Sunday, April 11, 2010

By Jon Hoppie - Fantasy Writer


With week one in the books, the 2010 baseball season is finally in full swing.  As far as the Angels offense is concerned, I’m sure they wish the same could be said.  Except for the occasional Godzilla sighting and a few gems here and there, the Angles lineup left a bit more to be desired by fans, scoring only 20 runs in their first 6 games.  While the pitching staff did allow 35 runs in those same games, there were some signs of brilliance from leading man Jered Weaver and setup man Kevin Jepsen.  All in all, Los Angeles had a few rough outings, but are looking forward to the coming weeks getaway.  After their first day off this season, the Angels will resume play on Tuesday, April 13th with a rematch against ALCS rival New York Yankees followed by a 3 day bout north of the border in Toronto to take on the Blue Jays.

Scott Kazmir – 15 Day DL (Left Shoulder Tightness)
Reggie Willits – 15 Day DL (Strained Right Hamstring)


LAA @ NYY – 4/13, 4/14, 4/15
Stats for Angels probable starters
Ervin Santana: 5.21 ERA with a 5-2 record against the Yankees
Scott Kazmir:  2.67 ERA with a 6-5 record against the Yankees  
Jered Weaver: 5.88 ERA with a 4-2 record against the Yankees

LAA @ TOR – 4/16, 4/17
Stats for Angels probable starters
Joe Saunders: 4.68 ERA with a 1-3 record against the Blue Jays
Ervin Santana: 5.97 ERA with a 2-3 record against the Blue Jays
Joel Piniero:  4.55 ERA with a 2-4 record against the Blue Jays

In 24 matchups against Alex Rodriguez over his career, Santana has held A-Rod to a .227 AVG and 7 strikeouts.  The key to stopping New York has always been taming their big bats, and Ervin’s track record against their biggest bat is fairly impressive.  Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher have respectively batted only .261 and .148 against the Angels right-hander over their careers.  Look for Santana to set the pace early on in this series for what the Angels look at as redemption for a heartbreaking loss last fall.  This makes Ervin Santana my MUST START OF THE WEEK.


Bobby Abreu:  Bobby is only a career .285 AVG hitter against the current Yanks staff, but he flat out owns Javier Vazquez.  With a slugging percentage of .746 versus the bombers right hander, Abreu has gone deep 9 times in addition to 4 doubles and a triple.  An OPS of 1.105 is reason enough for Vazquez to not want to pitch to him, but with bats like Matsui and Morales lurking in the wings, I see some big hits coming out of Bobby in Game 2.

Torii Hunter:  Torii is a career 12-42 against Andy Pettitte, with 2 HR’s and 11 RBI’s.  In old Yankee Stadium, Torii hit only .193 in 31 games.  Since the move of the Yanks to their new home, Hunter has an OBP of .389 in just 4 games, with a BA of .313. 

Jeff Mathis:  Mathis is a career .298 hitter against the current Bronx staff.  In 47 at bats, though he is prone to strikeout, he does have 14 hits to go along with his 14 K’s.  Scheduled to face Andy Pettitte in the first of this 3 game series, Mathis is a career 4-11 with a SLG of .545. 

Mike Napoli:  As second string catcher, you might not expect to see a ton of Napoli behind the plate this season, but you should see him in the lineup this week.  A career .380 hitter against the current Yankees staff, he’s a definite threat to Andy Pettitte. 

Erick Aybar:  Aybar is a career .297 hitter on the road, and regardless of his tendency to start the season off slow, he is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Yankee pitching.  Erick is a career .328 hitter against New York, and though he has faired much better against them at home, an OPS of .938 at Old Yankee Stadium and 1.053 at New Yankee Stadium tells me that he’s going to do whatever it takes to get himself on base as the Halos leadoff man.


Hideki Matsui – In his first week as an Angel, Hideki batted an astonishing .417 with 10 hits including 2 doubles, 2 home runs and a walk off line drive to right field on Saturday night's game against Oakland to give the Halos their second win of the season.  Last week I referred to Matsui as “overrated”, and though I know that he is a valuable asset to any fantasy lineup, those knees of his worry me, especially with him seeing some time in the outfield this season. Still, he's a solid #4 outfielder or U/DH in mixed leagues and a solid #2-#3 outfielder in your AL Only League if his knees hold up.


Brandon Wood – Wood has already proven himself at the minor league level offensively and so far has shown flashes of being a plus defender at third base at the big league level.  At the conclusion of opening week, Brandon turned in a scorecard that would force anyone to look back to basics to find the answers.  A single hit and 6 strikeouts in his first 16 at bats left Angels fans wondering at the end of week 1 if indeed they made the right choice on Wood.  Everyone knows what kind of power Brandon has shown us in the Minors.  Now, we are all just waiting to see it come to fruition in the show.  It’s never about what you’ve done in the past, especially in the minors, it’s about what you can do for me now. Bench Wood until he turns it around offensively and sees more starts. If you have a better option in mixed leagues go ahead and drop him. I recommend stashing him away for now in your AL Only League. In deep keeper leagues, keep him and don't trade him when his worth is low.


Going into week 2, the Angels have a “can’t miss” series with the Yankees that will surely be the talk of both towns involved. This sort of rubber match this early in the campaign will surely light a fire under the Halos, so look out Yankees and heaven help the Blue Jays if the Angels come out of New York firing on all cylinders!
Love to hear what you think!


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