Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders this week.
Inadequately protected Giancarlo Stanton, who is still looking for his first homer and RBI on the year, combined HRs and RBI over the rest of the season 124.5
Andy – UNDER. Don't get me wrong: I think he can still be great, and he makes for a nice buy-low. But if you assume 35 homers rest-of-season, then he'll need to find 90 RBIs somehow. That's the trick. Plus he'll need to stay healthy.
Scott – UNDER. He's already hurt, I hate the lineup, I hate the negative energy around this team. I know baseball is a sport of individuals for the most part, but I can't help but wonder how a player does his best in this sort of toxic situation.
Dalton – OVER. I'm assuming his shoulder problem is minor and don't expect it to be over by much, but don't forget Stanton entered May last year with just one home run, then missed a month in the middle of the year and yet still finished with 37 homers and 86 RBI. And it's not like he had any lineup protection then either.
Edward Mujica, who might be the most reliable reliever currently in the Cardinals bullpen, rest of season saves 19.5
Andy – UNDER. He's nothin' special, so it's not like anyone should expect Mujica to run away and hide with the job. Of course you still have to add him if you're chasing saves. (It's kind of ridiculous to project this situation; wouldn't surprise me a bit if the Cards dealt for a closer).
Dalton – UNDER. Mujica is plenty capable of doing so if given the opportunity, but I expect St. Louis' closer's role to remain in flux, with Trevor Rosenthal ultimately emerging as the team's best option.
Brad – OVER. Unless Brian Wilson is suddenly touched by the hand of Zeus and is plucked by the Cards, someone has to emerge from St. Louis' sordid mess. Trevor Rosenthal has the best stuff in the 'pen, but is unrefined and lacks high-leverage experience and Mitchell Boggs is a complete misadventure. Mujica did serve as a closer at the Triple-A level while in the Cleveland organization. As of now, he's the most reliable option Matheny has.
What Swiss Army Knife will prove sharper (Yield greatest overall value): Matt Carpenter, Martin Prado or Todd Frazier?
Dalton – PRADO. I like all three, and I almost picked Frazier, but Prado is the only one eligible at SS. He's also batting second in Arizona's lineup and calls one of the best hitter's parks in baseball home.
Brad – FRAZIER. This is a tight race, but the nod goes to Mr. Redlegs. The hot corner quietly came on strong with senior club last year smacking 19 homers in 422 at-bats. With that in mind and given his deceptive speed he's likely to finish in range of .270-25-85-70-12. Based on where he was drafted, that's lip-smacking good.
Brandon – PRADO. I'll take Prado's well-established .300 track record, the shortstop eligibility and the likelihood that he'll score 100 runs hitting No. 2 in a solid Arizona offense.
Early season sensation Coco Crisp total runs over rest of season (15 currently) 74.5
Brad – UNDER. A weak Bay breeze could blow the fragile Coco onto the 15-day DL. He's off to a superb start, but odds are long he finishes with 500-plus at-bats. A runs total around 75 is likely his ceiling.
Brandon – OVER. He's scored 84 runs in his past 133 games in Oakland. If he can avoid more than one 15-day DL stint, he should top this number without much problem.
Scott – Have to go UNDER on Cereal Crisp, as his body simply doesn't allow for a full season, ever. (The run count I'm excited about belongs to Austin Jackson; I could see him finishing with an absurd number.)
What ‘influenced’ starter will be more coveted as the season drags on: Tim Lincecum or Yovani Gallardo?
Brandon – GALLARDO. As muchy as it pains me to dismiss Lincecum, you just can't ignore the fact that his fastball remains stuck in granny gear (90.4 mph average), and his control is seriously lacking. Gallardo has struggled mightily in April each of the past two seasons, only to right the ship the rest of the way. No reason to think this year can't be any different.
Scott – GALLARDO by default, though at least Linecum is finally getting his first ever April 20 start this weekend. So we've got that.
Andy – GALLARDO. However, I don't see either as coveted, exactly. (Also, please read Jeff Passan's take on the Gallardo situation. Nothing funny about this.)
Underappreciated Bucko Starling Marte, who’s collected eight multi-hit games during his current nine-game hit streak, final batting average .279
Scott – Have to shade this one UNDER until we see definitive proof that he's solved last year's contact problem. That said, the rest of Marte's profile makes him a handy OF3 in most pools.
