Michael Young - Young singled and homered again last night, but I remain on record as forecasting a decline. Fully one-third of the flyballs he has hit have left the park this year, and his BABIP of .355 is a good 30 points higher than you might expect given his LD%. In my mind, the steadily increasing K rates and steadily decreasing LD% is more indicative of his trendline than anything else.
Francisco Liriano - Liriano finally got into the win column last night, going 7 1/3 innings against Detroit and allowing four hits and two runs, walking three and fanning nine. I am a bit concerned that Liriano left a couple mph on the operating table, as he's only regained about one of the four mph he lost between 2006 and 2008. Obviously, lefties that throw 91-92 are still in demand, but his control isn't quite sharp enough to be a ace-level talent without mid-90's velocity. We will see if he picks up a bit more steam as the year goes on, but for now my enthusiasm for him has tempered somewhat. He is still a very solid starter, but perhaps not the top-10 pitcher that I had envisioned.
George Sherrill - Dave Trembley made it official yesterday: Sherrill is no longer the sole closer for the O's. Sherrill has only saved four of six so far this year, and with former closer Chris Ray hanging around along with set-up man Jim Johnson and former famous person Danys Baez, the temptation was too great for Trembley not to pull more toys out of his toy box I guess. None of the bunch are likely to have consistent success, and this move probably minimizes all of their value for fantasy purposes, but I'm curious to see if this will actually work for the O's, as Ray and Sherrill are both decent. It's going to be a platoon-type of a format, so you won't even be able to plan for it in daily leagues, so treat them both as occasional closers for now.
Scott Kazmir - Kazmir's outing last night was better, but it was still the third start in four in which he allowed six earned runs. I see a lot of problems with his performance thus far this year: the decline in K rate (9.8 to 7.6), the increase in BB rate (4.1 to 4.9), and the drop in velocity (1.8 mph on FB, 1.6 mph on SL, but +0.5 mph on CH). The three things combined lead me to believe that he's not feeling right, something his results might have led you to believe anyway. Throw in a small amount of bad luck on BABIP, and you've got a perfect recipe for a 6.00 ERA. I would keep a close eye on him for the next few starts....seeing his name pop up on the DL wouldn't surprise me at all right now, although I have no knowledge of such a thing being mentioned.
Kurt Suzuki - Suzuki hit his second homer of the year last night against the Angels, continuing a trend that has him showing a bit more pop here in his age 25 season. Suzuki is hitting .329 with a ISO of .165, his contact rate is up around 94%, and lest you think it's BABIP induced he's been hit-unlucky this year by a fairly sizable margin (BABIP of .342 with LD% of 29.1). He may very well have a higher ceiling than I expected, especially taking into consideration that catchers might be the last position group to mature as hitters.