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In 1983 Rickey Henderson ran his way to 130 steals for the Athletics, a modern day baseball record (Hugh Nicol actually stole 138 bases in 1887 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings). Others of the modern era have hit triple-digits – Lou Brock, Vince Coleman Maury Wills – but those just aren't numbers we see anymore. Nowadays we're lucky to find guys who steal half as many bags. So why is it that you hear so many people in the fantasy game say 'I don't worry about steals early, I can find them late.' Is that an accurate statement? How should you look at steals for the coming season, and which players should you consider targeting?
Every year we get the rush of people who, acting like it's a holiday sale at Walmart, aren't afraid to run over their competitor to add the hot new toy to their basket (in this case we're talking hot shot youngster to their fantasy team). Believe me I understand the temptation. Just look at what guys like Trout and Harper did last season. But for every successful rookie standout there are tons of youngsters who fail to live up to the overblown expectations of many in the fantasy game. I'll try to lend some sanity here. I'll then touch on some of the news of the day including will Manny Ramirez play in 2013? Is Joe Saunders a reliable innings eater? What were the Phillies thinking signing an unreliable veteran righty? Is Mike Napoli every going to sign with the Red Sox? Is Jose Valverde's career as a closer over even though he had 35 saves last year?
Have you ever heard that story about the baby bull sitting atop a hill with his father overlooking the valley strewn with cows? The son looks up to his father and says, “Hey dad! How ‘bout we run down that hill and grab one of them cows and have our way with her?” And the father looks down at his son and responds, “How about we just quietly walk down that hill and have our way with them all?” It’s a story about patience and maturity and it’s a story about thinking before you act. It popped into my mind here this early, early Sunday morning when I turned on my laptop to see a series of emails from both Giants fans and Tim Lincecum owners deriding me for my blasphemous statements regarding the one they belovedly refer to as The Freak.
Since we’re headed into the All Star break, we’re going to keep it relatively quick and simple here. It’s a short fantasy week coming up and lineups aren’t usually set until Thursday morning, so we can just ease into our Sunday, enjoy the games and then worry about everything while we enjoy watching the spectacle that is the Home Run Derby and the All Star Game.
In the wake of hearing about rehab setbacks for both Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford, the baseball world got a little bit of good news as the Phillies finally activated first base slugger Ryan Howard on Friday and got him into the lineup immediately. The slugger had been on the shelf since the final at-bat of the Phillies final game of 2011 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon. The road to recovery was cumbersome, but he’s back now and fantasy owners that had him stashed are looking to reap the benefits as we get ready to head on into the second half of the season.
It was a tragic day in fantasy baseball and in St. Louis where the best player in the game left in obvious pain as he was crashed into at first base. Hold your breath everyone. But there is good news in Oakland, some more on the South Side of Chicago, and we know that both of those cities need some good news. I give you some news about one pitcher who just teased you with one good start, and another that I am starting to pay more attention to in Florida. We also continue our series of pitching streamers with a new guy north of the border, so don't miss all of that and more with Rounding The Bases.