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You know what I can't stand? Those guys who just go nuts on your bench. It's just really a pain. Just like in the majors, when guys are hot, you need to find them a way into the lineup. Just the same, it maybe a smart move to sit some one for a bit until heats up again. So here are a few suggestions my loyal reader.
By the way keep the comments coming! We love to know what people think.
START THESE GUYS IMMEDIATELY
This fellow is on fire the last week. If you need any proof, check out his two homers against the Yankees Sunday night. Third base is a really deep position, but wherever you can get this guy in the lineup. He's raking like your dad after the leaves fall. Lowell looks like he's fully recovered from his injury and 2005, and fits in nicely in that stacked lineup.
Pat the Bat catches a lot of flack from the public eye, but he's off to a fast start this season and now faces a four game stretch in which he'll play the Astros and Nats. Sometimes you may be scared to play Burrell, who his manager benched against Matt Belisle, but don't worry, he'll be fine this week.
The Pirates aren't as bad as you think, but they still aren't very good. One of the better and unheralded players on the team is Xavier Nady. The X-Man, who enjoyed success last year with the Mets before being traded, has come into his own with Pittsburgh. Once Adam LaRoche heats up, Nady will have a lot more RBI oppurtunities.
OK, THESE GUYS NEED TO SIT
No one was hotter or more suprising to start the season than the D-Rays main man Aki. However, major league pitchers may have begun to figure him out as he has experienced a bit of a cool off lately. It would be wise to keep the Ak-man on the bench till we know what kind of player he will be in this league.
The reliable Padres CF has a couple of tough matchups on slate this week as he's due to face Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and Derek Lowe. This not bode well for the strikeout heavy Cameron. There are most likely better options on your bench, so please play them.
Sit, Texiera?! Are you crazy?? No I'm not. Tex is becoming the worst first half player of our generation. Last year, I had to sit him until the All-Star Break, and I advise you do the same till things change. Tex shows no signs of turning it around and don't let him kill your team until he does.
Here's your list of pitchers to pick up for spot starts or potential spots on your permanent roster. While these may be good matchups, I never guarantee the success of these pitchers.
Saturday April 21
Paul Byrd Cleveland at Tampa Bay Jae Seo
Paul Byrd has been solid in his first 2 starts. Ok so the first one which was a 4 2/3 inning no hitter didn't count because of the snow, but he was solid again in his next start giving up no runs. This could be another solid start as he goes against the D-Rays and Jae Seo.
Sunday April 22
Ramon Ortiz Twins at Kansas City Jorge De La Drosa
Am I actually saying this? Well Ramon Ortiz may already be owned in your league because of his great start, but if he's not, there is a good chance he could keep it going against the Royals and De La Rosa. Of course this could also blow up in your face and Ortiz could get lit up
Monday April 23
I got nothin...
Tuesday April 24
This is a bad week for streaming starters....
~Brian Melnick aka Grande Mel
Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why hello there loyal readers! Remember me? I'm back and if you enjoyed my Fantasy MD column from the football season, you'll be sure to love this. Busy night last night with the no-hitter and Felix injury, so if you're looking for your fantasy fix, I do not disappoint.
Felix Hernandez- I actually own Felix and lost a good amount of sleep last night due to the horrific possibilities of the injury. It's an elbow injury which is never good. Luckily, King Felix had the sense to pull himself from last night's contest really early. A DL stint seems inevitable, and let's just hope this isn't too serious. Losing Francisco Liriano and Felix Hernandez in back to back seasons would be devestatiting to baseball.
Ryan Howard- One of the noticeable problems for the struggling Phillies has been the lack of production from last year's MVP Ryan Howard. Last night, things almost went from bad to awful when Howard appeared to injure his leg. However, after an MRI today, it's been confirmed that Howard is merely day to day. It's likely he will see some action this weekend.
Howie Kendrick- Originally, Kendrick was thought to be just day-day after being hit in the head with a pitch on Tuesday. However, things have esacalted rather quickly, and he will now most likely miss between 4-6 weeks. Kendrick has been decent this season but it is time to start looking for other second basemen to fill the void. In a related story, in my draft this season I was forced to choose between Ian Kinsler and Kendrick to be my starting second baseman. I went with Kinsler and so far the rest is history.
Jason Schmidt- It has been a truly ugly start for Schmidt this season with his new team. The ex-Giant has been less than stellar in all of his outings so far this season and now finds himself on the DL with shoulder inflammation. Schmidt didn't believe health was an issue, but an MRI confirmed he was wrong. This is probably the best thing for Schmidt who could use a little time off to get his game back. Mark Hendrickson will fill in for the next few weeks.
