Fantasy Baseball: What the Buck?!?

Not once, but twice during the offseason John Buck was included as a throw in player on a blockbuster deal. All he has done since is become the most valuable offseason pickup not named Upton over the first couple weeks of the season.  Buck has smashed five home runs and drove in 15 RBI over his first 32 at-bats for the Mets while batting a cool .375. Bucks ownership rate is on the rise and he’s sitting at 58% Thursday morning after being added in over 15,000 Yahoo leagues in the last couple of days.

Buck batted just .192/.297/.347 for the Marlins’ last season, but he is only a couple of years removed from a solid 20 homers, ,281 average campaign. The backstop’s power is legitimate and he makes for a fine pickup in the short term. With Travis D’Arnaud working down at the farm, however, we can help but think that Buck is going to lose some at-bats down the line.

Still, Buck is hitting right now and if you went cheap on catcher on draft day, why not ride the hot hand?  Bucks ownership rate has him behind Brian McCann (DL), Jesus Monetero and J.P. Arencibia currently and we’d rather own Buck in the short term over any of these other options.

Around the League

  • Homer Bailey was knocked around Wednesday, yielding seven earned runs over 5.0 innings pitched. He struck out two and walked three over 5.0 innings pitched. Bailey was really hurt by the long ball, giving up three homers on the day.
  • Getting the start at first base, Matt Adams cracked his second home run of the year while pushing his averaged up to a palatable .643 on the year. The bat is big-league ready and now its just a matter of finding some playing time. With Allen Craig, Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran representing his biggest roadblocks to playing time, it would stand to reason that he’ll see a heavy dose of at-bats at some point this season.
  • Another Matt in St. Louis, Matt Carpenter that is, also has been putting up some impressive numbers in the early going. Carpenter has been playing 2B for the Cards’ and should soon have eligibility there in all leagues. He went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBI on Wednesday to push his average up to .400 on the year. Carpenter is sitting on waivers in just under 40% of standard leagues as of Thursday morning.
  • Rays starter Matt Moore twirled 5.1 shutout innings while allowing just on hit, but he also walked five batters against just five strikeouts. Walk have been a concern and so the performance isn’t quite as encouraging as one might think.
  • Outfielder A.J. Pollock blasted a pair of home runs and a for the DBacks on his way to a 3-for-5 day. Pollock scored three runs and drove in four in the game and should continue to see playing time with Adam Eaton and Cody Ross injured. Pollock batted just .247/.315/.395 in 31 games with Arizona last year, but put up a nice .318/.369/.411 triple slash in the minors with 21 steals. We don’t expect the power to keep up but he is capable of providing decent speed for NL only owners.
  • Barry Zito shut down the Rockies (7 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB. 4 K) while Buster Posey led the way on offense with a 3-for-5 effort in a  Giants’ win.
  • Nationals’ starter Jordan Zimermann notched his second win of the young season, tossing seven strong innings. He struck out just four batters, however, a pretty underwhelming total. Still, the rest of the numbers will be useful.
  • Phillies’ outfielder Domonic Brown launched a bomb into the upper deck of Citizens Bank Park, his second of the year, as the Phillies rolled to a 7-3 win over the Mets. Brown drove in three on the day and while his batting average remains just .242, we’ve seen enough to be encouraged by the twaks that Dom has made to his swing in recent years. He’s worth a look in deeper mixed formats as a fifth outfielder with upside.
  • Lucas Duda popped a pair of dingers during a 3-for-4 effort Wednesday. Duda has 20-homer power with a full compliment of at-bats and should see plenty of work with the Mets.
  • Braves rookie catcher Evan Gattis continues to impress while filling in for veteran Brian McCann (shoulder). Gattis slugged a home run, giving him three on the season and pushed his average up to .391 for the year. It remains to be seen if Gattis will get enogh playing time to matter when McCann is fully healthy, but if you are waiting on Carlos Ruiz or Yasmani Grandal to return from suspension, Gattis represents a solid fill in.
  • Gattis’ battery-mate Mike Minor was solid once again for the Braves, tossing 5.2 strong innings. He allowed just five hits and one walk against four strikeout during the scoreless outing. Minor is still out the in 15% of standard leagues and that should probably be 100% at this point.
  • Manny Machado slugged a three-run bomb off of Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan to cap a five-run ninth for the O’s. Machado has been struggling at the dish so far this year  so the bomb is encouraging. Despite the blown save, Hanrahan’s job is safe… for now.
  • Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera snuck in for a save on Wednesday night, his second of the season. Herrera has been nothing short of fantastic while racking up 10 strikeouts in just 4.1 scoreless innings pitched this year. He is yet to allow a run and is certainly putting some pressure on closer Greg Holland, who was unavailable Wednesday after an extended (but successful) outing on Tuesday. We expect Holland to get the next shot, but if he stumbles, Herrera will be ready, willing and able. Regardless, Herrera’s K-rate can help you so if you are desperate for saves, Kelvin makes a nice add even in standard mixed leagues.
  • Brandon Moss continues to torture the Angels, drilling a home run and adding a triple, two walks and five RBI. He’s driven in nine runs over the past two games yet remains just 20% owned. Moss was fantastic in a platoon role last season and now the at-bats are his for the taking.
  • Moss’ former platoon partner, Chris Carter, who now finds himself in Houston has also had a nice couple of games lately. Carter connected for a home run on Wednesday, giving him three taters in his past two games.
  • Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley was quality in his return from a shoulder injury. He lasted 6.0 IP, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks. We’d like to see a bit more control from Billingsley, but the outing was encouraging nonetheless. Over his last seven starts of 2012, Bills went 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA and now that he’s healthy, deserves to be owned in more than 22% of leagues now that he’s healthy.

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