AL West Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Los Angeles Angels

Josh Hamilton looked like a player on a mission in his first 8 games – .444 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI.  He tore a ligament in his left thumb that will cost him at least 6 weeks of the season.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Angels call up C.J. Cron to play DH while pushing Raul Ibanez to the outfield.  Cron is hitting .321 at AAA with 1 HR and 7 RBI.  Last year, he hit .274 in the minors with 14 HR’s and 83 RBI.  Albert Pujols appeared to be in the coffin before blasting HR’s in back to back games.  Tyler Skaggs pitched an elite game in his first start for the Angels – 8 shutout innings with 5 K’s.  His AFB was 93.2 compared to 90 for Arizona last season. Jered Weaver has struggled out of the gate – 0-2 with 6.00 ERA with a short fastball (87.0).

Houston Astros

Robbie Grossman isn’t setting the bar high for George Springer.  He is only hitting .063 with 12 K’s in 32 at bats.  Springer hasn’t done much better at AAA – .250 with no HR’s in 28 at bats with 10 K’s.  Chris Carter has 13 K’s in 27 at bats.  Jason Castro is only hitting .125 in 24 at bats.  Matt Dominguez has 2 HR’s in his 3 hits (.107).  Just like the Twins, the Astros are loaded with poor pitching.  Their closer (Josh Fields), Scott Feldman (2-0 with 0.66 ERA) and Matt Albers are the only pitchers on the team with an ERA under 4.09.

Oakland A’s

Derek Norris leads the A’s in hitting (.429 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI) in part time at bats (14).  Brandon Moss has been the best starting hitter – .310 with 1 HR and 9 RBI.  Josh Reddick is on the verge of hitting his way to AAA – 13 K’s in 29 at bats (.103).  Josh Donaldson may be a one-year wonder.  He is hitting .194 with 11 K’s and only 1 walk in 26 at bats.  Jim Johnson has looked brutal in 5 games – 0-2 with an 18.90 ERA with 7 runs and 15 base runners allowed in 3.3 innings.  His velocity looks intact (94.80 sinker), so he may just need time to clear his head.  Sonny Gray (1-0 with 0.75 ERA) and Jesse Chavez (1.38 ERA with 13 K’s in 13 innings) have been the A’s 2 best starters.

Seattle Mariners

Robinson Cano continues to hit in Seattle (.346), but he is still looking for his 1st HR.  After a great 1st game of the year, Brad Miller is only hitting .219 with 11 K’s in 32 at bats.  Meanwhile at AAA, Nick Franklin is hitting .533 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI in his first 4 games. Felix Hernandez has been elite in his first two starts – 2-0 with 1.88 ERA with 19 K’s in 14.3 innings.  James Paxton was off to a great start (2-0 with 2.25 ERA with 13 K’s in 12 innings) before suffering a lat injury in his last start.  Fellow rookie Taijuan Walker struck out 10 batters in 5 innings at AA.  He may replace Paxton in the starting rotation next week.

Texas Rangers

Prince Fielder has only 6 hits in 37 at bats with no HR’s.  No Texas batter has more than 1 HR this season.  I’d have to say the HR Elvis Andrus hit this week impressed me.  He jumped on a pitch and pulled to left.  This may be a sign of more strength and he may climb from the Judy status.  Both Alex Rios (.364 with 1 HR and 6 RBI) and Shin Soo Choo (.355) have played at a high level to start the year.  Adrian Beltre is battling a quad injury and may miss a couple of games.  Yu Darvish looked to be healthy in his 7 shutout innings with 6 K’s.  The Rangers could be in trouble with the rest of their rotation.  Ross has walked too many batters (8) and Scheppers has been hit hard (.395).  Matt Harrison is still a couple of weeks away from returning.  Neftali Feliz has pitched 3 shutout innings in the minors with 4 K’s.

