Fantasy Baseball Player News and Notes....




3/31/08 Mike Napoli / Jeff Mathis - C - Angels

Napoli was announced as the opening day starter, which is not really a surprise. However Jeff Mathis will get plenty of at bats as well. It should be  60/40 split initially, but Mathis is the better defensive catcher and could earn the majority of the playing time if he brings his hot bat with him into the regular season. Napoli has some big holes in his swing and is the inferior defender. By the end of the year, Mathis will clearly be the better of the two.

3/31/08  Clay Buchholz-SP- Red Sox

Buchholz allowed four earned runs in three innings Sunday to end the spring with a 10.03 ERA. Not including the four runs in 3 2/3 innings he gave up in Japan last week. He is not throwing well at all right now and we may see Bartolo Colon sooner rather than later. Which would put Buchholz at the front of the line of candidates to be sent to AAA. Don't overpay based on the no-hitter.

3/31/08  Maicer Izturis/ Erick Aybar-SS-Angels

If you have been reading our cheatsheets regularly, you know we have been calling Izturis the starter since spring training started. With all the trouble the Angels have had on defense the last few years, it was not hard to figure that they would have a hard time forgetting about the brutal AFL season Aybar had defensively. It remains to be seen how much playing time each will get. But it is telling that Izturis starts on opening day.

3/31/08  Chad Cordero/Jon Rauch - RP - Nationals

Chad Cordero was held out of a save opportunity on Sunday night with what is being reported as "stiffness" which is propably arm stiffness. With Coredero's velocity down this spring, this is not really a shock. A stint on the DL is a real possiblility here. Jon Rauch promptly blew the save, although it was not entirely his fault with the tying run scoring on a passed ball.

3/31/08  David Murphy-OF- Rangers

If you are looking for a deep sleeper, take a look at David Murphy. He will start in left field for the Rangers on opening day. When or If Milton Bradley is ready to play the field, Murphy or Marlon Byrd will go back to being the 4th outfielder. Outside of one hot month last year Bryd has not done much to show he deserves and everyday job. Meanwhile Murphy hit .340 in 105 at bats with the Rangers last year and had been tearing the cover off the ball this spring. The Rangers have been shopping Byrd around the league, and he may still be traded to the Cubs. Trade or no trade, we like Murhphy's chances of being a regluar by May 1st. A fine $1 pick.

3/30/08 Ryan Shealy-1B- Royals

Who does Ross Gload have pictures of? After hitting .280 this spring, Shealy lost his roster spot whenJose Guillen's suspension was put on hold. Meanwhile the Royals love affair with Ross Gload continues. Shealy will be up later in the year, and while we are not his biggest fans, it seems he played well enough to earn a spot on the bench. This would seem to give Ross Gload a little boost in fantasy value, since that only leaves stone hands Billy Butler as the backup at first base.

3/30/08  Freddy Sanchez-2B- Pirates

After going through some drills on Saturday, Freddy Sanchez will start at second base for the Pirates on Opening Day. Sanchez figures to bat third, behind Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson. .

3/30/08 Corey Patterson - OF -  Reds

The Reds announced that Corey Patterson would start in center field to start the season. It's not clear if he will platoon or play everyday. Either way he could be a nice value pick hitting in a great ballpark and a solid lineup. He should run even more back in the NL.

3/30/08 Jeremy Hermida - OF - Marlins

Hermida will open the season on the 15 day dl and is eligible to return on April 5. It looks like he should be back right around that date. It is not a great sign for one of our sleepers, that he is dealing with injuries this early in the season.

3/30/08 SLEEPER Alexei Ramirez -OF/2B - White Sox

We have been pumping Ramirez for a while now, and as it turns out he will be the starting CF for the White Sox on opening day. He has the talent to take the job and run with it. If he plays well while Jerry Owens is out, Owens may be out of a job.

3/30/08  Jeremy Bonderman - SP -  Tigers

Former future ace Bonderman shutout the Astros for 4 innings on Friday and heads into the regular-season start with a 4.15 ERA and a 14/ K's in 21 2/3 innings. With that offense behind him, he is still worth a shot as a comback player who could win 15 games and post nearly 200K's. He battled injuries for much of last year, and a return to form could make him a nice sleeper in all formats.

