St. Paddy’s Fantasy Report: Episode 1
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Welcome to St. Paddy’s Fantasy Report, where I’ll be recapping the half-month that was the world of fantasy baseball! Here, we’ll be exploring the hot and cold starters, looking at closer situations, and monitoring some key injuries and position battles. The format is a work in progress, but for now, I think I’m going to go team by team and provide a capsule of what you need to know to go forth and dominate your league. Or, like, drive your competitors to the bottom of the standings like snakes into the ocean. That sounds more appropriate.
Who’s hot? Willie Bloomquist has been a roto stud so far, hitting over .300 and stealing bases at a Coleman-esque clip. He has seven in 12 games, in addition to 10 runs and seven RBIs. He’s still Willie Bloomquist, though, so don’t get too excited … Justin Upton has been similarly outstanding thus far, though he (obviously) commands much more faith. Four HR, so far, for the youngster, for whom a 25-20 season should be a baseline … Miguel Montero has been one of, if not the best option at catcher so far, but his .432 BABIP suggests that he won’t keep that up … Chris B. Young is one of the most frustrating fantasy players I can remember, but if you drafted him, you probably knew you were gunning for a .250-25-25 season. He should manage that, but he might be trouble in OPS leagues since I doubt he can maintain a .517 SLG … Stephen Drew and Russell Branyan both have averages over .300, but don’t expect that to continue for either … J.J. Putz has been outstanding this season, and should remain an excellent option as long as he stays healthy.
Who’s Not: Dan Hudson has scuffled relative to his breakthrough 2010 campaign, but his 4.26 ERA isn’t representative of how well he’s pitching. His strikeout rate — nearly 11 per nine innings — and 2.58 FIP show that we can expect good things from him going forward … The rest of the pitching staff has been really bad, but the only one you should’ve had on your draft board is Ian Kennedy. So, I’ll just tell you that he’s not worth holding on to; pedestrian K and BB rates mean that he’s a viable option only in deep mixed leagues.
Who’s Hot: Brian McCann has lived up to his billing as the NL’s top catcher, supplementing a .339 average with a couple of homers and 9 RBIs … Chipper Jones has rewarded any of you who took a chance on him by posting a .298 average with 2 HR and 12 RBIs. You obviously have to be concerned about the inevitable days lost to injury, but for now, he’s worth having in all leagues … Derek Lowe has been masterful this season, and while he hasn’t quite pitched as well as his 1.82 ERA suggests, his peripherals still say that he’s been nearly ace-level. His strikeout rate is higher than it has been since 2001, when he was closing for Boston, and he’s demonstrated excellent control. Snap him up … Craig Kimbrel has been absolutely electric, having yet to allow a run while striking out 15 batters per nine. I’d treat him as a top relief option going forward.
Who’s Not: Virtually everyone else. Tommy Hanson‘s been bit by the long-ball bug, and his peripherals say that an ERA around 4.00 is perfectly appropriate. He’ll need to start racking up more Ks to remain a top-shelf fantasy starter … Jason Heyward leads the team with 4 HR, but unless you’re in an OPS league, his .222 average leaves a lot to be desired. If you are, though, then congrats on having him! … Martin Prado is hitting .250 this year and has walked just once in 75 PA … Dan Uggla has scuffled mightily to open then year, but this is nothing new for him — in April, he’s hit better than .255 just once in his career (probably because he insists on showing off the guns).I’d call him a good buy-low option … Freddie Freeman has performed mostly as you’d expect a rookie to perform. Stay away from him in all but the deepest formats.
Who’s Hot: Zach Britton has delivered on the hype, posting a 2.75 ERA on the strength of his ground-ball-getting acumen. He won’t strike out many batters, but until the league adjusts to him, he’s safe to start every day … Jeremy Guthrie is healthy for the time being, and though his strikeout stuff has been lacking thus far (just over 4 K/9), he’s a good bet for a sub-4.00 ERA for as long as he can stay healthy. Which is no small matter considering his injury-prone track record, but hey: strike while the iron’s hot … Koji Uehara hasn’t shown off the same kind of control that was his hallmark last season (1 BB after the All-Star Break), but he has yet to allow a run and could be in line for saves since Kevin Gregg is doing Kevin Gregg things.
