Pictured: Mookie Betts
Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Image North America

Baltimore Orioles

The teardown of the Orioles began in July as they spiraled deeper into last place in the American League East. The task of rebuilding was next on the docket and ensured that they wouldn’t contend again for at least a few years. There’s no timetable given and no reason to believe in a quick fix. Changes have ripped apart the organization like a tornado — a new head of baseball operations, new assistants, a new manager and new director of player development and director of scouting. The Orioles got a late start in making the hires and evaluating the talent on their roster, which doesn’t stack up to their division rivals. It isn’t close. They took a hard fall into last place with 115 losses, worst in the majors, and reaching triple-digit losses again is a realistic possibility.

Boston Red Sox

And now comes the hard part — when the encore doubles as the farewell tour. The Red Sox shocked baseball with a run of wire-to-wire dominance unwitnessed since the 1998 Yankees, winning 108 games and their fourth World Series title since 2004. They cleared every obstacle in their path, from Opening Day, when the bullpen imploded vs. Tampa, to Game 3 of the World Series, when a walk-off homer beat them in the 18th inning. They return basically their entire roster, but change is coming. In the next two years alone, free agency looms for standouts such as Chris Sale, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello and Jackie Bradley Jr. They’ll be motivated to go for broke, because this isn’t the start of a budding dynasty. It’s already the last waltz.

New York Yankees

This will give you an idea of the lofty expectations the Yankees face in 2019: Last year’s 100-win campaign, which ended when the Yanks gave the eventual champion Red Sox their toughest October series, is generally considered a flop in New York. Too harsh? Maybe. But the loaded Yankees are a World Series-or-bust team again, thanks to big-name stars such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, blooming youngsters like Gleyber Torres and a velocity-crazed bullpen. 

GM Brian Cashman re-signed Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia and bolstered the rotation by trading for Seattle lefty James Paxton and re-signing J.A. Happ. Paxton could be the October ace the Yankees crave, and he and Luis Severino should lead a rotation that just might be the key to toppling Boston in the brawny American League East. 

The Yankees, with all their young talent, are set up to contend for years, but they might have to go through Boston to get back to the World Series — which would be a nice way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their last championship season.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays were quite pleased to win 90 games in a 2018 season that started brutally bad and included a string of key injuries that forced them to employ some innovative strategy.

But they were far from satisfied.

Team officials started talking that way right from the start of the offseason, plotting to be aggressive and take advantage of some rare financial flexibility to do so at a higher price point. And they showed they were serious about making the most of their window to contend, working an early November trade to acquire catcher Mike Zunino in a sell-high deal for outfielder Mallex Smith in the first in a series of moves that may continue up until Opening Day.

By Christmas, the Rays had let veteran closer Sergio Romo and outfielder Carlos Gomez become free agents, DFA’d leading home run hitter C.J. Cron (getting only the $50,000 waiver fee), signed free agent starter Charlie Morton to a two-year, $30 million deal, swapped supposed cornerstone first baseman Jake Bauers for hard-hitting Yandy Diaz and traded three minor league pitchers in a deal that netted reliever Emilio Pagan (plus a draft pick).

Rather than seeking to plug specific holes, senior VP Chaim Bloom said their approach was more about saying, “Okay, we have this group now that did what they did last year, that we feel strongly about their futures; how can we help support that group to put them in the best position to do what we didn’t do this past year, which is pop champagne and get to the postseason?” 

Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays head into the new season firmly fixated on building for the future after definitively closing their previous competitive window during a miserable 2018. At the transition’s forefront is top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who tore through Double-A and Triple-A while earning wide acclaim as the best prospect in baseball. Guerrero, who will be 20 on Opening Day, is the first such franchise-altering talent acquired and developed internally since Carlos Delgado, and for the team to avoid an extended period of pain, he’ll need to hit the ground running after Josh Donaldson became the latest star slugger to depart the club. Once called up, likely after his free agency has been pushed back a year, Guerrero will arrive to find a new manager in Charlie Montoyo and a mostly new coaching staff. A return to contention hinges on how the Blue Jays manage to fill in around their budding star, as there’s very little certainty on the roster beyond him. 

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Posted in MLB, Top Fantasy Picks

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play.

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Orioles at Blue Jays Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays seemingly can’t buy a break at home, as they failed to take advantage of a sterling pitching performance in their last outing to fall to 1-10 in their last 11 contests at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays (26-35) bid to change the narrative on Thursday as they open a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles (19-41).

Sam Gaviglio scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings on Wednesday for Toronto, but his offense failed to get it in gear as it struck out 15 times in a 3-0 setback in 13 frames against the New York Yankees. Kendrys Morales had two of his team’s four hits for the Blue Jays, who have lost seven of their last eight and 17 of 22. Baltimore knows a thing or two about losing skids as it owns the majors’ worst mark, but it did record consecutive victories for just the fourth time this season after capping a two-game interleague sweep of the New York Mets with Wednesday afternoon’s 1-0 triumph. Manny Machado saw his eight-game hitting streak halted in the matinee, but his sacrifice fly in the eighth inning proved to be the difference.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, MASN (Baltimore), Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH David Hess (2-2, 3.47 ERA)) vs. Blue Jays LH Jaime Garcia (2-4, 6.08)

Hess sustained a hard-luck defeat on May 30 after Bryce Harper’s solo homer in the third inning accounted for his lone damage among four hits in six innings of a 2-0 setback versus Washington. The 24-year-old rookie, who took over for Chris Tillman in the rotation, has helped a beleaguered bullpen by pitching six or more innings in three of his first four starts. Hess threw a first-pitch strike to 17 of the 23 batters he faced to get ahead in the count against the Nationals.

