While the season officially kicked off last night, today is the first day for the majority of the league. Here are five questions to be watching:
- How will the pitchers returning from injuries fair in their 2010 debut?
Jake Westbrook, Shaun Marcum and Ben Sheets all did not throw a single inning in 2009 but will toe the rubber today. How will these three fair in their 2010 debut, making the Opening Day starts for their respective teams? Will they prove that they are back, and therefore fantasy usable or will they struggle? Obviously, one start is not going to answer all of the questions fantasy owners have, but it certainly will go a long way.
- Will Roy Halladay begin his assault on the NL Cy Young?
Coming from the Blue Jays, it’s almost been a foregone conclusion that Halladay will be among the top two or three pitchers in the National League. He’ll get his chance to back it up, with a great match-up against the Nationals (while his primary opponent, Tim Lincecum, takes on the Astros). The debate will likely go back-and-forth all year long, but let’s see who makes the first big statement.
- Will the Athletics offense be better than expected?
Most people avoid the Athletics offense, looking at the names and that ballpark and assuming that there are few usable options. I mean, look at Matt Holliday’s production from 2009 as proof, right? I may be in the minority, but I think there is a lot of opportunity for fantasy owners to get tremendous value here. I’ve already spoken about Kurt Suzuki (click here to view) and Kevin Kouzmanoff (click here, though this article was written prior to the trade, it still fits). You also have Rajai Davis as well as potentially Jake Fox, Chris Carter and Michael Taylor joining the mix. I’m not suggesting that they will be among the leaders in runs scored, but there is going to be must use options in all formats by year’s end. They’ll face a huge test right off the bat, with their date with Felix Hernandez to kick things off.
- Who will take the bigger step in 2010, Ubaldo Jimenez or Yovani Gallardo?
When doing rankings, these are two pitchers were neck-and-neck heading into 2010 (in or final preseason rankings, Gallardo was #11 and Jimenez #12, but you can view the entire rankings by clicking here). Who will ultimately have the edge at year’s end? Well, the two will go head-to-head on Opening Day so we’ll get an early look at who has the advantage.
- Will Jason Heyward make the impact everyone expects?
There’s no doubt that he had a tremendous spring (.305, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 11 R, 4 SB) and is deserving of all the hype surrounding him. Will he suffer growing pains and struggle at all, however? Let’s see just how he handles the pressures of Opening Day.
These are just a few of the many questions surrounding the first full day of the regular season. What are your thoughts on these questions? What other questions are you looking to see answered?
Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.