Mariners C Mike Zunino
Is it possible the slash rate of .293/.356/.707 down of the farm can be translated to more success in Zunino’s return to the show? Possibly as evidenced by the .286/.316/.571 slash rate the last 14 days since returning from AAA. The 3rd overall pick in the 2012 Draft is a prime example of not bringing up prospects before they are ready. Zunino is still young enough at 26 to have an impactful career. Available in 99% of fantasy baseball leagues, Zunino may be worth a pickup in deeper or AL only leagues. I put in a claim this week in one of my leagues.
Royals 2B Whit Merrifield
.293/.349/.489 slash rate this season. Has been on fire to start the season. Merrifield transformed his body this offseason and is reaping the benefits. Still available in over 85% of fantasy baseball leagues. Added bonus is Merrifield has OF eligibility in some leagues. I’m a little late to the party, but put in a claim in a league Merrifield is still available.
Athletics SP Sean Manaea
3-1 record and 10.9 SO/9 since returning from the DL. 2 starts this week on Monday at home vs. the Blue Jays and a Saturday road tilt with the Rays. Available in roughly 50% of fantasy baseball leagues. I drafted Manaea late in a daily categories league.
Felix Hernandez had a rough outing in his most recent start vs. the Athletics. The Mariners ended up winning the game 9-8, but King Felix was knocked around (4 IP 9 H 8 R 4 ER 1 K). 2 errors including one by Hernandez didn’t help matters. Hernandez in 6 starts is 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA, 1.25 WHIP with a 29:18 K:BB. Command has been a problem with a 5 and a 6 walk performance already this season. Finishing off hitters with a wipe away close out pitch has escaped the 6-time All-Star so far as well. Analysts point to 2 miles per-hour of lost velocity on his fastball and the game plan of pitching backwards by featuring more of his off-speed pitches. 2,299 career innings is a lot of mileage and there’s only so many throws in an arm. As stuff diminishes so does the margin for error.
Breaking down his performances this year, Hernandez has faced the Rangers, A’s twice, Yankees, Angels, and Royals. Familiarity makes divisional opponents tough. King Felix owns a career 2.58 ERA vs. the A’s, 3.31 ERA against the Angels, and 3.72 ERA vs. the Rangers. Oakland is the opponent where King Felix has had his best success 11-3 in Oakland and 22-8 in his career.
As a King Felix fantasy owner, I am not ready to hit the panic button. The results for Hernandez now don’t match the results of his prime. Last season, Hernandez went 18-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Not King Felix-like ratios but still solid numbers. The sky is not falling for a pitcher with a 2.21 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in 6 starts. I would anticipate King Felix turning things around pretty soon. The 2010 AL Cy Young winner has been a pitcher instead of a thrower for his major league career. I expect King Felix to make the adjustment and in 30-plus starts the numbers should be there.
Fantasy owners that have King Felix should hold pat unless a solid offer is on the table.
Selling short would be a big mistake as better days should be ahead. I own Hernandez in 1 of my 5 leagues, but will try to buy him for 50 cents on the dollar.