National League - FAAB - 4/22/12
Thanks to Kenn and Jeff for filling in for me the past two weeks.
Bronson Arroyo - Arroyo allowed three earned runs over eight innings in the Reds' victory over the Cardinals on Thursday. Arroyo did not walk a batter, which is not surprising considering he has now issued just one base on balls in 21.2 innings this season. That level of control, along with Arroyo's 2.91 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, has made him a bargain in fantasy leagues early on, especially after posting a 5.07 ERA and 1.367 WHIP last year. However, be careful not to overrate his strong start as he still pitches in a hitters' park. His fastball velocity is less than 0.5 MPH above last year and two of his three starts came on the road. Mixed: $2; NL: Already owned.
A.J. Burnett - Burnett tossed seven scoreless innings and was the winning pitcher Saturday against the Cardinals. He gave up just three hits while walking two and striking out seven. It was a fantastic season debut for Burnett, who returned about a week earlier than expected and delivered in a big way against the Cardinals. Pittsburgh decided to scratch expected starter, Kevin Correia, with discomfort in his left side, opening the door for Burnett, who was out after fracturing his orbital bone bunting during spring training, to return earlier than expected. Burnett struggled mightily his last two seasons for the Yankees, but perhaps a switch back to the National League is exactly what he needed to move past his struggles in New York. However, keep in mind that he comes with plenty of risk given his control woes and a home-run rate that has increased in each of the last three seasons. Fortunately, he now has an opportunity to pitch half of his games with more pitcher-friendly home park while in a weaker league. Mixed: $5; NL: $14.
Marco Estrada - Estrada allowed just one run over five innings and did not factor in the decision Saturday against the Rockies. He only gave up two hits while allowing no walks and striking out a career high nine batters, which is not surprising as he had a solid K:BB ratio last season. A very impressive start for Estrada, who is the current replacement for the injured Chris Narveson (shoulder) in the Brewers' starting rotation. Estrada filled in a year ago for an injured Zach Greinke and pitched quite well, giving manager Ron Roenicke the confidence to use Estrada as the sixth starter when needed. His next start will likely come on the road on April 27 against the Cardinals, and as long as he limits the home run ball, he could stick in the rotation for a while. That said, Roenicke could easily turn to Wily Peralta, the Brewers' top pitching prospect, who was just promoted Saturday. Mixed: $1; NL: $5
Tim Hudson - Hudson, who has been sidelined following surgery in November to fix a herniated disc in his back, is expected to make one more rehab start before being activated from the disabled list. Hudson threw five innings in a rehab start Wednesday, giving up an unearned run on two hits while posting a 4:3 K:BB ratio in the game, which came on the heels of two subpar starts at Low-A Rome. Though Hudson cruised Wednesday, the Braves will have him start once more at Triple-A Gwinnett on Tuesday before bringing him back to the big club to make his season debut April 29 or 30 against Pittsburgh. Hudson is coming off back-to-back excellent seasons, and as long as he remains healthy, he should produce similar results as Atlanta's No. 1 or No. 2 starter. Mixed: $8; NL: $25.
Kyle Kendrick - Kendrick will take Cliff Lee's spot in the rotation and will make his first start Monday. Kendrick likely won't be able to go deep into the game on Monday as he has been working out of the pen for all of April. The Phillies hope that Lee will only miss a few turns in the rotation and they could opt to skip Kendrick when they have an off-day, so temper your bidding and expectation. Mixed: $0; NL: $3.
Wade Miley - Miley could replace Daniel Hudson (shoulder) in the rotation depending on his usage out of the pen this weekend. Miley, who made seven starts for Arizona last year, has posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 2:4 K:BB ratio through 8.2 innings out of the pen this season. He'd serve as a stopgap for the Diamondbacks so that they wouldn't have to call up one of their top prospects - Bauer, Corbin or Skaggs - for a limited look. Mixed: $1; NL: $4
Jamie Moyer - Moyer allowed just six hits, two walks and two unearned runs Tuesday against the Padres to earn his first victory of the season at the age of 49. Moyer didn't throw a single pitch over 80 miles an hour the entire night according to Pitch F/X. Still, with a 2.55 ERA in his first three outings and his ability to keep hitters off-balance, Moyer has been impressive to watch so far this season. In addition, this comes on the heels of a solid spring training, so maybe the Fountain of Youth has hit Moyer. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.
