Howdy peeps, AussieDodger here with another episode of fAD Tuesday. Week three is in the books, and 2010 looks to be unfurling like a young silver fern in a forest of my native New Zealand. This week was a busy one; we all received some smirks at the expense of the Cubs as they sent the “well compensated” Carlos Zambrano to do 8th innings duties. The Pirates lost consecutive games to the Brewers 1-8, 0-8, 0-20 (!), and the Rangers stole what seemed like 400 bases on Victor Martinez. The Reds were in the news twice as sneaky DL stash Edinson Volquez was suspended for 50 games for PED use, and “ole slidepiece” Joe Morgan was hired by the Reds front office. Dallas Braden did his best Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino impression, while his (and my) A’s showcased the new Moneyball – fill the DL and keep your medical staff run off their feet and you’ll be in 1st place.
*All stats as of Monday, April 26
Paul Konerko: 2010 to date – 18/62 H/AB, 10 R, 8 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .290 BA
Your current MLB HR leader
Albert Paul Konerko has homered in his last three consecutive games, and four of his last six. Congratulations if you drafted him, for what he cost (around pick 210), you are getting terrific value. Coming off a streaky (possibly thumb injury-related) 2009, there aren’t a lot of players who can hit 30+ HRs after pick 200, without hurting you in other categories. The only weird split he has in 2010 is his home/away (1.464 home OPS, 7 HRs, .535 away OPS, 1 HR). Konerko is a better hitter at home, just not that much better. I haven’t seen any quotes about his thumb this season, so this could be an opportunity for you buy, while making his owner think he’s selling high – when actually he’s just healthy and producing.
Jose Guillen: 2010 to date – 27/78 H/AB, 14 R, 7 HR, RBI 18, 1 SB, .346 BA
One of Dayton Moore’s splashier signings (if by splash you mean the money goes in the toilet), Guillen is blisteringly hot to start his contract year. 7 HRs and 13 total extra base hits in 78 at bats is fantastic, but here’s the reality: Jose Guillen has never hit more than 27 HRs in a season. This is a golden opportunity to sell him, he won’t get any nicer looking then this. His 2/15 BB/K tells the real story; he’s hacking away and getting lots of hard contact. When this streak finishes he won’t have the discipline to keep a gaudy average.
John Danks: 2010 to date – 29 IP, 3 W, 26 K, 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
Danks has been brilliant so far; he has faced two reasonably difficult line ups in Tampa Bay and Minnesota, two easier ones in Seattle and Toronto, and has shut everybody down. Using Pitch/Fx (thanks fangraphs), Danks is a completely different pitcher this year. He has gained 1 MPH on his fastball which he is throwing 13% less then 2009, has nearly stopped throwing his slider all together, and has introduced a cutter which he is throwing 20% of the time. Kudos to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper for creating this monster. Obviously Danks won’t carry a 1.50 ERA for the whole season, so he is a sell high candidate, but it will be interesting to see where his ERA and K numbers are at the end of the season after these radical changes.
Livan Hernandez: 2010 to date – 24 IP, 2 W, 9 K, 0.75 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
The biggest mirage you will see through three weeks of the season. Livan comes with some humor, because his first “victims” were the MetsFAIL™. His .158 BABIP and 100% LOB% tell the whole story, nothing that isn’t luck related is different, and as a fantasy leaguer, NOTHING TO SEE HERE. To kill time, we could have a debate in the comments below whether Livan’s ERA would be more or less then 10 if he was in the AL.
Brandon Wood: 2010 to date – 9/57 H/AB, 3 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB, .158 BA
This is Wood’s last chance and he’s blowing it. The last two days he has shown a pulse, with a double one day, and three hits the next, but that’s about the only thing he’s had to offer in 2010. Maicer Izturis is nipping at his heels. Angels manager Mike Scioscia has already given Izturis five starts at 3B. Against LHP, Wood actually has a .263 BA, but RHP are just destroying him, keeping him to a .105 BA and .237 OPS. The only thing you can really do is bench him until he either heats up or loses his starting gig. The power upside is still what it was 3 weeks ago, but Wood has nearly bought himself a few months of being a back up.