Garcia was blitzed for four runs on seven hits in a season-low 1 2/3 innings during Friday’s 5-2 setback versus Detroit. The 31-year-old has allowed the opposition to bat a robust .291 against him this season. Danny Valencia is 2-for-3 in a small sample size versus Garcia, but the left-hander won his lone start against Baltimore despite being touched for five runs on 10 hits — including two homers – in 5 1/3 innings.

WALK-OFFS

1. Toronto LF Curtis Granderson is 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts in his last five contests.

2. Baltimore CF Adam Jones is 17-for-42 with six runs scored in his last 10 games.

3. Blue Jays top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. exited Wednesday’s Double-A game against Akron with an apparent leg injury after sliding into second base in the fourth inning.

Mariners at Rays Preview

Nelson Cruz is enjoying his best stretch of the campaign and the Seattle slugger looks for his seventh multi-hit outing in nine games Thursday when the Mariners open a four-game series against the host Tampa Bay Rays. Cruz is 12-for-31 with three homers during the stretch after going deep for the 11th time this season during Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the Houston Astros.

Seattle had a five-game winning streak halted with Wednesday’s setback but owns a one-game lead over Houston in the American League West due to a 14-4 stretch. Shortstop Jean Segura went 5-for-9 in two games against the Astros and the back-to-back multi-hit outings raise his major league-leading count in that category to 27. Tampa Bay has scored only 12 runs during a six-game slide and manager Kevin Cash defended the recent practice of starting a reliever after Jonny Venters retired only one batter and allowed five runs in the first inning of Wednesday’s 11-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. “(Wednesday) was one of those gut-wrenching days,” Cash said afterward. “It didn’t go our way and smacked us right in the face. One bad outing, one bad whatever you want to call it. I don’t think it’s fair to get away from it.”

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports Northwest (Seattle), FS Sun (Tampa Bay)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Mike Leake (5-3, 4.71 ERA) vs. Rays RH Ryne Stanek (1-1, 3.65)

Leake allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings against Tampa Bay on Friday but didn’t get a victory because closer Edwin Diaz blew the save in the ninth inning. The 30-year-old Leake is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three career starts against the Rays but has struggled with Carlos Gomez (8-for-20, one home run). Leake has a solid 1.66 ERA over his past three starts and hasn’t issued a walk over his last four turns.

The Rays are 3-5 when opening with a reliever as Stanek will start a game for the third time under the unique approach. The 26-year-old is unscored upon in seven of his past eight appearances and has allowed only three hits in 8 2/3 innings during the stretch. Stanek retired all five Mariners he faced in a relief appearance Saturday and has given up one hit in 2 2/3 innings in two career outings versus Seattle.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Mariners swept the Rays in Seattle last weekend while holding Tampa Bay to five runs.

2. Tampa Bay announced that it will recall 1B Jake Bauers from Triple-A Durham prior to Thursday’s contest.

3. Seattle released veteran LHP Marc Rzepczynski five days after designating him for assignment.

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Posted in MLB

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play for free.

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Yankees at Blue Jays Preview

Slugger Aaron Judge looks to bounce back from a horrific doubleheader performance when the New York Yankees open a two-game series against the host Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Judge became the first player since at least 1920 to strike out eight times in a doubleheader as the Yankees split Monday’s twinbill in Detroit.

Judge was hitless in nine at-bats in the doubleheader and struck out five times in the nightcap as New York had its five-game winning streak halted. The 2017 American League Rookie of the Year is 2-for-19 with 13 strikeouts in four games this month and has struck out 83 times – second-most in the majors – after fanning 208 times last campaign. Judge is 8-for-20 with two homers versus scheduled Toronto starter Marco Estrada, while Giancarlo Stanton (6-for-17) and Gary Sanchez (4-for-21) each have hit four blasts against the right-hander. The Blue Jays also just finished playing Detroit and ended a five-game skid on Sunday with an 8-4 win as Justin Smoak and Randal Grichuk each recorded a homer and three RBIs.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, YES (New York), Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.73 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marco Estrada (2-6, 5.68)

Sabathia is winless over his last five starts but has suffered just one loss during the stretch. The 37-year-old has pitched five innings or fewer in four consecutive outings and seven of his 10 turns. Sabathia is 17-11 with a 3.51 ERA in 33 career starts against the Blue Jays – an 0.96 ERA in two no-decisions this season – and has struggled with Kendrys Morales (9-for-25, homer) and Smoak (10-for-31, two homers).

Estrada has dropped four straight decisions and is 0-5 over his last seven outings. The 34-year-old, who is 7-3 with a 4.27 ERA in 17 career appearances (16 starts) against New York, has posted a 6.53 ERA during his current four-game slide. Estrada’s last victory came against the Yankees on April 20, when he yielded five runs and seven hits over five innings, and he also settled for a no-decision on March 31 after giving up three runs and four hits in seven frames.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Yankees are 5-3 against the Blue Jays this season.

2. New York 2B Gleyber Torres homered in Monday’s first game to become the first Yankee to reach 10 blasts before his 22nd birthday since Hall-of-Famer Mickey Mantle in 1953.

3. Toronto RHP Roberto Osuna (domestic assault charge) had his administrative leave extended through June 11 by Major League Baseball. The 23-year-old last pitched for the Blue Jays on May 6.

Tigers at Red Sox Preview

Two of their key players are already on the disabled list and the Boston Red Sox hope a third will avoid it when they host the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night for the opener of a three-game series. J.D. Martinez, who leads the major leagues with 50 RBIs and is tied for the league lead with 19 homers, left Sunday’s 9-3 victory at Houston with back spasms, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters the slugger is expected to be ready for Tuesday.

