You know those fantasy days where it all just hits you at the same time? You open up your live scoring page and all your hitters have 0-for’s next to their names and your pitchers have ERA and WHIP totals so high that you’re wondering if anyone actually completed a single inning? You look your roster up and down and the only things you have in abundance are red crosses and injury note tags? You know those days? Absolutely frustrating. Mind-numbing, really.
Well, that was my Wednesday and when I suffer, we all suffer. No clever intro here. No words of wisdom to endow. No great lesson to be learned. About the closest thing you’ll get to a friendly piece of advice is me telling you to stay away from Cameron Maybin as he, once again, proves to be my fantasy Achilles heel. So much talent, so much to offer, so much potential, and what do we get year after year? That’s right – underachievement and disappointment. Crappy stats and a trip to the 15-day DL for some wrist impingement, as if we’re supposed to believe that it’s the injury leading to the travesty that is his 2013 season and not just simply that he’s not as good as we thought he was.
Each and every year, like a crack addict who just simply can’t control his addiction, I draft Maybin and swear to myself that this is the year he puts it all together. People often ask me why and I continuously cite the five-tool skill set and, his one year with 40-plus steals and the fact that it was he, Maybin, whom the Tigers gave up in exchange for Miguel Cabrera so many years ago. Even as I type it, I can’t believe how silly it all makes me seem.
So maybe that’s the lesson after all. Don’t “fall in love” with your players. They either perform or they don’t. Maybe it takes some youngsters a little longer to develop, but standing by a guy year after year only to be met with constant disappointment should probably be the brick you need to be hit in the head with to get the hint. Not everyone who is hyped as the next big thing actually becomes the next big thing. Knowing when to cut bait is often a lost art in the fantasy racket and you need to be able to, not just do it, but do it at the appropriate times. Know when to say when and you’ll be much happier you did.
Now let’s get to the highlights….
Once again, no one out there put together a fantasy day so spectacular that it warrants Fantasy Beast status. Oh well. Not that it’s some crazy, highly coveted award, to be named my Fantasy Beast of the Day, but I’m not just going to hand it out to anyone. The day has to be absolutely spectacular and perhaps even game changing. Anyone like that on Wednesay? Not that I saw. So in the meantime, here are just some top (and bottom) performers for the day.
|Everth Cabrera, SS SD||3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, SB|
|Zack Cozart, SS CIN||3-5, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Tyler Flowers, C CHW||2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI|
|A.J. Burnett, SP PIT||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.14 WHIP, 8 K|
|Mike Leake, SP CIN||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP, 7 K|
Obviously it’s early and the immediate reaction is to go to the ol’ “small sample size argument,” but you’ve got to love the start of the season that Everth Cabrera has had. Often criticized for his batting average and strikeout rate, Cabrera has taken a very strong approach at the plate this year, improved his overall plate discipline and, as a result, has things simply falling into place. He’s got a strong .298 average that is driven by high contact rates and quality hits as opposed to an over-inflated BABIP, he’s drawing walks and he’s stealing bases – everything you wished Cameron Maybin could do. Will it last all year for Cabrera? Probably not. His average will likely head south for a bit and then level off. But until it does, enjoy the ride.
Zack Cozart is certainly enjoying a nice run lately. He’s hit safely in four of his last five games and is 9-for-22 (.409) with seven runs scored, two home runs and three RBI in that span. Now he’s actually batting just .228 on the season but in looking at his strikeout and contact rates, you can actually say that his average is in the toilet simply out of bad luck. The bounces simply aren’t going his way unless he’s knocking it out of the park and the result is an unusually low .196 BABIP. Hopefully his luck will turn and when it does, he continues to maintain his peripherals and simply watches the average climb somewhere north of the .250 mark.
It’s sink or swim with Tyler Flowers here, just like it is with other power-hitting backstops who can’t seem to do anything but strike out or hit a home run. Yeah that’s right, JPA and Salty, I’m looking at you. Flowers is following in your footsteps with his .268 ISO mark and his 38.6-percent strikeout rate. Tough to deal with in a one-catcher league, and barely tolerable as a second backstop should you need. Still, he’ll find his way into the highlights from time to time.
Congratulations to A.J. Burnett who not only notched his 2,000th career strikeout, but he did it while holding a no-hitter into the seventh inning before losing it to a Carlos Beltran double. Since leaving the Yankees and joining the Pirates just a year ago, Burnett has notched 17 wins with a 3.42 ERA and boasts a 215:70 K:BB over 226.1 innings. For what he probably cost you in drafts this year and last, he’s posting a killer return value.
And finally, a quick nod to Mike Leake who did it all on Wednesday, both with his bat and his arm. While tossing seven three-hit, shutout innings with seven strikeouts, Leake also went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and one RBI. You gotta love a guy who helps his own cause. I would like to see more pitching lines like that from him, though. His inconsistency over the years makes him a tough guy to trust, but I do like streaming him in for some starts.
|Prince Fielder, 1B DET||0-6, 5 K|
|Colby Rasmus, OF TOR||0-4, 4 K|
|Nolan Reimold, OF BAL||0-4, 3 K|
|Bud Norris, SP HOU||L, 81.00 ERA, 12.00 WHIP|
|John Lannan, SP PHI||L, 32.40 ERA, 5.40 ERA|
Just as I’m going to pick myself up, dust myself off and move on with my day, so too will each of these players. No sense in kicking them while they’re down, although it is interesting to note that Prince Fielder is in this section for two days straight as he is 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts in his last two games.
Didi Gregorius, SS ARI – elbow (day to day)
Craig Breslow, RP BOS – shoulder (15-day DL)
Scott Feldman, SP TEX – back (day to day)
Jason Kipnis, 2B CLE – elbow (day to day)
Dexter Fowler, OF COL – foot (day to day)
Alberto Callaspo, 3B LAA – calf (day to day)
Chris Capuano, SP LAD – calf (15-day DL)
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS MIA – elbow (day to day)
Lucas Duda, OF NYM – back (day to day)
Domonic Brown, OF PHI – knee (day to day)
Cameron Maybin, OF SD – wrist (15-day DL)
Jose Bautista, OF TOR – back (day to day)
Danny Espinosa, 2B WAS – hand (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a vaiety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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