NL West Outside Corner Report – Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks have the worst record (5-18) in baseball and have lost 10 of their last 11 games thanks to their dreadful pitching staff (5.69 ERA).  They have allowed 5 runs or more in 16 of 23 starts.  Wade Miley has the best ERA (4.35) in the starting rotation.  Paul Goldschmidt hit .333 last week with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Aaron Hill continues to struggle (19 for 91 with 1 HR and 7 RBI).  Chris Owings is still hitting well (.308), but he has no HR’s or RBI.  Cody Ross is still looking for his first hit (16 at bats) after returning to the lineup last week.  Mark Trumbo leads the team in HR’s (7) and RBI (19), but he is now only hitting .210 on the year with a sore foot injury.  Archie Bradley has struggled in his last two outings at AAA (7 runs and 16 base runners in 8.3 innings with 12 K’s).

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have won 5 of their last 6 games with surprising pitching (2 runs or less allowed in all 5 wins) and an explosive offense.  They lead the majors in runs scored (116).  Justin Morneau found his power stroke (.407 with 3 HR’s and 12 RBI).  Nolan Arenado has a 13-game hitting streak (19 for 52 – .365 with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI).  Charlie Blackmon leads the team in hitting (.411 with 4 HR’s and 13 RBI).  Troy Tulowitzki has 10 hits in his last 22 at bats with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI.  Michael Cuddyer was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury.  His playing time will be divided up between Drew Stubbs, Brandon Barnes, and Corey DickersonFranklin Morales went 2-0 with 1.38 ERA and 12 K’s in 13 at bats.  Jordon Lyles and Tyler Chatwood both pitched 7 shutout innings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have struggled to score runs in 6 (2 runs or less) of their last 8 games, which led to a 3-5 record during that span.  Hanley Ramirez only has 2 hits in his last 22 at bats and Carl Crawford only has 2 hits in his last 20 at bats.  Dee Gordon leads the team in hitting (.369 with 12 SB’s), but he is listed as day to day after taking a knee to the head after a stolen base attempt.  Adrian Gonzalez leads the team in HR’s (5) and RBI (17).  Matt Kemp is now hitting .196 on the year.  Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to make a rehab start on Friday with his return to the majors expected in mid May.  Josh Beckett threw 10 shutout innings with only 3 hits allowed and 11 K’s.

San Diego Padres

The Padres have scored 3 runs or less in their last 6 games while their pitching staff has allowed 4 runs or less in 10 straight games.  Chris Denorfia led San Diego in hitting (.476 with 1 HR and 4 RBI).  Jedd Gyorko has only 10 hits in 71 at bats with 23 K’s.  Chase Headley is only hitting .200 in 65 at bats with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI.  Wil Venable has been doing his best to hit himself out of the lineup (.208 with 1 walk and 22 K’s in 72 at bats).  Cameron Maybin has 7 hits in his last 21 at bats at AAA with his 1st HR on Tuesday night.  He is getting close to returning to the majors.  Tyson Ross (2.13) and Andrew Cashner (2.10) have pitched at a high level so far this year, while Ian Kennedy (3.60) and Robby Erlin (4.15) have added depth to the starting rotation.  Huston Street is 7 for 7 in saves with 1 run allowed in 8 innings.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have struggled to score runs in their last 8 games (15 runs – 1.9 runs per game), which has led to 5 losses in their last 6 games.  Brandon Belt was the only hitter that had success last week (.320) and the Giants have stated that he will bat 3rd in the lineup going forward.  Buster Posey only has 3 hits in his last 23 at bats and new cleanup hitter Michael Morse only had 3 hits in his last 22 at bats before hitting 2 HR’s with 4 RBI in Colorado. Pablo Sandoval continues to struggle (.169).  Batters have hit .314 against Madison Bumgarner. Tim Lincecum has a solid walk rate (1.7) and K rate (10.3), but batters have hit .314 against him which has led to a 6.43 ERA.  Ryan Vogelsong was lit up on Monday night by the Rockies (5 runs, 9 base runners, and 3 HR’s in 1.3 innings).  His lack of success may open up the door for Yusmeiro Petit (3.68 ERA with 16 K’s in 14.7 innings).

NL Central Outside Corner Report – Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Chicago Cubs

Emilio Bonifacio continues to be the Bubs best hitter (.351 with 12 runs and 9 SB’s).  Anthony Rizzo hit a non-productive .364 last week (no HR’s and 1 RBI).  Junior Lake has 8 K’s in his last 16 at bats.  Mike Olt leads the team in HR’s (4) and is tied for the team lead in RBI (9), but he is only hitting .195 on the year.  Ryan Kalish has 5 hits in his last 11 at bats.  He may be the outfielder with the most upside on the Cubs bench.  Kris Bryant has a 5-game hitting streak at AA (9 for 23 with 1 HR’s and 5 RBI).  He is hitting .311 on the year with 4 HR’s and 10 RBI.  Javier Baez returned to the lineup at AAA (3 for 12 with 3 RBI) after missing 9 days due to an ankle injury.  He has 16 K’s in 38 at bats, which has led to a .184 average.  Edwin Jackson has had a tough time getting batters out (.329 BAA) and batters are hitting .403 against Carlos VillanuevaJustin Grimm has only allowed 1 run in 10.7 innings with 13 K’s.  He may be an option for the starting rotation.  Pedro Strop has taken the 9th inning with a 4-run lead in the Cubs last two wins.  He appears to have the inside track for saves.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have scored 4 runs or more in there last 9 games (6-3).  Johnny Cueto has been almost unhittable (.140) in his 5 starts this year with plus K’s (39 in 39 innings). He has pitched back-to-back 3 hit complete games with 1 run allowed in 18 innings.  Aroldis Chapman is expected to face live batters this week with a rehab scheduled at the end of the week if he has no setbacks.  Billy Hamilton hit .320 last week with 6 SB’s.  Devin Mesoraco has a hit in every game this year (10 games – .541).  He has 12 hits in his last 19 at bats with 5 RBI. Jay Bruce is starting to find his stroke (9 for 22 with 1 HR and 4 RBI).  Brandon Phillips was the only starting batter to struggle last week (4 for 25).

