Usually this section is reserved for one item in particular that either grabs my attention or something specific that really sticks in my craw – wow, do I sound like an 82 year old man yelling at kids to stay off of my lawn when I use that expression? – and commands my undivided attention. But with so much happening in the baseball world right now, I can’t even bring myself to focus on just one topic. Blame baseball for being so damn exciting or blame my scattered thought on sleep deprivation. Whatever the case may be, I’m going to break from our usual format and just hit you with some rapid fire baseball thoughts that are wrap up the events of yesterday and impact the fantasy baseball community at the same time.
Way to go Delmon Young. Hard to believe someone who had apparently come so far could still be such a moron, but I guess racism, or in this case, anti-Semitism, doesn’t ever really go away. The details of the story are still a little sketchy, but every news source (and TMZ) that covered it all came back to the fact that Young was involved in an altercation in New York City and was seen and heard yelling anti-Semitic slurs. He was arrested on charges of hate crime harassment and decisions on punishment have yet to be determined. I can’t even begin to guess what the punishment will be or when it will officially take effect, but he’s not going to be playing in the near future, so you better find a replacement outfielder for the time being.
OK, now that we’ve taken the trash out, let’s move on to bigger and better things….
Like how about Pablo Sandoval extending his hitting streak to 20 games on Friday? On Wednesday, he tied the Giants’ franchise record set by Johnny Rucker in 1954 with a hit in each of the team’s first 18 games, and then broke it on Thursday with a single in the fourth inning. Well, the hits just keep on coming and Kung Fu Panda is on a huge (buttered) roll right now. He’s now batting .329 (that’s a lot of 1-for’s) with three home runs and thirteen RBI and is well on his way to earning his pre-season top-five third baseman ranking.
Derek Jeter’s 15-game hit streak came to a close on Friday after he finished 0-for-4 with a walk. However, it was that ninth inning walk he drew that set things in motion for the Ynakees to walk away with a victory and sending the Tigers to yet another heartbreaking defeat. Jeter drew the walk, advanced to second on a Curtis Granderson walk, but made it to third on a wild pitch, and then came home with the winning run on a passed ball four pitches later. Maybe it wasn’t the most dramatic victory in Yankee lore, but the fact remains that Jeter is on an outstanding tear to open the season. His 34 hits in the first 18 games was the most by any Yankee in franchise history and those that keep chiming in that the Captain is done as a quality player are now eating their words as he sits with a .400 average, four home runs, 15 runs scored, 13 RBI and a stolen base. Save your defensive metrics criticisms for another forum. Fantasy baseball doesn’t care about your defensive metrics, son!
Are you ready for some rookies!?!?!?! Hmmm. The irony of hearing the Hank Williams, Jr. song in my head while typing that after leading with Delmon Young’s idiocy is all a bit overwhelming, don’tcha think? But let’s not focus on that here. Let’s talk about the fact that Saturday is going to mark a huge day in MLB as both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, the top two prospects in all of baseball, will be making their debuts. Harper’s call-up has received the most attention and I’m not even really sure why. It’s not like he’s been tearing it up in Triple-A, has he? As a matter of fact, he’s hitting just .250 down in the minors with one home run and three RBI through 20 games. Not exactly stats that command a call-up are they? Not sure what the hurry is for the Nationals as now they’ll be looking at eventual Super-Two status for the prized prospect, but whatever….more excitement for us, right? Harper should be owned in all formats, but keep your expectations in check and don’t lose faith if he comes up and struggles. He’ll get there….just a matter of when.
Now Mike Trout, on the other hand, has looked fantastic since he left Spring Training and joined the Angels Triple-A affiliate in Salt Lake. Through the first 20 games, he’s batting .403 with a .467 OBP and has one home run, 13 RBI and six stolen bases. Trout may very well have broken camp with the big club out of spring training, but an illness midway through knocked him out. He lost a bunch of weight which sapped his strength and he needed some added time to recover. His strength probably isn’t even fully back, but apparently it was enough for the Angels who needed to shake things up amidst Albert Pujols’ home run drought and a five-game losing streak.
And shake things up they did. How about the Halos releasing Bobby Abreu? I know his production has fallen off immensely, but it seems like only yesterday this guy was banging 20 home runs and getting on-base at a rapid rate. Ah well. Father Time catches us all, I suppose. Sorry Bobby. It was great owning ya…..in 2004.
