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While there were plenty of things to get excited about on Friday night such as six of Gerrit Cole’s first 38 pitches (three innings) hitting triple-digits on the radar gun and Stephen Strasburg’s successful return to the mound, there was a whole lot of bizarro baseball going on as well. For those not familiar with the term, the Bizarro world was an alternate reality created in the DC Comics universe where all the characters were replicas of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman but with opposite (read: evil) personalities. So in the baseball world, when we refer to bizarro baseball, we’re talking about things that can only be true in an alternate universe.
This time last week I was coming to you from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association summer conference in Chicago. My ears were still ringing, having just returned from watching Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in a bar filled with Black Hawk fans. The scream and ensuing celebration after Chicago scored in the third overtime resonated for several hours.
It’s difficult to say that any day during the baseball season is a slow day, but when the news is light and there are no performances that were good (or bad) enough to make your eyes pop out, then you’ve got to consider it a slow day. Sure, we could talk about the Yankees losing Kevin Youkilis for the next 10 weeks due to back surgery or Edwin Encarnacion quietly on-pace to actually surpass his career-best 2012 numbers, but that’s hardly the stuff that you’d consider a major headline grab unless, of course, you own either guy. Even the debut of Wil Myers on a doubleheader with the Red Sox was pretty tame as the highly-touted slugger went just 1-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in his debut. Perhaps had the rain not pushed off the Yankees/Dodgers game and the return of Don Mattingly to Yankee Stadium we would have had something more, but that would probably center around two under-performing all-star teams and, well, that’s just depressing. But I guess without days like this, you can't appreciate some of the more amazing days we get so often throughout a six month long season so rather than complain, we’re just going to get to the top and bottom performances from Tuesday. And yes, we’re even skipping the Fantasy Beast of the Day as there just wasn’t a performance out there deserving of the label. There were a few candidates who deserved consideration, but in the end, there just weren’t any performances that were worthy of such an esteemed daily award.
OK, so we’re pulling in a little late to the station today. What can you do? Father’s Day weekend had a few more festivities than I expected and like a good dad I was sound asleep on the couch by 8:30 pm on Sunday. So again, rather than just stick to the top and bottom performances from Sunday, we’re going to splash in a few random fantasy baseball thoughts and some news for today that might be integral to setting your lineups for the week. Remember, the games don’t start until 7:00pm (ET) today so there’s plenty of time. And away we go…
It doesn’t happen often but there are times, every so often, that you’d like to see your fantasy team get some credit for defensive plays. As I flipped between several of the games Saturday and then watched the highlight reels later on in the evening, I saw some unbelievable plays in the field. Colorado rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado had, what I thought was, the play of the day as he dove towards the line – full air, full extension – snagged the ball and after what appeared to be a T.J. Hooker-like roll, threw the runner out while still in the sitting position. Catches by Ichiro Suzuki and Jon Jay made the highlights as well, but as good as they were, neither touched Arenado’s play. Obviously it’s subjective as to how amazing you thought each play was which is why you just can’t score something like that at an appropriate value, but worthy of acknowledgement nonetheless.
You know, for a day with a short slate of games, Thursday turned out to be quite eventful for baseball fans and fantasy owners alike. There was crazy extra-inning drama, unsung heroes, devastating injuries, and breaking news filled with both hope and despair. We’ve got our usual highlights for you here, but once again, with fewer games on the docket, we can break from out usual format and discuss more than just the top (and bottom) performers from the evening. So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
A couple weeks ago, the theme of my weekly foray into all things fantasy baseball was by the end of the season, most players are going to get the numbers expected. As such, if you want them to contribute these expected numbers to your team, you’re going to need to have them active. Far too often see or hear advice suggesting reserving a scuffling player until they turn it around, usually a pitcher. I’ve heard the rule of thumb is to have a pitcher on the bench until he strings together two or three starts in a row.
Tuesday night was so loaded with action that it’s tough to know where to start here. Do I appeal to your traditional baseball side and talk about the hot, young starting pitching that we saw or do I go lowest common denominator and appeal to your inner thug? Decisions , decisions. Well, why don’t I do both and we can cover it all? And since that Dodgers/Diamondbacks game got pretty crazy and had some fairly big names involved, let’s just lead with that, shall we?
Expectations are a b - - - h. That's the simple, yet straight forward truth that we all face on a daily basis. For three youngsters in particular – Cole, Cingrani & Myers – expectations have reached a fever pitch (I'm not even going to waste my time talking about Yasiel Puig since people are trading him straight up for Prince Fielder and claiming he is the next Willie Mays. I've seen a lot of crazy rookie love in my more than a decade covering fantasy sports full time, but I don't ever recall seeing a bigger blitz to add a player than the hype surrounding Puig, and that includes Mike Trout last year just to be it in comparison). Can any of this trio possibly live up to expectations in 2013? I think you know the answer to that, or you should at least. The answer is likely no, because even if they perform like some solid veterans I'm going to compare them to, I bet those that add the young guns would be disappointed if that's all they got as a return on their rookie investment.
The good news is that here on Monday, the games don’t start until 7pm (ET) so you can really take your time and study up on things before you have to set your lineup for the week. The bad news is that there’s a lot going on that you’re going to have to stay on top of during the day in order to set that lineup properly. Between Ryan Braun’s thumb injury and Hanley Ramirez’ hamstring MRI to the debuts of Gerritt Cole and Zack Wheeler, there seems to be a lot happening right now. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are headed back from the DL this week. Ike Davis? He’s in Triple-A. Brandon McCarthy? Still suffering seizures. Matt Kemp won’t return from his injury on-time, Ian Kinsler is finally working his way back from his and good ol’ Chase Utley is right on schedule for his mid-June return. Are you writing this stuff down?