Who’s Not: The aforementioned Kevin Gregg is walking batters like it’s his business, and when business isn’t good, he’s serving up home runs instead … Pretty much every hitter in B-More is struggling; Adam Jones and Brian Roberts lead the team with three HR apiece, but Jones is hitting .208 while Roberts clocks in at .266. Neither are stealing many bases, and their respective positions have both been very strong this season … Matt Wieters has two HR, but also a .209/.277/.395 triple slash that’s not so pretty.
Closer Watch: There are two main candidates here in Uehara and Gregg, and to my eyes, Uehara is clearly the superior choice. He’s been healthier of late, and doesn’t suffer from the insidious HRBB disease that has afflicted Gregg. Keep an eye out for Jason Berken, though, as he’s striking out better than 12 batters per nine and has a 1.42 ERA.
Who’s Hot: This all depends on the type of league you’re in. Are you playing OPS? Then nearly the entire team — with the notable exception of Carl Crawford — is carrying its weight. Dustin Pedroia is hitting the ball very well, and Jed Lowrie is making a strong case to join Pedroia as one of the better-hitting double play combos in the game … Kevin Youkilis (.213), Adrian Gonzalez (.263) and David Ortiz (.265) aren’t hitting for average, and have just five combined HR, but they’re all getting on base very well and I expect better power numbers from each, and a higher average from Youkilis and Gonzalez … J.D. Drew holds some promise if the team keeps him in the lead-off spot, as his strong OBP skills will ensure that he scores plenty of runs … Josh Beckett has been outstanding, as has been his wont in odd-numbered years. Lots of Ks and a sub-2.00 ERA have made a lot of fantasy owners happy … Jon Lester hasn’t been the same Cy Young candidate he was last year, but don’t let that dissuade you; he’s still phenomenally talented … Jonathan Papelbon still has some control issues, but the strikeouts are back, and I expect the saves to pile up as the Red Sox start playing up to their talent.
Who’s Not: Somewhat incredibly, Carl Crawford has already cost the team a full win; his -1.1 WAR comes on the back of a dismal .133/.175/.167 line. A .160 BABIP and two SB thus far do leave room for optimism, though … John Lackey probably shouldn’t have been drafted in most leagues, as his approaching-16.00 ERA shows … Clay Buchholz has been all sorts of bad this season, and it’s not a fluke; he’s walking more batters than he’s striking out, and is barely keeping his FIP under 9.00 … If you grabbed Bobby Jenks hoping for some vultured saves, take heart that his FIP is 1.99. His ERA, though, is over 7.00, which he’ll have to improve if he’s going to get any serious looks at the end of games.
Who’s Hot: Starlin Castro apparently decided to have Albert Pujols touch his bat, because he’s turned into a MonStar. .408/.432/.563 with a home run and two steals is excellent production from any player, let alone a shortstop. He’s got a .424 BABIP, though, so don’t overpay for him … Aramis Ramirez appears to have recovered well from his injury-plagued 2010, hitting .333 with a homer. If he’s truly healthy, more power will come; the average is encouraging for now … Alfonso Soriano has five HR, which is a good sign since the only reason you’d draft him at this point is for power.
Who’s Not: Geovany Soto was one of my favorite targets this season after the way he destroyed pitchers last season, because with the departure of Lou Piniella, he figured to get more burn ahead of Koyie Hill. He has, but hasn’t produced, hitting just .255 with one HR. Stay with him, though; having a weak catcher generally won’t kill you, and there’s tons of upside here … Carlos Pena has shown literally nothing in the way of the power that the Cubs signed him for, and I wouldn’t hesitate to cut bait unless you believe that the cold April air is dimming his power … I know Carlos Zambrano hasn’t been great all season, but his last start, where he struck out 10 Padres, is — I think — more indicative of his potential this year. I’m calling him a buy-low candidate … Matt Garza‘s ERA is an ugly 6.27, but his peripherals are simply outstanding. He’s striking out batters like never before, and I recommend grabbing him if you can … Ryan Dempster is in a similar pickle. He’s struggling with home runs, but is due for some serious regression down from his 6+ ERA.
Injury Update: SPs Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells are both set to begin throwing programs on Friday. Both pitchers are going to be re-evaluated at the end of the Cubs’ current homestand, though Cashner’s injuury — a strained rotator cuff — is probably going to keep him on the shelf for awhile yet. If you’re not in a very deep league, there’s no need to hang on to either; I’d expect both to be available once they’re activated.
