If you caught me on the Fantasy Alarm Podcast on Tuesday night with Jeff Mans and Ashley Couturier, you heard me saying that I was getting ready to sit down and watch a series of games I had taped on the DVR and was gearing up to talk about middle infielders. And while I think we’ve got an excellent crop of young guys to discuss such as Dee Gordon and Jason Kipnis, I find myself being drawn to a relative old timer in the fantasy world. In all my years of playing fantasy baseball, I’ve never once owned this guy and yet, for all of the reasons I can give to avoid him, especially these days, I still find myself highlighting him at various points of the season.
I’m talking about Chipper Jones. Yeah, that’s right, Chipper Jones. I can stand here on my soapbox and preach to you in a million different ways as to why you should avoid him – primarily for the massive injury risk that’s involved – and yet, he pops up on the highlight reels time and time again. Take Tuesday for example – in his first game back from the DL (knee injury), Chipper goes 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the third inning to give the Braves a lead they would not relinquish. It seems like each and every time this guy hits the DL, he comes back with a vengeance and tears it up. In fantasy, you don’t want to own him because he hasn’t played a full season since 2003, and yet you do because he’s still plugging close to 20 home runs with a decent average at a relatively thin position. A double-edged sword, if you will. You don’t want him, and yet, when you’re looking at the fact that you waited too long for a third baseman in your draft and got stuck with Ian Stewart, you do.
I’m just amazed by him, is all I’m really saying here and with this being his final season, I guess I just felt some sort of a tribute was in order. Nothing extravagant, just a nod. The drop-off over the last few seasons has made it easier to say goodbye and yet he still finds ways to impress. It’ll be strange doing the positional rankings next year and for the first time since 1995, there will be no Chipper. I truly hope he has an outstanding season. I still don’t own him and I won’t trade for him in a million years, but I hope he atleast goes out with a bang.
Now let’s hit the highlights…
|Edwin Encarnacion, DH TOR||2-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB|
Wow. And I thought Monday was Bizarro baseball day? First I’m singing the praises of Chipper and now I’m highlighting E5??? My fantasy world is crumbling here! Edwin Encarnacion is another one of those guys that you’ll never find on any of my teams. His career numbers are littered with inconsistencies, he’s dealt with injuries and playing time concerns, and despite the fact that he can be a relatively cheap option at third, there’s very little about him that I like. Maybe I just like to invest in top third basemen, but really, what’s the alternative? Maybe you strike it rich with a hot start from David Freese, but all in all, if you wait on a third baseman, Encarnacion is the type of guy you get saddled with. His numbers aren’t awful, but there’s nothing exciting about them either. You’ll never say, “I couldn’t have won my fantasy championship without Encarnacion as my third baseman.” Never. And if you do, I want to hear the details behind that story. My email link is at the bottom of the page. In any event, here’s another dog’s butt catching a little sunshine. Good job, EE. Enjoy your highlight.
As for the rest, I have to say, it really wasn’t a very exciting fantasy day. Maybe it was just my excitement over the start of a new season, but I felt like there were tons of guys to highlight and discuss. Tuesday was not one of those days. Here’s a look at some of the top performers…
|Jordan Schafer, OF ATL||3-5, 2 R, 3 SB|
|David Freese, 3B STL||2-3, R, HR, 2 RBI|
|Jayson Werth, OF WAS||4-5, R, 2 RBI|
|Danny Duffy, SP KC||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 8 K|
|Jason Motte, RP STL||S, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, K|
And really, I’m using the term “studs” pretty loosely here.
Jordan Schafer is one of those sneaky guys to own in fantasy right now. He gets little or no attention because he’s in Houston and let’s face it…the Astros are terrible and a veritable fantasy wasteland. Yet Schafer has some decent value if you’re looking for cheap speed. When the Astros dealt Michael Bourn, Schafer became the new leadoff man and while he never flashed a ton of speed in the minors, he put up 22 steals last season and should easily clear that mark again this season. He may do it with a sub-.250 average, but considering he’s probably still sitting on your waiver wire, the price is right. Of course, a three steal game puts him on the map, so if you’ve got someone else in your league in need of stolen bases, you better act fast. You might drop him again in time, but for now, it couldn’t hurt to just kick the tires.
