“I love my life. I love my wife. And I wish you my kind of success.” These are the words of legendary sports agent Dickey Fox, inspiration and mentor to Jerry Maguire, and they ring true for me almost each and every day. I spend the majority of my days watching and writing about the game of baseball – both real and fantasy. It doesn’t quite pay the bills yet, but I sling some drinks on the side and am married to a very loving and supportive woman whose job does more than just pick up my slack. But what’s even better than having a “sugar mama” like that is that she is a die-hard baseball fan as well, has two fantasy baseball championships under her belt, and never asks me to turn off the ballgame so that she can watch The Real Housewives of Who Gives a Crap. So I’ve got it pretty good. While some people sit there and lament over what their lives could have been and wish that they walked a different path, I’m pretty happy with the way things are here. I like who I am and I don’t wish to be anyone else.
Except for today…
You know who I want to be today? I want to be the guy who lives on the east coast, went to bed early and missed the late games, plays in a fantasy baseball league at work with a bunch of arrogant know-it-alls, and owns Ryan Braun. I want to be that guy. Can you imagine how his morning started today? You wake up, jump into a shower, head down to the kitchen, sip on your morning coffee, flip on the TV to catch the morning SportsCenter and BAM!!! Nothing but highlights of how your outfielder just went bananacakes (yes…bananacakes) on Padres pitching and jacked three home runs in one of the toughest ballparks to hit home runs. Kick in a triple and six RBI and someone I know is smiling all the way into work and walking a little taller when he passes by the members of his league that tried to pry away Braun with silly trade offers and excessive talk of PEDs and under-performance.
That’s the guy I want to be today.
Now let’s see who else did what…
|Ryan Braun, OF MIL||4-5, 3 R, 3B, 3 HR, 6 RBI|
As if I had any other choice here. Allow us all to officially welcome you to the 2012 season, Mr. Braun. It’s not that the numbers prior to Monday’s game were terrible, but they certainly didn’t look like the numbers of the reigning NL MVP and a consensus top three draft choice once the suspension was lifted. They weren’t terrible, but they were more like 6th or 7th round outfielder material and you, Mr. Braun, are no 6th or 7th round outfielder. And for those of you that own him in fantasy leagues across the world, congratulations. Keep your head held a little higher today and enjoy. You may not celebrate another three-home run game again this year, but you’re still lookin gat some killer fantasy production for the next five months.
|David Ortiz, DH BOS||2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB|
|Darnell McDonald, OF BOS||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B MIN||3-4, R, 2B, RBI, 2 SB|
|Justin Upton, OF ARI||2-5, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, SB|
|Yu Darvish, SP TEX||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 9 K|
It’s days like this when, as a fantasy owner, I hate David Ortiz even more. I mean, as a Yankees fan, I have a personal, deep-seeded hatred for him due to the uniform he wears, but on days like this, the fantasy player in me hates him even more. You see, I refuse to draft Ortiz, not because he plays for Boston, but because I don’t want to get saddled with a player whose only spot on my roster that he can fill is the utility position. To me, it just limits your roster flexibility so much that I feel it puts you at a disadvantage, especially in daily leagues when you can shuffle guys around to make up for off-days. It was a lot more tolerable back when he was popping 40 or 50 dingers, but when he started to hit in the low-20s, it seemed more of a burden on my roster. So when he cranks out a two-homer night like this, it just makes my skin crawl on multiple levels.
Not too much to say about Alexi Casilla or Darnell McDonald here, except for the fact that it’s nice to see some of the role players stepping up and having killer days like this. But McDonald will never, no matter how many injuries the Sox seem to have in their outfield, be a regular player in the lineup. Realistically, he tops out as a fourth outfielder, so having him active in your fantasy lineup enough to grab stats from a day like this is probably pretty rare. Maybe in a deep AL-only league with five outfielders to start, but certainly not in mixed leagues. And Casilla, well, what can you say? Great offseason in winter ball, but he really does nothing to get my fantasy blood pumping. The five stolen bases are nice, as is the current .300 average, but I don’t see him being a huge steals guy all year and I definitely don’t see him hitting .300 the rest of the way.