Boston’s Mookie Betts, who leads the majors with a .359 batting average, is on the DL with an abdominal strain, while veteran All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia (knee) has hardly played this year and went back on the list recently. The Red Sox have still won seven of their last 10 after splitting a four-game set at Houston by winning the last two games and will send veteran Steven Wright to the mound Tuesday against fellow right-hander Artie Lewicki. The Tigers split a doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Monday, taking the nightcap 4-2, and have won nine of the last 13 overall to close within 2 1/2 games of first place in the American League Central. Nicholas Castellanos was held without a hit in four at-bats during the second game but boasts multiple hits in five of the last seven games (13-for-30) for Detroit, while Miguel Cabrera has hit safely in all five games since his return from the DL on Friday and six straight overall.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FS Detroit, NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Artie Lewicki (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Steven Wright (1-0, 2.25)

Lewicki makes his first start of 2018 after allowing six earned runs in 15 innings across six appearances out of the bullpen this season. The 26-year-old Virginia product has given up one earned run over seven innings in his past three outings and has yet to allow a homer among 18 hits in the majors this year. Lewicki, who faces Boston for the first time in his career, gave up five runs over five innings in his lone major league start last season against Kansas City.

Wright makes his first start of 2018 and the 41st of his career after permitting four hits over nine scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his last four appearances. The 33-year-old knuckleball specialist went 1-3 in five starts during 2017 and was 13-6 one year earlier across 24 starts with a 3.33 ERA. Miguel Cabrera and James McCann have each homered against Wright, who is 0-1 with an 8.04 ERA in three career starts versus the Tigers.

WALK-OFFS

1. Detroit has recorded at least one double in 52 straight games, the third-longest such streak since 1908.

2. Boston LF Andrew Benintendi is 15-for-36 with four homers and 11 RBIs over his last nine contests.

3. The Tigers won four of the seven meetings last year, but the Red Sox won two of the three played in Boston.

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Posted in MLB

MLB InGame Showdowns

Another two games are set for InGame action.  A maximum of 5 swaps are allowed in this contest with play time of 5 consecutive minutes necessary before a starting player can be benched. Each entry will receive 2 Power Multiplier which can be applied to any starting player to receive 2x points for a duration of 15 minutes respectively. Check out the matchups previews below and play.

Orioles at Red Sox Preview

J.D. Martinez has been everything the Boston Red Sox hoped for when they signed him to a $110 million deal this offseason, and the slugger will try to stay hot when he leads his team into the opener of a four-game series with the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. Martinez slugged a two-run homer and scored twice in Wednesday’s 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics, giving him seven long balls in the past 14 contests.

The triumph allowed the Red Sox to avoid being swept for the first time this year while improving to 13-1 in series finales. The Orioles averaged 8.5 runs during a 5-1 surge before they were limited to four hits in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia at home Wednesday afternoon. They’ll give the ball to red-hot right-hander Kevin Gausman in the series opener opposite Red Sox lefty David Price. Boston carries a six-game winning streak over Baltimore into Thursday’s contest, which is the makeup for an April 16 rainout.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (3-2, 3.18 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH David Price (3-4, 4.89)

Since allowing six runs in four innings of his season debut, Gausman is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA over a span of seven starts. He followed up nine scoreless frames at Oakland two turns ago with 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball in a win over Tampa Bay on Friday. Mookie Betts is 12-for-29 with three home runs against the former first-round pick, who is 4-6 with a 3.83 ERA in his career versus Boston.

Price had eight days off between his last two starts, during which he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, and then won at Toronto on Saturday with 5 1/3 solid innings. The former Cy Young Award winner gave up 10 runs (nine earned) in 6 2/3 innings over his last two outings at Fenway Park. Danny Valencia is 13-for-22 with five walks against Price, who dominated the Orioles through seven innings in their lone encounter last year and has a 2.81 ERA in 25 career meetings.

WALK-OFFS

1. Boston won the first three meetings in 2018 by a combined score of 20-7.

2. Martinez has reached safely in a career-high 21 straight games.

3. Baltimore CF Adam Jones homered for team’s only run in Wednesday’s loss while extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

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Athletics at Blue Jays Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays hope to build off an offensive explosion last time out when they open a four-game series against the visiting Oakland Athletics on Thursday night. The Blue Jays recorded 15 hits, including seven for extra bases, in a 12-1 victory at the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon to snap a three-game losing streak and sneak back over the .500 mark (22-21).

Justin Smoak (six RBIs in his last four outings) and Teoscar Hernandez (7-for-20 during his five-game hitting streak) each went deep while Richard Urena launched a three-run blast for Toronto on Wednesday after it managed seven runs the previous three contests. Aaron Sanchez will try to follow up a strong outing from J.A. Happ with another when he takes the mound for the Blue Jays in the series opener and Oakland counters with fellow right-hander Andrew Triggs, who has 42 strikeouts over 39 innings this year. The Athletics started a difficult nine-game stretch by losing five of six against Houston and the New York Yankees before winning two of three at Boston, but dropped the finale 6-4 on Wednesday. Marcus Semien homered in that contest and is 10-for-29 with six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak for Oakland.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, MLB Network, Sportsnet (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Andrew Triggs (3-1, 5.31 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Aaron Sanchez (2-3, 4.08)

Triggs has alternated strong and rough starts over his past six appearances after getting touched up for six runs over 4 1/3 innings at the Yankees last Saturday in a no-decision. The 29-year-old USC product owns two quality starts in his last four trips to the mound and limited opponents to two or fewer runs in five of eight overall. Josh Donaldson is 1-for-1 versus Triggs, who allowed two hits and one unearned run in one inning during his only career outing against Toronto.

