Scott Podsednik and Jose Guillen are dominating, while Mark Teixeira and Carlos Lee are struggling. However, Podsednik and Guillen will even out eventually, and Teixeira and Lee will get in the groove very soon. They will dominate when May rolls around, as they are typically slow starters. What does this mean for you? Play Podsednik and Guillen while they are hot and do not give up on Teixeira and Lee. Let's go ahead and dive in to the analysis of week three.
Shaun Marcum vs KC: While Marcum has no-decisions in both of his starts, he has pitched very well. In 13 innings pitched, he's allowed just five hits and boasts a solid 0.92 WHIP, .208 batting average against (BAA), and a 5.5 K:BB. Over four career starts against the Royals, he is 3-1 with a 1.09 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .165 BAA, 5.18 H/9, and has only allowed one HR. Rogers Centre is a neutral park, with a slight lean toward pitchers, but the park will not be a factor.
Freddy Garcia vs TB: Garcia is off to a rough start this season, as he is 0-2 and allowed 11 hits and nine earned runs over 10 innings pitched. However, I think he will put together a solid outing and get his first win against the Rays. In 14 career games vs. Tampa Bay, he is 7-2 with a 1.21 WHIP, 3.17 K/BB ratio and a solid 0.78 HR/9. Why is the HR/9 rate important in this equation? He will pitch at U.S. Cellular Field, which is first in park factor for HRs.
Jake Peavy vs SEA: He's been knocked around this season, but is due for a good game and is solid against Seattle. In six career starts, he is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA and an astounding 6.6 K:BB ratio.
Mark Buehrle vs TB: Career against TB; 8-2, 1.12 WHIP and a 3.63 K:BB ratio.
Brett Anderson vs CLE: In his lone start, he has no earned runs, 10 Ks and one walk in six innings pitched.
Ricky Romero at TB: In 14 innings pitched, he has 13 Ks and a .224 BAA ... strike while the iron is hot.
Jason Vargas vs BAL: Career at SAFECO Field; 3-1, 2.80 ERA, 1.16 WHIP.
Keep 'em in the pen
Javier Vazquez @ OAK; @ LAA: I knew that Vazquez would face some growing pains, going from a weak NL East to a stout AL East. However, I did not expect such poor performances. In 11 innings, Vazquez has allowed 14 hits and 12 earned runs ... unsatisfactory. In seven starts against the A's, he is 2-3 with a 4.98 ERA. Oakland Coliseum is a true pitchers park, but a place where Vazquez has failed to succeed (five starts, 1-2, 5.63 ERA). He has not fared much better against the Angels (five starts, 0-2, 3.51 ERA).
Scott Kazmir vs DET; vs NYY: Kazmir finally made it back from the DL and hopefully owners had him on the bench as recommended. In his first outing against the Yankees, he allowed eight hits, six earned runs and three HRs in four innings pitched. In eight career games against the Tigers, he is 2-4 with a 4.69 ERA. While he's been average against the Yankees in the past, he will struggle once again, if last week's start was any indication. Another thing that fantasy owners have to remember is that he was limited in the spring. He is essentially having an extended spring training, and is not yet ready. It will take him a few more games to find a groove.
Fausto Carmona @ OAK: Why are fantasy owners putting Carmona on a pedestal? He will never come close to the 19-win season he had in 2007. Yes, he is 1-0 with only six hits in 14 innings pitched, but control continues to be an issue. This season, he is sporting a horrid 0.5 K:BB ratio, and over his career his K:BB ratio is not much better (1.39). Over six career starts against Oakland, he is 2-3 with a 6.97 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 11.6 H/9, and a pathetic 1.00 K:BB ratio.
Ben Sheets vs NYY: Over 17 innings pitched this season, he has allowed 19 hits and has a 0.80 K:BB ratio. Remember, the Yankees are a patient team, so his K:BB ratio will not get any better.
Joe Saunders vs DET: 12 hits and four HRs in 11 innings pitched this season. He is equally horrible against the Tigers (5.18 ERA, 10.35 H/9).
Gavin Floyd vs SEA: 14 hits in 12 innings pitched this season. In six career starts against Seattle, he is 1-4 with a 7.47 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and 12.73 H/9.
Ian Snell @ SEA: In 35.2 career innings pitched at SAFECO Field, he has a 5.05 ERA and a 0.81 K:BB ratio.
Jeremy Guthrie @ BOS: Rough start to the season with 16 hits in 13.1 innings pitched. Over 11 career starts against Boston, he is 1-5 with a 1.68 WHIP.
You have all heard the saying, "two is better than one," right? There could not have been a truer statement spoken, as the two-start pitchers below are excellent options and must-starts this week.
David Price: @ CWS (4/20); vs TB (4/25)John Danks: vs TB (4/20); vs SEA (4/25)Kevin Slowey: vs CLE (4/20); @ KC (4/25)
The following pitchers are decent options, and while you should get a solid game out of them, there is a chance they could burn you during one of their outings.