Always nice to see Justin Upton healthy and putting in a day worthy of a first round draft choice. I owned him once about two seasons ago, but the injury risk always seems like more of a headache than anything else. I mean, we’re not talking Josh Hamilton risk here, but last year was the first season Upton played in more than 140 games and already this year, he’s missed more than a few with a thumb injury. I just assume trade him for something of equivalent value but less of a risk. But maybe that’s just me.
I have to say, Yu Darvish is looking pretty scary out there unless you’re a Texas fan. His first start of the year was less than pretty and it immediately sparked the talk of him not transitioning to the American version well and how the ballpark at Arlington was going to be a nightmare for him. Well, he’s looked fairly strong since that start, and the scary part is that he seems to be getting better and better and growing even more confidence with every start since. And how about these offenses he’s shutting down? Against the Tigers, Yankees and Blue Jays, he’s 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 24 strikeouts. Jeebers, that’s good stuff. If you own him, that is.
|Seth Smith, OF OAK||0-4, 4 K|
|Jesus Guzman, 1B SD||0-5, 3 K|
|Kelly Shoppach, C BOS||0-3, 3 K, BB|
|Corey Hart, OF MIL||0-4, 3 K|
|Tommy Milone, SP OAK||L, 13.50 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 5 K|
Nothing really shocking here from a hitter standpoint. You figure on days like this from the role players and the occasional dump taken by Corey Hart, but let’s talk about Tommy Milone and some of the young pitching that’s been less than spectacular. Perhaps that’s why I wish I was the east coast Braun owner right now, because when I looked at my live scoring late Monday night, I saw that Milone’s seven earned runs in just under five innings screwed me in multiple leagues. Yeah, that’s right…so much confidence in the guy that I picked him up in four of my leagues, only to take it in the WHIP-hole and watch my ratios climb…or should I say plummet. Probably didn’t help that I also had Mike Minor and Clay Buchholz and their 12 earned runs scattered in different leagues as well, so I’ll throw them each a dishonorable mention here. You have to figure that you’re going to get outings like this from some of the young guys, but damn…why’s it gotta hurt so hard?
And while he's listed below, let's just talk about a potential nightmare here in Evan Longoria. As of right now, they're saying they will re-evaluate him after seeing what he does in warm-ups prior to Tuesday's game, but there is a distinct possibility that fantasy owners lose the all-star third baseman for six to eight weeks with a hamstring issue. I twas earlier reported that he hurt his knee sliding into second on a stolen base attempt, bu tnow they're saying hamstring. Either way, you better get that waiver priority in order and get some help. If he's out for a while, expect the Rays to fix as they did last year with Sean Rodriguez moving to the hot corner with Elliot Johnson and Reid Brignac covering short.
Jason Kubel, OF ARI – illness (questionable)
Geoff Blum, 3B ARI – oblique (60-day DL)
Jason Heyward, OF ATL – oblique (questionable)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B BOS – back (questionable)
Paul Konerko, 1B CHW – neck (questionable)
Shin-Soo Choo, OF CLE – hamstring (questionable)
Chris Nelson, 3B COL – wrist (questionable)
Ryan Raburn, 2B DET – hamstring (questionable)
Carlos Lee, 1B HOU – ankle (questionable)
Joe Mauer, C MIN – knee (questionable)
Justin Morneau, 1B MIN – wrist (doubtful)
Lucas Duda, OF NYM – illness (doubtful)
Frank Francisco, RP NYM -- hamstring (questionable)
Nick Swisher, OF NYY – hamstring (questionable)
Miguel Olivo, C SEA – groin (expected to be placed on 15-day DL)
George Sherrill, RP SEA – elbow (out for season)
Evan Longoria, 3B TB – hamstring/knee (doubtful – waiting for re-evaluation)
Adrian Beltre, 3B TEX – leg (questionable)
Josh Hamilton, OF TEX – back (questionable)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – migraine (questionable)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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