After the last couple of days where I've hit the “attach” button in email about nine zillion times sending out player capsules for designated hitters and catchers (thanks to all of you for your continued support), I thought I'd give myself a break and break down some of the more intriguing stories on the diamond with a particular focus on injuries.
* Adam Wainwright is done for 2011 as he'll need Tommy John surgery. With a recovery time frame of 12-18 months, it's not at all certain that he will be back on the hill for Opening Day 2012. Not only is that an obviously crushing blow to the Cards, it's also a massive damper in the fantasy game which brings up two points.
(1) As much as I love doing mock drafts, having a draft for a league that you are actually going to play out before the month of March is crazy. In fact, you might want to push back your draft to late March because some big player is always hurt in camp leaving a gaping hole on the roster of the person who took that player. This year it was the Wainwright owner. Last year it was Joe Nathan who hosed me in my AL-only league leaving my team, well, to put it bluntly, screwed.
(2) The injury to Wainwright is reason #736 why drafting a pitcher in the first couple of rounds of a fantasy draft is such a risk. Any player can be injured at any time, but the chance of a catastrophic injury to a pitcher is far greater than one to an every day player.
* Just for the hell of it. Vernon Wells, who no one seems to like in fantasy or the real world (that is unless you are in the Angels' front office), had three more RBI last year than Jayson Werth (88 to 85).
* Say it with me --- I'm scared when health challenged players are already having problems early in camp. Some thoughts.
Justin Morneau: He's progressing in his return from his concussion, even hitting live pitching the past two days which brings up two questions. (1) What the hell is live pitching? Is there “dead” pitching? (2) How bad are things with Morneau that we legitimately get happy hearing that he did something about 137.2 million kids have done the past two days. The Twins say he is still on pace to make the opening day roster, so we'll all continue to send Justin happy thoughts. For more on Morneau click on Circling the Bases, my weekly column that will be featured at Rotowire.com.
Brian Roberts: He said he tweaked his neck while sleeping (apparently staying up late to watch infomercials about the Ab Crunch 7000 can make your neck sore). He's missed a couple of days and could return to the field on Friday. Still, after all of his setbacks last season with his back, consider me exceedingly nervous with the talented second sacker.
Grady Sizemore: The 28 year old outfielder ran sprints this week for the first time since having microfracture surgery on his knee. Now we get a report from Buster Olney that it appears likely Sizemore will begin the year on the DL because he's just not ready to go. I don't know about you, but this guy scares the bejeus out of me and that's hard to do because of my love of horror movies.
* Can anyone help me to understand why I'm borderline obsessed with Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame? She's attractive sure, but it's not like she is a bombshell or anything, and half the time she looks like she has been puffing on the magic dragon. Still, when she is on the screen I just can't take my eyes off her. By the way, I saw all three of the Twilight movies with my girlfriend at the time, and while I may not be a 16 year teen in throws of hormonal upheaval, I will admit to liking them – at least a little bit.
* Don't forget about Alex Gordon on draft day. Ned Yost, Royals' manager, is impressed with how Gordon has looked after working with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer this offseason. This is likely Gordon's last shot to earn a full-time role with the Royals, a shocking admission for a guy who was taken 2nd overall in the 2005 Draft. I won't reach for Gordon, but in rounds 25 and up in mixed leagues he's as worthy as most of the riff raff that will be called out.
* Just for the hell of it Part II. Juan Pierre led the majors last year with 18 caught stealing which happens to be the same steal total that Hunter Pence and Justin Upton posted.
* And finally a parting shot. Remember sample size people. Don't make the mistake of simply looking at a month of games, or a handful of starts from a pitcher, and think you've got it all figured out. Anyone can look good, or conversely horrible, if you take a quick snapshot. You want proof? This pitcher went 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA and 1.82 WHIP In August. Who is this hurler?
The answer will likely shock some. It is Tim Lincecum who won 16 games, posted a solid 3.43 ERA, had a 1.27 WHIP and had 231 Ks to lead the NL. By the way, The Freak rebounded after his atrocious month of pitching to go 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in September.
Sample size people. By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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Christy Mathewson : 1905-1911: 1.28, 1.43, 1.14, 1.89 and 1.99 ERAs in there. #Sfgiants