Dontrelle Willis: @ LAA (4/19); @ TEX (4/24)Joel Pineiro: vs DET (4/19); vs NYY (4/24)Brian Bannister: @ TOR (4/19); vs MIN (4/25)Doug Fister: vs BAL (4/19); @ CWS (4/25)Colby Lewis: @ BOS (4/20); vs DET (4/25)Tim Wakefield: vs TEX (4/20); vs BAL (4/25)Rick Porcello: @ LAA (4/20); @ TEX (4/25)Justin Masterson: @ MIN (4/20); @ OAK (4/25)Gio Gonzalez: vs NYY (4/20); vs CLE (4/25)
Disregard what I said earlier about "two is better than one," in this case, erase that quote from your brain-housing group for the moment. You would be better off with one solid pitcher over these unfulfilling options:
Jeff Neiman: @ BOS (4/19); vs TOR (4/24)Brandon Morrow: vs KC (4/19); @ TB (4/24)Brad Bergesen: @ SEA (4/19); @ BOS (4/25)Scott Kazmir: vs DET (4/20); vs NYY (4/25)Javier Vazquez: @ OAK (4/20); @ LAA (4/25)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Magglio Ordonez, OF: Ordonez is off to a great start, with a .341 batting average (BA) and a 1.035 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). His hot start should continue when he heads to Angel Stadium, a neutral park, but a place where Ordonez boasts a solid .360 BA and a 1.018 OPS over 186 career at-bats. He will then head to Rangers Ballpark, where he has a .382 BA and 1.1012 OPS over 157 career at-bats. If you are in a daily league, he is a must-start against Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders, as he is a combined 14-for-30 with seven RBIs and a 1.1605 OPS.
Scott Podsednik, OF: Podsednik is having an unusual start to his season -- he is on fire (.436 BA, .962 OPS and six SBs). As we all know, what goes up must come down, and that's what will happen to Podsednik eventually. With that said, he is always a solid source of SBs, as he has the green light whenever he sees fit. Pods does not have a lot of at-bats (38) against the six pitchers he will face this week, but I am going off the assumption that he will continue his solid play ... at least for another week.
Vladimir Guerrero, DH: Guerrero has been a nice surprise this season (15-for-39 with a .892 OPS). If you are a Guerrero owner and feel conflicted about starting him, don't. He heads to hitter-friendly Fenway Park (.374 BA and .976 OPS in 107 career at-bats) and then back home to Rangers Ballpark (.406 BA and 1.176 OPS in 217 career at-bats) to face the Tigers. While he has struggled against Josh Beckett (8-for-33), he has been solid against Clay Buchholz (4-for-9) and dominant against Tim Wakefield (9-for-21, five HRs and a 1.790 OPS).
Alberto Callaspo, 2B/3B: Since being moved to the sixth spot, he's gone 5-for-14. In 35 career at-bats against TOR he has a .314 BA, and in 120 at-bats against MIN he's batted .333. You also have to love his dual eligibility.
Alexei Ramirez, SS: Horrid start (.138 BA, .310 OPS). However, he should turn it around at home against TB (.298 BA, .860 OPS) and SEA (.356 BA, .943 OPS). In addition, 22 of his 36 career HRs have come at home.
Jose Guillen, OF/DH: Ride him while he is hot (.350 BA, 1.195 OPS and five HRs). Career vs. Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn he's 8-for-17 with six RBIs.
Carlos Quentin, OF: Low 2010 BA (.225), but he is getting on base (.367 OBP). Hosts SEA and TB and is solid at home with a .944 OPS. He's also hit 34 of his 73 career HRs at home.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF: Solid against BAL (.489 BA, 1.333 OPS in 45 at-bats). He is equally solid against BAL pitchers he will be facing (10-for-24, 5 RBIs).
Look away ... far away
Mark Teahen, 3B: Teahen has been improving as the season has progresses, albeit a little slowly. However, owners who were expecting further improvement can throw that idea out the window. In 166 at-bats against the Rays, he has a .259 BA and a .649 OPS. He will be facing David Price (0-for-3 with three Ks) and James Shields (4-for-18 with four Ks). In 133 career at-bats against the Mariners, he has a .218 BA and a .573 OPS and is horrible against Ryan Rowland-Smith (0-for-11 with four Ks).
Nick Swisher, OF: The time has come for Swisher to hit a bump in the road this week when he faces the A's (.200 BA, .680 OPS in 55 at-bats), and he has also struggled against Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden (combined 0-for-7). He will then head to Angels Stadium, where he is batting .172 with a .530 OPS in 122 career at-bats. He is even worse against Angels pitching; Ervin Santana (4-for-28 with 14 Ks), Joel Pineiro (7-for-23 with five Ks) and Scott Kazmir (5-for-30 with six Ks).
Brett Gardner, OF: Unlike Swisher, Gardner has not fared well this season (.217 BA, .550 OPS). Gardner's life will not get any easier this week when he faces the A's (4-for-24 with a .522 OPS) and the Angels (5-for-24 with a .477 OPS). While Gardner has little or no history against Oakland's pitching staff, he is horrible against the Angels pitchers he will be facing (1-for-14). If you think you will be able to get a few SBs out of him, think again, as he has no SBs against the pitchers he will face this week.
Jhonny Peralta, 3B: His slow start will not improve against the Twins' probables (17-for-74 and 20 Ks), or at Oakland Coliseum (12-for-69 with a .482 OPS).
Mike Cameron, OF: He may be headed for a DL stint with kidney stones. If he hits the DL during the week, you don't want to be left in the cold.
Chris Davis, 1B: Career at Fenway Park; 0-for-20 with 12 Ks. Career against DET; .225 BA, .645 OPS.
Casey Kotchman, 1B: Career against BAL; .202 BA, .579 OPS. Career against Chicago; .205, .593 OPS.
Delmon Young, OF: Solid season thus far, but horrible against KC pitching (9-for-49). Not to mention that he has a.173 BA and .541 OPS at Kauffman Stadium. Career against CLE; .247, .588 OPS.
The closer carousel has begun, whether it is due to injuries or just plain poor performance, fantasy owners are heading to the waiver wire to grab someone ... anyone that may net them some saves. To help alleviate some heartache if that time comes, I am going to list the current AL closers and who would be next in line if they faltered or were injured.
*All stats are current as of 4/16