More often than not, the MLB record books and record-breaking moments have very little impact on the fantasy baseball world. Sure, it’s amazing to see a pitcher win his 300th game or to watch a player get his 3000th hit, but for the sake of the fantasy game, it’s just another win or just another hit. Usually the player already has a high-profile, so his cost is already pretty high and it’s not like you’re plucking a potential Hall of Fame candidate off your league’s waiver wire. But sometimes a record comes to the foreground and brings attention to a player who doesn’t often see the spotlight. That player today is Washington Nationals starter Edwin Jackson.
In truth, Jackson didn’t even pitch on Sunday and I’m coming in a day late on this news, which just goes to show you how little fanfare this guy gets. When Jackson tossed a complete game victory on Saturday, according to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, he became the first starting pitcher since 1901 to earn a win for seven different teams before his 29th birthday. He has now won games for the Nationals, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Rays, Tigers, Cardinals and White Sox. An obscure record, yes, but one that is now etched into the annals of MLB history and perhaps something to which the fantasy baseball community should pay a little more attention.
Jackson may not have the resume of some of fantasy baseball’s most highly coveted pitchers, but he has certainly proven, atleast over most of the last few years, that he is worthy of a spot on your fantasy rotation. He’s certainly had his fair share of bumps in the road, but if fantasy baseball is about playing the numbers and about striking while the iron is hot, then Jackson can be one of the more helpful tools needed to help build a fantasy championship. Forget about the career 4.44 ERA. Look more at the breakdown between teams for the last few years.
When Jackson landed in Detroit after three years of struggling against the powerhouse lineups of the AL East, he endured one of his best seasons as a ballplayer. Those that owned him in fantasy were treated to 13 wins, a 3.62 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 214 innings of work. Certainly not Roy Halladay numbers, but Halladay was a first or second round draft choice while Jackson was either picked up in the 24th round or left on waivers to begin the season. You’re telling me that you wouldn’t want those numbers for your 6th starter?
From then on, with the exception of most of his time in Arizona, he has become a solid role player for fantasy owners. That stint in Arizona, in which he had a 5.16 ERA in 21 starts for the D-Backs was the only time since before 2009 that he didn’t turn in a positive value in relation to his Average Draft Position (ADP). He did throw a no-hitter back then, but overall, Chase Field was not kind to him. Everywhere else though – Chicago, St. Louis and now here in Washington – Jackson’s ERA has never been over 4.00. He’s come up with solid win totals, decent strikeouts, and a WHIP that is more than just tolerable for a late round draft choice.
Even this year, Jackson ADP was 249.19 which loosely translates to a 21st round pick. A paltry investment, right? He’s now made two starts for the upstart Nationals and has produced a 2.57 ERA with a 0.64 WHIP. Now I’m not saying that he’s going to continue at this pace, but for what you paid, dividends are already being paid. And what’s best is that if he can just squeak out another two or three quality starts, not only will you be getting quality stats for your team, but you now also have a top-of-the-line trade chip. You’re not flipping him for Matt Kemp or anything like that, but he’ll certainly have a strong enough value to land you something helpful in the long run.
Again, he’s not the be-all, end-all of pitchers, but don’t dismiss his actual worth.
Now let’s hit the highlights…
|Matt Carpenter, 1B/3B STL||4-4, R, 3B, HR, 5 RBI|
Who? That’s what I thought. Matt Carpenter is a 26-year old rookie who has seized an opportunity with Lance Berkman on the shelf with a calf problem. His game on Sunday was the game he and every other aspiring ballplayer dreams about when they are kids. He helped his team gain the lead early on, helped break it wide open with a two-run shot midway through and finished up the day with a career-high five RBI and just a double short of the cycle. Outstanding, right? The guy is now hitting .409 with a home run, four runs scored and 10 RBI.
So how many of you are running out to scoop him up off your waiver wire?
Exactly. Welcome to the proverbial sun shining and the proverbial dog’s butt. Carpenter’s recent performance may have earned him a place on the 25-man big league roster, but once Berkman comes back, Carpenter will again drift off into obscurity. It’s not like the Cardinals are going to shift things around to make room for him. He’s done his job and he’s done it well, but he is not sticking in the starting lineup. Berkman is actually supposed to return on Tuesday, so if you didn’t have Carpenter in your lineup this weekend, then you missed the boat. Don’t go wasting your waiver priority here. Just appreciate that the kid did something good for himself and move along.
As for the other top performers from Sunday…
|Casey Kotchman, 1B CLE||3-4, 3 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB, SB|
|Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B MIA||4-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Yadier Molina, C STL||2-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Brandon Beachy, SP ATL||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 6 K|
|Rick Porcello, SP DET||W, 1.17 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, 4 K|
Plain and simple, Casey Kotchman is listed here because I wanted to show you that the sun is so powerful that it can actually shine on two dogs at once. If you are part of the 0.8% that own Kotchman, then congratulations. If not, then don’t worry. You won’t be missing anything but a series of 0-for-4’s from here on out.
