Patience, people….patience. I know the debuts of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were supposed to be these huge, breakout extravaganzas, but remember, it’s just one game. One game of a remaining 140-ish on the schedule. We talk about things like sample size all the time and constantly use the cliché, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” so really, in essence, the initial debut games of Trout and Harper mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Each player has a very long way to go and one game just isn’t going to cut it for an evaluation, let alone talk of what either may be worth in your fantasy league. Sometimes you just have to sit back and watch and just enjoy the game for what it is…a game.
And that’s exactly what I did on Saturday…
With the amount of hype that each player was receiving and the media blitz that was ensuing from the moment each received word that their big clubs were calling, I opted to shut down the computer, turn off my phone and just watch each game. Sometimes we get so caught up in what out fantasy teams are doing and the fact that my pitcher in this league is facing my hitter in that league, that we lose sight of the game itself. After all, that’s why we jumped head-first into the fantasy game, right? Out of love for the sport? To my knowledge, no one is joining a fantasy baseball league due to a profound love of statistics unless, of course, they’re doing it for research purposes for their doctorate or something.
And because I did that, all I’ll say about each one is that they both played a good game. Trout may have gone 0-4 with a strikeout, but you got to see a 20-year old go from a media frenzy during a two hour rain delay to swinging hard and fast out of the gate to showing a little bit more selectivity and patience in his final at-bat towards the end of the game. Not a lot, as he only saw 11 pitches in total for the day, but a little in that fourth at-bat. He almost made a nice diving catch out in left field and just looked like he belonged. The fact that, at no point, did I think he look overmatched or like a wide-eyed, star-struck kid gave me reason enough to believe that this kid is ready for the majors. We already know he has the skill set to succeed, so now it’s just a matter of finding his groove which should come sooner than later.
Harper definitely had a more successful debut, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the better player. He certainly doesn’t have the better haircut. What is that thing, anyway? Is that a Mohawk/mullet hybrid? Gimme that high-and-tight look that Trout has any day. But seriously, Harper definitely looked the part of a top prospect during Saturday night’s game. Decent at-bats early on and then that double he hit in the seventh looked great. You knew it was sailing over Matt Kemp’s head when he hit it. Capping it off with an RBI-sacrifice fly was a nice way to finish the day. Again, never looked overmatched, fouled off a lot of pitches, took pitches when he needed to, and just looked solid at the plate. In the field, well, it all would have been much prettier had Wilson Ramos held onto the ball, but Harper showed off his arm strength and accuracy in the bottom of the seventh to let you know that it’s the complete package.
All in all, solid debuts and I look forward to watching both of them tear it up here in their rookie seasons.
As for the highlights, I have to be brief. Personal life interference, but that’s the price you pay for being allowed to sit in front of the TV all day. Can’t say that there was anyone who dazzled me enough to warrant the Fantasy Beast of the Day tag, so instead, here’s a look at my top 10 performers from Saturday, in no particular order.
|Chris Davis, 1B BAL||3-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI|
|Yadier Molina, C STL||4-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|Nick Swisher, OF NYY||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B TOR||2-3, R, 2B, HR, 5 RBI|
|David Wright, 3B NYM||3-4, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, SB|
|Brandon Morrow, SP TOR||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 9 K|
|Dan Haren, SP LAA||W, 1.13 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 7 K|
|Jon Lester, SP BOS||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 7 K|
|Tim Lincecum, SP SF||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 5 K|
|Drew Smyly, SP DET||W, 1.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 7 K|
The one thing that I will say is that it was good to see Brandon Morrow work those strikeouts again. He’s been pitching well this season, but the dramatic decrease in K/9 was definitely a bit worrisome. Now, I know he did it against Seattle here, but a start like that is usually a nice springboard for things to come. With nine strikeouts and no walks, my expectations for his next start are back where they were when the season first began. He’ll match up against the struggling Angels next, so we’ll see what happens.
As for everyone else listed here, congrats to them all. You’re doing exactly what we expected you to do when we drafted you. Top pitchers are looking solid (although I’m still not sold on Tim Lincecum – good outing, but it's the Padres and four walks ain’t that impressive) and the hitters are knocking them out of the park. I would love to see Chris Davis become a little more consistent in everything but strikeouts though.
And the under-performers….
|Carlos Santana, C CLE||0-4, 3 K|
|Aaron Hill, 2B ARI||0-3, BB, 3 K|
|Ryan Braun, OF MIL||0-4, 3 K|
|Freddy Garcia, SP NYY||L, 32.40 ERA, 4.20 WHIP, 3 K|
|Henry Rodriguez, RP WAS||BS, 27.00 ERA, 4.50 WHIP, 2 K|
Anyone else concerned that we’re seeing a different Ryan Braun this season? I’m hoping it’s just an early season thing here, but perhaps the offseason has worn on him a bit more than we thought and that, coupled with the loss of Prince Fielder, could be hindering his production. We’ll re-evaluate around mid-May.
Tough break for Henry Rodriguez on Saturday. Had he closed the game out, Harper’s sac fly would have been the game-winner, but alas, he threw more wild pitches than Vin Scully did candy bar references and the Dodgers came out on top eventually. Atleast it was that bum Gorzelanny who served up Kemp’s home run ball. H-Rod should bounce back.
Th-th-th-that’s all folks!!
Enjoy your Sunday!
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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