James Shields (SP - KC) - James Shields put in a clunker of a performance on Saturday, yielding seven runs on 6 hits, 2 HRs, and 3 BBs. It didn't hurt as bad for fantasy owners because he was only charged with one earned run thanks to fielding errors by Shields and Mike Moustakas in a 6-run second inning. The Royals' ace did not look sharp today and his velocity was significantly lower in today's start than in his first two starts of the year (1-3 MPH). He was throwing all over the place this afternoon and was having difficulty finding the strike zone against a scuffling Minnesota Twins offense. There's no need to panic after just one game and Shields will get a chance to redeem himself against the same Twins lineup next week. On the year, Shields now owns a 2.37 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 4 walks in 19 IP.
Brian Dozier (2B - MIN) -This spring, Brian Dozier was a popular sleeper pick for many managers targeting cheap players with a decent power/steal combination. Through the season's first ten games, he has already lived up to these expectations by hitting 4 homeruns and stealing 3 bases. His 20% HR/FB ratio is likely to come back down to earth, as four of his eight hits have gone over the fence. Dozier has a solid 84% career contact rate but he'll need to work on his 0.43 EYE in order to improve his measly career .299 on-base percentage. Dozier remains a good play to fill your MI spot in deeper leagues.
Luke Gregerson (RP-OAK) - After Sean Doolittle threw a clean eighth inning, Doug Melvin left him in the game to face the left-hander Kyle Seager in the ninth. Seager flew out to center field and Melvin brought in the right-handed Luke Gregerson to face right-handed Willie Bloomquist. Gregerson proceeded to allow back-to-back singles before striking out Michael Saunders and forcing John Buck into a ground out to save his first game of the season. This move by Melvin helps to clarify the situation in Oakland. It appears that the A's will stick with using Doolittle in match-up situations and will now give Luke Gregerson first chance at saves. Gregerson has seen his velocity and strikeout rates decline over the last few years and is throwing his sinker nearly 2 MPH lower in April than where he had been throwing the last two years. Of the group in Oakland (Gregerson, Doolittle, and Cook), Gregerson has the least effective "stuff" but appears to have the inside edge. Johnson could still win the job back at some point, so it's probably not worth blowing a significant portion of your FAAB budget on a guy who's not an official closer.
Brian McCann (C-NYY)- McCann hit his first two homeruns in pinstripes on Sunday, finishing the day 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Considering he's a left-handed batter hitting in Yankee Stadium for 81 games, it's conceivable that we'll see plenty more HRs from the catcher as he knocks them out of the short-porch in right field. McCann has a great read of the strike zone as a hitter, which helps him chase fewer balls out of the zone and make better contact (20% LD rate). McCann should remain one of the better catcher options this season and could easily be a top-3 catcher option going into next season with Mauer and Santana both likely losing eligibility.
Tommy Hunter (RP - BAL) - Tommy Hunter blew his first save of the season on Saturday night after giving up a homerun to Colby Rasmus in the top of the ninth. The homerun came with two outs in the inning after Hunter retired Lind and Navarro on popouts to begin the inning. Hunter was able to bounce back after the homerun to retire Brett Lawrie on a strikeout to end the inning. Despite the homerun, Hunter actually looked pretty good tonight, needing just 12 pitches to get out of the ninth. Of the twelve pitches, ten were strikes. This is just a minor blip on the radar for the Orioles' new closer and he still has a firm grasp on the job.
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