Who’s Hot: Edwin Jackson has continued his Don Cooper-led renaissance (or, I guess, just ‘naissance’), striking out over a batter per inning with a walk rate below three per nine innings. He’s for real … John Danks looks to have taken a step forward this year, striking out a batter per inning. The walks are something of a concern, but his xFIP suggests that an ERA around 3.50 isn’t out of order for the big lefty … Sergio Santos is going to start getting a lot of attention for the closing job if Matt Thornton and Chris Sale continue to struggle. The converted shortstop has yet to allow a run, and is striking out batters with authority … Carlos Quentin, Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez are all mashing the ball. We knew Quentin had the potential to hit as well as he has this year if he could stay healthy, so keep an eye on the Sox’ injury report. Konerko appears to be staving off Father Time for yet another year, and Ramirez is emerging as a top option at shortstop.
Who’s Not: Gordon Beckham may not, as some had thought, have turned the corner on the slump that persisted throughout most of last season. He’s hitting just .231/.282/.385, though he does have a pair of homers and a steal. The only reason he maintains value is because he plays second base … We knew Adam Dunn wasn’t much of a contact hitter, but he’s going to have to improve on that .182 average. He does have two HR and seven RBIs, but has done very little since the opening series against the Indians … The woes of Matt Thornton and Chris Sale are well-documented, but bear repeating: Thornton is struggling with his command to the point that he is posting a K:BB ratio near 1.00, and Sale, despite excellent strikeout and walk numbers, has been thoroughly victimized by the long ball. I’d be tempted to go with Sale over Thornton at this point, since Thornton appears to still be throwing a good fastball — it’s just getting pummeled. Bad sign.
Closer Watch: The industry of keeping an eye on closers for roto purposes seems to have been invented basically for this team. For what it’s worth, my current pecking order looks like this: Sale, Santos, Thornton, Jesse Crain. Sale’s been pitching the best, Santos is the exciting alternative who hasn’t blown anything yet, Thornton has been too good in the past few seasons to have already run out of chances, and I don’t trust Crain even a little bit.
As a side note, I hate all the chatter about how some guys just can’t handle pitching in the ninth inning, as if it’s somehow harder to get three outs with a three-run lead than it is to get outs with a one-run lead and the bases loaded in the eighth. But I loved this quote from Ozzie Guillen: “A baseball closer in Chicago, you have to have stones like Ozzie Guillen.” Read that again, and bask in its greatness.
Who’s Hot: Last year’s MVP, Joey Votto, is currently hitting .429/.535/.643. That’s a 213 wRC+, which means that he’s been more than 100 percent better than your average big league hitter. So, y’know, he’s been pretty good so far … Brandon Phillips is hitting .354, but a sky-high BABIP means that figure will be coming down at some point. He’s still a decent 20-20 candidate, but don’t expect his current performance to hold … Jonny Gomes has six home runs and a .190 BABIP, which suggests to me that even if his power isn’t quite as good as he’s showing this year, he’s a reasonable option in all leagues … Drew Stubbs is still striking out all the time, but 4 HRs, 4 SBs and a .273 average are a good cure for the K woes … Sam LeCure was off to a good start, but surrendered four tater tots to the Diamondbacks and is not a good option in mixed leagues.
Who’s Not: Travis Wood has an ERA near 6.00, but his peripherals suggest that’ll be coming down soon. He’ll get you nearly eight strikeouts per nine innings, and if he can keep the ball in the yard, he’ll be a useful add in deeper leagues … Mike Leake wasn’t pitching badly before getting popped for thievery, but keep an eye on how he’s punished … Jay Bruce is hitting an uninspiring .268/.311/.411 despite a .356 BABIP. I’m perhaps irrationally enamored of his game, so I’ll be holding on to him, but you’d be forgiven for putting him on the short list for the waiver wire … Scott Rolen has scuffled so far this year, and his lack of plate discipline is alarming. I’d recommend finding a better option.
Aroldis Chapman Watch: Chapman is back up to his old tricks, firing a pitch that the Great American Ballpark’s radar gun clocked at 106 mph. Yeah, the gun’s juiced, but it’s good to see that a bit of rest apparently did Chapman a world of good.
