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For the months leading up to, and right up until the very last moment before your draft, I’ll always be one of the first to tell you to wait on starting pitching. The position is incredibly deep and if you do your homework, you can find outstanding, quality pitching throughout the middle to late rounds. In a 12-team, mixed league with a snake draft, I’m not even looking at a pitcher until the sixth round. You can easily build yourself competitive pitching staffs without investing an early round pick on a Justin Verlander or a Clayton Kershaw. Sure, those guys will be great, but clearly there are others. If you watched that Colorado/ St. Louis series this past weekend, you’ll know exactly what I’m, talking about.
And just like that, after the long, cold winter, the MLB season is back in full force and the fantasy baseball season has officially begun. Happy Opening Day to you all. Worth the wait? I’d say so. We got a nice, little taste on Sunday night as the Astros won their very first game as an American League team and then Monday was just one of those days that made you feel like a little kid all over again. We saw some great baseball played with the promise of so much more to come.
Oh man. Look at this. A guy goes away for a couple of days and look how everything falls apart. Say it ain’t so, Bartolo. Say it ain’t so. I guess we all now know how, at 39 years old and 267 pounds (which is definitely lowballing),Bartolo Colon managed to post up 10 wins and a 3.43 ERA while pitching for the A’s this season. But now,he's following in the footsteps of Melky Cabrera and sitting out the next 50 games which kisses this season goodbye as well as any chance of a legitimate contract during the offseason.
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.
It’s late June, we’re wrapping up interleague play, we’re talking about rookies racking up enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title (hello, Mike Trout) and yet we still have some firsts for 2012 happening right before our eyes. Nothing better than something new and exciting, right? Well, two of fantasy baseball’s hottest pick-ups over the past few weeks made their 2012 debut Friday night and each of them performed up to task and worthy of a stash on your bench for however long you needed to stash them.
Just a quickie recap of Saturday’s baseball games as I am needed elsewhere. Turns out, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference is this week so the Fantasy Alarm Radio Show will be done live from San Francisco and I’ll be heading into the studio to join Jeff Mans and Ted Schuster for what should be an exciting three hours beginning at 5pm (ET). I’m going to have to spend some time in hair and make-up in case one of them decides to bring a web cam in and stream this sucker. I’ve been told I’ve got a great face for radio, so I want to make sure I’m at my best.
When Jonathon Niese started to mow down the Cardinals lineup, I was crushed that I was going to have to hype another Mets pitcher and talk about how the defending World Champs were bested for three straight games and mustered not a single run. Well, considering he only went six innings, he’ll get an honorable mention because taking the place of Mets pitchers for today, will be Phil Hughes, Chris Sale and Trevor Cahill. Not one, not two, but three complete games on Sunday marking yet another Year of the Pitcher it seems. Each one put forth an incredible effort on Sunday, boosting fantasy teams with their pitching lines.
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.
In fantasy baseball we are all lost when it comes to getting a handle on closers. A microcosm of that lost feeling this season can be found when we look at the White Sox pen as the club from Chicago has zero idea what they are doing. Should you be targeting Sergio Santos if you're looking for some bullpen help (who isn't)? Josh Hamilton made history Tuesday night. Does that mean now is the perfect time to deal him? What about Andre Ethier of the Dodgers – a just how well is he performing this year? Is A.J. Burnett worthy of being on your roster? What about the perpetually struggling Adam Lind? Finally, Cliff Lee is back and ready to dominate hitters once again.
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.