3/29/08  Freddy Sanchez-2B- Pirates

Sanchez played five innings in a minor league game on Friday. It looks like he will be in the lineup on Opening Day. We will no for sure after he works out on Saturday, but it looks like he will be ok.

3/29/08  Joe Crede- 3B - White Sox

X-rays on Crede's ankle were negative. "It's still a little swollen, but it's kind of day-to-day right now. I feel good about where we're at right now with the injury, but I'm not real worried about it,'' Crede said. Pablo Ozuna will fill in at third if need be.

3/29/08 Francisco Liriano-SP- Twins

Liriano will make two minor league starts and if all goes well, he will be called up after that. We still have some concerns that he will be able to pitch effectively all year. Expect a season of ups and downs. He will be a better play next year. Nick Blackburn will fill in and makes for a nice guy to reserve and hang onto if your league allows. If any of the Twins starters bomb ( Livan Hernandez), or if Liriano gets hurt again, he will be a nice reserve to have.

3/29/08 Jose Lopez - 2B - Mariners

Lopez will hit out of the 2 hole to start the season, the spot where he has a lot of his success hitting out of in the past.. Lopez had to deal with the death of his brother at the beginning of last season and it really derailed him all year. This is going to be the year last year was supposed to be. He showed some great promise as a rookie, and is a high upside pick that will not cost much. He has the tools to be an asset in mixed leagues as well as AL only leagues.

3/29/08 Fausto Carmona - SP - Indians

Carmona allowed one run over six innings Friday in a victory over the Braves. He ends the spring 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA. He remains one of the more underrated pitchers going into this years draft. A few players including Torii Hunter said last year that Carmona had the nastiest sinker he had ever seen. When Carmona is on, he is dominating.

3/28/08 Jose Guillen -OF - Royals

As a follow up to our earlier post, Guillen and Gibbons had their suspensions pushed back 10 days, while a stronger drug testing policy is worked out. All signs point to these suspensions being dropped in the near future. Like we said, it could give Guillen 60 or so more at bats this year.

3/29/08 Doug Davis - SP - Diamondbacks

It has been announced that Davis has been diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Somehow, he will make his first two starts and then undergo treatment. He is going to miss at least 6 weeks possibly more.

3/29/08  Tim Lincecum- SP - Giants

Lincecum threw 5 dominating innings on Friday, allowing 1 hit and striking out 9. Of all the young up and coming pitchers out there, Lincecum may be the best of the lot. He has filty stuff and may be poised for a big season. This may be the last year to get him relatively cheap. Friday night's effort is a sign of great things to come this year.

3/28/08  Scott Kazmir- SP - Braves

Kazmir was place on the 15-day disabled list on March 25th, retroactive to March 21, with a strained left elbow. He has not thrown a pitch in a month, and obviously the injury is more serious than the Rays have been letting on. At this point there is no way you will see Kazmir before May, and if he has even a minor setback, it could be a lot longer. It's time to start moving him down the draft boards a little more agressively.

3/28/08  Josh Beckett-SP- Red Sox

Beckett threw four scoreless innings in a minor league game on Thursday, allowing one hit and striking out six. Beckett is hoping to make his season debut April 6 against the Blue Jays. He looks like he will be ready to roll and his value should not be effected to much by his back injury. Unfortunately the same can not be said about Scott Kazmir.

3/28/08  Joe Crede- 3B - White Sox

Crede left Thursday's game in the fifth inning after fouling a pitch off his left ankle. Had a precautionary X-ray, however the trainers don't expect anything serious. Of course that is what they said about Curtis Granderson's precautionary X-rays. Keep Josh Fields on speed dial. I mean in the BlackBerry.  Is speed-dial a thing of the past?

3/28/08 Felipe Lopez-SS- Nationals

Lopez homered and walked Thursday against the Orioles. Funny thing is, the Orioles are exactly the team that should be looking to trade for him. Lopez will not even have to move his belongings. The O's can't be serious about letting Luis Hernandez be the everyday SS. He could be the worst starting shortstop we've seen in a long time. Something should get worked out here, but the O's are notoriously hard to trade with.

3/28/08 Juan Pierre-OF-Dodgers

Juan Pierre went 0-for-5 and left three men in scoring position on Thursday night. Pierre is batting .178 in 78 at-bats this spring. It's becoming more and more possible that he could be benched in favor of Andre Ethier. At the very least, he is going to lose significant playing time.