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers lead the majors with a 15-6 record.  Their success has been delivered by the 2nd best ERA (2.59) in the NL and the 4th most runs scored (86).  Ryan Braun owners can breathe a sigh of relief, as his thumb problems could be a thing of the past.  He hit a pair of game tying HR’s off of Jason Grilli last week.  He hit .320 on the week with 3 HR’s and 6 RBI.  Jonathan Lucroy hit .381 in 21 at bats with 5 RBI.  Scooter Gennett has started 6 of the last 7 games at 2nd base (10 for 26 with 1 HR and 4 RBI).  Yovani Gallardo is 2-0 with 1.42 ERA with 23 K’s in 31.7 innings this year.  5th starter Wily Peralta has looked very good in his last 3 starts (4 runs in 19.7 innings with 13 K’s), but he has allowed a HR in every start this year.  Francisco Rodriguez is 8 for 8 in saves with 16 K’s in 11 innings with only 2 walks.  He says “Jim who?”

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh leads the NL in HR’s (27), but they are only hitting .232 as a team. The Pirates acquired Ike Davis in a trade with the Mets for a bag of broken hearts.  He responded to hit his 2nd grand slam of the year and should be a great fit in their lineup. Andrew McCutchen was the team’s best hitter last week (.321 with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI).  With Jose Tabata struggling (.217) and Travis Snider fading (3 for 13), the door is starting to open for the hot hitting Gregory Polanco (.419 with 3 HR’s and 20 RBI in 74 at bats at AAA).  Starling Marte has 32 K’s in 89 at bats.  Pedro Alvarez has 6 HR’s and 13 RBI on the year, but his batting average has dipped down to .179.  3+ weeks into the season, Edinson Volquez has been the Pirates best starting pitcher (1.93 ERA with only 5 walks in 28 innings and 16 K’s).  For those standing on the sidelines, it’s time to buy.  Wandy Rodriguez was placed on the DL with a bum knee that needed to be drained.  He will be replaced in the starting rotation by Brandon Cumpton.  He is 2-0 at AAA with a 1.42 ERA and 11 K’s in 19 innings.  Last year, he had a 3.62 ERA in the minors with 49 walks and 97 K’s in 131.7 innings.  His command is questionable, but he had success as a fill-in starter for Pittsburgh in 2013 (2-1 with 2.05 ERA and 5 walks and 22 K’s in 30.7 innings).

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals offense has been relatively flat so far this season. They are tied for the league low in HR’s (12) and an underwhelming .245 batting average.  They have scored only 10 runs in their last five games, and have allowed 3 runs or less in 8 of their last 9 games.  Yadier Molina has been the team’s most productive hitter (.342 with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI).  Jon Jay has taken over the centerfield job (9 for 24 with 2 RBI in the last 7 games).  Kolten Wong has faded (2 for 16), which has opened up the door for Mark EllisMatt Adams leads the team in hitting (.346), but he has only 1 HR and 5 RBI.  Oscar Tavares has an 8-game hitting streak at AAA (9 for 28 with 1 HR and 4 RBI), but he suffered a slight ankle injury on Monday night.  Adam Wainwright (4-1 with 1.46 ERA and 35 K’s in 37 innings) and Michael Wacha (2-1 with 1.73 ERA with 25 K’s in 26 innings) have both pitched like aces.  Tyler Lyons will take over for Joe Kelly in the starting rotation.  He was 2-0 at AAA with a 3.32 ERA and 18 K’s in 19 innings.

NL East Outside Corner Report – Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Atlanta Braves

20 games into the season, the Braves lead the NL in ERA (2.16), which is surprising with their injuries to Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, and Mike Minor.  Minor was expected back this week, but Atlanta pushed his next start in the majors to next week.  In his last start at AAA, he allowed 3 runs in 8.3 innings with 8 K’s.  Gavin Floyd struggled in his last start at AA (4 runs in 4.7 innings with 6 K’s).  He is expected to have at least two more rehab starts before returning to the majors.  Alex Wood has been great in his 5 starts (1.54 ERA with 35 K’s in 35 innings).  He had the best game of his career on Tuesday night against Jose Fernandez (1 runs in 8 innings with 11 K’s and no walks).  The Braves five starting pitchers have allowed only 22 runs in 136 innings with 123 K’s (1.46 ERA).  Craig Kimbrel returned to the mound this week, but he struggled in back to back outings (2 runs and 6 base runners in 1.7 innings).  His velocity was in line on his fastball (97.6 on 4/19 and 96.6 on 4/21), but his velocity has been down slightly on his curve (86.4 on 4/19 and 85.1 on 4/21).  Overall, his velocity has been down about 1 mph on his curve in 2014.  Justin Upton had a staggering 16 K’s in his last 28 at bats (.214 with 1 HR and 4 RBI).  Chris Johnson is starting to come around (9 hits in his last 29 at bats – .310 with 1 RBI)

Miami Marlins

Other than an 8-game losing streak, the Marlins have played well in 2014.  Jose Fernandez is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 47 K’s in 31.7 innings.  He tied a career high in K’s (14) on Tuesday night against the Braves (3 hits in 8 shutout innings).  33 starts into his young career, he still hasn’t thrown over 109 pitchers in any game.  Henderson Alvarez had a great bounce back game after struggling in the previous week (2 hits with 4 K’s in a complete game shutout). Miami’s top 4 starters have a 2.55 ERA after 23 starts of the year.  Top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney has pitched 3 straight plus games at AA (1 run in 19 innings with 10 base runners allowed and 22 K’s).  Christian Yelich has a 16-game hitting streak (25 for 67 -.314), but he only has 4 RBI over that period and is still looking for his 1st HR.  Giancarlo Stanton had a game winning grand slam in the 9th inning against the Mariners on 4/18, but he only has 1 hit in his last 15 at bats.

