Huston, we have a closer ... and other updates

Huston Street, one of the pieces in the November Matt Holliday trade, has beat out Manny Corpas as the Rockies closer.

No one will confuse Street with a pillar of health, but hey, he's got a closer job. For now, anyway. So scoop him up, if he's still out there.

Street's a 3.20 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, K-an-inning guy and if he can stay healthy, you may be looking at 35 saves. Just as likely though is an injury or struggles that moves Corpas into the Mile High role at some point. Stash Corpas, if you have a bench, or you're in an NL-only league.

Around the League: Gary Sheffield is talking to the Reds. Or at least answering a call from Dusty Baker. Seriously? This would seemingly throw a wrench into that whole "getting younger, sleeker, quicker" stump speech from Cincy's PR department. One thing hasn't changed: Dusty's love for the broken down veteran. ... Scott Baker, the Twinkies opening day starter, will now be eating twinkies as he starts the year on the DL. It's just stiffness in his right shoulder, folks, nothing too serious. Yet. Baker can come off April 12. ... Clemson's all-or-nothing free swinger Khalil Greene may end up be the Cardinals cleanup hitter vs. lefties, which means he's really impressing Tony LaRussa or Ryan Ludwick has officially jumped the shark ... Former Tar Heel LHP Andrew Miller won the fifth starters job with the Fish. Deep sleeper alert. NL-only leagues apply, but all leagues should keep one eye open, if Miller can ever tame that WHIP. ... Andruw Jones made the Rangers roster as the fifth OF (yawn). If he's owned in one percent of one percent of leagues, I'd be surprised. This could, however, affect Hank Blalock owners vs. lefties. ... Scott Podsednik, of one-time fantasy relevance, was cut by the Rockies. Raise your hand if you're a recovering Pods owner. Ahhh, yeah. Those were the days. Anyway, Pods says he can still play, but my guess is it's the end of the road for the one-category wonder. ... Back to the Arch, Troy Glaus is on the shelf for at least two months and maybe the All-Star break. David Freese (who obviously spells his name wrong) is the fill-in and hit .306 with 26 HR in 464 AAA at-bats. Even mixed-leaguers should monitor this deep Freese option (yes, I've heard them all).