Now that Week 3 is in the books, you should have a pretty good idea of where you stand with regard to your lineup and bench, but I still think that it's a bit too early to make wholesale changes to your team. With that said, it has been an interesting season already. Players who were expected to be solid are having a rough time, and some players who were drafted late are having solid seasons so far. What does this mean for you, the fantasy owner? Be patient ... your studs will start performing to their lofty expectations soon, and if those players that you drafted late continue to play well, you could be in for a rise in the standings.
Jeff Niemann vs KC: Niemann's first two starts were decent (14 innings pitched, five earned runs, seven strikeouts and four walks), but he did give up a HR in each game. However, owners should not be concerned, as he has a career 0.9 home runs per nine innings (HR/9). In two career starts against the Royals, Niemann is 2-0 with a 0.53 earned run average (ERA), 0.41 walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP), .177 batting average against (BAA) and a mind-boggling 16:1 strikeout to walk (K:BB) ratio. Tropicana Field is a pitcher-friendly park, so that should only help Niemann's stats.
Joel Pineiro @ DET: Even though Pineiro got roughed up a little by the Yankees, he's pitched solid for the most part and is 2-1 on the season. Disregarding his first start and Saturday's ugly outing, he has pitched 14.1 innings and allowed one earned run on 14 hits, zero HRs and an 11:0 K:BB ratio. While he will not get you a lot of Ks, he will keep his ratios in check. In 10 career starts against Detroit, he is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 0.46 HR/9. Over 18.2 innings pitched at Comerica Park, he is 3-0 and allowed three ERs on eight hits. It should go without saying that his solid play should carry over this week.
Carl Pavano @ DET: Pavano started off strong (2-0, 10:1 K:BB and two ERs), but was killed in a loss to the Royals (3.1 IP, 11 hits, seven ERs). However, he got another shot at the Royals on Friday. He came away with a win and allowed two ERs on four hits and five Ks over seven innings. In six starts against Detroit, he is 4-1 with a 1.05 WHIP and an excellent 26:3 K:BB. While Comerica Park plays neutral, Pavano has been solid there. He is 3-1 over four starts with a 0.96 WHIP, .238 BAA, and an 18:2 K:BB. Another key factor to Pavano's success is that he has not allowed a HR against the Tigers in his career.
Francisco Liriano @ DET; @ CLE: Two wins and zero ERs during his previous two starts. Career against DET; 3-1, 1.15 WHIP and an 11.2 K/9, Career 10.1 K/9 against CLE.
Dallas Braden @ TB: In three career starts at Tropicana Field, Braden is 2-0 with a 1.28 WHIP and a .231 BAA.
Kevin Slowey @ CLE: In seven career starts against CLE, he is 4-2 with a 1.03 WHIP and .235 BAA.
Ricky Romero vs OAK: Over 14 IP against OAK, he is 2-0 with two ERs and an 11:3 K:BB.
Javier Vazquez vs CWS: He finally got his first win of the season. In three starts against Chicago, he is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .179 BAA, and a solid 21:5 K:BB.
Keep em' in the pen
Ervin Santana vs CLE: Santana was horrible in his first two starts (10 ERs, 17 hits, and four HRs in 11.2 IP). However, he finally put together a solid game for his first win over the Blue Jays (one ER on four hits with a 6:0 K:BB). He then followed up his win with a loss to the Yankees on Friday as he gave up four ERs on four hits in six IP. Over seven starts against the Indians, he is 0-6 with a 6.03 ERA, .300 BAA, 1.85 HR/9, and 11.1 hits per nine innings (H/9).
Jake Peavy @ TEX: Peavy has gotten off to a poor start this season and he could very easily be 0-4, instead of just 0-1. Over 22.1 innings, he has allowed 19 ERs on 26 hits, and his control has been off the mark (15:15 K:BB). Even though Peavy has never faced the Rangers, one would have to assume that his stats will not get any better, especially at hitter- friendly Rangers Ballpark.
Justin Masterson vs MIN: Masterson has had a rocky start to the season at 0-2, and allowed 18 hits over 15 IP. Over 15.2 IP against the Twins, he is 0-3 and has allowed nine ERs on 18 hits with an 11:16 K:BB. Even though Progressive Field is a pitcher-friendly park, Masterson is 1-4 at home. Combine those two factors and the chances of Masterson getting his first win are slim to none.