New York Mets

The Mets are 13th in the NL in ERA (3.95).  They are tied for last in the league in HR’s (12) while hitting a league low .219.  Curtis Granderson doesn’t have a hit since crashing into the outfield wall on April 16th (21 at bats with 8 K’s).  He has 8 hits in 69 at bats overall and only 2 hits in 20 at bats against lefties with 10 K’s.  David Wright hit .407 last week with 5 RBI and 1 SB.  With Ike Davis being gift wrapped as an early Christmas present for Pirate fans, Lucas Duda will see the bulk of the action at first base.  Kyle Farnsworth has taken over as closer (1 for 1) after Jose Valverde was dusted for 4 HR’s over three games.  Jenrry Mejia has been tough to hit this year (.193), but he has allowed 14 walks in 22.7 innings.  He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 2 starts (11.7 innings).

Philadelphia Phillies

The senior team in the NL East has won their last 3 games to get back to .500.  Cole Hamels will make his season debut on 4/23 against the Dodgers.  Ryan Howard is starting to show the non believers that he has life left in the tank (9 for 25 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI in his last 7 games).  Ben Revere also played well (9 for 26).  Marlon Byrd has 9 K’s in his last 22 at bats (.182).  Cliff Lee struggled getting batters out in his first 4 starts (40 hits in 27 innings). He battled his way to a complete game against Atlanta on 4/16 (1 run with 13 K’s).  Lee followed up that start with 8 shutout innings and 10 K’s against the Dodgers to get his ERA (3.09) back in line.  Jonathan Papelbon has looked very good in his last 7 games after walking in the winning run on April 2nd (7 shutout innings with 3 hits allowed and 6 saves).

Washington Nationals

The Nationals have lost 9 of their last 13 games while scoring 3 runs or less in 8 of those losses.  Stephen Strasburg has 42 K’s in 27 innings, but he has allowed 16 runs.  Taylor Jordan has been hit hard in his 4 starts (6.33 ERA – .320 BAA).  A.J. Cole is 2-0 at AA with a 2.63 ERA.  Their #1 pitching prospect Lucas Giolito is 1-0 at A ball with a 2.65 ERA with 20 K’s in 17 innings.  Bryce Harper has only 2 hits in his last 22 at bats and Jayson Werth has 3 hits in his last 24 at bats.  Ian Desmond has 12 K’s in his last 27 at bats.

AL East Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

It was a tough week for the Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff as they lost Matt Moore for the year and Alex Cobb to the DL for 6 weeks.  See what else went down in the AL East in my team by team fantasy baseball recap of Week 2:

Baltimore Orioles

Two weeks into the season, Adam Jones and Chris Davis have combined for only 2 HR’s.  Matt Wieters is off to a fast start .341 with 3 HR’s and 9 RBI.  Delmon Young continues to swing a hot bat (6 for 13), but he didn’t have a run, HR, or RBI last week.  Adam Jones only hit .182 in 22 at bats.  Ubaldo Jimenez has been a complete bum 3 starts into the year (13 runs, 33 base runners, and 4 HR’s in 16 innings).  I still can’t believe I tried to price enforce him in my NFBC AL league.  This one move will cost me a chance of having a three peat. Wei-Yin Chen had a nice bounce back game against the Rays (1 run in 6.3 innings with 4 K’s). Zack Britton hasn’t allowed a run in 11.3 innings.  Kevin Gausman was knocked out early in his last start at AAA (4 runs and 8 base runners in 3 innings with 3 K’s).

Boston Red Sox

The magical 2013 season for Boston hasn’t carried over to the 2014 season. Dustin Pedroia is battling a sore left wrist that has led to a slow start (.236 with no HR’s, 1 RBI, and no walks).  Mike Napoli dislocated his ring finger on his left hand, but it isn’t broken and he is listed as day to day.  Xander Bogaerts only hit .190 in 6 games with no HR’s and no RBI. Boston didn’t have one batter that hit over .250 last week.  The Red Sox also have some concerns about closer Koji Uehara, who developed a sore shoulder over the weekend.  Edward Mujica earned a SV as his replacement and should be held over the short term until Koji proves he is healthy.  Clay Buchholz had much stronger velocity in his last start (AFB – 92.2).  Jake Peavy struggled with his command (8 walks), but he pitched 2 strong games (.142 ERA with 16 K’s in 12 innings).  John Lackey developed whiplash after serving up 4 HR’s in Yankee Stadium over the weekend.

New York Yankees

Sean Kelley was 3 for 3 in save chances filling in for David Robertson, who is expected back early next week.  Masahiro Tanaka crushed the Cubs (2 hits in 8 shutout innings with 10 K’s).  He looks like the real deal.  Michael Pineda has been dominant in his 2 starts (1.50 ERA with 12 K’s in 12 innings).  The middle of the Yankees starting lineup is starting to come around – Jacoby Ellsbury (.353 with 3 SB’s), Brian McCann (.333 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI), and Carlos Beltran (.350 with 3 HR’s and 5 RBI).  Yangervis Solarte struggled in his 2nd week of full time at bats (.176 with no production).

Tampa Bay Rays

It was a tough week for the Rays pitching staff as Matt Moore is done for the year with Tommy John surgery scheduled.  Alex Cobb pitched a great game against the Reds before going on the DL for 6 weeks with an oblique injury.  Tampa has scored 3 runs or less in 7 of there last 8 games.  Evan Longoria had a tough week (.143 with no runs, HR’s, or RBI).  The only productive player last week was Ben Zobrist (.294 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI).  Wil Myers has struggled all season (.200 with 16 K’s in 50 at bats).  David Price is clearly motivated for a huge contract (2-0 with a 2.91 ERA with 22 K’s in 21.7 innings).

