It is the second day of the season and many teams first game. There was a ton of offense today and some of the top pitchers in the league got off to a very rocky start and we tell you what to do with them. We have some exciting news when it comes to catchers and some more about middle infielders. Everyone in fantasy is always trying to fill those difficult areas, so be sure to check that out too. There is also another injury coming out of St. Louis, and it is going to have a big effect on fantasy teams.I wish that some stories in these articles were indeed jokes based on the "holiday" today.
Matt Holliday had a huge first game of the season, but he was having an emergency appendectomy Friday and we will await word on how long he will be out at some point this weekend. Things continue to get worse in St. Louis and this will be a tough hole to fill. However, it seems like this will be a few weeks not a few months and you will be able to get Holliday back in your lineups. It is a terrible blow to your fantasy team, but it shouldn't be a death sentence.
A Fantasy Alarm favorite, Carlos Quentin started the season in amazing fashion as he came up with a single, a double, and two run home run, driving in five runs. Quentin isn't going to hit for a really high average, but this guy has massive power and is going to drive in a lot of runs. He is a definite health risk, but he is a guy that i would take that risk with. It was just 2008 when Quentin was the front runner for the AL MVP before he broke his wrist. If this guy can stay healthy, you have a huge star on your hands.
Carlos Santana returned in a big way in his first game of 2011 following a terrible knee injury last season. On top of the two singles that he had, Santana clubbed his first dinger of the year and he is making those that waited a few extra rounds after the top catchers went to grab Santana. He certainly has the ability to be one of the top hitting catchers in baseball, and today was a great look into his potential.
Neil Walker came out of the gate like a house of fire as he not only hit his first home run of the season, but also tagged a double as the Pirates surprisingly actually won a game. Walker burst on the fantasy scene last season, and if today is any indication it looks like 2011 is going to be a fine season. Walker is a solid lower level starting second baseman or an elite middle infield option. Look for him to hit around .300 and pound out 20 home runs.
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Jon Lester didn't get off to a great start in 2011, as not only did he allow five runs in 5.1 innings, but the worst part was he didn't even strike out a single batter. Lester was one of the top pitchers in fantasy last season, and he fanned 225 guys so none of his owners were expecting such a dud, even though he was facing the American League Champion Rangers. However, PLEASE do not freak out about this. Lester will again be one of the top ten pitchers in fantasy and perhaps if you don't own Lester it might be a good time to test the waters with his owners to see if you have someone who might make a knee jerk reaction after one bad start.
Speaking of horrible starts, Ubaldo Jimenez also was horrific in his first start of the year as the lowly Diamondbacks crushed him for five earned runs over six innings and had just a single strikeout. He also allowed gopher balls to Justin Upton and Miguel Montero. I am going to say the exact same thing about Jimenez that I did about Lester, don't even worry about this. I don't expect Baldy to be as good as Lester this season, but he will be very good and you should check out how his owner feels about him.
On the total opposite end of the spectrum, Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie allowed just three hits over eight shutout innings and struck out six. Now this is a guy that you completely should not be excited about after a huge first game. Guthrie has won just 31 games in the last three seasons, and is not someone that you should keep on your roster on a daily basis. At the absolute best Guthrie is a pitch and ditch option, but even then it is tough to use him because he isn't on a great team. Let someone else pick up Guthrie and hopefully they drop someone useable.
Some shied away from Mike Napoli as the season got close after reports came out that he wouldn't do much catching and I think people thought he might not get a healthy number of at bats. However, between first base, designated hitter, and catcher, Napoli is going to get at least 500 at bats and he will be good for 25 home runs on the year. I don't care how bad his defense is at any position, Napoli is too good offensively to sit, and in Texas he is going to shine.
Speaking of power hitting catchers, J.P. Arencibia seems to always have incredible games when it his first of the season. Last year when he was called up from the minors he connected on two home runs, and he improved on that in 2011 when he hit two home runs and even piped in a triple. Arencibia drove in five runs to open the season and looks like he is going to start to realize the potential that he showed throughout the minors. If he is on your waiver wire somewhere, I would really try to find a way to get him on your roster.
Jose Bautista was one of the more talked about players this preseason as everyone had an opinion on whether or not he was going to be able to get anywhere near last season's stats. USA Today's Steve Gardner selected him in all three of our Fantasy Alarm mock drafts this year, but I have not been a believer in Baustista and even though he hit a home run on Friday I am still of the belief that he will top out at 25 home runs in 2011. If he gets off to a hot start, he is someone that I would try to trade for one of the top third basemen in fantasy.
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