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While there were plenty of things to get excited about on Friday night such as six of Gerrit Cole’s first 38 pitches (three innings) hitting triple-digits on the radar gun and Stephen Strasburg’s successful return to the mound, there was a whole lot of bizarro baseball going on as well. For those not familiar with the term, the Bizarro world was an alternate reality created in the DC Comics universe where all the characters were replicas of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman but with opposite (read: evil) personalities. So in the baseball world, when we refer to bizarro baseball, we’re talking about things that can only be true in an alternate universe.
Whether they’re hot or cold, streaks play an all-important role both in the real baseball world and the fantasy one. You get a player who goes on a hot streak and he can carry your team for a pretty significant amount of time. If he’s on a cold one, you best be getting him out of your lineup fast or he’s liable to do some seriously damage to your team. Cold streaks are always feared, but when you’ve got someone on a hot streak, there’s nothing better. Not only do you reap the benefits in the standings, but the value of the player grows tremendously on the trade market. But like all good things, hot streaks always come to an end. It’s inevitable. And on Tuesday night, one of the better hot streaks we’ve seen recently finally came to a close.
With the usual shorter slate of games on Thursday, we’re going to skip the usual format and go with one of those game by game, stream of consciousness-style round-ups again. As a matter of fact, I think we’re going to make this a regular thing for Monday and Thursday nights as it allows us to take a broader look at what’s going on throughout MLB with respect to the fantasy world. This should actually help with waiver wire selections, especially for those who are in leagues with daily roster moves and transactions. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what happened Thursday and what we can expect, fantasy-wise, moving forward.
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!
We've played less than three weeks of major league baseball in the 2013 season. Some folks in the fantasy game seem to think we've played 13 weeks. People are panicked over the slow starts of Matt Kemp and Jason Heyward. Others are ready to anoint guys like Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Johnson as superstars in the making. The truth obviously lies somewhere in-between (hopefully that was obvious to you because it certainly isn't for some based upon the interactions I've had with folks). In today's article we'll explore some hot and cold starts and give a few thoughts about the trends we have witnessed to this point of the season. We'll also try and make sense of why the Dodgers continue to hold down one of their best prospects for the junk that they are throwing out there in the infield.
It was the great Terrence Mann who once said, “The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” I know exactly where I was when I heard the news that Thurman Munson, my childhood idol, died in a plane crash. I had my first real kiss during the summer of the year Cal Ripken, Jr. won the Rookie of the Year award. Craig Biggio’s MLB debut was on the TV as I sat in the hospital waiting room following the worst car accident I’ve ever been in. A strike robbed the Montreal Expos of a probable World Series championship the year I met my wife and Albert Pujols won his first title the year we got married. So when I sat there watching Andy Pettitte pitch eight innings of one-run ball to shut down the Red Sox and Mariano Rivera closed it out for the team’s first win of the season, I have to admit, it felt a little strange as I knew I was literally watching the end of an era.
Some players never get their due, but when you look up at the end of the year the production is there. You know, those guys who produce solid numbers year after year but for some reason, be it their team, a lack of publicity, or a deficiency in their game, never quite get the respect that they are owed. We'll profile one of those guys at the top of this report. We'll then discuss surging pitchers (Cobb, Guthrie), struggling hurlers (Garza, Saito), injured batters (Grandal, Ortiz), a slumping hitter (Suzuki) and one that is en fuego (Jay).
With six shutouts, four teams held to just one run and overall, 17 of 30 teams being held to three runs or fewer, it makes for a pretty quick recap article. It happens sometime. What can you do? Not every day can be filled with fireworks. It does make for some nice pitching highlights overall, which we’ll get to, but rather than try to create something out of…well, literally nothing…we’ll just get on with the regular highlights. I mean, we could sit here and discuss the dissension within the Red Sox organization, but how many people really enjoy talking about what a huge a-hole Bobby Valentine is and how many times can you actually say it? He does it enough with both his words and his actions. So without further ado, let’s just hit the highlights.
It’s a little late in the season to have the same amount of impact, but it looks like the Orioles are trying to catch lightning in a bottle just as the Angels and Nationals have done with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Word came down that on Thursday, the Orioles are promoting uber-prospect Manny Machado straight from Double-A to the majors. While he is a natural shortstop, he’ll be coming up to take over at third base, a veritable black hole for Baltimore right now, both offensively and defensively.
With the July31st non-waiver trade deadline rapidly approaching, we’ve been seeing a few deals pop up recently that obviously have some effect on the fantasy baseball world. It’s not like we’ve seen any real big blockbusters that are sending owners into some panicked frenzy, but, rest assured, those will certainly be coming soon. For now though, there are some that are having a bit of an impact that we should probably be taking a look at as they are happening. So let’s just do a quick rundown here and see what’s been going on.