Fantasy Baseball - Previews And Rankings For Week 4

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 Pitchers:

Bruce Chen – The southpaw is coming off a career year in 2011, and he’s picked up where he left off. In 3 starts this season Chen is 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA, striking out nearly a batter an inning while showing off a level of control that would even impress Roy Halladay. He’ll get a start against Brandon Morrow of the Toronto Blue Jays and Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins, and given Morrow’s struggles he has to be considered the favourite in both matchups.

Jeff Samardzija – He’s struggled in his last few starts but it’s clear he’s a better pitcher then he was a few years ago. He’s got much better command, and he’s getting batters to swing and miss at his stuff. This week he’s got a matchup against Adam Wainwright, and given his lack of velocity Samardzija should have the advantage. He’s also facing off against Kyle Kendrick of the Philadelphia Phillies, and given that the Phillies couldn’t score a run if their life depended on it then Samardzija should be a great option for this week.

Three hitters on fire during week 3:

Derek Jeter – The Captain clearly isn’t ready to go down quietly. Last week he hit 406 with 3 homers, 9 RBI and 9 runs scored. That’s fantastic production from the shortstop position, and earned him the #3 ranking over that time according to Yahoo. Here is a scary thought – with 4 homers on the season, Jeter has almost matched his 2011 total of 6.

Hanley Ramirez – The former shortstop had a bounceback week, hitting 348 with 3 homers, 8 RBI, 1 steal and 6 runs scored. The average should creep up a bit, but early on in the season it looks like Ramirez is back to his elite form. The time to buy low on Ramirez is dropping with every big game he has.

Michael YoungForever Young, I wanna be forever young. Clearly he’s found the fountain of youth, because this week Young hit 524 with 1 homer, a steal, 3 RBI and 5 runs scored. Outstanding production from the versatile infielder.

Three hitters that were ice cold during week 3:

Carlos Lee–  He went 3/28 with one run scored. His offence has declined for a few years now, and he’ll be 36 in June. Unless you’re in a really deep league, he shouldn’t be on your team.

Nick Markakis – Markakis got off to a fantastic start, but he cooled down last week. He had a 207 BA, and his only other contribution was 2 runs. Stick with him, as he should perform better in the next few weeks.

Bobby Abreu – When you’re fighting for playing time, you can’t afford a poor weak. Abreu went 1/11 during week 3, and that’s not going to help his trade value or earn him more playing time. He shouldn’t be on your roster, so cut him ASAP.

Three pitchers you don’t want to mess with:

Philip Humber – The first perfect game of 2012 was an absolute gem. 9 strikeouts AND a pitch count under 100? That’s fantastic. Over his 2 starts this week he struck out 16, posting an identical 0.63 ERA and WHIP. He’s a talented starter who shouldn’t be available in any leagues, but if he is grab him up before someone else does.

Brandon Beachy -Humber may have thrown a perfect game, but Beachy was the best starter this week. He went 2-0 with 11 strikeouts, allowing 0 runs and posting a WHIP of 0.70. This is nothing new for Beachy, who is on fire to start the season. He’s allowed 1 earned run so far in his 3 starts.

AJ Burnett – He sure made a good impression in his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Burnett went 7 innings, shutting down the St. Louis Cardinals while striking out 7 and earning the win. Looks like he’s happy to be out of the AL East.

Three pitchers that hitters can’t wait to face:

Jon Lester – 2 innings and a 31.50 ERA. Wow. Lester got absolutely hammered in his last start against the Texas Rangers, pushing his ERA up nearly 3.5 runs per 9 innings. He should rebound from that, but it just goes to show that the Rangers are the class of the American League.

Matt Moore – Big things were expected of Moore after his dominant appearance in the post season. Things haven’t worked out that way, as he’s been struggling with his control in his three starts this season. Moore has more walks (12) then strikeouts (11), and no matter how good your stuff is you can’t succeed when you’re pitching like that. He’s too talented not to turn it around, but the question here is when will that happen?

Mat Latos – He was expected to lead the Cincinnati Reds to the playoffs, but at this point the Reds would settle for winning a game he pitches. Latos was awful in his lone start this week, allowing 8 runs and 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He’s struggling with his control, and until he figures that out he’s not going to be very effective for the Reds.

Matchup of the week:

New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers (April 23-25)

Two of the best teams in the American League face off in another playoff type atmosphere. Neither team throws their ace in this series, but given that they’re playing in Texas runs should be plentiful. The Rangers beat up on the Detroit Tigers, so their next big test will see how they do against the New York Yankees. Do the Yankees have what it takes to slow down the red hot Rangers?

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