OK, let’s hit some highlight performers from Friday…
|Scott Hairston, OF NYM||4-5, 3 R, 2B, 3B, HR, 4 RBI|
Scott Hairston hitting for the cycle? Who knew??? I think, what I love most about early season baseball, is the fact that I get to use the “sun shining on a dog’s ass atleast once” cliché over and over and over again. It never gets old! Seriously. Raise your hand if you had Hairston active in any league on Friday. I don’t care if you own Jason Bay and are in a 20-team NL only league. You can’t tell me with a straight face that you had Hairston active. If you did, well then prove it to me. Send me a screen shot with proof that Hairston was in your active lineup and I’ll send you a promo code for a free Fantasy Alarm iPhone app. Maybe I can convince my bosses to make up a t-shirt or something else too, because if you did have him active, then man….your squad must really stink!
|Michael Saunders, OF SEA||2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB|
|Alex Gordon, OF KC||2-3, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB|
|Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL||3-6, R, HR, 6 RBI|
|Joe Saunders, SP ARI||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 4 K|
|Clayton Kershaw, SP LAD||W, 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 6 K|
There’s that sun beating down on the Saunders boys! Michael and Joe, no relation though, had themselves quite the little Friday, huh? I dare them both to do it again! That was Joe Saunders’ first complete game since 2010, and I don’t think Saunders has ever sniffed a two-home run game in the majors before. Temper your enthusiasm, folks. No need to go blowing your waiver priority just yet.
The other three here should be embarrassed any time they’re not in this section. Carlos Gonzalez got off to another slow start this season, but hopefully this outing will help kick-start the rest of his season. Clayton Kershaw is just a stud, and Alex Gordon has seemingly turned the corner and is erasing that 0-for-18 he started the season with. All three of these guys should be top performers throughout the season.
|Seth Smith, OF OAK||0-4, 3 K|
|Ryan Ludwick, OF CIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Erick Aybar, SS LAA||0-4, 2 K|
|Yovani Gallardo, SP MIL||L, 36.00 ERA, 5.00 WHIP, 3 K|
|Francisco Cordero, RP TOR||BS, 9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP|
I’ll give the hitters a pass here as these kinds of days happen, but the pitchers are a different story. Well, I suppose you can expect this kind of behavior from Francisco Cordero. He’s lost significant velocity and seems like he’s 126 years old. I’m not sticking the proverbial fork in him just yet, but I certainly wouldn’t own him. Plenty of other saves to be had on your waiver wire. Don’t pick him up just based on his name and the fact that Sergio Santos is hurt. Another outing like this and the Jays will have him pulling mop-up duty in the sixth inning of a blow-out loss.
Are Yovani Gallardo and Max Scherzer the same person? Eight earned runs in two innings? You’ve got to be kidding me! I don’t care how good your strikeout potential is. When you’re notorious for outings like this, you’re not welcome eon my fantasy teams. How many times does this guy have to torch your ratios before you see the light? My only association with this guy anymore is when I debate whether an outing like this should be called “Getting Gallardo’d” or that you just got “Scherzered”. Neither guy should be getting any fantasy love these days.
How about some injuries…?
Jeremy Guthrie is being scratched from his Saturday start and will land on the DL after spraining his shoulder in a bicycle accident. Apparently, the chain came off his bike while he was heading to the stadium on Friday and he got thrown, landing awkwardly on his shoulder. He’ll probably just miss two starts even though you probably wish it were more.
Another Rockies starter going down is Drew Pomeranz who left his start after four innings due to forearm tightness. It doesn’t seem like he’ll need ot hit the DL, but he will be re-evaluated over the weekend to be sure.
Looks like Shin-Soo Choo will miss his fourth straight game with a hamstring injury. No official word on a DL stint, but it seems like a real possibility right now. Hopefully rest is all he needs and he’ll be back soon.
The Astros will be without the services of Carlos Lee who sprained his ankle on Friday, but for how long is still up in the air. He’s listed as day to day.
Brian McCann could be out for a little while with what the Braves are calling a strained intercostals muscle in his side. They’re not saying it’s similar to the oblique strain he suffered last season, but you can bet the team will be very cautious with how they handle this.
That’s the big stuff for today. Enjoy your Saturday and the full slate of games it provides!
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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