Sanchez threw just 60 of 96 pitches for strikes last time out against Boston, permitting three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks over five innings in a no-decision. The 25-year-old California native had a stretch of four straight quality starts before giving up 11 runs (eight earned) over 14 2/3 innings across his last three appearances. Sanchez, who is 0-1 in four starts at home in 2018, yielded six runs over 6 1/3 innings in three career appearances versus Oakland.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Athletics will place C Bruce Maxwell (legal issues) on the restricted list for the Toronto series and recall C Josh Phegley.

2. The Blue Jays won five of the seven meetings in the series last season, including all four in Toronto.

3. Toronto recalled RHP Danny Barnes and optioned RHP Deck McGuire to Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday.

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Posted in MLB

Red Sox at Blue Jays Preview

The Boston Red Sox lead the major leagues with 124 runs scored heading into play on Monday and averaged 7.5 during an eight-game winning streak before going cold over the weekend in back-to-back losses to the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox will try to find the offense again on Tuesday, when they continue the road trip by visiting the American League East-rival Toronto Blue Jays for the first time in 2018.

Boston was on the wrong end of Sean Manaea’s no-hitter on Saturday night and managed six hits in a 4-1 loss on Sunday that gave the team its first series loss of the young season. “Offensively, we feel very capable of scoring runs every night,” first-year Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters. “We think we’re a great offensive club. But this is going to happen. They’re not going to score seven, eight runs a night. But with the pitching staff that we have, they always will give us a chance to win a game.” The Blue Jays are enduring their own offensive slump and were outscored 14-2 in back-to-back losses to the New York Yankees to finish off the weekend. Toronto will try to string some hits together against red-hot right-hander Rick Porcello on Tuesday while countering with veteran lefty J.A. Happ.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

Mookie Betts leads the majors in batting average. Do you start em’ or bench em’ for later. You decide! Manage your team as the game happens.

 MLB IG WTA (Det v Pitt,Red Soxs v Jays)

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PITCHNG MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (4-0, 1.40 ERA) vs. Blue Jays LH J.A. Happ (3-1, 4.50)

Porcello is much more like his Cy Young form of 2016 than his less-than-stellar form of 2017 so far this season, and he did not allow a run in either of his last two outings. The New Jersey native limited the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels to a total of eight hits without walking a batter in a combined 13 scoreless innings. Porcello went 2-2 in four starts against Toronto in 2017, surrendering 29 hits and six walks in 24 2/3 innings.

Happ is off to a strong start as well and earned the win in each of his last three outings. The 35-year-old owns 31 strikeouts in 22 total innings but has also been reached for five home runs – at least one in each of his four turns. Happ went 2-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four starts against Boston last season, yielding three home runs and striking out 16 in 23 2/3 total frames.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Red Sox traded LHP Roenis Elias to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

2. Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez recorded multiple hits in four of his first eight games this season.

3. Boston OF/DH J.D. Martinez is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts over the last two games.

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Posted in MLB

MLB Fantasy Predictions

Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays will host the Boston Red Sox this Sunday in the last game of this 3 game series. FanPicks is proud to bring you this MLB Fantasy predictions article. Come play in our MLB Grand Slam Contest where you can win up to a $1 million this week at FanPicks and dominate your competition with your winning lineup.

 

MLB Fantasy Predictions

The Boston Red Sox aren’t having any difficulties scoring runs this opening week of the regular season. In fact, the Blue Jays’ shaky bullpen has really helped them and it was quite obvious in their spectacular come from behind win this series opener. They will head into this game hoping to remain productive while handing Toronto a 4th straight defeat. Boston took both games of the series so far, including an 8-7 win last night as well as a 8-4 earlier this afternoon. Their 2nd baseman Dustin Pedroia had a solid game, adding 3 hits and 2 RBI for his team. Wellington Castillo also played well with a 2 for 4 contribution on the mound with a run. Hanley Ramirez is another player of note for the Red Sox. He put up 2 hits and an RBI in Friday’s game while adding 2 more RBI and a triple this afternoon.Steven Wright, the right hander will start tomorrow for Boston and it will be his season debut. Wright had a 5-4 record last year in 9 starts with an 4.09 ERA and 52 Strikeouts.
On the other side, Toronto is using Marco Estrada as their starting pitcher tomorrow. Estrada as well is making his season debut but it will be interesting to see if Estrada is fully healthy for this one as he’s coming back from injury.
The Blue Jays shouldn’t have too much issues scoring especially with big hitters such as Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson on their team. So far, only Bautista was able to manage an RBI during Saturday’s game. Donaldson also added Along with Donaldson, Bautista had a pair of hits in that matchup.
Even though the Red Sox are 4-1 in their last 5 Sunday games, and 8-1 in their last 9 against the American League East, the Jays are actually 6-0 in their last 6 games after losing their first 2 games of a series. Toronto also has a 9-3 record on their last 12 Sunday games and are favorite in this one to prevent a sweep.

 

 

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Posted in MLB

Fantasy MLB Baseball Preview

Toronto Blue Jays vs Tampa Bay Rays

It’s that time of the year where the highly anticipated MLB season will freshly begin. With not major changes made during the off season, the Toronto Blue Jays will be traveling to Tampa Bay to face the Rays. FanPicks is proud to bring you this Fantasy MLB Baseball preview. Come play in our MLB Grand Slam Contest where you can win up to a $1 million this week at FanPicks.

 

Fantasy MLB Baseball preview

The 2016 campaign starts for the Toronto Blue Jays this Sunday, when they put their healthier Marcus Stroman to the mound for the first game of a3 game series with Tampa Bay.

Stroman only had 4 appearances last season because of an ACL injury but was undefeated with a 1.67 ERA. He returned this postseason with 3 starts on a 4.19 ERA. With David Price gone to the Red Sox, Stroman will have his starring role in the Blue Jays’ rotation.

