01 June 2012

MLB: News and Notes 6/1/12 Santana's no-hitter, Braun, Sandoval, Minor and Carlos Lee Updates

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com. I'm on Twitter too! @SeanDuffySD

Congratulations to Johan Santana!

As I write this, he has just thrown the first no-hitter in Mets history. It took 134 pitches, but Santana was able to no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals, being effectively wild with five walks against eight strikeouts. I felt that he deserved special attention on an otherwise quiet MLB night.

Ryan Braun  OF MIL

Braun left Friday's game early after straining his right hip legging out an infield hit.

The good news is that Braun is officially listed as day-to-day, but adds to his injury problems, which include soreness in his Achilles. Braun's manager, Ron Roenicke, said that it would not necessarily keep him out of the lineup, but could limit his running ability on the base paths. He had one hit and stole a base before leaving.

Source: Washington Post

Pablo Sandoval  3B SF

Sandoval may soon embark on a rehab assignment with High-A San Jose while recovering from a fractured bone in his hand.

This is good news for a Giants squad that has struggled to score runs, even with the emergence of Melky Cabrera as a legitimate star. Manager Bruce Bochy said the Panda will need four to five games before he'll get the call to the majors. Sandoval was placed on the disabled list May 3 with a fractured hamate bone, and was originally expected to be out four to six weeks.

Source: Rotoworld

Mike Minor   SP ATL

The Braves will skip Minor in the rotation after his scheduled start got rained out on Friday in Washington. He was scheduled to matchup with Stephen Strasburg.

This move is largely based on the 24-year-old's season-long struggles. Among the best pitching prospects in the deep Brave farm system, Minor broke camp with the major league club and has been up-and-down throughout the season. He gave up four earned runs in each of his past two starts, at Cincinnati and against the Nationals respectively, and was 0-3 in his previous seven starts.

Carlos Lee  1B HOU

Lee is expected to sit out Saturday's game against the Reds after straining his left hamstring while attempting to beat out a double-play.

He will miss Saturday's game, and could miss more time, depending on how he recovers over the next day or so. He will be re-evaluated by the team on Saturday, and then may skip another game or two. The injury doesn't seem to be as serious as Kemp's. Lee was enjoying decent success, batting .299 with moderate power numbers - four homers and 23 RBI.

Source: Brian McTaggart on Twitter

MLB: News and Notes 5/31/12 Kemp, Tulowitzki, Jones and Morse Updates

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com. I'm on Twitter too! @SeanDuffySD

Matt Kemp   OF  LAD

Kemp re-aggravated his strained left hamstring on Wednesday, landing the slugger on the DL for the second time this season with the same injury. He is expected to miss another four weeks.

Kemp played in only two games before re-injuring his left hamstring, an injury that kept him on the DL from May 13 to May 28. He strained another part of his hamstring on Wednesday, different than the point of his initial strain, and is also considered a Grade 1 strain. That is good news for Kemp and his owners, but expect to be without the All-Star for at least four weeks.

Source: Jim Peltz LA Times

Troy Tulowitzki   SS COL

The Rockies placed Tulowitzki on the 15-Day DL after the star shortstop strained his left groin muscle on Wednesday.

Tulowitzki hurt himself running out of the batter's box against the Astros Wednesday, straining his left groin muscle in the process. The injury is not believed to be particularly serious, and the disabled list stint is precautionary if anything. An MRI Thursday revealed nothing concerning, so he should be able to go in a couple weeks or so. Tulowitzki was having a slow season - at least by his standards - before the injury, batting .286 with eight HR, 27 RBI and 33 runs scored.

Source: The Republic

Adam Jones    CF BAL

Jones is in the starting lineup Friday for the Orioles after getting hit on the wrist by a pitch on Wednesday.

There was fear that the centerfielder would have to miss a game or two after getting hit by Brandon Morrow in the sixth inning of the Orioles' 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Now that we know he won't miss any time, fantasy owners can breathe easy. Jones is enjoying a career year, batting .314 with 16 HR, 36 RBI and 38 runs scored. He also snapped his 20-game hitting streak Wednesday, going 0 for 2 with a walk and the hit-by-pitch.

