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By the looks of the way things wrapped up on Saturday, there’s going to be plenty of waiver wire action this week. We saw a few players like Bryce Harper, Brandon McCarthy and Huston Street hit the disabled list while others such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Strasburg remain banged up. For some, this shouldn’t be much of an issue, but for those who got a little over-eager in the beginning and were making it rain at Club Waivers, you’re going to need to be a little more savvy in your ways as the FAAB budget just ain’t what it used to be.
It’s time again. Are you ready? Got your waiver trigger finger locked and loaded? With the news breaking that the Orioles are calling up Kevin Gausman, their number one pick (fourth overall) in the 2012 First –Year Player Draft, to start against the Blue Jays on Thursday, fantasy owners are tripping over each other as the run to the waiver wire to pick up the “next big thing.” We’ve already gone through Tony Cingrani, Jose Fernandez and Jurickson Profar, all youngsters rushed up to the big leagues and into fantasy stardom, so adding Gausman to the fray not only seems logical, but expected. Now the question is…is he worth it?
Though it was a typical short slate of games Thursday, the night was jam-packed with big names and big stories. There was the much-anticipated match-up between Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish, Bryce Harper was back on the field to lend his support to teammate and fellow superstar Stephen Strasburg who was still looking for his first win since Opening Day, the Mariners were looking for their first series win at Yankee Stadium in what seemed like a bazillion years, and there were aces abound with the likes of Adam Wainwright, Jose Fernandez, Mat Latos and Matt Cain all taking the hill. Yet with all of that star power front and center and in the spotlight, none of it compared to what was actually my favorite part of the night.
For two straight years, Dee Gordon, son of former All Star reliever Tom Gordon, was listed among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects thanks to a slick glove in the field and blinding speed on the base paths. He got his first taste of the big leagues back in 2011 and over a 56 game span that saw him come to the plate 233 times, Gordon hit .304 with 34 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. But in 2012, when he was given the starting shortstop gig to open the season, Gordon struggled mightily at the plate. Yes, he swiped 32 bases over 87 games, but he also hit just .228 and had a woeful .280 on-base percentage. He was shipped back down to Triple-A and his overall fantasy value took a hit. And when the Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez and announced that he would play shortstop in 2013, Gordon became even more of a forgotten man as there was, obviously, no room for him on the big league roster. Well guess what? He’s baaaaaaaaack!
Back in the day when you had to walk to school both ways up a hill in a driving snowstorm, fantasy baseball was a completely different game. The incarnation of this hobby was a single league format (American League only or National League only) with no reserves and no free agent pickups. The only way to replace an active player was via waivers if they were placed on the disabled list, demoted to the minors or traded to the other league. If you owned Clayton Richard and he was scheduled to face the Rockies in Coors Field, tough noogies, you couldn’t reserve him for a pitcher with a better match-up.
Tony Cingrani and Jose Fernandez have grabbed the imagination of the fantasy baseball world. Two elite prospects who are now ready to make their mark, there has been a borderline hysteria to add each to fantasy squads across the land. Is spending a good deal of your free agent resources to add either arm a good move? We'll investigate the outlook of both rookies. We'll then move on to the ever changing role of the bullpen. Three teams in particular – the Cardinals, Cubs & Red Sox – are spinning their wheels once again trying to figure out who the best man is to hand the ball to in order to get the last three outs of the game.
I wanted to sit down tonight and finally write about some fantasy baseball for the first time in far too long. Since our show, The Fantasy Alarm Show has gone to five and sometimes six days a week it has gotten hard to encapsulate any additional thoughts into text. But alas I have a belly full of some weird Mike’s Hard Mango Punch crap that my wife stocked the refrigerator with (it’s just so yellow and yummy looking!) so here comes two weeks work of fantasy baseball angst.
Offense first – that’s what they say. Pitching may win championships in the real world, but this is fantasy baseball we’re talking about and in fantasy, it is a dominant offense that wins it for you. It’s said so many times that you would think it would be ingrained in people’s heads by now, yet we still see starting pitchers get taken in the first round and people reaching for “aces” faster than they really should. It’s an age old debate that leaves most scratching their heads as to how and why it is still even up for discussion. Well, if there were ever a day to prove the point for the pro-offense side of the argument, it was Sunday.