Carlos Lee: 2010 to date – 11/68 H/AB, 7 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 1 SB, .162 BA
Lee had some quad tightness in spring training. It’s possible this problem affected him in the first two weeks of the regular season. He’s started to bust out in week three. All three of his extra base hits have come in the last 7 days. Lance Berkman returning to the line up can only help. This is probably the last chance you’ll get to buy Lee at this price (and he definitely should be at a discount seeing some of the hysteria in the Leftovers forum).
Jon Lester: 2010 to date – 21.2 IP, 0 W, 21 K, 6.23 ERA, 1.75 WHIP
We’ve seen this before from Lester – April 2009: 30 IP, 5.40 ERA, 1.53 WHIP – so maybe it has something to do with how he prepares for the regular season. The appropriate velocities are there for all his pitches, so it doesn’t look like a physical problem, and the strike outs are still coming. He has just been wild (5.4 BB/9), and unlucky (.365 BABIP). If you can snatch him from another panicky owner, you might get a huge return on investment. Lester is starting to make a name for himself as the “Anti-Haren”.
Octavio Dotel: 2010 to date – 7.1 IP, 1 W, 3 SV, 10 K, 12.27 ERA, 2.18 WHIP
Dotel has conceded runs in a whopping five consecutives outings in a row, destroying your ratios and putting a damper on the “don’t pay for saves” theory. The sad fact is that the woeful Pirates haven’t had that many save opportunities, and none over the last 8 days. Dotel has been inserted into blowout losses to get some work, and has been sloppy. He has only blown one save so far in 2010, and the Pirates still won that one, so these recent towelings shouldn’t have a massive effect on his job security as closer, however he is probably another couple of blow ups away from being replaced. The only thing you can really do is hang on, as he still has the gig and no one is going to offer you much for him. Joel Hanrahan or Evan Meek are the appropriate handcuffs.
This is a segment where I’ll discuss some players who may be seeing a change in their role soon.
Jake Fox: Fox has a tantalizing 4 starts at catcher this year. He is already eligible at 1B,3B,OF so catcher would really be icing on the cake. He is a power hitting option on a team with very little power. In terms of playing time, Daric Barton has just fractured his finger, so he may or may not be going on the DL. In this scenario one of Fox/Chavez would go to 1B, and the other would man the DH spot. Landon Powell would be called up from AAA to be back up catcher. The other option for a full time gig is if Eric Chavez decides his body can’t stand up to being a big leaguer anymore, and retires or is released. Chavez is currently hitting .236/.279/.345, with reports that he can’t turn on a fastball very well anymore, this decision can’t be too far away.
Evan Meek: The Pirate bullpen has been a disaster, but so far this season Meek has been magnificent. Through 13 innings, he has a 9.0 K/9 and something quite rare among relievers, 55% GB. 2009 showed that he can maintain a 50+% GB, and all that was needed was to improve his BB/9, which has been excellent so far. When the Pirates start winning again, Meek should be receiving more high leverage opportunities, and a Dotel trade or injury could gift him the closers spot. Keep him on your watch list.
Dexter Fowler: With Brad Hawpe landing on the DL, Fowler has been removed from platoon purgatory and is getting at least two weeks to show off his wares directly against his competition, Seth Smith. And just like that, Dexter has a two hit and a three hit game, with a double, triple and stolen base. Game on, Seth. Pre-season, Fowler was looked at as the “talented young player” and Smith as the “4th OFer who rakes at Coors”. Hopefully for Fowler owners, the Rockies return to that thinking.
And with that I’ll leave you with a quote from my wife…..
“If you had two weeks to write this article, why are you writing it today?”
Daniel Wilson is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You should follow all his fantasy advice to the letter - he is the goods. Billy Butler is a close second. You can catch up with Daniel in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of AussieDodger.
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