Bobby Abreu (OF—Angels) It wasn’t enough to overcome a 6 run deficit and ruin opening day at Yankee stadium, but Bobby Abreu’s 9th inning grand slam did provide a little suspense in a game that was otherwise dominated by the Yankees. It’s was Abreu’s second home run of the young season, but despite the nice power output, Abreu has been sluggish at the plate batting just .265. Normally, we look to Abreu to be the on-base guy who works out the walks, but to-date Abreu has only been able to net 1 walk on the season which has anchored his OBP down at .286. Normally with an OBP around .400 OBP, Abreu has been expanding his strike zone swinging at pitches off the plate at a rate of 26%. Plus his LD% is way down at 12.5% (normally around 22%) and his infield fly ball percentage is up at 8.3% (normally around 3%) which indicates that he’s been uncharacteristically impatient and missing his pitches when he does swing. But don’t you lose patience with Abreu. He’ll have his share of strikeouts, but he will be near the top in the league when it comes to EYE and OBP and should be a nice source of RBI on an Angel team that should find it’s mojo soon enough.
Ricky Romero (SP—Blue Jays) What a night for Ricky Romero! He dominated the White Sox through and through, pitching 8 innings, striking out 12 and allowing just 1 hit. Sadly, that one hit was a home run off the bat of Alex Rios that spoiled the no-hit bid in the 8th along with the shutout. But Romero really was all that...and throw in that bag of chips (I'll take sea salt and vinegar...yum). With this outing, Romero's ERA stands at 1.80 and batters are hitting just .120 against him in two starts. Romero has had an outstanding GB% of around 54% and with tonight's game, he was able to add onto that with an additional 10 groundball outs. With high percentages like that, you don't really need the strikeouts, but Romero is delivering those as well with K/9 of 7.05 for his career. Games like tonight should not be expected all the time and Romero will certainly regress to some normal numbers, but If you haven't been a believer of Romero, tonight's performance should have owners running to the waiver pool to grab him.
Juan Pierre (OF—White Sox) If you went to the boxscore to check out how Juan Pierre did against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, you will notice that he was nowhere to be found. Ozzie Guillen did some juggling of positions but the end result found Pierre on the bench and Omar Vizquel essentially taking his leadoff spot. Cause for concern? Maybe, but probably not. It's been pretty evident that Pierre has struggled at the start of the season with a slash line of .138/.219/.138. Of course, we aren't expecting big slugging numbers from Pierre, but we should expect a solid batting average from the lifetime .300 hitting and a bundle of stolen bases. Despite the poor batting average, he has been able to nab 3 bases. But at this point in the season Pierre LD% is down at 16% when typically we should see him around 22% to 24%. Also his BHIP right now is only .148 which means that his batted balls in play have been finding too much leather. With his speed, Pierre BHIP could easily be over .300. Expect this benching (if that's what it is) to be short lived. Pierre will bounce back because he traditionally one of the most difficult players in baseball to strike out with a CT of 93% and his speed should start help to elevate his average. Give him a seat on your bench for now while he finds his stroke, but when he does, make sure to get him back in the game.
Mark Teixeira (1B—Yankees) Notice how no one is talking about Mark Teixeira that much? Well, there's a reason for that. He's not doing much in the offense department...yet. Teixeira has yet to find the right field seats on the young season with no home runs and is only batting .111. 3 hits in 27 AB's is all he's been able to put together. Some of you Teixeira owners are probably cursing his name because you paid big bucks in your auction draft or he was certainly a first or second round pick. But are you seriously contemplating trading him away for a better option or benching him for Mike Jacobs? Of course not. In case you don't know about Teixeira's history, he is traditionally a slow starter. For his career, he has only batted .244 in April and as most recent as last year, finished the month of April batting .200. OK, forget the hitting. Where's all of that power? Well, for the past seven season, Teixeira has only averaged about 3 home runs for the month of April so all in all, this is pretty much the way he rolls. So if you are having any notions of not playing him, get rid of those misguided thoughts. Teixeira will come around and when he does, you'll be the envy of all your fantasy cohorts.
Felix Pie (OF—Orioles) While we don't want to get ahead of ourselves, Felix Pie has been taking to the leadoff spot like a dog to a bone. Granted, he only had 16 AB's for the season, but he is batting .438 and has been fantastically hot. With Brian Roberts on the DL, Pie has been inserted into the top spot of the batting order and is batting .500 during that period. As I mentioned, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves and although Pie is off to a great start, there isn't a great deal of history to indicate that this hot streak has legs. As a career .307 OBP hitter, he is not the ideal candidate to be leading off although he has decent speed, he won't be a significant resource in that department either. With a career strikeout percentage of 25.4% and a career EYE of 0.35, Pie probably won't be holding down the leadoff spot once Roberts is back in action. But while he is there and remains hot, he might be a reasonable choice in deeper AL leagues as he will certainly be seeing some playing time for now. Use him while you can, because his value won't stay high for that long.
Also follow Richard on Twitter all season long @rsgross