Yu Darvish- TEX- Hot- Sure, it was only a AA lineup he was facing, but Darvish was dominant. He allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks in his 4 IP of work, striking out 5. Only two hitters he faced saw anything but strikes as he had 24 strikes in his 32 pitches. Darvish has speed and movement on his pitches and looks to be in solid form already.
Brian Matusz- BAL- Idea- Matusz has several things going for him in 2012. First, he has hideous luck last year, with a .382 BHIP. Secondly, he kept the ball in the park during Grapefruit League play, not allowing a homer in 24.2 IP. Finally, he struck out 22 batters this spring, showing some results from a fastball that has reportedly increased velocity. Matusz will begin as the #4 starter in a less than impressive Baltimore staff, but has the potential to provide fantasy value at a level above that expected from that role.
Jose Bautista- TOR- Bautista played 25 games at 3B in 2011, making him eligible there as well as in the OF in most leagues. With Brett Lawrie at the hot corner from the start of the season, Bautista is unlikely to log as many games at 3B this year. It also looks as if the 31-year-old is starting into a decline. Fantistics' projections have him dropping to 39 homers after slugging 54 in 2010 and 43 last season. His homer production in 2012 will still be significant but in keeper leagues Bautista's value is going down.
Justin Verlander- DET- Great Player- Verlander threw 251 IP in 2011, a career high. That doesn't even count the 20.1 IP he threw in the postseason. He also had 29 starts of 110 or more pitches. Still, that workload isn't that worrisome. Verlander has sustained similar heavy workloads before. In 2010 he threw 26 starts of 110 or more pitches, including 11 of 120 or more. He threw 24 high pitch count games in 2009. He has a track record of durability that makes injury an unlikely issue.
Albert Pujols- LAA- Hot- Pujols was comfortable with his new team, setting a personal career best of 7 spring homers and batting .383. The Rangers' fan in me hopes it's a mirage, but realistically a typical season fo a .300+ batting average and 40 homers looks likely for the perennial MVP candidate. Darn it.
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