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Welcome to Saturday morning and this week’s edition of Pitcher Appreciation Day. We’re doing it today, because as we look through the top performers from Friday’s games, you’ll see that there were some phenomenal outings, some killer pitching lines and not a single high-ranking ace was among the names. It stands as further evidence that you can find plenty of quality starting pitching out there and a large investment in someone named Kershaw, Price, Hamels or Verlander isn’t always a necessary thing. Now will all of these guys continue to perform at such an incredibly high level? Probably not, but they are all capable of posting strong numbers the rest of the way and collectively, could make up the bulk of an outstanding fantasy rotation.
When the Toronto Blue Jays began their roster overhaul during the offseason, things were looking pretty good for the Great White North. The deal with the Marlins landed them an elite shortstop in Jose Reyes, a highly touted starting pitcher in Josh Johnson, a speedy super-utility guy in Emilio Bonifacio and a veteran lefty in Mark Buehrle all for very little. They then brought in Melky Cabrera, R.A. Dickey and Maicer Izturis to add to a fairly strong core group that already consisted of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow and J.P. Arencibia. They immediately went from also-rans to top contender in the American League.
OK, yes, I saw the final strike called in the Texas/Tampa Bay game on Monday. Yes, it was an ugly call. Was it the worst call I’ve ever seen to end a game? Maybe. There have been so many over the years. But rather than dwell on something that has very little impact on your fantasy baseball team and will, in the grand scheme of things, mean absolutely nothing, I’d rather discuss something that may actually help you this season. I know it’s painful – like dentist chair painful – but let’s talk closers.
I definitely enjoyed Ray Flowers’ article the other day in which he broke down a number of the pitching performances from some of the aces we saw on Opening Day. There were, obviously, a number of names we expected to see, such as Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg, but we were also treated to some outstanding performances from guys like Jeff Samardzija, Jhoulys Chacin and even Ricky Nolasco. While you shouldn’t expect to see some of these guys pitching at that level each and every time out, their performances do give credence to the belief that starting pitching is crazy deep and you can, in fact, build a winning pitching staff without investing heavily in one of the top aces out there.
At no point in the season do 50 at-bats or 18 innings mean more than they do right now. A guy goes out and hits .222 in spring and people drop that player 14 spots in their rankings. Another player hits .386 and guess what, he's now a potential breakout star in fantasy baseball. I always caution people not to read too much into small sample sizes, and I also tell people not to put an overabundance of value into spring stats. Maybe a batter faced a lot of Double and Triple-A pitchers and he hit .480 off them. Maybe he hit only .190 against big league arms. You see him hitting .320 and think he's had a great spring. Is that really accurate? Maybe a pitcher, unconcerned with the results, went out and threw his curve ball 40 percent of the time and got hammered because he was working on honing a new grip with the pitch. Does he all of a sudden stink? The bottom line is that spring numbers don't always tell the whole story. I'll touch on a few players though that really stood out this spring and give you my thoughts on what some reasonable expectations should be for the players in 2013.
Well, with no feel-good story, no big rookie call-up, and no big trade to report, it makes me just want to sit here and start gushing about Mike Trout some more. I happened to be watching Friday’s Angels/Mariners game and again, this kid just does it all. The Angels are down 5-0 in the third because for some inane reason they still let Ervin Santana start games, and in the bottom half of the inning, Trout steps up with two men on and BAM! Smacks a three-run shot over the fence to put the Angels back into the game.
Well, Tuesday’s trade deadline brought on a flurry of activity in the baseball world which obviously sends ripples through the fantasy community as well. There were a number of expected movers and shakers in there along with a few surprising non-participants as well. Some of the deals have serious fantasy ramifications while others were more pertinent to the real baseball world, so let’s just go through them and see what’s affecting your fantasy teams here.
Another day closer to the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline and another day of deals done in the books. Tuesday didn’t seem as big or action-packed, but maybe that’s just being de-sensitized from the action from the day before. Because while maybe the deals weren’t as involved (or player-heavy, I should say), there were still some big names changing teams and the impact, both in reality and in fantasy, could be huge. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got…
On the other side of the spectrum, here are the guys who came on to your roster and absolutely surprised you and led you to the current first or second place in the standings that you currently sit. Most of these guys were players who weren't even drafted but were the diamonds in the rough in fantasy baseball this season. These are the guys that separate the pretenders from the contenders. Below is a list of my ten favorites and how you can expect them to finish this season and how they will perform going forward in the coming years.
Happy Weekend everyone in Fantasy Baseball Land! Tonight we have another fresh batch of news and observations from the day in Major League Baseball. There are a couple of guys who have been helping your team throughout the season that were injured tonight, and another one who missed a day after being plunked by a pitch yesterday. I take a moment to celebrate someone's rookie season, and give you an option if you are looking for stolen bases down the stretch. We have a guy who pitched great tonight that I absolutely trash on, while another who was terrible I actually really like for next year. I know you are salivating just waiting to read, so without further adieu, I give you Rounding The Bases!