Make sure and get Fantasy Alarm's award winning 2013 Fantasy Baseball iPhone App!
I've been sick, so there is precious little brain power I currently have at the moment for any grand unifying theory. The upshot of that is the fact that there really is no theme with today's piece. I just looked at the news of the day and pulled out a bunch of bits that caught my eye. A $125 million player stinks. A set of rookies are off to strong starts. Will one or both be able to sustain that? An all-star catcher returns to the fold down south. A handful of outfielders, with varying pedigrees and levels of success, will also be discussed. I told you there was no plan this week.
Albert Pujols is a superstar by any definition of the word. He produces time and time again on the field. He does nothing off the field to bring shame to himself of his team. He's someone the kiddies should try to emulate. However, does that mean that he's still a good enough hitter that he should be a top-10 lock in 2013? Maybe – maybe not. The Marlins have faced, and will continue to face, innumerable questions about how they continue to run their franchise into the ground. On the field they have some questions about the 9th inning as well as what the health situation is with Logan Morrison. We'll investigate. We'll also touch on a right-handed pitcher who seems intent on coming out of retirement as well as trying to discern just what in the heck the D'backs are doing with their best player, Justin Upton.
They say that one bad apple can spoil the bunch and while I’m still trying to figure out who “they” are, they are a thousand percent right. I made 12 very specific phone calls on Wednesday evening, all to people with whom I discuss baseball, both real and fantasy, on a regular basis and waited for them to introduce baseball to the conversation to see which topic they would touch on first. I got 11 Melky Cabrera suspensions and just one Felix Hernandez perfect game. Both seem to be a semi-regular occurrence these days, granted, but why do we gravitate towards the negative?
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.
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.
In the wake of hearing about rehab setbacks for both Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford, the baseball world got a little bit of good news as the Phillies finally activated first base slugger Ryan Howard on Friday and got him into the lineup immediately. The slugger had been on the shelf since the final at-bat of the Phillies final game of 2011 when he ruptured his Achilles tendon. The road to recovery was cumbersome, but he’s back now and fantasy owners that had him stashed are looking to reap the benefits as we get ready to head on into the second half of the season.
A quick question for all you keeper league owners out there who love to protect starting pitching – why? With a position as deep as starting pitching is and with the ease of which pitchers get hurt, why is there such a need to protect any starters outside of the super-elite like Justin Verlander. Wednesday actually presents you with just a slice out of the “why you don’t protect starting pitching” pie. On a day when CC Sabathia was put on the DL with a strained groin, Andy Pettitte was lost to a broken ankle on a comebacker to the mound and Daniel Hudson headed to Dr. James Andrews to confirm his torn UCL and need for Tommy John surgery, you saw some unbelievable pitching performances from some rather unassuming names like Lucas Harrell, Jarrod Parker, Jonathon Niese, Clayton Richard and Jordan Zimmermann. And like I said, Wednesday was just a slice of the pie. The rest can be seen throughout the year just by running down some of the names on the stats page of your league’s web site.
Jim Thome may not have a lick of fantasy value left in him these days, but the guy can still make headlines, can’t he? And the best part about it is that, unlike so many other things going in the sports world these days, it’s for something positive. How sick and tired are you of hearing about this Jerry Sandusky crap? How about some more Roger Clemens steroids articles? So when Thome set the record for most walk-off home runs by a single player, I was genuinely excited for him. The stuff about Jonathan Papelbon blowing the save and then offering Thome $5K to win it for the Phillies was cute and all, but to me, that was much more secondary to watching a guy who, at the age of 41, can still bring the lumber.
To a certain extent, every player is an injury risk. They are grown men, playing a game, throwing their bodies around with reckless abandonment. They get hurt. That’s just fact. But obviously, there are some that are riskier than others and for all intents and purposes; Josh Hamilton is the riskiest of them all.
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…