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While the month of April gets ready to wrap, fantasy owners should realize that there is still plenty of work to do to get their teams ready for a long and arduous season. The offseason prep work, the draft, and the early-season waiver hunting may be your foundation, but now you have a five-month long process of taking that foundation and building it into a championship. You now have to keep an astute eye on the waiver wire, explore some possible trades that will help your team in the long run, track injuries, and most of all, pay close attention to the daily happenings around MLB. You’ve got full slates of games five days a week with shorties on Mondays and Thursdays. So much can happen over the course of just one day that missing even just one could be the difference between finishing in the money and standing on the outside looking in. Maybe it sounds silly and a bit over-dramatic to some, but just look at yesterday’s action and the potential fantasy impact…
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.
We’re going to keep it short and sweet here as Thursdays tend to be slow days without a full slate of games anyway. But what I wanted to do was throw you a bit of fantasy advice which is more of just a heads up than anything else. While your waiver wire probably looks like it’s been picked clean and that the help available is pretty sparse, things are about to start looking up and your immediate attention will be required.
One of the best illustrations of how history repeats itself is found in the closer situation for fantasy baseball owners. Every year we see the same thing over and over again. You’ve got your select few who have fantastic job security and the talent to back it up and then you’ve got the rest – a disgusting revolving door of blown saves and ratios that make you cringe and wonder how it could ever be that bad. Well, we’ve got one more joining the party this week as the Tigers have finally caved in and gone back to the well from which they drank last season. Yep, that’s right….it’s the return of Papa Grande.
If you play in multiple fantasy leagues, there’s nothing worse than hitching your wagon to a particular player and watching him struggle to open the year. More often than not, if you believe in the player enough, you’re going to end up with him on as many teams as you can and once you do that, you’re fairly committed to him for the season. A slow start hurts you across the board in your leagues. A major injury can be devastating. For me, that player was Jason Heyward, and while the rest of my team has been working hard to cover for his early-season shortcomings, news of an emergency appendectomy just put everything into, for lack of a better way to say it, a whole new stratosphere of suck.
Yes, yes, I’m very aware. An absence over the weekend has left you in dire need of some fantasy love from me. My apologies. This was the first weekend in a very long time that my wife and I had coinciding schedules and we were looking to take advantage and get in a little quality time together. But of course, there was the inevitable fly in the ointment. Upon going out Friday night, my wife decided to have a snack at the concert venue we were at and before we knew it, we were forced to leave the show in mid encore and race home because she was feeling well. The subsequent food poisoning put her on the shelf for most of the weekend and left me to play nursemaid and house custodian over the next two days. Sadly, baseball was forced to take a back seat, but the whole experience got me to thinking and here’s where I bring it around full circle…
You know those fantasy days where it all just hits you at the same time? You open up your live scoring page and all your hitters have 0-for’s next to their names and your pitchers have ERA and WHIP totals so high that you’re wondering if anyone actually completed a single inning? You look your roster up and down and the only things you have in abundance are red crosses and injury note tags? You know those days? Absolutely frustrating. Mind-numbing, really.
Though the events from Monday remain unresolved and our thoughts linger with those affected in both the city of Boston and around the world, the show must go on. Major League Baseball is not pausing the season and your fantasy leagues aren’t shutting down. Obviously it’s okay to be distracted but you still have to pay attention to what’s going on. There are job battles still being fought over, players coming on and off the DL, hot starts to consider and cold starts to shake off. You need to make sure you’re still dialed in and up to date on all the latest happenings.
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.
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.