The Blue Jays are still going to rely on their offense regardless of their pitching staff. They were terrorizing the plate last year and led the league in HR (232), runs scored (891), slugging % (.457) and on-base percentage (.797)

Josh Donaldson will be teaming up once more with his mates Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to pace their offense  as they combined last season for 120 HR and 937 RBIs.

Justin Smoak however isn’t much of a hitter compared to the others but is a .316 career batting avg against the Ray’s starter Chris Archer.

The Jays are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Rays.

 

On the Rays side, there hasn’t been lots of changes over the offseason but they always remained competitive despite lacking established stars in their lineup.

Archer will be on the mound Sunday against a solid Blue Jays line. He’s proven before that he can handle Toronto’s offense in his young career as he held the Blue Jays in his career to .174 against him. Also, the heavy hitters trio of Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion are only 12 for 86 (.139) against Archer. If Archer can neutralize them again this Sunday, it will be a huge plus for the Rays, who don’t have a firepower that can match Toronto’s offense. They actually had a .245 Batting Avg at home last season, the 3rd worst in the majors.

Tampa Bay was just 25th last season in the MLB in runs (644), but were 14th in slugging % (.406).

Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria will have to carry without a doubt the bulk of the Rays’ with some help of their newcomer Corey Dickerson, who hit .304 with 10 HR last year for the Rockies.

Tampa Bay is 6-4 in its last 10 home games against Toronto.

 

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Posted in MLB

Major League Baseball Fantasy Draft News October 17th 2015

Chicago Cubs versus New York Mets Game 1 MLB NLCS Fantasy Preview 10-17-2015

The NLCS begins on Saturday October 18th as its Game 1 between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. Fantasy baseball draft GMs can tune to TBS TV at 7:30PM Eastern Time to track the results of their roster picks.

The Mets qualified for the NLCS after disposing of the LA Dodgers in five games. They win a deciding fifth game at Dodgers Stadium on Thursday by the score of 3-2. The Cubs were able to dispose of the St Louis Cardinals in four games as Chicago earned the 6-4 victory in the series clincher on Tuesday at home in Chicago. The Cubs and Mets have met seven times during the regular season with Chicago winning all seven games. The Cubs pitching staff put on a dominating effort limiting New York to one run or fewer in five of the seven games.

Chicago Cubs LF:

Chris Coghlan

The Cubs don’t have much history facing Harvey over their careers. Coghlan stands out as he is 3 for 8 life time against the Mets starter with two RBIs.

Chicago Cubs P:

Jon Lester

On the year the Cubs left hander is 11-12 with an ERA of 3.34 and WHIP of 1.12. He had a start in the NLDS at St Louis and went 7 1/3rd innings and gave up three earned runs in a 4-0 road loss at St Louis.

New York Mets RF:

Curtis Granderson

New York Mets 1B:

Lucas Duda

The Mets first baseman is 2 for 6 life time against Lester with a home run.

Curtis Granderson has a long history against Lester in his career. In 44 at bats Granderson is batting .273 with two homers and four RBIs.

New York Mets P:

Matt Harvey

The Mets right hander on the season is 13-8 in his 29 starts with an ERA of 2.71 and WHIP of 1.02. He worked Game 3 of the NLDS against the Dodgers and allowed two earned runs and seven hits over five innings in a 13-7 home victory to the LA Dodgers.

Toronto Blue Jays versus Kansas City Royals Game 2 MLB ALCS Fantasy Baseball Preview 10-17-2015

This will be Game 2 of the ALCS series. It was the Kansas City Royals behind a great six innings no run performance by Edinson Volquez as they posted the 5-0 victory to take 1-0 lead in this best of seven series. The outstanding Royals bullpen shut out the power hitting Blue Jays the rest of the way to their victory.

Toronto Blue Jays RF:

Jose Bautista

Not too much history for Blue Jays hitters battling Ventura. Jose Bautista stands out with a 3 for 5 against Ventura with a homer and RBI.

Toronto Blue Jays P:

David Price

The Blue Jays left hander is 18-5 on the year with an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 1.08. He faced Texas twice in the ALDS and allowed a total of eight earned runs and eleven hits over ten innings of work as he went 1-1 in those two playoff games.

Kansas City Royals RF:

Alex Rios

The KC Royals have had good success hitting David Price with a Team Batting average of .293. Royal’s right fielder Alex Rios has crushed Price by batting .400 against him with two homers and ten RBIs in 30 at bats.

Kansas City Royals P:

Yordano Ventura

The KC right hander is 13-8 in his 28 starts on the season with an ERA of 4.08 and WHIP of 1.30. Ventura faced the Astros twice in the playoffs and allowed a total of six earned runs and eight hits over seven innings of work.

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball ALDS Preview – Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays

The 1 Day Cash Draft ALDS baseball series starts on Thursday. Rivalries will be made and Fantasy Baseball managers will make a lot of cash. The competition begins with the Texas Rangers (88-74) and the Toronto Blue Jays (93-69). Both team won their respective division, but only Toronto clinched it a week earlier. The Blue Jays can count on a solid lineup of hitters. They are ranked first in the MLB home run total with 232, and 10 of them came against the Rangers. The Jays won the season series 4 out of the 6 games this year.