3/28/08  Mike Hampton - SP - Braves

We have been hearing a lot of reports about how well Mike Hampton is throwing this year. He has not piched in a MLB game since 2005. He has had a nice spring and is currently the #4 starter on the Braves. If he throws as well as he is reported to be throwing, he could make some noise early on.

3/28/08 Jose Guillen -OF - Royals

Major league ballplayers and owners are working on an agreement that would toughen drug rules, and it appears that a new agreement could eliminate the suspensions of Jose Guillen and Jay Gibbons, since they never actually failed a drug test. This gives Guillen a nice little boost in value if this works out. 15 games could work out to 60 extra at bats. It also knocks Joey Gathright down a little since he in the one who is scheduled to fill in. We will keep you posted.

SLEEPER 3/27/08 Denny Bautista-RP- Tigers

Bautista has pitched his way into the 8th inning job on the Tigers this spring. With Fernando Rodney on the DL and Joel Zumaya out at least half the season, the Tigers really need someone to step up and take hold of the 8th inning job. Bautista has always had a live arm, but control has been a real problem. Either the Tigers have figured something out with him, or spring training is just to small of a sample size to gauge him on. 8th inning duties on a team with this offense could lead to quite a few relief wins, but the key is that he may be next in line behind Todd Jones, who has been absolutely dreadful in spring training. Problem is, Jim Leyland will stick with Todd Jones far longer than he should. It will take a complete and utter implosion for him to lose the closers job. Thing is, he is capable of exactly that. In 9 2/3 innings Jones has an ERA of 10.24, with 11 earned runs and 17 hits and 4 walks. At his age the end can come quickly. At the end of the draft Bautista is guy worth stashing on your roster.

3/27/08 SLEEPER Alexei Ramirez / Brian Anderson / Jerry Owens / Carlos Quentin -OF - White Sox

This is the way we see things shaking out in Chicago. Nick Swisher will probably slide over and play center while Owens is out. Owens is only expected to miss a week or two at the most. Swisher may end up batting leadoff, since he has a nice OBP and can work the count better than anyone else the ChiSox have. Ramirez will probably start in center against lefties with Swisher moving back to left. Carlos Quentin figures to start in left while Swisher is in center. Brian Anderson will get a few games in center until Owens gets back and then he will probably be sent to AAA. Ramirez has some real sleeper potential as he will proably platoon with Owens when he gets back. Ozzie Guillen has already stated that Juan Uribe is on a short leash at second base, and if he lays an egg at the start of the season, the White Sox will be looking for a reason to insert Ramirez at second base.  Ramirez is going to make for a nice $1 pick in a lot of leagues.

3/27/08 Mark Prior -SP - Padres

The Padres placed RHP Mark Prior on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21. He won't be eligible to return until late May.

3/27/08 Francisco Liriano-SP- Twins

Our daily Liriano update: He will make his last spring start Friday against the Pirates, after which the Twins will decide whether to bring him to Minnesota  or to leave him in Florida for another minor league start or two.

3/27/08 Gerald Laird - C -  Rangers

Laird will be the everyday catcher for the Rangers with Salty being sent to AAA, as we have been saying since spring training opened. Laird is coming off a terrible season last year, but is a decent hitter in a great ballpark and did steal 6 bases last year. He is better than last years numbers and could make for an excellent #2 catcher in AL only leagues.

3/27/08 Kelvim Escobar- SP -  Angels

It turns out that Escobar has a torn shoulder and may be lost for the season and possibly his career. I sounds like they will shut him down competely for a few weeks, and then see if they can avoid surgery. He may be worth a few dollars in case he comes back in August, where he may be able to help you in the stretch run.

3/26/08 Hank Blalock-3B-Rangers

Blalock went 4 for 4 with a homer and 3 runs batted in on Tuesday. He looks like the Ranges clean-up hitter and is showing no ill effects of last years injuries and the auto accident earlier this spring. He may be sitting on a big bounce back season in that ballpark.

3/26/08 Kelvim Escobar- SP -  Angels

Escobar has experienced another set back after experiencing renewed discomfort in his pitching shoulder. He has not even gotten back on the mound yet, so this is reason for concern. He will probably be shut down for another couple of weeks and is now looking at being out until June or July.

