Opening Day, where have you been?
Itâ€™s been more than five months since we have seen competitive baseball and a lot has changed since the San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers in the World Series last October.
As usual there was a bevy of off-season moves, which will no doubt change the landscape of the league; not to mention the makeup of our fantasy squads.
So, with all that said, here are ten players to watch in the opening week as we begin the new baseball season.
Josh Hamilton: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels prized off-season acquisition has a lot of expectations to live up to and heâ€™ll start out his Angels career on the road with three games in Cincinnati and three games at his old ball park in Texas. Both stadiums are paradise for hitters. Hamilton started off his season by going 0-4 with two walks and a run scored on Monday. For the rest of the week Hamilton will be facing off against the Redsâ€™ Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo before heading to Texas to take on old teammates Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish.
Zack Greinke: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers newest toy is ready to make his debut for the team this week after elbow inflammation slowed Greinke down in spring training. Heâ€™ll be slotted to face the Pirates and Jonathan Sanchez on Friday at home. He should have little trouble transitioning back to the National League after pitching their for the majority of the 2012 season.
Mike Trout: Los Angeles Angels/Bryce Harper: Washington Nationals
These two uber-talented sophomores also have a lot to live up to. After Mondayâ€™s game for Harper, in which he hit two home runs, Trout (who went 1-6 against the Reds on Monday) has some catching up to do. Trout will take on the same pitchers as Hamilton while Harper will continue to take on a weak Marlinsâ€™ staff. He’ll face off against (Kevin Slowey and Wade LeBlanc) before ending his week by traveling to Cincinnati to meet Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto.
Melky Cabrera: Toronto Blue Jays
One of the biggest wildcards this year is the fantasy value of the beleaguered Cabrera. Cabrera is a perplexing commodity at this time after ending his 2012 season on suspension for PED use. Cabrera will have six home games out of the chute against the Indians and Red Sox. He’ll see(Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers) first and follow that trio with the Red Sox (Felix Doubront, John Lackey and Jon Lester).
Dan Haren: Washington Nationals
With the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman and Gio Gonzalez ahead of him on the depth chart, the pressure on Haren in D.C. will be far less intense than if he went elsewhere. Haren will be slotted fourth in the Nats rotation and could have some difficulty when he will have to pitch in Cincinnati and be opposed by( Homer Bailey) on Friday.
Torii Hunter: Detroit Tigers
Hunter is still proving to be a productive fantasy force after all these years. Perhaps a switch to the loaded Tigers lineup canÂ enhance his value while hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Hunter started his season by going 2-5 with a double against the Twins on Monday. Heâ€™ll continue to face some mediocre arms in Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey in Minnesota before coming home to take on a so-so Yankees staff featuring (Ivan Nova, David Phelps and CC Sabathia).
Michael Bourn: Cleveland Indians
The speedy Bourn waited as long as he could to find a lucrative deal this off-season and the Indians finally made him feel welcome with a late offer. Bourn will join an emerging Indians squad that now has postseason hopes. This week Bourn and the Indians will square off against the Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow and Mark Buehrle) and the Rays (Alex Cobb, Roberto Hernandez and David Price) on the road.
B. J. Upton: Atlanta Braves
Upton is set to showcase his talents in Atlanta after spending nine years in Tampa Bay. The maddeningly inconsistent Upton needs to be more of a dependable force to live up to his new contract.Â In his debut with the Braves, Upton went 0-4 with a strikeout against the Phillies on Monday. Upton will continue to take on a strong Phillies staff with(Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee) and then end the week by facing an ordinary Cubs staff featuring(Scott Feldman, Carlos Villanueva and Jeff Samardzija).
Justin Upton: Atlanta Braves
Itâ€™s the Brothers Upton show in Atlanta with the two expected to bring a lot of offense to the Braves. Justin Upton is already off to a fine start by popping a home run off Cole Hamels in his debut with the Braves. This could be the start of major rebound season for the younger Upton.
Shane Victorino: Boston Red Sox
The shifty Victorino is now playing for his third team in the last two years after he signed a deal with Boston in the off-season. Victorino is already off to a solid start after going 2-6 with three RBIâ€™s in his debut with the Red Sox against the Yankees on Monday. Victorino and the Red Sox will finish off the series with the Yankees by facing Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte before heading to Toronto to take on Josh Johnson, J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey.
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