David Purcey - The good and the bad of David Purcey was on full display yesterday, as the young left-hander allowed ten baserunners and five runs in just 4 2/3 innings to the Indians while striking out ten. Purcey did go through a 30 start stretch between 2007-2008 in which he only walked 2.5 men per nine, but other than that his control has been an issue going all the way back to his time at Oklahoma. The ability to strike people out is gigantic, and Purcey clearly has it, so he merits some close scrutiny just on that basis. His control will prevent him from being a solid option for now, but he has significant upside.
Michael Barrett - A couple of bad part-time seasons in the cavernous Petco Park, the sum total of which was 227 AB's, and all of a sudden Michael Barrett is a part-time player behind Rod Barajas, he of the career .288 OBP? I'm not buying it. Catchers are always at a premium in deeper leagues, and Barrett is one of the backups with the most upside, in my opinion. If Barajas' season-starting slump continues, expect Barrett to get a chance to prove that he can still be an offensive asset. My bet is that he can be, and that at worst he will end up with a job-share in Toronto by the break.
Hideki Okajima - I'm a bit concerned with Okajima as a reliable set-up man this year. He's 33 this season, and after posting two very similar seasons here after coming over from Japan (except for a disturbing decrease in control) he is struggling a bit in his first few appearances this year. Giving up a homer to Vlad is no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the three walks in his first two innings of work have me wondering if last year's BB increase isn't more of a concern than it might appear. Reliever statistics are notoriously variable because of the relatively low usage anyway, so forecasting them is even tougher than for everyday players and starters, but I'd definitely be wary of Okajima this season since ostensibly you would only own him to keep ERA and WHIP down.
Josh Hamilton - Hamilton blasted his first homer of the year yesterday against Edwin Jackson of the Tigers. Hamilton's contact rate is up pretty significantly in the early going, which will be something to watch for the next few weeks. Any step forward there could easily translate to another 20 points or so of AVG, making him an easy MVP candidate. With all of his lost development time, it's easy to make a case that he's a "young" 28 this season.
David Aardsma - Both Brandon Morrow and David Aardsma have picked up two saves in the early going, but Aardsma's have been decidedly more mundane. Neither pitcher has the greatest control in the world, but my money would be on Aardsma being the safer bet for a Mariner team that desperately believes it can contend. Morrow is the better bet for 2010 and beyond, but for this season I would prefer Aardsma.