AL Central Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Chicago White Sox

Jose Abreu looks like the real deal after his breakout game in Colorado.  He has 2 HR’s and 11 RBI with only 4 K’s in 36 at bats.  Alexei Ramirez has been swinging a hot bat – .412 with 1 HR’s, 6 RBI, 2 SB’s, but he continues to hit down in the order while rookie Marcus Semien struggles in the 2 hole (.244 with 11 K’s in 41 at bats).  Alejandro De Aza had 2 HR’s in his first game of the year, but he doesn’t have a hit in his last 14 at bats.  Tyler Flowers leads the team in hitting at .444 with 1 HR and 5 RBI, but he has 9 K’s in 27 at bats.  Chris Sale has pitched like a true ace (2-0 with 1.76 ERA with 14 K’s in 15.3 innings).  Rookie upside arm Erik Johnson has been rough up in his first two starts – 11 runs and 23 base runners in 10.3 innings. Matt Davidson is hitting .348 at AAA with no HR’s in 23 at bats.

Cleveland Indians

The Bauer watch is on after Trevor Bauer made a spot start in a double header on Wednesday against the Padres.  He allowed no runs in the first 5 innings with 7 K’s and no walks before losing his command in the 6th to allowed 1 run on 1 hit and a pair of walks. In his first start at AAA, he had 9 K’s in 6 innings while allowing a run.  He may be a viable replacement for the Matt Moore owners in deep leagues.  Carlos Santana had 11 walks in his first 9 games.  Nyjer Morgan has done a nice job holding down the lead off slot with Michael Bourn out.  He is hitting .389 with a pair of steals.  David Murphy leads the team in hitting – .320 with 1 HR and 6 RBI.

Detroit Tigers

Miguel Cabrera has had a quiet first 7 games of the year – .300 with only 1 HR and 3 RBI.  Rookie Nick Castellanos hit his first major league HR off Josh Beckett and is hitting close to .400 in his first five games.  Austin Jackson has dropped to 5th in the batting order.  He is hitting .333 in 27 at bats with only 1 HR and 1 RBI.  Max Scherzer has continued where he left off in 2013 – 1.20 ERA with 15 K’s in 15 innings.  Justin Verlander has looked good, but he only has 5 K’s in 14 innings.  Drew Smyly probably won’t get his first start until the 3rd week of the season.  His innings were going to be limited anyways, so his value will now last longer into the season.

Kansas City Royals

It looks like the same story for the Royals in 2014.  They almost need 3 hits to score a run.  After 8 games, they only have 1 HR by Alex Gordon.  He leads the team with 9 RBI.  Mike Moustakas appeared to have a spark in spring training, but he only has 1 hit in 26 at bats (.038). Omar Infante took a pitch to the face, which will open up an opportunity for Johnny Giavotella over the short term.  Alcides Escobar is also off to a slow start (.185).  Yordano Ventura had an AFB of 99.53 in his first start of the year.  His changeup was 89.53.  Their bullpen lost another arm as Tim Collins was placed on the DL with an elbow issue.  Jason Vargas has been their best starter – 1-0 with 1.20 ERA.

Minnesota Twins

Long time minor league Chris Colabello had a career start to the year – .313 with 1 HR and 11 RBI.  Joe Mauer is still looking for his 1st HR and RBI.  Brian Dozier has made the most of his 5 hits (2 HR’s and 3 SB’s), but he is only hitting .152 with 12 K’s in 33 at bats. Jason Kubel has found his stroke – .462 with 1 HR and 6 RBI.  It’s not a good sign when every pitcher on your team has an ERA over 5.00 except a rookie starter (Kyle Gibson) and 2 relievers. Ricky Nolasco has allowed 10 runs and 23 base runners in 10 innings.

AL East Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Baltimore Orioles

Nelson Cruz has hit the ground running for the Orioles – .286 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI.  Matt Wieters value slid on draft day due to a minor spring training injury.  Maybe this is the year he makes the huge step forward.  Matt is hitting .370 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI in 27 at bats.  Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop are a combined 9 for 52 with 19 K’s.  At least Schoop drilled a 3-run HR on Wednesday night to keep his hopes of staying in the majors alive.  Last year’s HR champ Chris Davis has yet to hit a HR, but he is hitting .310.  Wei-Yin Chen has been roped for 21 hits in his first 10.7 innings, but his fastball has looked good (maxed out at 94 in his last start).  Kevin Gausman threw 4.7 shutout innings in his 1st start at AAA with 6 K’s.  He’s only a couple more bad starts by Miguel Gonzalez (7 runs allowed in his first 3.1 innings) from getting his chance.

