Royals’ starter Ervin Santana was superb Sunday, tossing 8.0 innings on two-run (one earned) ball. He allowed seven hits with three walks while striking out four on the day. Santana is now 1-1 on the year in three starts (22.0 innings pitched) with a strong 2.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. The K-rate has been solid (7.8 K/9) and Big Erv has the look a rejuvenated pitcher. Of course he has allowed four home runs already after allowing a league-leading (and ridiculous) 39 bombs last year, so Santana still comes with some risk. That said, we are looking at a player who posted a 3.38 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with in 2011 and was a 17-game winner back in 2010.
Santana is currently owned in just 28% of Yahoo leagues and makes has put together an interesting case to be adding in quite a few weeks with his strong performance. Santana’s first couple of starts came against some questionable competition of Chicago and Minnesota, but Sunday’s gem against a powerful Blue Jay’s lineup has us getting excited about a bounce back year.
Santana’s next couple of turns have him pitching in Boston next week before returning home to face the Indians’ and then again at home versus the Rays. On the road at Fenway presents a bit of worry but Santana hold a decent 3.94 career ERA at Fenway witha solid 1.13 WHIP so its not all that big of a worry. After that, a pair of games in the pitcher-firendly Kauffman Stadium present a great situation for Santana and we are confident in his ability to continue this strong performance at home. Big Erv is looking like a solid streamer for his next coupe of starts with the upside to develop into a player that you may be able to run out there each and every start.
Around the League
- Closer Alert: A couple of bullpens went through some turmoil this weekend, but topping the list is Cardinals’ Manager Mike Matheny indicating that he may give Edward Mujica a shot at the closer role. We still like Trevor Rosenthal long term, but if Mujica gets a shot, he could succeed. Time to go get him. On the other side of that matchup, Burke Badenop grabbed an extra-innings save for Milwaukee, but more concerning is that presumed closer Jim Henderson pitched the eighth inning. The Brewers bullpen outlook is unclear moving into week 3. In Chicago, Kyuji Fujikawa hit the DL and then Shawn Camp went out and made a mess yesterday. James Russell likely gets the next chance, but we like Carlos Marmol as a darkhorse to recapture his former job.
- Injuries ravaged the landscape of fantasy this weekend, Jose Reyes was the biggest name to go down, but Yoenis Cespedes hit the DL as did Erik Aybar. Michael Bourn also sliced his hand on Sunday and needed stitches. Bourn is expected to miss a week or so but at least his legs will be ok! Owners who just lost Reyes or Aybar should look to Jhonny Peralta (28% owned), Jean Segura (42% owned) and Stephen Drew (11%) as replacement options.
- Jake Peavey struck out 11 over seven inning of one-run ball to halt the White Sox five-game skid. He allowed just five hits and no walks in the outing. Peavy can still put up some solid numbers for fantasy owners, but he’s not an elite option any longer.
- Paul Konerko launched his second homer of the year, he’s still solid.
- Phillies’ starter Roy Halladay collected his first win of the season and the 200th win of his career with a solid eight-inning outing Sunday. He struck out only two batters, but allowed just a single run. The punchless Marlins were without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, howver, so you must take the bounce-back performance with a grain of salt. We expect Halladay to eventually settle in as a No. 3/4 fantasy starter working with his diminished arsenal of pitches, but there will be rough patches from time to time as he learns to be effective with his “new” arsenal. If anything, Halladay’s effort on Sunday could allow some owners a chance to recoup value on the hurler in a trade, something that looked fairly difficult just last week.
- Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard went 3-for-4 on Sunday with a double and a run and looks to have brushed aside a slow start to the season. During his current five-game hitting streak, the Big Dog is 9-for-20 with four doubles and a home run. Howard’s batting average is not going to help you, but his 40-homer power with a boatload of RBIs certainly will.
- Clay Buccholz twirled a gem against the Rays, carrying a no-hit bid into the eight inning. Buchholz has been dynamite over his first three starts, allowing just one earned run over 22 innings pitched while running his record up to 3-0. The walk rate, however, is a major concern with 10 free passes in those 22 innings and we’ve seen streaks like this before from Clay only to watch him regress to mediocrity time and time again. If you’ve got him, it’s time to sell high.
- Yankees’ starter Hiroki Kuroda was dominant against the Orioles on Sunday evening, spinning a complete game shutout against the division rivals. Kuroda struggled in his previous start with a hand injury but was feeling just fine on Sunday. He allowed six hits without a walk, striking out five on the evening. Despite his advancing age, Kuroda seems to be as solid as ever. Over the past three season he’s put up a 3.26 ERA and 1.18 WHIP while striking out 3.29 batters for every walk.
- Paul Maholm beat Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals with7.2 shutout innings, he struck out seven during the dominating effort. After his last start, we told you to jump on the Atlanta starter, and if he’s still available in your league, now is certainly the last chance you’ll have to scoop him up
- The Pirates got out of the gates slowly on Sunday, but exploded for 10 runs in the seventh and eight including Starling Marte‘s first home run to beat the Reds. Marte is batting a cool .347 in the early going and perhaps now he’ll begin flexing that power stroke. Catcher Michael McKenry also went deep twice, something we saw a lot out of the backup backstop last season. And that bring us to Andrew McCutchen. Batting just .262 on the year so far, McCutchen has brought his steady brand of baseball in the opening weeks with a solid .262-9-2-10-5 5×5 line through 12 games. Most encouraging may be the stolen bases. With five already this season, he is well on his way to get back to the 30-steal plateau.
- Mike Trout slugged his first homer of the year Sunday and Josh Hamilton also went deep for the second time in as many days. If you were hoping to buy low on either player, your widow of opportunity is rapidly closing.
- Angels’ starter C.J. Wilson had a bit of shaky control with four walks in 6.0 innings pitched, but was good enough to earn a quality start and a win.
- Tigers’ center fielder Austin Jackson continued his torrid start tot the season, going 4-for-6 on Sunday with three runs and three RBI. Jackson drilled his first home run of the year while Anibal Sanchez was quality in earning his second win of the year (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K).
- In San Diego, Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa struck out seven over six scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and two walks. De La Rosa is a very intriguing talent and is on waivers in 97% of standard leagues.
- Dodgers starter Josh Beckett was solid again, striking out nine with one walk over 8.1 innings pitched. His one run allowed, however, was enough to give the DBacks a win in the 1-0 game.