Throughout the season there are many big-name prospects that will make their way into the fantasy spotlight, with some succeeding and some failing to live up to the expectations. The Athletics were the first to make a big move by calling up top prospectÂ Jarrod ParkerÂ to take an open spot in their starting rotation.
After being shipped from the Diamondbacks to the Athletics as the major piece in theÂ Trevor CahillÂ trade, Jarrod Parker will be getting his first shot in the start for the Athletics on Wednesday afternoon, but this is not his first call-up to the big leagues. Last season Parker was called up for a cup of coffee with the Diamondbacks in September and ended up making one start in their rotation.
In his one start for the Diamondbacks in 2011 he lasted six innings giving up four hits, one walk while striking out one batter but did not factor into the decision. However, this spring Parker failed to have command of all of his pitches, which eventually cost him a spot in the Athletics Opening Day rotation.
So far in 2012 parker has pitched 20.2 innings at Triple-A Sacramento posting a solid 2.18 ERA with 21 strikeouts while allowing just six walks. With that said, it appears that he has gotten his command under control, and hopefully enough to be able to last in the Athletics rotation for the remainder of the season.
While I donâ€™t think that Parker is a must-own in shallow leagues, he is someone that needs to be targeted in deep leagues and also in keeper and dynasty leagues alike. If he can produce at the level that he has shown throughout all the minor league levels, then expect nothing but good things from Parker especially pitching in the spacious confines of the Oakland Coliseum.
Below are some other starting pitchers that have started off the season on a high note and should be getting look throughout fantasy leagues:
Ross DetwilerÂ (WAS)–In his first full season in the Nationals starting rotation, Detwiler has been on fire through his first three starts. He has posted a 0.56 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 16 innings and has a 2-0 record to show for it. The Nationals are playing really good baseball right now, so no is the time to get on Detwiler before it is too late.
Chris CapuanoÂ (LAD)–Through his first four starts of the 2012 season, Capuano has posted a 2-0 record with 20 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. He did put up a dud in his first start this season lasting less than five innings, but since then he has improved in each game lowering his earned-run average to 3.52 on the season. While Capuano is not a player you want to own in shallow leagues, he is someone to target in deep mixed and NL-Only leagues.
A.J. BurnettÂ (PIT)–Burnett made his first start over the weekend and made a great first impression for his new team. He went seven innings allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out seven batters on his way to a 1-0 record. While he has been very inconsistent the last few seasons, maybe a change of scenery was just enough to get him to revert back to his days with the Marlins and Blue Jays. As long as he stays healthy, expect good things from Burnett for the foreseeable future.
Kyle DrabekÂ (TOR)–Drabek is coming off of a season to forget in 2011, in which he finished with a 4-5 record with a 6.06 ERA in 18 starts and an eventual demotion to Triple-A before the end of the season. This season however is a different story and Drabek is now back in the fantasy spotlight. Through his first three starts of 2012, Drabek has posted a 2-0 record with a 1.28 ERA to go along with 15 strikeouts over 18 innings of work. While he will likely not keep up at this pace, he can still be a valuable asset in deep mixed and AL-Only leagues.
Jason HammelÂ (BAL)–Like AJ Burnett, a change of scenery has appeared to make a big difference in Hammelâ€™s performance thus far in 2012. Through his first three starts, he has a 2-0 record with a 1.11 ERA to go along with 18 strikeouts in 19 innings of work. Through the years he has shown the ability to force a lot of swing-and-misses, so if he can keep this up he could be a solid source of strikeouts for the remainder of the season.
Trevor BauerÂ (ARI)–Bauer has been the talk throughout the minor leagues through the first month of the season and may soon be joining the Diamondbacks starting rotation. With the continued struggle ofJosh Collmenter, the Diamondbacks management may be forced to bring up the best pitcher prospect in all of baseball sooner than later. He has been promoted to Triple-A, which is an indicator that they are getting him ready for the majors, but there is currently no timetable for when and if he will be called up. Bauer is 4-0 with a 0.40 ERA for Double-A Mobile through his first four starts of the season and has 28 strikeouts.
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.Â Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.
When looking at Chris Capuanoâ€™s stats, anyone unfamiliar with the Mets would think heâ€™s having a pretty poor season.
However, itâ€™s been quite the opposite for the lefty. Capuano has actually pitched well for the Mets but has been the victim of some tough luck this season.
Heâ€™s made 11 starts so far with a record of 4-6 and a 4.86 ERA. Despite these numbers, Capuano has kept his team in the game in the majority of his starts, but the Mets have had trouble scoring runs when he pitches.
