Fantasy Baseball – Previews And Rankings For Week 3

By Mark Hock

Every Sunday I’ll be giving my preview for the week ahead for Fantasy Baseball. I’ll be taking a look at which players have performed the best over the past week, who you should avoid, the best games of the week, and some key two start pitchers to stream.

Streaming Two Start Pitchers:

Erik Bedard – With Bedard, it’s never been a question about his talent, but whether or not he could stay healthy. He’s off to a great start with the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting a 2.25 ERA along with 7 strikeouts in 12 innings. He’s lost both of his starts so far, and he’ll be in for a tough matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the St. Louis Cardinals. However, he should have the advantage against D-Backs starter Joe Saunders, and Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals.

Philip Humber– He’s coming off a breakout season in 2011, and he’s going to have his first start of the year against the Baltimore Orioles. Couldn’t have asked for a better team to start again. Then he gets to face the Seattle Mariners in Safeco. If Humber is available in your league, you have to grab him for this week. He should be able to contribute across the board.

Three hitters on fire during Week 2:

Josh Willingham – One of the few bright spots on the Minnesota Twins, Willingham has been fantastic during the first week. He’s hitting 444 with 4 homers and 7 runs driven in. He’s batting fifth right now, but if Justin Morneau continues to struggle then I’d expect Willingham to be pushed up in the lineup. Which can lead to even more RBI opportunities for Willingham.

Kelly Johnson – Somebody clearly likes hitting in the American League. He’s one of the Toronto Blue Jays hottest hitters right now, putting up a 281 average with 3 homers and 5 RBI. And if your league uses OBP, Johnson would be a fantastic option as his is at 410. If he keeps this up pitchers are going to be walking him to face Jose Bautista.

Yadier Molina – Coming off a career year and a massive contract extension, Molina’s offence was expected to drop off after his 14 homer season. And here he is in 2012, trying to prove that 2012 was no fluke. He’s hitting 323 and has already hit 2 home runs, a fairly significant amount given that before 2011 his career high was 8.

The three coldest hitters during week 2:

Ike Davis – He missed a ton of time last season, but given his upside he was a strong play late in the draft. He’s clearly struggling, as he’s managed 2 hits in 28 at bats. He’s striking out almost every other at bat, and if this keeps up the New York Mets might need to send him to the minors. It’s just painful watching him swing right now.

Neil Walker – He’s driven in a pair of runs, but that’s about all he’s done for week one. He hit 120 thanks to the fact he went 3/25. He should rebound at some point, but the upside isn’t even that great here.

James Loney – He was on our list of cold hitters for week 1, and not much has changed for Loney. He’s managed to drive in 2 runs, but with a 125 BA he’s definitely not helping anybody. If he’s on your roster, just drop him. You’d be better off with an empty slot at first base.

Three pitchers you don’t want to mess with:

Aroldis Chapman – 6 innings, 11 strikeouts, 2 wins, 0.00 ERA. Those numbers are just downright filthy. Sean Marshall better get his act together because otherwise we’re looking at the Cincinnati Reds new closer.

Matt Garza – He’s struck out a batter an inning and posted a 1.23 ERA. Weren’t the Chicago Cubs supposed to be a terrible team? Because they continue to throw out one quality starter after the next.

Colby Lewis Yu Darvish got all the attention this offseason, but so far Lewis has been their best starter. He’s struck out 15 in 12 innings, and has a 1.42 ERA. A nice rebound season for Lewis, and this makes the Texas Rangers even more dangerous than we thought.

Three pitchers that hitters can’t wait to face:

Tim Lincecum – It’s a surprise to see Lincecum here, but with the drop in velocity he just hasn’t been very effective. He’s still striking out a ton of hitters, but over the past week he posted a 12.91 ERA. Sell high if you get the chance.

Adam Wainwright – Not only is he struggling, but his velocity is several MPH lower than it was before the Tommy John surgery. Bench him for now, and wait until the velocity returns. Because he’s just throwing batting practice right now.

Heath Bell– The Miami Marlins can’t buy a save. It was a poor decision to offer Bell a massive contract, especially coming off a season that saw a sharp decline in his strikeout rate. So far he’s 0-2 with 2 blown saves thanks to the fact he’s allowed 8 hits and 4 runs in 3 innings. Oh, and he’s walked more than he’s struck out. Think the Marlins are having buyer’s remorse yet?

Matchup of the week:

Texas Rangers vs Detroit Tigers (April 19 – April 22)

This is a four game series between two of the best teams in the American League. It should have a playoff atmosphere, and a preview of the potential ALDS or ALCS matchup in October. Both teams are firing on all cylinders, and it should be an electric matchup.

The Rangers should have the advantage given Detroit’s injuries in the rotation. However, it will be very interesting to see if the Rangers choose to pitch around Miguel Cabrera to face Prince Fielder.

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