There were only a few games on the slate for Monday's roto action and two of the games, Cleveland vs San Diego and Milwaukee vs Philadelphia, were rained out. As a result, we will have a double header in Clevelan on Tuesday, something we don't see too often anymore.
It''s one week, but B.J. Upton is struggling again
I wrote in these pages during the offseason that you should target Braves outfielder B.J. Upton in 2014 drafts. After one week of action, that advice is looking bad. Very bad. My reasoning was that Upton is two years removed from two consecutive 20+ home run, 30+ stolen base seasons, so he still possesses those skills. The problem is, he seems to have regressed with the move to Atlanta and the National League.
In his six seasons in Tampa, Upton's strikeout rate was in the 24-29% range. Not good, but not as bad as what was to come in Atlanta. Last season, he struck out in 34% of his plate appearances, and this season, that number has risen to 44%. Thus far in 2014, he has just three hits, and has struck out in 11 of his 25 plate appearances, with zero walks.
it is easy to say he can't improve going forward, but it is just 25 plate appearances. If we get to the middle of May and he is still struggling like this, striking out a ton and hitting under .200, then I will become worried. Until then, I think he still has the skills to put up a bounce back season. If you can grab him and stash him on your bench, I would do so.
Josh Hamilton with a strong start to 2014
Coming into the 2014 season, I felt that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton could have a bounce back season. After struggling to hit better than .238 in each of the first four months of the 2013 season, Hamilton hit .273-3-11-10 in August, and .323-2-11-19 in September, so it is possible he figured things out in the last two months of the season. And it seems that is carrying over into this season.
Yesterday, Hamilton went 1-2 with 3 walks, 2 runs scored and an RBI in the Angels 9-1 win over the Astros, raising his triple slash to .500-.600-.833 with 2 home runs and 6 RBI. Just like it is too early to make any definitive statements about B.J. Upton, one cannot look at Hamilton and think he is all the way back.
Anyone remember Hamilton's performance in the first two months of the 2012 season? After the first two months, Hamilton already had 21 home runs and 57 RBI. He won't do the same this season, but a bounce back could be in the cards.
Matt Moore exits start early
Rays young starter Matt Moore left his Monday night start with one out in the fifth inning with an apparent injury. He grimaced as he threw a pitch, his 78th of the game, and was removed after a meeting with Joe Maddon and the team medical staff. In a season where there have been so many elbow injuries, we hope the injury is not to his elbow.
The injury could be to his forearm or elbow judging from the Twitter exchange between Jason Collette and Mike Ferrin last evening:
@jasoncollette KC feed showing him shaking his arm after going to cover 1st...— Mike Ferrin (@MikeFerrinSXM) April 8, 2014
@MikeFerrinSXM yea, looking at how he held arm close to body mmediately after the last pitch— jasoncollette (@jasoncollette) April 8, 2014
Just yesterday, we learned that Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon will have Tommy John surgery, as he joins a long list of pitchers having the surgery this season.
We should learn more about his injury sometime today. It appears a DL stint will be necessary.
Late last night, Marc Topkin from the Tampa Bay Times tweeted that Moore left with elbow soreness and will have an MRI today.
Monday's Roto Roundup
Here are my thoughts on a few of the top fantasy performers from Monday's roto action:
Cardinals young starter Michael Wacha pitched yet another gem on Monday afternoon, tossing six innings of one run ball, giving up seven hits, a walk and three strikeouts. Fantasy owners would like to see more strikeouts from Wacha, and they should come down the road, but he has been as good as advertised this season.
Yankees closer David Robertson landed on the 15 day disabled list with a grade 1 groin strain, that could force him to miss more than the scheduled 15 days. He did not pitch in Monday's game vs the Orioles, so the injury must have happened prior to the game or over the weekend. Set up man Shawn Kelley earned the save in Monday's win, so he should get the first crack at the closer role with Robertson sidelined.
Who would be in line for saves should Kelley falter? Matt Thornton or Dellin Betances? Betances looked good in spring training.
Albert Pujols got some love from many a fantasy writer this offseason, with some projecting him to put up a season similar to his 2012 season where he hit .285 with 30 home runs, 85 runs and 105 RBI. If that is the baseline projection for him, I am on record saying he will be under in all four categories. Pujols struggled in the first week of the season, hitting just .200-.231-.320 with three runs scored, one RBI and no walks in his 26 plate appearances. He said recently that he needs about 100 at bats before he starts hitting like the old Pujols, so he should get back on track in the next week or so, assuming you include his spring training at bats.
After a rough outing in his first start of the season, Angels starter C.J. Wilson pitched a gem on Monday, giving up just one run on four hits, a walk and seven strikeouts in eight innings to earn his first win of the season. With Jered Weaver struggling big time, Wilson might be the "ace" of the Angels staff this season.
Injury Report -Ellis, Infante
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis will be placed on the 15 day disabled list as he requires surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. I assume the Dodgers will call up Tim Federowicz to replace him on the roster.
Royals second baseman Omar Infante was hit in the face by a Heath Bell pitch last night, suffering a broken jaw and a possible concussion. It is a guarantee that he will spend some time on the disabled list, so Johnny Giavotella should get a call up on Tuesday.
The Rockies called up left hander Boone Logan to add to their bullpen, and as expected, the Rockies sent outfielder Corey Dickerson down to AAA. Dickerson had a great spring, but manager Walt Weiss elected to go with Charlie Blackmon in center field due to his ability to play better defense in center field. As you well know by now, Blackmon has performed very well at the plate, so well that he was named co-player of the week in the National League for week one of the 2014 season.
I was watching some of the Rockies-White Sox game last night, and Blackmon made a real nice running catch in deep right-center field, catching the ball on the warning track after a long run.
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