Alex Rodriguez: Is he rosterable once again?
I didn't rank Yankees third baseman/DH Alex Rodriguez in my top 30 fantasy third baseman in 2015 as I felt that he was pretty much done as a baseball player, let alone having an impact on a fantasy roster. Well, based on what I have seen in watching a few Yankee games in the early going, he still has power and he actually could make an impact on fantasy rosters this season.
He is currently owned in less than 50% of leagues right now, but after watching hit an absolute bomb off of Toronto's young starter Daniel Norris a few nights ago, that percentage could increase in the coming weeks should he continue to hit for power. He went 1-4 with a run scored in yesterday's 8-4 loss to the Red Sox. He's hitting .278-.350-.500 with 8 strikeouts and 2 walks in 18 at bats thus far. The strikeouts are a concern, but he has proved to be healthier than I expected in the first week of the season.
For more on Rodriguez and the Yankees, make sure you check put Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees fan site.
Every year many of us, including me, predict that THIS year will be the year Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has that huge breakout season we are all expecting. You know, the 35 home run and 110 RBI type season that many of us think he has in him. He's still very young, and he has many productive years ahead of him, so that huge breakout is very possible. He has started the season hitting .333-.375-.533 with one home run, but he has struck out in half of his plate appearances thus far, including six in his last two games. On Friday night, he struck out twice against retread starter Jerome Williams, and once against reliever Ken Giles, who has struggled with his control in the early going. I saw highlights of a few of the strikeouts vs Williams, the first was a pitch in the dirt and the second was a high fastball. I am not here to bash Harper, but just to temper expectations.
Mets closer Jenrry Mejia landed on the disabled list earlier this week with an elbow injury, but he won't be returning any time soon, as he has been suspended for 80 games for testing positive for Stanozolol, a steroid. He is the third pitcher to test positive for Stanozolol, with Ervin Santana and Arodys Vizcaino being the other two. As I tweeted yesterday, I don't know if MLB has improved their testing for this steroid or if these players are just that dumb to think they could get away with taking it. With Mejia out for half the season, Jeurys Familia will be the Mets closer, but I have a feeling Bobby Parnell could earn the job back soon after returning from the DL.
The Padres signed much injured pitcher Brandon Morrow to a one year deal this offseason. If you are a starting pitcher coming off injury and looking to improve your free agent stock, you sign with the Padres. On Friday night, Morrow made his first start of the season in Petco Park and he dominated. He shut out the Giants on 4 hits, 3 walks while striking out 7 in 7 innings of work. In addition to the 7 strikeouts, he induced 10 ground ball outs, so you couldn't have asked for more from him in his first start of the season after how he has performed over the last few seasons in Toronto. I grabbed Morrow off the waiver wire in one of my NL only leagues and have to say I am curious how he will fare pitching in the favorable environment in San Diego.
Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has missed the first week of the season due to offseason shoulder surgery, but he is scheduled to return to the Nationals lineup on Monday, per reports. Werth is a must add in leagues where he is available, but I do have some concerns about how quick his power returns this season. Here is what I wrote about him a few weeks ago:
I heard an interview with Jayson Werth on MLB Network Radio last week, and he was talking about how he will not rush his return from the DL and is worried that his power may not be back this season. Keep that in mind if you still haven't drafted yet. I am staying away from him in my NL draft on Wednesday night, unless he falls to the later rounds. I don't own any shares of Werth in either of my other three NL leagues to date.
I am in four NL only leagues and don't own him anywhere, but that doesn't mean I won't attempt to deal for him if his shoulder proves to be 100% later in the season. I am just skeptical.
Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen sat out Saturday's game vs the Brewers due to a knee injury, that he reported has been bothering him since spring training. This is not good news, but there is no reason to panic at this point, as there is no talk about a stint on the disabled list....yet. Reports indicate that the pain in his knee has become more acute during the season, so there is a chance he lands on the disabled list if the pain persists. Andrew Lambo and Corey Hart will probably platoon in left field with Starling Marte playing center field should McCutchen require time on the DL.
Diamondbacks rookie starter Archie Bradley had a tall task in his first major league start. Not only did he have to face the Dodgers, he was matched up against the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw. Neither seemed to bother him, as he dominated the Dodgers, shutting them out on one hit, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts in his six innings of work. Bradley induced 9 ground ball outs, but needed 112 pitches to get through his six innings. Bradley struggled mightily last season, dealing with an arm injury, but he impressed the front office enough in spring training that they dealt starter Trevor Cahill to the Braves. I would not hesitate to pick up Bradley in NL only and deeper mixed leagues after this start, but know that he will struggle at times this season.
Brewers young starter Jimmy Nelson is owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues right now, but that could change after he dominated the Pirates on Saturday night. Nelson tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits, 2 walks while striking out 9 in the Brewers 6-0 win. In addition to the 9 strikeouts, Nelson induced 8 ground ball outs and needed only 88 pitches to get through 7 innings, so he was efficient and dominant in his first start of the season. Like Bradley, I would not hesitate to grab Nelson in NL only and deeper mixed leagues after his dominating performance.
Remember when we were concerned about how healthy Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera would be on Opening Day? Yeah, me too. While Miggy may still not be 100% healthy physically, we know after Saturday's performance, that he is still one of the best hitters in the game. Miggy went 4-5 with a run scored and an RBI in the Tigers 9-6 win over the Indians. In the early going, Cabrera is hitting .429-.500-.476 with no home runs and 4 RBI. His power was down last season, and I think that trend will continue this season, but with that said, he should still be one of the best fantasy first baseman in the game in 2015.
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