|May 5, 2012||Tweet|
|Written by Mike Schmidt|
|Saturday, 05 May 2012 09:41|
Carlos Marmol is officially out as closer for the Chicago Cubs after a nightmarish start to the 2012 campaign. Rafael Dolis secured his second save of the season Thursday for the Cubs in their 5-4 road win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching a perfect ninth inning. However, word is Dolis is expected to share the ninth-inning role with James Russell. Look elsewhere for saves until someone emerges as the team’s closer. Dolis and Russell are not high-upside guys who are not considered future closers.
After a disastrous opening few weeks of the season, Pittsburg Pirates second baseman Pedro Alvarez has become a fearsome, slugging hitter at the plate. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft has hit five home runs and has eight extra-base hits in his past 10 games. He’s currently slugging .603 on the year. That being said, his track record suggests he’s an extremely volatile fantasy asset. If you are an owner of Alvarez in a one-year league, I’d understand if you wanted to try to trade him and see if you can land a player with a little more consistency and a less of a sketchy past.
Chris Perez now has 10 saves on the season. After his inaugural performance of the season (three earned runs in 2/3 innings pitched and a blown save in a 7-4 loss to Toronto on April 5), he has converted 10-of-10 save chances and is been one of the most valuable closers in fantasy. Perez’s success is just another example of how you never really know how closers will perform.
Jason Kipnis is having a spectacular campaign for the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe’s second baseman went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a stolen base Friday evening, marking the eighth straight game in which he has notched at least one hit. He’s hitting .301/.371/.527 on the season, and has been one of the best fantasy value picks at any position this year.
Matt Thornton blew the save for the Chicago White Sox Friday evening in a 5-4 road loss to the host Detroit Tigers, and it marked the second straight appearance in which he gave up two runs. Addison Reed is expected to take over the ninth-inning role for the Sox at some point, but that day could come sooner rather than later since Hector Santiago and now Thornton have been shaky as the squad’s closer. Reed is not mixed-league relevant yet, but keep an eye on this situation in Chicago.
The Boston Red Sox have called up third baseman and promising prospect Will Middlebrooks from Triple-A to replace the ailing Kevin Youkilis in the lineup. According to Baseball America, “If scouts drew up a blueprint for a third baseman, it would be Middlebrooks. He has the size, athleticism, power and arm strength coveted at the hot corner.” The 23-year-old corner infielder was dominating in the minors prior to his call-up, hitting .333/.380/.677 with nine home runs in 24 games and 100 plate appearances at Triple-A Pawtucket this season. However, there is some question as to whether he’ll remain with the big league club once Youkilis returns from a back injury. Youkilis is eligible to return to the lineup May 14, so Middlebrooks may not be up in the majors very long.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis has made real improvements at the plate and is beginning to shed the dreaded “Quad-A slugger” label. He’s cut his strikeout rate to 21% this season after hovering around the 30% mark for most of his career in the majors. No one will ever confuse him with a high-end corner infielder, but he can be a useful fantasy asset. He should be added in deep mixed leagues and should be universally-owned in AL-only formats.
Cliff Pennington hit his first home run of the season Friday night for Oakland in the squad’s 7-2 road loss to Tampa Bay. Yes, he’s still just hitting .224, but I like him as a buy-low option in AL-only leagues. He could swipe 20-plus bases, and he’ll play every day (albeit for Oakland).
Rafael Furcal has at least two hits in four out of his past five games, and the oft-injured St. Louis shortstop is now batting an Ichiro-esque .333 on the season. SELL, SELL, SELL. An injury or decline in performance is a matter of when, not if, for the 34-year-old veteran infielder.
Need speed? Look no further than Kansas City outfielder Jarrod Dyson. There is some question whether he can be a positive contributor in batting average, but there is no question he can help fantasy squads on the basepaths.
Chipper Jones notched his second straight three-hit game for the Atlanta Braves in their 9-8 road win over Colorado Friday night. The elder stateman can still play, but it’s a shame injuries always prevent him from staying in the lineup for an extended period of time.
I hope you didn’t trade for San Chase Headley after his strong start to the season. Headley boasted an OPS of 1.004 on April 24. Eleven days later, it has dropped to .842. He has always been a low-end fantasy option, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Heath Bell blew ANOTHER save opportunity for the Florida…err… Miami Marlins Friday night. That makes four in seven opportunities. The Marlins simply have to turn to someone else, right?
After Friday evening’s complete-game shutout , Toronto’s Henderson Alvarez has an ERA of 2.83 on the season. However, consider the following:
There’s simply no way he keeps up the elite production. If you own Alvarez, you should sell him to the highest bidder right now. His fantasy value will never be higher.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 05 May 2012 09:46|