Boston Red Sox

My boy back home tells me David Ortiz is overpaid as a DH and past his prime. Big Papi swats back with a 3 run bomb in a key moment to help Boston win another game.  He is tied with Mike Napoli for the HR (2) and RBI (8) lead on the Sox.  Napoli hits the ball hard when he makes contact, but he has 12 K’s in 36 at bats.  Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit his way into the Red Sox starting lineup – .400 with 5 RBI in 20 at bats.  His success could push Grady Sizemore (.364) to left field when Shane Victorino returns and Daniel Nava (.125) to the bench. John Lackey has pitched great (2-0 with 1.38 ERA and 11 K’s in 13 innings).  There are some concerns that Clay Buchholz has a shoulder issue due to a decline in velocity on his fastball (89.7 – 91.9 in 2013) in his first start.

New York Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury has been electric in his first 8 games with the Yankees (.414 with 4 SB’s).  He just needs some help from the middle of the batting order.  Brian McCann is only hitting .172 in 29 at bats.  Yangervis Solarte has crushed the ball in his first 24 at bats (.458 with 6 doubles and 7 RBI), plus he only has 1 K on the year.  He is a career.286 hitter in the minors with 41 HR’s and 33 SB’s in 2539 at bats, so his upside is really limited.  C.C. Sabathia has struggled in his first two starts (7.50 ERA), but he has excellent control (1 walk) and solid K’s (12 in 12 innings).  Michael Pineda pitched like the top talent the Yankees thought he was when they traded for him (1 run in 6 innings with 5 K’s).  Sean Kelley will take over as closer with David Robertson out with a groin injury, but he has some downside risk shown by his bad 9th inning against the Orioles on Wednesday night.  Masahiro Tanaka looks to be the real thing.  He has 19 K’s in his 14 innings with 1 walk.  His only downside has been a pair of HR’s.

Tampa Bay Rays

It sounds like Matt Moore is done for the season with an elbow injury and it’s looks like Tommy John surgery is in his future.  Seven players are tied for the team lead in HR’s (1) and no player has more than 6 RBI.  Wil Myers has 11 K’s in 35 at bats.  Matt Joyce leads the team in batting average (.391) followed by Evan Longoria (.371).  Chris Archer has been the Rays best starter one week into the season (1.38 ERA with 11 K’s in 13 innings).  Jake Odorizzi should have job security, but he was sliced up for 7 runs against the Royals.  Erik Bedard will replace Moore in the starting rotation.

Toronto Blue Jays

Melky Cabrera has been juicing the ball – .308 with 4 HR’s in 39 at bats.  He is tied with Jose Bautista for the team lead in HR’s.  Edwin Encarnacion is still looking for his first HR and RBI.  He has 12 K’s in 33 at bats.  Ryan Goins has only 1 hit in 16 at bats.  Mark Buehrle is 2-0 with a 0.64 with 14 K’s in 14 innings.  Brandon Morrow started to find his groove in Houston when he had 9 K’s in 6 innings with his fastball topping out at 98.

NL Central Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Chicago Cubs

There isn’t a lot of excitement in the Cubs starting lineup, evidenced by them only scoring 8 runs in their first 5 games.  The only hitter that played well was Emilio Bonifacio. Seven games into the season, he is 17 for 33 (.515) with 5 SB’s.  Starlin Castro had the best game probably in his career against the Pirates on Monday night when he connected for a pair of HR’s with 4 RBI.  This is a very good sign going forward.  Justin Ruggiano has no hits in 11 at bats.  Jason Hammel may have value as a back end start in deep leagues, as he allowed only 1 runs in 6.7 innings with 5 K’s.  He pitched poorly last season due to a lingering injury.  Hotshot prospect Javier Baez has only 1 hit (HR) in 18 at bats with 8 K’s at AAA.  Kris Bryant has 2 HR’s in his 1st 13 at bats at AA while hitting .231.

Cincinnati Reds

The hyped up speed train Billy Hamilton hasn’t been able to steal his 1st base. He has 7 K’s in 22 at bats with 2 measly hits and 1 walk.  His only stolen base attempt resulted in a jammed finger.  A 10-steal week will get the fantasy juices flowing real fast.  Zack Cosart has only 1 hit in 26 at bats.  Homer Bailey may have robbed the Reds for $100 million in the offseason.  He has allowed 21 base runners in 9.3 innings with 8 K’s.  His AFB (94.5) looks in line with 2013, so I expect him to find his rhythm soon.  J.J. Hoover looks like he is one and done as closer.  Jonathan Broxton was activated from the DL, so he’ll be the favorite going forward to bridge the gap until Aroldis Chapman returns in early May.  Manny Parra could be a short-term dark horse to close.

