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For two straight years, Dee Gordon, son of former All Star reliever Tom Gordon, was listed among Baseball America’s top 50 prospects thanks to a slick glove in the field and blinding speed on the base paths. He got his first taste of the big leagues back in 2011 and over a 56 game span that saw him come to the plate 233 times, Gordon hit .304 with 34 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. But in 2012, when he was given the starting shortstop gig to open the season, Gordon struggled mightily at the plate. Yes, he swiped 32 bases over 87 games, but he also hit just .228 and had a woeful .280 on-base percentage. He was shipped back down to Triple-A and his overall fantasy value took a hit. And when the Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez and announced that he would play shortstop in 2013, Gordon became even more of a forgotten man as there was, obviously, no room for him on the big league roster. Well guess what? He’s baaaaaaaaack!
While 2012 has been filled with a variety of different story lines, it could be the rookie impact that really defines the season and sets it apart from most others. From the spring hype of Bryce Harper to the amazing dominance of Mike Trout to the now suddenly surging Manny Machado, this year has been all about the youngsters. With each and every step closer to the playoffs and World Series, the buzz around the league remains with the inundation of young talent that MLB has seen, particularly from these three individuals.
If Albert Pujols struggled, and he did, the brainiacs among you remained patient knowing things would turn around. His track record of excellence dictated it. If you owned Mark Teixeira you remained patient knowing full well that his production seemingly always improves as the season moves forward. You've been rewarded for your patience. However, what do you do if a player doesn't have a track record like these two? What do you do if a player is coming back off an injury? What do you do if a player is aging or inexplicably unable to perform of late? Should you be panicking or should you hold fast with said players?
As we settle in for the All Star break, it’s time to show out love and appreciation for the best value picks of the first half. Obviously there are players out there that may have better overall stats than some of the ones I’m about to reveal, but these are the ones who have given you the best return value for where they were drafted this year. First round picks that produce first round numbers are usually no-brainers, but as we all know, fantasy baseball championships are won in the later rounds when you get first round-type production form your 18th round pick. So without further ado, I present to you the 2012 First Half, Best Value, Stud-a-Licious Award winners…
It feels like forever ago that we started interleague play this year and finally, it is coming to an end. This is the final week of the cross-league match-ups and then these players won’t see each other until the All Star Game and then the World Series. I couldn’t be happier. Aside from the baseball purist inside of me that cringes every time he hears MLB try to hype one of these match-ups, the fantasy player in me gets aggravated by the unnecessary wrinkles that it causes in our game. If you’re in an AL-only or mixed league and rely on designated hitters like Billy Butler or David Ortiz, you suddenly lose them for a few games a week and in some cases, either have to take a zero for the day, or use up a waiver claim to get a (probable) subpar replacement for a pair of two-week stints. Why should I lose out on either player’s power because MLB wants to make a few extra bucks?
If you were unable to tune into Sunday’s Fantasy Alarm Show on SiriusXM radio, you missed some seriously entertaining baseball chatter. But there’s one thing that Jeff Mans and I discussed yesterday with a few of our callers, that I wanted to reiterate here. It may sound mundane to many of you, but one of the most common things brought up by listeners asking about trades was what seemed to be a hang-up on some of the numbers players have posted between April. Yes, you want to how a guy has been performing this season, but remember, you’re not trading for those numbers. If you make a trade in June, what the player did in April is almost irrelevant, especially if you believe in buying low. It’s not what the player did for the first two months of the season that matters most; t’s what you think they’re going to do the rest of the way. How they will perform once they arrive on your team is the most important thing.
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…
Sometimes in life, you have to know when to admit that you were wrong. It’s okay to stand by your convictions, but when you do or say something that the world eventually finds out is wrong, you need to be man (or woman) enough to admit your misjudgment. On the ever-so-rare occasion, this happens to me and as someone who offers up fantasy baseball advice to the masses, I like to hold myself accountable. After all, you need to trust the source from which you’re getting your information, right? Well, I’m building that trust with you here.
It’s déjà vu all over again, right Yogi? Pablo Sandoval hitting the DL with the exact same injury as last season? Kung Fu Panda joining fellow third sackers, Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman, just as he did one year ago today? Brutal. Just brutal. Fantasy owners that invested in a top third baseman because of how thin the position remained this year are banging their heads against the wall trying to find an adequate replacement on the waiver wire, something that probably doesn’t exist even anymore. By the time Sandoval owners got the news, third base-eligible waivers had already been picked clean by owners of Longoria, Zimmerman and throw in Kevin Youkilis this time for good measure. Shallow league owners are likely deciding between Pedro Alvarez and Chris Johnson while deeper league victims are probably staring at Wilson Betemit, Alex Liddi and John McDonald and just shaking their heads both in disgust and disbelief.
So it was Opening Day on Thursday….again. And while some people will mock the fact that MLB pretty much has four different Opening Days, I’m going to relish in it. For me, the offseason drags on for far too long. Sure, football is a nice distraction, but I’ll take a heated pitcher’s duel for nine innings any day. And that’s exactly what we saw on Thursday – outstanding pitcher’s duels. Roy Halladay squaring off against Erik Bedard, John Lester versus Justin Verlander, Johan Santana against Tommy Hanson, and Stephen Strasburg taking on Ryan Dempster. Some of the other matchups were good, but the show that these eight pitchers put on the other day was top notch. Maybe some of the offenses each guy faced were a tad anemic (yes, Pittsburgh, I’m looking in your direction), but overall, you have to love watching a guy standing on the hill pulling strings on pitches left and right, making hitters look just plain silly in the batter’s box.