Mike Moustakas 3B (KC) - Moustakas went 0-3 in his 2012 debut. Moustakas came up last season as one of the Royals best prospects and could be a star in the future. However, I have doubts that he will return much value in standard mixed leagues this year. I was disappointed with his lack of power as a rookie (.104 ISO, 4.2 HR/FB%). Those power stats are really, really bad, and I'm just not sure he will be able to turn those around quickly enough or significantly enough as a 23 YO. I think the power issues come from Moustakas hitting pitchers' pitches as he had a chase rate of over 35%. If you choose to view Moustakas through optimistic lenses, though, a significant improvement in raw power (HR/FB% particularly) would really do a lot for Moustakas since he has a pretty solid base in terms of contact rate (86%) and loft (LD+FB% of 61.6%).
James Shields SP (TB) - Shields had a rough first outing, but I wouldn't overreact to one start, particularly one against an offense such as the Yankees. In fact, watching the game I was quite optimistic about Shields as it seemed he had his trademark filthy changeup working. Sure enough Shields threw that changeup 30 times and generated a swinging strike 20% of the time, which is fantastic. Last season Shields used his changeup 27.2% of the time (most since 2007) to great success. According to FanGraphs Shields' changeup improved from 7.5 runs above average to 17.7 runs above average. Clearly the changeup was a big part of Shields' resurgence last year, so while the results on the whole were not good yesterday, owners should be encouraged by the fact that Shields' most important pitch seemed to be in mid-season form.
John Danks SP (CHW) - In a matchup that looked like it might have been ugly for Danks he battled through yesterday and posted a quality start. Over 6 innings Danks struck out 6, walked none and gave up 3 ER off of 6 hits. This was a good first step towards Danks being a much more valuable fantasy pitcher than he was last season when he experienced some rotten luck. Last year Danks had a 4.33 ERA, but it really should have been a half run lower if it weren't for an unlucky BABIP (23 points above career mark) and strand rate (3.2 percentage points below career mark). With those things normalizing Danks should post a sub-4 ERA and double digit win total. Heck, even with the 4+ ERA last season Danks had an expected win total of 12, but was unfortunate in this department as well and ended up with just 8 victories.
Colby Lewis SP (TEX) - Colby Lewis was impressive yesterday afternoon and took the win for the Rangers. Over 6 innings Lewis allowed just 2 earned runs and struck out 9 hitters compared to just 1 walk. As good as Lewis was, though, his FB riskiness reared its head. According to CBS Lewis had just 1 ground out compared to 7 fly outs; he also allowed a monster homer to Adam Dunn. Last season Lewis saw his ERA rise from 3.72 the year before to 4.40 primarily due to his HR/9 rising from .94 to 1.57. That occurred because Lewis had a career worst GB% of 34.1, and he has a subpar career HR/FB% of 11.6%. I'd sell high on Lewis early if possible. He's not going to post a 9:1 K:BB ratio every game, and in the games he is a little off his FB riskiness will get the best of him. It was a good first result, but it was also apparent the weaknesses that plagued him last season may have not been covered up.
Nick Markakis OF (BAL) - Markakis went 2-3 with a homer and a double in yesterday's opener. I wouldn't get too excited over the extra base hits as Markakis' ISO has been on a downwards trend since his sophomore season in 2007 when he posted a .185 ISO. Here are his ISO's since then: .185/.185/.160/.138/.122. His HR/FB rates the past 3 seasons also leave much to be desired for a corner outfielder: 8/6.1/7.7. At 28 YO it is not unfathomable that Markakis finds his power stroke, but I wouldn't expect more than 15-20 homers. A couple more games out of Markakis like this to begin the year and I am selling high.