One of the best illustrations of how history repeats itself is found in the closer situation for fantasy baseball owners. Every year we see the same thing over and over again. You’ve got your select few who have fantastic job security and the talent to back it up and then you’ve got the rest – a disgusting revolving door of blown saves and ratios that make you cringe and wonder how it could ever be that bad. Well, we’ve got one more joining the party this week as the Tigers have finally caved in and gone back to the well from which they drank last season. Yep, that’s right….it’s the return of Papa Grande.
If for some reason he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, get your trigger finger ready and go get him. Jim Leyland is putting the band back together and Jose Valverde will once again star in the role of Detroit closer while Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and the rest of the Supremes head to the background known as the seventh and eighth inning. He immediately becomes a must-own.
While there has been speculation over the last couple of weeks, those with a splash of common sense saw the handwriting on the wall as if it were written in bold-faced block lettering. Sure, the Tigers said they were going to give him a tryout just to see where he was at, but once he signed his minor league deal, it was pretty obvious that the Tigers were gearing up for his return. All it took was three Single-A outings and a radar gun that clocked his fastball between 94 and 95 mph.
It’s doubtful that he’ll ever return to the form that brought his fantasy owners a 49-for-49 in saves with killer ratios and solid strikeout numbers, but he should be solid enough to maintain the job all year and keep you from having to fish on the wire for saves anymore.
Now let’s hit the highlights from Tuesday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Mark Ellis, 2B LAD||4-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
You know, I never like to put a guy down when I’m giving him the primo award for the day, but if there was ever a time to use the sun shining on a dog’s ass metaphor, it would be now. Mark Ellis turned in a huge game against the Mets on Tuesday and those who have him rostered – you know, the guys in the real deep NL-only leagues or super-crazy deep mixed leagues – got a spectacular fantasy line. But it’s not like this is ever going to happen again. Sure, he might go yard a few more times this year; after all, he’s posted between five and seven home runs in each of the last three seasons. But don’t get your hopes up for another day like this out of him. This dog will likely be sitting in the shade for the duration of the year.
Pickin’ It Up
|Howie Kendrick, 2B LAA||3-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI|
|Justin Upton, OF ARI||3-8, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Alfonso Soriano, OF CHC||3-4, R, 2 SB|
|Adam Wainwright, SP STL||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 9 K|
|Bartolo Colon, SP OAK||W, CG, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7 K|
Now while his home run potential looks slightly better than that of Ellis, Howie Kendrick probably won’t see too many days like this either. I won’t use the metaphor twice – particularly because I own him in three leagues – but I’m certainly not banking on another two-homer performance out of him either. It sure is fun to open up your live scoring and see it though, isn’t it?
What’s better than owning Justin Upton this year? How about owning Justin Upton in a daily fantasy game that allows you to use a guy in both games of a double-header? I was pretty surprised to see that option available, but what surprised me even more was that not everyone was loading up on guys playing in the two-game set. Maybe they were concerned about someone sitting during the second game or that the weather in Colorado would cause yet another postponement, but I was able to finish in the top five thanks to Upton being on my squad.
Who says it’s only about the power? Let’s give it up for a little speed and batting average here as Alfonso Soriano posted a solid game for the day. Stolen bases, on the whole, are down this year, both in success rate and attempts. So when a guy like Sori swipes a pair in one day, it’s actually big news. Maybe once the weather turns and the speedsters aren’t worried about tearing a hamstring running hard for 90 feet, we’ll see an uptick, but for now, just cherish what you’ve got.
If there was any doubt in Adam Wainwright’s place among the elite pitchers of today, just take a look at his second half from last year through what he just did to the Nationals on Tuesday night. For those incapable of doing the math themselves, it looks a little something like this – 2.90 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 123:26 K:BB over 133.1 innings. And the best part about that is that he was still getting his groove back at the beginning of the second half of last year. He’s been slowly getting himself back to where he once was and man, is it glorious!
And let’s give a big round of applause for a big, round guy as Bartolo Colon gets credit for a complete game shutout after going seven innings in a rain-shortened beating of the Boston Red Sox. Colon pounded the strike zone thoroughly and forced the Sox hitters to take their cuts in the rain. Advantage: Colon. He did happen to walk a guy, his first walk in just over 25 innings, but really, does that even matter when his stats look that tasty? Who knows how long it will last, but you can bet he’s getting picked up in leagues all over the place.
Puttin’ It Down
|Welington Castillo, C CHC||0-4, 4 K|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B WAS||0-4, 4 K|
|Lucas Duda, OF NYM||0-4, 3 K|
|J.J. Putz, RP ARI||BS, 18.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, K|
|Clayton Richard, SP SD||L, 32.40 ERA, 4.80 WHIP, K|
A much less exciting group than yesterday’s, huh? I’m actually a big fan of Welington Castillo as a low-end option in a two-catcher league. You won’t get eye-popping numbers by any means, but he’ll be a nice steady play most of the time. I could actually do without Lucas Duda and Clayton Richard, but I’ll take Adam LaRoche and J.J. Putz on my team any day.
Todd Helton, 1B COL – forearm (day to day)
Justin Maxwell, OF HOU – hand (15-day DL)
Chad Billingsley, SP LAD – elbow (out for season)
Kyle Lohse, SP MIL – finger (questionable for next start)
Kevin Youkilis, 3B NYY – back (day to day)
Kyle Blanks, OF SD – eye (day to day)
Franklin Gutierrez, OF SEA – hamstring (15-day DL)
Matt Adams, 1B STL – oblique (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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