In two of the three starts in which Capuano gave up more than five runs, he only really had one bad inning in each of these. In fact, in his recent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Capuano hung five consecutive zeroes on the board before being plagued by infield singles and errors in the sixth.
He only gave up one run in his last start on a home run to Prince Fielder, who continues to abuse the league in his contract year. Luckily, Jose Reyes bailed him out with a clutch two-run triple to give Capuano the win.
Coming off an injury year, Capuano has been a good find for the Mets. Unlike Chris Young, heâ€™s been able to stay healthy all year and give the team a chance to win each time out.
The starting pitching overall has been good over the last few weeks. R.A. Dickey has put together a few solid starts, and Dillon Gee has been unconscious. Jon Niese has been serviceable as well, but Mike Pelfrey still needs some work.
That leaves Capuano, who quietly goes about his business each start. Once again, the stats may not be there, but he has shown he is a true competitor.
Depending on how the next two months pan out, the Mets might be able to get some value in a trade for Capuano, who is a free agent after the season. He can be a swing man or even a lefty specialistâ€”heâ€™s held lefties to a .229 BAâ€”for a contender down the stretch.
Whatever becomes of Capuano, itâ€™s nice to see gritty performances out of him. If the Mets are to make a play for the Wild Card, Capuano will need to continue these strong outings, but with one major change that he canâ€™t control: The Mets have to score him some runs.
Ivan Rodriguez's RBI single helped the Nationals win game three of their first series with the Mets on April 11.
The red-hot New York Mets make their first visit to D.C. to take on the Nationals. The Mets still sit in the basement of the NL East at 9-13, but they have won their last four games and are threatening to climb past Washington and Atlanta in the standings.
This Season vs. New York
The Nationals won two of three games against the Mets at Citi Field a couple weeks ago for their first season win of the season. A good pitching outing by Jordan Zimmermann helped Washington to a 6-2 win in game one of the series. After a rough night by the bullpen in game two led to a 8-4 Mets win, things took a 360 on Sunday as the Mets pen spoiled a great start by Chris Young, leading to a 7-3 extra inning win by Washington. Laynce Nix hit a three-run homer to break the tie in the rubber match.
A Quick Look at the 2011 New York Mets
The Mets may have won five of their last seven and swept Arizona at home over the weekend, but they were downright brutal before their latest surge. The loss three Sundays ago against Washington was the start of a seven game losing streak that included being swept in back-to-back doubleheaders by the Rockies and Braves. Offensively, the team hasnâ€™t been scoring nearly enough runs. Ike Davis and Jose Reyes are both hitting above .300 to start the year, but the lineup is also returning sub-.200 hitter Angel Pagan and Josh Thole, who has been anything but threatening in 2011 with a slugging percentage of just .259. On the mound, Chris Young is the only starter who has been solid to start the year. The Mets â€śaceâ€ť, Mike Pelfrey has a dismal 7.23 ERA and 1.94 WHIP, while Jon Niese and Chris Capuano also have ERAs above 5.00.
Scouting the Opposing Pitching
Tuesday: Chris Young â€“ The only pitcher that has truly dominated in the first month for the Mets, that Nationals were absolutely bamboozled by this righty when they faced him earlier this month. That start against Washington was the last Young made this season, as he was placed on the disabled list afterward with right bicep tendinitis. He will be returning on Tuesday, whether he will be 100 percent remains to be seen. His injury history is significant, but when Young is healthy, he can truly be dominant with a fastball that dances and breaks upward on hitters.
Wednesday: R.A. Dickey â€“ The Nationals were able to hit Dickey in a 6-2 win back onÂ April 9, they hope to do the same to the knuckleballer again this start. Dickey can really throw the knuckleball with effectiveness, which he needs to do because otherwise he canâ€™t pitch in the majors. This season, Dickey has put up typical knuckleball numbers with a 4.10 ERA and an opponentsâ€™ average of .280. One issue he has had this year is with command, heâ€™s walked 14 hitters already in 26 innings. When heâ€™s on, he can change speeds from 60-75 MPH with his knuckler and throw an 84 MPH fastball to boot.
Thursday: Chris Capuano â€“ Capuano was the only Metsâ€™ pitcher to beat the Nationals the first time around. However, his record of 2-1 is misleading. His ERA is at 5.95 through four starts and the opposition is hitting at a .206 average against him. He has struck out 17 batters in 19.2 innings, including eight Nationals back on April 10. However, his off-speed stuff has been flat at times and he doesnâ€™t have the greatest fastball in the world as it peaks around 87-88 MPH. The Nationals first outing against Capuano was more a product of them not hitting than Capuanoâ€™s pitching. He hasnâ€™t been so hot so far this season.
