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The Week That Was: “Sad to Say: See Ya CC”
CC Sabathia likely out for the season highlights this week’s Week That Was.
CC Sabathia: According to various reports Joe Girardi all but admitted that CC Sabathia is out for the season. This is a very tough blow to the Yankees and to CC fantasy owners who bought at a discount hoping to get a bounce back. I note this in the headline not because I am a huge Yankee fan (which I am) but because there could be serious implications for AL-only leagues. As you are deciding whether to go all in on new A’s pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, remember that CC’s injury makes it almost a sure thing that the Yankees will add an arm before the July 31 deadline. The only question will be if that arm comes from the NL. [Note – while Rick Wolf and I always say injury prone players get injured, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself for picking up CC on a discount. There is no way you could have known that a serious knee issue would pop up out of nowhere].
Neftali Feliz: In a move that will not have serious implications right away but may soon, the Rangers recalled former closer Neftali Feliz from AAA. Joakim Soria will continue to be the closer – for now. However, Soria is a prime candidate to be traded in the next 3 plus weeks. That will open the door for Feliz to close for the final two months of the year. His track record and AAA success says he will do just fine once he gets the 9th inning nod. In AAA he had more than a K per inning and a WHIP under 1.00 despite a slow start. In his first outing back in the show, Feliz threw two hitless innings. Definitely stash Feliz if you need saves.
Madison Bumgarner: Madison Bumgarner’s mini slump continued this week when he gave up 4 earned runs and 9 baserunners in just 5 innings Thursday. That means that the talented lefty has given up nine earned runs in his last 11 innings. Should you panic? NO, NO, NO. Bumgarner has had a very strong year so far, with 9 wins, a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP, and a 120:29 K:BB rate. Oh, and that last 11 innings you are worried about, well the ERA has been bad but he has struck out 9 batters in that span and in the start just before that went 8 innings while giving up just 2 hits and no earned runs. NO worries here. Move along.
Carlos Martinez: Carlos Martinez is starting to make the most of the opportunity he should have had all along – starting games for the St. Louis Cardinals. Thursday, CMart gave up just 1 run while striking out six batters over five innings to improve to 2-0 as a starter. This guy has filthy stuff. Keeper leagues and re-draft leagues alike should make sure he is owned no matter the format. What are you waiting for? Pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 97 MPH do not grow on trees.
Nolan Arenado: Nolan Arenado came off the shelf. That is the good news. The bad news is that he is 1-8 with no runs or RBI since his return. If you are in a re-draft league, I would not be targeting Arenado. First, hitters do not regain their power quickly after injuries to their hands. Second, Arenado was not yet a power hitter anyway (16 HR in 720 big league plate appearances and 3 in his last 95 minor league plate appearances). Will he be a star? Probably. Will it be this year? I wouldn’t bet the house on it.
Joey Votto: The more one reads about Joey Votto’s knee, the more one has to be concerned. Manager Bryan Price reportedly said this week that Votto had some "fatigue and tenderness" in his knee. Not want you want to hear but it would explain the non Votto-like numbers. Thus far this year, Joey has only 6 HR and 23 RBI in 200+ AB and a subpar .259 batting average. The good news is that the OBP is still hovering around .400. Bottom line here is that if there is someone in your league willing to pay name value for Votto, you need to strongly consider it.
Jesse Hahn: Last week we wrote “‘Jesse Hahn looked good again Thursday, giving up no earned runs while striking out seven in a win over the Mariners. After posting a 2.11 ERA in AA, Hahn has continued his success in the bigs with a 2.16 ERA and 19K in 17 Inn. His FIP and BABIP say a correction is coming but not a giant one. Given that he pitches in Petco, Hahn makes a very good addition for NL-only owners and for those in mixed leagues who can start him at home and sit him on the road.’ I hope you grabbed up Hahn because his price went up on Tuesday when he paid off our faith by throwing 6 innings of 4 hit ball giving up just two runs while striking out 8 and walking just one. Nice!” Well, at the risk of being annoying, shame on you if you did not listen yet. This week all Hahn did was go out and strike out 9 while giving up no runs and 3 hits in 5 innings to beat the Reds. That means that the Padre rooking now has a 4-1 record with 36K in 27.6 innings and sweet ratios (1.95 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP). Convinced yet?
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page. Schultz says: “With the trading deadline approaching for both MLB as well as well-organized and thought out rotisserie baseball leagues, many teams are looking towards making the "big deal" that gets them the "key player" that pushes them on to "roto-glory" and many more terms that require "quotation marks." It's a reality though, that in order to make one of those deals truly work out, both in real life and in in our little fantasy world, you need one of the teams to be slightly bereft of their senses. Fortunately, roto-leagues tend to have those types of owners - habitually finishing in the bottom of the standings because they like to give away their few valuable assets for the proverbial "pennies on the dollar." (If you can't tell, Schultz is "enjoying" the gratuitous use of quotation marks this week).
If the prospect of wearing down the last place team to obtain Yasiel Puig for aging talent like Ryan Howard and David Ortiz (an actual trade made in one league I'm in by a team that's never sniffed the money positions) doesn't appeal to you, there's always the shrewd strategy of acquiring small pieces to put together a larger puzzle. In that regard, it might be worth looking into acquiring J.D. Martinez before his current roto-owner realizes his value. While in Houston, Martinez would show flashes of hitting brilliance but his career numbers reflect his inconsistency more than his potential. Martinez won't keep up his pace of .327, 10 HR and 36 RBIs in only 156 ABs for the rest of the season but he has hit his way into the Tigers potent lineup and will likely remain there for the second half.
Marlon Byrd is another roto-talent likely flying under the radar. Always a prospect but never a star, Byrd has become a somewhat reliable outfield option in the last couple years. Presently on pace for a 30 HR, 100 RBI season, which would exceed last year’s 24 HR 88 RBI effort, for the second straight year, Byrd seems poised to once again pull a "Kenny Lofton" and get himself traded into a pennant race. Neither he nor Martinez alone will change your roto-fortunes, but they are likely obtainable without paying a "king's ransom" and thus keeping your team strong for the present.”
Response: Well, it is true that most leagues have a patsy that never won and never will. It is also true that while JD is the second best Martinez on the Tigers, he is still darn good and will provide value. However, I am not paying a big price for Marlon Byrd. If he gets traded out of that band box in Philly, the power will reduce. Add in the fact that the K’s are up this year, the contact rate is down and he has hit .240 over the last two weeks and there are reasons to worry. Again, do not overpay for Byrd.
Final thoughts: Happy Birthday America! We certainly have our problems and issues to solve but there remains no doubt this is the greatest and most free nation on earth. Thank you to the founding fathers who designed a brilliant system and most importantly, thank you to those in our armed forces who day in and day out risk their lives to insure that all of us continue to be able to live free.