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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?
Everyone wants to get their hand on this years Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Folks, there isn't going to be a Trout or Harper this season. That doesn't mean that one, two or a handful of rookies won't have a significant fantasy impact – they certainly will – but elite production like that duo offered last season rarely comes for from guys in their first full season. In this piece we'll discuss some of the youngsters that everyone is asking questions about on a daily basis. A couple are already in the big leagues trying to make the case that they deserve to be every day player this season, while a handful of others are chomping at the bit in the minors trying to prove they deserve a shot in the bigs.
In 1983 Rickey Henderson ran his way to 130 steals for the Athletics, a modern day baseball record (Hugh Nicol actually stole 138 bases in 1887 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings). Others of the modern era have hit triple-digits – Lou Brock, Vince Coleman Maury Wills – but those just aren't numbers we see anymore. Nowadays we're lucky to find guys who steal half as many bags. So why is it that you hear so many people in the fantasy game say 'I don't worry about steals early, I can find them late.' Is that an accurate statement? How should you look at steals for the coming season, and which players should you consider targeting?
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…
While I could sit here and run down the concept of interleague play and talk about how it cheapens the meaning of the World Series because these teams have now all played each other several times over a few year span, I’ll take the glass is half full approach here and relish in the fact that when we near interleague play, the week is filled with a full slate of games every day. No slow Monday or Thursday here; every team is playing. And with that full slate of games comes the usual excitement and fanfare that all full baseball days bring. But on Monday, we had the excitement of a number of firsts. And nothing’s better than your first, right?
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.
In fantasy baseball we are all lost when it comes to getting a handle on closers. A microcosm of that lost feeling this season can be found when we look at the White Sox pen as the club from Chicago has zero idea what they are doing. Should you be targeting Sergio Santos if you're looking for some bullpen help (who isn't)? Josh Hamilton made history Tuesday night. Does that mean now is the perfect time to deal him? What about Andre Ethier of the Dodgers – a just how well is he performing this year? Is A.J. Burnett worthy of being on your roster? What about the perpetually struggling Adam Lind? Finally, Cliff Lee is back and ready to dominate hitters once again.
Patience, people….patience. I know the debuts of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were supposed to be these huge, breakout extravaganzas, but remember, it’s just one game. One game of a remaining 140-ish on the schedule. We talk about things like sample size all the time and constantly use the cliché, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” so really, in essence, the initial debut games of Trout and Harper mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Each player has a very long way to go and one game just isn’t going to cut it for an evaluation, let alone talk of what either may be worth in your fantasy league. Sometimes you just have to sit back and watch and just enjoy the game for what it is…a game.
It's been two weeks, but everyone loves to panic. It's in our nature. Something goes wrong, and we immediately start looking for a quick fix (think of all the weight loss pills out there when the best course of action would just be to eat well and exercise). Fantasy baseball is no different and the start to the season has led to a whole lot of consternation over names like Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, Johan Santana and Mark Melancon. I'll address all of those arms. I'll then wrap the piece up by focusing on something near and dear to me – numbers. What numbers have stood out to me in the early going? Read on to find out.
Due to my own personal time constraints, we’re going to change up the format for today and just touch on a few highlights. At some point I’ll figure out what day of the week is best to take a breather, but given some of the events occurring on Saturday, I deemed it necessary to discuss a few situations to which fantasy owners should pay strict attention. We can skip the top performers and their unsavory counterparts for the day though and get right to the juicy stuff.