Three Things to Watch For This Series
Will the weak left side of the Nationalsâ€™ cost them games? â€“ Ian Desmond has been placed on paternity leave by the Nationalsâ€™ leaving Jerry Hairston Jr. and Alex Cora to man the left side of the infield at least tonight, if not the rest of the series. Could the potential incompetence of these two cost Washington a game or two this series?
Can Zimmermann get some run support? â€“ Jordan Zimmermann may be the best National starter so far this season, but a lack of run support has him sitting with a record of 1-3 this season. Zimmermannâ€™s lone win has come against New York this year, so maybe he can repeat that feat again.
Will Werth and LaRoche hit? â€“ With Ryan Zimmerman out, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche need to pick up the slack in the middle of the order. So far, they have been inconsistent at best. Washington would be well off if their two big guys in the lineup can start swinging the lumber this homestand.
Rick Ankiel slides safely into home plate during the Nationals' 6-2 win over the Mets on Friday.
The Nationals finally won a series and while it wasn’t the prettiest series and it was against a clearly struggling Mets club, it was two wins nonetheless. Game one saw Jordan Zimmermann had a solid outing on the mound and showed some zip with the bat. Ivan Rodriguez finally got a hit, and it was a big one as his two-run single in the eighth inning put the game away. Game two was home run palooza at first. Carlos Beltran had two long balls that score three runs, while Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond teamed up to hit two each for four runs. Then came the misplayed ball in left field by Jerry Hairston Jr. that led to a two-run triple by Ike Davis. The Mets took it from there. Then, the Nats won game three in 11 innings after being shut down by New York starter Chris Young through seven innings. The Nationals hit D.J. Carrasco around in the eighth, tying the game at three. They then lit up Blaine Boyer for a four run 11th inning, partially in thanks to a Jayson Nix three-run homer.
1. Jordan Zimmermann â€“ Zimmermann kept the Mets’ bats quiet on the mound Friday, holding them to two runs in 5.1 innings. Not only that, but Zimmermann also had his huge two-run single off of R.A. Dickey on Friday and had a critical sacrifice bunt in the 11th inning on Sunday that led to the Nationals’ game-winning rally. A rare solid weekend at the plate and one the mound for Zimmermann.
2. Ivan Rodriguez â€“ Rodriguez finally got his bat going this weekend, hitting a critical two-run single in the eighth inning on Friday for his first hit of the season and then knocking in the game-winning run to start the rally in the 11th inning on Sunday. To top it all off, he held his own at first base in the bottom of the 11th on Sunday.
3. Bullpen â€“ Ignoring Brian Broderick’s bad eighth inning on Saturday and the bullpen held the Mets’ scoreless this weekend, allowing just six hits and four walks in 11.1 innings this series. A huge improvement from a week ago, when the bullpen was a mess against Atlanta.
1. Jerry Hairston Jr. â€“ To be fair to Hairston, he’s a utility guy who’s job is to play a bunch of different positions, so left field isn’t exactly his primary position. However, his poor decision-making cost the Nationals’ the game on Saturday. There were other issues too, but that misplay was the turning point.
2. The Left Field Situation â€“ Mike Morse was just two-for-nine this weekend. Hairston had the painful misplay on Saturday. The left field spot has quickly become the biggest hole in Washington’s lineup and neither Morse nor Hairston is the answer.
3. Ryan Zimmerman â€“ It wasn’t so much what Zimmerman did, it was more of him being a victim of circumstance, as he strained his abdominal muscle on Saturday and missed Sunday’s game with an injury. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound series and Zimmerman could be back by Tuesday’s game against the Phillies.
Three Things to Watch For Re-Visited
1. Will hitting with runners in scoring position get any better? â€“ It was much improved this weekend. One only has to look towards the 11th inning on Sunday, where Rodriguez’s RBI single and Nix’s three-run homer won Washington the game. On Friday, the Nats left just three runners in scoring position. It could be better, but it thankfully didn’t get worse.
2. Can Ramos continue his hot start? â€“With all the talk about Pudge’s good series, Ramos got pushed to the background;. But on Saturday, he did hit two-for-three with a single, double, walk and run scored. Is average remains above .400 as well, extending his solid start.
3. Can Washington hit against two pitchers coming off of injury? â€“ Against Capuano, the Nationals did have a good outing with two home runs and seven hits, though Capuano did strike out eight. It was a different story against Chris Young, who dominated the Nationals lineup in seven innings, holding them to one run, one hit, and two walks. It was the Mets’ bullpen who blew up on Sunday, leading the Nats to a win.
