By Dalton Del Don
Jay Bruce just turned 25 years old and has increased his homers each season he’s been in the league. He’s only 20-for-40 on the base paths in his career, so he won’t help much in steals, but Bruce has a higher slugging percentage against southpaws than righties each of the past two seasons, which is an encouraging development. As an extreme flyball hitter, Bruce is streaky, but it’s nice to see three homers over the first four games this year, although he’s yet to take a walk. Great American Ball Park boosts home runs more for right-handed batters, but it’s a hitters’ park for lefties as well. Bruce, who showed up noticeably thinner and in better shape this year, is a legitimate threat to lead major league baseball in homers in 2012.
Mr. McFeely’s Purple Panda Scares Bejesus Out of Kids.
Yu Darvish’s MLB debut certainly got off to an inauspicious start, as he allowed four runs in his first inning. All four hits were singles, with most of them bloopers not hit hard, but you are asking for trouble when you walk three batters and uncork a wild pitch, as it took him 42 pitches to record the first three outs. Darvish undoubtedly experienced some jitters, but he battled control problems in spring as well. Still, his stuff certainly passed the eye test, especially the movement on his sinking fastball. Even if he struggles pitching deep into games while racking up strikeouts and walks, he should be able to rack up 15-plus wins with ease with that lineup and bullpen backing him (curiously, Vegas set his over/under at just 12.5 wins). It’s doubtful owners in your league panic after just one start, but because he’s such an unknown to begin with and Dice-K is somewhat fresh on the mind, might as well throw a trade offer coming off a disappointing debut. Darvish is going to be just fine.
An unbelievable story about the only known escapee from a North Korean prison camp. Truly a must-read.
Is Bud Selig really that out to lunch not to realize what he just said?
Andre Ethier hit just 11 home runs last season, has totaled two steals since 2009 and hits in a lineup that won’t make him a major asset in runs scored, but he’s still likely to make a profit for those who drafted him. Last season was definitely a disappointment, but he was batting .392/.457/.744 with 11 homers and 38 RBI over just 125 at-bats the year prior before suffering a fractured pinkie in mid-May that essentially ruined the rest of his season. While that injury looks like a legitimate excuse, there’s no denying he’s been a pretty mediocre player for the last 1.5 years. Still, he’s primed for a bounce back in 2012, and hitting directly behind Matt Kemp sure doesn’t hurt. Ethier, who’s a career .291 hitter, should approach 30 homers and 100 RBI this season.
Basketball break: Marcus Camby made a shot from fullcourt.
I fell into Yoenis Cespedes in the Razzball league, but I’m already regretting taking Jason Kubel (ugh) over him in my home league. I still like Kubel, and it’s obviously early, but Cespedes sure looks like a fun player to own, even if pitchers adjust and he leads the majors in strikeouts in 2012. It didn’t take long for Oakland to move him to cleanup, and there’s nothing wrong with a little swag. As of Monday, Cespedes was still searching for his first walk and single on the year, but his power sure appears legit, and he’s also capable of swiping 20 bags, so he’ll likely carry plenty of fantasy value even if he’s a drain on batting average, which looks like a safe bet.
In case you missed it: project glass.
In case you missed it: self-driving car.
This woman was arrested after being cited for speeding three times within an hour.
Losing Kyle Farnsworth in Yahoo F&F has had a cascade effect, as I rushed to the waiver wire to add Joel Peralta and dropped Rafael Furcal. Peralta appears to be behind Fernando Rodney currently in the saves pecking order, while Furcal looks rejuvenated. He was terrible throughout spring, and new manager Mike Matheny suggested he’d open the year batting eighth and may even be platooned. Naturally, Furcal hit leadoff during the season opener and has recorded three hits in three of the year’s first five games. No one should pay attention to 25 at-bats, but he has two steals (and attempted another on a hit-and-run), and while it’s totally anecdotal, if there’s one organization that’s consistently produced big rebound years from veterans, it’s St. Louis. Furcal will get hurt, but hitting atop an order that bats Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and David Freese directly behind him, he’ll be worth using even in shallower mixed leagues when healthy.
Man in a sombrero wearing a boxing glove is arrested after jumping on cop car and yelling his name.
Sample size is definitely an issue, but Juan Nicasio is a really intriguing arm. He posted a 58:18 K:BB ratio over 71.2 innings last season (including a 24:5 rate over 27.2 innings after the ASB). His numbers in the minors back this up (8.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 over 471.1 innings often in extreme hitting environments), and Nicasio averaged 94.1 mph with his fastball last season, which would have ranked first among all National League starters had he qualified, and early reports suggest he’s throwing with even more velocity in 2012. He’s at a disadvantage calling Coors Field home, something that will really come into play during the summer months, but Nicasio is also easy to root for coming back from one of the scariest injuries in recent memory. He’s the Rockies’ best starter and shouldn’t be unowned in any fantasy league.
I’m a big fan of the new “The Shins” album. Strongly recommended.
This guy is the worst Wheel Of Fortune player of all time.
This article was clearly not written tongue-in-cheek, but the editors had to know what was to follow, right?
It would have to be an extremely shallow league (or one with very small benches) for Trevor Bauer to be on the waiver wire right now. Most scouts believe he’s major league ready, as he played three years in college and would be an immediate upgrade over Josh Collmenter, who gave up 21 earned runs over 19.0 innings with a 6:6 K:BB ratio in spring training and was lit up during his first start in the regular season as well. Collmenter had a surprisingly strong rookie campaign last year, posting a 3.6 K:BB ratio with a 3.38 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. However, that also came with a poor 5.83 K/9 rate, so whether or not you are a believer basically comes down to if you feel pitchers can control IFFB% (his 14.9% ranked sixth-highest in MLB last year). It’s certainly a skill with batters (like BABIP. After all, Joey Votto has hit ONE infield pop out since 2009!), but I believe Collmenter got lucky last year, and as an extreme fly ball pitcher in Chase Field, he’s not long for the rotation. As for Bauer, who went 13-2 with a 1.25 ERA in 16 starts last year for UCLA, leading the country with 203 strikeouts and 10 complete games (including the last nine consecutive), I’m not too worried about his unorthodox routine and delivery. He’s my pick to win ROY.