Around the Majors: April 12: Looking At Francisco Liriano’s Struggles, Drew Smyly’s Debut & More

Ian Kennedy continued to look strong (1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 9, over 6.0 IP) as he improved to 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA.  Zack Greinke imploded, giving up 8 ER over 3.2 IP, but he stayed strong and struck out 5 batters in the process.  Fantasy owners know how to value those players, however.  Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from yesterday’s games and how they should affect our plans:

  1. Brad Lidge – Washington Nationals – Relief Pitcher – It was his turn to get a save opportunity, and he completely dropped the ball.  In 1.0 innings he allowed 2 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 0, to blow the save.  You obviously can’t say that he is immediately going to be removed from save opportunities, but this performance Henry Rodriguez’ potential value that much higher.  With Rodriguez’ fastball averaging 97.7 mph, as long as he can maintain his control he is going to be a monster.  While I would cut bait on Lidge quite yet, Rodriguez does have a higher upside.
  2. Drew Smyly – Detroit Tigers – Starting Pitcher – In his first start of the season Smyly allowed 1 ER on 4 H and 3 BB, striking out 4, over 4.0 IP against the Tampa Bay Rays.  Obviously, it was disappointing that he lasted just 4 innings, but he needed 90 pitches to do so (49 strikes).  Control was not a problem in 2011 in the minors, as he had 36 walks over 126.0 innings.  It is easy to chalk about the walks and high pitch count to nerves in his Major League debut.  In fact, it took him 28 pitches to get out of the first inning, including a pair of walks.  It was a tougher matchup, so the overall line is impressive.  His next start comes against the Royals and, depending on your format, he could be an option worth rolling the dice on.
  3. Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins – Starting Pitcher – Can anyone remember the good vibes he was giving during the spring anymore?  Liriano was poor again, allowing 6 R (5 ER) on 7 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP.  While the Twins came back and ultimately beat the Angels 10-9, Liriano has now allowed 10 ER over 9.0 innings of work.  Would I give up on him?  No, not yet, but he really should be planted firmly on your bench until he proves otherwise.
  4. Michael Young – Texas Rangers – Designated Hitter – With Elvis Andrus out of the lineup with a day off, Young moved up to the second hole of the lineup.  The spot seemed to gel with him, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 1 R.  After a slow start to the season, he’s now 5-8 over his last two games and is hitting .321 on the year.  There is never a question about whether he can hit or not, with a .304 career average, the question is if he is going to hit 10 HR or 20+ HR.  Regardless, he’s worth owning in all formats.
  5. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins – Outfielder – The majority of the Marlins offense has been struggling in the early going (outside of maybe Emilio Bonifacio).  Hanley Ramirez (0-2), Logan Morrison (1-4), Gaby Sanchez (0-4) and Jose Reyes (0-4) are all hitting .233 or less.  Stanton, who went 0-4 yesterday, is just marginally better with a .240 average.  The bigger issue is that he has not yet hit a home run.  However, with just 5 K over 25 AB there really is nothing to be concerned about.  It is just a matter of time before he rights the ship, so just stay patient and keep him active.  As long as he is healthy, he is a must use option.
  6. Casey McGehee – Pittsburgh Pirates – Third Baseman – We all know that he’s not as good of a player as he was in 2010 (.285, 23 HR, 104 RBI), but he also isn’t as bad as he was in 2011 (.223, 13 HR, 67 RBI).  That’s why it’s nice to see him get off to a good start with his new team in 2012.  After going 2-4 last night he is hitting .385 with 0 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R in 13 AB.  He’s not currently getting regular playing time, sharing time with Garrett Jones at first base.  However, how long will it be until Pedro Alvarez loses his job?  He went 0-4 with 3 K yesterday, leaving him at .077 with 7 K in 13 AB.  Would it really be a surprise to see McGehee slide into the third base spot full-time before long?  If you are in need of a third baseman, he’s definitely worth stashing.
  7. Angel Pagan – San Francisco Giants – Outfielder – Pagan went 1-5 with 1 RBI and 1 R yesterday, raising his average to .130 with 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R and 0 SB in 23 AB.   It is obviously a tiny sample size, and we all know he’s not going to maintain a .136 BABIP, but we also know the numerous options the team has in the outfield and first base.  Don’t consider it a lock that the Giants give him time to work out his issues, so be prepared with a viable alternative just in case.
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