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Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira leads all first basemen with eight home runs. Will the career revival lead him beyond the 30-HR mark for the first time since '11 - O/U 21.5 ROS home runs?
Brandon – I'll be brave and take the OVER. The last time Teixeira had a month with at least eight home runs was in '11 when he launched 39 bombs. Yes, he's endured a lot of injuries since then, but you have to like the offseason narrative - hired a personal trainer, added muscle and reduced body fat significantly, went gluten free, , yada yada yada... . He's 35 years old, which isn't completely over the hill, he currently owns the second-best K:BB rate of his career, and given his great home hitter's park and the determination to get his physical condition in the right place again, I think he's got a very good shot to finish with a low-30s HR total.
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Scott – Have to go UNDER. Teixeira's battled numerous physical problems over the last three years and he's now 35, so that's a tax he eventually has to pay. And even if you get some nice pop, look at the batting average since the beginning of 2014. First base is still a deep positon; I'll ride with someone else (please don't Teix and drive).
Andy – We knew Teixeira had power, didn't we? I don't feel as if I've learned anything unexpected here. All of our preseason concerns still exist (disastrous AVG, injury potential, age). I'll take the UNDER. I have no doubt this guy can hit another 20 or so homers, rest-of-season. But I'm not about to bet on a trouble-free campaign.
Joey Votto is enjoying a huge bounce-back campaign, thus far, with an OPS among the league leaders. Can the Reds' Canadian clubber, who owns a career OPS above .950 but has topped that mark just once in the past four seasons, finish with an OPS clip above his career average - O/U .9549 OPS?
Dalton – OVER. I'm convinced his recent down years were solely due to injuries, and he sure looks fully healthy now. He's one of baseball's five best hitters and also benefits from playing in GAB, which has increased HR for LHB by an MLB-high 52 percent over the past three seasons.
Andy – First of all, tip of the cap for "Canadian clubber," even though it ventures very close to Evans territory. Well done. I'll take the OVER on Votto, assuming injuries don't dull his performance again this season. When he's right, he's a wonderful hitter, an on-base machine. (Also, I'm much more comfortable taking the over on a rate stat, for obvious reasons.)
Scott – OVER. I wish I had a share. A healthy Votto is a Top 10 hitter, easy. Don't be one of those wait-for-proof guys, we've seen enough of it here.
Alex Rodriguez, another elder Yankee enjoying a strong rebound following some down years, is currently a top 60 fantasy asset but, at age 39, it's hard to imagine him sustaining that level of production for an entire season. How about an O/U of 124.5 for full season overall Y! rank? And how would you slot A-Rod among a couple other AL East 3B-eligibles, Pablo Sandoval and Chris Davis, for ROS roto value?
Brandon – UNDER. Like Teixeira, I think A-Rod just needs to stay relatively healthy to get this done. I look at Evan Longoria's line last season, in which he finished .253 with 22 HR, 91 RBI, 83 R and 5 SB. That was good for 81st overall in '14 Y! game. If A-Rod comes close to that line, which I expect he will, he's likely to finish top 100 overall. As for where he sits among Chris Davis and Pablo Sandoval, I'm going to lean towards youth (and the guys that are a decade younger than A-Rod). In order, I'd go Sandoval, Davis, then Rodriguez, but I don't see them being separated by much, value wise.
Scott – UNDER. The year off served A-Rod well, health-wise and mind-wise. The fans quickly welcomed him back, don't overlook that. And the Yankees need him, and need him in a primary lineup spot. Maybe Mets sympathizer Don Draper will be a Yankees fan by the end of the year. I still rank him behind Davis and Sandoval, but that's only because I'm bullish on both of those guys, too. Throw in Longoria and Donaldson and this division is loaded with hotshots at the hot corner, even though A-Rod merely qualifies there in spirit.
Andy – I'll take the UNDER with A-Rod, meaning I think he can certainly finish as a top-125 fantasy asset. You don't have to like him (centaur hater!), but we shouldn't pretend that he's anything less than an all-time great. I'd slot him alongside Panda, rest-of-season, with perhaps a slight edge to A-Rod. I realize Davis has surged in recent days, but he can be someone else's success story.
KC outfielder Lorenzo Cain has been one of fantasy's top commodities, to date, and has hit .310 with 33 steals over his past 151 games. How do you expect him to finish in those two categories when the dust settles on '15 - O/U .2929 BA and 30.5 SB?
Scott – I'll go OVER on the average; Cain is walking and hitting line drives more frequently, and he's cut the strikeouts and out-of-zone chases. But when it comes to the steals, I'm UNDER - I'm not raising Cain past a number he's never topped before, especially considering he bats in the middle of a good lineup (which provides some disincentive to run).
Andy – Well, we're talking about the two categories in which we know Cain is legit. I'll go OVER on the average and slightly UNDER on the steals. We've learned not to expect a season without injury here.
Dalton – OVER and OVER. He hit .301 last season and has cut his K% while nearly doubling his BB% so far this year. He also has a .362 BA banked over 69 ABs. I'm a believer.
Yankees starter Michael Pineda logged just 76.1 innings in pinstripes over the past three seasons prior to his strong start to '15. In '10, Pineda pitched a career-high 171 innings and fanned 173 hitters. Can Pineda finally push those lofty numbers once again - O/U 169.2 IP and 169 strikeouts?
