April: A Month in the Rear View

Julian Finney

Kylan Easterling reviews the previous months fantasy action as baseball wraps up April and heads into May.

On the last day of each month I will review each team and its monthly performance for fantasy baseball owners. I will probably leave some stuff out that you think I should put in, and I will certainly put in some stuff that you think should be left out. But trust me, it is all backed up by lots and lots of research and scientific evidence found through hundreds of hours of studies that someone somewhere else is doing. I’m just a fantasy baseball nerd, living in a fantasy baseball world.

So let’s cut the small talk and get to it….

Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt has not hit a home run in two weeks but he is still driving the ball and hitting .319 with plenty of runs/rbis. Trumbo may be out longer than expected (late June most likely) and to top it all off top pitching prospect Archie Bradley is on the minor league DL with a flexor strain. These types of injuries usually lead to more serious injuries so I would not expect much out of him in 2014.


Atlanta Braves: Justin Upton apparently likes hitting in April. Including last year with this year’s April stats he is hitting a cool .316 with 38 runs, 19 home runs and 35 rbis in those 183 April at bats. Expectt him to cool off mightily just like he did last year, he is still a top 20-30 fantasy player but no one is this good. Freddie Freeman is awesome. Pretty much every starting pitcher is dominating, and oh yeah, BJ Upton and Dan Uggla are still terrible.


Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado has been out all of April, JJ Hardy has missed time and now Chris Davis is on the DL. But Nelson Cruz is crushing the ball and Matt Wieters is showing that he wants a big money contract at the end of the season. Adam Jones has disappointed and the pitching staff is terrible but all things considered they are in second place and will get a lot of injured players returning soon. Machado was in the starting lineup last night.


Boston Red Sox: Grady Sizemore received a lot of early season hype but he has come crashing back down to earth. I mean, what did you really expect? It was a nice story while it lasted though. I was genuinely rooting for the guy. Mike Napoli is putting up big numbers and he better because fantasy owners can’t hide him at catcher anymore. Lester, Lackey and Peavy are all pitching great for fantasy owners and Koji Uehhara is proving last year was not a fluke.


Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu has joined the likes of Yasiel Puig in proving that Cuba should be raided by every single MLB club for any type of baseball talent. Just send in the Navy Seals over there already, kidnap as many as possible and send them to the Arizona Diamondbacks ASAP! What? Chris Sale is battling an elbow injury? No way, I don’t believe it. His mechanics are perfect! No one saw this coming!! And since when did Alexei Ramirez turn into one of the best players in baseball? Sell high on this guy quick.


Chicago Cubs: Jason Hammel is in the early contention for Cy-Young talk which tells you all you need to know about April’s stats. Jeff Samardizja is once again showing why he is one of baseball’s most unpredictable players but what can you do? Just keep putting him into your lineup and hope for the best. Emilio Bonafacio is once again battling for the lead in stolen bases and he should continue to do so. Get him if you can, especially if you need a 2B. There is great value there with his potential to steal 50 bases.


Cincinnati Reds: Billy Hamilton is doing what everyone thought he would do, struggling to get on base and stealing bases when he does. He has, however, been caught stealing 5 times already. I am not sure how that is even possible. Joey Votto is batting second and the teams 3-4-5 hitters (Phillips, Bruce, Frazier) are struggling to hit over .250, the rest of the lineup is even worse than that. Homer Bailey can’t keep the ball in the park, Devin Mesoraco can’t stay healthy and no one can score on Jonathon Broxton. He is a perfect 5 for 5 in save chances filling in for Aroldis Chapman, who will be back soon.


Cleveland Indians: When Michael Brantley is your best hitter heading into May you know you have a problem. Asdrubal Cabrera keeps getting worse. The transition to third base seems to be affecting Carlos Santana’s hitting abilities and to make things worse Jason Kipnis was removed from the game last night and it looks like he will miss a few weeks. Danny Salazar and Justin Masterson can’t find the strike zone and when they do it has benefited their opponents. Things will get better though for all of these guys. They have to right?


Colorado Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki is proving that when healthy he can rival Mike Trout for fantasy baseball’s MVP. The types of numbers he puts up at short stop are simply mind boggling. Justin Morneau looks born again playing in Coors Field as does Charlie Blackmon who finished April as fantasy baseball’s leader on the player rater (Tulo was 2nd). Cargo is hurt again. Nolan Arenado is looking like an All-Star and they still don’t have any pitching worth mentioning.


Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera is continuing his terrible September and postseason run from last year. He still looks hurt to me, not a surprise given his body size and injuries last year. But even an 70% Miggy is still pretty valuable, not a lock top 5 guy like he was a month ago though. Justin Verlander on the other hand is proving he is just fine. Ian Kinsler was a nice fit and doing his thing. Rajai Davis is fast and Nick Castellanos might knock in a 100 rbis this year. Not bad for a rookie who is available in most leagues.


Miami Marlins: The Marlins will give any team a run for their money when it comes to the best pitcher/hitter combination in all of baseball. Give me Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton any day of the week and I will figure out the rest as I go. Saltalamacchia is building on the promise he showed last year and as a former top prospect his bat is probably pretty legit. Great value if you need a catcher here. Nate Eovaldi can pitch, Christian Yelich can hit and Marcell Ozuna is not far behind. Very underrated young core down in Miami.


Houston Astros: George Springer gets called up and is immediately owned in 100% of leagues. He struggles in his first two weeks and is immediately dropped back down to 50% of ownership. Come on guys, be patient. What did you really expect? This guy will hit, hit for power and steal bases. When he does, you will regret dropping him. Go pick him up now, yeah I will give you time…………

……………………………………….

Ok did you get him? Good. This guy is going to be a superstar. Jonathan Villar is also a sneaky option if you are in need of some short stop help. He will not help your batting average but he could hit 10 home runs and steal 30 bases. You would take that from your short stop wouldn’t you?


Kansas City Royals: Are you one of the people who bought into the Mike Moustakas revival this year? I’m sorry. He is pretty bad and im guessing he always will be. Eric Hosmer now has zero home runs in his past 172 April at bats but don’t worry he will be fine. Yordano Ventura is proving that he is for real, Jason Vargas is pitching over his head and if you need steals you should go check out Jarrod Dyson who is getting at bats for the often injured Lorenzo Cain.


Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols is healthy and hitting like, well, Albert Pujols. Josh Hamilton is hurt again, Howie Kendrick is valuable again and the Angels two best pitchers for the rest of the season are you, you guessed it, Garret Richards and Tyler Skaggs. Kole Calhoun is valuable when healthy and this team still doesn’t have a closer. Meanwhile in Milwaukee good ole’ K-Rod might be the BEST closer in baseball. And yes, I just did an Angels review without mentioning Mike Trout… wait... does that count?


Los Angeles Dodgers: Dee Gordon leads baseball in steals and is hitting over .350, still not a believer? He is a career. 268 hitter so that .355 BA is likely to drop but even at his career level he is very valuable to fantasy owners as long as he steals you 50 bases. He will. Zack Greinke is the Dodgers best pitcher, Dan Haren is next in line. Clayton Kershaw is hurt which probably explains that. Matt Kemp is healthy. Hanley Ramirez is not. Adrian Gonzalez is on pace to hit 50 home runs and I think he does it. Man, he looks good.


Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun has a hurt thumb, or does he? I don’t care, he is still putting up elite numbers and that is what I DO care about for fantasy purposes. Gallardo is pitching like Gallardo, Garza is pitching like Garza and have I mentioned K-Rod is the best closer in baseball? Jean Segura got hit in the face with a bat, Carlos Gomez got in a fight. And Aramis Ramirez continues to put up good numbers at the third base position.


Minnesota Twins: Chris Colabello was the popular add of April and put together a nice hot streak of games. He is a decent hitter and can help you but temper your expectations here. If you can get a top 100 guys for him that’s great value for the 30 yr old career minor leaguer. Brian Dozier is on pace to go 40-40. He is also hitting .217 and ruining your batting average, but if he only goes 20-20 (which is the likely case here) he still has a ton of fantasy value as a second baseman.

New York Mets: Eric Young Jr. continues to get on base and steal bases at his usual rate. But fantasy owners are still skeptical as he is only owned in 73% of leagues. Don’t be, this Mets team is bad and Terry Collins loves this guy. He will get 500+ at bats and steal 50+ bases and is hanging out in most leagues free agent list. Dillon Gee and Jonathan Niese are pitching like aces. Thats wont last for long. Zack Wheeler and Bartolo Colon are not. That probably will continue. David Wright is over rated and Kyle Farnsworth is the closer.


New York Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka is making big league hitters and MLB executives that passed on him look foolish. Did this team really think Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts were the answers at third and second base? Derek Jeter has no value, and yes it is sad that Yangervis Solarte has been their best infielder. Mark Teixeira is healthy and hitting, not sure you should count on that though. Michael Pineda is hurt again and yes, CC Sabathia is still one of the worst pitchers in baseball. What a messy 200 million dollar payroll. How is that even possible?