As for the rest…? Meh. You can hear Jeff Mans sing the praises of David Freese on the podcast, if you missed it, and the rest of this motley crew will probably have its fair share of lowlights this season as well, so I see no reason to go overboard. Jayson Werth is off to a pretty uneventful start and I don’t see him putting up numbers like he did when the Phillies were at their peak, Danny Duffy doesn’t have the experience or consistency to earn my trust just yet, and Jason Motte will probably go the way most closers today are going. He’s got great stuff, but I’m definitely keeping an eye on Fernando Salas still.
As for the underperformers…
|David Ortiz, DH BOS||0-4, 2 K|
|Jose Bautista, OF TOR||0-4, 3 K|
|Alex Rodriguez, 3B NYY||0-5, 3 K|
|Paul Maholm, SP CHC||L, 13.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2 K, 2 HRA|
|Daniel Bard, SP/RP BOS||L, 9.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 6 K|
Offensive-wise, here are three guys you’ll see on the highlight reels all season long. A-Rod and Joey Bats may be off to slow starts here, but is there any doubt that both will hit a point this season where you wish you had them on your team? Maybe not so much for A-Rod, as his health hangs in the balance, but give me a little Joey Bats any day. And as for Ortiz, well, this was really his first bad game. The power hasn’t kicked in just yet, but there’s no doubt that it will soon enough.
Pitching-wise is a bit of a different story. Paul Maholm is garbage and I put him in there, not just because he had such a terrible debut, but because at some point this season you’re going to see him put up a decent pitching line and at some point when you’re streaming pitchers near the end, you’re going to have a mini-conversation in your head and wonder if it’s worth your while to start Maholm because he’s playing the Astros or someone awful like that. Well let me answer that for you now – no. Don’t do it. Save yourself the aggravation, spare your ratios a fantasy kick to the groin and leave him be. I don’t care if he goes out there and tosses a complete game shutout his next time out. He’s only doing it to sucker you in. He’ll pitch great for no one’s active roster and then once you activate him – BAM!!! Eight earned runs in 2.1 innings of “work”.
And then there’s Daniel Bard – phenomenal set-up man turned mediocre starter. I don’t care if Alfredo Aceves notched the save two days ago. If Bobby Valentine doesn’t get Bard back into the bullpen and possibly closing out games, the Red Sox are in trouble. And what a waste for fantasy owners. I know of atleast half a dozen owners in keeper leagues that held onto Bard coming into this year and for what? I know it’s early and sample size and all that talk, but something tells me that Bobby V has it all wrong here and if he doesn’t make it right, we’re all going to suffer.
Lorenzo Cain is day to day after leaving Tuesday’s game with a strained left groin. I still think he’s got tremendous upside, but he’s doing nothing to curry favor with fantasy owners right now. You can’t have that big of a spring and then come out that flat and get hurt, can you? He better turn it around or he gets the premier highlight in next year’s article about being wary of spring numbers.
The Diamondbacks are calling Justin Upton day to day with a jammed left thumb. Upton missed Tuesday’s game and he is considered questionable for Wednesday as well, so you might want to keep him on the bench until you see him back in full.
Mike Aviles sat out Tuesday’s game with a bum ankle and has been labeled as questionable for Wednesday as well. Look for the never-studly Nick Punto to get a little more time in the field this week.
Willie Harris should continue to fill in at second for the Reds with Brandon Phillips – he of the “gimme a six-year deal, dammit” – out again with a hamstring issue.
Keep Giancarlo Stanton on the bench for another day as he is still questionable with that same knee problem that has plagued him for a few days.
And finally, it might be wise to sit Lance Berkman who is listed as questionable with a calf issue. Could be a rough week for Matt Holliday without Berkman hitting behind him, so be aware of that fact. Holliday got off to a slow start but was nicely productive the last two games. That could change with limited protection in the lineup now. Yes, yes, I know….Freese will be there. But for how long?
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