Daisuke Matsuzaka: A determination has not been made when Dice-K will pitch, but he will take Tim Wakefield's spot in the rotation. With that said, he is not worth a start, regardless of his opponent, until he can prove he is ready to face major league hitters.
Dontrelle Willis vs MIN: Over 5.2 IP against MIN, Willis has allowed five ERs on nine hits, with a 0:4 K:BB. Over 42 IP at Comerica Park, he has a 6.21 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.
Brett Cecil vs BOS: If you had planned on plugging in Cecil ... don't. Over nine IP against Boston, he is 0-2 and has allowed 12 ERs on 17 hits.
Gil Meche vs SEA: In six starts against SEA, Meche is 2-2 with a 5.77 ERA, 1.78 WHIP and has allowed 13.1 H/9. He is not much better at home (15-20, 4.75 ERA).
Fausto Carmona vs MIN: 2-0 to start the season, but a poor 9:12 K:BB. Career against the Twins; 3-6 with a 5.11 ERA.
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 are must-starts this week.
Jered Weaver: vs CLE (4/26); @ DET (5/02)Josh Beckett: @ TOR (4/26); @ BAL (5/02)Zack Greinke: vs SEA (4/27); @ TB (5/02)Francisco Liriano: @ DET (4/27); @ CLE (5/02)Justin Verlander: vs MIN (4/27); vs LAA (5/02)
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.
Kyle Davies: vs SEA (4/26); @ TB (5/01)Matt Harrison: vs DET (4/26); @ SEA (5/01)Dana Eveland: vs BOS (4/26); vs OAK (5/01)Ben Sheets: @ TB (4/27); @ TOR (5/02)Wade Davis: vs OAK (4/27); vs KC (5/02)Mark Buehrle: @ TEX (4/27); @ NYY (5/02C.J. Wilson: vs CWS (4/27); @ SEA (5/02)Kevin Millwood: vs NYY (4/27); vs BOS (5/02)Shaun Marcum: vs BOS (4/27); vs OAK (5/02)Phil Hughes: @ BAL (4/27); vs CWS (5/02)
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, than these unfulfilling options:
Jeremy Bonderman: @ TEX (4/26); vs LAA (5/01)David Huff: @ LAA (4/26); vs MIN (5/02)
Start 'em if you got 'em
Magglio Ordonez, OF: Over his career, April has typically been his worst month of the season, but that is not the case this season. Owners that drafted him in the later rounds are being rewarded early on this season (.309 BA, .934 OPS). Ordonez will spend the week at home (U.S. Cellular Field), where he is batting .309 with a .914 OPS. Over the course of 174 games against the Twins, he is batting .327 with a .930 OPS. He fares slightly better against the Angels with a .334 BA and a .962 OPS. Ordonez is solid against the Twins pitchers he will face (33-for-77 with seven Ks). In addition, he has done well against Joel Pineiro (11-for-26) and Jered Weaver (6-for-13).
Milton Bradley, OF: Once again, I am going to stick my neck out for Bradley, even though he is carrying a .167 BA on the season. Bradley has the ability to play solid ball, and this week could very well be his time to breakout. In 121 at-bats against the Royals, Bradley is hitting .331 with a 1.012 OPS. Over 74 games at Rangers Ballpark, he has a .323 BA, 1.043 OPS and 17 HRs, which is the most HRs at any ballpark over his career. While he is dealing with a calf tightness, I do not expect it to keep him out for long.
Vladimir Guerrero, DH: Once again, Guerrero makes my must-start list as he continues to hammer the baseball this season, batting .345 with a surprising three stolen bases (SB). Guerrero will face the White Sox at hitter friendly Rangers Ballpark, where he is batting .406 with a 1.176 OPS over 217 at-bats. He then hits the road for a series against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Even though Safeco is a very pitcher-friendly park, Guerrero is batting .368 with a 1.089 OPS over 182 at-bats at the field.
J.D. Drew, OF: Over 135 at-bats against the Orioles, Drew is batting .341 with a 1.103 OPS and is solid at Camden Yards (.357 BA, 1.095 OPS). He's also been solid against the Blue Jays pitchers he will face (8-for-18 with three HRs).
Nick Swisher, OF: Over 89 at-bats at Camden Yards, Swisher is batting .315 with a 1.220 OPS and averages a HR every 6.8 at-bats. Swisher is 19-for-48 with five HRs against the Orioles pitchers he will face. He is decent against Chicago (.297 BA, .421 OBP).