Milwaukee Brewers

They only scored 4 runs in their 1st three games of the season at home against the Braves, but their offense has been very good in their 4 road games – 27 runs.  Ryan Braun gave fantasy owners a scare when he complained about a reoccurring thumb issue.  He bounced back to blast 3 HR’s against the Phillies, so the wind is back in his sail.  Jonathan Lucroy has been the Brewers best hitter through Week 1 – .432 with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Khris Davis was a sleeper power hitter for many fantasy owners.  He is hitting the ball well – .321, but he has 8 K’s with no walks in his 1st 28 at bats with no HR’s.  Yovani Gallardo hasn’t allowed a run in his 1st two starts – 12.7 innings with 7 K’s.  His AFB (90.7) is still a step back from his best season in the majors.  The Brewers manager gave so called closer Jim Henderson owners a kick in the balls by giving Francisco Rodriguez the closing job to start the year.  Frankie has 6 K’s in 3 innings with no walks and no runs allowed, so it is his job to lose at this point of the season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Starling Marte is the only regular batter hitting over .300 after the first week of the season, but he has 9 K’s in 29 at bats.  Pedro Alvarez leads the team in HR’s (2).  He has more walks (6) than K’s (5), which is a good sign.  It appears Travis Ishikawa is the favorite for the most at bats at first base.  Gregory Polanco has a five game hitting streak at AAA (9 for 19 with 1 HR’s, 3 RBI, and 1 SB).  He may be the first impact minor league player called up this year.  Did the Pirates pitching coach find the keys to Edinson Volquez’s success in 2014? Volquez gave up 1 run in 7.7 innings with only 1 walk and 6 K’s.  He threw 70.5% strikes and 60.7% first pitch strikes.  Both are very good signs and point to upside if they are repeatable. Fantasy players have to remember Pittsburgh has saved Burnett and Liriano over the last 2 seasons.

St. Louis Cardinals

Yadier Molina continues to improve as a player.  He has 3 HR’s with 7 RBI in his first 8 starts.  Matt Adams isn’t getting much respect as far as spot in the batting order, but he is swinging a solid bat (.367).  His value will rise when he starts to drive in runs.  Allen Craig only has 3 hits in 31 at bats.  Oscar Taveras is hitting .182 at AAA with 1 HR’s and 4 RBI in 22 at bats.  Michael Wacha is the young pitcher that will make the biggest impact behind Jose Fernandez this season.  He is 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA with 10 K’s in 12.7 innings.  Adam Wainwright hasn’t shown any wear and tear after throwing the most innings in the majors in 2013.  He has 16 K’s in 14 innings with 1.29 ERA.

NL West Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Arizona Diamondbacks

Mark Trumbo has hit the ground running in Arizona – 5 HR’s and 13 RBI.  Paul Goldschmidt has also swung the bat well – .385, but he has low production after his first 10 games (1 HR, 4 RBI, and 2 SB’s).  Chris Owings stole the starting shortstop job out of spring training and has proved he belongs in the majors after 10 games – .333 with 3 SB’s.  He is still looking for his first HR and RBI.  A.J. Pollack looks like the odd man out in the Diamondbacks outfield when Cody Ross returns.  He is only hitting .179 with 10 K’s in 39 at bats.  Trevor Cahill has been brutal in his 1st 3 starts – 7.90 ERA with 28 base runners allowed in 13.7 innings.  Archie Bradley pitched 5 shutout innings in his first start at AAA with 3 K’s.

