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MLB Barometer: Thumbs Up

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.


Carlos Pena, 1B, CHI - After dealing with an early season thumb injury, Pena is finally starting to heat up. While he still has to wear a pad under his glove when playing in the field, the thumb has seemingly healed enough to bring back his power. Pena has gone 5-for-12 over his last four games, which include three home runs. If the thumb stays healthy he'll be a great source of power. With teams imposing the dreaded shift on the lefty, temper any expectations with the batting average. 

Carl Crawford, OF, BOS - I tried to "buy-low" on Crawford in a few leagues to no avail. Unfortunately, any window that was open to try that is quickly closing. Crawford is now 11-for-27 (.429) during seven May games, having hit safely in each. For now it appears that Terry Francona will leave him in the eighth hole but if he continues to produce it'll be tough not to move him up in the batting order.

Dan Hudson, P, ARI - Hudson has collected three straight wins after starting the season 0-4. The turnaround can partially be attributed to his improved control. Over his first four games (24.1 innings) he had a 26:12 K:BB ratio, but over his last three games (20 innings) he's had a 17:1 K:BB ratio. I can't say I'm thrilled about all the fly balls he gives up considering his home park but the kid has a lot of upside. Look for him to continue to rack up the strikeouts and put up solid peripheral numbers if he can maintain the control.

Jason Bourgeois, OF, HOU - I know Bourgeois is on the DL and won't have any fantasy value for the next two weeks. That being said what he's done so far deserves a mention. Besides owning a .939 OPS, he's gone 12-for-14 in the stolen base department despite only having 57 plate appearances. While these numbers are impressive, what really stands out to me are the whopping three strikeouts. Keep an eye on your waiver wire to see if an impatient owner drops him; he's got two games in at second base so it's possible he gains eligibility there sometime this season.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B, SD - Rizzo is doing everything he can to earn a call-up, mashing everything thrown his way at Triple-A Tucson. He's now tallied 10 home runs to go with 42 RBI and is batting .397. I'm pretty sure you could take the three worst hitters for the Padres today, add up their batting averages and it won't equal .397. The Padres may wait a few more weeks to call him up to push back the arbitration clock. It would be hard to imagine he won't be up around the first week in June.

Jason Pridie, OF, NYM - The Mets may have found themselves a diamond in the rough with Pridie, who has gone 12-for-40 (.300) with three home runs. With Angel Pagan suffering a setback in his rehab, Pridie should see regular playing time for at least the next two weeks. If he continues to hit, it'll be interesting to see what the Mets do considering Pagan's slow start.

Check Status:

Marco Scutaro, SS, BOS - It's looking like a DL stint for a rib injury is coming today for Scutaro. Prospect Jose Iglesias will take his spot on the roster but isn't likely to make much of an impact.

Alexi Ogando, P, TEX - Ogando will miss his scheduled start Sunday due to a blister problem he's been dealing with the whole season. It seems like the Rangers are trying to do the right thing and eliminate the problem so it doesn't linger the whole season. A DL stint is a possibility so you probably want to bench Ogando for the upcoming scoring period.

Chris Young, NYM - Young was scratched from his start on Sunday and is scheduled to have an MRI on his ailing shoulder. Young seems to have never gotten completely healthy since this has been an issue dating back to his Padre days.

Stephen Drew, SS, ARI - Drew left Saturday's game with a groin injury. Apparently he's been dealing with this for a while so don't expect him in Sunday's lineup. Depending on your options, you'll probably want to bench him for the upcoming week.


Jonathan Broxton, P, LA - Broxton landed on the DL with what's being labeled as elbow pain. In the meantime Vincente Padilla will handle closer duties which should be interesting. Padilla's likely owned in the majority of leagues but if you've got room on your bench, I'd take a chance and stash Kenley Jansen. I know he has a 6.90 ERA with a 1.605 WHIP but his 24:9 K:BB ratio over 14.1 innings is what I find intriguing.

Brandon Lyon, P, HOU - Lyon has a small tear in his rotator cuff which doesn't sound like something you want your pitcher to have. Mark Melancon will handle closing duties while he's out and I'd guess it's better than 50/50 that Melancon keeps the job even when Lyon returns.

Nelson Cruz, OF, TEX - Cruz was placed on the 15-day DL Saturday and I'm starting to think he might be a little injury prone. The good news is it doesn't sound too serious as the club waited a few days before placing him on the DL. I'd guess he returns when eligible on May 19. The injury opens up playing time for Chris Davis who'll play first base while Mitch Moreland moves into Cruz's outfield spot.


Kelly Johnson, 2B, ARI - Johnson was one of the nicer surprises last season hitting a career-high 26 home runs and swiping 13 bags. One of his problems is the high strikeout rate (31.9%), which is a result of increase of swinging and missing on pitches that are strikes. It seems to me he's trying to swing for the fences in every at-bat and his average is suffering as a result. His first two seasons in Atlanta he batted .276 and .287 but only hit 16 and 12 home runs (granted, Turner Field is more of a pitcher's park). So maybe he needs to focus on making contact, instead of trying to mash the ball every at-bat? Johnson was given the weekend off to clear his head so maybe a mental rest will help him get back on track.

Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT - Right now a lot isn't working in Alvarez's favor. First, he's dealing with a quad injury that will probably need a DL stint to heal. Second, the Pirates went out and found another third baseman - Brandon Wood - who like Alvarez has mastered the craft of striking out. Wood has actually played decent since joining the Pirates, batting .292 with three doubles and three walks in 24 at-bats. If Wood plays well, Pittsburgh will have a tough decision to make since I'm sure they want Alvarez playing every day, even if it's not with the big club.

Jorge Posada, DH, NYY - I've placed teammate Derek Jeter in this spot a few weeks back and now it's Posada's turn to have the spotlight on him. I think that Posada would be under much more scrutiny if Captain Yankee wasn't being so criticized right now. The theory that Posada would stave off Father Time by not catching doesn't seem to be working. After going 0-for-12 over his last four games his batting average has dropped to .146. The only silver lining is that his power - six home runs - hasn't been sapped as well. It wouldn't surprise me to see him turn things around but for now he should be benched in most formats.