Potential Pitching Matchup:

Schedule Texas Rangers Toronto Blue Jays
October 8 3:30 PM ET

at Roger Centre

RHP Yovani Gallardo (13-11, 3.42 ERA)*

Vs Blue Jays this season (2-0, 0.00 ERA)

Away this season (5-5, 3.31 ERA)

LHP David Price (18-5, 2.45 ERA)*

Vs Rangers this season (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

At Home this season (4-1, 2.61 ERA)

 

October 9 12:30 PM ET

at Roger Centre

 

LHP Cole Hamels (13-8, 3.65 ERA)*

Away this season (3-1, 3.66 ERA)

 

RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67 ERA)*

At Home this season (2-0, 0.64 ERA)

 

October 11 8 PM ET

at Globe Life Park in Arlington

 

LHP Derek Holland (4-3, 4.91 ERA)

Vs Blue Jays this season (0-0, 6.00 ERA)

At Home this season (3-2, 5.12 ERA)

 

RHP Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13 ERA)

Vs Rangers this season (0-1, 1.50 ERA)

Away this season (7-4, 3.29 ERA)

 

October 12 TBD

at Globe Life Park in Arlington

 

RHP Colby Lewis (17-9, 4.66 ERA)

Vs Blue Jays this season (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

At Home this season (8-3, 5.07 ERA)

 

RHP R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA)

Away this season (2-8, 4.83 ERA)

 

October 14 TBD

at Roger Centre

 

RHP Yovani Gallardo

 

LHP David Price

(*)Confirmed

Series Value Picks:

P Yovani Gallardo – Texas Rangers – Season: 13-11, 3.42 ERA, 121 SO

Gallardo is Toronto’s kryptonite. He has never lost a game against the Jays in three start. Two of them came this year, and he didn’t even allow a run to score in 13.2 innings of work. The Mexican will pitch in the first game of the series against David Price. Toronto’s ace is 1-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 playoff games. Gallardo has the advantage in that matchup.

P Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – Season: 4-0, 1.67 ERA, 18 SO

Stroman continued where he left off last year. He’s 4-0 with 1.67 ERA since coming back from a lengthy D.L. stint on September 12th. The young Phenom had two great start at Roger Centre this year. He has allowed 1 earned run in total in his home field. No wonder the Jays wants him to pitch the second game of the series in Toronto.

1B Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers – Season:  .305 AVG, 78 Runs, 23 HR’s, 98 RBI’s

Fielder led his team in RBI’s (98) and batting average (.305) this year. In 6 games against the Jays over the season, he was hitting .320. The big man will enter the series with 39 post- season game under his belt, just trailing teammate Mike Napoli (47) and opponent Russell Martin (40) for the most in this series.

1B Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays – Season: .277 AVG, 94 Runs, 39 HR’s, 111 RBI’s

Encarnacion was impressive in the 6 games against the Rangers this year. He has scored 4 runs, knocked 4 deep flies and brought in 11 RBI’s. In their last meeting, the 32 years-old had 5 RBI’s and 2 homers. Encarnacion is ready for the playoffs as he belted 4 homers in the last 5 games of the season.

3B Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers – Season: .287 AVG, 83 Runs, 18 HR’s, 83 RBI’s

Beltre is on fire right now. He has 13 RBI’s and is batting .500 in the last week of the season. The veteran was also solid in series at home against the Blue Jays, getting an average of .333 with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s.

3B Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays – Season: .297 AVG, 122 Runs, 41 HR’s, 123 RBI’s

Donaldson finished second in the league in runs batted in with 123, and first in run scored with 122. He was such an amazing player this year that he is the favorite to win the A.L. MVP award. His grit and determination will make him a definite fantasy pick in this series.

SS Troy Tulowitzki – Toronto Blue Jays – Season: .280 AVG, 77 Runs, 17 HR’s, 70 RBI’s

Tulowitzki just came back from an injury that kept him out for most of September. It’s a perfect time for him to make his return because of the extra power he can bring to this team of heavy hitters. It was back in 2007 that he made it to the World Series, and 2009 was his last post-season game.

OF Shin Soo-Choo – Texas Rangers – Season: .276 AVG, 94 Runs, 22 HR’s, 82 RBI’s

Choo has bested is numbers from last year, gathering 22 home run, 82 RBI’s and a .276 batting average. At 33 years-old, he will finally get the chance to play in his first division series. The Korean blasted the ball over the fence during the NLWC back in 2013. That was his only post-season appearance.

OF Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays – Season: .250 AVG, 108 Runs, 40 HR’s, 114 RBI’s

Bautista is the only one of the three headed monster (Donaldson, Encarnacion) to have yet played in October baseball playoff. The 34 years-old has reached 40 home runs and more than a 100 RBI’s for the first time since the 2011 season.

Series Prediction: Texas Rangers in 5

 

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball Best Picks of the Day – September 22nd 2015

It’s a beautiful day for Fantasy Baseball, as all 30 teams get back into action. That means it’s time to play fantasy baseball for real money. The race is on for the pennant and there is some heavy battle out there. Yesterday, the Blue Jays distanced themselves 3.5 games from the Yankees in the American League East. David Price had a stellar performance once again. He won every single game he played this month (4-0). Another pitcher that never seems to lose (especially at Minute Maid Park) is Dallas Keuchel, who is now 14-0 at home. He’s the only pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball to accomplish this feat. The Astros were able to get back one game behind the division leading Rangers. With all this drama unfolding, what is to be expected today in Daily Fantasy Baseball? Let’s get to today’s hot fantasy picks:

P Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners

 Season: 8 W, 4 L, 3.90 ERA, 92 Ks, 20 BBs

Sure, he will be facing the best team in the American League, but Iwakuma has been efficient for the Seattle Mariners since August. We are talking about a 6-2 record and a 2.99 ERA in that stretch. Let’s not forget the no-hitter he threw back on August 12th against the Baltimore Orioles. Not only does he ride a good spell, but he also has a great record against the opposition. He holds 2 wins and no losses with a 2.14 ERA in three outings against the Kansas City Royals. Tonight, the Japanese will spoil the opportunity for the Royals to clinch a playoff spot.