Source: Eduardo Encina Baltimore Sun

Michael Morse  1B/OF WAS

Morse was expected to make his season debut Friday against Atlanta, but will have to wait until Saturday after the Nationals-Braves game was rained out.

Morse was one of the most productive hitters in baseball last season, hitting 31 home runs and driving-in 95 runs in 522 at-bats. The Nationals were sad to hear that a strained right lat would keep their rising young first baseman out this long, but Morse is finally healthy and ready to contribute.

Source: Kelly Parsons Washington Times

31 May 2012

MLB: News and Notes 5/30/12 De Aza, Howard, Fister and Freeman

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com. I'm on Twitter too! @SeanDuffySD

Alejandro De Aza   OF CHW

De Aza is expected to play Friday against the Mariners. He left Wednesday's game against the Rays early after he was hit in the leg by a pickoff throw when sliding back to second base.

De Aza is recovering well from an injury that looked painful at the time, and will hope to continue his upstart season against King Felix of the Mariners. De Aza is making the most of his opportunity after hitting .329 in 152 at-bats for the White Sox last season. So far in 2012, De Aza has a .284 batting average with four home runs, 22 RBI, 36 runs and 9 steals.

Source: Mark D. Gonzales on Twitter

Ryan Howard   1B PHI

The Phillies' misery only intensified after they learned that they could be without their former-MVP first baseman until the All-Star break. They were originally hoping to have him back sometime in June after Howard underwent left Achilles surgery that has kept him out the entire season.

This comes just a day after the Phillies learned that they'd be without their ace pitcher Roy Halladay for up to two months, and does not bode well for their fans, nor Howard's fantasy owners. He is owned in 89 percent of Yahoo leagues despite not having a clear return date, and could be available in a few more leagues after this news. When Howard is healthy, he is one of the premier hitters, let alone first basemen, in baseball, and deserves fantasy attention. But after this development, who knows when that'll be.

Doug Fister   SP DET

Fister hit the DL on Wednesday after re-injuring his left side strain. He suffered the injury in early April and returned on May 9.

He got roughed up in his Wednesday start at Fenway, giving up six earned runs and 11 hits over five innings. It was his third loss this season after earning two tough-luck losses, in which he gave up four runners over 12 innings, striking out 13 over that span. This is the second time he's had a left side strain this season, so it could be a reoccurring problem all season.

Source: ESPN

Freddie Freeman   1B ATL

Freeman had missed the last four games before returning on Wednesday against the Cardinals, homering and driving in three while going 3 for 5.

Freeman was waiting on a special pair of glasses to help him with his blurred vision, and doesn't seem to have skipped a beat while sitting out the past four games. His eye problems are probably not done, but hopefully these glasses will help keep him in the lineup. 

Source: David Brown Yahoo

29 May 2012

MLB: News and Notes 5/29/12 Oswalt, Matsui, Ramirez, Lucroy and Halladay updates

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com. I'm on Twitter too! @SeanDuffySD

Roy Oswalt   SP TEX

UPDATE: Oswalt has signed with the Rangers on a one-year-deal for $5 million guaranteed.

Oswalt is still looking for a new team in 2012, after having a solid season for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011. The Texas Rangers appear to be the early favorites to land the veteran righty, but the Orioles, Phillies, Dodgers and Red Sox are also reportedly in the mix. Oswalt is 34, and has never played a full season in the AL.

While his 2011 campaign was decent, it was a far cry from his output in 2010, when he went 7-1 with a 1.71 ERA for the Phillies after being traded from the Houston Astros as part of their fire sale. He put up solid numbers before being traded, posting a 3.42 ERA with a BAA of .229. Oswalt is a true professional, and should be a solid fantasy commodity, regardless of which team he ultimately signs with. Oswalt warrants attention in leagues of 12 or more.