Toronto Blue Jays

Edwin Encarnacion doesn’t have a HR in 54 at bats.  His swing is starting to come around as he hit .333 last week.  Brett Lawrie is only hitting .132 on the year, but he has 3 HR’s and 9 RBI.  Colby Rasmus was the Blue Jays best hitter (.438 with 3 HR’s and 5 RBI).  Toronto lost Maicer Izturis for at least 4 months with a torn ligament in his left knee.  This leaves Ryan Goins as the starter for now, but Stephen Drew may be a good fit for the team. Jose Reyes has started his rehab assignment at High A (0 for 3 with 2 runs scored).  He should be back in the next week if he doesn’t have a setback.  Mark Buehrle continues to pitch like a surprising ace (3-0 with a 0.86 ERA and 16 K’s in 21 innings).  R.A. Dickey has 10 walks in 18.7 innings.  Brett Cecil has been excellent out of the bullpen (no runs in 6 innings with 10 K’s). Casey Janssen started his rehab assignment and could be back over the next couple of weeks. Sergio Santos has pitched well enough (4 for 4 in SV’s with 11 K’s in 5.3 innings) where he may keep the job.

AL Central Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Couldn’t find the time to watch any baseball last week?  Get caught up-to-date with my Week 2 fantasy baseball recap of the AL Central:

Chicago White Sox

Alejandro De Aza only hit .125 last week with no HR’s and RBI.  Jose Abreu had 2 HR’s and 3 RBI, but he only had 1 other hit for the week (.136).  Alexei Ramirez has been the best player on the team (.364 last week with 3 HR’s and 8 RBI – .415 on the year with 3 HR’s, 12 RBI, and 3 SB’s).  Dayan Viciedo is hitting a solid .333 on the year, but he is still looking for his 1st HR.  Marcus Semien continues to struggle to make contact (2 for 19 with 7 K’s).  Gordon Beckham has 1 hit in 12 at bats in his rehab assignment.  He should quickly move back into the starting lineup when he returns.  Matt Lindstrom hasn’t allowed a run in his last 3 innings, but he may not be the pitcher that takes the mound for the next save chance for the White Sox. Daniel Webb hasn’t allowed a run in his last 3.3 innings.  He looks like best option for the 9th inning.  Erik Johnson pitched his 1st impact game of his career this week against the Red Sox (1 run in 6.7 inning with 9 K’s).  Possible upside arm if he was dumped after his slow start.

Cleveland Indians

Carlos Santana has had a tough time at first base this season (1 for 19 last week and .170 on the season with no HR’s and 1 RBI).  Nick Swisher has more production (2 HR’s and 7 RBI), but he is hitting .175 on the year.  Lonnie Chisenhall is trying his best to work his way into more at bats (.421).  Nyjer Morgan did a nice job (.421) as Michael Bourn’s replacement.  Bourn went 0 for 4 in his return on April 17th.  Carlos Carrasco (9.64), Justin Masterson (9.64), and Danny Salazar (12.27) were all knocked out by the 5th inning.  Trevor Bauer delivered his 3rd electric start at AAA last night (9 K’s in 6 shutout innings with 1 walk). He has 26 K’s in 18 innings with a 0.75 ERA with 5 walks.  If Carrasco struggles in his next start, Bauer could be back in the majors next week.  John Axford has 6 walks in 6.7 innings with 1 blown save.  Cody Allen is just waiting to snatch the job (12 K’s in 6 shutout innings).

Detroit Tigers

Fantasy fans are still looking for Miguel Cabrera to show up for the 2014 season. Last week, he hit .125 with no runs, no HR’s and no RBI.  On the year, he is hitting .227 with 1 run, 1 HR, and 6 RBI.  Ian Kinsler has outplayed Prince Fielder so far (.319 with 9 runs, 1 HR, 4 RBI, and 2 SB’s).  Rookie Nick Castellanos has 1 hit in his last 13 at bats, plus he has only started 8 of 13 games.  Alex Gonzalez is hitting .185 after 27 at bats.  The Stephen Drew watch continues and someone is going to flinch before June 1st.  Drew Smyly is still looking for his 1st start of the year due to a couple of postponements.  His new start date is Friday night.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals doubled their HR output last night when they hit 2 HR’s off of the Astros.  Billy Butler looks terrible (.149 with no HR’s).  Mike Moustakas had a spark when he hit a HR coming off the bench in the Royals extra innings win.  He is only hitting .119 on the year and fantasy players are getting anxious.  Salvador Perez hit .136 last week.  Norichika Aoki only had 1 hit in 16 at bats.  Danny Duffy has pitched well enough as a reliever (7 K’s in 4.3 shutout innings) that he should get the first call when the Royals decide to release Bruce Chen. Chen pitched well in his first 2 starts, but he has low upside and was drilled by the weak hitting Twins in his last outing (6 runs and 9 base runners in 3.7 innings).

Minnesota Twins

The Twins pitching staff has allowed 5 runs or more in 9 of their 13 games.  Their offense has scored 10 runs in a game 3 times this year.  A daily fantasy player probably could have turned a profit by playing Miami and Minnesota stacks 2 weeks into the season. Every Twins batter hit under .300 over the last week.  Jason Kubel leads the team in hitting (.357 with 1 HR and 7 RBI), followed by Trevor Plouffe (.314 with 1 HR and 9 RBI).  Ricky Nolasco turned in a nice bounce back game (1 run in 8 innings with 4 K’s).  Kyle Gibson has 8 walks in his 1st two starts, but he is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA.  Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer has a 2.61 ERA at AAA with 11 K’s in 10.3 innings.  He should be in the majors by June 1st based on the Twins weak starting rotation.