Oakland Athletics: Yoenis Cespedas continues to struggle but is still putting up a decent line. Josh Donaldson is awesome. Sonny Gray, Jessie Chavez and Scott Kazmir will all make the All-Star team, then have terrible second halves. Coco Crisp is still valuable, Jed Lowrie too. They have a 10 million dollar set-up man and a 3 million dollar closer and they have the best record in the American League. I sense another moving in the making here…


Philadelphia Phillies: This team wants to be good so bad but this a over 30 softball league they are playing in. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins still have fantasy value and Ben Revere can steal a lot of bases but this lineup is a mess and I would not be surprised if all three had different uniforms come July. AJ Burnett is now leading this staff and im pretty sure he will be gone too come July. At least he should be. Toss in Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Papelbon too. This team needs a major makeover.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker is on pace to hit 37 home runs, so is Pedro Alvarez. Andrew McCutchen may win another MVP and Starling Marte continues to swing with his eyes closed. But this team will go as far as the arms of Edison Volquez and Francisco Liriano take them.. Wait.. did I just say that? I did, and it is true. Gerrit Cole is an legit ace but he can’t do it all by himself. And when in the hell are they going to call up Gregory Polanco already? Do they want to see how far out of the playoff race they can drop first?


San Diego Padres: They have a good closer. Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner are pitching very well but when Chris Denorfia is your best hitter you are in major trouble. But we knew that a month ago. Everth Cabrera is still a decent option at short stop and Chase Headley will be fine as your third basemen but stay far away from everyone else.


San Francisco Giants: Tim Hudson has anchored this staff through the first month of the season. However, Madison Bumgarner has been more fitting of that analogy. Pablo Sandoval can’t hit his weight but then again most guys can’t hit that high either. Brandon Belt was hot and now he is not. Angel Pagan keeps hitting, Sergio Romo keeps closing and I have no clue how this team is still in first place. I guess the idea of building your team around Michael Morse and Hunter Pence is actually a good one.


Seattle Mariners: Robinson Cano has one home run and as your first round draft pick you are waiting for him to heat up. He will. Kyle Seager already heated up and has 5 home runs and 11 rbis in his last 5 games. Felix Hernandez is still the best pitcher on the planet who plays for a non-contender and Fernando Rodney is still getting save chances with a 1.93 WHIP. Justin Smoak had a hot start to the season but quickly remembered he is Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley is still a bad player. But they keep giving both guys chances so maybe it will happen someday..

St. Louis Cardinals: Kolten Wong was sent back down to Triple-A and the combination of Carlos Martinez/Trevor Rosenthal continues to be wasted in the bull-pen while guys like Tyler Lyons keep getting starts. Matt Carpenter scores a lot of runs but probably offers little else going forward, Yadier Molina is the best catcher in baseball. Adam Wainwright is the best pitcher in baseball and that guy Michael Wacha is pretty good too. Shelby Miller can’t find the strike zone and Lance Lynn finally decided to start striking everyone out.


Tampa Bay Rays: Ben Zobrist is off to a fantastic start. Matt Joyce keeps hitting, so does James Loney. Will Myers is struggling, so is David Price. Alex Cobb got hurt three starts into the season and will be back in late May. Grant Balfour is proving that maybe he really is injured and Chris Archer has gone two starts without walking a guy. The Rays are kicking themselves for not trading him this past off season. They are also in last place in the AL East and my guess is that they finish there.


Texas Rangers: Leonys Martin is good. Prince Fielder is not. Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo continue to be under rated and actually so is Adrian Beltre at this point. It’s been one month, he will be fine. Yu Darvish started the season with some minor injuries but looks to be back to his dominating self. Martin Perez is pitching over his head but don’t tell that to his owners. Joakim Soria is a closer again and all in the world is right.


Toronto Blue Jays: Edwin Encarnacion is struggling, so is Jose Reyes. They will both be fine. Brett Lawrie has 6 home runs in April but is struggling to eclipse the .200 batting average mark. Sell high if you can, for whatever that is. Jose Bautista is a one man wrecking machine when healthy and Melky Cabrera leads baseball in hits. Adam Lind will be back soon and that’s a relief but can this team please find some pitching already? No, I don’t believe in Mark Buerhle, Drew Hutchinson or R.A. Dickey.


Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper is hurt again. I will never get those hospital bed images out of my head. I would sell in all redraft leagues and buy in all keeper leagues. Anthony Rendon keeps hitting despite being shuffled back and forth between second base and third. But that’s good for multi-position eligibility at two of the weaker positions for fantasy owners. Adam Laroche is also hitting, so is Jason Werth. Ian Desmond is not. Every starter on this staff is over rated and yes, Stephen Strasburg is still struggling and yes, he still will strike out 300 hitters this year. So maybe he isn't over rated after all.

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