Brandon – UNDER. If you look at the peripheral numbers in regards to Pineda's strikeouts, you see that batters are swinging at his offerings that are outside the zone at a much lower rate than his career average. Batters are making contact on his pitches in the zone at a much higher rate than his career average. And the percentage of time that batters swing-and-miss at a Pineda offering is well below his career norm. Sure, we are talking small sample size here, but that works both ways - meaning his spike in K rate when his fastball average is down 3 mph from his career clip (in addition to the peripherals I mentioned) is likely a bit of an anomaly. I like Pineda, but I think he'll need more than 180 IP to reach the K number here. I'll say OVER on the IP (just barely) and UNDER on the K total (just barely).
Andy – UNDER, and I loved him like a pet coming into the season. Even if he's limited to ~145 innings, he can be a huge help to fantasy owners. Once again, we're discussing a troubling history; I can't expect 170 frames simply because he's had a really nice three-week stretch.
Dalton – OVER and OVER. He's no doubt a health risk, but maybe it'll help now that he's not throwing as hard as he used to (while remaining as effective as ever). I'm buying Pineda stock, as I recently called him a top-20 fantasy starter.
Dodgers sporadically-used 3B/OF Alex Guerrero has hit .500 with 13 RBI through his first 22 ABs. Given his dangerous bat, will the team figure out a way to give him meaningful playing time - O/U 377.5 ROS at bats?
Brandon – OVER. I think it'll be close, but Guerrero has defensive versatilty goiong for him and, in a pinch, he could probably man most any infield position (besides catcher) and he can also be used in the outfield. It's a long season and injuries are almost a guarantee. It's only April and already the Dodgers are dealing with injuries to Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford. I think that, when it's all said and done, there'll be just enough opportunities presented to Guerrero to get him to the 400 ABs needed for the over here.
Andy – UNDER, but I think this is a very good number. We're in the neighborhood. He'll be a high-maintenance fantasy experience, but almost certainly worth it.
Dalton – UNDER. While I think the odds are he has fewer than 377.5 ABs ROS, I also think his upside warrants him being stashed on benches in all leagues. Guerrero's going to be awfully valuable if he somehow gets an everyday role.
Milwaukee's Ryan Braun is struggling with life after performance-enhancing drugs, with just one HR and one SB on the season, and just a 20/12 tally in those two cats in his past 152 games. Will Braun, the 11th outfielder taken on average in Y! drafts, be able to finish with a 20/10 line in '15 - O/U 18.5 ROS home runs and 8.5 ROS steals? ?
Brandon – UNDERx2. His home run is his only extra-base hit this season, and he's at a point in his career where healthy concerns (and the fact that he's been thrown out 10 times in his past 25 SB attempts) make it prohibitive for him to run much.
Scott – UNDER on anything Braun. He hasn't been healthy in a couple of years, and the lineup around him is nuclear waste. The first moment you get a chance to sell, please do.
Dalton – UNDER and OVER. I could see him getting to 10 steals (barely), but I'm really worried about Braun's power. I'd be trying to sell 70 cents on the dollar right now.
The Indians have four starters - Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber - ranked among the top 20 starters in K/9 rate (min. 13 IP). Give a final ERA and K projection for each of the four.
Brandon – Salazar (3.64 ERA, 179 Ks), Carrasco (3.47 ERA, 198 Ks), Bauer (3.77 ERA, 174 Ks), Kluber (3.10, 225 Ks). - I think the BB rate concerns for (especially) Bauer and Salazar will limit their innings upside potential and, therefore, mute their K totals a bit compared to Kluber and Carrasco.
Dalton – Salazar (3.30 ERA, 225 Ks), Carrasco (3.10 ERA, 210 Ks), Bauer (3.75 ERA, 200 Ks), Kluber (3.00, 230 Ks). Go Indians!
Scott – First things first - these guys desperately need Yan Gomes back. Kluber 3.07, 219 Ks; Carrasco 3.35/200; Salazar 3.53/188; Bauer 3.79/193 (but with a boatload of walks as well).
Each member of the Padres brand-new outfield for '15 - Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers - ranks among the top 12 fantasy outfielders, to date. Give a final HR and Batting average projection for each of them.
Brandon – Kemp (.297-19), Upton (.272-25), Myers (.259-19).
Dalton – Kemp (.295-22), Upton (.275-28), Myers (.260-18).
Scott – Kemp .287-22, Upton .279-30; Myers .271-21. Maybe we'll have a The Kid From Left Field remake in the works after the season.
Miami's A.J. Ramos leads all relievers with 18 strikeouts (on pace for 153 total). After averaging 79.5 Ks over the past two seasons, can he take the punchouts to another level in '15 - O/U 99.5 strikeouts for the season?
Scott – UNDER, though I'd push him into the high 80s or low 90s. If you missed out on the Yimi Garcia party, this is a helluva Plan B.
Andy – UNDER. I think I'd take the over on 19.5 saves for Ramos, considering Cishek's struggles (velocity down, runs up). But this is a huge K total for any reliever, and not consistent with Ramos' usual strikeout rates.
Dalton – UNDER. He looks legit, but with the way Steve Cishek is pitching, Ramos may soon find himself overtaking the closer's role, which would limit his innings. Of course, that trade off would still be great news for his fantasy owners.