Colorado Rockies

Michael Cuddyer continues to swing an elite bat – .432 with 3 HR’s and 8 RBI. Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .355 with 3 HR’s and 9 RBI.  Charlie Blackmon’s hot bat (.448 with 1 HR and 7 RBI) gives him the inside track to the starting centerfield spot for the Rockies.  He is expected to play against righties with Drew Stubbs playing against lefties.  Troy Tulowitzki is hitting a blistering .407 with 1 HR and 5 RBI.  He is battling a mild quad issue, so Josh Rutledge was called up for infield depth.  Rutledge has a 5 game hitting streak at AAA (.389) with 1 HR and 4 RBI.  Jordan Lyles is a young arm that has taken plenty of lumps in the majors early during his career.  He has pitched back-to-back solid games (3.86 ERA with 9 K’s in 11.7 innings).  While he’s pitching in a tough ballpark, he may have some value as a backend starter in deep leagues.  Rex Brothers hasn’t allowed a hit in his first 3 innings of the year.  He is waiting to steal the closing job from old man LaTroy Hawkins.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Looking back, the Dodgers probably should have left Clayton Kershaw in the U.S. instead of Greinke.  Their $200 milion investment developed a bad back and is expected to miss at least a month of the season.  Dee Gordon leads LA in batting average (.357) and even crushed a pitch off of Max Scherzer for a HR.  He could be an impact base stealer from the 2nd base position in 2014.  Juan Uribe is hitting .333, but he has 11 K’s and no walks in 36 at bats. Matt Kemp missed the start of the season, but he smoked 2 HR’s in his 3rd start.  Yasiel Puig is doing his best to lose playing time.  He has made multiple base running mistakes and now has a thumb issue that requires a splint to hold the bat.  A fantasy player buying Andre Either thought they were buying insurance for Kemp or Crawford, but Puig is the player that may have the most risk in 2014.  Carl Crawford has looked good early and appears motivated to run.  Dan Haren has been the Dodgers best starting pitcher – 1-0 with 0.75 ERA and 10 K’s in 12 innings.

San Diego Padres

Everth Cabrera is the only regular Padre hitting over .300 a week into the season (.321), but he has no HR’s, RBI, or SB’s.  Jedd Gyorko has 11 K’s in his first 25 at bats. Chase Headley has 3 hits in 28 at bats (.107) with no HR’s or RBI.  Yasmani Grandal has been eased into action.  His bat says he’s ready to make an impact (7 for 14 with 5 walks).  Cameron Maybin is taking at bats in extended spring training.  He looks to be on track to return in early May.  Maybin has had multiple injuries over the last 2 seasons, so I would proceed with caution. Ian Kennedy has looked improved in his first starts with San Diego – 3.27 ERA with 9 K’s in 11 innings.  It’s look like Tyson Ross could be a fraud.  He has allowed 19 base runners in 10.3 innings with 9 coming via walks.

San Francisco Giants

Brandon Belt has found his power stroke.  He has 5 HR’s in his first 35 at bats, but he has no walks and 10 K’s.  Angel Pagan is hitting .441 with 1 HR, 8 RBI, and 1 SB. Pablo Sandoval is looking for a contract extension, but he is only hitting .161 with 1 HR and 4 RBI after 8 games.  Hunter Pence has struggled out of the gate – 4 for 32 (.125) with 1 HR and 2 RBI.  Tim Hudson has been elite his first two starts with the Giants – 2-0 with 1.15 ERA, no walks, and 11 K’s in 15.7 innings.  Both Santiago Casilla (no runs in 5.3 innings) and Jean Machi (3 shutout innings) have pitched well as set up men.  Tim Lincecum’s fastball averaged only 89.9 in his first start.

NL East Outside Corner Report – Week 1 Fantasy Baseball Recap

Each week during the 2014 MLB season, I will be breaking down all the action from the past week in my Outside Corner report.  Included will be a write-up for each team, which will separated by division.

Atlanta Braves

Seven games into the 2014 season, Melvin Upton (B.J.’s real name) still blows. He has 13 K’s in 29 at bats with no walks (so much for his revamped swing).  His brother Justin didn’t fall far from the tree, as he has 10 K’s in 29 at bats with no extra base hits.  Freddie Freeman was the Braves only hitter that swung the bat well – .391 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI in 23 at bats.  He also has 6 walks and only 2 K’s, which a great sign for his future success.  Aaron Harang has had surprising success as a late free agent pick up – 12 K’s in 12.7 innings with a 0.71 ERA and 1 win.  J.R. Graham started off 2014 with a sore shoulder that cost him most of 2013. He pitched 5 no hit innings at AA with 3 K’s.  Gavin Floyd struggled in his first rehab start at AAA (2 runs and 4 base runners in 1.3 innings), but he bounced back with a solid game in his next start – 1 run in 4 innings with 2 K’s and no walks.  It looks like he is on the fast track back to the majors.

