Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/15/14
I can’t express enough how much I like Matt Carpenter (4-for-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR) for the 2013 season. You have the fact that he has always been a high-average hitter who could also get on base via the walk. He has just enough power (15 HR) and a great lineup where he should be able to be able to reach 80 R and 80 RBI by year’s end. Then there’s the position eligibility. Oh, those sweet positions. In most leagues, he started 2013 with 1B, 3B, and OF, but now, with David Freese back, he has been starting at 2B as well.At his three initial positions he made for a nice bench player who could be the occasional fill-in, but at second base he can be a top-10 player. You guys already know that I love Martin Prado and Carpenter is a player of the same ilk. Before this week he was owned in ~70% of ESPN leagues and he’s currently owned in just 60% of Yahoo! leagues. If you can’t pick him up, there’s a chance that he was just picked up and maybe you can swing a trade on the cheap. It’s worth the effort because I think Carpenter is going to be a name you hear all year long.4/10 RecapIf you don’t know about Tommy Milone‘s splits yet then it’s about time you figured him out. In 2012, his home splits were very good (98.2 IP, 2.74 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 0.55 HR/9, and 63 K/15 BB) while his road splits are the complete opposite (91.1 IP, 4.83 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 1.77 HR/9, 74 K/21 BB). This year it’s the same deal so make sure you get on board with the trends early in the year and Milone will make for a nice spot starter.Last year Barry Zito (7 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 4 K/1 BB) started off with a great April (1.67 ERA, 0.93 WHIP), but his season quickly turned poorly and he ended the year with a 4.15 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. Adam believes that Zito is worth a look and I would tend to agree; he’s not the same guy the Giants thought they were getting in 2007, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid back-end rotation guy on your fantasy squad.Kelvin Herrera (IP, SV, H, 3 K) has at least earned a share of the closing duties after striking out the side to record the save last night. With a fastball topping out at 100 MPH and a changeup that sits around 85 MPH his stuff is nasty. If he can get the job all to himself he has top-5 closer upside — he’s that good. Go get him.A.J. Pollock (3-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, SB) enjoyed himself a nice night against Jonathan Sanchez, hitting two homers off the lefty. There’s a good chance he isn’t owned in your league, but don’t pick him up expecting a lot of power. Actually, I wouldn’t pick him up at all, but if you’re desperate for steals then he can help you there.Looking AheadThe target date for David Ortiz to return is April 19 and I expect him to hit right away. Expect the Red Sox to be careful with their star slugger early on, but he should still provide some nice pop with a .290-.300 batting average.Chase Headley doesn’t believe he’s a long way off from returning to the field after taking batting practice for the first time yesterday. Hopefully the thumb fracture doesn’t linger throughout the season because he has a 30-homer season to repeat! (yeah, that’s not happening)Thursday’s Probable StartersA list of today’s probable starters and start/sit recommendations, based on standard 10 or 12-team leagues.  Bold = startDylan Axelrod (CHW) @ Dan Haren (WAS) — Two good lineups against an unproven starter and one who has been struggling for over a year.Josh Johnson (TOR) @ Doug Fister (DET) — Fister didn’t look great in his first start against the Yankees, but he’s too good to sit. Ditto for Johnson.Chris Tillman (BAL) @ Alfredo Aceves (BOS) — Very little chance Aceves lasts more than five innings; Tillman has promise, but don’t look for it against the Red Sox.Phil Hughes (NYY) @ Zach McAllister (CLE) — Both the Indians and Yankees are hitting the ball well right now so while both these pitchers are solid matchup plays, the matchup isn’t right today.A.J. Griffin (OAK) @ Jason Vargas (LAA) — Vargas’ first start was a success even though it was in Texas. Today he pitches at home against a less intimidating A’s offense. As for Griffin, he’s a borderline start especially with so few good options today.Justin Grimm (TEX) @ Felix Hernandez (SEA) — You’re obviously starting Felix, but he’s not usually an ace when he faces the Rangers. Grimm was called up to replace Matt Harrison, but you shouldn’t expect much in his first start.Ryan Vogelsong (SF) @ Carlos Villanueva (CHC) — Vogelsong gave up nine hits (all singles) in his last start, but gets an easier matchup today. Villanueva makes for an interesting spot start option as he’s coming off a solid start against the Braves and fighting for a spot in the rotation.Zack Greinke (LAD) @ Jason Marquis (SD) — It was encouraging to see Greinke dominate in his first start and he follows that up with another good matchup against the Padres. Marquis shouldn’t be relied on ever.#ProfStatsNote: We are going to start a new trend (literally) where we post fun and interesting stats we find around the baseball twittersphere with the hashtag #ProfStats. We encourage our readers to do the same, either through your own research or something you come across on the web, and we will post them in our daily recaps!Via @BaseballProfJosh Hamilton‘s O-Swing% is 46.1% and SwStrk% is 23.8%, continuing his career’s trend of decreasing plate discipline.Jason Hammel has a 29.7 GB% in 2013; last year’s “breakout” he had a 53.2 GB%.60.0% of Jeff Samardzija‘s fly balls have been infield flies, second-highest rate is 28.6% by Justin Masterson/Juan Nicasio.Carlos Pena, known for his power, has a 72.2 GB%.Justin Upton may lead the league with 6 HR, but only has 9 RBI thanks to 5 solo HR.Via @ESPNStatsInfoMatt Moore is the first Rays pitcher to make three straight scoreless starts in the regular season.The Giants have won the last 13 games started by Barry Zito, the longest streak since 1951-52 with Sal Magile.Juan Francisco‘s home run was calculated at 459 feet, which is the longest home run for the Braves this season. Justin Upton hit the longest (460 feet).Via @junkstatsAaron Laffey is the only pitcher to give up more than 1 ER against the Marlins this year…he gave up 3 ER.Starting pitchers have given up 6 ER in 55 IP (0.98 ERA) against the Marlins. Brandon Maurer gave up 6 ER in 0.2 IP against the Astros on Tuesday.Jordan Schafer had four hits last night, which is as more than B.J. Upton (3) and Jayson Heyward (2) on the season.Before yesterday’s game, the Cardinals were hitting .200/.238/.278 with the bases empty and .400/.450/.529 with men in scoring position.
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