Luke Scott, DH: Slow start, but he is solid against the pitchers he will face; Yankees (10-for-26) and Red Sox (13-for-28 with five HRs).
Russell Branyan, 1B: Batting 3-for-9 since coming off the DL. In 50 at-bats at Angels Stadium, he is hitting .300 with a 1.020 OPS and four HRs.
Adrian Beltre, 3B: In his last 54 at-bats against the Orioles, he is 20-for-54 and is hitting .370 with a 1.212 OPS. He is equally solid against Toronto's probable's (10-for-24, 5 RBIs).
Look away ... far away
Alex Gordon, 3B: After five games since returning from the DL, Gordon is 3-for-13 with a .795 OPS. While Gordon will get it going soon, he will continue to be a poor starting 3B option in fantasy this week. In 66 at-bats against the Mariners, he is batting .242 with a .695 OPS and 23 Ks. Over his career, he plays his worst baseball against the Rays, regardless of the location. In 65 at-bats, he is hitting .123 with a .362 OPS. Wait ... it gets worse. In 34 at-bats at Tropicana Field, he has not had a single hit, and has only reached base twice on two walks.
Jose Bautista, OF: Even though Bautista has been playing well this season, he will struggle against Boston and Oakland. In 27 at-bats against the A's, Bautista is 5-for-27 with seven Ks and a .476 OPS. His only history against Oakland's probables is against Ben Sheets; one hit in 10 at-bats. Bautista has been equally horrible against the Red Sox, as he is batting .177 with a .661 OPS and 17 Ks in 62 at-bats. His career average will not improve against the Red Sox probable's, as he is 6-for-26 with six Ks. He will play both series at home, and since Rogers Centre plays neutral, it will not be a factor this week.
Brendan Harris, SS/3B: Harris will get the start at 3B until Nick Punto returns from the DL. If you have any delusions about starting Harris this week, you may want to reconsider. He has been horrible against both Detroit and Cleveland. In 113 at-bats against the Tigers, he is batting .212 with a .580 OPS. Harris is ridiculously bad against the Indians both at home and at Progressive Field. In 56 at-bats at Progressive Field, he is batting .143 with a whopping .183 OBP. Harris will be a decent spot play, but this is not one of those weeks.
Jack Wilson, SS: Combined 5-for-28 against the Royals' and Rangers' probables. In addition, he suffered a thumb injury on Friday. While he should avoid the DL, it will affect his play at the plate.
Jason Kendall, C: Solid start to the season, but is horrible against Seattle's probables (3-for-29). In 99 at-bats against the Rays, he is batting .242 with a .636 OPS.
Travis Snider, OF: Snider is horrible against Boston's probables (3-for-14 with 11 Ks). 3-for-12 against Oakland in his career.
Casey Kotchman, 1B: Career against the Royals; .175 BA and .434 OPS over 40 at-bats. Kotchman is 0-for-12 against the Rangers probable's.
Adam Everett, SS: 0-for-14 against the Angels' probables. He is 2-for-12 with four Ks against Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker.
Three weeks of a long and arduous 162-game season are complete. While wholesale changes to your roster are not recommended, you may need to pick up a player from the waiver wire due to injuries or poor play from one of your starters. With that said, just because a player is on the wire, does not mean that he cannot produce. The players below are available in over 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues and might also be available on the wire in your league. Keep in mind, these players may not be able to keep up this pace for the duration of the season, but they will be a solid replacement player.
Andruw Jones, CWS, DH -- In 41 at-bats ... six HRs and a 1.164 OPS.Russell Branyan, CLE, 1B -- Since returning from the DL ... 3-for-9 with two RBIs. The power is there, which is evident by his 31 HRs last season.Yuniesky Betancourt, KC, SS -- 18-for-58 and two HRs. Over his previous two seasons, he only hit six HRs.Ryan Sweeney, OAK, OF -- 20-for-60 with 11 RBIs and 9 walks.Colby Lewis, TEX, SP -- 2-0, .201 BAA and 18 Ks in 17.1 IPJason Vargas, SEA, SP -- 2-1, .229 BAA and a solid 16:3 K:BB in 18.1 IP.Doug Fister, SEA, SP -- In 19.0 IP ... three ERs, .176 BAA and has not allowed a HR this season.Luke Hochevar, KC, SP -- Six ERs and one HR allowed over 18.2 IP.
*All stats are current as of 4/24