Before you get down to watching some baseball today, how about doing some spring cleaning? To help aid the process, here is a lovely spring cleaning themed song from “Rocko’s Modern Life.”
Welcome to the big leagues, Oscar Taveras
The St. Louis Cardinals are set to call up their prized outfield prospect in time to play in today’s game. Taveras was crushing Triple-A pitching this year to earn his call up and was hitting a robust .325/.373/.524 with seven home runs in 209 plate appearances. I recommend grabbing him wherever he is available. I expect him to see time in all three outfield spots, but mostly center field to begin with. How well Taveras can handle CF at the big league level will go a long way in determining how long he stays up after the club finishes this stint of games in American League parks. His ownership is already up to 76% in CBS leagues and a strong 38% in Yahoo! formats, though ESPN leagues lag behind and you should be able to grab him in almost 90% of leagues there.
Good news for Andrew Cashner
My boy Cashner shouldn’t be too far away from returning to action. Yesterday he threw a 45 pitch bullpen session and used every pitch in his arsenal. Throwing a simulated game on Monday is the next step for Cashner and should he excel there, he could be activated. His fragility will always be a question but it has become hard to argue his results. I’d like to see a few more strikeouts but his ground ball rate and tendency to not serve up home runs is a great way to limit damage. Cashner’s 7.2% HR/FB% since the start of last season is good for eighth best in baseball. Sure, his home park helps keep some would-be dingers in, but Petco Park isn’t the cavernous pitcher’s paradise it used to be. San Diego’s 98 home run park factor last season was middle-of-the-pack.
A.J. Pollock continues to rake
As the brilliant and handsome Ben Duronio noted earlier this month, Pollock has been on fire this season. The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder is now pushing a .316/.364/.552 line with six home runs and eight steals. The stolen bases don’t surprise me, but this is more power than I expected to see from him this year. Last year he set a single season high with eight home runs and it seems as though he is going to surpass that mark this season. Pollock is currently sporting a modest 11.5% HR/FB%, though that number would represent a career high if he continues this pace. All six of his dingers have come at home, but it isn’t like he’s popping wall scrapers. The shortest home run was an estimated true distance of 363 feet, a shot down the third base line. Of course his .371 BABIP is helpful with his batting average but I am beginning to have faith in his power converting to a dozen or so home runs. As noted in Ben’s article, the less-than-ideal lineup positioning of Pollock hurt him, but now he has hit leadoff in six straight games. If Pollock is still available, I’d grab him. He is available in just 25% of ESPN leagues but 35% of CBS formats and 50% of Yahoo! leagues.
Josh Willingham hits another dinger
For the second day in a row Willingham launched a home run. Though it was just a solo shot yesterday, Willingham should continue to see good RBI opportunities as he has hit fifth since coming back from the disabled list. If you’re searching for (very) cheap power in on-base percentage leagues, make a play for Willingham. His 22% ownership rate in CBS leagues is his highest rate of the three major fantasy sites.
The Daily Five
Starting pitcher: Michael Wacha — $9,500
The San Francisco Giants have a moderate 99 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this year. I’m looking for Wacha to cruise today at home in a pitcher friendly park.
Starting pitcher: Trevor Bauer — $7,900
He’ll be at home against a tough lineup as a right-handed pitcher, but I like his price today and what I’ve seen from him this season. His fastball has been sitting 94+ and he is generating plenty of swinging strikes.
Remaining budget: $19,900
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