3/26/08 Claudio Vargas, Manny Parra, Carlos Villanueva- SP -  Brewers

Vargas was suprisingly released by the Brewers, opening the final two spots in the rotation for Parra and Villanueva. They will compete to stay in the rotation unitl Yovani Gallardo comes back. Villanueva is a better bet to be a decent fantasy contributor all year.  Vargas will find work rather quickly.

3/26/08 Juan Uribe- 2B -  White Sox

Uribe will start the seaon as the starting second basemen. He has been a useful fantasy player in the past. With the Injury to Jerry Owens, Alexei Ramirez will see some PT in centerfield and provide less of a threat to Uribe's at bats.

SLEEPER 3/25/08 Carlos Gomez - OF -  Twins

Gomez has won the battle for the starting CF job for the Twins, and his value goes way up. He has already stolen 10 bases this spring and could easily steal 50+ if his bat can keep him in the line up. The fact that the Twins sent down Span and Pridie means he will play almost every day.   Gomez makes for a top notch sleeper and should be claimed ASAP in any league that has already held it's draft.

SLEEPER 3/25/08 Eugenio Velez / Kevin Frandsen-2B - Giants

Frandsen is done for the season with a ruptured achilles tendon. It looks like Velez may get consiberable playing time. If he does, he would get a huge boost in value. Velez has stolen 118 bases at different levels in the last two years. He already leads the league this spring with 13 steals and is the kind of player that can help win a title. With Ray Durham being banged up, se is worth grabbing at this point, with the potential to steal well over 50 bases.

BUST 3/25/08 Francisco Liriano-SP- Twins

Well the Liriano drama continues to playout everyday. It looks as if now he may stay behind and pitch in AA for a few weeks to build up arm strength. As we are seeing with BJ Ryan, Tommy John surgery is very difficult to comeback from. If you are drafting Liriano as a keeper at a good price/postion he may be ok. If you are expecting 2006 numbers, your are not going to get it this year. Liriano has admitted to being somewhat afraid to throw his curveball, and will not use it as much. Without that pitch he is not that much different from a lot of other pitchers out there. Let someone else take the chance on him, he is not going to be worth what is being spent on him.

3/25/08 Brad Lidge- RP -  Phillies

Lidge was placed on the DL, but is eligible to come off on April 5th, this does not have much if any impact on his draft value.

3/25/08 BJ Ryan- RP -  Blue Jays

Ryan will start the seaon on the DL and figures to miss most of April at least. The Jays are saying 2 weeks, but they are known for being one of the worst teams in baseball when it comes to information about injuries. You have to question how much you will be able to count on Ryan this season. Jeremy Accardo will close for at least the month of April and possibly longer.

3/25/08 AJ Burnett- SP -  Blue Jays

All spring, a torn fingernail has been giving AJ problems throwing his curveball. Judging by his last ourting those struggles are going to continue into the regular season. A couple of more weeks and he should be fine. If he has a terrible first few starts, he may be someone you want to target in a trade.

SLEEPER 3/23/08 Jorge Cantu - 1B -  Marlins

When the Marlins lost Jose Castillo on waivers to the Giants, they essentially made Jorge Cantu the everyday thirdbasemen. While he is only elibible at 1b many leagues, after opening day he will have 3b eligibility. Cantu makes for a great sleeper. As a regular in 2005 with the Devil Rays, he hit 28 HR's with 117 RBIs with a .286 batting average, so he has the talent. He will be hitting in the heart of a talented young line-up and is the kind of player that can really make your season if he pans out. You won't have to spend a lot of money or use a high pick to get him.

3/24/08 Mike Napoli / DEEP SLEEPER Jeff Mathis - C - Angels

Mathis is quietly haveing a good spring while Napoli continues to struggle with the stick. Before Napoli's break-out season in 2006, Mathis was considered one of the better catching prospects in all of baseball. With Napoli hitting .228 in 06 and .247 last year, he hardly has a lock on the job. Mathis is the better defender of the two, and if he is a late bloomer who can live up to his minor league numbers, he could at the very least, earn a playing time split with Napoli, if not win the job outright.

3/24/08 Kerry Wood- RP -  Cubs

Wood pitched will on Sunday, in his first attempt at pitching on back to back days, and will be the Cubs closer to start the season.