I know many of you fantasy baseball players draft hitters early and often and go with the "Streaming Starters" strategy. For those of you who don't know, this is the strategy of picking up decent pitchers on the waiver wire that have a good matchup, and then dropping them right after the game for a starter with a good matchup the next day. I won't 100% recomend this strategy, but I will tell you that I won my Head 2 Head league last year using this strategy, which caused a change in the rules this season to a 75 move limit. For those of you in Roto leagues, this may not be the best strategy, because even against the Nats, a below average pitcher could get hammered which would hurt your total stats. Anyway, if you are looking for starters to stream this week, here are the matchups you should look at from Tuesday to Friday.
*I do not gauarantee the success of any of the following pitchers*
Tuesday April 17
Mike Maroth Tigers home against Royals Jorge De La Rosa
Mike Maroth is having a decent start to the season with a 2-0 record so far. If he's available in your leage this is a great opportunity for a W. He is pitching at home against the improved, but still horendus KC Royals and a below average pitcher De La Rosa. If he has a quality start in this game he may be worth holding onto as he pitches for one of the best offensive teams in baseball.
Steve Trachsel Orioles @ Devil Rays Casey Fossum
If slow and steady wins the race, the Trachsel is on his way. Steve rarely pitches a shutout, but rarely gets lit up, so this game against the D-Rays and the inconsistent Casey Fossum would be a good game to stick Trachsel in your lineup.
Wednesday April 18
Claudio Vargas Brewers home against Pirates Paul Maholm
The Pirates and Paul Maholm are bad, and Vargas is at home pitching for a decent offense. Unless you are desperate, I wouldn't even use this as a spot start.
Thursday April 19
Darrel Rasner Yankees home against Indians Fausto Carmona
A yankee pitcher always has a chance to get a W even if he gives up some runs. Picking up Rasner for this game is not a bad idea, especially at home and against Fausto Carmona who is just plain bad.
Friday April 20
John Danks White Sox @ Tigers Chad Durbin
Even in Danks' 2 losses, he has pitched well posting a 3.97 ERA. He could put it all together at any time, and even if he doesn't on Friday against the Tigers, Thome and the gang should be able to crush the Tiger's 5th starter Durbin.
Randy Wolf Dodgers home against Pirates Tony Armas
Randy Wolf has started off strong with a 2-1 record and a 4.00 ERA. The Dodgers are a strong offensive team and should win at home against the perenial bottom dwelling Pirates.
~Brian Melnick aka Grande Mel
Contact at email@example.com
OFFENSE: The Angels have one of the more balanced offenses in the American League but their problem could lie in the power department. The only big bat in their lineup is Vladimir Guerrero. Granted, Vlad has been known to carry a team by himself, however the Angels would like to have some serious protection behind him. The player that used to carry this tag was Garret Anderson, but he has been on the decline due to injury and age. The Angels will have plenty of men on base this season, starting with Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera. Both players did a terrific job setting the table and stealing bases so that Guererro would hit with runners in scoring position. Other veterans that should help this team score are the previously mentioned Gary Matthews Jr. and budding star Howie Kendrick. The young second baseman has shown the tools to be one the best everyday second basemen in the majors this season. At designated hitter, the Angels planned to go with Juan Rivera but the injury to his left tibia forced the them to sign Shea Hillenbrand. The biggest question marks in the lineup are at first base and catcher. Casey Kotchman is the front runner to play first base, but he is clearly a better fielder than hitter and may give way to Hillenbrand once Rivera returns to play DH. At catcher last season the Angels were disappointed with the way Jose Molina played. It would not be a surprise to see Mike Napoli get significant time there this year.
With the all-star break coming up, lets see who might be taking over starting jobs for the rest of the year. I'm sure I can find some beef around the league.
Brendan Haywood vs Etan Thomas
I have to mention this because the two got in another fight during practice and Etan Thomas was suspended for 2 games. I have to assume Thomas won the fight in practice because he was suspended, but as for playing time, I think Haywood has the edge. I don't feel that either player has much fantasy value, but I guess Haywood could be a decent sourece of rebounds if thats what you need.
Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
It seems that for now there will be a peaceful end to this battle as for the past two games, both players have started. Rondo at pg and West at sg. Going forward, I see West as having more value as the inexperienced Rondo will struggle through the ups and downs of a young player.
San Antonio Spurs-sg
Brent Barry vs Manu Ginobli
For the time being, Barry is the starter. However, Ginobli's value shouldn't deminish much because he is still getting plenty of playing time. It does, however, look like Manu's play is not what it used to be. Maybe he has lost some confidence. Maybe he is playing with an injury. I guess that's why he lost the starting job. Hmmm it seems like I haven't really cleared anything up with what I've just written.....Oh well.....as long as Barry is starting, he should hit at least two 3's per game. As a matter of fact, I think I'll pick up Brent Barry right now....I'll be right back.