Wily Peralta - Peralta was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. It's possible that Peralta could take Chris Narveson's place in the rotation, but Marco Estrada earned another turn in that spot with his performance Saturday, so for now, Peralta will likely pitch in relief. Peralta, who has a mid-90s fastball, solid slider and work-in-progress changeup, is Milwaukee's most advanced pitching prospect and had a 2.12 ERA with a 13:6 K:BB ratio in 17 innings for Triple-A Nashville. He struck out 157 in 150.2 innings at two levels last year, but walked 59 and base-on-balls have always been an issue for him, so expect a inflated WHIP if you pick him up. Mixed: $0; NL: $2 (speculative bid)
Randy Wells - Wells will start for the Cubs on Sunday. Ryan Dempster (hamstring) was placed on the DL on Saturday, so Wells will officially be recalled from Iowa before Sunday's series finale with the Reds. Wells was hammered in his last start against Triple-A Round Rock and has given up 15 runs on 16 hits over 14.1 innings in three starts with Iowa this season. In addition, after a very good 2009 campaign, Wells fall back to earth each of the past two seasons; so don't expect much from him. Mixed: No; NL: $0.
Michael Bowden/Jose Contreras/Brad Lincoln/Mike McClendon/Joe Savery - This week's batch of middle relief promotions. If Bowden, who was acquired Saturday for Marlon Byrd, sticks in Chicago, he could fill a long relief role. Lincoln also may fill a similar role, though if Kevin Correia's side discomfort lingers, Lincoln may start for him Monday and could remain in the rotation of Correia lands on the disabled list. All other Bowden and Lincoln - Mixed: No; NL: $0; Bowden - Mixed: $0; NL: $1; Lincoln - Mixed: $0; NL: $2.
Juan Cruz - The Pirates have made it clear that Cruz is next in line for saves chances when Joel Hanrahan is unavailable after giving him the ninth-inning role on back-to-back days. Cruz has a 7:2 K:BB in six appearances this season and has not allowed a run during that span. Mixed: $1; NL: $4.
Jon Rauch - Frank Francisco struggled for the third straight game on Saturday while Rauch ended up earning the win. Two of the runs charged to Francisco were due to a hit allowed by Rauch, who got Brandon Belt to pop up to very shallow center field. Ruben Tejada had trouble with it immediately and Kirk Nieuwenhuis came rushing in and overran the ball, which dropped behind him for what was ruled generously ruled a double. Francisco will likely get a few more chances, but if he continues to struggle, Rauch may get a chance. Mixed: $1; NL: $4
Devin Mesoraco - Mesoraco was profiled in the first column of the year, but he gets a bump up as he was in the starting lineup for the third time in four games Saturday. Ryan Hanigan's slow start at the plate (6-for-29) seems to have opened up an opportunity for the rookie to play, which certainly increases his value. However, keep in mind Mesoraco is having trouble with baserunners as he hasn't thrown out any of the seven guys who have tried to run on him. Mixed: $5; NL: Already owned.
Matt Carpenter - Carpenter was profiled last week, but gets a mild bump up as he is slated to man first base now that Lance Berkman was placed on the disabled list due to his calf injury. What Jeff Erickson wrote last week remains true:
He should be viewed more as a short-term fill-in and not a guy to target for the long haul in the case of a major injury. Allen Craig will be back in the near future and in that event, he would be chosen over Carpenter, and the Cardinals also are grooming Matt Adams (who wasn't called up because he is not on the 40-man roster) to be their first baseman in 2013 or perhaps at a later point. Speaking to Carpenter's merits, he's got a good batting eye and could hit for average, but at age 26, what you see is what you get - and I see a long-term part-time player, not a future keeper.
Mixed: $1; NL: $6.
Andy Parrino - Parrino's skill set doesn't scream high upside, but with Orlando Hudson slumping so badly to begin the season, Parrino has seen additional playing time in the short term. That said, Hudson is riding a four-game hitting streak, albeit with one hit per game, so he may have bought himself a bit longer of a leash. Keep an eye on this situation, because if Hudson struggles again, manager Bud Black may turn to Parrino. Mixed: No; NL: $2
Freddy Sanchez - Sanchez, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury, worked out Friday in Arizona. There is still no official date to start his minor league rehab assignment, but Sanchez is progressing along. The expectation is that Sanchez should be able to return in May, and when he does, he should once again be the starting second baseman in San Francisco. Mixed: $1; NL: $5 (early speculative bid)
Skip Schumaker - Schumaker, who was just activated off the disabled list, will play some center field right off the bat. Jon Jay hurt his shoulder crashing into a wall Thursday and is out indefinitely. Although Carlos Beltran can play some center, it made more sense to put Schumaker out there. He got the start there on Friday, but left the game after colliding with the center field wall. Schumaker was available off the bench Saturday, as his removal from Friday's game was solely precautionary due getting the wind knocked out of him. Once Jay is ready to go, Schumaker will probably see most of his starts at second base, though he may not be a regular as Daniel Descalso has played well there in his stead. Mixed: $2; NL: $7.
Justin Sellers - Sellers, who got the start at shortstop on Friday, made his second straight start -- this time at third base -- Saturday against Houston. He went 1-for-4 with a run scored while striking out twice and walking once Friday but went 0-for-4 Saturday. Sellers got the nod at third base Saturday in place of Juan Uribe, who has an inflamed left wrist. Uribe, who has missed three straight games, is expected to play Sunday, but if he suffers a setback, Sellers could see some time at third especially if Jerry Hairston Jr. also continues to struggle. Mixed: No; NL: $1.