AL West Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

The AL West has had plenty of story lines already, from injuries to elite prospects getting called up to closers losing their jobs.  To read about everything that went on, check out my Week 2 fantasy baseball recap of the AL West:

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels suffered two bad injuries over the last week.  Josh Hamilton is out for 6 weeks after tearing a ligament in his left thumb.  Kole Calhoun turned his right ankle on Tuesday night and is expected to miss a month at a minimum.  LA called up Brennan Boesch to replace Calhoun on the roster.  He has major league experience, but he had 20 K’s in 48 at bats at AAA while hitting .250 with 2 HR’s and 9 RBI.  I still say the best hitting option is C.J. Cron.  He is hitting .328 at AAA with 2 HR’s and 13 RBI.  Mike Trout hit .400 last week with 3 HR’s, 6 RBI, and 1 SB.  Raul Ibanez only hit .138 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI.  Albert Pujols is starting to come around (.286 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI in his last 6 games).  David Freese only had 3 hits in 25 at bats with 8 K’s.  Tyler Skaggs has been very hittable in his last 2 starts (8 runs and 19 base runners in 13 innings).  Hector Santiago had a nice bounce back game (1 runs in 7 innings with 3 K’s).  Ernesto Frieri blew a save while allowing 2 runs and 6 hits in 3.3 innings.

Houston Astros

The rise of the Astros started last night as they called up elite prospect George Springer.  He was hitting .353 at AAA with 3 HR’s, 9 RBI, and 4 SB’s.  Last year, he hit .303 in the minors with 37 HR’s, 108 RBI, and 45 SB’s.  His only downside is his huge K rate.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Houston call up shortstop Carlos Correa early in June.  For the Astros to develop as a major league team, these young players need to gain major league experience.  He is hitting .283 at High A with 2 HR’s, 14 RBI, and 2 SB’s.  SS Jonathan Villar hit .063 last week and is hitting .163 on the year.  Chris Carter has 21 K’s in 44 at bats, which has led to a .138 batting average and no HR’s and 1 RBI.  Both Matt Dominguez (.304) and Jason Castro (.316 with2 HR’s and 3 RBI) are starting to come around.  Houston’s pitching staff may not be as bad as expected.  Brett Oberholtzer pitched an elite game in a tough ballpark (Tex) in his last start (1 runs in 7 innings with no walks and 7 K’s).  Jarred Cosart has shown plus upside in 2 of his 3 starts this year (4.00 ERA with 15 K’s in 18 innings).  Top pitching prospect Mark Appel is off to a slow start at A ball (5.06 ERA with 11 K’s in 10.7 innings).

Oakland A’s

Oakland has allowed 3 runs or less in 10 of there 15 games and have scored 6 runs or more in 6 times.  This has led to a 10-5 record.  Josh Donaldson had a big week (.324 with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI).  Alberto Callaspo (.310) and Jed Lowrie (.348) also hit the ball well.  Josh Reddick only has 4 hits in 41 at bats with 15 K’s.  The A’s released Sam Fuld in order to activate Craig Gentry.  Gentry had 5 hits in 14 at bats with 2 SB’s.  He may work his way into more at bats.  Jesse Chavez continues to be a huge surprise.  He was electric in his last start (1 run in 7 innings with 9 K’s).  His start was almost matched by Sonny Gray (same line with 1 more base runner allowed).  The closer’s job has been a coin flip over the last week.  Luke Gregerson earned a pair of saves in 3 chances and Sean Doolittle picked up a save in 2 tries.  Jim Johnson has done a nice job in a set up role (5 shutout innings with 5 K’s), so he should be back in the 9th inning shortly.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners can put a fork in Taijuan Walker.  It’s never a good sign when a pitcher with an injury has a setback.  His shoulder flared up over the last week and he will be shut down for a couple more weeks.  I have a tough time believing he will have any value this season.  Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch a simulated game this weekend (return expected in a couple of weeks).  Felix Hernandez has been electric all season (3-0 with a 1.91 ERA with 39 K’s and only 3 walks in 28.3 innings).  He should be 4-0 after Brad Miller gave away his win in the 9th inning.  Seattle placed Logan Morrison on the DL with a hamstring injury and they called up Nick Franklin.  Franklin was hitting .395 at AAA with 4 HR’s and 13 RBI.  He will see time in the outfield for now.  Brad Miller only hit .208 last week with 1 HR and 1 RBI.  Mike Zunino has looked good (.277 with 3 HR’s and 9 RBI), but he has no walks and 13 K’s in 47 at bats.  Abraham Almonte continues to hit his way out of the majors (22 K’s in 59 at bats – much too high for his skill set).  Robinson Cano is still looking for his 1st HR (54 at bats).  Kyle Seager is hitting only .156 on the year with no HR’s.

Texas Rangers

Daily fantasy players have taken huge losses chasing the mighty Rangers offense over the first 2 weeks of the year.  They only scored 7 runs in 3 games against the lowly Astros pitching staff over the weekend.  On the year, Texas has scored 5 runs or less 13 times.  No player on the team has more than 1 HR and they only have 7 HR’s on the year.  Prince Fielder hit his 1st HR against Seattle, but he is hitting only .172 on the year.  Adrian Beltre was placed on the DL with a quad injury.  Kevin Kouzmanoff has done a surprising job as his replacement (.417 with 1 HR and 5 RBI).  J.P. Arencibia has cut down on his K’s (5 in 24 at bats), but his defensive swing has led to only 2 hits all year.  Yu Darvish has delivered 3 straight solid starts (1-0 with a 0.82 ERA with 23 K’s in 22 innings).  Robby Ross found his command in his last start against Seattle (no walks in 7 shutout innings).  Neftali Feliz has allowed 1 run in 5.7 innings at AAA with 6 K’s.  He may press Soria for the 9th inning when he returns.

