Clearing The Bases
Arizona Diamondbacks: Centerfielder A.J. Pollock had a big game Wednesday, hitting two HRs and driving in four runs. Pollock may not have even begun the season with the team except for the injuries suffered by Adam Eaton an Cody Ross, problem is when those two return from the DL there may be no room for Pollock…..Speaking of outfielders, Jason Kubel missed the game Wednesday as he is dealing with an assortment of injuries, all of them minor.
Atlanta Braves: As hot a start as OF Justin Upton has gotten off to (seems to be sticking it to Arizona with every swing) is as bad a start as B.J. Upton has. You take away that HR he hit in the 9th inning (the one where his brother also homered) and he has been a severe disappointment so far. Granted it’s only a week, but it may take him a while to get adjusted to the National League…..Catcher Evan Gattis is off to a hot start, but will more than likely be sent down to AAA once Brian McCann returns. Maybe he can play 1B until Freddie Freeman is recovered from his oblique injury.
Chicago Cubs: Certainly didn’t take long for RP Carlos Marmol to lose the closer’s job now did it? Kyuji Fujikawa may be more than an adequate replacement but one has a feeling that this will not be the last we hear of Marmol in the 9th inning. His value may be at an all-time low now, but a couple of good outings in high leverage situations before the trade deadline and some team will come sniffing around.
Cincinnati Reds: Anyone else have the feeling that the battle between the Reds and Cardinals is going to be a fun one to watch all summer long? Outside of the Nationals, I have the Reds as the second best team in the NL, but St. Louis isn’t far behind…..I’ve been scratching my head wondering why manager Dusty Baker is still deploying Shin-Soo Choo in CF and not Chris Heisey since Ryan Ludwick went down with a shoulder injury. We have already seen Choo have trouble with a couple of fly balls. Heisey has experience in CF and it’s not like Ludwick is coming back anytime soon. Maybe Baker feels it will hurt Choo’s progress to move him back and forth.
Colorado Rockies: The Rockies hot start came to a screeching halt this week in S.F. How do you get shutout 10-0 by Barry Zito? The Rockies trade of C Ramon Hernandez to the Dodger for Aaron Harang wasn’t meant to add talent, but to rid themselves of some salary. They are also hoping to turnaround now and trade Harang for something worthwhile they can use. They have had inquiries from a few teams, but in the end, even if they are able to deal him, they won’t get very much in return.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chad Billingsley will make his season debut Wednesday night for the Dodgers. Not sure anyone knows what he will be able to bring to the team, but if he is able to pitch well, that just give the Dodgers more ammunition to make a trade for what they need later on this season…..The Dodgers have to be thrilled with the start of OF Carl Crawford. Crawford was sort of a wild card coming into the season but has looked good at the plate and may actually end up being the Crawford we have come to know and love.
Miami Marlins: Good to see the Marlins are actually as bad as we thought they would be. They do have a bright spot though and that is SP Jose Fernandez. He was dominant in his first start versus the Mets and could be the anchor of this staff for years to come…..RF Giancarlo Stanton looks like he really does wish he would’ve been traded away this winter like so many of his teammates. He’s not going to get many pitches to hit, not with no one for opposing teams to worry about batting around him. I know some don’t believe in lineup protection, but why on Earth would anyone let Stanton beat them? Also, to the people who state that Stanton didn’t have anyone hitting behind him last season also, very true, but he had Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Hanley Ramirez in front of him, that’s a lot of speed on the bases, thus forcing teams to pitch to him. Lineup protection works both ways.
Milwaukee Brewers: Like Marmol with the Cubs, John Axford has also lost his closer’s job. He has been nothing short of terrible so far this season but it’s highly unlikely that Jim Henderson is the answer. He really is nothing more than a journeymen. Axford is sure to receive another chance in the not so distant future…..How can a major league baseball team be employing Alex Gonzalez and 1B and Yuniesky Betancourt at 3B on a full-time basis. Talk about a lack of depth.
New York Mets: Met fans have to be extremely excited about the future of SP Matt Harvey. This kid is the real deal and with Zack Wheeler lurking in the minor leagues the team will slowly be building back up to respectability…..First baseman Ike Davis is having a rough start to the season once again. Once again it’s only eight games, but he looks off once again…..Catcher John Buck is as hot as any player in baseball, but that won’t continue. I understand fantasy owners, especially those in two C leagues have no choice but to grab him, but he will come crashing down to Earth, and come crashing down hard.
Philadelphia Phillies: Not much I can say about SP Roy Halladay that hasn’t already been said. Something certainly seems wrong. He’s getting beat up by every lineup he faces. Fantasy wise this seemed to be a good week for him. He was getting two starts, one against the weak hitting Mets, the other against the pathetic Marlins. One had to figure this would be a good time to get things right. Well, not so much. The Mets beat him up and if the Marlins do the same this weekend, then it’s time for Halladay to be placed firmly on your bench.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez suffered a strained right hamstring during his last start and is unlikely to pitch on Sunday. This may not seem all that important, but for those who were hoping the team might call up super prospect Gerrit Cole to take his place, not going to happen. Cole will pitch for the Pirates at some point this season, but probably not until an injury or poor performance would assure him of an everyday job.
St. Louis Cardinals: If OF Oscar Tavares plays well enough at AAA to force a call up, I wonder if the team would try and trade OF Carlos Beltran. At this point in his career Beltran is made for the American League where he can be used as a DH part of the time…..With closer Jason Motte likely lost for the season due to a torn ligament in his elbow, still believe it’s just a matter of time now until Trevor Rosenthal gets the job, think Adam Wainwright a few years ago. You can always put Rosenthal back in the starting rotation next year, if and when Motte proves himself healthy.
San Diego Padres: Good news for the Padres on Wednesday as 3B Chase Headley has started taking batting practice again. It shouldn’t be long until he is sent on a rehab stint…..Outfielder Carlos Quentin missed the game Wednesday after being hit in the wrist with a pitch Tuesday, he isn’t expected to miss much time.
San Francisco Giants: Has SP Barry Zito returned to prominence? Probably not, but he’s looking pretty good so far this season, might have to think about picking him up in deeper leagues…..Like Halladay with Philadelphia, Tim Lincecum is another starting pitcher that is driving fantasy owners nuts, but also like Halladay, this is something you should have seen coming, both of these guys have been struggling since last season, not just this year, they may never be the same again. I do like Lincecum a little better, but neither is anywhere near the ace they once were and are both bordering on matchup types.
Washington Nationals: There was some talk that closer Rafael Soriano might need a day or two off due to a slight leg injury, this was being used as the reason he had struggled in his last couple of appearances. Guess he’s good to go though, he closed out the game Wednesday without any problems…..Like the Cards and Reds in the central, the Nats and Braves in the East should be fun to watch this season as well.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @georgekurtz.