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The Week That Was: “Santana Finally Playing Sweet Music”
Carlos Santana playing it like he should highlight this week’s Week That Was:
Carlos Santana: Carlos Santana starting paying dividends this week including a big Friday in which he raked 2-4 with a double, a home run, two RBI, and 3R. After an atrocious start, Santana has gone 6-15 over his last four games and appears primed to return to the level many expected when they shelled out big bucks for the catcher eligible 3B this spring. Indeed, Rick Wolf and I saw this coming and said so on Colton & the Wolfman Tuesday night. How did we know you ask? Good question. First, we noted that it was predictable Santana would struggle early trying to learn a new position in the field. After all, players are human. Second, despite a miserable batting average, Carlos was seeing the ball well as evidenced by his 1/1 K/BB ratio. Third, he has simply been unlucky as evidenced by the fact that his 2014 BABIP is 100 points below his career average. Buy low now as the music man will not be on the discount rack much longer.
Mark Teixeira: Mark Teixeira is heating up. Last night, Tex went 2-6 including his 4th dinger of the year. Thus far, Tex is hitting .250 with four home runs and seven RBI. Many were worried that Tex would not be able to hit for power as the wrist continued to heal and strengthen. I have no concerns on that front. Given that he plays 81 games in Yankee Stadium and another 27 in hitter havens such as Rogers, Fenway and Camden, Tex will hit his dingers just by lifting the ball. My concern is that .250 will be the high water mark in terms of average. Tex has been fooled badly at times this year and has not hit for a good average since his maiden Yankee season of 2009. Given that his K rate is way up and contact rate way down, the odds of a batting average rebound are long indeed. Tex may be undervalued because of his health and perceived power outage but do not pay too much as the tenuous health and weak batting average are likely here to stay. Now, if gold glove play counts in your league . . . .
Tom Koehler: Tom Koehler seems to just keep on keeping on. I made the mistake of sitting him this week in LABR NL and what did he do? He tossed seven scoreless innings of three hit ball while striking out four Dodgers. Thus far in 2014, Koehler is 3-2 with a 2.41 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Not too shabby! There is no question he will be active for us when he takes on the Mets this week. The bigger question is whether he can keep it going all year. Strand rate, BABIP, FIP, minor league record all say Koehler will suffer a significant drop off soon. However, he pitches in a great pitcher’s park and in a weak hitting division of pitcher’s parks (Mets, Nats, etc). Bottom line here is that you will have to continue to play this one week by week for a while. This week, he’s a go against the Mets.
Wily Peralta: Wily Peralta was great Friday night, tossing eight scoreless innings while allowing just three hits and two walks and striking out seven. That gem brought his sterling ERA down to a gaudy 2.04 on the season. Yes, Wily has been a little lucky with a .237 BABIP but I continue to be a believer. Indeed, I have been a believer since Rick Wolf, Stacie Stern and I drafted him in LABR NL. In my LABR recap column right here at FantasyAlarm.com, I wrote: “The Rules of Engagement say to roster young pitchers who throw gas and can be had cheap. Peralta is the perfect example. While there is disagreement in the pundit community, I think Wily will earn a substantial profit. He had very strong numbers over his last 15 starts after reportedly relying more on an excellent slider. Good risk with a very high upside. SMART.” SMART indeed. Buy!
Aaron Hill: Aaron Hill had a nice game Friday, going 2-4 with two RBI. After an ice cold start, Hill’s season-long stats do not look that good: .258 with two home runs, 17 RBI, 10 runs scored, and a stolen base. There is no doubt you expected more from Hill so far. Get over it. The bigger question is whether Hill will hit from here on. I vote yes. Why you ask? Excellent question. First, Hill has hit .308 with 12 RBI over the last 14 games. Second, the DBacks are just not that bad. When teams are cold they drag each other down. When teams are hot they raise each other up. The DBacks will hit as summer arrives and Hill will be among their leaders. At the scarce 2B position, Hill should be a buy low target.
Bronson Arroyo: Bronson Arroyo did the job Friday, tossing 7 shutout innings while blowing away 6 Padres. Of course, it was the Padres, so you have to take the gem with a grain of salt (is that a mixed metaphor? Whatever). If I were you, I would look to sell Arroyo high now. Yes, I know he has been durable and has posted strong ERA/WHIPs over the last two years. However, he is pitching in a hitter haven, tossing his fastball at a glacial 85MPH, walking a full batter more per inning and striking out a miniscule batter every OTHER inning. The warning signs are all there. Ignore them at your own peril.
Tim Lincecum: Tim Lincecum finally delivered for his owners lasting night, notching his second win of 2014 by allowing just one run on six hits and three walks with four strikeouts over six innings against the Braves. The good news is that the former double CY has given up two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts. The bad news is that his season ERA is an ugly 5.12. As with others, the question is what to expect from this point forward. I am certain there will be inconsistency. Yeah, that is a tough call. However, by season’s end, I think Lincecum will provide a tidy profit. His strikeout rate has remained near one per inning, his walk rate is down over 20%, and his BABIP is a bloated .382 (a number that is sure to come down). By season’s end, Tim will win 12+, strikeout 170+ and deliver ratios that are better than people think but hardly elite. Buy but with caution.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page. Schultz says: “Schultz has long subscribed to the self-penned adage that you will not be able to win your roto-baseball league unless you can survive losing your best player to injury for the entire season. Unlike fantasy football, where a Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson can carry an entire team, the traditional 14 hitter/9 pitcher format has never been conducive to letting one man carry the entire load. Clayton Kershaw, Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout may help you win a title but they won't bring it to you singlehandedly. Since stars/scrubs philosophy only works if all of your stars perform well, roster depth usually provides the best pathway to success.
I mention this maxim this week as many are probably wondering what to do with their teams in lieu of the rash of injuries that has beset MLB for the 2014 season. Just one month in, Clayton Kershaw, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Braun, Jason Kipnis, Mike Minor, Anibal Sanchez, Jose Reyes, Avisail Garcia, Matt Kemp (DL emeritus), Ryan Zimmerman and David Robertson have all missed (or are about to miss) significant time due to various bumps, bruises, breaks and tears. Too often, losing players of this caliber cripples a team as they neglected their bench at the close of their auction/draft. It makes good business for people like us at Fantasy Alarm as we can provide some guidance in finding a replacement but by then, it’s often too late. As it’s early in the season, there's still time to add depth. It will either help you deal with the injuries that arise and/or give you some trading chips for later in the year.
With Kipnis to miss May, you would be best served looking outside the Tribe organization for a replacement. Mike Aviles and Eliot Johnson are likely going to split time at 2B and neither are the model of consistency. Brandon Hicks, the Giants' 2B might be an adequate fill-in but his utility will depend on the health of Marco Scutaro and his wonky back. He's unlikely to help in the average categories but he's shown a little pop with 5 homers in his first 64 ABs. You would also be well served to keep an eye out for Kolten Wong's return to the Cardinals lineup. Now that the hype has settled, there is likely a bargain to be had.”
Response: Interesting but I disagree with the stars/scrubs theory espoused by Schultz. Stars/Scrubs strategy depends a lot on one’s ability to find diamonds in the rough on the waiver wire whether or not you suffer injuries. Your roster has holes by design as you are confident in your ability to back fill or you just do not play that strategy. Just my two cents. On another note, I wonder why Schultzie left out Jose Ramirez from the Tribe 2B discussion. He is starting Saturday and sure can run!