The first series are now in the books, but there so much yet to come. If some of your higher ranked players are not producing out of the gates – don’t panic. You shouldn’t drop them until at least May (watch for the guys that don’t have your patience). But that doesn’t mean you have to start them if you don’t like next weeks match-ups.
However, for all those owners with a Joe Nathan in their lineup, you might want to have a look at other options. This is when the early nerd gets the return. What? Isn’t that the old cliche? Release Joe Nathan, you must, particularly if Jason Grilli, Luke Gregerson or Nathan’s teammate, Joakim Soria, are still out there lurking behind that “Add” button. We warned you not to take Nathan. Don’t make the mistake of keeping him. He will only hurt your numbers.
If you can afford to drop a player or two, I recommend grabbing one of these arms. (Or check out our Closer Scramble for more options) They probably won’t last long on the waiver wire:
Daniel Norris (SP) – (23% owned in Yahoo Leagues) becomes a very appetizing streamer in mixed leagues in Week 2, as he will face the Rays and the Braves – two weak lineups. (5 minutes later…) Sorry, just practicing what I preach. I just left to snag him. he might be 24% owned now. Anyway, last year in the Minors, the southpaw fanned 163 over 124.2 innings with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Drew Pomeranz (SP) – (33% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Comes up against the Astros in Week 2, who happen to strikeout a lot. Pomeranz had a 2.53 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP last season.
Miguel Castro (RP) – (32% owned in Yahoo Leagues) is the early favorite to be the new closer for the Blue Jays. The 20 yr.old (Yes, that’s right, he turned 20 on Christmas Eve) made the jump from ‘Single A’ last year to closer for the Blue Jays in their third game of the year. His numbers from 3 Single A teams last season: 80IP / 50H / 25R / 24ER / 78K / 2.68ERA / .178BAA / .99WHIP ) Get to the waiver wire and grab him if you need a closer.
Joakim Soria (RP) – (58% owned in Yahoo Leagues) has now become the temporary closer with Nathan on the DL. We told you to keep your eye on this situation, and included Soria in our Sleeper post. He fit into our Comeback article, as well. Congrats to all you who listened. Soria has twice reached the 40-save plateau. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Nathan announces his retirement soon.
I suspect the A.L. East teams will be making our Top 9 list all year long, but with 2 of Tampa’s best pitchers gone for most of April there’s no time like the present to enjoy a bunch of offensive potential in the division.
TOP 9 HITTING SCHEDULES:
- Blue Jays
Be sure to start all of your regulars who play for the Top 9 teams. Here’s a few extras. Most of the following should be available on the waiver wire in your league(s):
I’m really liking the Giants’ schedule in Week 2. They are at home and play 7 games against two weak pitching staffs – Col. (3 games) and Ariz. (4 games)
- Angel Pagan (OF) – (28% owned in Yahoo Leagues) He’s enjoying an early comeback from an injury-plagued 2014, and he’s hitting from the 3-spot.
- Casey McGehee (3B) – (12% owned in Yahoo Leagues) If you need that corner infield spot filled, then he’s your man this week. McGehee is a garbage hitter and should take advantage of all the trash that the Rockies and D-Backs throw to him.
2. Blue Jays
The Blue Jays host 7 games at home. 4 of these come against the weaker part of an already hurting Tampa rotation. They won’t face Archer, Cobb (late April) or Smyly (late April). Then the Jays face a tighter one-two punch (Teheran and Wood) when the Braves come to town, but this is just a bonus.
- Dalton Pompey – (38% owned in Yahoo Leagues) This is a good week to stream him. Who knows, you may end up keeping him around for a while.
Washington plays 7 games against weaker pitching staffs, as well. They face the Red Sox for 3 games at Fenway and then host the downtrodden Phillies for 4 at home:
- No one really stands out for the Nats here with two of their regulars out, but be sure to start Harper, Zimmerman, Desmond and Ramos, in all formats.
St. Louis plays their Home Opener on Monday against the dodgy Brewer rotation. Milwaukee sticks around for 4 games of punishment – the Cards should rake. Then the Reds visit over the weekend. Mike Fiers and Johnny Cueto will be the only tough matchups all week long.
- Jhonny Peralta (SS) – (76% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Has surpassed the 20 HR mark in 5 seasons, including last year. he’s your guy if you’re looking for a middle infielder in Week 2
- Randal Grichuk (OF) – (1% owned in Yahoo Leagues) For N.L. only leagues this kid had 25 HR and 71 RBI in just 108 AAA games last year, an had one last night.
5. New York Mets
The Mets have the 5th best schedule on the list. They host the back end of a weakened Phillies rotation for 3 games. And then the Marlins come to the Big Apple for 4 more.
- Michael Cuddyer (1B/OF) – (69% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Should do some damage in Week 2’s 7-game homestand.
- Travis d’Arnaud (C) – (38% owned in Yahoo Leagues) He’s our top Sleeper in the Catcher position and could start to prove his value as early as this week.
The Angels are on the road all week, but play Texas and Houston. They will probably be facing Keuchel and McHugh, but other than this it’s smooth sailing.
- Kole Calhoun (OF) – Don’t even think twice about benching this guy. He’s been unlucky with a few hard hit balls that were caught. He’ll be a regular start all year long. He hits from the most envied spot in all of baseball and he’s in his prime years already.
- C. J. Cron (1B) – (9% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Should be a decent streamer for Week 2 in deeper leagues
The Dodgers have 6 home games next week. They do face the Mariners in the first 3, but manage to miss their ace, King Felix. Then the Rockies come to town with their pedestrian pitching, which should make for a trio of high-scoring games for the Dodgers.
- Yasmani Grandal (C) – (26% owned in Yahoo Leagues) One of our Sleeper picks at the catcher position. Grandal will not be in a platoon situation for long, if at all.
The A.L. East is full of depleted and/or weak pitching staffs, and the Yankees face two of their division rivals in Week 2. They take on the Orioles for 3 in Baltimore. Then they head to Tampa for 3 games against their depleted rotation. (Cobb and Smyly are out until late April)
- Alex Rodriguez (3B) – (61% owned in Yahoo Leagues) I hate to admit it, but we have not seen the last of A-Rod. In fact, he’s already showing signs of his old self.
The A.L. East is full of depleted and/or weak pitching staffs, and the Orioles face two of their division rivals in Week 2. First they host the Yankees at Camden Yards. Then they go to Fenway for a 3-game weekend series.
- Travis Snider (OF) – (11% owned in Yahoo Leagues) Snider is 4/9 for the Birds with a .583 OBP.
- Jed Lowrie (SS) – (11% owned in Yahoo Leagues) is on an early tear with 2 HR in the last 2 games.
- Mark Canha – (1B/OF) – (2% owned in Yahoo Leagues) is also on an early tear (6 RBI in 4 games ) with a schizoid lineup that seems to either clobber opposing pitchers or get shut down completely. The big issue is that his playing time may be more limited with Josh Reddick coming off the DL today. Canha’s production should not come as a surprise as he raked to the tune of 20 HR and 82 RBI in 127 games in the PCL last year. You may just want to see how this situation develops, but sleep with one eye open.
Looking for speed:
- Micah Johnson (2B) – (29% owned in Yahoo Leagues) The ChiSox 2B had 125 SB in 302 career Minor League games.