Chris Davis - The Orioles' first baseman slugged his fifth HR of the young season and finished 3-for-4 against the Yankees on Tuesday. Up until this year, Davis had been a typical quad-A player who wasn't able to put it together at the major league level. However, so far this season, Davis is showing real promise by posting a .254 ISO to go along with a .922 OPS. Davis is actually hitting fewer fly balls than during his other stints in the majors, but he's making up for it with a 22% HR/FB rate - which is not sustainable. I'm encouraged by Davis' 29% line drive rate and, perhaps more importantly, he's not chasing pitches like he did in 2011. His chase rate is down from 41% to 34%, while he's making contact on a higher percentage of his swings (74% compared to 68% in 2011). I'm not a believer in Davis yet, but he has shown some promising signs that make me definitely want to follow him during the next few weeks.
Johnny Damon - The Indians finally added Johnny Damon to the 25-man roster and he joined the team in Chicago on Tuesday. Damon signed a couple weeks ago with the Tribe and has been in extended spring training to prepare for a return to the majors. Cleveland plans to play Damon on a regular basis and bat him leadoff - he will not platoon with Shelley Duncan. The team did say they are going to ease him into his new role during the next week or two so he won't play every day out of the chute. So what should you expect from Damon? Thankfully, fantasy baseball doesn't normally use defense as a stat category because, if so, Damon would be one of the last players to add to your roster. As for his bat, however, there's probably still something left in the tank. Last season with the Rays, Damon played in 150 games and smacked 16 HRs to go along with 79 runs, 73 RBI and 19 steals - all numbers that will play in deep AL-only and, perhaps, mixed leagues. He did tie his career-low walk rate to go along with a career-worst .261 BA and, at 38-years old, there's certainly a good chance his skills will decline even further in 2012. That said, I like the power and steal combo and can see Damon popping 10-12 HRs to go along with 10-12 steals while hitting around .270.
Matt Joyce - Matt Joyce continues to absolutely destroy right handed pitching as he homered and tripled against the Mariners on Tuesday. Joyce entered this season with a career OPS of .883 versus righties against just a .599 mark when facing southpaws. The power surge isn't terribly surprising considering Joyce owns a career .229 ISO in 1,174 plate appearances. He's now connected for six HRs on the season. What's interesting about Joyce's numbers in 2012 is that he's only posting a 14% line drive rate, but is hitting fly balls at a 55% clip. The fact he's hitting so many fly balls and still owns a .341 BABIP points toward regression occurring sooner than later. He's also not going to maintain his current 18.5% HR/FB rate. That said, Joyce is worth an add in most 12-team mixed and AL-only leagues, but should be started on a strictly platoon basis - only against right handers.
Austin Jackson - The Tigers' centerfielder had a big day against the Royals on Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI and a steal. Jackson is showing very promising signs this season by cutting his strikeout rate from 27% in 2011 to 21% and raising his walk rate from 8% last year to 13%. By putting more balls in play, he's been able to fully take advantage of his speed which has resulted in a .345 BABIP. What's most surprising about Jackson's performance is his .210 ISO, which is nearly 90 points above his career mark. Jackson never owned an ISO above .135 in the high minors so his early power surge is likely a mirage. However, his .314 BA is definitely sustainable assuming he continues to show improved patience and puts balls in play. I was down on Jackson last season because of his high whiff rate, but he's obviously taking a different approach at the plate in 2012 and it's paying off. I'm buying.
Ubaldo Jimenez - I've watched every single Ubaldo Jimenez start this season. I was at Opening Day when he looked sharp. But, since then, Jimenez has simply looked broken. He can't get his fastball above 91 mph on a consistent basis. He's wild and isn't missing bats as evidenced by his 20:14 walk-to-strikeout rate. Tuesday against the White Sox, Jimenez issued six free passes and struck out just one batter. The Indians defense didn't help Jimenez much, but he still gave up 14 baserunners in 4 2/3 innings and now owns a 1.74 WHIP. I thought Jimenez would be a decent SP this season thanks to his consistently solid xFIP marks during the past three seasons - 3.59, 3.60 and 3.71. However, he's not even the same pitcher as last season (when he had a 4.68 ERA) and simply can't get guys out. By pretty much all indicators, Jimenez's performance has been terrible in 2012 and not driven by any sort of bad luck. At this point, Jimenez's fantasy owners might as well hang on to him in hopes he breaks out of it, but that seems unlikely based on his performances to date.
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