Miami Marlins

The weak hitting Marlins hit the ground running in their first home stand as they scored 5 runs or more in five of their first six games to start the year 5-1.  Giancarlo Stanton did it all in Week 1 – .333 with 7 runs, 2 HR’s, 12 RBI, and 2 SB’s.  Casey McGehee made an instant impact after his one-year hiatus to Japan – .321 with 10 RBI.  Jose Fernandez proved 2013 wasn’t a fluke as he won his first 2 starts with a 0.71 ERA and 17 K’s in 12.7 innings. Nathan Eovaldi’s command made a huge step forward in his 1st 2 starts – 1 walks in 13 innings, which led to 14 K’s.  All signs point to a breakthrough season.  Top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney was knocked around for 10 hits and 1 walk in 5.3 innings in his 1st start at AA, but he only allowed 3 runs.

New York Mets

Ike Davis looks to be in the doghouse in New York, but he is 4 for 9 with a game winning grand slam.  Meanwhile, his replacement, Lucas Duda, is only hitting .167 with 2 HR’s and 4 RBI.  Eric Young is doing his best to hit his way out of the lineup by striking out 10 times in 23 at bats.  Bobby Parnell is done for the year and Jose Valverde appears to be the only solid option for saves.  Jenrry Mejia had a nice start in Week 1 – 1 run in 6 innings with 8 K’s, but he did walk 5 batters.  Top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard won his 1st start at AAA – 2 runs in 6 innings with 5 K’s.  He only threw 117.7 innings in 2013, so he probably only has 144 innings left in the tank.

Philadelphia Phillies

The veteran team in the NL East showed a little spark in game 1 when they scored 14 runs against the Rangers, but they have scored 4 runs or less in 5 of their last 6 games.  Chase Utley has looked good – .375 with 2 HR’s and 6 RBI, and Jimmy Rollins may have a year left in the tank after all – 1 HR, 8 RBI, and 1 SB in 23 at bats.  Ryan Howard has 11 K’s in 30 at bats.  Domonic Brown had a quiet .375 week with a solid approach at the plate – 4 walks and 4 K’s.  Cody Asche has only 3 hits in his last 18 at bats after going 3/4 with 4 runs, 1 HR, and 2 RBI in the 1st game of 2014.  Cliff Lee bounced back in his 2nd start after getting drilled for 8 runs on opening day.  Jonathan Papelbon was brutal in his 1st save chance in which he walked in the winning run.  A.J. Burnett looks like he retired already – 20 base runners in 11.7 innings with 8 walks.  Hey Philly, thanks for the $16 million!

Washington Nationals

The Nats crushed the Mets pitching staff to open the season – 22 runs. Washington is 5-2 while allowing 2 runs or less in 5 of their first 7 games.  I don’t think Stephen Strasburg will be able to hold Jose Fernandez’s jock strap when the 2014 season ends.  He battled his way through 6 innings on opening day while allowing 4 runs with 10 K’s.  He followed that up with a poor start against the Braves – 3 earned runs and 11 base runners in 4.3 innings with 6 K’s.  Ryan Zimmerman owners escaped with only a scare after he complained of severe right shoulder pain over the weekend.  He is expected to return to the lineup this week and will limit his throwing during pregame warm ups.  Adam LaRoche has played well to start the year after struggling in 2013 – .348 with 2 HR’s and 9 RBI.  He has 7 walks with only 4 K’s in his first 23 at bats.  Washington will need to switch Zimmerman to 1st base down the road. Bryce Harper has lost his approach at the plate – 11 K’s and 1 walk in 25 at bats.  Anthony Rendon may be an impact player in 2014 (hit .407 in Week 1 with 1 HR’s and 8 RBI).  Jordan Zimmermann could be on track for a breakthrough season in K’s – 9 K’s in 5 innings in his 1st start.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Staffs – San Francisco Giants

Since they play half of their games in the pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Giants rank near the top of the league in a bunch of pitching stat categories, especially with arms like Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. That wasn’t the case in 2013 as they finished 22nd in MLB in ERA (4.00), 19th in WHIP (1.31) and 22nd in quality starts (80).  It was the second straight year that their pitching has regressed after finishing 1st in MLB in ERA in 2010 and 2nd in 2011.  If they want to improve in 2014, bounce back years are a necessity for both Tim Lincecum and the aforementioned Cain.  Despite having a 4.78 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP over the past two seasons, Lincecum signed a 2-year, $35 million contract in the offseason to remain in the Bay Area.

