My apologies for not posting on Friday morning. My NL-only league draft went past midnight, lasting slightly over 5 hours, so I didn't have time to post. Here's a quick post before I head out for my daughter's soccer game.
Here is a quick update on some recent player news:
Yankees starter Michael Pineda struggled in his start last night vs the Phillies, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. After the outing, he complained about soreness in his right shoulder. He is scheduled for an MRI and almost certain to start the year in the minors or the DL. Even before his start last night, there was talk that he wouldn't make the Opening Day rotation. Are all young Yankee starting pitchers cursed?
Josh Hamilton left last night's game with soreness in his groin and will miss a few spring training games. The Rangers still plan to use Hamilton in CF this season, and I think that may turn out to be a mistake at some point. Hamilton is injury prone, as you know, and CF is one of the more demanding positions on the baseball field.
More Roto Roundup after the jump:
Rangers starter Yu Darvish was in midseason form last night, striking out 11 Rockies, including Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez three times each. He gave up 3 runs pin 6 hits and walk in 6 innings of work. Can he lead the AL in strikeouts this year?
Alex Gordon went 2-2 with a HR and 2 runs scored last night after signing a 4 year, #37.5 million deal. The Royals are going to be an exciting team this year and I think Gordon should repeat, or come close, to his 2011 performance this season. Gordon had a break out year in 2011, hitting .303-.376-.502 with 23 HRs, 87 RBI, 101 runs, and 17 stolen bases in 25 attempts.
Twins starter Francisco Liriano has impressed this spring as he owns a 26-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 22 innings of work. Should we trust that he is back to the old, healthy Liriano, or is he just teasing us and will throw a 4 inning, 7 walk, 6 run effort in his first start of the season?
Another starter who has pitched well this spring, and is more of an under-the-radar type, is Dodgers starter Chris Capuano. In 19.2 spring innings, he owns a 22-5 strikeout to walk ratio. Capuano will benefit from pitching in Dodger Stadium and could be a nice sleeper you can grab late in NL-only league drafts, and is someone to keep an eye on in mixed and H2H leagues.
Here are three young AL-only league starters, with their spring K/BB rates, to target on draft day:
Chris Sale: 22-2 strikeout to walk ratio
Brian Matusz: 22-3 strikeout to walk ratio
Luke Hochevar: 21-2 strikeout to walk ratio
The Mets optioned top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler to AA Binghamton today. Wheeler made 22 starts in High A last season, throwing 115 innings, striking out 129 and walking 52. He will have to work on his command as the walk rate, around 4.1, is a bit high. I will get to see him pitch when Binghamton travels to Trenton to play the Yankees AA affiliate the Trenton Thunder this season.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier appears primed for a breakout season, as he has been red hot this spring, hitting .400-.440-.933 with 3 HRs, 9 doubles and 16 RBI in 45 at bats. I drafted Ethier in the 5th round of my NL-only league draft on Thursday night. I just hope he can stay healthy for a full season, as he is in his walk year.
Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross has had a very good spring, as he is hitting .366-.422-.854 with 6 HRs and 15 RBI in 41 at bats. I saw Buster Olney interviewed on Baseball Tonight and he stated that some scouts are saying that Ross' swing is perfect for the Green Monster in Fenway Park, so don't be surprised if he hits well in a part time role in the Red Sox outfield this season.
Braves outfielder Jason Heyward has struggled this spring, hitting just .222-.269-.417 with 4 HRs and 12 RBI in his 72 spring at bats. I was surprised to see Hwyward with 72 at bats this spring, but I imagine the Braves want him to work on his swing mechanics as much as possible before the season starts. Only Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence has more at bats this spring.
If you're looking for steals late in your NL-only league drafts, make sure you target Phillies outfielder Juan Pierre, who could play more than expected this season. Pierre made the Phillies 40 man roster, and could be their leadoff hitter this season. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says he likes Pierre at the top of the lineup, according to Matt Gelb from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here is ESPN's Buster Olney with his take on what the Phillies lineup could look like this season:
LF Juan Pierre
CF Shane Victorino
RF Hunter Pence
SS Jimmy Rollins
1B Ty Wigginton
3B Placido Polanco
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Freddy Galvis
Rollins batting cleanup? So much for 30 steals from him.