NL West Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Despite the presence of Manny Ramirez Jr. (Yasiel Puig), the Dodgers have managed to get off to a good start this year.  To catch you up on all of the action from last week, here is my Week 2 fantasy baseball recap for the NL West:

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks pitchers have been dusted all season.  They have allowed 5 runs or more 12 times in 17 games and have allowed 6 runs or more in 5 straight games (38 totals runs).  Fantasy players are screaming for top pitching prospect Archie Bradley. He has a 1.50 ERA at AAA with 8 K’s in 12 innings.  Trevor Cahill and Bronson Arroyo have allowed a combined 32 runs and 63 base runners in 30.1 innings.  Cahill has been bounced from the rotation with Josh Collmenter earning the job.  Mark Trumbo hit .107 last week with 10 K’s in 28 at bats.  Aaron Hill leads the team in at bats, but he doesn’t have a HR.  Rookie Chris Owings continues to hit well (.320), but he doesn’t have a HR or RBI.  Paul Goldschmidt leads the team in hitting (.328 with 2 HR’s and 9 RBI).  Martin Prado hit .167 last week with no HR’s and RBI.

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies have only scored 17 runs in their last 5 games all on the road. Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .200 over his last 25 at bats with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Nolan Arenado has delivered an empty .391 over the last 6 games (no HR’s and 2 RBI).  Charlie Blackmon has 9 hits in his last 18 bats with 2 RBI.  Josh Rutledge was called up over the weekend hoping to unseat D.J. LeMahieu for the starting 2nd base job.  He has 4 hits in 6 at bats.  All five Colorado’s starters had an ERA over 4.91 over the last 7 games and their bullpen hasn’t allowed a run. Franklin Morales will replace Brett Anderson in the starting rotation, who was placed on the DL with a broken finger on his pitching hand.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig continues to be the next Manny Ramirez.  He has off the chart talent, but he lives in his own special world.  Last night, he failed to run out a deep fly ball to right field.  His mental mistakes continue to eat away at Don Mattingly’s patience.  Adrian Gonzalez had 4 of the Dodgers 7 HR’s with 11 RBI and a .391 batting average.  Juan Uribe led the team in batting (.455 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI).  Tim Federowicz doesn’t have a hit in 15 at bats with 5 K’s.  Dee Gordon is running like a champ (7 steals last week) while hitting .400, but he only scored 1 run.  Hyun-Jin Ryu had a nice bounce back game (7 shutout innings with 8 K’s) after getting ripped for 9 runs in his previous start.  Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session on Tuesday with positive reports.  Based on his progress, he may be 3 weeks away from returning.

San Diego Padres

Jedd Gyorko continues to struggle (.160 with 1 HR and 4 RBI).  Everth Cabrera was scratched from last nights game with a knee issue.  He has hit the ball well this year (.340), but his 17 K’s and 1 walk in 53 at bats suggest he has some downside risk.  Cameron Maybin has started his rehab assignment as AAA (.083 in 12  at bats).  He is expected to be back to the majors by the end of the month.  It sounds like Josh Johnson could be done for the year. He made the dreaded trip to Dr. Andrews and it appears Tommy John surgery will be in his future.  Robby Erlin has looked good in his first two starts (13 K’s and 1 walk in 10.7 innings with a 3.38 ERA).  Andrew Cashner was electric in his last start (1 hitter in a complete game shutout with 11 K’s).

San Francisco Giants

Brandon Crawford was the Giants best hitter last week (.391 with 1 HR and 5 RBI).  Brandon Belt has started to fade (5 for 22 with 7 K’s).  He is hitting .298 on the year with 5 HR’s and 19 RBI, but he has 17 K’s and only 2 walks in 57 at bats.  His approach suggests his hot start won’t be a smooth ride all season.  Angel Pagan leads the team in hitting (.386 with 1 HR and 10 RBI).  Pablo Sandoval is hitting .167 in his last 6 games with 1 HR and 1 RBI. Tim Lincecum has only 1 walk with 17 K’s in 15 innings, but batters are hitting .313 against him 5 HR’s.  Ryan Vogelsong has a 8.00 ERA in his 1st two starts with 17 base runners allowed in 9 innings.

NL Central Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Here is my Week 2 fantasy baseball recap of all the NL Central action.  The Milwaukee Brewers have come out of the gates swinging, while the Cubs continue to be the bottom feeders of the division.

Chicago Cubs

Anthony Rizzo hit .350 with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Emilio Bonifacio has only 1 hit in his last 13 at bats.  Nate Schierholtz (.412) and Mike Olt (.417 with 1 HR and 4 RBI) led the Cubs in hitting last week.  Javier Baez was placed on the DL at AAA with a sprained ankle.  Carlos Villanueva was crushed by the Cardinals in his 2nd start of the year (9 runs and 10 base runners).  Jose Veras has blown both of his save chances this year (5 runs and 9 base runners in 3.7 innings) which opens up the door for Pedro Strop (4.76 ERA and 8 K’s in 5.7 innings) or Hector Rondon (7 shutout innings with 9 K’s).  Top prospect Kris Bryant is hitting .273 with 3 HR’s and 5 RBI at AA.  Their top pitching prospect, C.J. Edwards, has a 2.45 ERA at AA with 16 K’s in 14.7 innings.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have exploded for 9 HR’s and 26 runs in their last 3 games.  Devin Mesoraco has been electric since returning from the DL (.500 with 3 HR’s and 9 RBI in 22 at bats).  Joey Votto hit .381 with 3 HR’s and 6 RBI.  Brandon Phillips didn’t score a run and he only had 1 RBI while hitting .407.  Todd Frazier leads the team in HR’s (4).  Jay Bruce has struggled out of the gate (.152), but he has 13 walks.  Homer Bailey has allowed an ungodly 13 runs, 24 hits, and 6 HR’s in 14.3 innings.  J.J. Hoover was a waste of a draft pick as a possible fill in closer (7 runs, 10 base runners, and 3 HR’s in 3.3 innings).  Jonathan Broxton converted his 1st SV chance.  Aroldis Chapman is moving quickly.  He is expected to face live batters over the next week and I still say his target date to return is May 1st.  Billy Hamilton is still having a tough time stealing first base (.159 in 44 at bats with 2 SB’s in 4 tries).