C Brian McCann – New York Yankees

Season:  .238 AVG, 26 HRs, 90 RBIs, 65 Runs

The Toronto Blue Jays got the win yesterday with ace David Price on the mound. Today, it’s Marco Estrada’s turn. I’m not saying Estrada is no good, but he’s no David Price. The Yankees will take the opportunity to swing their big bats, and that means that McCann will cash in a few RBI’s in the cleanup spot.

1B Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks

Season: .243 AVG, 10 HRs, 60 RBIs, 36 Runs

I said yesterday that Arizona needed to take out some frustration out on the Dodgers, and that’s exactly what they did. 17 hits and an 8-4 win in last night game was what they needed. Paul Goldschmidt has been in the middle of this rumble, knocking out one out of the park. He will continue to ride this out against starter Alex Wood. Goldy has 2 homers and 4 RBIs in 7 at-bats when facing Woods.

2B Cory Spangenberg – San Diego Padres

Season: .264 AVG, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs, 32 Runs, 9 SBs

He has been kept in the shadows playing for the San Diego Padres, but this 2011 first-round pick will become one of the best second baseman in the league. He will have an easy task tonight against San Francisco starter Chris Heston, who has been awful lately.

3B Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs

Season: .277 AVG, 25 HRs, 95 RBIs, 84 Runs, 13 SBs

He started the season as one of the best prospect in baseball. Now he leads all rookies in RBI’s, with 95, and is tied for first in home runs, with 25. The third baseman will have no problem helping pitcher Jake Arrieta get his 20th win against the winning less Tyler Cravy.

SS Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox

Season: .323 AVG, 7 HRs, 78 RBIs, 76 Runs, 10 SBs

On the 10th game of his hitting streak, he has belted a grand slam and finished the night with 5 RBI’s. Leading all shortstop in batting average, Bogaerts his quickly becoming the building block of the Boston Red Sox. He will have no problem following up on his memorable night against Matt Moore. Moore never had good outings at Fenway.

OF Rusney Castillo – Boston Red Sox

Season: .270 AVG, 5 HRs, 29 RBIs, 33 Runs, 4 SBs

The Cuban import is still getting used to playing in MLB this year. He doesn’t show big numbers but the everyday left fielder should produce against Matt Moore at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are still seeing something in him. So should we.

OF Seth Smith – Seattle Mariners

Season: .247 AVG, 11 HRs, 41 RBIs, 48 Runs

Nelson Cruz doesn’t have success against Jeremy Guthrie. It will be on Robinson Cano and Seth Smith to take charge of the offense. Smith has had some quality at-bats facing Guthrie.

OF Angel Pagan – San Francisco Giants

Season: .266 AVG, 2 HRs, 32 RBIs, 48 Runs, 9 SBs

It was a little over one week ago that Pagan was able to steal 3 bases against the Padres. He could pull another trick up his sleeves once again in San Diego.

Fantasy Baseball Picks Recap

 P Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners

C Brian McCann – New York Yankees

1B Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks

2B Cory Spangenberg – San Diego Padres

3B Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs

SS Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox

OF Rusney Castillo – Boston Red Sox

OF Seth Smith – Seattle Mariners

OF Angel Pagan – San Francisco Giants

Posted in MLB

Fantasy Baseball Best Pick of the Evening – September 21th 2015

We’re less than two weeks away from closing out the Fantasy Baseball regular season. Come learn how to play fantasy baseball before it’s too late. There is 10 games to be played Monday evening. The most interesting matchup today is the one between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jay. They begin a crucial 3 game series for the top spot in the A.L. East. Blue Jays ace, David Price (16-5), will start with Yankees Adam Warren (6-6) opposing him. Now let’s take a look at some hot fantasy picks:

P Jason Hammel – Chicago Cubs

 Season: 8 W, 6L, 3.73 ERA, 159 Ks, 39 BBs

The Chicago Cubs have been on a tear lately. They are in a battle against the Pittsburgh Pirates for the wild card spot in the National League. The Cubbies begin a three-game stand at Wrigley against the Brew Crew. Jason Hammel (8-6) will be on the mound for Chicago. He has struggled in his last outing allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings. After the game, he made it clear that he blew it and had to be better. Now is the chance to prove it. He’s undefeated in 10 games against Milwaukee, with 7 decision wins and a 2.13 ERA. His opponent Wily Peralta (5-9) as failed to reproduce the numbers that made him successful last year. Against a team that has no more playoff aspiration, this should be a cake walk for Hammel.

C Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets

Season:  .283 AVG, 12 HRs, 41 RBIs, 30 Runs

D’Arnaud has been ripping it up in the month of September, hitting for .327. He will face starter Shelby Miller, the National League leader in losses. Besides that, Miller hasn’t won since May 18th. This is good for D’Arnaud.

1B Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks

Season: .315 AVG, 28 HRs, 100 RBIs, 91 Runs, 21 SBs

With the D-Backs eliminated from the playoffs yesterday, players will want to take out their frustration on the field. One of those players is Paul Goldschmidt who his batting .538 in 13 at-bats against opposing pitcher Brett Anderson. Goldy has 2 homers and 5 RBI’s this season alone, when facing the Dodgers hurler.

2B Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds

Season: .293 AVG, 12 HRs, 65 RBIs, 66 Runs, 21 SBs

Phillips is on a roll as of late hitting .338 and getting 13 RBIs in the month of September. He has been able to get 2 hits in each season off Jaime Garcia the past five years. This year, Phillips has none in 4 at-bats against the lefty. It’s his last chance to get some before season end.

3B Chase Headley – New York Yankees

Season: .264 AVG, 11 HRs, 61 RBIs, 72 Runs

This is a big one between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. The fantasy score will come from an unlikely hero. That hero will be Chase Headley. He has success this season against David Price with a batting average of .600.

