Ball Street: The Roto Exchange – Grumble Edition

Just when you think you’ve got your fantasy roster set, the first week starts, and injuries kill your chances in weekly lineups. I was grumbling all throughout spring training with the TJS crowd, and now I have reason to grumble again after only a few days. That being said, there are some bright spots in the first series of the season. Let’s take a look at the fantasy stock market in week one.

 Stocks on the Rise

Francisco Rodriguez – I had a feeling that K-Rod may find a way to save games in Milwaukee this season, and it seems that’s the case for now. New save sources always develop throughout the season, but it’s rare that a new closer pops up in the first week when it’s not injury related.

Gerardo Parra – He’s a player who’s never put up sexy stats, but he’s always a capable hitter. The problem has been getting him the playing time. Now it seems that he should get all the playing time he wants at the beginning of this season. What’s more, he adjusted his batting stance with the hope of improving his AB against lefties. If that works, and he gets 550 AB, he could be a great #4 or even #3 OF.

Hyun-Jin Ryu – It’s early, of course, so any praise for Ryu’s hot start has to be taken with a grain of salt. However, I found myself taking Ryu ahead of where other managers would take him — and across several leagues. Many times I got comments about how they wouldn’t have taken him that early. I liked him for all of 2013, and I believed he could maintain or improve going forward. He had a big improvement in his BB/9 in the second half last year, and with his 50% ground ball tilt, I fully expect him to continue as a very solid #2 SP.

Yasiel Puig – He set impossible expectations for a full season, but he’s off to a nice start. If he keeps this up and doesn’t slump in April, good luck trading for him without giving up Trout or Miggy. That being said, he’s already got 5 K in 17 AB, so for redraft leagues, if you could get a king’s ransom for him, I’d take it.

Alejandro de Aza – I was worried for de Aza because he didn’t seem to have a full-time gig guaranteed. However, a hot game this early in the season, plus a very solid spring training, should improve his chances of reaching 500 AB. If he does that, a repeat of 2013 is possible.

Stocks on the Decline

Wilson Ramos – Can this guy every stay healthy? Apparently not, and at this point in his career, it seems like it’s a big enough reason to stay away. Even if all of his injuries aren’t his “fault,” you can’t deny the injury-prone red flag that comes with him. He’ll be out 4-8 weeks, which is a large window, and of course any injury involving the hand and wrist can affect a player’s swing. I’m ready to write him off for the year. Luckily, he doesn’t often cost much.

Jose Reyes – One game? One lousy game, and he gets injured again? For a player whose value is primarily in his SB total, Reyes disappoints every season in recent memory. Okay, so my memory really only goes back to 2013, where he played in 93 games. Even so, his totals aren’t as elite as his younger days; 40 SB is his highest total in the last 5 years, and he needed 160 games to reach it. He’s not going to top that total in 2014.

Jean Segura – I’m really high on him despite his second-half fade in 2013. However, the fact that he is dealing with a sore shoulder to start the year could really affect his April stats, and there’s still a chance he may hit the DL — or even get sent down if he’s really struggling. These chances aren’t high, but I wanted to see a healthy Segura doing well out of the gate, and that’s not happening.

Clayton Kershaw – The baseball gods finally found a way to neutralize Kershaw: get him on the DL so that he misses up to a month. Yes, a month. We were hoping he’d miss one start or two, but he may not pitch in April at all, and that’s never good. It’s especially bad considering I and others have started to tout Kershaw as a legitimate early first round draft pick.

Bobby Parnell – I like Parnell and believe he has the ability to be an above-average closer. However, there’s a high chance he misses most or all of 2014 now that he’s got a tear in his MCL. What’s with all the Tommy John? At this point I feel the need to play this song every morning when I look at MLB news…

Kevin Jebens

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Fantasy baseball player since 2000; winning leagues ranging from 12-team H2H to 18-team experts 5x5. Has written for various baseball blogs, including the 2013 Bleed Cubbie Blue Annual.