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Another Happy Sunday to you all and I hope you’re having an enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend. I’m aware that this weekend is likely filled with all sorts of barbecues and celebrations and your time is limited here so we’re going to make this recap short and sweet today. With so many other distractions in life, including a significant other who is likely standing over you right now wondering why in the world you could be sitting in front of a computer when it’s time to leave for your brother’s house and your kids are in the car waiting, sometimes you just want the straight news. Give me the important stuff, short and sweet, and we can move on from there. So while you’re slathering yourself full of sunscreen right now, here’s a look at the Saturday highlights.
Whether they’re hot or cold, streaks play an all-important role both in the real baseball world and the fantasy one. You get a player who goes on a hot streak and he can carry your team for a pretty significant amount of time. If he’s on a cold one, you best be getting him out of your lineup fast or he’s liable to do some seriously damage to your team. Cold streaks are always feared, but when you’ve got someone on a hot streak, there’s nothing better. Not only do you reap the benefits in the standings, but the value of the player grows tremendously on the trade market. But like all good things, hot streaks always come to an end. It’s inevitable. And on Tuesday night, one of the better hot streaks we’ve seen recently finally came to a close.
For the months leading up to, and right up until the very last moment before your draft, I’ll always be one of the first to tell you to wait on starting pitching. The position is incredibly deep and if you do your homework, you can find outstanding, quality pitching throughout the middle to late rounds. In a 12-team, mixed league with a snake draft, I’m not even looking at a pitcher until the sixth round. You can easily build yourself competitive pitching staffs without investing an early round pick on a Justin Verlander or a Clayton Kershaw. Sure, those guys will be great, but clearly there are others. If you watched that Colorado/ St. Louis series this past weekend, you’ll know exactly what I’m, talking about.
As bad as some of the pitching performances have been this past week, and believe me, there have been some bad ones, none have stood out as much as Roy Halladay’s pair of debacles against the Cleveland Indians and Miami Marlins. The 2013 road had been a rocky one for Doc, but after three consecutive quality starts that saw him post a 1.71 ERA with a 16:5 K:BB over 21 innings, it looked as if things were getting back to normal. With a two-start week coming to wrap up the month of April and open May and match-ups against what appeared to be soft opponents, fantasy owners thought they were getting ready to cruise into the second month of the season. What they got was a whole lot of disgustingness shoved right up their fantasy team’s WHIP-hole.
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.
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.
So it’s like that again, huh? Just the third day of the 2013 MLB season and we’re already staring at a perfect game? Well…..almost. Pretty damn close as Yu Darvish manhandled the Astros lineup and came just one out away from throwing baseball’s 24th perfect game and fourth in less than a full calendar year.
How many times during a fantasy baseball draft, real or mock, have you heard the phrase, “I wouldn’t normally take a starting pitcher this early, but I just couldn’t pass up the value here”? Too many? I’m sure. It’s about as cliché as a player telling the media that he’s in the best shape of his life on the first day of spring training. The only difference is, the guy who just drafted Clayton Kershaw in the third round was, sort of, telling the truth.
With little or no news coming in from the waiver circuit and even less getting churned out of the MLB rumor mill, it looks like we can just focus on the games now – which is actually a good thing. Sometimes we get so caught up in who’s moving where and which teams are buyers and which are sellers, that we tend to lose a little focus on our own personal team needs. With less than two months to go, it’s more important now than ever to either solidify your place at the top of the standings or figure out your best course of action to get there. In the meantime, we’re going to get to the highlights as Saturday had some outstanding performances.
It’s late June, we’re wrapping up interleague play, we’re talking about rookies racking up enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title (hello, Mike Trout) and yet we still have some firsts for 2012 happening right before our eyes. Nothing better than something new and exciting, right? Well, two of fantasy baseball’s hottest pick-ups over the past few weeks made their 2012 debut Friday night and each of them performed up to task and worthy of a stash on your bench for however long you needed to stash them.