Source: Rotoworld

Hideki Matsui   DH TAM

As expected, Matsui's contract was purchased from the Triple-A Durham Bulls by the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday. This will be the fourth MLB team for the 38 year old, and should split time at DH with Luke Scott, depending on Matsui's performance.

Matsui signed a low-expectations minor leagues contract with the Rays in the offseason, and is now getting an opportunity to play with the big-league club. But this is not 2006 anymore - Matsui is coming off a career-low year in average (.251), slugging percentage (.375) and OPS (.696). Despite his limited productivity recently, Matsui could see major playing time due to several key injuries that the Rays have faced, including Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria. For now, Matsui is not worth picking up, but may eventually be valuable in deeper, as well as AL-only, leagues.

Manny Ramirez   DH OAK

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin said there is a 50-50 chance that his club will call up the former All Star after Ramirez's 50-game suspension ends. For now, the team will leave him at Triple-A Sacramento and evaluate him on a "day-to-day" basis.

When Ramirez will be called up is unsure - and there have been an array of reports on his call-up date - but even when he does join the major league team, his impact could be minimal. He played only 9 games for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, after splitting time with the Dodgers and White Sox in a decent 2010 campaign, which saw him hit 9 bombs in 265 at-bats. Due to the uncertainty of his call-up date, and the lack of run-producing opportunities in the A's meek lineup, Ramirez could remain irrelevant in the fantasy game, but could occasionally show flashes of his former self.

Source: Oakland Athletics on Twitter

Jonathan Lucroy   C MIL

Lucroy was placed on the DL by the Brewers after he dropped some luggage on his right hand Sunday night. He attempted to play through the pain, but left early Monday in Los Angeles after being unable to swing a bat properly, and will likely be out four to six weeks.

As bizarre as this injury is, the timing is almost worse. Lucroy was having a breakout year, batting .345 with 5 HR and 30 RBI before leaving Monday. He was one of the few constants the Brewers have had so far this season, so his absence will be very conspicuous. George Kottaras will get more playing time while Lucroy is out, and deserves some consideration from fantasy owners. Lucroy was also leading MLB with a .514 average with runners in scoring position. 

Source: New York Daily News

Roy Halladay   SP PHI

The Phillies placed Halladay on the 15-day DL after the ace had to leave his Sunday start early due to right shoulder pain. Halladay, who has a right lat muscle strain, is expected to miss between six to eight weeks.

This is just the latest injury to a hobbling Phillies team that has struggled to remain competitive in a contentious NL East. Halladay was not on his top game at the time of the injury, sporting a pedestrian 3.98 ERA with a 56/14 K/BB ratio and a 4-5 record. Fantasy owners will be without Halladay for a while, and will hope that the time off can help him right some of his pitching issues.

Source: Yahoo Sports

28 May 2012

MLB: News and Notes 5/28/12

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com. I'm on Twitter too! @SeanDuffySD

Jered Weaver   SP LAA

Weaver left his Monday start before recording an out in obvious pain against the New York Yankees. The injury occurred after a 1-0 pitch to Robinson Cano, and is officially being ruled a lower-back injury by the Angels. This was his first start at Angels Stadium since recording a no-hitter on May 2 against the Twins.

He was clearly in pain and could barely manage to throw a pitch before he left the field in the first inning of his Monday start. There is no immediate long-term cause for concern, but the injury could nag him and lagger over the course of a season. Weaver, who entered play with a 6-1 record and a 2.61 ERA, has enjoyed consistent success so far in 2012, and the Angels are hoping his injury will heal by his next start, presumably against the Rangers on June 3.

Carlos Quentin   OF SD

Quentin returned Monday after undergoing right knee surgery that has kept him out since late March. Hitting against a struggling Cubs pitching staff, Quentin went 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. This was his first game as a Padre after coming over from the White Sox in a multiplayer trade last offseason.

Quentin is joining a struggling Padres lineup that needs help perhaps now more than ever, after going 1-6 on their current road trip before getting their cleanup hitter back for the first time this season. The Padres have struggled in nearly every offensive category so far this season, so Quentin's production may not be valuable in leagues with fewer than 14 teams, and he is not necessarily over the injury bug. He has never played in more than 130 games in a single season.

