Jordan Zimmerman- WAS- Rookie- Zimmerman has a nice repertoire of off speed pitches to go with his mid-90s fastball. Despite being forced by the Nationals to throw at least 15 changeups per start last year in order to develop the pitch, which needed work, he managed to post a 3.21 ERA in 20 starts at AA Harrisburg. In 107 IP he struck out 103 and walked 39. His control is good, despite those walk numbers which were influenced by his orders. Another plus for Zimmerman is very solid mechanics, with a three-quarters delivery that should make him less prone to injury than other young pitchers. He projects as a very good starter worth picking up, particularly in keeper leagues, although there may be an adjustment to the majors in his early outings.
Matt Cain- SF- Caution- Cain threw 14 starts last season in which he exceeded the 110 pitch mark. Tossing out his season finale, he failed to record a quality start in the succeeding outing 6 times. That equals the number of non-quality starts following his 20 games in which he threw 110 or fewer pitches. Cain threw 112 pitches in his last start last week so he may not have the same success he has enjoyed so far this year. In addition, a continued heavy workload is a definite risk factor for injury.
Ross Ohlendorf- PIT- Hot- With a settled spot in the Pittsburgh rotation, Ohlendorf is thriving in the early part of 2009. The key to whether he maintains this success is whether he can continue to throw strikes. Ohlendorf’s 3 walks in 18 IP is a vast improvement over the 33 BBs in his prior 69 major league innings. If Ohlendorf has put control issues behind him, then he will produce for the Pirates and his fantasy owners.
Raul Ibanez- PHI- Hot- Ibanez is riding a 7-game hitting streak in which he has posted a batting average of .483. His .386 mark for the season is not necessarily a sign for what he will do the rest of the season. Ibanez has no trend of hot or cold starts, with his April batting averages sometimes above, sometimes below, and sometimes near where he finishes up. Obviously, some sort of drop will be expected, but it won’t necessarily be a kind of dropping off a cliff.
Dexter Fowler- COL- Hot- Fowler has had his ups and downs of late, but yesterday he went 1-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base to raise his OBP to .324. He’s no Susan Boyle, but he’s got talent. His current .43 Batting EYE is below his minor league mark of .59. As that improves, so should his batting average. Add in a likely total of 20+ stolen bases and Fowler has fantasy value, too.
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