But now talking Hanley Ramirez…..oh baby!! He, like most of the Marlins, got off to a slow start through the first few games, but has now gone 7-for-9 with two runs scored, a home run, four RBI and a stolen base in his last two games. Sure, it was against Houston pitching, but you’ve got to get your start somewhere. We’ll see how he fares against the Cubs to start the week here before going into total freak-out mode, but here’s a guy who slipped down in drafts – not too far, but far enough—and could, once again, put up top five player value.
Is Yadier Molina’s power for real? After years of single-digit home run production, Molina took off last season with 14 dingers and he did it without seeing his batting average (his strongest fantasy asset) suffer at all. Now he’s already got three round-trippers and just looks like a beast out there. The Cardinals were looking for players to step up in the absence of Albert Pujols, but no one thought they were talking about Yaddy, did they? The season is young, but he’s definitely on his way towards out-earning his draft position amongst the catchers.
And how about some of that tasty, young pitching? Brandon Beachy was high on most people’s lists this offseason, so we were all certainly expecting these type of outings from him, but Rick Porcello was a slightly different story. Yes, people were high on Porcello. He was one of the better up-and-coming ground ball specialists who, with Comerica Park on his side, wouldn’t see to dramatic of a HR/FB ratio that most ground ballers have. However, when news broke that the tigers were moving Miguel Cabrera over to third, Porcello and teammate Doug Fister’s value took a hit. Everyone expected the hot corner to be his Achilles heel once the season was underway, but so far, he’s looked solid. His 3.11 FIP indicates that his 1.84 ERA will certainly jump, but we’re not looking at that substantial an increase that you wouldn’t want him on your roster. He seems to be pitching with tremendous confidence right now, so if he’s available, give him a look.
And for all the good in this beautiful baseball world, there’s a splash of bad too….
|Torii Hunter, OF LAA||0-4, 3 K|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B TB||0-5, 3 K|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B BAL||0-3, 3 K|
|Justin Morneau, 1B MIN||0-4, 3 K|
|Matt Moore, SP TB||L, 8.53 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 5 K, 2 HRA|
I sure hope Ryan Flaherty’s mom isn’t reading here. If she is, then my apologies but I just couldn’t leave your son off the list knowing that he whiffed all three times he was at the plate in his first ever major league start. Maybe you should mail him a care package or something to help lift his spirits.
I won’t harp on it too badly, but I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact that Matt Moore is not living up to his pre-season hype at all. I was astounded that people were taking this kid so high in drafts this year. Absolutely astounded. But everyone wants the next big thing and they’re going to do some stupid things in their attempts to find the future Piujols and Halladays of this world. If you were one of them, no, I’m not saying to abandon ship. You made your bed and now you have to lie in it. Trading him won’t net you proper value, so you’re just going to have to put him on your bench and hope for the eventual turnaround.
As for the others, you can probably expect to see Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau on this list more than just a few more times this year, but Ben Zobrist will be just fine.
Careful with those lineups this week…
Nolan Reimold, OF BAL – leg (questionable)
Brandon Phillips, 2B CIN – hamstring (questionable)
Carlos Gonzalez, OF COL – illness (questionable)
Jordan Schafer, OF HOU – head (questionable)
Luke Hochevar, SP KC – foot/ankle (questionable for 4/18 start)
Nick Blackburn, SP MIN – shoulder (questionable for 4/19 start)
Kyle Blanks, OF SD – shoulder (15-day DL)
Brian Wilson, RP SF – elbow (likely out for season)
David Freese, 3B STL – finger (questionable)
Mitch Moreland, 1B TEX – tooth (questionable)
Sean Burnett, RP WAS – back (questionable)
Tyler Clippard, RP WAS – shoulder (questionable)
Mike Carp, 1B/OF SEA – on Triple-A rehab assignment
Lance Berkman, 1B STL – possible return 4/17
B.J. Upton, OF TB – on Double-A rehab assignment (on 15-day DL with back injury)
Patriot's Day in Boston today, so first game is at 11:05am (ET) -- get those lineups in!!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rounding The Bases - Todd Zola Looks At The First 10 Rounds of a Likely 2014 Fantasy Baseball Draft
Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola - Looking Ahead To The 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season
Rounding The Bases - Master Fantasy Baseball Notes From Todd Zola
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (20 Prospects for '14)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 24
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (September Call-Ups)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 23
Rounding the Bases: A Day For the Little Man
Rounding The Bases: Morse, Willingham On the Move?
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Roster Expansion)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 22
Rounding the Bases: Five Surging Pitchers & Hitters
Rounding the Bases: Rookies, Veterans & Roster Movement
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Pitching Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week 21
Master Notes From Todd Zola - Taking A Look at Starting Pitching In Keeper Leagues
Rounding the Bases: Small Names, Big Production?
Rounding the Bases: A First for Stephen Strasburg and the (Near) Final Round-Up
The Farm Report: Minor League Baseball Coverage From A Fantasy Perspective (Hitting Help On The Way!)
2013 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Pickups: Week Twenty