SS Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox

Season: .322 AVG, 6 HRs, 73 RBIs, 74 Runs, 13 SBs

Who knew Bogaerts was going to soar this year. The last shortstop to have had that much talent with the bat for the Red Sox was Nomar Garciaparra. The 22 years-old his way to be the next Garciaparra. He’s currently on a nine game hitting streak and is the second best in the American League with an average of .322.

OF Melky Cabrera – Chicago White Sox

Season: .274 AVG, 11 HRs, 73 RBIs, 66 Runs, 3 SBs

It will be the Melky way tonight at Comerica Park. Cabrera has had past success against the 39 years-old Randy Wolf, batting .571 since 2010. They haven’t faced off since 2012, but the aging Wolf is in the decline and Cabrera will make him pay for it.

OF Carl Crawford – Los Angeles Dodgers

Season: .265 AVG, 4 HRs, 15 RBIs, 17 Runs, 9 SBs

He is not the all-star as he once was, but he is hitting .298 and has stolen 9 bases since the beginning of August. Back in 2013, he has faced Jhoulys Chacin 6 time, and has collected 5 hits against him. You can say that Crawford will have Chacin’s number Monday night.

OF Scott Van Slyke – Los Angeles Dodgers

Season: .248 AVG, 6 HRs, 29 RBIs, 19 Runs, 3 SBs

Adrian’s Gonzalez is questionable for Monday’s matchup between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers. This could allow Scott Van Slyke to play his second game in a row. He knocked a solo-home run last night. The son of former MLB player Andy Van Slyke is no slouch against Jhoulys Chacin, hitting .600 against him in the past 2 years.

Fantasy Baseball Picks Recap

P Jason Hammel – Chicago Cubs

C Travis d’Arnaud – New York Mets

1B Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamonbacks

2B Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds

3B Chase Headley – New York Yankees

SS Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox

OF Melky Cabrera – Chicago White Sox

OF Carl Crawford – Los Angeles Dodgers

OF Scott Van Slyke –Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted in MLB

Toronto Blue Jays vs NY Yankees – 4/6/15 MLB Fantasy Sports, Baseball Picks, Odds & Predictions

MLB Cash Draft Picks

The Major League Baseball season has its Opening Day Monday for the majority of the teams. On tap for April 6th will be an American League East affair as the Toronto Blue Jays will meet the New York Yankees. They get started from Yankees Stadium at 1PM Eastern Time over ESPN TV.

The New York Yankees were a disappointment a year ago as the team was struck hard with injuries to their starting rotation. Missing significant time were C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. The team will welcome Alex Rodriguez back to the lineup after his season long suspension due to PED use. ARod had a successful spring but production in March is forgotten very quickly when they play for keeps in April.

The Toronto Blue Jays were many pundits pick to win the American League East during the 2014 season. The team finished with an 83-79 record good for third place in the AL East and five games behind Oakland for the final Wildcard spot.

New York Yankees Starting Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka will get the start for the Yankees. The right hander missed much of the 2014 season with an elbow injury that was nearly serious enough for Tommy John surgery. Some say the surgery is inevitable. Tanaka started 20 games for the Yankees last season and went 13-5 with an ERA of 2.77 in 136 1/3rd innings of work. He had three starts against the Blue Jays a season ago and allowed four earned runs, 16 hits in three starters working a total of 18 1/3rd innings.

New York Yankees 2B: It was a poor year for veteran Stephen Drew. He hits just .162 in 271 at bats with seven homers runs and 26 RBI’s. At home in Yankees Stadium Drew hit just .149 with 25 strikeouts in 87 at bats.

New York Yankees CF: Jacoby Ellsbury was sideline with an oblique injury but is expected to play on Monday. He has had good success hitting Hutchison with a .455 average as he goes 5 of 11 with three RBI’s. He was a .303 hitter at Yankees Stadium as he belted seven homers with 28 RBI”s in 264 at bats.

New York Yankees DH: Alex Rodriguez last saw work in a regular season game for the New York Yankees back in the 2013 campaign. His numbers have gone down and it was a real struggle as he batted .244 in 156 at bats with seven homers and 19 RBI’s. He hit just .111 as a pinch hitter that season.

Toronto Blue Jays Starting Pitcher: It will be 24 year old Drew Hutchison taking the mound for the Blue Jays on Opening Day. He started 32 games for the Blue Jays in 2014 and went 11-13 with an ERA Of 4.48 working 184 2/3rd innings. Hutchinson is prone to the big innings as the hurler has allowed five or more earned runs in nine of his starts last season.

Blue Jays 1B: Edwin Encarnacion has had modest success against the Yankees starter Tanaka as he has four hits in eight at bats. He hit .270 against right handers a season ago with 19 homers and 54 RBI’s.

Blue Jays RF: Power hitter Jose Bautista put up some respectable numbers against right handed hitters with a .270 average with 25 homers and 84 RBI’s. He belted four home runs at and hit .313 at Yankees Stadium a season ago.

Blue Jays C: Veteran Russell Martin joins Toronto after spending the past two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his time with Pittsburgh the Pirates starting staff began to show improvement. Martin’s place of birth is East York Canada. He hit for average in 2014 as the catcher batted 2.90 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI’s. It was his highest batting average since way back in the 2007 season with the LA Dodgers where he batted .293.

Blue Jays 3B: Josh Donaldson will play his first full season the Toronto Blue Jays after spending his four season in the Major Leagues with the Oakland Athletics. He finished the 2014 campaign hitting 2.55 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI’s.

 

Baseball Mock Draft for One-Day Fantasy Leagues:

 1B: Edwin Encarnacion (Blue Jays)

RF: Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)

C: Russell Martin (Blue Jays)

3B: Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays)

P: Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees)

CF: Jacoby Ellsbury (Yankees)

Cash Draft Contest

Posted in MLB