Click here to read my 2014 fantasy baseball player profiles of the San Francisco Giants pitchers!

If you would like to see a preview of my player profiles, check out my analysis of CL Sergio Romo:

Romo has an intriguing skill set. He has had elite command (1.8) and a plus K rate (10.3) during his career, but his K rate (8.7) was a career low in 2013. Opposing batters are only hitting .197 against him during his career. While Sergio was dominant against RH batters (.183), he lost value against lefties (.279). Romo has allowed 16 of his career 22 HR’s to righties. His AFB (87.7) tied his career low, while he throws a slider as his #1 pitch (49.2% of the time) with an occasional changeup (also added a cutter in 2013). His GB rate (40.7%) dropped by over 8% points in one season. He has a plus arm, but he won’t pitch plus innings for a reliever which limits his upside in K’s. His declining fastball is also a concern, but he has the skill set to close due to a plus, plus slider. He has battled an elbow injury in the past and his decline in K’s is a slight concern. Overall, solid 2nd tier upside with some injury risk.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2014 fantasy baseball draft kitCan you believe Opening Day is only 4 weeks away?  With that being said, fantasy baseball drafts will be revving up over the next few weeks, and I want to be sure your are well prepared when it comes time to draft your team.  My research began back in December and after 3 months of analyzing all 30 MLB teams, I have gathered everything into one place just for you.

The 2014 scoutPRO Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit includes:

- Overall Player Rankings

- Position by Position Player Rankings

- Projected Stats

- scoutEDGE Scores

- 600+ Player Profiles

To make it even better, it all comes conveniently bundled into a PDF so you have access to everything in one place. Have a live draft with your friends?  Print off the rankings and take them with you.  Doing your draft online?  Save the PDF to your computer and open it up when it’s time to draft.

Click here to purchase your 2014 scoutPRO Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!

Want to see a preview of the draft kit?  Here are my player profiles of Clayton Kershaw and Justin Upton:

Clayton Kershaw – It’s tough for any fantasy player not to love Clayton Kershaw. He has led the NL in ERA and WHIP in three straight seasons and has been the toughest pitcher to hit in the NL three times in the past five years. Last year, his command (2.0) was a career best, but he had a career low K rate (8.8). His first pitch strike % (65%) repeated its 2012 success and he threw the most overall strikes of his career (67%). Opposing batters are hitting .211 against him in his career. However, his AFB (92.6) was the 2nd lowest of his career. In terms of pitches, he throws a slider as his 2nd best pitch, followed by a curveball and an occasional changeup. His GB rate (46.0%) continues to be over his career average. For his career, he has a high LOB % (77.8), which has helped him have an elite ERA (2.60) overall and at home (2.20). Last year, the Dodgers scored 2 runs or less 16 times when he was on the mound. Furthermore, he allowed 2 runs or less 26 times. LA should have a much more potent offense this season, which gives Kershaw a chance to win plus games. He is only 26 and set a career low in ERA (1.83), which led to his 2nd Cy Young Award and a 7-year, $215 million contract. He is the best pitcher in baseball pitching for a team that is on the rise. 20 wins should be well within his reach with plus K’s and an elite ERA.

Justin Upton - Justin’s skill set regressed in 2013 due to a huge spike in his K rate (25.0% – 19.3% in 2012 and 18.7% in 2011). However, his walk rate (11.7%) was his highest since 2008. Last year, he battled multiple minor injuries (hand, back, hamstring, and calf). Upton was crushing the ball in April (12 HR’s), but his increased power led to a quest to hit more HR’s by opening up his swing (27.6% K rate in April and May). Last year, he hit 18 of his 27 HR’s to left field. When Justin is at his best, he hits the ball to right center with power. He wasn’t dominant against RH (.262) or LH (.268) pitching. However, his approach was much stronger against lefties (36 walk – 21.9% walk rate with 10 HR’s in 127 at bats). Upton only had value in 2 months in 2013 (April – .298 with 12 HR’s and 19 RBI and August – .298 with 8 HR’s and 16 RBI). Overall, he has been a below average run producer (14%) during his career. His HR/FB rate (17.9%) was the 2nd highest of his career. Upton was a great hitter against fastballs in 2011 (.311 with 26 doubles and 19 HR’s in 344 at bats), but he really struggled with the heat in 2013 (.261 with 123 HR’s and 98 K’s in 330 at bats). Justin is an upside player coming off of a disappointing season. His rise in his K rate hurts his upside in batting average. Despite all of that, Upton is just reaching the prime of his career. He has 30+ HR upside with 20 SB ability. Justin has never been a driven player, so he may never be elite. He has 2 years to pad his resume for a monster contract. Breakout candidate in 2014.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Player Profiles – San Francisco Giants

