Elvis Andrus (SS-TEX) Elvis Andrus stretched his hitting streak to 8 games with a 1 for 4 outing against Boston in Fenway today. Andrus is batting over .300 on the year. He is a prolific base stealer as he demonstrated again last year with 42 stolen bases. For Andrus to take the next step in his development at age 25, he needs to become more of an offensive threat. He batted only .271 last year and his BABIP of .328 was well below his recent career average. It does not appear that the improvement will come in the power category, as he has a career .075 ISO, but he makes better than average contact. If he could translate his speed into more hits, and reduce his 9.5% IFFB, we could see an improvement in his offensive production which would move him further up the ranks of the top 10 shortstops.
Desmond Jennings (OF-TB) Desmond Jennings hit his first HR of the season and his 6th double as he raised his average to .270. One of the more intriguing prospects in the Tampa Ray organization, Jennings has mostly disappointed in his young career. Is this the year that he finally breaks out? On the negative side of the ledger, he is a career .250 hitter with a contact rate that seems to be going in the wrong direction. He has exceptional speed but it does not seem to be reflected in his BABIP. He stole 20 bases last year but was thrown out 8 times after stealing 31 out of 33 in 2012. With all of that said, this is a player who has the tools to be much better. He has good bat speed and his batted ball distance is well above the league average. At 27 years old, I am still intrigued by his potential and I think he will perform much better this year.
Jake Peavy (SP-BOS) Jake Peavy pitched an outstanding game today in a pitching duel against the Texas Rangers. He struck out 8 while allowing only 1 run, on 3 hits and 4 walks in 7 and 2/3 innings. His only mistake was a HR ball to Mitch Moreland. He even struck out the side in the 4th inning. This followed his first game of the season which was QS against MIL. Last year, Peavy showed that he could maintain his velocity which is encouraging. However, besides a very pedestrian Swinging Strike rate of 8.2% last year, a cause for concern is that he is showed a much greater FB tendency which does not bode especially well for a pitcher who gets half his starts at Fenway Park. This is a critical statistic to watch as the season progresses.
Jason Kipnis (2B-CLEVE) Jason Kipnis has been the darling of many and some have even suggested that he will challenge Robinson Cano as the best 2nd baseman in baseball this year. With Cano moving to Seattle, perhaps he will close the gap. While I love Kipnis's game and especially his speed, I don't think he measures up to Cano in the other offensive areas. He hit his first HR of the year today and does have 3 SB on the season. However, he lacks the bat speed of Cano and has not proven that he has his power or plate discipline. In my mind he is closer to Pedroia in value than he is to Cano. Believe me I'd love to have him on my fantasy baseball team, but I thought a little perspective was warranted.
Zack McAllister (SP-Cleve) McAllister pitched a wonderful game today shutting down the Padres on 5 hits over 7and 2/3 innings with 7K's. But before we get too excited, we need to remember that this game was pitched against a Padre team who had Yonder Alonso batting 3rd. McAllister has a rather lackluster repertoire with a Fastball that barely nudges over 91 MPH. In 2013 he had a 4.49 SIERA and he generally does not get a high percentage of swinging strikes except on his splitter which he does not throw enough. He is a middle of the road starter on a good team. Buyer beware!
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