Make sure and get Fantasy Alarm's award winning 2013 Fantasy Baseball iPhone App!
This time last week I was coming to you from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association summer conference in Chicago. My ears were still ringing, having just returned from watching Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in a bar filled with Black Hawk fans. The scream and ensuing celebration after Chicago scored in the third overtime resonated for several hours.
Back in the day when you had to walk to school both ways up a hill in a driving snowstorm, fantasy baseball was a completely different game. The incarnation of this hobby was a single league format (American League only or National League only) with no reserves and no free agent pickups. The only way to replace an active player was via waivers if they were placed on the disabled list, demoted to the minors or traded to the other league. If you owned Clayton Richard and he was scheduled to face the Rockies in Coors Field, tough noogies, you couldn’t reserve him for a pitcher with a better match-up.
When the Toronto Blue Jays began their roster overhaul during the offseason, things were looking pretty good for the Great White North. The deal with the Marlins landed them an elite shortstop in Jose Reyes, a highly touted starting pitcher in Josh Johnson, a speedy super-utility guy in Emilio Bonifacio and a veteran lefty in Mark Buehrle all for very little. They then brought in Melky Cabrera, R.A. Dickey and Maicer Izturis to add to a fairly strong core group that already consisted of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow and J.P. Arencibia. They immediately went from also-rans to top contender in the American League.
I wanted to sit down tonight and finally write about some fantasy baseball for the first time in far too long. Since our show, The Fantasy Alarm Show has gone to five and sometimes six days a week it has gotten hard to encapsulate any additional thoughts into text. But alas I have a belly full of some weird Mike’s Hard Mango Punch crap that my wife stocked the refrigerator with (it’s just so yellow and yummy looking!) so here comes two weeks work of fantasy baseball angst.
While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
In 1983 Rickey Henderson ran his way to 130 steals for the Athletics, a modern day baseball record (Hugh Nicol actually stole 138 bases in 1887 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings). Others of the modern era have hit triple-digits – Lou Brock, Vince Coleman Maury Wills – but those just aren't numbers we see anymore. Nowadays we're lucky to find guys who steal half as many bags. So why is it that you hear so many people in the fantasy game say 'I don't worry about steals early, I can find them late.' Is that an accurate statement? How should you look at steals for the coming season, and which players should you consider targeting?
With little or no news coming in from the waiver circuit and even less getting churned out of the MLB rumor mill, it looks like we can just focus on the games now – which is actually a good thing. Sometimes we get so caught up in who’s moving where and which teams are buyers and which are sellers, that we tend to lose a little focus on our own personal team needs. With less than two months to go, it’s more important now than ever to either solidify your place at the top of the standings or figure out your best course of action to get there. In the meantime, we’re going to get to the highlights as Saturday had some outstanding performances.
The season is not even two weeks old and already injuries are wreaking havoc on fantasy baseball teams everywhere. Sorry for such a brief introduction, but I sprained by left middle knuckle typing that last sentence. The doctors say I am day to day, but chances are I will need to book an appointment with Dr. James Andrews. So without further adieu, here is the next edition of the walking wounded.
To say that I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like a kid on Christmas morning is an understatement. Doesn’t matter how old I am, doesn’t matter how many Opening Days I’ve seen or been to, I get the same feeling I had when I was a kid heading to the stadium for the very first time – pure, unabashed excitement. It’s like Ray Kinsella when it hits him that he’s pitching to Shoeless Joe Jackson. It’s like Ben, Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, when he gets his new set of Red Sox season tickets. It’s like those kids in The Sandlot gazing at either the fireworks or Wendy Peffercorn. Just pure joy; complete euphoria. That’s what the start of the baseball season does to me.
The weekly Top Ten list will now transition back to fantasy baseball as we approach the Super Bowl. Sure some of you still may be playing fantasy football playoff leagues or survivor pools, but most of you are now getting ready for baseball. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in a month and fantasy magazines are hitting the newsstands. After an incredible end to the 2011 MLB season and a very entertaining World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers, everyone gets a clean slate and a fresh start. Part of starting anew is evaluating what changes have been made during the offseason. So, without further adieu, here are the Top Ten baseball offseason transactions (as of January 18, 2012) with the most fantasy implications.