Victor Martinez C (BOS) – Martinez is off to a slow start, posting a triple slash of .238/.307/.325 heading into last night’s contest with the Orioles. Those aren’t the numbers fantasy owners expected to see out of the consensus number 2 catcher, behind the Twins’ Joe Mauer. However, owners should be optimistic that Martinez will be turning things around soon. His plate discipline is as good as ever as his current 1.33 EYE would be a career high. Also, Martinez has a low singles average of .203, which is not in line with his three year mark of .256. That .256 mark did not have much variation either as his lowest singles average of the past three years was .247. And it’s not as if Martinez isn’t making good contact; he currently has an exceptional LD% of 25.7%. Look for Martinez to turn things around soon.
Bradley Bergesen SP (BAL) – Bergesen was recalled by the Orioles and made his fourth start of the season last night. Unfortunately for Bergesen and the Orioles, this start went much like the first three which had got him sent down to the minors because of a 12.19 ERA. Bergesen gave up 4 ER in 5 IP last night, and he only struck out 2 batters. Missing bats was a problem for Bergesen last year too, though, and after those 19 starts he had O’s fans excited as he was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA. Rather, there are a couple of other disturbing factors as to why Bergesen is struggling. His BB/9 has grown from 2.34 to 5.23, and his GB% has dipped considerably. This has resulted in 18% more of the balls he allows in play being of the fly ball variety. Including last night, Bergesen has given up 6 HR, already more than half of what he gave up all of last season. Walks and homeruns is a recipe for disaster, and Bergesen is not a play in any formats at this point.
David Ortiz DH (BOS) – It was flashback night for Boston fans at Camden Yards, as Ortiz had his first multi homer game since August 26th of last year, which was his only multi-homer game of the ’09 season. However, Boston and Ortiz owners shouldn’t be too excited as the homers came off of Brad Bergesen and Alberto Castillo. We’ve talked about Ortiz’s declining skill set in this spot before, and one of the main causes of those declining skills are Ortiz’s inability to hit fastballs. Since 2006, here’s how Ortiz has been rated in terms of runs above averages per 100 pitchers on at bats that ended with a fastball: 3.23/2.73/1.02/-1.43. Yeah, that’s pretty blatant evidence of a player in decline, as that downward trend is not only steady but a bit steep. Don’t think opposing teams haven’t noticed. By percentage, Ortiz has been seeing more and more fastballs since 2007. Here are the percentage of pitches Ortiz has seen that were fastballs in ‘07/’08/’09/’10: 51.9/54.2/58/63.3.
Brian Bannister SP (KC) – Bannister is off to a hot start, posting a .358 ERA in 5 starts. However, I wouldn’t expect it to continue. Bannister does not provide owner with strikeouts (5.09 career K/9), and his ERA and WHIP are likely on the rise. Bannister’s current 84.4% LOB% and .244 BABIP are not sustainable, especially considering his low K rate. His career marks in those departments respectively are 67% and .290. Bannister will likely experience some regression soon, and he shouldn’t be in any mixed league starting lineups.
Brandon Morrow SP (TOR) – Now might be a good time to buy low on Brandon Morrow. We always knew he could strikeout a lot of batters, but right his K/9 of 10.61 is elite for a starter. There are sure to be some ups and downs due to his control issues (5.14 BB/9), but if his current peripherals are sustained, Morrow should post an ERA much better than his current 5.46 ERA. Both his FIP ERA of 4.05 and xFIP ERA of 3.83 support that statement. Morrow has been unlucky in terms of his BABIP (37 points higher than his career average) and his LOB% (8.3 percentage points lower than his career average. Another check in the pros column for Morrow is an increase in his GB% for the second consecutive year: 33.1/37.3/41.2 are his GB percentages in ‘08/’09/’10. That is a crucial element towards the big picture and should not be overlooked when evaluating Morrow.