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.
Two Start Pitchers:
Jonathon Niese – He’s a solid option for Fantasy Baseball, and this week he’ll face a pair of below average lineups in the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins. He should give you points in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts this week, but wins might be harder to come by since the first game he’ll face Roy Halladay. Niese is having a solid season, but given the matchup he should be a very useful two start pitcher.
Felix Doubront – Like most of the Boston Red Sox, Felix Doubront is off to a poor start. However, he does have a pair of favourable matchups against the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. The Royals rank 26th out of 30 in OPS vs lefties (611), giving Doubront a significant advantage against the Royals. While the Cleveland Indians have done better than the Royals vs lefties, their lineup leans heavily to the left, giving Doubront the edge.
Three batters that were on fire:
3B Pedro Alvarez – On April 22nd, Alvarez had a 402 OPS. He was about as irrelevant as you can get for Fantasy Baseball owners. Over the past week Alvarez ranks as the #5 player according to Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, hitting 417 with 3 homers, 8 runs and 8 RBI. The former second overall pick is finally making good on his promise, so pick him up while he’s hot.
SS Jed Lowrie – Think that the Boston Red Sox wouldn’t want a redo on the Jed Lowrie trade? Mark Melancon hasn’t pitched in the majors since April 17th, while Lowrie has been the best shortstop in the game. He ended his stellar week hitting 524, mashing 3 homers and driving in 9. But hey, at least the Red Sox have Mike Aviles, right?
Bryan LaHair - He’s making the most of what might be his last starting opportunity in the majors. Bryan LaHair is off to a fantastic start, and last week he hit 409 with 3 homers and 4 RBI. This might be a good sell high case, however, as LaHair is striking out in a third of his at bats.
Three hitters that were ice cold:
1B Adam Lind- He went 2/22 last week, good enough for a .091 average. But at least he hit a home run last night, to save him the embarrassment of being a complete non factor. Lind is one of the worst hitters in the game, and he really shouldn’t be on your Fantasy Baseball team.
C Joe Mauer – Things aren’t looking much better in year two of Mauer’s massive contract. A 776 OPS isn’t bad for a catcher, but it’s significantly lower than what you’d expect from a player with a career OPS of 872. For the week Mauer hit 118, but he did manage to drive in a pair of runs. I hope you didn’t spend a high pick on him.
C Mike Napoli – He’s a fantastic hitter, but this just wasn’t his week. Napoli hit just 150 and drove in one run. He’s a critical player on the Texas Rangers, and it’s no surprise they struggled when Napoli had a poor week.
Three pitchers you don’t want to mess with:
Chris Capuano – The fourth best Fantasy Baseball player over the past week according to Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, Capuano didn’t allow a run in 2 starts, striking out 16 and winning both of his games. He’s been fantastic for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he absolutely needs to be picked up if you need pitching.
Felix Hernandez - The fastball velocity is down from 93-94 to 91, but it hasn’t stopped Hernandez from dominating his opponents. This week Felix Hernandez had a 0.56 ERA over 2 starts, striking out 18 and only winning one of his games. If he keeps this up he’ll win his second Cy Young Award this year.
Three pitchers that hitters can’t wait to face:
AJ Burnett – His first two starts of the season were pretty solid, but Burnett got demolished in his game against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2 2/3 innings he allowed 12 hits, 12 runs and 2 home runs. What’s amazing is that he was left in the game long enough to have allowed the Cardinals to score 12. Credit the Pittsburgh Pirates staff for not allowing a run the rest of the game.
Jhoulys Chacin – Unlike Burnett, Chacin has been awful for virtually every start. His last one was the nail in the coffin, as he allowed 7 runs and couldn’t get through the fifth inning. He was demoted after his last start, and with a 7.30 ERA it’s tough to blame the Colorado Rockies for sending him to the minors.
Roy Halladay – It feels strange putting his name here, but he was terrible in his last start. Roy Halladay’s ERA rose 1.45 runs in his last start alone, as he allowed 8 runs in 5 1/3 innings. How bad was Halladay in his last start? In his previous 5 starts spanning 37 innings he had allowed a combined 8 runs.
Matchups of the week:
The Yankees trail the Rays by 4.5 games, and a big series against them can put them within 1.5 games. This is going to be a tough series for the Rays, who lost Evan Longoria to injury.
Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals (May 11-13)
Two of the best teams in the National League square off in a potential preview of October baseball. With the emphasis on winning the division these two teams can’t afford to lose any ground. They’ve got the best offences in the majors, so expect a high scoring affair.