Manager Mike Scioscia's presence was the reason we figured Scott Kazmir, 27, could enjoy a rebound season. Now that Kazmir looks like toast, we'll conveniently point to Scioscia as the force behind some of the early newsmakers and risers for us fantasy owners.
First, he jumps off the Fernando Rodney closing train for rookie Jordan Walden, then he sends Kazmir (back) and Joel Pineiro (shoulder) to the DL and now he calls up a 21-year-old top prospect Tyler Chatwood to start on Monday night. Oh, and he goes back to Rodney for a save Sunday, just to keep us on our toes.
The Angels have famously had a deep farm system, but they depleted their pitching depth to acquire Dan Haren and Alberto Callaspo in deadline deals last season. Former No. 1 picks Walden and Chatwood are getting the call to contribute now, though.
Scioscia originally moved away from Rodney to get the season-opening closer right again. He found a potential gem in Walden and might have gotten Rodney straightened out as well. Both right-handers figure to get save chances in the near future, but Walden's talent and arm suggest he could emerge as a sleeper AL Rookie of the Year candidate and a full-time closer gem for fantasy owners.
As for Chatwood, the Angels are rushing him to the majors despite a poor spring and just 6 2/3 innings above Double-A ball.
"We've called up guys from Double-A before," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Sports Xchange. "I don't think the age next to his name or where he's pitched means as much as what his makeup is. He really came on last year and pitched well for us this spring.
"We think he's ready for the challenge and will give us a chance to win every time out there as long as he's in the rotation."
Chatwood hardly was impressive in spring on the stat sheet, posting a 7.36 ERA and allowing 15 hits in 11 innings. He can be an impact pitcher in deeper formats, though, because good young arms tend to have the element of the unknown working for them the first time through the league.
Chatwood is plenty talented enough, and well-positioned, to make this stay with the Angels an extended one. Kazmir clearly has a lot of work to do and Pineiro's sore shoulder looks real problematic right now.
Walden is likely already gobbled up in your leagues, but Chatwood's debut tonight should be one to watch if you want a potential waiver-wire sleeper for your rotation.
That would be Jered Weaver. It is laughable how many fantasy fanatics look down on Weaver because of his last name and the stigma of his brother Jeff. Jered clearly isn't Jeff. Jered is off to a 3-0 start, including a 15-strikeout performance Sunday. Weaver was listed as the No. 11 starting pitcher in the preseason, but this start makes him a top-five option now behind these other four studs:
1. Roy Halladay, PHI
Jered Weaver has the control and command Jeff never mastered. Jered can paint it black and looks like he can go wire-to-wire as the AL Cy Young.
1. RP Walden, LAA
With 32 career starts, Harrison just missed the loose interpretation of the third-year starting pitcher category, but clearly he is a breakthrough candidate now. He earned his rotation spot for the offensively potent Rangers and are helping them forget they ever had Cliff Lee thus far. Harrison is a must-add in all mixed leagues, especially when you consider the elite contender he pitches for.
1. OF Ramirez, TB
Morse's hot spring has morphed into an awful start. He is justifiably being dropped in all mixed leagues. He is a fringe outfielder in those formats anyway, the kind of player who will go on a streak and then cool and be right back on the waiver wire. He is a disposable zero, not hero, right now.
1. OF Bloomquist, ARI
Bloomquist has been the rotisserie surprise of the early going. He is versatile with shortstop and outfield eligibility and a viable pick-up in rotisserie formats. His hot bat is going to cool off, though, and frustrate you if you're trying to start him in a head-to-head format.