Found March 16, 2012 on Kramerica Sports:
Justin Verlander Fantasy Baseball Star

Author: Andrew Swanson

The Washington Nationals and Minnesota Twins were two of the most dominant teams in Major League Baseball in week 11, with the former posting an impressive 6-1 record, including a three game sweep of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. The Twins were equally impressive as they won all six of their games, including a three game sweep of the lowly San Diego Padres.

Justin Verlander almost pitched his second no hitter of the season in a two-hit complete game shutout against the Cleveland Indians. Verlander followed that superb performance with a second consecutive complete game shutout in a 9-1 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

On the prospect front, second baseman Dustin Ackley was recalled by the Seattle Mariners from AAA Tacoma on Friday. Ackley is a sweet hitting lefty who reminds us of a left handed Evan Longoria at the plate, and a carbon copy of the smooth fielding Chase Utley in the field.

Offensive Player of the Week: Danny Espinosa
.444 3 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R, 2 SB

Second baseman Danny Espinosa was one of the main catalysts for the surging Washington Nationals in week 11. He batted an impressive .444, with 3 big flies and 8 runs batted in against the visiting Cardinals and Orioles.

Espinosa has provided a nice power boost for fantasy owners this season, as he is second among all second baseman with 13 home runs. With 8 stolen bases to go along with his 13 homers, Espinosa is well on his way to delivering his first 20-20 season of his young career.

- Honorable Mention: Alicedes Escobar, Shane Victorino and Michael Morse


Pitcher of the Week: Justin Verlander
18.0 IP, 2 wins, 17 strikeouts, 0.50 ERA, 0.39 WHIP

Verlander was nearly flawless for fantasy owners in week 11, delivering two complete game shutouts with a minuscule 0.50 ERA and 0.39 WHIP. As I mentioned above, Verlander nearly posted his second no-hitter of the season against the visiting Cleveland Indians.

He is currently ranked first overall based on Yahoo Sports standard scoring, just ahead of fellow American League hurler Jered Weaver. With a pre-season ranking of 60th overall, Verlander has been one of the best values of the young fantasy season.

- Honorable Mention: James Shields, Josh Beckett and Mike Pelfrey


Working the Wire

The Kansas City Royals have been active over the past month promoting highly touted prospects to their major league roster. Fantasy owners have followed suit by adding first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas to their fantasy rosters. In addition to rookie prospects, fantasy owners should consider adding shortstop Alcides Escobar from the waiver wire as it appears he is emerging from his early season slump in which he struggled with a near Mendoza line batting average.


Other Players to Target

1) Andrew Miller (SP BOS)
2) Dustin Ackley (2B SEA)
3) Charlie Blackmon (OF COL)
4) Carlos Carrasco (SP CLE)



Notable Two Start Pitchers For Week 12

1) Madison Bumgarner vs. Twins & Indians
2) Dillon Gee vs. A’s & Rangers
3) Roy Halladay vs. Cardinals & A’s
4) Tim Hudson vs. Blue Jays & Padres
5) Ricky Romero vs. Braves & Cardinals
6) Anibal Sanchez vs. Angels & Mariners
7) Jered Weaver vs. Marlins & Dodgers


Infirmary Report

Week 11 was a busy week for MLB team doctors and fantasy owners alike as numerous top name players suffered injuries. At the top of the list is future hall of famer Albert Pujols, who suffered a sprained wrist after colliding with Wilson Betemit at first base. Pujols fell to the ground in pain as Cardinal fans held their collective breath in disbelief. The initial diagnosis is a strained wrist, however the club did not provide a time-table on how long the slugger will be on the shelf.

Other Notable Injuries:

• Clay Bucholz ( Back – 15 Day DL)
• Carl Crawford (Strained Hamstring – 15 Day DL)
• Tommy Hanson (Shoulder – 15 Day DL)
• Hunter Pence (Elbow - day to day)
• Matt La Porta (Knee – 15 Day DL)
• Derek Jeter (Calf Sprain – 15 Day DL)


Closer Carousel

Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey posted three saves in week 11, giving him 4 on the year and sustaining the fact that he is the closer of choice for newly appointed manager Bob Melvin.

Javy Guerra delivered his second save of the season for the Dodgers on Sunday, however the team still has Matt Guerier listed as the top closer on their official website. We like Guerra, however it is too early to tell if Mattingly has decided on his closer for the remainder of the season.


Fantasy Dud: Evan Longoria
.083 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4 R, 0 SB

Longoria has been a huge disappointment for fantasy owners this season due to his poor performance and injury issues. His poor play continued this past week as he gave fantasy owners a pathetic .083 batting average with no home runs and no runs batted in.

Although we believe Longoria will eventually turn it around in the second half of the season, his owners may have reached a point in which they are ready to trade him for 50 cents on the dollar, making him a nice buy low target.


- Honorable Mention: Hanley Ramirez, Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez
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