With pitchers and catchers reporting for duty, and the first 2010 Spring Training game in just over 10 days, most owners are now in high gear as they await the official start of the 2010 fantasy baseball season. For most, draft day will begin sometime this week, which means any player news will suddenly become very helpful over the next couple of days.
Every Saturday we will be taking a look at the available player news from around the league for both the National League and the American League all the way up to the draft and beyond, to keep you up to date and informed.
And now, the first edition of The Saturday Report.
National League Players News: February 19th.
Ted Lilly – Cubs:
Lilly is still—quite successfully might I add—recovering from Arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder and is on track to make his return sometime in early May. The speculation was a bit sooner but the Cubs are willing to be as patient as possibly with the veteran ace. Also, Lilly was dealing with a sore knee that was looked at earlier this week; the MRI was negative outside of normal wear and tear reports Gordon Wittenmyer on Twitter of the Chicago Sun Times.
Daniel Murphy – Mets:
The Mets are entering this season with some upgrades, and some issues and one of the issues will be dealing with first base effectively. Mets GM Jerry Manuel has been quoted as saying that Daniel Murphy is “pretty much” the guy at first base. Right, ‘pretty much’ simply means that Fernando Tatis and possibly Mike Jacobs will all platoon at first for the Mets this year; none of the three are worth a Fantasy look.
Danny Haren – Diamondbacks:
What happens when one of your pitchers throws 223 strikeouts, while showcasing a 3.14 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP? Well, you make him the opening day starter for 2010, that’s what. The thing is, it is a very common trend in MLB for a pitcher who has seen a ton of work in consecutive years to eventually breakdown; Haren is in line for such an event. I am not saying it will happen, but 5 straight years of 30+ starts and 215+ innings pitched is hard to ignore when you’re looking to draft a 29 year old pitcher.
Jason Castro – Astros:
Jason Castro is one of the biggest prospects coming into the 2010 fantasy baseball year, and with good raison d'être. In 2009, Castro hit .300/.380/.446 with 10 HR and 73 RBI in Single-A and Double-A combined. While there is a “competition” between Castro, J.R.Towles, and Humberto Quintero; the likelihood of Castro winning is very high, and you would be wise to take a strong look at him, especially for those of you in deeper leagues.
Jose Contreras – Phillies:
The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting Contreras “looked strong” in his first day of camp which is a good thing if he can continue. Contreras has a unique blend of deceptive breaking pitches, with a commanding fastball which can—and should—make him a deadly reliever. As a starting pitcher, his days are pretty much done. He may be worth a late round pickup, since the Phillies are very high on him, and expect Contreras to fill in the position that Chan Ho Park left.
American League Player News: February 19th.
Rafael Soriano – Rays:
Although there is no official news on Soriano outside of him dealing with the sniffles on Friday, I thought it would be prudent to remind everyone that Soriano is a top choice at the closer spot this year. Soriano went lights out last year with the Braves, and should have no problem duplicating again that in 2010.
Soriano went 2.97 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 102/27 K/BB ratio. He’s a must grab in all formats.
Randy Winn – Yankees:
Winn has all the makings of becoming a huge Fantasy sleeper for outfielders this year, and a lot of that has to do with his horrid batting percentage of .158 against lefties in 2009. See, a lot of people get tunnel vision with hitters and only remember the worse without doing their homework. So while most guys will tell you you’re taking a big risk on a guy who did so poorly in 2009, this guy will tell you his career numbers against those lefties are actually very good: .280/.332/.426
Eric Bedard – Mariners:
Bedard’s off-season recovery seems to be going rather nicely and he is slated as returning to the rotation by late May. Bedard was going pretty strong in 2009 before his shoulder injury shut him down. Last year Bedard went 5-3 with a 2.82 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and a 90/34 K/BB ratio. For those of you who don’t know, that translates into a very impressive 9.8 K/9 rate.
Eric Aybar – Angels:
Aybar had a nice overall season in 2009 after a miserable start finishing with a .312/.353/.423 batting line 58 ribbies, 70 runs scored and 14 stolen bases; and that was at the bottom of the lineup. You should expect his numbers to be a bit better now that he will probably be the lead-off hitter for the Angels this year. He is a fine pickup in nearly every league, especially considering the lack of depth at shortstop.
Josh Hamilton – Rangers:
The 29 year old outfielder is coming off a dismal 2009 campaign in which he dealt with a myriad of injuries to his back, neck, groin and ribs, which obviously affected his overall line: .268/.315/.426, 10 HRs and 54 RBI. Hamilton will probably drop a bit in rankings and may be over looked in most drafts; if he is scoop him up. Remember this is the same guy how tore things up in 2008:
2008: .304 AVG, 32 HR, 130 RBI, 35 DBL, 98 Runs scored, and 9 stolen bases.
Be sure to check in every Saturday for player news and updates from both leagues, and be sure to get your fantasy updates on football – hockey – and basketball. Got a question about a player not listed? Post it below and we’ll get ya caught up on the latest…go ahead, don’t be afraid.