3/24/08 Curtis Granderson- OF -  Tigers

Granderson suffered a non-displaced fracture of a finger on his right hand on Satureday and will miss 4-6 weeks to start the season. This may not sound like much of an injury, but finger issues wrecked Howie Kendrick's season last year. It may be June before you see Granderson close to full strength, so don't take this injury to lightly. Bradon Inge figures to fill in initially but may not have the range to play center.

3/24/08 Scott Rolen 3B -  Blue Jays

Rolen also suffered a fractured finger on Sunday and had the nail torn off. He will probably miss 3 weeks or so. Marco Scutaro figures to fill in.

BUST 3/23/08 Francisco Liriano-SP- Twins

The Twins will decide after today's outing if he will break camp as part of the Twins rotation. He has not pitched all that well this spring. While his velocity has been good, his control has not. If you consider the fact that he has not gone more than 3 innings in any of his appearences, it would appear he is not stretched out enough at this point to open the season in the rotation. We think he will start the season in AAA or in the pen and will be called up sometime in May. Of course if he goes 6 strong innings today, all that would change.

3/23/08 Brandon Lyon / Tony Pena -RP- Diamondbacks

Brandon Lyon was pounded again on Saturday, he gave up five runs in 2/3 of an inning against the Rockies. He has now allowed 12 runs and 16 hits in 6 2/3 innings, and finally got his first strikeout of the spring on Saturday. He probably is not in danger of losing the closers job before Opening Day, but the Diamondbacks have to be getting worried about him. If he comes out of the gate pitching like this, he may be the first closer to lose his job. Start moving Tony Pena up on your cheat sheets.

BUST 3/23/08 Eric Chavez - 3B - Athletics

Chavez has been shut-down by the A's.  He had hopped to play when the team got back from Japan, so this means he must have had a significant setback. At this point, you are best off forgeting about him, as someone will overpay for him based on name recognition. If he is having this much trouble with his back before the season even starts, you have to figure he is in for a long season. Jack Hannahan makes for a fine $1 or late round pick up, as he figures to being playing everyday for at least the first 6-8 weeks of the season, and possibly more, a lot more.

3/23/08 Kerry Wood - RP - Cubs

If Wood pitches will today, his first test pitching on back to back days, he will be named the Cubs closer. We will keep you posted.

SLEEPER 3/23/08 Cliff Lee- SP - Indians

Lee shut out the Mets for 5 innings while striking out 5 on Saturday. This should give him the number 5 spot in the Indians rotation over Aaron Laffey. Lee has had success at this level before and at one time was the Indians #2 starter. If he is able to put last seasons debacle behind him, he could be in for nice season.

3/22/08 Jered Weaver-S-Angels

Weaver has quietly had a fantastic spring, with a 1.33 era and 14 k's  in 20 innings. WIth all the injuries to the Angels Staff, he will be counted on to be the staff ace. He looks to be ready to get back to the fantastic form he showed as a rookie after last years disappointing season.

SLEEPER 3/22/08 Alexei Ramirez -2B - White Sox

Ramirez has already made the opening day roster, and with Danny Richar out for close to 2 months, He will get plenty of chances to play. With the White Sox putting Uribe on waivers and pulling him back, while they know about Richar's injury shows that they are seriously considering starting him at second base. He is also getting a serious look in centerfield, and will get some at bats there as well. The White Sox will find a way to get his bat into the line-up. He makes for a nice sleeper at this point.

3/22/08 Scott Kazmir - SP - RAYS

At this point, Kazmir is still unsure when he will return to the mound, and is going to miss at least 2 or 3 starts at this point. The Rays are being very vague about this injury. Saying he feels fine and then the next day saying he feels better. At this point you may not want to play full price for Kazmir, he is going to miss a few starts. He has been out of action since Feb. 25th. Missing more than a month is going to take a lot of time to come back from.

3/22/08 Freddy Sanchez-2B- Pirates
Sanchez complained about some discomfort in his surgically-repaired shoulder on Wednesday, On Friday, Sanchez said his shoulder felt even "worse than two days ago." This is something worth keeping an eye on. We will see how he is on Saturday.

3/22/08 Dontrelle Willis SP - Tigers

1 Day after being moved down to the #5 spot in the rotation, Willis gave up 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings on Friday. Willis has been terrible this year, and it seems as though something is wrong with him or all the heavy work loads have caught up with him. He could really get paddled around in the American League and the risks are not worth the reward here.



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