Fantasy Baseball

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We’ve played about two weeks worth of baseball as we move into the second half of April, and there are a few storylines around the league that may surprise you. The Milwaukee Brewers are 10-3, the team expected to challenge the Dodgers for the NL West crown was not the Giants, who are a game back of Los Angeles, but instead the Arizona Diamondbacks who sit at a sluggish 4-12, the worst record in all of baseball. The Braves and Nationals look to be locked in a year long clash for the NL East title, while Oakland and Detroit control there own divisions respectfully. Ah, of coarse, the only division previously unmentioned is the absolutely unpredictable AL East, which comes as a surprise to basically no one around baseball circles. Currently the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays all have seven wins racked up while Baltimore has compiled six wins and last years World Series champions the Boston Red Sox find themselves in the cellar at 5-8.

While the records of some teams to begin the 2014 season may be a bit of a shock to some fans, the numbers back up what these teams are doing. On the other side of things, teams like Texas, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Atlanta have seen injuries have an impact of them early on in this campaign. Pitching staffs have been rerouted on a few teams while key players around baseball on contending teams have found themselves placed on the disabled list. Below I will discuss how the happenings around the league including injuries, teams that are hot, and teams who could be performing better in the near future should affect how you assemble your fantasy baseball roster.

Milwaukee’s Best
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst of all, the Brewers 10-4 start to the season is not a fluke, and fantasy owners can take away a few different angles from Milwaukee’s season so far. The lineup that they have formed is a legitimate major league batting order with many nice pieces slotted into their appropriate spots. Jean Segura got off to a slow start and was dropped in some ESPN leagues, but this is no time to panic with a very talented young infielder, Segura has starting playing better of late. Carlos Gomez predicted regression after his stellar year in 2013 has been a prediction proven wrong so far by Gomez as he is hitting .345 with ten runs and four long balls. Segura and Gomez should be owned in all formats because of the many different categories they can contribute in. While I am high on those two young play makers the real question every wants to know is regarding Ryan Braun and his performance this season. Braun has three home runs on the young season, oddly enough coming all in one game, against the Phillies on the 8th of April. Besides that one game he has been very mediocre this year, but there’s no doubting the talent that Braun possesses and he could be a top ten-fantasy player by the end of the season. Khris Davis got off to a horrid start but has locked in his swing recently and now sports a .280 average on the season. Jonathan Lucroy and Aramis Ramirez have held up well this season also, both players are batting .326 or higher. While all those offensive players are defiantly worthy of a spot on almost any roster, there may be some guys you want to move out while they have a peaked value. Yovani Gollardo has gotten off to a 2-0 start with an earned run average sitting at 0.96 with 13 punch-outs under his belt. Gollardo is a solid pitcher on a team that is hot at the time, the numbers he are putting up and completely unsustainable. Sporting a career ERA of 3.68 the Brewers ace is on track to see some regression in his coming starts, if he is on your roster and you can obtain a player of higher value, move him now.

Hot Corner: Who’s in? Who’s out?
Manny MachadoManny Machado (3B – BAL) – He is nearing a return to the diamond; he took part in 180-foot sprints on Tuesday. This is commonly thought of as the last hurdle before a player can return from an injury like Machado’s. In the next week or so the O’s young star third basemen will be back on the field and should be inserted back into fantasy lineups everywhere.

Adrian Beltre (3B – TEX) – Clearly one of the elite third basemen not only in fantasy circles but also in all of baseball, however he is headed to the 15-Day DL with a quad strain. The move is retroactive to April 9th, giving the Rangers slugger the chance to come off the DL on April 24th. For now Beltre is out but should be back with in the next 10-12 days and back at the hot corner for a depleted Texas squad.

Ryan Zimmerman (3B – WAS) – Zimmerman was off to a quick start for the Nationals this year but finds himself on the DL after injuring his hand sliding headfirst during a pickoff attempt. While this news is a downer to Washington and the playoff hopes they have, Zimmerman owners may have an opportunity here. Anthony Rendon is going to be the every day third baseman for the foreseeable future, allowing Danny Espinosa to regain his second base duties. For owners who lost Zimmerman, the switch-hitting middle infielder could be a solid add if he can see every day at bats and regain his former hitting form. Espinosa is owned in just 0.6% of ESPN standard leagues, if you need help at second baseball or a utility spot to fill take a shot on the Nats second baseman.



Will Middlebrooks (3B – BOS) – He is eligible to come off of the disabled list on April 20th, and the odds of him doing this look pretty good at the moment. The young Red Sox corner man was having a slow start to the season, but after a great spring Middlebrooks was beginning to heat up at the dish. He was dropped in numerous leagues when he headed to the DL but now could be the time to scoop him up and plug him into your roster at the hot corner spot or as a solid utility guy.

Rotation Reconstruction
Texas Rangers – Teams around baseball that have been affected by injuries particularly to there pitching staffs include Texas, Tampa Bay and Atlanta. The Rangers saw Derrick Holland go down before the season began, while they hope to get him back sometime during June, making him a legitimate stash candidate in leagues that have a DL spot. Yu Darvish began the season on the DL but has returned to the rotation and is looking like the Yu Darvish we’ve all come to expect every time he toes the rubber. Matt Harrison is expected to rejoin the rotation after a few more minor league outings and could be a nice addition to your pitching staff. Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross have been working as fill in starters, while Ross has outperformed Scheppers in the starting rotation both they’re spots may be up for grabs later on this season.

david priceTampa Bay Rays – Joe Maddon’s bunch already has the issue of playing in what is thought to be by many as the hardest division in baseball, but injuries create a larger problem. The Rays pitching staff goes up against the AL East on a regular basis reminding them just how important having good arms on the bump is. David Price has been himself this year anchoring the Tampa rotation as expected with his 2-0 record and twenty-two strikes out on the year. Besides Price, the Rays really have some question marks about their rotation including Alex Cobb’s injury and now Matt Moore undergoing Tommy John surgery, not to mention Jeremy Hellickson who is already on the 15-day DL. Chris Archer is healthy and by forfeit is essentially Tampa’s second best arm behind Price. The young starter got a first hand glimpse of what pitching in the hard-hitting AL East is like as Baltimore knocked him around for seven runs of twelve hits over five inning on Monday. Keep an eye on Jake Odorizzi and Erik Bedard as they may be in line for some starts on the upcoming schedule for Tampa Bay.



Atlanta Braves – NL East contenders before the season began, the Braves have taken a major hit to there pitching rotation. Kris Medlin and Brandon Beachy both have fallen victim to Tommy John’s surgery for the second time in their respective careers. Along with two rotation guys going under the needle Mike Minor began the season on the 15-day DL but has been pitching in minor league outings recently and could be nearing a return. All of these injuries have left us with an Atlanta rotation that includes Ervin Santana, Alex Wood, Julio Teheran, Aaron Harang, and David Hale. The newly acquired Santana has been excellent, sporting a 0.64 ERA through 14.0 innings of work on the young season. Teheran and Wood are both very young but have the potential to be solid rotation guys in Atlanta for a long time; both have shown flashes of excellent pitch arsenals. Harang has been a pleasant surprise for a Braves team in need of some quality starting arms; he has only given up two earned runs in three starts so far. Hale is the most likely candidate to lose his spot once Mike Minor returns from injury and is presumably inserted back into the rotation.

You can follow me on Twitter @Greg_Benson24 for more fantasy news and advice. Also be sure to like us on Facebook, and Google+ for all updates from FantasySixPack.

About Greg Benson

Follow me on Twitter at @Greg_Benson24. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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