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Fantasy Intelligence Report: Baseball Edition 2

Welcome to the second edition of the BaseballSharks.com Fantasy Intelligence Report.

G.B.M. – Greinke’s Big Mistake

When the monotonous Zack Greinke arrived in Milwaukee, the vociferous predictions started to make their way to the Brewers clubhouse doorstep. And why not, right?

I mean, Greinke is a former Cy Young Award winner and survived seven up-and-down seasons pitching for a lousy Kansas City Royals franchise that was about as offensive as Charlie Sheen’s mouth.

The latest news, though, will hush the vociferous and anger the monotonous. According to the

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers’ new ace find will most likely be starting the season on the Disabled List. See, Greinke is a huge fan of pick-up basketball games, and has been doing it for years (another reason why the Royals management sucks). Like a batter did to his fastballs late in 2010 though, it finally caught up to him. Greinke is said to have a cracked rib that will keep in recovery mode for the next several weeks.

“I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and people have always said, ‘You’re going to get hurt,’” Greinke said. “It finally caught up to me, playing basketball. I was going up for a rebound and fell on that side. I was hoping it was just bruised. I had a lot of fun doing it, but it wasn’t worth it.

“I didn’t think it was going to be as bad as it was,” he said. “I was thinking it was just a bruise and kept pitching through it. There’s a lot more negative pitching with it now than positive. I’m going to have to take a little bit of time off. Hopefully, not too much time.”

Could I go in circles around how light the Royal blue truly is, as they realistically can be blamed for not nipping this in the rib? Absolutely. But my ranting words will do nothing for fantasy owners.

I can tell you that this recent news is actually good for those who haven’t conducted their fantasy drafts and are thinking about selecting Greinke. Now, instead of having to pay ace like fantasy dollars, owners can get him at a sale price and still surround him with good talent.

On the Brewers side of things, this news increases the value of Shaun Marcum, who now moves up in the rotation and has a chance to record more starts. It also increases the value of Chris Narveson, who is pretty much a lock to find his left arm in the Brewers rotation. If the Brewers can’t temporary fill the void while Greinke is out, look for a Minor League prospect like Mark Rogers or Wily Peralta to be forced in to action.

A.T.O.T. – Angels’ Trumbo On Track

In last week’s report I threw out Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim first baseman Mark Trumbo as a name that not many probably have on their radars. Since then he has become about as belligerent at the plate as a Chicago Cubs fan in the stands, especially after seeing the hot swinging power bat dial up two moon shot fly balls of 400-plus feet on Monday against the Cubs (one home run and one long double).

Again, as pointed out last week, the reason why Trumbo is getting his opportunity is because of the continual rehab of normal starting first baseman Kendry Morales. And, as the

Los Angeles Times pointed out recently, he’s seizing his opportunity and is showing why his 36 homers from last season’s Triple-A stint are no fluke.

“Mark has shown himself very well in virtually every aspect,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Any drill he’s been in. He’s showing the athleticism to play first base the way we needed it played. Obviously (he’s) swinging the bat.”

While Trumbo’s status will be clearly dictated by Morales’ outlook come opening day, he will be the “hot and ready” Triple-A star first in line to come up if any injuries hamper the Angels at all this season.

Plus, let’s be honest, as good and depth-laden the Angels outfield truly is, putting  Bobby Abreu back out and moving Morales to designated hitter may be something for Scioscia to consider, especially if it helps not only Trumbo get in to lineup, but Morales recover without any setbacks.

H.A.H.A. – Hopping Aboard Hudson’s Arm

Last season the Arizona Diamondbacks probably made the trade of the year when they dealt the inconsistent and irrelevant Edwin Jackson for rising young arm Daniel Hudson. Upon arriving in sunny Phoenix, Hudson went 7-1 with a 1.69 earned run average with 11 quality starts. He also struck out eight or more batters in four of those 11 starts.

Now, heading in to the 2011 season Hudson is healthy and primed for a possible Brandon Webb-like outbreak. Yes, his fly ball tendencies are a little worrisome (45.5 percent in 2010), especially pitching at Chase Field. However, it may not matter, especially if he’s striking out almost eight batters per every nine innings as his 2010 average (7.93) indicated.

M.B.J.P. – More Blue Jay Power

Twenty-five-year-old J.P. Arencibia could be the latest preseason Matt Wieters fantasy fad, with a twisted power surge. The Blue Jays rising catcher is quickly gaining steam in fantasy circles, and by the end of the 2011 season could end up stamping his name towards the top of the list of fastball stoppers.

Arencibia’s 32 longballs at Triple-A Las Vegas last season earned him a late call-up, which he took full advantage of by hitting two homers in his very first game on Aug. 7. Now, Arencibia will probably be spotted at the tail end of a lineup that has enough power to overthrow the AFL-CIO.

And while Arencibia did finish his pro debut with just one hit in his final 31 at-bats, let’s be honest, catchers are the pit of every fantasy team and good power hitting ones come around about as much as supermodels eat triple bypass burgers. In other words, any time we can find someone like Wieters or Arencibia, we ride them like a creaky wooden toboggan until their power stroke gets close to finding Mike Piazza-like production.

G.S.D.M.  Grass Stained Dirt Marks

Brian Wilson, Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon are probably about the only guarantees among closers in the Top 10. Here are a few bargains I like who should slam plenty of doors in 2011.

J.J. Putz, Arizona:

Putz is the only clear candidate for the closer’s role in Arizona, and the Diamondbacks’ pitching rotation is improved enough to give him plenty of opportunities to shut the door. He may not record 35-40 saves, as he did in 2006 and 2007 pitching for Seattle, but 30-plus is a possibility.

Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta:

Kimbrel seems to have a slight edge on Johnny Venters, and is a nice bargain second or third closer in both NL-only and Mixed League formats. If he starts the season as the Braves closer, I see him recording 25-30 saves.

Ryan Franklin, St Louis:

 Very quietly Franklin will get yet another chance at 30-plus saves and another 6-7 wins. It’s safe to draft him as a second or third closer, but keep in mind that he is 38 years old and in his last year of his contract. So in other words, if he gets hot early don’t be afraid to hit that trade button.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for fantasysharks.com

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