Nolan Arenado - It appears that Nolan Arenado is coming up to take over the Rockies' 3B job, as Chris Nelson was designated for assignment late last night. Arenado is a very solid hitting prospect that has already posted 14 XBH in just 18 games at AAA this season. His power is more of the doubles variety than the HR variety at this point, but Coors Field will help that somewhat. His strike zone control has been adequate, and he has managed a .299 AVG during his minor league tenure. Arenado just turned 22, so some growing pains are likely as he adjusts to the bigs, but he should be expected to provide average production at 3B in the AVG, R, HR, and RBI categories with little to offer in the way of speed. At a relatively weak position, Arenado is a must-add in most formats immediately, and absolutely needs to be rostered in all keeper formats. As an aside, reports on Nelson should be watched over the coming days. If he were to end up with the Yankees, for example, he would maintain a decent amount of value.
Matthew Magill - Matt Magill had a very solid MLB debut, limiting the Brewers to 2 runs on 4 singles and 2 walks over 6 2/3 innings, striking out 7. A 31st round draft pick in 2008, Magill has posted some pretty impressive K numbers on the way through the system, fanning over a batter an inning at 3 of his last 4 stops despite stuff that doesn't grade out much better than average. His command is pretty shaky, something that definitely limits his ceiling, but the combination of the continually high K rates and the luxury of pitching in arm-friendly Dodger Stadium makes him rate a bit more highly that you might expect. He likely has at least one more turn through the rotation before the Dodgers need to make a decision on Chris Capuano, and it's distinctly possible that Capuano will head back to the pen, allowing Magill to remain in the rotation if he continues to pitch well. For now I would grab him up only in deeper and NL-only leagues, but I'd consider him in most formats depending on the current state of my staff.
Brandon McCarthy - It's been a weird year for Brandon McCarthy thus far, as he has yet to post a quality start in five outings despite career bests in walk rate, velocity, and chase%. His swinging strike% is a career worst thus far, leading me to believe that he has traded a bit of movement for his velocity to this point, something that I expect he will straighten out in short order. He's faced top-10 offenses in 3 starts and top-half offenses in 4, and with a 55% strand rate and a .396 BABIP both luck and scheduling haven't been on his side so far in 2013. I am still optimistic here, as McCarthy's FIP ERA is actually lower than it was last season despite his struggles. He was destined to have a difficult task keeping his ERA at last year's levels as a flyball pitcher moving to a much less forgiving home park, but the schedule gets a bit easier for the next few outings before getting significantly easier in mid-May (Marlins and Padres back-to-back). I'd certainly stash him on my reserve list at least, and I'd be ready to use him in a few weeks if he doesn't appear deserving even sooner.
Giancarlo Stanton - Stanton crushed his first homer of the season yesterday against Travis Wood in the first inning, finishing the day 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout in yet another loss. The 23 year old has the lowest zone% (percentage of pitches seen in the strike zone) of any hitter in baseball thus far in 2013, and that isn't likely to change at the very least until Logan Morrison returns, and even then the Marlins are only going to have arguably 4 major league hitters in their lineup. I fear that Stanton's obvious talent is destined to be wasted more often than not with this ridiculous franchise that has had six managers since the middle of the 2010 season. Stanton is definitely having trouble figuring out which pitches to swing at this year, as his chase% has increased once again while his swing% at pitches in the zone has actually dropped. It's a combination of a cold start and a difficult situation for the talented OF, and while the former will clear itself up before too long, the latter is going to hamper his value indefinitely.
Kris Medlen - Yesterday marked the first start since 7/24/10 in which Medlen allowed more than three runs, as the 27 year old gave up 5 runs over 5 1/3 innings to the Tigers to drop to 1-3 on the season. Medlen's solid control allows his average stuff to play up a bit, but this run of success that he's been on since the middle of last season has been surprising to me. There are quite a few reasons to look for a bit more regression from Medlen, who to this point had only faced offenses from the bottom half of MLB: decreasing K rate, swinging strike%, and GB rate, to go along with a higher BB rate this season. I expect an ERA more in the high 3.00's than low 3.00's from Medlen, who is still a reasonable choice for a 4th or 5th starter in all formats, but may garner more value as trade bait than anything else.