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The good news is that here on Monday, the games don’t start until 7pm (ET) so you can really take your time and study up on things before you have to set your lineup for the week. The bad news is that there’s a lot going on that you’re going to have to stay on top of during the day in order to set that lineup properly. Between Ryan Braun’s thumb injury and Hanley Ramirez’ hamstring MRI to the debuts of Gerritt Cole and Zack Wheeler, there seems to be a lot happening right now. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are headed back from the DL this week. Ike Davis? He’s in Triple-A. Brandon McCarthy? Still suffering seizures. Matt Kemp won’t return from his injury on-time, Ian Kinsler is finally working his way back from his and good ol’ Chase Utley is right on schedule for his mid-June return. Are you writing this stuff down?
Justin Verlander is humming right along dominating batters as he always does. However, there are a few cracks emerging in the facade. Will the damn hold back the water, or is there reason to be concerned that we might be dealing with something that isn't quite as effective as one would think at first glance? Billy Butler started slowly but has picked it up of late. Were you honestly nervous? Howie Kendrick continues to get it done amidst little fanfare. Ike Davis is awful. Period. Michael Morse was white hot, then ice cold. What's the truth with him? On the bump Patrick Corbin has been fortunate, Matt Moore has one huge flaw he must overcome and Julio Teheran just might be figuring things out.
It’s time to cut to the chase. Theory is good if not necessary. I take as much pride in helping to teach proper analysis as I do correctly evaluating a player. But let’s be honest. You want my opinion on some struggling players so that’s what we’ll do. Well, I’ll drop in just a little more theory to work in concert with our BABIP discussion from last week.
And just like that, after the long, cold winter, the MLB season is back in full force and the fantasy baseball season has officially begun. Happy Opening Day to you all. Worth the wait? I’d say so. We got a nice, little taste on Sunday night as the Astros won their very first game as an American League team and then Monday was just one of those days that made you feel like a little kid all over again. We saw some great baseball played with the promise of so much more to come.
The final weekend before the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline finished with a fizzle on Sunday in comparison to the way it began. No big names on the move, no crazy player packages being put together; just a couple of minor tweak deals. Obviously there’s still another two full days (ok, maybe just a day and a half) to go and a few key names being bandied about right now, but all still in the rumor stage and nothing actually happening. Is it the calm before the storm or have we seen the bulk of the action already? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, though, let’s look at the deals that went down yesterday.
The official deadline for the unofficial MLB trade deadline is just two days away now. Obviously I say ‘unofficial’ because we’re still very likely to have a mad rush of waiver trades going on and that doesn’t end until August 31. But for now, the free trade going on in MLB continues and the latest deal would normally be a head-scratcher, but given the positioning in the standings and contract situations, conspiracy theories don’t have a leg to stand on here. Let’s take a look at what’s going down in the AL Central these days…
On this special day in our nations history – by the way it might be more applicable for us to celebrate on July 2nd and not the 4th (see my report on why) – I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone who has ever fought for our freedoms be it with a sword, a cannon, a gun, a voice or the pen. Thanks you for giving us the freedom to do things like play fantasy baseball. Oh yeah, there's also some baseball stuff in this article too – though there really is no rhythm or reason today. I'm going to mention young hitters – guys like Brandon Belt and Ike Davis – I'll talk young callups on the hill like Chris Tillman and Trevor Bauer, and I'll also mention old guys like R.A. Dickey. Hey, what do you expect from a guy who is already four beers deep at 11 AM?
A quick question for all you keeper league owners out there who love to protect starting pitching – why? With a position as deep as starting pitching is and with the ease of which pitchers get hurt, why is there such a need to protect any starters outside of the super-elite like Justin Verlander. Wednesday actually presents you with just a slice out of the “why you don’t protect starting pitching” pie. On a day when CC Sabathia was put on the DL with a strained groin, Andy Pettitte was lost to a broken ankle on a comebacker to the mound and Daniel Hudson headed to Dr. James Andrews to confirm his torn UCL and need for Tommy John surgery, you saw some unbelievable pitching performances from some rather unassuming names like Lucas Harrell, Jarrod Parker, Jonathon Niese, Clayton Richard and Jordan Zimmermann. And like I said, Wednesday was just a slice of the pie. The rest can be seen throughout the year just by running down some of the names on the stats page of your league’s web site.
Is it just me or did Wednesday seem to be the most boring baseball day we’ve had this year? I mean, don’t get me wrong – there’s really nothing boring about watching a bunch of games and staring at the live scoring for your fantasy team, but where was the drama? Where was the excitement? Where was the four-home run day? Where was the perfect game, or at least the no-hitter? Not even a complete game shutout? Come on. The most dramatic moment we had was watching David Robertson show us that, no matter how good he may be, he’s no Mariano Rivera. And that probably doesn’t come as a shock to any of us.
Fantasy owners that used their second or third round pick to select Giants ace Tim Lincecum, affectionately referred to as The Freak, have been banging their heads against the wall since he made his first start on Opening Day. He coughed up five earned runs that day, not even making it out of the sixth inning, and hardly looking like the player worthy of such a high draft selection. From there, he went on to give up another 11 earned runs in 8.1 innings over his next two starts, pushing his ERA to a very uncharacteristic 10.54 with an equally atrocious 1.90 WHIP and suddenly there was panic in the air. Was he hurt? Was he having a mechanical issue? Was he done?