Starting Pitcher to Start
Looking through the weekly list of Two-Start Pitchers for Week Six, I was able to locate a diamond in the rough. Texas' Colby Lewis, a guy who couldn't maintain an ERA under 6.50 in his last stint in the majors, has all of a sudden found his potential after pitching for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. In the month of April, Lewis lit up opposing offenses, finishing 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA and 38 Ks. In CBS Sports leagues alone, Lewis is only started 65 percent of the time, something that must change for Week Six.
Oh, and one more little tidbit: Lewis will be facing off against two minor offenses in Week Six, going up against the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays. Hopefully your opponent has fun next week, because it might get ugly.
Hitter to Start
In direct contrast to the Boston Red Sox's recent losing ways, third baseman Adrian Beltre has found his swing to begin the season. So far this year, Beltre is hitting .333 with one HR, 13 RBI, eight Rs and a SB, and with the way he is continuing to thrive at the plate, we will only see a steady increase in these numbers.
The thing to remember is this: Once the entire lineup begins to hit to its full potential, Beltre will begin to reap the benefits. Regardless, he is no doubt a must-start fantasy third baseman for Week Six, as there is absolutely no reason why he should be sitting on your bench.
Reliever to Start
Ah yes, the Kansas City Royals--a team that always shows a bit of promise early on in the year, sporting their young talent to show a potentially positive future in the AL Central. They are off to their ways of old in 2010, and closer Joakim Soria is helping to keep the team in check. So far this season, Soria is 0-0 with a 2.34 ERA and seven saves. That's right, seven saves.
For a team that is normally not associated with wins, Soria is guiding the team in the right direction, and now is the chance for you to have him racking up the fantasy points. If he's on your bench for Week Six, then shame on you. Take advantage of him now before the team realizes that they really aren't any good.
Youngster to Start
He found his way onto my "2010 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 Rookies to Watch" list earlier in the offseason, and now he is finally beginning to make his impact at the Major League level. Texas first baseman Justin Smoak is not sporting the most impressive batting average to begin his career (.176); however, there is no doubt that he is starting to show his power potential. With two HRs, five RBI and six Rs currently under his belt, things are looking up for the youngster as he adjusts to pitching at the highest level of professional baseball.
That batting average of his will bring itself up, and with him being the starter for the time being, so will his HR and RBI totals. Monitor his status over the next week and see how his BA is doing. If he begins to show signs of contact, start him in the "utility" or "corner infielder" role for the time being.
As always, it's time for our weekly "Bonus Start." In Week Six, no one deserves to hold this coveted spot more than Mr. Ty Wigginton of the Baltimore Orioles. Taking the place of the injured Brian Roberts, Wigginton has thrived for the Birds, playing three different positions while batting .311 with eight HRs, 15 RBI and 13 Rs. Start the man while he's on fire, because it won't be long before he hits a slump (as it seems every Oriole does at some point).
Starting Pitcher to Sit
Think back to last season for a moment. Remember how Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled early on with his control and his ability to keep the runs down? Well, it appears as though he's back for a second act. In his first start against the struggling Orioles, Dice-K went 4.2 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits, striking out four and walking three. Personally, I don't care if that was his first start of the season or his fifth; the fact of the matter is that we have seen this from him before. Sit the former Japanese superstar until he gets back into a groove.
Hitter to Sit
So much for Yunel Escobar's slow start. The normally reliable fantasy starting shortstop has found himself on the short end of the stick in 2010, beginning the year with a .215 average, eight RBI, seven Rs and two SBs. Add on the fact that he's now on the 15-day disabled list, and you have a guaranteed sit for Week Six and beyond. The timetable for his return is currently unknown, so keep an eye on his progress as the week goes on.
Reliever to Sit
Remember when I said that Octavio Dotel would be a nice comeback player option for 2010? So far, not so good. Whether it is his 10.61 ERA or his minuscule three saves, the simple fact of the matter is that he is not impressing for the Pirates.
So let's break this down for just a second: The Pirates aren't the greatest team in the world, their closer at one point gave up 11 ER in a 6.1 inning span and several fantasy teams are taking a blow because of it. Sit him immediately and think about grabbing another option. Hey, I guess I can't always predict the future (looks like I fooled myself again).
Youngster to Sit
Okay, that's it. This is the final straw (again). Kansas City Royals third baseman Alex Gordon has officially failed me. It's gotten to the point where the Royals plan to move the youngster to left field (I always thought this was the best way to boost a guy's bat...NOT!).
So far this season, Gordon is batting .194 with one HR, one RBI and five Rs. It's getting ugly. In fact, just skip over benching him. Drop him and let him float a while on the free agent list until some poor fool decides to grab him. Sorry Gordon--it's officially over for me.
With the way I just hammered Gordon, it's going to be hard topping that. I usually hammer my "Bonus Sits"; however, I plan to take it a little easier this week. For Week Six, my "Bonus Sit" is Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal. To sum up why he's here, he's been placed on the 15-day disabled list. He is eligible to come off the DL on May 13, so bench him up until that point.
By Lawrence Barreca, Baseball director at Fantasy Baseball Maniaxs