The 2013 MLB season is under way! With game 1 out of 162 in the books, it's time to look ahead to the first week of fantasy baseball. Your draft is complete, your team is set, and you are poised to win your league and rub it in a bunch of grown men's faces. Although a baseball season is played over the course of 6 months, the first week still factors largely in building a winning fantasy squad. Many people in 2012 looked at their league transactions board and called the guy who picked up Mike Trout in mid-April a dunce. He was still in the minors, but it is best to take risks early. Every league will have different players available, but regardless, now is your time as an owner to scan over the free agent list and find players on the waiver wire who might serve your team longer than you had initially expected. On a weekly basis, I will let you know which players I believe deserve a shot at an audition on your fantasy team. Who knows? If you go digging, you might find gold.
Jake Arrieta vs. Minnesota Twins (4/5)
Dillon Gee vs. San Diego Padres (4/4)
A.J. Griffin vs. Seattle Mariners (4/4)
Jeremy Hefner vs. Miami Marlins (4/5)
Paul Maholm vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4/3)
Zach McAllister at Tampa Bay Rays (4/5)
David Phelps at Detroit Tigers (4/6)
Jose Quintana vs. Seattle Mariners (4/5)
Clayton Richard at New York Mets (4/3)
Vance Worley vs. Detroit Tigers (4/1)
Since it is just week one, most of these choices are mainly based on matchups. I like Gee and Hefner at Citi Field facing the lowly lineups of the Padres and Marlins respectively. Since Citi Field has opened, Mets starters have been very good, recording a 3.74 ERA over a 4 year span. I also like Richard's matchup against the Mets in New York. Jake Arrieta has the potential to finally put it all together in 2013. If you grab him for his first start against the Twins, it might pay off in the long run. In 3 career starts against Minnesota, Arrieta is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA. I love the way David Phelps carries himself on the mound. He is a gamer and will prove to be a mainstay in the Yankees rotation. Jose Quintana had a spectacular start to the 2012 season, posting a 2.04 ERA after his first 8 starts. We will see if he can be successful to start 2013 as well. Last season, A.J. Griffin was 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA against the Mariners. Even though Seattle has improved its offense, I think Griffin has the advantage here. I think McAllister, who stands tall at 6'6", will have a solid year as the Tribe's fourth starter. Worley gets the nod for Opening Day in Minnesota and should have an advantage since the forecast predicts the temperature will be around 35 degrees. Last but not least is Paul Maholm. He was very impressive when he arrived in Atlanta last season (3.54 ERA and 1.19 WHIP) and deserves a chance to show he can continue to prosper.
For the offense side of the game, I am going to be a little more vague. It would be very difficult to pick out individual players with favorable matchups, so I am generalize with overall team advantages.
Texas Rangers - 3 games at Houston Astros/3 games vs. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels and Rangers have the best offensive outlook. The Angels get to hit in Cincinnati, where the ball flies, and the Rangers get to face Astros pitching to open up the year. The two will then duke it out in Texas and pitching isn't a strong suit of either squad. The Yankees will face 5 right-handed pitchers, which should benefit Brennan Boesch and Travis Hafner. It's too bad that one of those righties is going to be Justin Verlander. The Brew Crew will get to open up at home against Arizona and Colorado and I don't think that any pitching can slow down Toronto's lineup, let alone the pitching of Boston and Cleveland.
Sunday Night Recap: Texas Rangers 2 Houston Astros 8
WP: Bud Norris 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
LP: Matt Harrison 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 5 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO
S: Erik Bedard 3.1 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
Justin Maxwell: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 3B
Rick Ankiel: 1-2, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR
Nelson Cruz: 2-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
The Astros win! The Astros win! This is why baseball is the greatest game on the planet. Even though Houston is projected to be one of the league's worst teams, they pulled out a victory over a perennially contender. Cowboy Bud Norris looked sharp and gave up both of his runs with two outs in the sixth. Harrison did not look too bad for the Rangers, but Rick Ankiel's 3 run pinch-hit blast off of Derek Lowe in the 6th really skewed his line. It was Justin Maxwell who stole the show in my opinion. He hit two triples and also made two diving catches (one was a trap). Erik Bedard picked up a rare 3 inning save and Jose Altuve had 2 hits. The umpires looked a little rusty, blowing a trap call and ruling that Altuve was out when advancing to second on a passed ball. On another note, it looks like ESPN has chosen a stellar cast yet again to announce Sunday nights. Orel Hershiser gave me a headache with all of his pitching lingo. Dan Schulman's voice almost put me to sleep and John Kruk was actually not that bad once you get passed all of the food comments.