Brian, Feature

Early Observations: Opening Weekend Highs and Lows


  • Closer Woes: Not only are a few of the top-line closers hurt (Brian Wilson, Andrew Bailey, David Aardsma, and Brad Lidge), but the first couple days of the season haven’t been very kind to some reliable relievers.

Ryan Franklin, Leo Nunez, Francisco Rodriguez, Brandon Lyon, Evan Meek, and Fernando Rodney all had trouble in the late innings, but nobody was as bad as John Axford on Opening Day against the Reds. Axford, last year’s break out closer for the Brewers, had a line as ugly as you’ll ever see (0.2 IP, 2H, 1BB, 4ER).

The key is to not hit the panic button, fantasy owners. Not yet anyway. Now if one of these pitchers continues to struggle, you’ll want to rapidly hit that button and look for better options, but that time isn’t now.

  • Hot Start for Young Players: Seems like all the young dudes are getting into the act early on.

Toronto’s rookie catcher J. P. Arencibia hit two homers on Saturday. Not to be outdone, Carlos “Don’t Call Me Oye Como Va” Santana crushed a two-run homer in his first game since shredding his knee early last August.

Jared Cothren’s preseason ROY favorite, Brandon Belt, has had a hot start to the season, including his first career homerun.

Potential “breakout” player, Cameron Maybin, has powered the Padres to two early wins.

Kyle Drabek, the key player in the Roy Halladay trade, took a no-hitter against the Twinkies into the 6th inning. He ended with seven strikeouts in seven innings, giving up only one earned run.

  • High Profile Players Without a Hit Yet: Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez, Carl Crawford, Justin Morneau, Alex Rios, Brad Hawpe, Luke Scott, Adam Jones, Troy Tulowitzki, Evan Longoria, Ian Desmond, and Martin Prado.
  • Low Profile Players With Lots of Hits: Eric Aybar (5), Willie Bloomquist (4), Jack Hannahan (4), Angel Sanchez (4), and Seth Smith (4).
  • New Strikeout Kings?: Shin-Soo Choo and Austin Jackson lead the league with five strikeouts in 2 games. You probably shouldn’t worry much about Choo, but Jackson could be a serious threat to reach 200 strikeouts this year (he had 170 in 2010). He’s currently on pace for 405 strikeouts.
  • Ending on a High Note: Slow starter (Mark Teixiera) and oft-injured (Brian Roberts) are off to fast starts and are looking like they’re in mid-season form.
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