After winning the World Series in 2010 and 2012, the Giants took a step back in 2013, finishing the season 3rd in the NL West with a record of 76-86.  Scoring only 629 runs (21st in MLB), it was their first losing season since 2008.  In addition, they finished 29th in the majors in HR’s (107), 25th in extra base hits (422) and tied for 22nd in stolen bases (67).  While their offense has been short in 2 of the past 3 seasons, it has a chance to be much improved in 2014 if the slimmed down Pablo Sandoval can play at a high level and if Brandon Belt can take a step forward.

Click here to read my fantasy baseball player profiles of the San Francisco Giants batters!

Want to see what my player profiles are like?  Check out my analysis of C Buster Posey:

Posey just wasn’t an elite catcher last year. Maybe it was just the lack of a supporting cast. His K rate (11.8%) is elite with a solid walk rate (10.1%), and he was a better hitter against LH pitching (.320 with a .497 SLG %). Over the first 3 months of the season, he was on a pace to repeat his 2013 success (.322 with 12 HR’s and 48 RBI’s in 276 at bats). Over the second half of the year, Posey faded off into the sunset (.262 with 3 HR’s and 24 RBI’s), and appeared to wear down. During the offseason, he has added 10 lbs. of muscle to help add length to his season. His HR/FB rate (10.0%) was a huge step down from 2012 (18.8%). Furthermore, Buster continues to be a GB hitter (47.3%). For 18 months, Posey posted elite numbers from the catching position, while his production in runs was short due to a weak back end of the Giants lineup. The 2014 team has enough talent to be a much better offensive team. Overall, he is an edge at the catcher position and gets added value by playing first base. If you believe in batters with high batting averages, Posey is an contender for the NL batting title with a 25/100 skill set.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Staffs – Los Angeles Dodgers

When you have three starters with an ERA of 3.00 or below, odds are you’re probably going to win a fair number of games.  The Dodgers did just that in 2013 as Clayton Kershaw (1.83), Zack Greinke (2.63) and Hyun-jin Ryu (3.00) were a big reason why the Dodgers finished 2nd in MLB in ERA. Furthermore, they finished 6th in WHIP (1.23), 5th in BAA (.243) and only gave up 127 HR’s on the year (tied for 4th lowest amount).

Click here to read my fantasy baseball player profiles of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers!

If you would like to see a preview of my player profiles, here is my analysis of Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson:

Kenley Jansen - Finally Don Mattingly will have no choice but to name Jansen the closer heading into the 2014 season. He has had an electric arm, but has been overlooked for saves early in the year in back to back seasons. Kenley had the best command (2.1) of his career, but his K rate (13.0) dropped slightly. Batters have only hit .158 against Jansen during his career. He dominated RH batters (.158) and allowed 5 HR’s in 158 at bats. Kenley was also very good against lefties (.204). Over the last 4 months as the closer, he had a 1.24 ERA with 26 SV’s and 74 K’s in 51 innings. His AFB (92.4 – really a cutter) was slightly higher than 2012, a pitch he threw 94.1% of the time. He throws a low % of sliders as his #2 pitch. Jansen is a modern day version of Mariano Rivera with a much higher K ability. With elite command, he has plus, plus upside in K’s. Kenley should finish close to the top in saves in the NL with an edge in ERA, WHIP, and K’s.

Brian Wilson - Wilson returned late last season to give the Dodgers 18 solid outings. He had the best command (2.6) of his career, but his K rate (8.6) was below his best years in the majors. His AFB (93.2) has now declined in 4 straight seasons. His #1 pitch is a cutter, which he threw 74.9% of the time. Brian only allowed 2 extra base hits in 45 at bats last year. Righties hit .206 against him and lefties hit .091. Overall, he has 171 major league saves. Wilson isn’t the same pitcher he was, but he will give LA a very good arm in the 8th inning.