Dustin Pedroia   2B BOS

Pedroia injured his right thumb at some point during Monday's game against the Detroit Tigers before leaving early. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine believes the injury is significant enough to hold him out Tuesday, but is not something for fans - and fantasy owners - to worry about.

According to ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes, the Red Sox are attempting to schedule an MRI for Tuesday, so it is likely that Pedroia will miss at least one day. After the team gets the MRI results back, a more accurate diagnosis can be determined, so fantasy owners should wait and see on Pedroia. He has enjoyed decent success so far this season, batting .294 with 5 HR, 20 RBI and 30 runs for the last-place Red Sox.

Source: ESPNboston.com

24 May 2012

3 Surprises and 3 Dissapointments

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment, or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com! I'm also on Twitter: @SeanDuffySD

3 surprises and 3 disappointments for the 2012 fantasy baseball season, so far.

We're about one-fourth of the way through the season so far, and at this point many fantasy owners must evaluate their draft packs and whether they'll be long-term contributers, or draft-day busts. As many will recall, several big-name players were debated at nauseam, right up to draft day, making many past stars bargains during early drafts. For those who took chances on past fantasy powerhouses, their fantasy fate largely hinges on those players' revival. Players like Carlos Beltran and Andre Either have enjoyed recent success, so their early productivity is not much of a surprise. But players, like David Wright, who had his lowest batting average since his rookie season (.254), were not viewed as fondly by owners during draft time. And for good reason. Though Wright has rebounded well and is flirting with - .400, he's currently at .399 - many others are continuing their downward trend and should get the Justin Morneau treatment on draft day. Below are some of the biggest surprises so far this season, including a couple of up-and-comers.

Three Surprises

Edwin Encarnacion 1B/3B TOR

45 G 25 R 14 HR 37 RBI .269 .910 OPS

Encarncacion is in his fourth season with the Blue Jays, and is already on pace for a career year. Like a few of his teammates, see Jose Bautista, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill, Encarnacion has seen a power surge since coming to the Blue Jays, and has hit 14 home runs in just 171 at bats so far this season. Along with his power, Encarnacion can provide help in RBI, and is poised to score a lot of runs hitting fourth in a potent Blue Jay lineup. He has 3 home runs in his last 10 games, and doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon.

Adam Dunn 1B CHW

44 G 25 R 14 HR 33 RBI .243 579 SLG

Adam Dunn getting walked. Courtesy of the AP.

After a supremely dissappointing 2011 campaign, Dunn has re-emerged as one of the game's premier power hitters. He already has 14 home runs, after recording only 11 in 415 at bats last year. That is quite the improvement. Dunn signed a massive four-year $56 million contract with the White Sox after hitting 38 home runs for the Nationals in 2010. Now htat he's been in the AL for a year, he'll be more prepared for pitchers and other in-game situations. He also stands to benefit from some subpar AL Central pitching. Hitting in front of Paul Konerko doesn't hurt, either.

Gio Gonzalez SP WAS

9 GS 6-1 69 K 1.98 ERA 0.99 WHIP 11.4 K/9

Gonzalez has not failed to impress in his first year as a National after coming over in a trade last winter, beginning the season 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. I'm sure many in Washington would have been pleased with just a sub 3.50 ERA and 14 or so wins - and he may very well do that - but so far, Gonzalez looks to be a dark-horse contender for the NL Cy Young award. He has also proven that he can win with limited run support, garnering 31 victories in his past two seasons with the Athletics. Despite leaving the friendly confines of O.co Coliseum, Gonzalez has actually lowered his ERA and WHIP since coming to Washington, and is averaging a career-high 11.4 K/9 this season. His numbers may come back down to earth, but he is guaranteed to be a solid contributor, with a large upside.

