Sometimes in life, you have to know when to admit that you were wrong. It’s okay to stand by your convictions, but when you do or say something that the world eventually finds out is wrong, you need to be man (or woman) enough to admit your misjudgment. On the ever-so-rare occasion, this happens to me and as someone who offers up fantasy baseball advice to the masses, I like to hold myself accountable. After all, you need to trust the source from which you’re getting your information, right? Well, I’m building that trust with you here.
I’ll admit that I was wrong to dismiss Yu Darvish as a strong fantasy option this year. Yes, we’ve seen success from some of the Japanese pitchers that have brought their game to the U.S., but nothing to the point where I’ve thought to pay a premium price before they’ve even thrown one pitch in the major leagues. Couple that with the fact that Darvish was set to pitch half of his games in the launching pad known as The Ballpark at Arlington and withstand the dog days of summer in that ridiculous Texas heat and I was thinking that I would let the rangers and my fellow fantasy owners make that mistake. I was steering clear if it meant paying a steep price.
Well, here we are in mid-May and Darvish is sitting on six wins, a 2.60 ERA, and a 10.04 K/9 (58 K in 52 IP). Sure, his walk total is a little high and his 1.33 WHIP isn’t the most desirable, but with an 83.1% strand rate, he’s doing just fine. Plenty of ground balls, not too many home runs and a ridiculous arsenal of pitches that keeps the hitters as balanced as a 92-year old man with vertigo. He is 100% as advertised. Will he regress? Probably a little. But while pitching for the rangers, he will get tons of run support which means that while he continues to rack up more than a strikeout per inning, he’ll be racking up the wins as well. He is gradually earning the moniker of fantasy ace.
So I stand tall here before you, proudly admitting that I can’t be right 100% of the time. I’ll keep reminding you about Bryan LaHair, Adam Jones (another home run on Wednesday!!) and numerous others to show you that I’m shooting well above the 50% mark, but for right here, right now, I’ll say that I misjudged the talents of Darvish and say that if you have a chance to obtain his services at a reasonable price, then you should probably make that deal.
I’ll even go one step further…
|Yu Darvish, TEX||7.2||4||1||1||2||7||0||1.17||0.78|
And you know I don’t just throw that around to anyone, right…?
Now let’s get to the highlights from Wednesday…
|Todd Frazier, 3B CIN||2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI|
|Carlos Lee, 1B HOU||3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B WAS||3-4, R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI|
|Omar Infante, 2B MIA||3-5, 2 R, 2 SB|
|Bud Norris, SP HOU||W, 1.29 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 9 K|
With Scott Rolen hitting the DL, Todd Frazier gets the opportunity to shine and potentially put Old Man Rolen into the retirement community where he belongs. It’s taken his a couple of games to find a groove, but he looks like he’s starting to piece it together. Wednesday’s power display shouldn’t come as much of a shock as he’s had great ISO numbers throughout his time in the minors and he’s ready to take his game to the next level. The penchant for strikeouts is a bit much, but hopefully that plate discipline improves with regular playing time.
At the start of the season, you would have laughed at any fantasy owner that was rostering anyone wearing an Astros uniform. But with Jose Altuve shining at second and Jordan Schafer swiping bases like a fat kid steals candy, some of them aren’t looking so bad. Lost in that shuffle is Carlos Lee who, while he hasn’t powered up that much just yet, is back to hitting over .300 and playing an all around solid game worthy of a corner infield spot on your roster. While he may only duplicate last year’s home run total of 18, if he does it with a .300 average and can post some decent RBI totals, then he’s easily earning his keep based on where you probably drafted him.
While Nationals fans are still lamenting the loss of Michael Morse, ol’ reliable Adam LaRoche continues to do his part as a power producer. Of course that .405 BABIP is going to regress which will eventually shoot that .339 batting average down to levels of normalcy for a LaRoche, but the seven home runs are for real and there’s plenty more where they came from. Before last year’s injury put him on the shelf for most of the season, LaRoche had six straight seasons of 20 or more home runs. With a clean bill of health, he will easily surpass that mark and you’ll be glad you bargain shopped at first base. Oh, and by the way…congratulations are in order for LaRoche who got his 1,000th career hit on Wednesday.
‘Bout time you started swiping some bases there, Omar Infante. We all know you’re not a power hitter, so while those six home runs are nice, we know there aren’t many more coming. Your .339 batting average is great, but you definitely needed to kick it up in another category.
