Fantasy Baseball: Can’t Harvey Wait

Mets’ hurler Matt Harvey showed us exactly what we wanted to see in his season debut. Coming off of a very strong stretch run in his rookie year, Harvey dominated the Padres lineup, punching out 10 batters against two walks, allowing just one hit and no runs. Granted, the Padres lineup isn’t exactly murderer’s row, but for a young hurler who has shown some issues with command and control in the past, the outing is something to really get excited about.

Through his first 66.1 innings pitched pitched in the majors, Harvey has stuck out 80 batters, good for a superb 10.9 K/9 rate. Harvey can hump it up into the mid-to-upper 90s and looks to have all the tools to succeed at the major league level.

Coming into the year, we were quit bullish on the 24-year-old right with the Mets’ new ace sitting as the No. 36 pitcher in our preseason rankings. The walk rate still remains a concern but questions’ over Harvey’s ability to sustain that elite strikeout ability will diminish with each successful outing. Harvey is creeping his way toward the top-30 at his position and looks like a fine bet to top 200 punch outs during his rookie season. His trade value is obviously going to rise with this type of effort to start the season, but the is likely still some profit to gain from an owner looking to sell “high” on his standout performance. In our rankings, Harvey will immediately make the jump over a Tim Lincecum, Hiroki Kuroda, and C.J. Wilson with plenty of potential to keep on rising up the rankings.

Around the League

A couple of closers have seen some early struggles with Brewers’ stopper John Axford squarely in the cross-hairs after a second straight poor performance. He did not blow a save on Wednesday, but Axford did allow three runs on five hits over just 0.2 innings in a one-run game. The team has indicated that Axford will get yet another chance to hold onto his job–as we expected after what happened last season–but Jim Henderson continues to be a name to keep an eye on. In leagues with a competitive market for replacement closers, you should go out and grab Henderson right now, but keep in mind that even if the team makes the switch soon, it may only be a temporary situation until Axford can right the ship.

Cardinals’ interim closer Mitchell Boggs blew his first save opportunity of the year in an extra innings game against the DBacks. Boggs is filling in for Jason Motte (elbow) who remains out indefinitely. Young fire-baller Trevor Rosenthal is the most talented arm in that pen and our bet to lead the team in saves if Motte misses extended time. Like Henderson, now is the time to jump on Rosenthal if you left the draft light on saves.

Wilin Rosario jumped in on the Rox early season power parade, going 3-for-5 witha home runs, 2 RBI and one run scored. Teammate Dexter Fowler also slugged a home run, his second of the season.

Orioles’ DH Chris Davis is crushing it. He went 4-for-4 on Wednesday with a pair of doubles, two runs, four RBI and his second home run of the young season. Many perspective owners feared that his .270-75-33-85-2 line from last season was a bit of a fluke, but the hot starting bopper is showing no signs of slowing down in 2013.

Mariners’ slugger Michael Morse continued his sizzling start to the season, popping his third long ball of the year in a  Seattle loss. We highlighted Morse in yesterday’s Stretch so go check out how he stacks up to some top-50 bats.

Phillies starter Roy Halladay was blasted for five runs on six hits over just 3.1 innings pitched, allowing a pair of home runs to the dominating Atlanta lineup. Well give Halladay a bit of a pass due to the competition, but the performance is unsettling to say the least after his struggles last season. Remarkably, nine of the ten outs that Halladay recorded were strikeouts so he was able to recoup some value for fantasy owners at least. If I were a Halladay owner–and I’m not)–I’d hang tight still and will be considering some buy low offers for the former stud. He’s never going to be what he once was, but the strikeouts are enough to make us think that he can still be a positive fantasy contibutor.

The White Sox put up a home run derby Wednesday with Adam Dunn, Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers going deep. Flowers has homered in back to back games and  consistently hit for solid pop in the minors. Like his free swinging teammates Dunn and Viciedo, the batting average is likely going to hurt with Flowers, but if you are looking for some power from the catcher position, give Tyler a look.

A couple of notable injuries cropped up on Wednesday with Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda exiting the game with a hand injury. At this point it does not seem like the ailment is serious and the Yanks will breath a huge sigh of relief as they could ill afford to lose another able body. In other notable injury news, Chad Billingsley and Matt Garza are both making sides towards a potential return in the near future. Billingsley will make a rehab start Thursday and if all goes well he could return as early as next week. Garza is a bit farther away, but he should begin to ramp up baseball activities in the next week with an eye on returning in late-Arpil/early-May.


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