MLB and Fantasy Baseball owners are back to begin another great season in 2004.
No more mock drafts, in-depth player analysis, projections, sleeper picks, injury breakdowns, number crunching, rankings, and so on in attempting to draft the very best player at third base in A-Rod or the sleeper diamond in the rough pitcher in Matt Riley.
Each week, the “Fantasy Baseball Week in Review” will profile the “Fantasy Delights” and “Fantasy Bites” for every AL and NL team.
In addition, player points and overall rankings will be calculated each month in comparison to the pre-season rankings to quantify how we’re doing.
* C Javy Lopez (Fantasy Delight): Lopez is certainly adjusting well to the American League and after a week he has jumped to the top of the catcher rankings with robust softball-type numbers.
* SP Kurt Ainsworth, BAL (Fantasy Bite): So much for this potential sleeper, Ainsworth (0-1, 37.80 ERA) pitched just 1-2/3 innings on April 7th against the Red Sox giving up seven runs, all earned, in a 10-3 loss.
Boston Red Sox
* 1B/DH David Ortiz (Fantasy Delight): Since beginning the season with just one hit in six at-bats, Ortiz has been on fire (.353-3-8 with six runs and five walks in the last five games) including a walk-off game winning blast against the Blue Jays.
* 3B Bill Mueller (Fantasy Bite): Well, after just one week, Mueller is proving to be a complete bust with a microscopic .182 batting average and no extra base hits through seven games.
New York Yankees
* OF Bubba Crosby (Fantasy Delight): No, Fantasy owners this isn’t the same Bubba who flopped in New York last season nor the same Crosby playing shortstop for the A’s. This Bubba Crosby is a former All-American at Rice, 1998 1st round pick of the Dodgers, 2003 PCL All-Star, and an early season Fantasy Delight.
* SP Mike Mussina (Fantasy Bite): Mussina, flopped in two starts against the mighty Devil Rays before bouncing back with a solid effort in Sunday’s 5-4 victory against the White Sox. For the season, he is 1-2 with a 8.22 ERA.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
* Jose Cruz, Jr. (Fantasy Delight): Through eight games this season, Cruz is fitting quite nicely for Fantasy owners who are fortunate in owning him, with a robust .414 batting average, 1.259 OPS, and two home runs.
* Aubrey Huff (Fantasy Bite): The left-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder has even seen time at third base to begin the ’04 campaign, which will most certainly increase his value, however, through eight games Huff has produced nothing (.188-1-5).
Toronto Blue Jays
* Kevin Cash (Fantasy Delight): Cash has posted a remarkable .367-1-8 with five doubles through nine games and will continue to see more time as the Jays’ everyday backstop, so ride the wave.
* Carlos Delgado (Fantasy Bite): With a pathetic .152-2-5 Fantasy line in 33 at bats and lingering knee troubles, Fantasy owners should be concerned with Delgado’s early swoon especially on the unforgiving Skydome artificial surface.
Chicago White Soz
* Miguel Olivo (Fantasy Delight): Following a woeful rookie ’03 season that saw his average dip into .230′s with very little power (6 HR in 317 AB) and speed (6 SB in 10 attempts), Olivo has so far lived up to “Deep Sleeper” tag with an impressive .400-1-7-2 Fantasy line through week one. Could he be a Jason Kendall with more power?
* White Sox Closers (Fantasy Bite): Fantasy owners should be sickened at the prospect of either Billy Koch, Damaso Marte, or rookie Shingo Takatsu closing games (or better yet, blowing two games), at least through the season’s first week. You want some peace of mind, unload them now.
* Travis Hafner (Fantasy Delight): How does hitting for the cycle coupled with a .344-4-9, three doubles, and six runs in just 32 at bats grab you? The former Rangers’ top prospect has always had terrific power, but now Hafner is proving to be a more well-rounded Fantasy option.
* David Riske (Fantasy Bite): The transition to closer has been rocky for Riske with two blown saves and a 15.75 ERA in just four appearances.
* Carlos Pena (Fantasy Delight): Pena who has scorched AL pitching to begin the season with a .333 average, two home runs, two doubles, two triples, and eight runs batted in.
* Jason Johnson (Fantasy Bite): Sure Johnson’s first name is not Randy or Walter, but come on, Jason. A whopping 6.57 ERA in your first three starts as a Tiger. Fantasy owners will take 10-12 wins and 4.00 ERA, but if his Detroit debut is any indication forecasting another Mike Maroth-type season is a better bet.
Kansas City Royals
* Carlos Beltran (Fantasy Delight): Expect him to be on this list more times than not in 2004 and be assured he will have more .333-4-11-2 weeks like he just did to open the season. Wow!
* Angel Berroa (Fantasy Bite): The reigning AL Rookie of the Year is beginning to look more like Ben Grieve everyday, following a bust-like .216-1-2 week. There is no doubt that the talented Berroa should bounce back at some point in 2004, but there is concern in Fantasy land.
* Lew Ford (Fantasy Delight): The Twins have been decimated with injuries to begin the season, and the career resurrections of veterans Henry Blanco and Jose Offerman have been a nice story this season. However, the biggest surprise may very well be the emergence of center fielder Lew Ford, who has posted sparkling .409-2-5-1 numbers since Tori Hunter’s injury. Ford can flat out hit and until Hunter returns, he is a good OF option for AL-only and deep mixed leagues.
* Johnan Santana (Fantasy Bite): Following two brilliant campaigns as a part-time reliever and starter, Santana’s first three starts have been far less spectacular to the tune a mediocre 6.45 ERA in just 15+ innings of work. Don’t worry, however, better days are awaiting for the young power lefty.
* Bartolo Colon (Fantasy Delight): How does a 2-1 record with a miniscule 1.64 ERA in 22 innings look to open the season? Expect more of the same from one of baseball’s most durable hurlers.
* Angels’ fourth and fifth Starters (Fantasy Bite): If the Angels have any shot in coming from the AL West Division, Ramon Ortiz and John Lackey will have to do better than their combined 0-3 record, 11.00+ ERA, and 32 hits in just 17+ innings through four starts.
* Jermaine Dye and Marco Scutaro (Fantasy Delight): Both players left Spring Training winning their respective OF and 2B positions by default. And after 12 games, outside of Eric Chavez, here is where your Fantasy hitting options begin and end with the A’s.
* Bobby Crosby (Fantasy Bite): The 2004 AL Rookie of the Year candidate is hitting just .205 with 14 strikeouts through 11 games, but don’t count Crosby out just yet because he did belt his first big league home run while batting .333 (4-12) in a recent three-game series at Texas. He could be on the way up.
* Freddy Garcia (Fantasy Delight): The struggling M’s have very few bright spots in Fantasy leagues, but Garcia has looked very solid in two starts. Don’t expect a repeat 2001 (18-6) season, but 13-15 wins with an ERA below four is certainly within reach for the “Chief.”
* Rafael Soriano (Fantasy Bite): With a 0-2 record, a blown save, and a 18.00 ERA in three appearances, Soriano earned an embarrassing demotion to Triple A Tacoma, which isn’t exactly what Fantasy owners were anticipating from the next Mariano Rivera.
* Rangers 1-3 Hitters (Fantasy Delight): Infielders Michael Young, Hank Blalock, and Alfonso Soriano, have combined to hit well over .300 with six home runs, 11 doubles, 27 RBI, five stolen bases, and 27 runs through 12 games. Yes, indeed, the trio is a Fantasy owner’s Delight.
* Francisco Cordero (Fantasy Bite): Cordero is without a doubt the Rangers’ closer of the future and the present, but with two shaky saves in the first week there is some concern.