And who doesn’t love themselves a little Bud Norris here? He’ll have the occasional blow up like most young pitchers do, but after Wednesday’s killer performance, Norris is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and 28 strikeouts over his last four starts. He’s been getting better and better each year, and this could be the breakout we’ve all been waiting for.
But the good doesn’t end with just Wednesday top five…
Fantasy owners have got to be loving the way the Indians lineup has been set up lately. This move of Shin-Soo Choo to the leadoff spot has been an amazing catalyst for the offense and the success of it is trickling down straight through the next four – Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana. On Wednesday night, the top five in the Tribe’s order combined to go 10-for-22 (.455) with a home run, five RBI and nine runs scored. If this offense continues to click, there are going to be a lot of happy folks in Cleveland and they’re not even filming another sequel to Major League.
If you’re in a deep league and looking for middle infield help, then check out Twins shortstop Brian Dozier. No, really….I’m serious. I know the Twins are awful, but Dozier seems to be a little diamond in the rough here. He’s getting regular playing time and has hit safely in four of his last five with three multi-hit games, two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. Given the usual ineptitude of the Twins offense, Ron Gardenhire is going to keep running him out there every day so long as he’s hitting.
Two words that used to be a laugher during every fantasy draft? Edwin Encarnacion. But apparently this is what a healthy E5 looks like. He popped his 13th home run of the season on Wednesday and now has 34 RBI on the season. Just keep your fingers crossed that he stays healthy.
Robbie knows boom, yo! Though Robinson Cano is currently stuck on three home runs, that total will soon start to increase as more of these doubles that he’s hitting start carrying a little further. He hit his 14th double of the season on Wednesday which gives him 300 for his career. If you own him, be patient. If you don’t, buy as low as you can.
Albert Pujols with a new hitting coach? Hello home run number two. I feel a turnin’ comin’! And it ain’t gonna be pretty if you don’t own him. Your competition is going to get right back into the mix in the power categories, so you better think about bulking up even more.
And finally, is Josh Hamilton ever going to slow down? He may not have gone deep four games in a row here, but he’s rocking a 16-game hitting streak and is now batting .404 on the season. He’s beyond “fantasy beast”. I just haven’t thought of a good name for it yet.
|Rickie Weeks, 2B MIL||0-4, 4 K|
|John Mayberry, 1B PHI||0-5, 3 K|
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B BOS||0-4, 3 K|
|Matt Wieters, C BAL||0-7, 3 K|
|Jon Rauch, RP NYM||L, BS, 81.00 ERA, 9.00 WHIP|
I mean, what else is there to say? Everyone has an off day, right. Some just look a little worse than others. Kudos to Jon Rauch for publicly taking the blame, but what else was he going to do? Blame the umpires? Blame his infield’s lack of range? He took it like a man and maybe, just maybe he gets another shot to supplant the dreaded Frank Francisco as the Mets closer.
How about that site of Will Rhymes passing out from the pain and adrenaline rush after getting hit on the arm on Wednesday night? Still can’t believe the x-rays came back negative. I was sure there was something broken. He’s day to day right now and probably will have a lot of difficulty swinging a bat while that mammoth lump on his forearm is still there.
If you’ve got the bench room to spare, then maybe grab Joaquin Benoit for some bullpen help. Jose Valverde is listed as day to day with the stiff back that got him removed from the game the other night. It should be Benoit, not Octavio Dotel who gets the closing work while Valverde is down.
With Chris Getz day to day nursing some sore ribs, the door opens a little wider for Johnny Giavotella. What he does on the inside is entirely up to him, but there’s definite promise in that bat.
Keep a watchful eye on Giancarlo Stanton who is questionable with a shoulder issue. Probably got a little banged up making that awesome diving catch out in right field on Wednesday and may need a day of rest.
Ryan Doumit is likely hitting the DL with a calf injury. The twins are just waiting to see what their countermove on the roster will be.
Apparently being the A’s third baseman is the worst job in the world. They’ve lost a bunch to injury already and now Brandon Inge is doubtful with a groin problem.
And finally, check to see the Texas lineup before starting Ian Kinsler today. He’s apparently dealing with some sort of stomach bug and is atleast questionable for today.
Early starts today so get ready for a full Thursday of baseball!! Get those lineups in now!
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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