Honorable Mentions:

Jake Peavy SP CHW (91 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

9 GS 5-1 55 K 2.39 ERA 0.91 WHIP

Josh Reddick OF OAK (83 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

43 G 28 R 11 HR 24 RBI 5 SB .272 .864 OPS

Omar Infante 2B MIA (75 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

37 G 21 R 6 HR 20 RBI .324 .913 OPS

Three Disappointments

Albert Pujols 1B LAA

44 G 15 R 4 HR 20 RBI .213
.589 OPS

Yes. It's late May, and Albert Pujols has an OPS of .589. This is not the twilight zone, this is merely a reality of the 2012 season. King Albert's struggles have been debated by fans and baseball experts alike, and come to the joy of Cardinals fans, who have seen their team maintain success without their former leader. The Cards failed to match the Angels' bid for Pujols, and picked up Beltran as a result, at a much lower price too. So far, Beltran seems to be the better pickup as Pujols has repeated last season's early woes, hitting his first home run at the beginning of May. Besides pour power numbers, he has struggled to make contact, hitting a cool .213 entering play Thursday. The Angels would not have paid him this much if this would be his yearly outputs, so better production is nearly assured. Pujols is someone that you may want to send out a couple feeler offers for in your various fantasy leagues to see if anyone lacks the patience to wait for Albert to go on one of his famous tears once again.

Tim Lincecum SP SF

9 GS 2-4 53 K 6.04 ERA 1.6 WHIP 10.0 K/9

What a long, strange trip it's been for Tim Lincecum. His stats have been gradually declining since 2010, the year the Giants shocked everyone and beat the Rangers in the World Series, when his ERA jumped up nearly a run - from 2.48 to 3.43 - after his second of back-to-back Cy Young winning seasons in 2009. His ERA rebounded well in 2011, dropping back down to 2.74, but lacked the run support to achieve a winning record, finishing 13-14. Besides his tumultuous ERA, his strike-out rate has steadily declined from 2008 - when it was a career high of 10.5 K/9 - to just 9.1 K/9 in 2011. In the young 2012 campaign, Lincecum has put up Barry Zito-esque numbers, including a double-take worthy 6.04 ERA, a WHIP of nearly 1.6 and a career-low SO/BB ratio of 2.12. Like Pujols, Lincecum has a long and impressive track record, and could very well make an adjustment or two that makes him one of the game's best pitchers once again.

Yovani Gallardo SP MIL

9 GS 2-4 48 K 4.62 ERA 1.46 WHIP

Continuing the column's theme, Gallardo has put up career-low marks in several key categories, including ERA (4.62), WHIP (1.46) and SO/BB ratio (1.92). Like others on the disappointment list, Gallardo's skills engender enough confidence for owners to steer through his murky season, hoping to have him as a key asset on the way to a fantasy championship. I would stick with him at this point, but if he fails to put up his usual numbers, trading him is not outside the question.

Dishonorable Mentions

Eric Hosmer 1B KC (84 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

41 G 16 R 5 HR 21 RBI .191 .593 OPS

Jimmy Rollins SS PHI (90 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

42 G 22 R 1 HR 7 RBI 9 SB

Dan Haren SP LAA (95 percent owned in Yahoo leagues)

9 GS 1-5 45 K 4.37 ERA 1.33 WHIP

22 December 2011

MLB: News and Notes 12/22/11

The Fantasy Sports Veteran accepts responsibility for each of his predictions, good and bad. Users seeking to voice their anger or inform me of my incompetence need only leave a comment or e-mail me at SeanDuffySD@gmail.com!

The St. Louis Cardinals have inked free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran to a two-year deal, worth around $13 million a season. This ends speculation as to where the veteran free agent would sign, the Indians and Blue Jays being Beltran's other two primary suitors. This move comes after the Cardinals lost the top free agent of 2011, first baseman Albert Pujols.

Take: With a looming void surrounding the Cardinals after they lost their franchise player and future Hall-of-Fame first baseman Albert Pujols this offseason, the signing of Beltran helps them transition into a post-Pujols world. Beltran is expected to play left and right field, with Lance Berkman switching to first base.