Since I like to wake up early on Saturday, and since I have been a little limited in activities this past week due to my car accident, I sat thinking about features for the blog that might be of use to our readers. So, this week, I present our Saturday Strategies. If there is a demand for it and a liking of it, we can gather here on Saturday morning and discuss injuries, potential free agent pick-ups and any other issues of fantasy significance. Since I do the National League FAAB Log, I’ll stick primarily with the National League for now, though if you want to throw it open to both leagues, I will be happy to oblige. Keep in mind that I will be writing this on Friday night and Saturday morning, so things are subject to change :)
So, without further ado, today’s Saturday Strategies:
Injury News and Notes and Playing Time Issues:
Roy Oswalt – Oswalt tweaked his mid-back yesterday during the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Marlins. He does not believe the injury is serious, but mid-back strains are painful and take some time to heal. He is slated to pitch a Businessperson’s Special against the Brewers on Wednesday, but is not going to throw on the side again until Monday. If you have daily transactions, this is good, because you have time to replace him if need be. I doubt, however, that the Phillies will put him on the disabled list any time soon, so most fantasy owners will have to ride this out. If Oswalt does not go on Wednesday, it is likely that Kyle Kendrick will get a spot start, or (less likely since there will likely not be a corresponding disabled list move) Vance Worley will get a call-up.
Cody Ross – Ross is being sent out on a brief rehab stint. Sources say that he could be back as early as April 18, but as late as April 22. Keep an eye on this, because if he is back on April 18, many league owners will be able to activate him. If he is not up, however, keep your replacement for him in place until next week – at-bats and counting stats are more important than a potential eight at-bats at the end of the week. It is most likely that Darrin Ford gets sent down when Ross is back. Keep an eye on one other development, however, which I discuss below: will Brandon Belt be sent down at some point before the end of the month?
Andres Torres – Torres was placed on the 15 day disabled list and is not eligible to return until April 26. Darren Ford has been called up to take his place (though he will likely be sent down when Ross comes back). If you own Torres, you should be concerned – for a game built on speed, an Achilles injury could nag at him all year. It would be best if the Giants kept him out until he is completely healed.
Huston Street – Street is dealing with fatigue issues, and should be available again later this weekend. He appeared in nine of the Rockies’ first 12 games. Unfortunately, this situation will need to be monitored…if Street is overused early in the season, ramifications could be felt come summer. Look for Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, or Matt Lindstrom to pick up the slack when Street is out (not a good idea to try and corner this bullpen).
Jason Bay – Bay is enjoying the weather in extended spring training. I saw a few rumors that Bay could be back this week, but Sandy Alderson sounded pretty adamant on Tuesday that Bay would not be back until at least April 26. There is no need to run out and get him active for this week (unless and until you hear something different tomorrow).
Ubaldo Jimenez – Jimenez is slated to start on Tuesday and appears fully recovered from his poor nail/cuticle care. He gets Jonathan Sanchez and the Giants in Colorado on Tuesday. He should be active in all formats.
Jair Jurrjens – Jurrjens is slated to return today against the New York Mets today. I usually do not recommend that you activate a pitcher right off an extended stay on the disabled list, but this is one time where I will make an exception. Just do not hold me responsible if the Mets offense arises like a phoenix from the ashes.
Jon Garland – Garland is back, and, well, this is why we let starters get back in the groove before activating them. To be honest, Pitch F/X tells me that he did not pitch too poorly, but spent too much time on the inner half up in the zone. Garland gets the Braves on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He pitches well there generally, so I for one will take a chance and activate him for that start.
Donnie Murphy – A tweaked knee has cost Murphy some starts this week; the problem, of course, is that Murphy was already beginning to lose playing time. Frankly, it is probably time to start looking at other options.
Kosuke Fukudome – Fukudome has already missed 4 straight games with hamstring injury (a/k/a I’m just not that productive disease); he is expected to be available again this weekend. Tyler Colvin is already seeing a significant increase in at-bats, however, and Fukudome is not beloved in Chicago – you are likely going to see that playing time for Fukudome continue to decline.
Brad Emaus – New York sources say that Brad Emaus is running out of time to prove that he can hit National League pitching. If you take a look at his numbers, his .263 BABIP and 18.2% line-drive rate are not totally out of line, and he is pounding almost 70% of his balls into the ground. I do not think he can hit pitching at this level, and Danny Murphy will likely be the beneficiary of Emaus’ eventual demotion; query whether this is a significant improvement.
Hong-Chih Kuo – Kuo is complaining of back problems…keep an eye on this, given his injury history; back problems lead to bad mechanics which lead to new arm problems. Leave him active for now.
Brandon Belt – There are rumors that Belt could be sent down once Andres Torres is back from the disabled list. I, for one, am not a proponent. His BABIP is quite low for his Line-Drive rate. His K/BB is respectable. He will certainly continue to play until April 26; we will need to monitor the next two weeks.
Potential Free Agent Pick-ups (taken from players available in my National League; we cannot pick up minor league players in our free agent pool, so I will not talk about them here):
Aaron Miles. Miles is getting at-bats with the Dodgers due to the glut of injuries. This does not mean you should own him, as he is sporting a pathetic .528 OPS. Ivan DeJesus would likely be a better pick-up.
Matt Downs. I think I write about Matt Downs five times a year every year. Now Downs is in Houston, and with the garbage that team throws out in the middle infield every day, along with Chris Johnson being a bit banged up, Downs is getting at-bats. He qualifies at 2B from last year, and will qualify at 3B in some leagues already this year. With a little pop, he is likely worth a look-see.
Alberto Gonzalez. Gonzalez is becoming a super-sub without super numbers. He picked up a few at-bats, and he can hit, so if you are desperate to replace a player, you could do worse.
Charlie Morton. Well, I had to write about him sooner or later, right? Here is the good: 2W, 1.64 ERA, 1.136 WHIP. The bad: 2.455 K/9; 4.91 BB/9; .50 K/BB. You see the ingredients for disaster here, right? Morton gets the Marlins on Wednesday, and has decent career numbers against the Marlins – do you dare roll the dice?
Dustin Moseley. Interesting. I did not think it was possible for a starter to have a lower strikeout rate than Morton…Moseley does. 1.83 ERA and 1.271 WHIP, but a 1.831 K/9 and .67 K/BB also potentially spells disaster. Of course, Moseley does get the benefit of starting games in Petco Park. His next start is a night game in Wrigley on Tuesday.
Paul Maholm. Tease is a word I usually reserve for scantily clad girls. The term fits Maholm. If you have read the FAAB log over the past few years, we have discussed Maholm’s strong streaks a number of times, and the next week I usually need to eat crow. 2.33 ERA and 1.138 WHIP, but a 2.00 K/BB rate which is at least better than the entrants above. He is a two start pitcher this week, getting the Marlins and the Nationals. I am intrigued by this play this week, which means I will regret it if I get him.
Other notables (note: for other notables, I tend to look at K/BB rate, since a lot of these guys are relievers; guys over 5.00 K/BB are noted here): Jason Marquis (5.50 K/BB rate jumps off the page, and he starts this week against the Pirates); Guillermo Mota; Matt Maloney; Marcos Mateo; Jordan Smith; Jose Veras; Bill Bray).
If you have specific questions about specific players, please e-mail us or reach Mike or I on Twitter.