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Justin Verlander. Clayton Kershaw. Stephen Strasburg. Craig Kimbrel. These are the elite pitchers heading into the 2013 fantasy baseball season if you listen to the scuttlebutt around the water cooler. We all know that. But are there instances where lesser known names, the A.J. Burnett's of the world, are also worth taking note of on draft day? Remember, while we all need production on the field, if you can consistently find value at any spot, pitching is no different than hitting, you can come out well ahead in the fantasy game. You can let someone take Justin Verlander in the first round and if he returns first round value fantastic. But what if you grab Homer Bailey and Alexei Ogando in the 15th and 16th rounds and they return 8th and 9th round value – which move would be the better fantasy play based on a return on investment perspective? In this article we'll hit on some numbers that just might change your perception about hurlers for the coming campaign.
With some of the pitching performances we’ve seen over the past week – Matt Cain’s perfect game, R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball madness, and Ryan Dempster’s 15 straight shutout innings just to name a few, fantasy owners tend to get lulled into a false sense of security. Just when everything seems to be going your way and your pitching staff looks invincible…BAM!!!! The injury bug swoops on in and takes a huge bite out of your rotation’s proverbial ass.
If it hasn’t already happened yet, it will, so you’re going to want to make sure you stay prepared. But with yesterday’s news that Roy Halladay would miss six to eight weeks with a lat muscle problem and that he was being joined on the DL by Jered Weaver due to a back strain and that Roy Oswalt was signing with the Rangers likely bringing Neftali Feliz’ time as a starter to a close, your waiver wire should be a hotbed of action. Pitchers are going to start getting picked up at a rapid rate as owners begin to worry about the starters they stream and the apparent lack of depth available at this point in the season. Now obviously there’s no reason to panic, but would I grab an extra starter or two, someone half decent to stash away and leave on my bench? Absolutely. I wouldn’t do it if it came at the expense of a better offensive choice and I wasn’t in dire need, but if the league is fairly deep and you have the bench space, then I don’t think it would hurt to have an extra arm or two available – for your own use or even for trade. It’s just a matter of keeping up with the trends and keeping yourself covered. We’re only a third of the way through the season, so with so much baseball still to go, any little advantage helps.
Truth be told, I was planning on taking the day off here to rest up for a big weekend of baseball, but I don’t want to leave you all hanging here when so many Jered Weaver owners are dying to talk about his no-hitter on Wednesday. Far be it for me to ignore one of the most difficult feats…although with the frequency of no-hitters and perfect games over the last few years, maybe it’s not so difficult…in the game. For the pitcher to shut down an offense like that is tremendous and Weaver’s performance deserves the accolades. I won’t even trivialize it by mentioning that Jerome Williams tossed a three-hit, complete game shutout against these same Twins just one night earlier and how I talked about streaming pitchers when they play Minnesota. That wouldn’t be fair to Weaver or his owners that are strutting around today like proud peacocks.
Just a quickie again today, folks. Time constraints have a hold on me again today, so as much as I would love to ooh and aah about some killer young starting pitching, I’m going to have to keep it brief. One thing that I will reiterate to all you fantasy hounds out there is that if there’s one thing you can take away from yesterday and this first month of baseball, it’s that pitching will always be the deepest position out there, and if you do your due diligence prior to your draft, you can build yourself a spectacular pitching staff without having to invest in one of these top flight aces that will cost you an arm and a leg in bid dollars or a pick as high as the second or third round. We all know that offense wins fantasy championships, so if you load up on the big hitters first and then draft some of the better pitchers from the third or fourth tier or even lower, you can still come out ahead and win your league.
Welcome to the start of Week 5 of the fantasy baseball season, and I can't believe we are this deep into the season already. We have the news on two returns from injury of some of the games best young players, one hitter and one pitcher. One will be right away, while the other will be in time for the weekend. Other than that we have news of a young slugger starting to go on a tear, a young catcher giving us a daily double, and a young pitcher who is starting to turn the corner. I tell you which two old Yankees are bound to fall apart, and which player with diarrhea ruined his fantasy owners weekends. If that isn't enough for you, I don't know what is so enjoy today's version of Rounding The Bases.