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Though it makes it sound more like a Broadway show than a baseball game, we are less than a week away from Opening Night. That’s right. Sunday night the Rangers and Astros square off for the first official MLB game of the 2013 season. Excited? I know I am. But what makes it even better is that Sunday night is the first official set of stats recorded for the 2013 fantasy baseball season and after a long and arduous offseason filled with countless hours of draft prep work, it’s all about to start paying off. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there are still some who have yet to draft and are looking for a few last-minute nuggets of information. Well, with big decisions coming down here in the final week of spring training, I am always happy to oblige.
Bullpen turnover last year was at an all-time high with two of every three teams making changes in the 9th inning. We're not even to March yet of 2013 and there is already movement with a few teams setup at the end of the game. Will the presumptive Athletics closer be healthy enough to take the ball on Opening Day? Just how historically good is the Rockies' closer? Who is going to get the call for the Blue Jays since both of their options are coming back from shoulder surgery? What the heck are the Astros doing with their bullpen? After breaking down those throwers we'll spend a wee bit of time looking into a couple of outfield situations that could have an impact in how you draft players for your fantasy baseball squad in 2013.
There are plenty of names that are still available in the world of major league baseball. Some names are significant (Lohse), while others are middling (Thome), while still others are flat out snooze fests (Abreu). Still, all could have a league specific role of note so they are worth discussing. Also worth break down is the Marlins' bullpen situation. Could the Fish be looking to bring in some late inning depth in the form of an arm that has accrued at least 25 saves in each of the past six seasons? Finally, what do Longoria and Sandoval have in common? They both have a lot to prove in 2013.
Don’t be fooled by the calm right now. Sure, most of the dust has settled from the non-waiver trade deadline, but we’re still in for a whole mess of player movement as there’s almost a full month still to go where teams can put a guy through waivers and, if unclaimed, are free to trade him wherever they like. If they do get claimed then the two teams can hash out a deal or the original team just pulls the guy back. Either way, as we’ve already seen Joe Blanton pass through unclaimed and land with the Dodgers and reports of Cliff Lee getting claimed by some mystery team, you have to stay prepared for more movement. If you’ve got a high-priced (in real life) player who’s rumored to be on the move, you’ve got to be prepared if he lands in a new situation.
It never turns out the way you really want it to, does it? You hope, you dream, you pray, but somehow there’s always a curveball thrown in there that you don’t really expect. Once again, that’s the way it went for fantasy owners who were anticipating a dream match-up of young studs – future all-stars – on the mound on Tuesday night when uber-phenom Trevor Bauer took the hill for the Arizona Diamondbacks opposite the young flamethrower, Andrew Cashner, of the San Diego Padres. The unconventional ways of Bauer mixed with the 100-plus mph fastballs of Cashner built expectations of a low scoring, fast moving, strikeout-laden game that was sure to eventually land in the “classic games” archives of the MLB Network, right? Whoops! Not so fast there, Skippy.
With some of the pitching performances we’ve seen over the past week – Matt Cain’s perfect game, R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball madness, and Ryan Dempster’s 15 straight shutout innings just to name a few, fantasy owners tend to get lulled into a false sense of security. Just when everything seems to be going your way and your pitching staff looks invincible…BAM!!!! The injury bug swoops on in and takes a huge bite out of your rotation’s proverbial ass.
Four players will be the focus of today's article. Brian Roberts has finally returned from his concussion woes and inquiring minds want to know – what should we expect from the former fantasy star? There's a hitter out there that has numbers that should blow your socks off, so why is no one impressed? Alex Rios is a five category option in the fantasy game as he's rebounded from a down 2011 to return to his previously impressive levels. Brandon Morrow is hurt, and I'm ticked off about that. Finally, an I bet you are wondering, why on earth is Lil' Kim referenced in the title of this piece? Read on to find out how she connects with the FSTA event that was just held in San Francisco.
Doubleheaders can be a tricky business for fantasy owners. If you own players starting in a twin-billing, there’s nothing worse than opening up your live scoring page and seeing a big, fat 0-for-8, or worse in some cases. Right off the bat, you know it’s a batting average/OBP killer for you and you just have to sit and hope that someone else in your lineup had one of those 4-for-5 days just to help take the sting out of it. On the other side of the coin, there’s that jubilant feeling you get in your belly when you pop that live scoring page open and see a 6-for-8 followed by a whole slew of baseball abbreviations. Sometimes you see multiple home runs, sometimes it’s one of everything, and sometimes, in points leagues, it’s the bonus for a grand slam or hitting for the cycle. Sink or swim. Feast or famine. The doubleheader can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. But I’ll take my chances with it every time.
If there’s one thing you can say about Saturday’s games, there was quite the flair for the dramatic. It seems like every game you turned to, there was something big happening. There were three walk-off home runs, two complete-game shutouts, Derek Jeter tied George Brett for 14th on the all-time hits list, and yet another Heath Bell meltdown. We had more great pitching performances and plenty of offense to keep your fantasy teams juiced. So without further ado, let’s get to the highlights…
Welcome to the very special Earthquake Edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. If you didn’t hear the news, most of the east coast and regions out to Ohio experienced a 5.9 earthquake this afternoon at 1:51 PM. Clearly the reason for this is the fact that the Oakland A’s are in New York tonight to play the Yankees. Apparently they brought the San Andreas Fault with them on their charter plane. As a forewarning, there are absolutely no earthquake jokes or puns contained in this edition of the Top Ten. I thought it would be in poor taste to mock or defame the memory of John Tenta, otherwise known as Earthquake in the WWF. Remember when he squashed Jake Roberts’ snake and then made python burgers out of its remains? Now, without further adieu, here is this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for August 23, 2011.