Welcome to the first week of the regular season and welcome to the first week of your giving up your social life to check up your fantasy stats. While Yahoo’s StatTracker or ESPN’s mobile phone with fantasy updates may be your new best friend, hopefully you won’t forget to send me any fantasy questions you have. I’ll post questions sent in by readers and will answer all questions sent. (If you wish to send a question, please email me in my Profile page.)
Would you gamble on a huge repeat season from Rays 1B Carlos Pena or is he going to fall to earth? I’m counting on a big season for him since my power is a little lacking.
--Mike, Buffalo, NY
Well, Mike, how optimistic are you? I wouldn’t be optimistic enough to build my team’s offense around him. After all, Pena never produced anything like 2007 in any season before then, as his career high in homers before last year was 27. It’s true that he played the majority of his career in horrible hitters’ parks (seasons with the Tigers and A’s), but he just isn’t a 46 home run guy. After all, he’s been released twice and let walk once and traded twice in his career. You could expect a 30-35 home run season from this former first round pick, but I think you should try to find someone who expects more than that, and get yourself another first baseman.
What’s the story on a pair of injured aces who should be leading my staff: John Lackey and John Smoltz?
--Ashley, Memphis, TN
Ashley, I first want to congratulate you on getting two quality pitchers. They may not be Jake Peavy or Johan Santana, but they strike hitters out, win ballgames, and keep a good ERA. That’s a great way to build your team, assuming you went heavy with offense.
Lackey should be out until mid-May, but his case is one to watch. After all, he’s missing time with a torn oblique, which, for a pitcher, is very troublesome. They really need their obliques to be in good shape. Smoltz is expected to start on Sunday against the New York Mets, but I would bench him for that one. The adrenaline will be up, and Smoltz may not be in perfect form against a lineup that can inflict damage quickly, repeatedly, and easily.
What do you expect from Diamondbacks OF Chris Young? He’s got the talent to be one of the best fantasy outfielders in the game, right?
Tim, Phoenix, AZ
Absolutely Young has the talent to be one of the best outfielders in the game. Acquired in the Javier Vazquez deal, Young went 32/27 (HR/SB) last year, and if that’s not enough to make your mouth water, just imagine what he could do this season. He struck out quite a bit, but he also walked a goodly amount. It’s not like he’s just swinging up there, but he’s doing a good job in terms of pitch recognition.
Combine that ability with his excellent power, and Young could reach the 30 home run plateau again this year. Along with 30 stolen bases, maybe a 20 point improvement in his batting average (from .237), and you’ve got yourself Adam Dunn with 10 less homers and 20 more bags and a much later draft pick or much more money to spend on other players.
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