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Prince Fielder is having his "ON" year
Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder is one of the more consistent hitters in fantasy baseball, but he does have a tendency to have alternating "on" years and "off" years. What I mean by that is he goes from hitting 50 HRs one year to 34 the next, 46 one year, 32 the next, and so on. Last season he hit "only" 30 home runs, so it was his "off" year. This year as it stands now appears to be another "on" year. Last night, he went 2-4 with a HR and 2 RBI, and is now hitting .301-.417-.591 with 7 HRs and 27 RBI.
Giancarlo Stanton out for a month
I speculated in yesterday's Roto Roundup that Giancarlo Stanton could be out longer than the required 15 days with his current hamstring injury, and that is exactly what we learned yesterday. Stanton has a Grade 2 strain of his hamstring and will miss at least a month. I wrote about Marcall Ozuna, his replacement in right field, yesterday morning.
Stanton probably deserves the injury prone label after this injury. He has been pretty frustrating to own due to all of the injuries.
Stephen Strasburg to make next scheduled start
Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg scared the fantasy world on Monday night when he revealed that he was dealing with forearm soreness. Forearm soreness for a pitcher is never good thing and COULD lead to elbow injuries. But, yesterday, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo announced that Strasburg would make his next start in Pittsburgh on Saturday. That was music to his owners ears, as another Tomny John surgery would be a killer. Not many pitchers have lasted very long after their second TJS.
Phillies starter Roy Halladay had a rough outing last night after three strong starts in a row. He lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up 8 runs on 9 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts while giving 3 home runs. Heading into his start last night, he had given up just 4 earned runs on eight hits over his last 21 innings, but ran into early trouble by giving up four runs in the first, all four runs coming on 2 two run home runs off the bats of Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana. He is now 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
Another pitcher who is struggling in April is Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. Gio was knocked around for 5 runs on 7 hits, 5 walks and 9 strikeouts last night, all in just 4 innings or work. He is now 2-1 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with a 36-18 strikeout to walk rate in 32 innings.
Indians catcher Carlos Santana had a terrible first half of the 2012 season, but is having one heck of an April for fantasy owners. Santana went 1-2 with a HR, 2 RBI and 3 walks, raising his triple slash line to .389-.476-.722 with 5 HRs, 13 RBI and a 14-12 strikeout to walk rate in 72 at bats thus far.
Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn has been on fire the last two games, putting up a month's worth (for him) of power stats in two games. Over his last two games, he is a combined 7-8 with 4 HRs, 5 runs and 7 RBI. He has hit 2 home runs in each of the last two games, raising his triple slash line to .320-.370-.620 with 4 HRs, 10 runs and 8 RBI.
Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is starting to heat up at the plate, as he went 2-4 with 2 HRs and 4 RBI last night, and is now hitting .238-.319-.525 with 9 HRs, 17 runs and 20 RBI. He has an eight game hitting streak, with 7 HRs and 12 RBI over his last seven games.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander dominated the Twins for 7 innings last night, giving up just one run on 5 hits, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts to win his 3rd game of the season. He is now 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 41-11 strikeout to walk rate in 39.1 innings. There is talk this he has lost some velocity on his fastball, and that might be true, as he has just one 10+ strikeout game so far in April.
A few days ago we heard that Joel Hanrahan would get his closer job back once he returned from the DL. Well, that turned out to be false, as manager John Farrell stated yesterday that Andrew Bailey would keep the job. That's good news for Bailey owners, and bad news for Hanrahan owners who spent $25-35 on him on draft day. I was down on Hanrahan coming into the season due to the drop in K rate, and the increase in walk rate and HR/FB% in the pitchers park we call PNC Park. Moving to Fenway Park proved to be a bad decision for the Red Sox.
Cardinals closer Edward Mujica seems to be pretty comfortable pitching in the 9th inning now. He entered the game last night to protect a one run lead, having to face the middle of the Reds order- Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce, and proceeded to strike out all three to earn his 5th save of the season.
Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz may have closed his last game for awhile, as he entered the 9th inning of a one run game, with a man on first, and proceeded to hang a pitch in the middle of the plate that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval deposited deep in the right field seats. The blown save was his fourth of the season, and the time might be ripe to grab David Hernandez.
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was scheduled to start a rehab assignment last night, but the game was postponed due to rain. He is expected to return from the DL on Friday.
Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez will return from the DL on Friday as well, as he ran the bases yesterday with no incident. Ramirez will not require a rehab assignment before returning to action.
Stats, stats and more stats
Dave Cameron from FanGraphs wrote this piece on Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton yesterday, discussing just how bad Hamilton is at the plate right now. Here are a few stats on Hamilton taken from his article:
O-Swing%: 42.7% (150th of 151)
Z-Swing: 82.0% (151st of 151)
Swing%: 57.9% (150th of 151)
Zone%: 38.8% (151st of 151)
Contact%: 64.9% (151st of 151)
I think Hamilton will turn things around, but it is sad to see him struggling so badly right now.
Among qualified hitters, the Rockies currently have four of the top thirteen hitters based on SLG%:
Wilin Rosario ranks 5th in MLB
Dexter Fowler ranks 6th
Troy Tulowitzki ranks 9th
Michael Cuddyer ranks 13th
Looking at the Rockies schedule thus far, they have played 10 games at home, 4 games in Arizona, 2 games in Milwaukee and 2 games in San Diego. Strange as it may seem right now though, Coors Field has depressed home runs by 15% right now, ranking 17th in MLB. So this proves one of two things: the Rockies are hitting better on the road than at home (due to the cold, rain and snow, I assume), and/or they will eventually start hitter better at home, so their SLG% could rise a bit more.
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