1. R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays: Struggles Continue
Dickey's woes carried on in his start against Baltimore, giving up six earned on nine hits, walking three and fanning just four in the process. He had won his previous two starts before taking the mound yesterday, but the long ball haunted him again as he gave up two more dingers, one which would prove to be the game winner by Adam Jones in the seventh inning. It was a year that wasn't built for Dickey to succeed. He moves from the NL to the AL East, a big jump league-wise anyway, but even bigger considering he is a knuckleballer tossing in a dome half the time. The ball simply doesn't knuckle indoors like it would in the swirling wind at Citi Field. There were nights last year where that knuckler was untouchable, but so far in 2013, Dickey is yet to find his comfort zone. His next start won't make it any easier on him, as he takes his 4.85 ERA into Atlanta to battle Mike Minor and the Braves. Advice would be to wait until they come out with the lineups next start because I can only imagine that Jason Heyward, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman will be sitting in the middle of that order, salivating at a chance to hit against the soft-tossing veteran. If the Braves are on a roll still come Dickey's next start, I would probably sit him and see if he can turn things around pitching against a familiar team.
2. Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels: What to Expect?
It has been about two months since the season commenced, and to this day I cannot tell you what Josh Hamilton's situation is. One day he looks to be busting out of his season long slump, the next he his back to hardship, struggling to even make contact in some instances. He has recorded more than one hit in a game just once in his past twelve starts. So far this month, he is batting .247 with five home runs and eight RBI. He has struck out 23 times in May and 55 total (in 189 ABs). Pair that with just 15 walks on the year and we have ourselves a big red flag above his name. And although he has been nothing short of an utter disappointment this year, Hamilton is way too talented to let a full season go to waste, so expect him to pick it up as the season goes along. The weather is getting nice, meaning the ball will travel better, and the hits will come. His power has at least shown this month, which is one plus, but we can only hope he isn't over compensating at the plate and pressing too hard.
3. Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota Twins: Great Player, Iffy Fantasy Option
There's no denying that any major league team would be lucky to have Joe Mauer on their team. He is a force behind the plate, blocking everything in sight and throwing out runners with the greatest of ease. He also slaps the ball all over the field, this year to the tune of a .347 batting average after a 3-for-4 night at the plate in Detroit yesterday. In a perfect world, Mauer would have a year like he did in 2009 (.365 BA, 28 HR, 96RBI), but his supporting cast is not what it used to be. Even with that being said, having just 15 RBI through two months isn't a good sign for the star catcher. With that being said, he is a reliable source of runs, his batting average is going to way above the league average, just monitor his strikeout situation closely. Mauer has 42 whiffs in 43 games, putting him on pace for about double his career high in strikeouts (88 in 147 games during 2012). That could really hurt his production, so if it continues over the next couple of weeks, you could consider moving him before the struggle becomes too noticeable.
4. Mariano Rivera, CL, New York Yankees: In Midst of Career Year
Last year, about 90 percent of baseball fans were sure that Mo's career had come to an end. Now, the same fans are cheering this legendary pitcher on as he enjoys quite possibly the best start of his career at the ripe age of 43. Rivera's 18 saves are by far the best in the MLB and he has not given up a run since a non-save situation on May 4th. He has converted all of his save opportunities as well, pretty much making him "Mr. Automatic" thus far and proving his is well past the freak knee injury he suffered while shagging balls in the outfield before a game last season. All of Mo's stats are impressive, don't get me wrong, but the one stat that makes you full understand how dominant he has been is his season pitch count. Through 19.1 innings, Mo has thrown just 280 pitches, an average of about 14 per appearance. The ability to retire batters consistently without allowing guys on base makes life easier on himself, and gives his team that punch they were missing last year. The Yanks will finish up their series in Tampa today at 1:40 p.m., and considering Rivera has appeared in a game just once in the past five days, expect to see Mo strutting to the mound in the late innings if the Yankees have a lead.
5. Jurickson Profar, MI, Texas Rangers: Rookie Watch
After Ian Kinsler went down, the countdown for Profar's call up began. Now that he's finally back in the majors, fantasy buffs everywhere have him on close watch to see if he can be the next break out middle infielder in 2013, next to of course the impressive start by Milwaukee's Jean Segura. Profar had his first multi-hit game of 2013, slapping two singles, scoring a run and driving one in during the Rangers' 5-2 win over King Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. Profar is batting .308 in 13 ABs, a small sample size, so the concrete evidence on why you should scoop him up isn't there, but the hype is, and for a fantasy baseball owner, most of the time that's all you need, just the thought of how a guy might turn out. As a middle infielder behind Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus in the rotation, it is going to be tough for him to see consistent PAs unless somebody gets hurt, like Kinsler is now. The 20-year old is only owned in 53 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so he is available in some competitive leagues, but not many.