On Deck This Week
Washington will be homeward bound, tomorrow, heading back to Nationals Park for a big three game set against the Philadelphia Phillies. Jayson Werth will be making his first appearance against the Phillies since leaving them for free agency in the offseason. Check back here tomorrow for a story on Werth’s legacy in Philadelphia and then come back here Tuesday for a preview of Nationals-Phillies.
The Mets open up their home schedule this weekend against the struggling Nationals.
Washington is in need of a series victory as they head to Queens this weekend to take on the Mets. New York is hosting the Nationals in their home opener after suffering through a rough series in Philadelphia.
Last Season vs. New York
The two teams split their season series 9-9 in 2010, which can be expected given how dysfunctional the Mets were throughout the year. The Mets won two of six series last year against Washington, with both of them coming late in the series with both teams out of contention. So, in one way, Washington won two early season series and split two others when both teams were still playing meaningful games. So I guess the Nationals 2010 versus New York could be called a success in that way.
A Quick Look at the 2011 New York Mets
The Mets enter the season with a record of 3-3 under new manager Terry Collins. Not a whole lot is expected from New York this season, especially with the ownership’s problems in the Madoff scheme. Still, New York has some solid personnel on their side. With an infield anchored by Ike Davis and David Wright on the corners and Jose Reyes at shortstop, the Mets lineup has the potential to be dangerous. The pitching staff leaves some to be desired, when you have Mike Pelfrey as your ace, you’re playing with fire. This was apparent against the Phillies, as the defending NL East champs lit up New York for 21 runs the last two nights. However, the Mets did take two of three from Florida last weekend, holding them to four runs a game. The key is to not underestimate New York.
Scouting the Opposing Pitching
Friday: R.A. Dickey â€“ Dickey is a knuckleballer, he throws the knuckleball nearly exclusively, with some fastballs mixed in between. The thing that really sets him apart from a guy like Tim Wakefield is his ability to change the speed of his knuckleball. His knuckler ranges from as low as the high-50′s to as much as the mid-70′s. That is a huge jump in speed and can really mess with a hitter’s timing. However, on the occasion that Dickey’s knuckler isn’t working well, it becomes a pitch that hitters can tee up on. That being said, Dickey held Florida to one run in six innings and kept any damage minimal. He had a career-year with his knuckleball last year, so it’s far from easy to get a hold of his pitch.
Saturday: Chris Capuano â€“ Capuano will be making his first start in a Mets’ uniform on Saturday after coming over from Milwaukee. Capuano’s biggest issue lately has been his health. We haven’t seen much of him since Tommy John surgery in 2008. He doesn’t have great stuff, his fastball sits in the high-80′s and he throws an average change-up and average slider. He’s nothing more than a #4 or #5 guy who relies on precise command to get hitters out on the mound. He had issues in a relief appearance last week, so the Mets are hoping that the flyer they took on this guy pays off. There are plenty of question marks surrounding him heading into Saturday.
Sunday: Chris Young â€“ Like Capuano, Young was picked up by the Mets as a flyer in the offseason and has struggled with injuries recently. The biggest question mark is Young’s fastball. He stands at six foot 10 inches, so he has a large, downhill effect on the pitch. However, he has struggled with velocity since recovering from surgery. If its working, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be as dominating as he was during his All-Star season with San Diego in 2007. Young also has a big, sharp-breaking curveball that complements his fastball well at times. Whether Young will be like his old self or will be just an average starter is a question that will be answered as the season wears on.
Three Things to Watch For This Series
1. Will hitting with runners in scoring position get any better? – Quite frankly, when you’re hitting .140 with RISP, you can’t exactly get any worse. But stranding runners within 180 feet of home plate has cost the Nationals one game in each of their first two series this season. They need to rectify this if they want to climb out of the NL East basement.
2. Can Ramos continue his hot start? – Wilson Ramos is slated to start Saturday if Jim Riggleman continues alternating catchers like he did the first week of the season. However, it may change soon if Ramos continues to lead the team in hitting and Ivan Rodriguez can’t climb out of his hole. Right now, Ramos is hitting .357, Pudge has yet to get a single hit yet. Early season swoon or a sign of things to come?
3. Can Washington hit against two pitchers coming off of injury? – Capuano and Young have a lot of unknowns surrounding them and may prove to be very hittable. This is the first series that the Nationals won’t have to face a top tier pitcher. If there was ever an opportunity to get back on track, this weekend is the time to do it.