It took 11 innings to complete the first game of the 2012 MLB season. It also took 11 innings for Dustin Ackley to assert his dominance over baseball. Pegged as a bit overvalued in most fantasy circles heading into the season — after all, the comparable Jason Kipnis could usually be had a few rounds later in drafts — Ackley showed why he’s not only the best young 2B in the league, but the best player in baseball.
When the smoke cleared, Ackley had a home run and a stolen base to his credit, as well as two RBIs and two runs. As I’m sure you’re well aware, that puts him on pace for 162 HRs, 324 runs, 324 RBIs and 162 SBs, if he can stay healthy.
Seriously though, if you drafted Ackley and think you can pull a king’s ransom after this first game, go for it, and I wish you luck.
The Ichiro-batting-third experiment is going extremely well after one game, as the homecoming king went 4-for-5 with an RBI in the season opener in front of his countrymen. While it was cool to see Ichiro excel in front of the home crowd, I’m not putting a ton of stock into this first game, either to reinforce the “He’ll be great!” sentiments or to prove the “Past his prime!” crowd wrong. It’s just one game. He’s another sell extremely high, if possible,
Felix Hernandez pitched “the usual,” allowing just one run on five hits and no walks in eight innings while striking out six batters. That’s a guy you definitely don’t want to sell high, as pitchers don’t get much better than him. Unfortunately, all the gem got him was the first of many no-decisions this year, as Brandon McCarthy pitched seven quality innings, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out three. McCarthy is a guy that doesn’t get many Ks but still provides great value with his low ratios.
We may have been a little surprised that Jeff Samardzija won a rotation spot with such ease, but his sleeper stock is starting to rise. He allowed his first walk of the spring on Wednesday, but considering he only gave up three hits in six innings while striking out five, I’ll give him a pass. He’s up to a 16/1 K/BB ratio in 20 innings, putting him on my radar, especially in leagues where having a starter with RP-eligibility helps.
The Nats announced that Drew Storen will be starting the year on the disabled list, leaving either Brad Lidge or Henry Rodriguez to close games in the interim (or (shudder) a combination of both). Rodriguez has been spectacular, picking up a save Wednesday to run his scoreless streak to nine innings this spring with seven Ks and just three hits and two walks allowed. Lidge hasn’t been liver of any kind, including chopped, as he’s piled up nine Ks in seven innings while allowing, four hits, no walks and one earned run. Give Lidge an edge based on experience. In other National injury news, it appears both Adam LaRoche and Mike Morse are headed in the right direction. LaRoche has been cleared to play, while Morse received good news from a sonogram and shouldn’t miss more than a few days of real game action, if any.
Upton No Good
B.J. Upton still isn’t over the effects of an outfield collision with teammate Desmond Jennings, and now it appears he’ll have to start the year on the disabled list. For his part, Jennings has already appeared in a game as the designated hitter, and he’s expected to be back in the outfield today.
It’s Only Spring, But …
Lorenzo Cain hit his fifth HR in 54 at-bats.
Spring Lines of the Day
Justin Morneau: 3-for-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB
Jason Heyward: 2-for-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 1 SB
Ian Desmond: 4-for-4, 1 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 BB
Jonathan Lucroy: 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB
Zack Greinke: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
Hiroki Kuroda: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Jordan Zimmermann: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Carlos Zambrano: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 1 K
Vance Worley: 4 IP, 11 H, 11 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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