After the rookie greatness of 2010, this year's first-year National League class is Freeman and Belt and pray for gelt.
The 2010 season was an incredible one for National League rookies. Tyler Colvin hit .254/.316/.500 with 43 extra-base hits (20 of them homers) and still finished outside the top 10 in VORP for NL rookies. Logan Morrison (.283/.390/.447) and Jose Tabata (.299/.346/.400 with 19 steals) also missed making the top 10, as the NL produced a ridiculous amount of positional talent in one year. Jason Heyward, Buster Posey, Starlin Castro, Mike Stanton, and Pedro Alvarez lead this group, and all five of them are already capable of making an impact in both real and fantasy baseball.
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Two AL shortstops go down with oblique injuries, Kevin Slowey is hurt yet again, and the Angels can't stop the bleeding.
We somehow got through the weekend without any other hitters requiring an appendectomy. However, the other type of injury that has hit the headlines again and again in the early going—having claimed Evan Longoria, Corey Hart, Brian Matusz, Brian Wilson, and others already in 2011—returned in full force, so we'll start there.
A fallen Angel and new savior out west, a Blue Jay gets his wings, and a few part-time players take on full-time roles.
On Monday of this week, we introduced the column Don't Believe the Hype, a weekly look at add/drop trends in fantasy baseball. The idea is to provide a way for you to find out if you should be following the wisdom of the crowd, or if that so-called wisdom doesn't have much substance to it. The thing is, it seems like you folks want this thing to run on Fridays, so that you have the weekend to ponder moves. So, here we are: Don't Believe the Hype will now run on Fridays instead, starting right now, and Mondays will see fantasy-oriented prospect coverage instead.
Cashner gets disabled, Dunn gets an appendectomy, and Escobar becomes the first potential visitor to the 7-day DL.
We mentioned on Wednesday that the injury front had been quiet, but as we expected, things picked up (or broke down) between then and now, giving us plenty to cover. Unfortunately for Cubs and White Sox fans, much of that activity came at the expense of Chicago-based players.
Mariner rookie Michael Pineda and brand-new Rangers starter Alexi Ogando faced off Tuesday night. How do the newbies stack up?
It was a night for debuts Tuesday evening, as rookie Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners faced off against converted reliever Alexi Ogando in the first start either pitcher had made in the major leagues. Pineda was the main event—the reason that people tuned in on mlb.tv—but Ogando put on an intriguing show during his own six innings.
Adam Dunn undergoes an appendectomy, costing him a few games on the April calendar.
Corey Dawkins and I filed Wednesday's Collateral Damage column late last night, but apparently not late enough. Adam Dunn went in for an appendectomy following Tuesday night's games, and is expected to be out for around a week, at the least.
As we detailed on Monday, there are two kinds of appendectomies: one that causes damage to healthy tissue and extends the post-surgery pain and healing process, and one that allows players to come back relatively quickly, due to its minimally invasive nature. Dunn had the latter, the laparoscopic variety, hence the expectation that he will miss so little time that a disabled list stint won't even be required (ala Matt Holliday).
Guthrie develops pneumonia, Carlos Pena gets an owwie on his thumb, and Andrew Cashner exits his Tuesday start early.
Unless you enjoy seeing players get hurt (you sicko, you), you'll be happy to know that today's installment of Collateral Damage has more to do with bumps and bruises than tears and breaks. Of course, we're sure that given the slower nature of the early part of this week, the universe will cause something massive to happen to balance things out in the injury department, and then we'll have far too much to write about. That will be the fault of the guy who was upset that no one was seriously injured between Monday and Wednesday. He (or she) is a terrible person.
Mike Scioscia has had enough with Fernando Rodney, which means the closer gig is Jordan Walden's now.
Fernando Rodney is out, and Jordan Walden is in. Angels' manager Mike Scioscia made the call this afternoon, announcing that Rodney would not close games for the Halos. Walden has struck out five hitters in his 2 1/3 innings pitched this year, while Rodney has given up a pair of runs and struck out two over his 1 1/3 frames.
Granted, we're talking about extremely small samples here, but, given the rush of Scioscia to replace Rodney just four games into the season, it's safe to say he was looking for an excuse to remove him from the gig. Rodney was a questionable closer to begin with—we're talking about a pitcher who has punched out just 7.1 per nine over the past two years, and against 4.8 walks per nine. He's not exactly contributing to your strikeout rates, WHIP, or, thanks to his 4.41 mark from 2007 through 2010, your ERA, either. If anything, it's a relief to have someone like him, whose lone value came from saves, removed from your lineup.
Now that the regular season is upon us, we can debut one of our new fantasy features: each Monday during the regular season, I will examine the players that have been added the most and dropped the most in standard leagues over the past week. (I will be using CBS's transactions statistics, but you may see me reference ESPN's numbers as well.) The goal is to figure out which players you should follow the wisdom of the crowd on and chase/cut, and which players you are better off holding on to or steering clear of. Where Value Picks identifies under-owned players who can help your team, my goal is to figure out if you need to make a move in the first place.
Matt Holliday got through spring training unscathed, unlike so many others, but after just one game he developed accute appendicitis and underwent an emergency appendectomy. Appendicitis is not necessarily rare—coincidentally, Tim Stauffer, the starter Holliday faced in his first game of the season, dealt with it last year—but it has not been explained well in comparison to some other injuries and conditions. The appendix itself is a small closed-end tube located off of the large intestine. It is finger-shaped and unnecessary for normal digestive function, and it often extends out of the abdominal cavity into the pelvic cavity. The wall of the appendix does contain lymphatic tissue that helps the immune system produce antibodies to fight off infections, but this function can be replicated by other tissues in the lymphatic system following appendix removal.