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers had their 9-game winning streak snapped by the Cardinals. Their pitching staff has allowed 2 runs or less in 8 of their 14 games.  Aramis Ramirez is starting to find his stroke (.333 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI).  Carlos Gomez continues to play well (.346 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI).  Most of the offense struggled last week (Segura – .207, Lucroy – .174, Davis – .176, Reynolds – .118, and Gennett – .188).  Mark Reynolds had 9 K’s in 17 at bats.  Matt Garza allowed 7 runs and 20 base runners in 13 innings.  Tyler Thornburg and Francisco Rodriguez combined for 7.7 shutout innings with no hits allowed.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have lost 4 of their last 5 games.  Their pitchers have allowed 4 runs or more in 7 of their last 8 games.  Pittsburgh had 15 HR’s over the last week, but those players have only accounted for 25 runs.  Starting Marte hit only .207 with 14 K’s in 29 at bats (23 K’s in 58 at bats on the year).  Neil Walker led the team in HR’s (4), followed by Pedro Alvarez (3 HR’s while only hitting .148) and Travis Snyder (3 HR’s).  Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have a HR in 58 at bats.  Gregory Polanco continues to light it up at AAA (.465 with 2 HR’s and 11 RBI).  The biggest surprise so far on the pitching staff is Edinson Volquez.  He has only walked 3 batters in 14 innings and batters are only hitting .148 against him.  Gerrit Cole was roughed up by the Reds in his last start (5 runs, 12 base runners, and 2 HR’s in 6 innings). Wandy Rodriguez hasn’t looked great (7.31 ERA and .156 whip).  His velocity was reported to be down in his last start, but it was in line with his recent career over the first 4 innings (declined in the 5th inning).

St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina led the team in hitting over the last week (.444), but he only had 1 RBI.  Matt Adams hit an unproductive .375 (2 runs, 1 HR, and 1 RBI).  Matt Carpenter led the team in RBI (6), but he only hit .190   Johnny Peralta hit .353 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI.  Oscar Tavares is hitting .289 at AAA with 2 HR’s and 8 RBI.  Lance Lynn was electric in his last start (11 K’s in 7 shutout innings with only 3 hits allowed).  Trevor Rosenthal struggled in a game where the Cardinals pushed him in to a 2nd inning (4 runs and 5 base runners in 3 innings).

NL East Outside Corner Report – Week 2 Fantasy Baseball Recap

We’re two weeks into the 2014 MLB season, and to no surprise there has been plenty of action.  To make sure you are up-to-date on everything that is happening around the league, here is my Week 2 fantasy baseball recap for the NL East:

Atlanta Braves

The Braves found their rhythm over the last 4 games, scoring 32 runs (4-game winning streak).  Justin Upton hit .500 over the last week with 4 HR’s and 8 RBI.  Freddie Freeman (.417), Evan Gattis (.412), and Andrelton Simmons (.412) all hit a pair of HR’s with a plus batting average.  Chris Johnson continues to struggle (.158 in his last 5 games with 9 K’s in 19 at bats).  On the year, Johnson has 15 K’s in 46 at bats.  Melvin Upton has 16 K’s in 50 at bats, but he did show some progress last week (.238 with only 3 K’s in 21 at bats).  Mike Minor is expected to return to the starting rotation next week.  He threw 5 shutout innings with 4 K’s in his last start in the minors on April 13th.  Gavin Floyd is still a couple of weeks away as he is trying to work up his pitch count.  He only lasted 3 2/3 innings in his last start on the 13th.  Craig Kimbrel developed a sore shoulder over the weekend, which led to a save by David CarpenterErvin Santana has been electric in his two starts (1-0 with 0.64 ERA and 17 K’s in 14 innings).  Aaron Harang (0.96 ERA with 17 K’s in 19 innings) and Alex Wood (1.89 with 17 K’s in 18.7 innings) have been very good 3 starts into the year.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins broke their 8 game losing streak last night in a big way as they pounded the Washington Nationals and Stephen Strasburg for a 11-2 victory.  It was the 5th time this season that they have scored 7 runs or more.  Giancarlo Stanton continues to hammer the ball (.317 with 5 HR’s, 21 RBI, and 2 SB’s), but he does have 19 K’s in 63 at bats. Marcell Ozuna moved to 2nd in the batting order and he responded with a big game last night against the Nationals (4-5 with 3 runs and 1 RBI).  He is hitting .296 over the last week with 1 HR and 6 RBI.  Christian Yelich hit .400 over the last week with 2 SB’s.  Garrett Jones had a pair of HR’s and 5 RBI, but he had 13 K’s in 28 at bats.  On the year, Jones has 24 K’s in 57 at bats.  Jose Fernandez struggled with his command (4 walks) against the Phillies, which led to the worst start in his major league career (6 runs in 4 innings).  Rafael Furcal has started a rehab assignment at High A (2 for 5 with1 SB).  He is expected to return at the end of the month.

New York Mets

Eric Young went 9 for 28 with 11 runs scored and 5 SB’s in his last 7 games. Luca Duda continues to be the Mets player of choice at 1st base.  He hit .364 last week with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Ike Davis couldn’t even gain regular at bats as a DH in an AL park.  He went 0 for 11 with 4 walks and 3 K’s.  Daniel Murphy hit .313 with 4 RBI and 1 SB.  New York placed Juan Lagares on the DL with a hamstring injury.  His replacement, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, seized the opportunity by going 3 for 5 with 1 HR and 3 RBI in his 1st game back in the majors.  Curtis Granderson suffered only minor injuries after crashing into the right field wall.  He is listed as day to day.  Bartolo Colon was drilled for 4 HR’s and 9 runs in his last start.  He has a slight back issue that may open up the door for Noah Syndergaard to start for him this weekend.  He has a 3.94 ERA in his 3 starts at AAA with 12 K’s in 16 innings.  Jose Valverde showed his 1st crack when he allowed a game tying 3-run HR.  Gonzalez German may be next in line.  He has allowed 1 hit and no runs in his last 8.3 innings with 7 K’s.