Who’s Hot: Well, Grady Sizemore has a 383 wRC+ (!!!), so it’s safe to say that he’s looking good in his return from an Sisyphean recovery program. Run, don’t walk, to your waiver wire and scoop him up, but be warned that the team is probably going to take it slow with playing him several games in a row … Travis Hafner looks like the Pronk of old, hitting .353/.414/.617. Yeah, his BABIP is .400, but the walk rate and power are encouraging. Worth keeping an eye on if you don’t mind having DHs on your team … Asdrubal Cabrera (four home runs) is showing a surprising amount of power, and needs to be owned in all leagues, if he’s not already … Don’t look now, but Matt LaPorta looks like he may have figured something out. He’s got an ISO of .200, and has a power pedigree … Justin Masterson, former Red Sox prospect, has had an encouraging start to the year (1.33 ERA), but I’m not a believer. His struggles against righties are too ingrained in my memory; if you can flip him for someone, do it … Mitch Talbot has an ERA in the ones, but isn’t worth picking up except in deep AL-only leagues … Chris Perez has five saves and has yet to allow a run. Might be a nice piece to pick up, since he has little name value.
Who’s Not: Shin-Soo Choo, the one Indians hitter I thought would be a productive player, has been prettay, prettay, pretty bad so far, hitting just .213 while striking out in nearly a third of his at-bats. I’d try to buy low, because he’s too good to keep hitting this poorly … Fausto Carmona has an ERA of 4.74, but has strong strikeout and walk rates. He, too, might be a decent guy to grab on the cheap — provided, of course, that he can keep striking out nearly eight batters per nine.
Who’s Hot: Troy Tulowitzki has been so good in the early going that he’s inspiring talk about whether he has overtaken Albert Pujols as the best player in baseball. For what it’s worth, I’d rather have Tulo than Pujols … Jonathan Herrera is ripping the cover off the ball, and I recommend picking him up if you can. Don’t trade for him — I don’t trust the skills to maintain — but he’s a good free agent pickup to ride for a couple weeks … Chris Iannetta‘s .211/.423/.500 batting line is best suited for OPS leagues, but as long as the plate discipline and power are there, he’s going to be one of the better options at catcher … Dexter Fowler appears to have finally learned how to take a walk, which, with his good speed, might make him a valuable pickup as the season wears along … Jhoulys Chacin has a 1.64 ERA, and I expect him to start recording more strikeouts as we go along. I doubt he’s readily available, but try to snatch him up once that ERA starts to regress a bit … Jorge de la Rosa isn’t going to maintain a 3.18 ERA, but he will start to strike out a few more batters. Judge him accordingly.
Who’s Not: Carlos Gonzalez is hitting for average and has three steals, but isn’t showing the kind of power (.398 SLG) that was such a big part of his breakout last year. It’ll come … Ian Stewart was just demoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, but he’s too good to stay there for long. Someone will eventually realize that he’s a better option than Ty Wigginton or Jose Lopez, right?
Injury Update: Ubaldo Jimenez went on the DL with a finger issue after his first start of the season. In his return, he lasted five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks. He recorded six strikeouts and hit 96 on the gun, so it’s safe to activate him in all formats.
Who’s Hot: Miguel Cabrera is doing Miguel Cabrera things, hitting .317 and setting a pace to score 120 runs, drive in 96 RBIs and hit 40 HR. Nothing to see there … Alex Avila is hitting .279/.340/.535 this year, and while he’s never shown that kind of power in the past, I recommend jumping on it while you can … Justin Verlander is performing up to the ace level that we expect from him and shows no signs of slowing down … Phil Coke has a 2.25 ERA, but it’s important to remember that (a) his K/9 is below 6.00 and (b) he’s still Phil Coke. I don’t buy him continuing to perform like that.
Who’s Not: Austin Jackson, poster boy of BABIP regression, is hitting .164. He’s stolen two bases, but has no business being near a fantasy lineup for the time being … Magglio Ordonez might have finally hit the wall. A .200/.294/.233 line isn’t exactly the stuff fantasy dreams are made of … Victor Martinez is off to a slow start, hitting just .250/.292/.417. The power’s still kind of there, and his catcher eligibility makes him too valuable to bench … Max Scherzer‘s 4.30 ERA is discouraging, but the strikeouts (9.00 K/9) are there. Once the HR/9, which is near 2.00, comes down, he’ll be better.
Who’s Hot: The Marlins have eight home runs as a team. Logan Morrison, upon whom the one aspersion might have cast last year was a lack of power, has four of them. Pick him up … Gaby Sanchez is hitting .340, but isn’t really an option at first base in any but very deep or NL-only leagues … Josh Johnson (1.35 ERA, near no-hitter against the Braves) would like to remind you that he’s very much a candidate for the NL Cy Young.
