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 Rankings, Sleepers, Targets and more
2015 Consensus Position Rankings
Below are links to our consensus position rankings:
Starting Pitcher: Part 1 | Part 2
Mat Latos: Not a good debut in Miami
The Marlins made a commitment to build a winner around outfielder Giancarlo Stanton after signing him to a record setting $325 million contract this offseason, and one of their moves was trading for starter Mat Latos. Latos is coming off an injury-filled 2014 season where he made just 16 starts, tossing just over 102 innings, going 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA, but saw both his strikeout and ground ball rates drop.
Last night he made his first start in a Marlins uniform, and it didn't go well. He couldn't get out of the first inning, giving up 7 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in the Marlins loss to the Braves. We ranked Latos as our 55th ranked starter in our consensus starting pitcher rankings, but I was the high man on Latos, ranking him as my 22nd ranked starter. I know this is only one start, but I wonder if he is still recovering from his offseason surgery to remove chips from his right elbow.
Giants starter Matt Cain was placed on the 15 day disabled list with a right flexor strain. Ryan Vogelsong will take his place in the rotation and pitch on Wednesday night. There is no timetable for Cain's return as he will not throw for a few days, then they will see how the arm feels after some rest. Cain had surgery on his right elbow last August to remove bone chips and spurs, so he isn't 100% recovered from that yet. The seemingly endless seasons of 200+ innings appear to have caught up to him.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen announced on Tuesday that he should be back in the Dodgers bullpen by mid-May, assuming there are no setbacks. Until then, the Dodgers will go with a closer by committee. Chris Hatcher earned the first save opportunity on Opening Day, converting his first career save.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer pitched as expected in his Nationals debut on Opening Day, dominating the Mets, but was done in by the defense behind him. Scherzer gave up 3 runs, all unearned, on 4 hits, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts in 7.2 innings, taking the loss in their 3-1 loss. The Nationals are playing without three of their every day players - Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, and Denard Span - so they aren't fully healthy to start the season. With the move to the NL, Scherzer should be in the NL Cy Young award conversation all season.
Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce is proving his non-believers, me included, that his 2014 breakout was for real. Last night, he went 2-4 with his second home run of the season, driving in two runs and scoring two runs. Pearce is looking to build upon his 2014 breakout which saw him hit .293-.373-.556 with 21 home runs, 51 runs scored, and 49 RBI in just under 400 plate appearances. Now we know why the Orioles let Nelson Cruz walk this offseason, huh?
I was pretty vocal about how bad the Braves were going to be this season, but they have started the season 2-0 after last night's 12-2 thrashing of the Marlins. Leading the way for the Braves was first baseman Freddie Freeman who went 3-5 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. He doesn't have many good hitters in the lineup around him, but he is making me look bad for recommending our readers to avoid him in drafts this season.
I wrote about Indians starter Corey Kluber yesterday, and briefly mentioned that he was out-dueled by Astros starter Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is coming off a breakout season on the mound, going 12-5 with a 2.93 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.18 WHIP and an elite 63.5% ground ball rate. On Opening Day, he shut out the Indians on 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts and 14 ground ball outs in 7 innings in the Astros 2-0 win. Of the 21 outs he induced, 18 came via the strikeout or ground ball out. Impressive.
Is Keuchel on the verge of entering the "Ace" conversation?
The Diamondbacks decided to send third baseman/outfielder Yasmany Tomas to AAA to start the season, giving the third base job to Jake Lamb. Lamb had a solid spring, and that has carried over into the first two games of the season. On Monday, he drove in three runs, and last night he went 1-3 with a walk, a home run and 4 RBI in the Diamondbacks 7-6 win over the Giants. Lamb could easily outperform his preseason ADP hitting in Chase Field this season. ESPN's Keith Law was raving about his swing in some preseason scouting reports, and I drafted him in one of my NL only keeper leagues.
Another young prospect, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, has struggled out of the gate in the first two games of the season, going 1-7 with a walk and three strikeouts in his eight plate appearances thus far. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is batting Pederson in the eighth spot in the lineup, and I like where he has him in the lineup. Once upon a time, then Dodgers manager Joe Torre moved a struggling Matt Kemp to the eighth spot in the lineup to have him work on pitch recognition. A hitter who hits that low in the lineup won't see many good pitches with the pitcher coming up, and Kemp learned to become a better hitter as a result. I think Pederson can do the same thing as the season progresses.
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