Philadelphia Phillies

Chase Utley has played at a high level all season (.489 with 3 HR’s and 10 RBI).  He has a .549 OB% after 11 games.  Ryan Howard has 18 K’s in 49 at bats with 3 HR’s and 7 RBI.  Marlon Byrd hit .333 with 1 HR and 8 RBI over the last week.  Jimmy Rollins continues to have a bounce back season (.304 last week with 1 HRs and 1 SB).  Cody Asche doesn’t have a hit in his last 14 at bats, but his possible replacement Maikel Franco is only hitting .098 at AAA. Cole Hamels is expected to be back next week.  He allowed 1 run in 6 innings with 6 K’s in his last start in the minors.  He has allowed no walks in 10 innings.  Batters are hitting .358 against Cliff Lee this season.  Jake Diekman blew his first major league SV chance, but he was throwing 97+ in the 9th inning.

Washington Nationals

Stephen Strasburg continues to be a Jekyll and Hyde pitcher.  He dominated the Marlins last week (1 run in 6.7 innings with 12 K’s), but Miami gave him the early knockout blow last night (6 runs and 11 base runners in 4 innings).  He has 33 K’s in 21 innings, but has an ugly 6.00 ERA and 1.574 whip.  The Nationals lost Ryan Zimmerman for a few weeks after breaking his right thumb.  It was probably good timing as his right shoulder just wasn’t healthy.  Ian Desmond has 10 K’s in his last 27 at bats (.222 with 1 HR and 6 RBI).  Bryce Harper had a nice bounce back week (.520 with 1 HR and 5 RBI).  Both Taylor Jordan (5 runs and 11 base runners in 5 innings) and Tanner Roark (5 runs and 6 base runners in 4.7 innings) struggled against the Braves.  Jordan Zimmermann was also bitch slapped by the Marlins (5 runs and 9 base runners in 1.7 innings).

AL West Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Los Angeles Angels

Josh Hamilton looked like a player on a mission in his first 8 games – .444 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI.  He tore a ligament in his left thumb that will cost him at least 6 weeks of the season.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Angels call up C.J. Cron to play DH while pushing Raul Ibanez to the outfield.  Cron is hitting .321 at AAA with 1 HR and 7 RBI.  Last year, he hit .274 in the minors with 14 HR’s and 83 RBI.  Albert Pujols appeared to be in the coffin before blasting HR’s in back to back games.  Tyler Skaggs pitched an elite game in his first start for the Angels – 8 shutout innings with 5 K’s.  His AFB was 93.2 compared to 90 for Arizona last season. Jered Weaver has struggled out of the gate – 0-2 with 6.00 ERA with a short fastball (87.0).

Houston Astros

Robbie Grossman isn’t setting the bar high for George Springer.  He is only hitting .063 with 12 K’s in 32 at bats.  Springer hasn’t done much better at AAA – .250 with no HR’s in 28 at bats with 10 K’s.  Chris Carter has 13 K’s in 27 at bats.  Jason Castro is only hitting .125 in 24 at bats.  Matt Dominguez has 2 HR’s in his 3 hits (.107).  Just like the Twins, the Astros are loaded with poor pitching.  Their closer (Josh Fields), Scott Feldman (2-0 with 0.66 ERA) and Matt Albers are the only pitchers on the team with an ERA under 4.09.

Oakland A’s

Derek Norris leads the A’s in hitting (.429 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI) in part time at bats (14).  Brandon Moss has been the best starting hitter – .310 with 1 HR and 9 RBI.  Josh Reddick is on the verge of hitting his way to AAA – 13 K’s in 29 at bats (.103).  Josh Donaldson may be a one-year wonder.  He is hitting .194 with 11 K’s and only 1 walk in 26 at bats.  Jim Johnson has looked brutal in 5 games – 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA with 7 runs and 15 base runners allowed in 3.3 innings.  His velocity looks intact (94.80 sinker), so he may just need time to clear his head.  Sonny Gray (1-0 with 0.75 ERA) and Jesse Chavez (1.38 ERA with 13 K’s in 13 innings) have been the A’s 2 best starters.

Seattle Mariners

Robinson Cano continues to hit in Seattle (.346), but he is still looking for his 1st HR.  After a great 1st game of the year, Brad Miller is only hitting .219 with 11 K’s in 32 at bats.  Meanwhile at AAA, Nick Franklin is hitting .533 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI in his first 4 games. Felix Hernandez has been elite in his first two starts – 2-0 with 1.88 ERA with 19 K’s in 14.3 innings.  James Paxton was off to a great start (2-0 with 2.25 ERA with 13 K’s in 12 innings) before suffering a lat injury in his last start.  Fellow rookie Taijuan Walker struck out 10 batters in 5 innings at AA.  He may replace Paxton in the starting rotation next week.

Texas Rangers

Prince Fielder has only 6 hits in 37 at bats with no HR’s.  No Texas batter has more than 1 HR this season.  I’d have to say the HR Elvis Andrus hit this week impressed me.  He jumped on a pitch and pulled to left.  This may be a sign of more strength and he may climb from the Judy status.  Both Alex Rios (.364 with 1 HR and 6 RBI) and Shin Soo Choo (.355) have played at a high level to start the year.  Adrian Beltre is battling a quad injury and may miss a couple of games.  Yu Darvish looked to be healthy in his 7 shutout innings with 6 K’s.  The Rangers could be in trouble with the rest of their rotation.  Ross has walked too many batters (8) and Scheppers has been hit hard (.395).  Matt Harrison is still a couple of weeks away from returning.  Neftali Feliz has pitched 3 shutout innings in the minors with 4 K’s.