Who’s Not: Hanley Ramirez is hitting .244/.358/.333. That is worrisome enough in and of itself, but also of significant concern are the stolen base total (one) and the BABIP (.282). There’s a little bad luck in there, but he’s just not hitting the ball very well. You don’t really have a choice but to wait it out, though … Mike Stanton, the young power hitter extraordinaire, is off to a .194/.286/.323 start, but has struggled through a quad injury. Keep him on your bench until you start to see more homers from him, but I suspect he’ll turn it around … Anibal Sanchez is striking out batters like never before, but is being victimized by walks, homers and bad BABIP luck. Good buy-low candidate … I don’t know if Ricky Nolasco is just never going to satisfy the sabermetric community or what; first, it’s uninspiring results despite excellent peripherals, and now he’s striking out a batter every other inning while walking fewer than one per nine. He’s a confusing guy, and yet I’m sure I’ll have him on my team for, like, the next six years … Drop Javier Vazquez if you haven’t already.
Who’s Hot: Hunter Pence isn’t getting much in the way of counting stats — just one homer and stolen base — but he’s got a good track record and a .297 average on his side. Stick with him … J.R. Towles might finally be ready to deliver on his promise, or at least get enough playing time to show once and for all whether he can or can’t hack it at the big league level. He’s hitting .386/.400/.526 so far, and if he continues to hit one home run per 20 at bats, he’ll have 25 by the time he gets to 500. Hurray for extrapolation! … Michael Bourn already has stolen seven bases, so if you picked him up for steals, you’ve got to be happy … I know it’s tempting, but I promise you: Angel Sanchez really isn’t that good. Just stay away … Brett Myers has a 2.35 ERA and a 4.78 K/9, but don’t be afraid: A zero-K season opener is dragging down his overall numbers. I stand by him.
Who’s Not: Carlos Lee is hitting .234 with one home run. You don’t have him on your team, do you? Good … I cut ties with Wandy Rodriguez (7.31 ERA) in one of my leagues. He does boast a walk rate below 2.00 per nine, but I don’t see that as sustainable and don’t trust him to get a whole lot more Ks. If he proves me wrong in the next outing, well, hey, I’m sure he’ll still be on the waiver wire … Brandon Lyon has an ERA over 5.00 despite having not walked a batter this season. That’s how you star in mediocrity, folks.
Closer Watch: Brandon Lyon is probably not a great choice to be closing out baseball games at this point in his career. Of course, I probably could’ve written the same thing two or three years ago, but hey. Keep an eye on Mark Melancon, who’s appeared in 10 games already this season and has a 9.35 K/9, 2.08 BB/9 and 2.08 ERA.
Who’s Hot: Jeff Fr — Fran — ah, boy. Ok, come on, all together now: Jeff Francoeur is hitting .328/.358/.525 this season with a pair apiece of taters and steals. But do me a favor, will you? Don’t pick him up. You’ll only get hurt in the end … Billy Butler is doing what he was put here on Earth to do: hit baseballs. .368/.493/.544 looks real good, and though it’ll come down a bit with his BABIP, he’s a great fallback first baseman … Could this be the year Alex Gordon finally puts it together? His .353/.380/.515 line and buckets of Rs/RBIs say yes, but I look at the plate discipline and BABIP and say no … Wilson Betemit is worth a pickup in all leagues for as long as Mike Aviles is struggling … Want to grab some really cheap steals? Pick up Jarrod Dyson, who will probably get two or three PA a week, but has five steals … Jeff Francis has been very good thus far, but doesn’t strike out enough batters to be useful in most fantasy leagues.
Wow, six Royals in the Hot section? Bookmark this page for your grandchildren.
Who’s Not: Mike Aviles (.200/.245/.422) is, I think, launching a personal vendetta against me for drafting him in most of my leagues. I can’t imagine why he’d be so offended by that, but, hey: baseball players. Drop him … Kyle Davies has an ERA over 7.00, but he’s striking out nearly eight batters per nine, which means he could have some value as a spot starter in very deep leagues … Joakim Soria has been horrendous this season, coming by a 5.59 ERA quite honestly (3.12 K/9, 4.15 BB/9, 1.04 HR/9).
Closer Watch: Let’s be clear: I’m not suggesting that Joakim Soria is about to lose his job. I’m merely pointing out that he’s been awful and that rookies Aaron Crow and Tim Collins have been better. Both the youngsters have double digit strikeout rates, and while Collins has to get his control under, ahem, control (8.00 BB/9), it’s hard to envision the Royals being worse off in the short term by giving Soria some rest. It certainly seems like he could use it.
