Fantasy Week 1 Must-Adds & Notes

By Michael Jokinen                 4/10/13

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(Look at John Axford grimace along with all of his owners)

Oh, John Axford, how you spoil an otherwise awesome first week of fantasy baseball for me.  My team is off to a soaring start in spite of John Axford positively unraveling.  And someone else in my league managed to pick up John Henderson before I could.  Sighh … okay, I’m going to avoid Axford-ranting altogether hereon out.  Where is value the most fluid this time of year?  No position sees a stock shift quite like the bullpen, and the Earth has already started rapidly moving beneath our feet.  A lot happened in the first week of baseball, so let’s cruise down Overreaction Boulevard and get up to speed …

Greg Holland continues to stink for the Royals.  He managed to get out of the ninth unscathed on Tuesday, but not before he had loaded the bases with two walks and a hit.  His 18.0 BB/9 is gruesome, and it has yielded a 12.00 ERA & 3.667 WHIP.  Manager Ned Yost is sticking by Holland for now, but his job security is tenuous at best – it’s not like he had the tenure or cache to command a long leash to begin with.  Don’t sell low, it’s best to just take your lumps and stay the course.  And pick up this next guy …

Kelvin Herrera looms about as ominously as anyone can loom.  He’s next in line should Holland falter, so consider him a must-add if you have a roster spot.  I like Herrera a lot, but I think some people are going overboard with the love.  On ESPN’s Fantasy Baseball Podcast, Matthew Berry just declared Herrera an immediate top-5 closer, providing he steals the job from Holland.  He compared Herrera to Kimbrel and Chapman.  Whoa, whoa, whoa … cool it.  He’s a young and dominant flamethrower, and his pinpoint control (career 2.2 BB/9) suggest he can be a great closer, but he simply doesn’t have the gaudy strikeout rate of a Kimbrel or Chapman.  His very good-not-great (8.4 K/9) strikeout rate make me think of him more as a presumptive top-10, not top-5, closer – either way, pick him up!

– Okay, I had to mention John Axford one more time.  He’s competing with Carlos Marmol for grossest production by a closer to this point.  I think Marmol wins that competition by a nose, but regardless, you need to get both Jim Henderson and Kyuji Fujikawa.  Axford and Marmol are out, and Henderson and Fujikawa are in.  As for Fujikawa, I’m not worried about one rough outing against the Braves, and I don’t see Marmol getting a whiff of the ninth inning again.  Steamer and ZiPS are bullish on him, and his big strikeout numbers provide a good baseline.  I feel pretty darn good about Henderson too.  It looks like he’s the guy in Milwaukee, and he has a track record of success.  His 3.52 ERA from last year is decent, but his 1.95 FIP & 2.73 xFIP reveal an underrated pitcher.  Like Fujikawa, expect big strikeout numbers from Henderson.

– An MRI revealed a tear in Jason Motte’s UCL, and if he hasn’t progressed by May 1st, he’s expected to undergo Tommy John surgery.  Meanwhile, Mitchell Boggs had the meltdown of the season (1/3 IP, 6 ER) just this Monday.  Boggs may get the next save chance, but if I had to ride with one arm in the Cardinals’ pen, it’d be Trevor Rosenthal.  He’s been electric in his brief major league career, and has sky high upside.  He’s a must add too.  If it seems like I’m overdoing it with the closer recommendations, I’m not.  The closer landscape is very much a day-to-day thing, and no other position has the capacity to be upended in such a short period of time.  Saves are always a league need, so even if you don’t need them, be sure to pick them up when they’re available.  Anyone with a closer job makes a viable trade chip.  And imagine how tantalizing Kelvin Herrera is to a grumpy Greg Holland owner?  Use Herrera, or the like, to give owners their much needed closer handcuffs and get something in return that might’ve been off limits otherwise.

– I’ll leave you with one last name: Jose Fernandez.  If, by the grace of God, he’s somehow still available in your league, you NEED to get this guy.  He’s totally the flavor of the month, and has the prospect pedigree that unenlightened owners look for when they’re assessing an unproven player.  The 14th overall pick of the 2011 draft, Fernandez was tabbed as a top-10 overall prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com at the start of the 2013 season.  So far, his eye popping minor league numbers (2.02 ERA & 10.7 K/9) have backed the hype.  Because he’s still just 20 years old with only 138.1 IP under his professional belt, most assumed he’d be a non-factor for the upcoming fantasy season and stay in the minors – then out of left field the Marlins named him to the rotation.  Be ahead of the curve (like yours truly) and make sure he’s on your roster.  His major league debut against the Mets was supremely impressive (5 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 ER) and he’s got a creampuff upcoming slate of games: Phillies, @ Reds, Cubs, Mets, @ Padres … the Reds present the only real challenge there.  Mark my words, after Fernandez is on track to be an All-Star in early-June, your league mates will trade away kingdoms to acquire the talent-laden Fernandez.  He’s dripping with upside, and he’s all the more powerful of a trade chip in keeper leagues.

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Posted on April 10, 2013, in 2013, Fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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