Chase Headley - Headley has been one of the few bright spots so far this season for the Padres, as he leads the team in almost every major offensive category. Headley is hitting .286 with four home runs, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored. The walk rate is up over last year's career-best, while the contact rate remains solid and his solid season is occurring despite a drop in BABIP, which bodes well for continues success. Mixed: $10; NL: Already owned.
Chris Nelson - Nelson is now the everyday third baseman after the demotion of Jordan Pacheco to Triple-A earlier in the week. If he continues to hit he will stay in the lineup and get more opportunities. Nelson is holding the position warm until top prospect Nolan Arenado, who is raking at Double-A Tulsa, is ready to play in the big leagues. It may only be a short-term bump, but ride Nelson for as long as he has the job. Mixed: $5; NL: Already owned.
Tony Campana - Campana was called up from Triple-A Iowa as the Cubs made a deal with the Red Sox, moving Marlon Byrd for Michael Bowden. Campana could see a significant run in center field at least until it's determined that Brett Jackson is ready for the big leagues. Campana's major skill is stealing bases, as he stole a whopping 24 in 26 attempts last year in just 143 at-bats for Chicago last year. Campana doesn't have any power and isn't especially skilled at drawing walks, though he did hit for average the last two years in the high minors and was hitting .304 when he was promoted this year. Mixed: $4; NL: $11
Tyler Colvin - Colvin, who came to Colorado in the Ian Stewart deal this offseason and was supposed to be the Rockies' fourth outfielder, has seen more time lately. Colvin was the beneficiary of Carlos Gonzalez's sore throat last week and has taken advantage of Dexter Fowler's struggles and Michael Cuddyer's toe injury to see more action this week. If Fowler doesn't start to show signs of life, he could be in danger of losing more time to Colvin. Mixed: $1; NL: $5.
Allen Craig - Craig started his minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Palm Beach. Everything appears to be going OK for him recently after the Cards revealed that they rushed Craig a bit during spring training, which resulted in a mild setback. Craig put up a .315/.362/.555 slash line with 11 home runs in just 219 plate appearances last season. When he does return, which looks like it should be in early-May, in line with the original expectation that were set when he first had the surgery, he should see time at first base as well as right and center field. Mixed: $3; NL: $9.
Mark Kotsay - Kotsay, who had been out with a calf injury, was been activated off the 15-day DL on Monday. Kotsay has been used as a pinch-hitter and as part of the left-field rotation. He'll see sporadic at-bats as long as Will Venable and Jesus Guzman are healthy. Mixed: No; NL: $2.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis - Nieuwenhuis was profiled when he was promoted a few weeks ago when it looked like he would be on the short side of a platoon with Scott Hairston. However, Nieuwenhuis has hit the ground running and all but secured the center field job while Andres Torres has been sidelined. The interesting part is Nieuwenhuis, like Torres, projects to be a fourth outfielder, but since he has given the team a boost, showing some power along with a dash of speed and solid defense following his promotion, he may be in line to keep the job even when Torres returns. Mixed: $3; NL: $11.
Geraldo Parra/A.J. Pollock - Pollock tends to be overlooked in most circles because many scouts believe that he lacks a standout tool. Fortunately, he does everything well, and is praised for unquantifiable traits including his work ethic and instincts on the field. With Chris Young (shoulder) expected to miss two or three weeks, the D-Backs had an extra spot in the outfield rotation and promoted Pollock. He should see something close to everyday at-bats, though he won't start every day as Justin Upton was able to return from his thumb injury Saturday and Parra is also playing fairly regularly. If debating between the two, Parra, since he bats left-handed likely gets the bigger bump since he will see most of the action against righties until Young is back. In addition, he can play all three outfield positions, which affords him a better shot at playing time. Parra - Mixed: $3; NL: $11; Pollock - Mixed: $1; NL: $5.
Juan Pierre - Earlier in the week, manager Charlie Manuel said that Pierre could get more action and he has lived up to that statement. Pierre started his third straight game in left field on Saturday and may have wrested the spot away from John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. Pierre gives the Phillies speed at the top of the lineup and enables the team to manufacture some runs, especially with Jimmy Rollins hitting third and Shane Victorino fifth with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still sidelined. Even if he is not the full-time starter, look for Pierre to be out there against right-handed pitching. Mixed: $3; NL: $11.
Carlos Quentin - Quentin, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-March to remove loose cartilage and repair a torn meniscus and was expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks, took live batting practice and ran sprints Thursday. Quentin will go on a minor-league rehab assignment shortly before returning to big league action, possibly within two weeks. When Quentin returns to the Padres lineup he will likely hit in the middle of the order and be eased into regular playing time, but when he is ready to play every day Will Venable and Chris Denorfia will probably be used in reserve roles. Mixed: $10; NL: $28.