CPR’s wrap up of the day’s most useful fantasy news from the diamonds of the Majors.
Hitting Heads Up
- After struggling a little earlier this year, the Rockies’ Dexter Fowler has broken out of late. The speedy center fielder hit his first homerun of the year and compiled his fourth multi-hit game in the last five times out with a 3-for-6 performance against Arizona Wednesday. Fowler is only owned in 9% of Yahoo! leagues and has terrific upside. By the end of the season Fowler could have 90 runs and 30+ stolen bases. Keep him in mind if you are lacking in either category.
- Nate Schierholtz went 5-for-5 in the Giants’ loss to the Phillies Wednesday. A day after gunning down two Philadelphia runners at second, the right fielder showed he can handle a bat as well. If he keeps getting the playing time (and he certainly should after the last two days), Schierholtz could be a great sleeper pick up in 16-team and deeper leagues going forward.
- The Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia has fast become much more than just a fifth starter for the Redbirds this season. On Wednesday Garcia kept the momentum going with seven strong innings of four-hit baseball against Atlanta. The 23-year old posted his fourth quality start in as many tries this season and picked up his second win as the Cardinals beat the Braves 6-0. Garcia is still only owned in 35% of Yahoo! standard leagues today. Invest confidently in him going forward, he’s deserving of a roster spot in the majority of leagues at the moment.
- Jake Peavy had a rough first inning tonight in Arlington, but rebounded the rest of the way to keep his line from becoming any uglier. Peavy allowed five runs in the first on four hits and three walks, but settled down to throw the next 5.1 innings with just two hits, two walks and a lone run allowed. The veteran is definitely having some problems at the moment, but I wouldn’t write him off for good. The control issues remain an issue, though, as Peavy has walked 16 now in his last two starts. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Peavy ends up on the DL as there might just be something leading the usually-spot on hurler to miss his spots. Don’t cut Jake just yet, but feel free to stow him on the bench if need be.
- Dallas Braden’s run of luck and solid pitching hit a hiccup Wednesday at Tampa. Facing a stacked Rays’ lineup, Braden allowed eight hits and six runs in just four innings of work and his first loss of the season. Braden has achieved most of his early season attention through a gritty determination and some favorable matchups in the season’s first month. He’ll still be a valuable fantasy asset in your rotation this year, but his numbers won’t be as good as you’ve seen in his first three starts. Up next for the lefty is likely a date against Texas at home next Monday. With the start at home I’d be willing to run him back out on my teams there.
- Jon Lester got his first win of the season Wednesday with one-hit baseball over seven strong innings at Toronto. Lester struck out 11 in the outing… Tim Lincecum pitched a gem as well, but his usually stellar bullpen couldn’t hold it Wednesday afternoon against the Phillies. Lincecum struck out 11 in 8.1 innings and allowed just three hits and two runs. The solid pen triumvirate of Brian Wilson, Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo each allowed runs as the game went 11 innings before Philadelphia finally grabbed the victory… And James Shields improved to 3-0 on the year with a seven innings of one-run baseball against Oakland. Shields struck out 12 and only walked one in the contest.
- Neftali Feliz was given another save chance on Wednesday and he converted this one against the White Sox, but not without plenty of angst. Feliz allowed three hits in the frame, including two doubles, as the White Sox pushed across two runs in the ninth. Feliz did get Juan Pierre to ground out to end the game with the tying run on base. Don’t be surprised if Ron Washington gives Frank Francisco some more opportunities to close in the near future, if not the job outright again.
- Trevor Hoffman and Octavio Dotel both blew saves Wednesday, in the same game. I probably shouldn’t be too surprised. Hoffman gave up another homerun to Ryan Doumit (that makes two for Doumit off Hoffman in consecutive days) and Dotel couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom of the tenth after Andrew McCutchen had given the Bucs the lead on his second homerun of the day in the top half of the inning. Dotel has now given up runs in six straight appearances. Yahoo’s Andy Behrens breaks down the Hoffman situation nicely over at RotoArcade, and USA Today’s Steve Gardner hedges his bets on Evan Meek getting a look in the Pirates’ pen in the future.
- Jonathan Papelbon (7) sewed up another save with a solid inning to close out the Blue Jays… Juan Gutierrez collected his first save of the season in the Diamondbacks’ wild 12-11 extra innings win at Coors Field. Chad Qualls had the day off (Rest)… Matt Capps (10) picked up yet another save with a perfect inning against the Cubs at Wrigley. Who would have thought Capps would hit 10 saves before May? Not this fantasy owner… David Aardsma (8) pitched a perfect ninth to close out Kansas City… And Heath Bell (6) allowed a hit, but struck out two as the Padres downed Florida 6-4.
Topics: Andrew McCutchen, Brian Wilson, Chad Qualls, Dallas Braden, David Aardsma, Dexter Fowler, Evan Meek, Fantasy Baseball, Frank Francisco, Heath Bell, Jaime Garcia, Jake Peavy, James Shields, Jeremy Affeldt, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Juan Gutierrez, Juan Pierre, Matt Capps, Nate Schierholtz, Neftali Feliz, Octavio Dotel, Ryan Doumit, Sergio Romo, Tim Lincecum, Trevor Hoffman