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April has always seemed to me a great month to be a pitcher. In a lot of MLB cities, it's still pretty darn cold outside. Position players in the field, wearing ear coverings and dancing in place, looking as if they would rather be anywhere else, while hitters, dressed like they're going outside to build snowmen, act like they're still working on their swing timing and afraid of getting a stinger if they actually connect with the ball.
In the middle of all this is the often bare-armed pitcher, generating so much heat from the torque of his motion that it looks like he's actually very comfortable. Part of what's making him feel that way is probably the thought that his arm will never feel for the rest of the season as good, as strong, and as un-sore as it feels in April.
Here's a quick look at a few of the best arms of April 2013:
Matt Harvey, SP, NYM: He was ranked a little too high for my blood in pre-season draft guides, but that shows how much I know: 3-0, 25 strikeouts in 22 innings, a 0.82 ERA and 0.55 WHIP thus far.
Paul Maholm, SP, ATL: He was still available in almost 20% of Yahoo! leagues when I last checked, despite having not given up a run yet in 20.1 innings, with a 3-0 record. Good thing the Cubs got rid of him though.
Addison Reed, RP, CHI: I thought he was poised to be much more consistent in the closer role this year, and he's starting well: With five saves and one win, he has figured in all six of the Sox victories, and has not allowed an earned run yet.
Justin Masterson, SP, CLE: Seems like he is always pretty good in April, but this year has been dazzling, with a 3-0 record, 0.41 ERA and a complete-game shutout. Still available in about 17% of Yahoo! leagues.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP/RP, SEA: One of my sleeper favorites in the pre-season, he has a 0.48 WHIP with a 16-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, plus he's a starter who can be plugged into the RP slot if you're into that. Still available in 25% of Yahoo! leagues.
Clay Buchholz, SP, BOS: A lot of pre-season buzz that this would be his breakout year, and he has delivered so far, with a 3-0 record and 0.41 ERA.
Jason Grilli, RP, PIT: A 36-year-old journeyman who probably wasn't noticed much in fantasy drafts has collected five saves without an earned run yet.
* Bleacher Report says don't believe the hype about Masterson.
* SI.com thinks you should pick up Evan Gattis and Shelby Miller this week.
* CBSSports.com features two home run-hitting catchers for your consideration.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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