Where was I.........
Los Angeles Lakers-C
Andrew Bynum vs Ronny Turiof
Right now it seems like Turiof may get more minutes, but I think it's clear that Bynum has more value. Bynum is a nice source of rebounds, blocks, and FG% as long as Kwame Brown is injured.
T.J. Ford vs Jose Calderon
T.J. Ford has regained his rightful position in the starting lineup and from here on out he should gain more and more of the percentage of playing time and will ultimately have more value than the now-hot Calderon.
Joel Przybilla vs Jamal Magloire vs LaMarcus Aldridge
Golden State Warriors-sf
Pietrus vs Barnes
Pietrus had the starting job, but after leaving last night's game with an ankle injury, it makes sense to me for Barnes to take over that slot. Although I can't make any promises because Nellie, as always, may have other plans.
~Brian Melnick aka Big Mel
contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFSEASON OVERVIEW: We have come accustom to quiet offseasons in Minnesota and nothing changed this year. You know your team plays in a small market when the only two free agents you signed were Ramon Ortiz and Jeff Cirillo. Since there is really nothing else to speak of in this section, I'll take a few moments to speak about the minimal impact they will have for the team. Cirillo is the team's best bat off the bench, and he will get some time at third base if Nick Punto struggles this year. The veteran Ortiz will compete for a starting spot towards the back end of the rotation. The Twins did lose a big part of their recent success this year when pitcher Brad Radke decided to retire. His veteran leadership and steady production will be hard to replace. The Twins will be without Shannon Stewart and Phil Nevin this season, but both players are past their prime and should not be major losses in any sense.
OFFENSE: Once again the Twins will be playing with one of the better everyday lineups in the American League. The Twins have quite possibly the two best hitters in the AL in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Both are perennial MVP candidates and tough outs for any pitcher. Both players would not be as much of a threat if it weren't for the excellent protection around them. While Torii Hunter may have lost a step, he still has 30 homer potential and cannot be taken lightly by any pitcher. While Hunter may be on the decline, it was Michael Cuddyer who has a breakout year for Minnesota last season. For the first time in his career he went over 100 RBIs. Cuddyer's ability to play several positions was also a huge help to Minnesota when they experienced their share of injuries. Outfielder Rondell White should also be able to add his share of home runs if he is able to stay healthy. Adding speed to the lineup will be second baseman Luis Castillo. His ability to get on base makes him a catalyst for the Twins offense. Rounding out the lineup are designated hitter Jason Kubel and shortstop Jason Bartlett. Both are light hitters and may be replaced before the season is over. Some positive contributors off the bench should be outfielder Lew Ford and infielder Jeff Cirillo.
PITCHING: The Twins' staff will again be lead by the league's best starter, Johan Santana. There is not a better pitcher in baseball who has proven to be better or more durable than last year's Cy Young. There is no reason to doubt that he won't be at this level for the upcoming season. The rest of the rotation is a giant question mark for Minnesota. Carlos Silva will start the season as their number two starter, but his inconsistency makes him too unreliable of an option. Young arms Boof Bonser and Matt Garza will be counted on to fill major spots in the rotation. They both have excelled in the minor leagues but have not shown that high level of pitching in their short major league stints. Glen Perkins, Sidney Ponson, Scott Baker, and Ramon Ortiz will all compete for the last spot in the rotation. Their bullpen is led by dominant closer Joe Nathan. He may not get the headlines that fellow closer Mariano Rivera gets, but he has been just as effective the past few years. Their set up men Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain have also bene very steady the past few years, and together they make one of the better late inning bullpens in baseball. As good as they are late in games, the Twins do have some trouble in middle relief. Several current minor leaguers will be counted on to fill roles in the sixth and seventh innings of games.
X-FACTOR: When the young superstar Francisco Liriano went down last year with arm trouble, the Twins learned that they would be without him for not only the end of 2006 but also all of 2007. Without him and Radke this season, the Twins are in search of some one who can step up and be the number two starter on the staff. That responsibility will fall on the shoulders of young pitcher Matt Garza. His impressive minor league numbers led to his rise to the top of many prospect lists. Garza struggled in his first major league action, and he must show this season that he can be as effective in the majors as he was in the minors. If this happens, he will be the number two starter they are looking for.
BEST CASE SCENARIO: Morneau and Mauer continue playing at their MVP level, Cuddyer shows that last season was the beginning of a good career, and Garza becomes this year's Liriano. If everything falls into place, the Twins will be making their first return to the World Series in over decade.
WORST CASE SCENARIO: Hunter's play experiences a major drop off, Santana is the only reliable starter in the rotation, and pitchers begin to figure out Justin Morneau. A year like this would almost certainly result in a failure to make a repeat appearance in the playoffs for the Twins.