James Sargent, a special guest contributor to the OuttaTownClowns, brings you “Sargent’s Orders: Who’s hot, Who’s Not in Fantasy Baseball.” Sargent is currently a sophomore journalism major at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. As a student there, he works on the school newspaper, the Aztec Press (with a current circulation of 5,000 copies), as the beat writer for the Pima Community College Baseball team. Without further ado, take a look at the Sargent’s Orders!
Jose Guillen: Guillen is off to his best start as a member of the Kansas City Royals, batting .377 with six home runs and 13 RBIs. He is currently on an 11-game hitting streak, which is three games off his career-high of 14 games in 2008. This is remarkable for the veteran designated hitter, especially coming off the surgery complications that almost took his life in the offseason. Definitely pick him up if he is available in your league and ride this hot streak while it lasts. I do not see Guillen keeping this up all season long, as he is a career .273 hitter and very injury prone.
Cameron Maybin: This young, electric outfielder has had a better “go-around” in his second major league season, as opposed to last year. The 23-year-old is now the leadoff hitter for the Florida Marlins and is getting on base and starting to steal bases with ease. He is definitely a guy to keep a watch on because his age could be a factor in instilling confidence for a full seasons work. Maybin will stay around a .260 to .270 average all year, but will get on base constantly and steal bags.
Jason Heyward: What a start to this 20-year-old phenom’s career. First career home run in first at bat? Check. Walk-off hit? Check. Respect around the league and from Braves’ fans? Check. That is a pretty solid start of one’s career I would have to say. A Rookie of the Year trophy could surely be on this kid’s way. Heyward has four home runs and 16 RBIs to start the season, and this has all happened out of the seven hole in the lineup. Certainly look for Heyward to slowly move up in the lineup, and, who knows, maybe he could be batting third or fourth come the end of the season. Chance are he is not available in your league, but if by some miracle he is, grab the young stud and enjoy the ride.
Mark Teixeira: Teixeira is a notoriously slow starter and tends to start picking it up about a month into the season every year. As for now, he is batting .125 with two homers and 7 RBIs. Come May, the Yankees first baseman should be well on his way to overcoming his poor April start. Fantasy owners, don’t fear, May is almost here.
Justin Upton: No one thought this is how Diamondbacks outfielder, Justin Upton, would start his 2010 campaign, coming off an All-Star year. Upton now has just one hit in his last six games and has seen his average drop to .186. Although it is way too early to count Upton out, this is still an odd start for him. Upton will bounce back, but his owners might have to live with the hot and cold streaks all season. Some have speculated that Upton’s contract may have played into his drop off, but at some point you can be sure he will get back to production in the heart of the Diamondbacks lineup.
Grady Sizemore: Sizemore is trying to bounce back from a disappointing and injury-plagued 2009 season. The Cleveland outfielder is hitting a measly .196 with no home runs and only one stolen bag. Personally, I feel that Sizemore is a very overrated fantasy player. For the past two years, I had the unfortunate mistake of drafting him and watching him fall apart on my team. If the Indians want to make any sort of jump in the AL Central standings, Sizemore is their catalyst and they need him to make a run (if that’s even possible with the pitching staff and lineup they have). Safe bets would be against the Indians making a run, and accordingly against Sizemore’s resurgence.
Roy Halladay: Many people might agree with me, and others may not. I feel that pitchers transitioning from the AL to the NL have it much easier than the other way around. This can truly be seen with the play of Roy Halladay (and of Cliff Lee last year for the Phillies). Halladay is 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA and two complete games. He never experienced a postseason with the Blue Jays and is doing everything in his power to get the Phillies back to the playoffs so he can lead them to yet another World Series. Halladay is definitely on pace for a 20-win season and will continue to mow down National League hitters on the way.
Livan Hernandez: Wow! The “old man” has started off terrific. He is leading the NL in ERA with a dazzling 0.75. He has also collected two wins for the typically poor Washington Nationals. I do not see Hernandez pitching like this for many more starts to come, but pick him up while you can and plug him into your roster for now.
David Aardsma: Aardsma has yet to allow a run in six innings and has provided the Mariners with a rock solid closing pitcher to start the season. Aardsma has six saves in six tries this year and has been looking great since the end of last season. He now has 16 consecutive saves dating back to Aug. 24, 2009 and will look to extend it in the future. Move aside Mariano Rivera, David Aardsma is coming your way.
Carlos Zambrano: Zambrano to the bullpen? No, that couldn’t be the case for the Cubs recent ace. Well, in fact, it is the case, and this is due to Ted Lilly coming back from the disabled list. Zambrano took the news from manager Lou Piniella quite well and did not make a huge scene about it as some would have thought. His ERA on the season is 7.45 and hopefully the bullpen role he will now take on will turn this struggling Cubs team around.
Jon Lester: Lester is 0-2 in three starts with a towering 8.44 ERA. I don’t believe there is anything too big to worry about with him, and he should bounce back soon enough.
D-Backs bullpen: Don’t put a single one of these pitchers on your fantasy team! Chad Qualls and Bob Howry especially. These guys are stinking up the place and have definitely been the cause for a majority of the Arizona losses. The starters are doing their job for the most part, but the pen is blowing it. They are 2-5 with a 7.21 ERA and have only converted two of their eight possible save opportunities. Opponents are also batting a robust .299 against them. If the D-Backs want a shot at the NL West or wildcard,because obviously it isn’t working so far.