For those of you who haven't drafted yet, here is a link to all of our position rankings, sleepers, players to target, players to avoid, and more.
2015 Consensus Position Rankings
Below are links to our consensus position rankings:
Matt Harvey vs Stephen Strasburg - Part 1
In one of the best pitching matchups of the season so far, a matchup that pitted Mets ace Matt Harvey vs Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, one pitcher disappointed and the other second was very dominant. Mets ace Matt Harvey dominated the Nationals depleted lineup yesterday afternoon, shutting them out for six innings, giving up 4 hits, a walk and striking out 9 in the Mets 6-3 win. There is no question he is back to being the ace he was before he missed a season due to Tommy John surgery.
Strasburg, on the other hand, was very hittable, giving up 6 runs, 3 of them earned, on 9 hits, 2 walks and striking out 5. I wouldn't worry about Strasburg pitching poorly in his first start of the season. He will be fine, so there is no reason to panic. He will have to limit the walks going forward though.
Shane Greene: Grab him off your waiver wire now
Prior to his start on Thursday afternoon, Tigers starter Shane Greene was owned in less than 3% of leagues on ESPN. I am sure that percentage will increase after his performance yesterday. Greene limited the Twins to just one unearned run on 4 hits, a walk and 5 strikeouts in 8 strong innings in the Tigers 7-1 win.
Greene pitched well last year for the Yankees, going 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA and a 81-29 strikeout to walk rate in 78.2 innings. He struck out more than a batter per inning and induced ground balls at a 50% clip. I see him pitching well in Detroit this season, and he is under-owned in ESPN leagues at the moment. If you need a starter, I would not hesitate grabbing him off of your league waiver wire. He pitches for a team that will win plenty of games, score plenty of runs, and pitches in a pitchers park. No reason to not pick him up.
The Athletics traded #1 starter Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox this past offseason, one of a flurry of moves to remove payroll in exchange for younger cheaper talent. Moneyball at it's best. If A's new #1 starter Scott Kazmir pitches like he did on Wednesday night, he could be the next starter GM Billy Beane deals either at the trade deadline or next offseason.
On Wednesday night, Kazmir simply dominated the Rangers lineup, shutting them out on one hit, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 7 dominating innings in the A's 10-0 win. Kazmir is coming off a 2014 season where he went 15-9 with a 3.55 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and a 164-50 strikeout to walk rate in 190.1 innings. He will look to build on that this season, looking forward to a big payday in the near future.
I am a big fan of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, but I coudn't believe how early he was going in drafts this year. He was one of the more expensive hitters auctioned in both the LABR and Tout Wars NL only league auctions, and went early in many redraft leagues and the big money NFBC leagues. Puig is coming off a season where he hit .296-.382-.480 with 16 home runs, 92 runs scored, 69 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 640 plate appearances. Pretty good, but I am not buying that he is a first or second round pick in mixed league drafts. Listen, as a Dodgers fan, I hope the majority of drafters are right and I am wrong about him. Puig has had a slow start to the season, hitting under .100 with just one RBI, and a 4-1 strikeout to walk rate in his first three games, Manager Don Mattingly stated on Opening Day that Puig will bat ahead of Adrian Gonzalez vs right handers and left handers this season, so Puig will eventually hit better than he has shown thus far.
I am pretty high on Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro this season, as I see more power in his bat, and think he can be a top three fantasy shortstop this season. But, I have to say that I am very surprised that new Cubs manager Joe Maddon is batting him in the cleanup spot in the Cubs lineup in their first two games of the season. Moving him to the cleanup spot should result in plenty more RBI opportunities for Castro, especially with Dexter Fowler, Jorge Soler and Anthony Rizzo hitting ahead of him. Castro is coming off a 2014 season which ended early due to an ankle injury, but when healthy he hit .292-.338-.438 with 14 home runs, 58 runs scored and 65 RBI in 528 at bats. Batting lower in the lineup, I could see Castro approaching 20 home runs and 90 RBI with a .280-.290 batting average in 2015.
Indians young starter Trevor Bauer pitched well in spring training this season, putting up a 26-1 strikeout to walk rate in 27.2 innings, so there was some confidence that he was over his control problems that hampered him last season. Yesterday, we learned that he hasn't corrected the control issues, but that won't matter if he doesn't give up any hits, and that is exactly what he did. Bauer didn't give up a hit in his six innings of work yesterday, but did walk five and struck out 11. He needed 111 pitches to get through six innings, but earned the win in the Indians 5-1 win over the Astros. Like I said on The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy on Wednesday night, I think Bauer could be the next Indians starter to have a breakout season under the tutelage of pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton struggled in the second half of his rookie season in 2014, hitting just .200-.254-.257 with 18 stolen bases in 26 attempts. Not only did he struggle to hit and get on base, two skills which are a must for a leadoff hitter, but he made a lot of outs on the base paths. Hamilton worked on his bunting and reading pitchers in spring training in an effort to better utilize his speed at the plate this season. On Wednesday night, he went 3-5 with a run scored and 3 stolen bases. He followed that performance up with an 0-3 with a run scored, a walk and 2 more stolen bases to give him six in his first three games.
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