Jim Thome- CHW- Hot-Those in Chicago who have been calling for Thome’s head need to subscribe to Fantistics (heck, for that matter everybody needs to subscribe to Fantistics- tell your friends, relatives and neighbors!). If they did, they could look at Thome’s layer chart and see that his BHIPx through Sunday was an abysmal .120. The guy has just been dreadfully unlucky as his usual mark is nowhere near these depths. That’s what is driving the early season slump and why we will probably see more games like last night as the luck evens out.
Jason Botts- TEX- Hot- Last night, Botts showed a microcosm of what you can expect from him, highlighting both the potential highs and lows of his game. He went 2-for-4 with a homer, double and 2 strikeouts. The homer was a towering shot that Botts just crushed. When he hit the ball, it looked like he had undercut it. However he sent it the opposite way and it just kept going farther as it went higher and cleared the wall in right field. His double was also to the opposite field, demonstrating his strength again. The two strikeouts, though, showed the holes in his swing. When Botts plays, he has the potential to jack one out at any time. He could also whiff. Botts would be a leading contender for a Dave Kingman award, if one were to exist. With sporadic playing time, like now, his fantasy value is diminished. With a more regular schedule, which may develop, Botts could be worth inserting into the lineup if you have daily transactions and can get him in when he plays. He is worth keeping an eye on if homers is a category where you are lacking.
Gil Meche- KC- Cold- Although Meche posted his second quality start of the season, there were still areas of concern in his outing last night. The quality start barely qualified, as he gave up 3 runs in 6 IP. Meche’s walk total of 3 was higher than it heeds to be for him to be productive consistently. He also only recorded 2 strikeouts, far below his ratio so far this season. For last year’s career-best effort to be more than a fluke, Meche has to improve his control.
Joe Blanton- OAK- Cold- Blanton’s outing last night was almost the opposite of his prior start. Instead of starting strong and giving up some late runs, he had early troubles and then settled down. By the end of the 3rd inning Blanton had given up all 4 runs he would allow (3 in the first) and 7 of the 12 hits the Mariners would get in his 8 IP. Only once in those final five innings would a Mariner get to second base. In a way this was classic Blanton, who often seems to pitch just well enough to be almost impressive. His value depends on the depth of your league.
Felix Hernandez- SEA- Caution- Hernandez showed his ceiling last night, throwing a complete game and allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 8 hits and a walk while striking out 8. The concern is for his next start because of the 115 pitches he threw. Hernandez had some difficulty bouncing back effectively after throwing a lot of pitches. Also, last April 11th he threw a 1-hit shutout using 111 pitches, only lasted 1/3 of an inning his next time out and landed on the DL for a month. Watch his next start carefully.