Who’s Hot: Remember when Howie Kendrick was commonly thought of as a future batting champ? He’s hitting .318/.392/.621 with five home runs this season, showing unprecedented (for him) plate discipline and power … Maicer Izturis is hitting .391, and I think he’s a very good middle-infield option even when that average takes a tumble; he’s got 15-15 potential, which is better than most guys you might plug in at short … Alberto Callaspo (.321/.397/.464) is someone I have little faith in; he’s been slumping a bit in the past week or so, and is past the point in his career where we hold out hope for guys to make a leap forward … Jered Weaver is showing that his 2010 campaign (wherein he led the AL in strikeouts) is no fluke; he’s clocking in at 10.08 K/9 this year, with a 1.30 ERA … Dan Haren is showing why people thought the Diamondbacks got fleeced when they sent him to the Angels; his sterling 0.58 BB/9 and 1.16 ERA are fantasy gold.
Who’s Not: Vernon Wells (whose acquisition more or less undermines all the goodwill the Angels’ front office received for bringing Haren aboard) is hitting .169/.217/.231 and should not be on anyone’s roster at the moment — ditto Torii Hunter … Ervin Santana has a 5.26 ERA that probably isn’t as bad as it looks, but he’s going to have to do a lot to prove to me that he’s going to be a viable fantasy starter at any point going forward.
Closer Watch: There was a minor uproar when Jordan Walden was named closer over Fernando Rodney only for manager Mike Scioscia to turn around and use Rodney in a save opportunity shortly after the announcement. However, Walden looks to have established himself in the role, having three saves to Rodney’s two, and generally holding a lot more promise as a productive pitcher. Walden is the guy to own here; Rodney can be dropped in just about all formats.
Who’s Hot: This question, as posed to all other teams, might as well read ‘Who’s doing a good Matt Kemp impersonation?” — .438/.515/.656 with three homers and eight (!) steals does the heart good … Andre Ethier is the only other Dodger hitter worth owning at this point, posting a .362 average on the year. Just one home run, but it’s safe to expect those to come along … Jerry Sands is not, to my eyes, worth a pickup in any but the deepest leagues. He’s been hitting the ball well in his two big league games, but he’s not a guy that screams “impact rookie” to me … Clayton Kershaw is making a compelling case early on for the NL Cy Young, striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings, and backing up his 2.96 ERA with a 2.94 xFIP … Hiroki Kuroda has a 3.33 ERA despite a strikeout rate of just 5.33. He’s better than that, so don’t be scared off by his FIP.
Who’s Not: As evidenced by the fact that there were more “hot” Royals than Dodgers, just about everyone in La-La Land falls in this category, including the franchise itself, which is going to be taken over by MLB. But you don’t own the McCourts in your league. You might, however, own Chad Billingsley, and I suggest you not be too scared of his near-5.00 ERA. His FIP and xFIP are both hovering around 3.00, and are a much better barometer of his talent … Jonathan Broxton has good velocity on his fastball, but it’s not been elite — a problem you can see in his low K rate (6.14) and the way batters are launching his pitches into the stands (25% HR/FB). Yeah, you expect that number to normalize, but if not for the lack of other options in the Dodger bullpen (Matt Guerrier isn’t good enough and Hong-Chih Kuo isn’t sturdy enough), it wouldn’t surprise me to see Broxton lose some save opportunities.
Injury Update: Rafael Furcal (broken thumb) won’t even be on the radar for another month. Kuo was placed on the 15 day DL on April 17, so he’s on the shelf until at least May.
Who’s Hot: Chris Narveson has emerged from obscurity to a 1.45 ERA. He’s striking out more than one batter per inning, but his walk rate is near 4.00 and he’s yet to allow a home run, despite getting just 43% of balls in play to burn worms. Keep him for now, but don’t be shocked if he crashes and burns … Shaun Marcum has been what the Brewers hoped they were getting from the Brewers, joining Narveson in the sub-2.00 ERA club. He, too, looks to have gotten a bit lucky with HRs so far, so the same caveat applies here as with Narveson — though with less force, since Marcum has a better track record … Randy Wolf is striking guys out like it’s, uh, some year that has never existed. He doesn’t have the stuff to keep the Ks up, and I can’t recommend giving up anything of value to get him, despite a 3.33 ERA … Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks are each top-tier talents and virtual locks to keep producing as long as they stay healthy.
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