Behind the Plate: A Week Three Baseball Primer

Grant Correspondent IApril 19, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 19: Andy Sonnanstine #21 of the Tampa Bay Rays stands in the dugout before game seven of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

First Pitch:  Two Start Bargain of the Week

For those of you with a soft spot in their fantasy souls for a bargain pitcher who will give you twice the stats at one low price, in Week Three look no further than Andy Sonnanstine.

Depending on which site hosts your fantasy league, the back of the rotation Tampa Bay hurler is either universally unowned or rostered by roughly eight out of 10 teams.

While Sonnanstine is tenured in 83 percent of ESPN-supported clubs and 67 percent of those on CBS, the Kent State alum has been claimed by a mere eight percent of all Yahoo owners.

If everyone did their homework for the upcoming scoring period, there is no reason why Sonnanstine's residence numbers should not be at 100 percent across the board.

Luckily for the slackers, I've prepared a cheat sheet.

It is correct when naysayers note that all of the starts by Sonnanstine come on the road next week.  However, said starts are both in notoriously pitcher friendly ballparks.

The first of the two will be in Seattle, the second in Oakland.

At Safeco Field, Sonnanstine has a career 1.26 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP while limiting the Mariners' offense to a paltry .224 BA. 

For the sabermetric kids in the audience, Sonnanstine fans 7.66 batters per nine innings and has an obscene 6:1 K/BB ratio in the Emerald City.

On the other hand, his stats by the Bay are a bit south of those put up in the Puget Sound.  But these numbers are slightly skewed by one bad day in early May last year.

Sonnanstine returned to Oakland in August to dominate the A's, becoming the quickest pitcher in Rays history to win 12 games in a season.

Other "double your pleasure" advisable candidates:

Roy Halladay, Jake Peavy, Derek Lowe, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Harden, Jered Weaver, Andy Pettitte, and Armando Galarraga.

Prince of Thieves: Last Week's Best Base Stealers

4 SB: Jason Bartlett and Ian Kinsler

3 SB: Willy Taveras, Bobby Abreu, Ryan The Riot, Chone Figgins, Brent Lillibridge, and Carl Crawford

Power Rangers: Home Run Leaders in the Past Seven Days

5 HR: Carlos Pena

4 HR: Jemaine Dye and Carlos Quentin

3 HR: 11 players tied

Lineup Addenda: Week Three Pick-Ups

Asdrubal Cabrera  2B/SS  Cleveland Indians

If there is one thing all fantasy baseball owners love, it's a hot-streaking, multiple position eligible flier.  For now, Asdrubal Cabrera fits these criteria.

Batting .290, 20 points above his career average, in the young 2009 season Asdrubal has already scored seven times. 

Of course, this recent tear can be attributed to a .409 BABIP, but no one will blame you for rolling the dice until he craps out.

Daniel Murphy  OF  New York Mets

Currently ranked third in the National League with 11 runs scored, outfielder Daniel Murphy has a power and speed combination which causes my fantasy heart to flutter.

When the Mets signed Gary Sheffield, his geriatric shadow suddenly darkened the sunny outlook of the Flushing prospect.  But strong play out of the gate has allowed Murphy to cement a spot in New York's lineup.

Therefore, a 15/15 season coupled with an average around .280 are reasonable expectations from the sophomore.

Kyle Lohse  P  St. Louis Cardinals

Dave Duncan, the St. Louis pitching coach, has the uncanny ability to transform waiver wire material into fantasy worthy hurlers.  His latest pet project, Kyle Lohse, is yet another example of Duncan's genius.

Before coming to the Cardinals, Lohse could be described as mediocre at best.  But with a little help from Duncan, Lohse became an All-Star caliber pitcher in 2008, posting a career-low 3.78 ERA en route to a 15-6 record.

In his brief stint as a Redbird, Lohse is 11-3 at the new Busch Stadium with an excellent 3.04 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Next week, Lohse will be dealt the Cubbies at home, a team which he strikes out 7.25 batters per nine innings pitched.

Kosuke Fukudome  OF  Chicago Cubs

It is as equally difficult to endorse Fukudome as it is not to make a R-rated joke about his name.  However, Kosuke has been raking in the stats for the Windy City's north side squad.

So far, the highly paid Japanese import is batting .371 and has collected three home runs, nine RBI, eight runs, and one stolen base to boot.

Yet there is no player in the majors that may have a bigger buyer beware tag along with purchase.  At this time last year, Kosuke was scorching NL pitching to the tune of a .353 BA, but by season's end that number had dwindled to .257.

Seventh-Inning Stretch

Did anyone catch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on SNL last week?  Disappointing to say the least.  They are infinitely better live.  Karen-O, if you somehow read this article, I am currently single and free next weekend.

Notes from the Infirmary: Recent Disabled List Additions

Chris Carpenter  P  St. Louis Cardinals

A recent MRI revealed a torn oblique that will keep Carpenter out for the next four to eight weeks.

Pitching in only seven games in the last three seasons, a trip to the DL was inevitable.  But no soothsayer could have foreseen the injury occurring in the batter's box rather than on the mound.

Kenji Johjima  C  Seattle Mariners

Don't call it a comeback, LL Cool Johjima.  A right hamstring pull has landed the slumping backstop on the 15 day DL.

Daisuke Matsuzaka  P  Boston Red Sox

Dice-K has been diagnosed with a Dr. Nick Riviera-like "right arm fatigue" prognosis.

What exactly that is, or how long it will keep Matsuzaka out, are both unknown.

Xavier Nady  OF  New York Yankees

Rumors from the Yankee clubhouse whisper that Nady will be going under the knife for his second Tommy John procedure.

Thanks for two weeks of pinstriped memories this year, X-man.  Hopefully we see you in 2010.

Two Outs in the Ninth: Streaming Pitcher Candidates for Week Three

Randy Wolf  Los Angeles Dodgers

Coming off a nine-strikeout performance last Friday, Wolf is scheduled to toe the rubber next Thursday in Houston.  At Minute Maid Park, Wolf has a career record of 6-2 with a 2.98 ERA.

Anthony Reyes  Cleveland Indians

Reyes has never lost to Kansas City, his opponent on Wednesday.  With a lifetime 1.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and a .216 opponent's BA versus the Royals, Reyes will be as straight as the bill of his ballcap.

Jair Jurrjens  Atlanta Braves

In the 29.2 innings Jurrjens has thrown against the Nationals he has struck out 22 batters.  Furthermore, in the month of April, Jair has held opponents to an unwholesome .195 BA.

Good luck next week.  Always remember you are playing the numbers, not the player.

All statistics are compiled through April 17.


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