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Buy Low on Tim Lincecum

In 2010, Tim Lincecum struck out 231 batters in 212 innings, with a SIERA of 3.21. His average fastball velocity? 91.3 mph. In four starts from Aug. 10-27 that year, Lincecum had an earned run average of 9.00 and an average fastball of 90.8 mph. Lincecum has been prone to stretches of diminished velocity, and thus his unsightly start should be little cause for alarm. I must respectfully disagree with esteemed colleage Tom Warman, who wrote briefly on Lincecum here. Yes, his current average fastball of 90.3 mph is particularly low, but I still see this as a buying opportunity. He has 16 strikeouts to four walks in 13 2/3 innings. Buy low. 

It looks as if Chris Iannetta will catch five or six games a week; in the Angel's first 11 games, Iannetta has only sat twice, and he's sporting a heady .267/.353/.567 triple slash in an exhaustive 30 at-bat sample. Still, the age old addage has it that catchers develop late, and Iannetta posted isolated powers of .240 and .232 in 2008 and 2009. Given 450 at-bats, could he be this year's Mike Napoli? Probably not, but he'll likely hit 20 home runs. 

Ryan Doumit did not stick in right field. The Twins picked up Clete Thomas off waivers, and Thomas started in right field on Monday night. Doumit has gone from looking like a candidate for 500 at-bats to one for 350. I dropped Doumit for Iannetta in a shallow mixed league. 

Francisco Liriano increased his average two-seam fastball velocity from 90.9 mph in his first start to 91.2 mph in his second. I followed Yahoo's Andy Behrens' lead and dropped him in both leagues I owned him in. ... As I write this on Tuesday night, the Yankee Stadium gun is giving readings of 94 and 95 mph on Liriano's fastball in the first inning. Liriano walked Alex Rodriguez on four pitches, three sliders and a fastball up and away. He then struck out Andruw Jones on a biting slider to end the inning. In the second, Liriano located the fastball at 92 to Curtis Granderson, but then walked him on a pitch very high and inside at 94 mph. His velocity is up, but he can't locate the fastball, and who knows how legitimate the Yankee Stadium readings are. Liriano exited in the third after giving up seven hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings. 

I extolled the virtues of David Ortiz back in February, citing his incredible improvements against left-handed pitching in 2011. To start 2012, Ortiz is 6-for-13 against left-handers, with some impressive rips against Matt Moore on Sunday. As long as Bobby Valentine's leviathan ego doesn't swallow the Red Sox whole, Ortiz is going to have a huge contract year. 

Chris Young made changes to his swing in the offseason in an attempt to keep his bat level through the zone. His hands start higher, and his hips are closed longer. Young had a monster spring, going .400/.494/.738 with a 10:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 65 at-bats. It's difficult to argue with the results thus far, with Young posting a Kempian .400/.500/.892 line with a 5:6 strikeout-to-walk rate in 37 at-bats before Tuesday's game. Significant results from swing changes should not be taken lightly. Obviously, we need to see more from Young, but now might be the time to try and acquire him. 

It's hard not to be influenced by your league's standings early on. We all want to see our name at the top of the list. It is quite illogical to be concerned at this point, however. Note any significant categorical deficincies and if they have worsened by May 15, consider then addressing them. 







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