Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Colorado’s uber-rangy shortstop inked a six-year, $31 million pact last winter on the heels of a studly debut season in 2007 (5.3 Value Wins), but a quadriceps injury hurt his fleetness afield and contributed to a rather quiet year at the plate (.313 wOBA, -10.1 Batting Runs) in ’08. Tulo’s off to a good start thus far, popping 3 homers in the early portion of the 2009 season.
Alberto Callaspo, Royals
With eight-figure hacker Jose Guillen hitting the DL with a groin injury, the “Mark Teahen, second baseman” experiment will likely be put on hold until late-April. With Teahen shifting back to right field, Callaspo will soak up some at-bats and play second in the interim. The erstwhile D-Back prospect isn’t especially patient at the dish and his power is downright Bloomquistian. However, he does make a ton of contact and could be worth a shot in deeper leagues. Think Mark Grudzielanek.
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
Carpenter turned back the clock to 2006 this past week, beating up on the Pirates in a seven-inning masterpiece. Carp generated a boatload of groundballs and allowed nary a walk, all while tossing six different offerings. We shouldn’t infer too much from one outing, but a mended Carpenter would be a game-changer for both the Cardinals and fantasy owners.
Nick Swisher, Yankees
Swisher was pegged by many to bounce back from a “down” year at the plate in 2008 (very little changed in his offensive profile, save for a flukish dip in BABIP from .308 in ’07 to .251 in ’08). While it still remains to be seen how often he’ll be deployed, Swish has belted two early-season dingers to help his cause.
Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
Bonifacio is rated as a “Stock Up” player here, but please folks, let’s not go overboard. There exists a tendency in the media to put a frame or a label around everything, trying to extract meaning from each and every event. Yes, Florida’s man at the hot corner has gotten off to a nice start, but he’s the same guy who has been traded twice and holds a career .278/.332/.384 minor league line. Because Bonifacio has gone 14-for-29 during the first week of the season, everyone notices. Had this hot streak occurred in mid-June, it’s possible that only Mama Bonifacio would be talking about it.
Seattle’s Erik Bedard clearly deserves mention here as well, but I’m planning something more extensive on the lefty for tomorrow.
Brett Myers, Phillies
Right now, Myers looks more like the guy demoted to Iron Pigdom last summer than Cole Hamels‘ strong sidekick. It’s not all bad (he has a 12/2 K/BB ratio), but Myers has served up 6 taters in 13 frames while throwing his 90 MPH heater less than 47% of the time. Brett won’t keep the insane 40 HR/FB% short of pitching in a Little League stadium, but hanging sliders and changeups are going to kill a pitcher in a park like Citizens Bank.
Josh Willingham, Nationals
Have you seen Josh Willingham? If so, please contact the Washington Nationals at 1500 South Capitol Street. “The Hammer” is currently hammered to the bench as a casualty of the Nats’ outfield glut, with 12 PA on the year.
Scott Lewis, Indians
Lewis entered the year with a job in the Indians’ rotation on the basis of a strong minor league track record and a plus changeup, but the flyball hurler with an unimposing fastball surrendered 2 big flys and 7 hits during his first start. He then was placed on the DL with a strained left forearm. Cleveland’s starting options might not be flashy, but there are a number of serviceable arms in waiting. The Ohio State product might have to wait for another shot.
Scott Olsen, Nationals
Have you seen Scott Olsen’s fastball? If so, contact the Nationals at 1500 South Capitol Street. Olsen was once among the brightest young moundsmen in the game, with low-90’s velocity and a promising slider, but his strikeout rate has fallen off a cliff in recent years. The 25 year-old southpaw has mysteriously lost 4 MPH on his cheese since 2006, falling from 90.9 MPH to just 86.9 MPH in 2009. Finesse stuff with ordinary control- that’s a bad combination.
Carl Pavano, Indians
I suppose that Pavano should get a gold star for not injuring himself (save for the ego) during his first start of the 2009 season, but man, was it ugly: 1 inning, 6 hits, 9 runs. Pavano still has some time to turn things around (his incentive cash won’t start kicking in until around start number eighteen), but you’ll want to avoid the Big Apple punch line regardless.