Roto Roundup: Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Others

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Ray Guilfoyle recaps some of the top performances on Opening Day 2013.

Opening Day is over and the start of the season could not have come fast enough for me. I still have four more drafts this week, on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Opening Day is not only the beginning of baseball season. It is also the beginning of my grading my offseason analysis/advice here at Fake Teams. Anyway, onto the Roto Roundup.

Bryce Harper - Yes I traded him

I had asked myself the question so many times. "Should I trade Bryce Harper for a run at a repeat? I went back and forth, back and forth so many times. Again, I asked the question. My gut was telling me to make a run for two league championships in a row. My mind was saying "you will live to regret this trade." What I should have responded to the first question was "that's a clown question, bro." But I didn't. And I lost the league title by 1.5 points.

Harper started the season off by hitting two home runs in his first two at bats yesterday, and is now on pace for......nah. I won't do that to you. I think he is a slam dunk for a 25 home run, 25 stolen base season in 2013, but his performance yesterday screams that I might be a little light in the home run projection. He will have his hot streaks and slumps just like every other hitter, but at the end of the season, he will make fantasy owners pretty happy. I own him in the Razzball Experts league, and may have reached just a bit when I grabbed him in the second round. Not now.

Clayton Kershaw - Pay that man his money!

Clayton Kershaw entered his Opening Day start with an 8-4 career record vs the San Francisco Giants in 16 starts. In those 16 starts, he owns a 127-27 strikeout to walk ratio in 118 innings of work, with a 1.37 ERA and a 0.881 WHIP. Two years ago, his Cy Young award season, he went 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in 6 starts vs the Giants. Suffice it to say, he has done very well when pitching against their division rivals. That mastery continued on Monday, as Kershaw tossed a complete game shutout, giving up just 4 hits, walking none and striking out 7. And it took him just 94 pitches to toss the complete game shutout. Oh, and he homered too, a bomb to straightaway center field. He is #1 starter in the game for me, and will soon be the first pitcher with a $200 million contract real soon, I believe.

Here is what else happened on Opening Day:

Red Sox rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made a great impression in his first game in the majors. He went 0-2 with 2 runs scored, an RBI and 3 walks. He batted eight in the Red Sox lineup, but could move up to the two spot in the lineup should Shane Victorino not hit up to expectations. He will be playing left field for the near term, but once David Ortiz returns from the DL, he could be sent down to AAA. If I owned him, I would try to deal him if he gets into a hot streak.

It took CC Sabathia 102 pitches to get through 5 innings yesterday, and the results were not good. Sabathia gave up 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks, with 5 strikeouts vs the Red Sox. Sabathia is known for starting the season slow, and last year was no different, as he entered May 2012 with a 4.58 ERA, and had just one more month with an ERA over 4.00. Unless he gets injured, CC should be fine in 2013. Draft with confidence.

How times have changed. The Yankees used to field an All Star at each position, and here is what they ran out on the field vs the Red Sox:

Brett Gardner

Eduardo Nunez

Robinson Cano

Kevin Youkilis

Vernon Wells

Ben Francisco

Ichiro Suzuki

Jayson Nix

Francisco Cervelli

Granted the lineup is without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, but the earliest we will see any of these guys is early May. Jeter should be back in early May. Teixeira has stated that his rehab is going well, so he could return in May at some point, and Granderson is due back in June. The question is can this lineup keep the Yankees in the NL East race until they get all of these players back? I am not so sure.

The question for fantasy owners is how much of an impact the lineup will have on the performance of second baseman Robinson Cano this season. Cano is in his walk year, so i see him have another outstanding season, but his runs scored and RBI could drop a little this season.

Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg was solid on Monday, shutting out the Marlins for 7 innings, giving up just 3 hits, walking none and striking out just 3 batters. He needed just 80 pitches to get through 7 innings, but he induced just 2 swinging strikes, and 16 called strikes. There was talk this offseason that he may pitch to contact more this season to limit the number of pitches he throws, but I wouldn't panic after just one start.

One of my 2013 players to target is Mets first baseman Ike Davis, as I think he could hit 35+ home runs this season, with a .250-.260 batting average. Well, he didn't get the season started on the right foot yesterday, as he went 0-5 with 4 strikeouts. He struggled in the first two months of the 2012 season, so a slow start this season should not be a surprise.

Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso showed off some added power this spring, hitting 5 home runs, driving in 11 runs, but hit just .232-.264-.484. He continued to show off some power on Opening Day, hitting a long ball off of Jonathan Niese at Citi Field. With the fences coming in at Petco Park this season, could we see Alonso approach the 20 home run level?

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija picked up where he left off last season, shutting out the Pirates for 8 innings, giving up just 2 hits, a walk and striking out 9 Pirates to win on Opening Day. Samardzija induced 16 swinging strikes and 12 ground ball outs to stifle the young Pirates offense. Samardzija tossed 174.2 innings last season, striking out 180, so he should exceed the 200 strikeout level this season.

Pirates starter A.J. Burnett pitched effectively yesterday, but was hurt by the long ball. Burnett gave up a first inning, two run home run to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. All told, Burnett gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, a walk and 10 strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. Sixteen of his seventeen outs were recorded by either the strikeout or ground out.

Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks was the darling of fantasy owners for one day a week or so ago, after he hit 3 home runs in one game in spring training. The preseason hype machine was running full throttle after that performance, but Fake Teams own Craig Goldstein advised fantasy owners to pump the brakes on the Hicks hype, as did Dave Morris Jr. in this AL Only Clarity piece. Hicks has zero at bats above AA, and that showed a bit on Opening Day, as he struck out in three of his four at bats vs Justin Verlander and the Tigers bullpen, but did manage a walk as well. Hicks should reach 20+ stolen bases this season, but may struggle at the plate.

Tigers reliever Phil Coke earned the first save in the post-Valverde era, but I wouldn't go out and grab Coke as a result. Coke was brought in with one out in the ninth, after Joaquin Benoit got the first out in the ninth. Coke was brought in to face left-handed hitter Justin Morneau, who he promptly struck out, and switch hitter Ryan Doumit, who hits righties better than lefties. This situation is still a work in progress at this point, so I wouldn't make any bold moves on who the closer will be just yet.

For more baseball news, make sure you check out www.sbnation.com/mlb, SB Nations new baseball site, where you can read the best from every SB Nation baseball site everyday. Also, make sure you check out Baseball Nation, where you can read the best from Rob Neyer and Grant Brisbee daily.

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