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It was just 17 days ago when Philip Humber stepped onto the mound for the White Sox and took his place in baseball history forever when he threw the league’s 21st perfect game. 27 up, 27 down. No hits and no walks. Utter perfection. He will have that moment for the rest of his life and the story of how he perfectly disposed of the Seattle Mariners on that fateful Saturday night will be passed down from generation to generation in the Humber family.
Apologies if your Sunday breakfast was not complete without your daily fix of Rounding the Bases, but circumstances beyond my control kept me from delivering the daily fantasy baseball chatter you’ve grown to love this season. Somehow, some way, I know you’ll understand, so rather than dwell on it, let’s just get to the news and events from Sunday. With so much to talk about, we’re going to bounce all over the place here, so try to keep up…
When you’re looking through the stats page of your fantasy league, there are plenty of familiar names sitting at the top due to hot starts to the season. Matt Kemp has been a beast, once again, and leads the majors with eight home runs while players like Curtis Granderson, Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, and Hanley Ramirez, continue to prove their fantasy value and worthiness of their draft spots this spring. But this season, there sits another name atop the value rankings and given the last few season’s worth of playing time and results, he stands out like….well I hate to use the expression, “like a turd in a punchbowl,” but really, he’s that noticeable. I’m talking about Orioles outfielder Nolan Reimold, who has begun this season raking like a champ and already way out-earning his draft position.
It's been two weeks, but everyone loves to panic. It's in our nature. Something goes wrong, and we immediately start looking for a quick fix (think of all the weight loss pills out there when the best course of action would just be to eat well and exercise). Fantasy baseball is no different and the start to the season has led to a whole lot of consternation over names like Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, Johan Santana and Mark Melancon. I'll address all of those arms. I'll then wrap the piece up by focusing on something near and dear to me – numbers. What numbers have stood out to me in the early going? Read on to find out.
Catchers of the world, unite! Your time is now! The fantasy baseball community is officially warned – the catcher position is no longer an afterthought. Grab your bid dollars, hoard those early round draft picks and get yourself a quality backstop! They have arrived.
Are you there, Dr. Andrews? It’s me, Jacoby. Red Sox Nation and fantasy owners around the world took it in the you-know-where Friday when Jacoby Ellsbury slid into second base and Tampa Bay shortstop Reid Brignac fell onto the outfielder’s shoulder. You could tell by the look on Ellsbury’s face – or maybe it was the obscenities that he was screaming as he lay there in pain – that this was going to be bad. He was helped off the field and immediately rushed for an MRI. A shoulder subluxation is what they’re calling it right now and owners are looking at missing their first-round draft choice for a minimum of six weeks. Further tests are going to be run – it won’t be less time, but it certainly could be more.
Welcome to Bizarro baseball. While the anticipated debut of Yu Darvish was on everyone’s minds on Monday, the real excitement ended up coming from a very unlikely source. Barry Zito, the $126M albatross that hangs on the neck of the Giants organization and its fans, turned in a gutsy and vintage performance to help his team ruin the Colorado Rockies 2012 home opener. With the Giants seeking their first win of the season, Zito turned in a complete game, four-hit shutout with four strikeouts and no walks as the Giants offense went to town and pummeled the Rockies pitching for seven runs. Zito hurls a shutout? The Giants offense scores seven runs in a game? Bizarro baseball, indeed.
So here we were today with the fourth installment of Opening Day and while there was plenty of action to talk about with the afternoon games, the primary focus remained on Albert Pujols and his debut with the Angels. Thousands of flickering lights illuminated the stands at Angel Stadium on Friday night as everyone maneuvered in the stands to catch a shot of Prince Albert digging in for his first official American League at-bat. Unfortunately for those expecting a powerhouse debut, Pujols finished the night 0-for-3 with a walk and had a very unassuming evening. Angels fans will just have to wait another night for their 240 million dollar man to shine.
I've been saying it for years - get rid of the macho attitude and just get on base. Turns out that my message may have finally reached Mark Teixeira. What will the Nationals do with Bryce Harper to start the 2012 season. Could he actually break camp as a member of the starting lineup? The Astros signed Livan Hernandez. How does that move impact the rest of the Astros' rotation? And finally, I know he's coming off a terrific season, but just how good is this Adrian Beltre fella?
I'm having one of those days. You know, where you wake up feeling a little foggy. I didn't stay out last night boozing, that will be tonight, so I can't really explain my malaise. Therefore, I'm only going to take partial responsibility for what you're about to read. If you find it useful then it was all me. If you find it laughable, well, then my body was possessed by the spirit of some whacky baseball analyst. I'll discuss the value of Jose Bautista, Matt Garza and the recently signed Ryan Madson in my weekly piece.