Andy – OVER. But it's not as if a .285 average makes you an asset as a mixed league outfielder.
Dalton – OVER. The strikeouts have been high, but he's a career .303 hitter in the minors and is off to a nice head start in 2013. Still in his growth phase, Marte hits better than .280 this season.
Unquestionably, the greatest mop/moustache combination in the league, Jeff Samardzija, end of year K/9 10.00
Andy – UNDER. This is a crazy number, very difficult for a starter to reach. Don't be surprised if no one throws 160-plus innings with a K/9 this high.
Dalton – OVER. That's really high, but I say he beats it, albeit barely. Samardzija has one of the best fastballs in baseball, and it wouldn't surprise if he emerges as a darkhorse Cy Young candidate this year.
Brad – OVER. Samardzija could definitely moonlight as lead guitarist for a Motley Crue cover band. As a follically challenged man, I can appreciate a long-flowing mane. Speaking as a flimsy-armed second baseman, I can also appreciate heat. He's featured more sliders and cutters to complement his mid-90s fastball. The result: Ks galore. His fabulous start is no mirage.
What widely available commodity should gold diggers prospect for: Cody Ross (19-percent owned), Matt Adams (13-percent), Lucas Duda (8-percent), Peter Bourjos (6-percent) or Will Venable (4-percent)?
Dalton – ROSS. He quietly hit 22 homers with 81 RBI over just 130 games last season and will be given regular playing time after signing a multi-year deal with Arizona. Chase Field has boosted scoring more than any National League park other than Coors Field over the past three years.
Brad – BOURJOS. Considering the Halos are down Erick Aybar for the next couple weeks, the outfielder should remain a fixture atop the order with Mike Trout sliding to the two-spot. Equipped with low double-digit pop and NASCAR wheels, he will be quality multi-cat producer over the near future and potentially beyond, provided he sports a keener eye.
Brandon – ROSS. Back from the DL, he lands in a cushy spot in the Arizona lineup (hitting No. 5). He should be a bit above average in the power department while not killing your batting average. I'd project a similar line to his Boston totals from last season (.267, 22 HR, 81 RBI).
Fill in the blank. Tony Cingrani finishes with a _______ ERA and strikes out _______ during his stint as a stopgap in the Reds rotation. Only numbers, Behrens.
Brad – "3.88," "21"
Brandon – This is like throwing darts blindfolded, but I'll say "3.75 ERA", "50 Ks" in 57 IP.
Scott – "3.44" and "41." A cozy schedule is approaching (hiya, Marlins; hello there, Cubs).
Andy – "3.75" and "less than 150." Who says he'll be a stop-gap? We don't know where this story will go, if Cingrani pitches well.
Dalton – "4.25" and "24"
OHHHHH STREAM WEAVER! Pick one under-the-radar pitcher to plug ‘n play this weekend: Bronson Arroyo (vs. Mia), Nick Tepesch (vs. Sea), Barry Zito (vs. SD) or Felix Doubront (vs. KC)?
Andy – ARROYO. Such a soft opponent. Almost no chance the Fish will light him up. (Resolved: This is the last time I participate in this question, if we don't scrap the reference to "Dream Weaver." TERRIBLE.)
Scott –You can't go wrong with either of the NL options, but I give a slight edge to ZITO in the big Bay Area park against a soft-rock Padres lineup. Don't sweat Zito's messy turn this week; see the bigger picture, the impressive career revival. (I'd vote for Stream Police, but that's just me.)
Dalton – ARROYO. Getting Giancarlo Stanton back will help, but this Miami lineup looks by far the worst in baseball. The Marlins entered Wednesday having hit three home runs total as a team.
Brad – ZITO. You knew his sparkling start was too good to be true. Pounded for nine earned in Milwaukee, his ERA instantly rocketed from 0.00 to 4.86. But keep in mind he's won 16 of his past 18 starts dating back to last year. At home and hosting a sorrowful San Diego offense sans Carlos Quentin, he delivers another seven shutout innings.
Brandon – ARROYO. There's some attractive options here, but hard to ignore anyone facing Miami's MLB-worst (by far) offense.
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