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It doesn’t happen often but there are times, every so often, that you’d like to see your fantasy team get some credit for defensive plays. As I flipped between several of the games Saturday and then watched the highlight reels later on in the evening, I saw some unbelievable plays in the field. Colorado rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado had, what I thought was, the play of the day as he dove towards the line – full air, full extension – snagged the ball and after what appeared to be a T.J. Hooker-like roll, threw the runner out while still in the sitting position. Catches by Ichiro Suzuki and Jon Jay made the highlights as well, but as good as they were, neither touched Arenado’s play. Obviously it’s subjective as to how amazing you thought each play was which is why you just can’t score something like that at an appropriate value, but worthy of acknowledgement nonetheless.
You know, for a day with a short slate of games, Thursday turned out to be quite eventful for baseball fans and fantasy owners alike. There was crazy extra-inning drama, unsung heroes, devastating injuries, and breaking news filled with both hope and despair. We’ve got our usual highlights for you here, but once again, with fewer games on the docket, we can break from out usual format and discuss more than just the top (and bottom) performers from the evening. So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
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.
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?
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.
As we gear up for our fantasy baseball drafts, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the growth that we’ve seen in the fantasy sports business and what the impact is on drafts from year to year. More specifically, I’m talking about the immense coverage and the disappearance of sleepers, an annual favorite of nearly every fantasy owner. In the past, the fantasy baseball magazines and the few web sites that were out there would have their lists of players who were considered far from mainstream but expected to perform at a much higher level. It was fine back then as the circulation wasn’t what it is today and those of us who actually did the research on our own and unearthed these hidden gems actually saw it as a chance to gain an alternate opinion on these lesser known players. But with the crazy amount of coverage there is today, these sleeper lists have turned the unknown commodities into the trendiest picks of your draft and the players are losing their overall return value because every Neanderthal who can point and click is now taking them far too early in drafts. And because of that, those of us who go that extra mile in the research and draft prep need to start fighting back. We’re not going to be able to stop the hordes of writers from outing our sleepers, but what we can do is change our strategy and use our competition’s herd mentality against them.
So roto leagues are coming down to the wire and head to head leagues are smack dab in the middle of their playoffs. This is it. September is here and that marathon you started back in April has come down to a final sprint here in the last month of what has been a grueling, yet hard-fought, season. Some leagues still allow waiver pick-ups, so you want to make sure that you’re staying on top of the latest news and September call-ups while others just require daily/weekly maintenance on your roster. Hopefully you’ve got the depth to deal with any late-season injuries. If you’re reading this and have the time left to make adjustments, perhaps there are a few notes you’ll find relevant and even a little helpful…