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While we were all preparing for the 2013 fantasy baseball season, I did a lot of work examining ADP rankings and many of the trends that were developing in both mock and real drafts right up until Opening Day. What I noticed was that a number of players who were receiving a lot of sleeper hype from the fantasy experts were climbing up draft boards at a fairly rapid rate and were, in my opinion, losing a lot of their value due to the unexpected increase in price you were paying for their services. They were the guys most of us coveted somewhere around the 18th round but were suddenly going as high as the eighth or ninth because the players went from unknown sleeper to mainstream selection. I called them the trendy picks and it’s now time to check in with some of them and see how their respective seasons are going.
Sunday was a big day for Jurickson Profar and his fantasy owners. With news that Ian Kinsler was headed to the disabled list with an intercostal strain, the Rangers decided it was finally time to bring up their prized prospect who hit .326 (28-for-86) over his last 21 games at Triple-A Round Rock and enjoyed his first career two-homer game Saturday night. He was in uniform, but he did not play. It is not yet known how long Kinsler will be out for, but it would seem that this is an injury that probably won’t require more than the 15 day minimum. So the big questions are: for how long will Profar be up and what is his current fantasy value? Well, my fantasy heart goes out to the dedicated and hopeful who have been stashing the potential rookie of the year, because I’d have to say not long and not much if we’re talking about right now.
Welcome to Saturday morning and this week’s edition of Pitcher Appreciation Day. We’re doing it today, because as we look through the top performers from Friday’s games, you’ll see that there were some phenomenal outings, some killer pitching lines and not a single high-ranking ace was among the names. It stands as further evidence that you can find plenty of quality starting pitching out there and a large investment in someone named Kershaw, Price, Hamels or Verlander isn’t always a necessary thing. Now will all of these guys continue to perform at such an incredibly high level? Probably not, but they are all capable of posting strong numbers the rest of the way and collectively, could make up the bulk of an outstanding fantasy rotation.
We’re going to keep it short and sweet here as Thursdays tend to be slow days without a full slate of games anyway. But what I wanted to do was throw you a bit of fantasy advice which is more of just a heads up than anything else. While your waiver wire probably looks like it’s been picked clean and that the help available is pretty sparse, things are about to start looking up and your immediate attention will be required.
If you play in multiple fantasy leagues, there’s nothing worse than hitching your wagon to a particular player and watching him struggle to open the year. More often than not, if you believe in the player enough, you’re going to end up with him on as many teams as you can and once you do that, you’re fairly committed to him for the season. A slow start hurts you across the board in your leagues. A major injury can be devastating. For me, that player was Jason Heyward, and while the rest of my team has been working hard to cover for his early-season shortcomings, news of an emergency appendectomy just put everything into, for lack of a better way to say it, a whole new stratosphere of suck.
While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
As we head into the final two scoring periods of the season, fantasy baseball owners have some tough decisions to make. Do you stick with those that got you here or do you try to infuse some new blood into your team and play the hot bat regardless of what type of overall player they may be. Do you continue to start Brandon Phillips who is batting just .191 over his last 50 at-bats or do you switch it up to the red-hot Logan Forsythe who is batting .404 with two home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases over the last two weeks? It’s not always the recommended choice, but in some cases, it just might behoove you to make an alteration or two.
The trade deadline passed on Tuesday, so in order for players to be moved now they have to go through the waiver-wire process which is much more laborious. As things stand the day after the deadline, which players in the NL may have the chance to become significant fantasy contributors in NL-only leagues the last two months? For that matter, what about two potential mound aces in Cincinnati and San Francisco. Could they be the key to your pitching staff making a run in the second half?
In the wake of hearing about rehab setbacks for both Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford, the baseball world got a little bit of good news as the Phillies finally activated first base slugger Ryan Howard on Friday and got him into the lineup immediately. The slugger had been on the shelf since the final at-bat of the Phillies final game of 2011 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon. The road to recovery was cumbersome, but he’s back now and fantasy owners that had him stashed are looking to reap the benefits as we get ready to head on into the second half of the season.
So far we’ve seen a nice , steady influx of top rookie talent brought up this season, between Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Anthony Rizzo and Trevor Bauer, just to name a few. Fantasy owners in keeper leagues are drooling over this youth infusion we’re getting and you can’t really blame them. The talent level is ginormous. So in the spirit of this fabulous youth movement, the Padres have joined in the fun and brought back up one of the top catching prospects in the game and it looks like they’re actually going to play him this time around. That’s right, San Diego finally grew tired of watching Nick Hundley try to pull himself out of a season-long funk and have decided to send him down to the minors to work things out. In exchange for Hundley, they’ve brought up Yasmai Grandal, a future-star behind the plate.