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On a night when Roy Halladay apologized to Phillies fans for his lackluster performance and informed them that he would be out for the next three months due to shoulder surgery, Cardinals fans were treated to the joys of watching a young ace in the making build off of his already impressive start to his rookie season. The changing of the guard is always a bittersweet moment as the excitement of seeing a new up-and-comer is always tempered by witnessing the end of a legendary career. But it’s just the cycle of things in the world of baseball and, obviously nothing new, as there was a time when Halladay himself was a rookie and we were all watching Dwight Gooden wrap up his time spent in the major leagues. But while the nostalgia of a great career is always nice to pore over, we fantasy folk need to focus on the present and the future and that future is found in Shelby Miller.
Offense first – that’s what they say. Pitching may win championships in the real world, but this is fantasy baseball we’re talking about and in fantasy, it is a dominant offense that wins it for you. It’s said so many times that you would think it would be ingrained in people’s heads by now, yet we still see starting pitchers get taken in the first round and people reaching for “aces” faster than they really should. It’s an age old debate that leaves most scratching their heads as to how and why it is still even up for discussion. Well, if there were ever a day to prove the point for the pro-offense side of the argument, it was Sunday.
It was like the Year of the Pitcher on the first day of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. The batters were up at the plate with the lumber, but try as they might they were unable to make solid contact in a ton of their at-bats. Which pitchers excelled the first time they took the hill? Which of the arms that did excel should be looked at for big things in 2013? Which of the arms should you be a bit worried about? Should we all be worried about managers curtailing the workload of those arms after so many were seemingly pulled well before their pitch total went into the danger zone in their first outing? We'll explore those thoughts in this piece. What a great sentence.
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.
We’re just a week away from the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline, but as any baseball fan worth his/her salt knows, the trades don’t even come close to stopping there. The waiver trade deadline in August (trades where players must first clear waivers before being dealt) is also a hotbed of action as it usually involves several marquee players whose contracts can be burdensome to smaller market teams and therefore have little problem slipping through the waiver system. So the bottom line is that we’re looking at a few more weeks of potential player movement and subsequent fantasy unrest.
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?
While I could sit here and run down the concept of interleague play and talk about how it cheapens the meaning of the World Series because these teams have now all played each other several times over a few year span, I’ll take the glass is half full approach here and relish in the fact that when we near interleague play, the week is filled with a full slate of games every day. No slow Monday or Thursday here; every team is playing. And with that full slate of games comes the usual excitement and fanfare that all full baseball days bring. But on Monday, we had the excitement of a number of firsts. And nothing’s better than your first, right?
Patience, people….patience. I know the debuts of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were supposed to be these huge, breakout extravaganzas, but remember, it’s just one game. One game of a remaining 140-ish on the schedule. We talk about things like sample size all the time and constantly use the cliché, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” so really, in essence, the initial debut games of Trout and Harper mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Each player has a very long way to go and one game just isn’t going to cut it for an evaluation, let alone talk of what either may be worth in your fantasy league. Sometimes you just have to sit back and watch and just enjoy the game for what it is…a game.
It's early in the 2012 fantasy baseball season, and that means you should exercise patience with proven performers and show only guarded optimism with formerly middling options who are off to blazing starts. Today, I'll discuss a handful of the starting pitchers who are in the news and give my thoughts if you should be buying, or selling, base on their starts in 2012.
Smoke and mirrors? Sleight of hand? How in the world does 49-year old Jamie Moyer, proud owner of a 78 mph fastball, hurl seven innings of two-run ball (both unearned) against a Major League ballclub? OK, in fairness it was the Padres, but still, the game was played at hitter-friendly Coors Field where even the weakest of hitters have been known to hit the long ball. Was there a wind blowing in from centerfield that we weren’t aware of? Were the balls saturated in a lead-based ointment and then left in the humidor for extra time? Or was it just that the pitcher whose name is always attached to the phrase “crafty veteran” had one of those days where even his junkiest junk was finding a way to elude hitters of all kind? Whatever the case may be, it’s time to tip your cap to Moyer who earned his first win of the 2012 season, his 25th as a professional baseball player, and became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league contest.