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It doesn’t happen often but there are times, every so often, that you’d like to see your fantasy team get some credit for defensive plays. As I flipped between several of the games Saturday and then watched the highlight reels later on in the evening, I saw some unbelievable plays in the field. Colorado rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado had, what I thought was, the play of the day as he dove towards the line – full air, full extension – snagged the ball and after what appeared to be a T.J. Hooker-like roll, threw the runner out while still in the sitting position. Catches by Ichiro Suzuki and Jon Jay made the highlights as well, but as good as they were, neither touched Arenado’s play. Obviously it’s subjective as to how amazing you thought each play was which is why you just can’t score something like that at an appropriate value, but worthy of acknowledgement nonetheless.
The good news is that here on Monday, the games don’t start until 7pm (ET) so you can really take your time and study up on things before you have to set your lineup for the week. The bad news is that there’s a lot going on that you’re going to have to stay on top of during the day in order to set that lineup properly. Between Ryan Braun’s thumb injury and Hanley Ramirez’ hamstring MRI to the debuts of Gerritt Cole and Zack Wheeler, there seems to be a lot happening right now. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are headed back from the DL this week. Ike Davis? He’s in Triple-A. Brandon McCarthy? Still suffering seizures. Matt Kemp won’t return from his injury on-time, Ian Kinsler is finally working his way back from his and good ol’ Chase Utley is right on schedule for his mid-June return. Are you writing this stuff down?
Another day, another bullpen mess to deal with. The Cubs, by my count, appear to be on their 5th closer, and boy is he a blast from the past. The Tigers are promoting Jose Valverde and it looks like he will be given a shot in the 9th inning right away (so much for the Tigers saying, oh for about five months, that they had no interest in Valverde closing for them). The Yankees continue to have to deal with injuries and it's seeming more like, with each passing day, that they aren't being honest. Asdrubal Cabrera has been a mess at the plate, and the injuries are piling up. The Mariners have two guys who can't hit at shortstop, but the backup is now the starter as the team is making a change. Finally, should we be looking at Brandon Belt as a total failure at this point?
Every time we look up it seems like another player is hurt. Some of the players you could care less about, I didn't see anyone shed a tear when the Cubs announced that Ian Stewart's quad injury would cause him to miss Opening Day, but when the Dodgers started to tell us what the deal was with Zack Greinke's elbow, the Twitterverse went into a tizzy (Greinke might only misss one start from the sound of things). And that got me to thinking. I haven't written an article this year that deals directly with injured players and how we should treat those players in the fantasy game. Every player is different, some injuries are minor others major, but if we have a defined time-line for a return from injury, let's say 4-6 weeks as is the case with Chase Headley who we will discuss, what does that do to the value of the player in the fantasy game? If you've ever wondered how to think about injured players when trying to put together your fantasy squad, then this is the article for you.
We spend a lot of time in fantasy baseball talking about who to draft in the first two or three rounds that we often times don't focus enough on the positional battles that teams are going through during Spring Training. Does the second base decision with the Blue Jays impact a guy like Emilio Bonifacio who has such huge upside given his wheels? What about the Cardinals second and shortstop decisions – do they matter? Of course you are going to care about what the Angels do in the 9th inning, but maybe what the injury ravaged Yankees do in the outfield should also be something you concern yourself with? We'll discuss those battles and more in this piece.
As we head into the final two scoring periods of the season, fantasy baseball owners have some tough decisions to make. Do you stick with those that got you here or do you try to infuse some new blood into your team and play the hot bat regardless of what type of overall player they may be. Do you continue to start Brandon Phillips who is batting just .191 over his last 50 at-bats or do you switch it up to the red-hot Logan Forsythe who is batting .404 with two home runs, eight RBI and two stolen bases over the last two weeks? It’s not always the recommended choice, but in some cases, it just might behoove you to make an alteration or two.
So the big story as we jumped into the second half of the 2012 season was that Zack Greinke became the first pitcher since 1917 to start three consecutive games for his team in one season. Impressive? Maybe. I’m still sifting through data trying to find box scores and pitching lines for Red Faber, the pitcher for the White Sox who accomplished the feat back in the days of yore, but am still coming up empty. My assumption, though, is that he threw more than eight innings in total for the three starts thus rendering Greinke’s accomplishment a pretty lame technicality more than an impressive feat.
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…
Interleague is bringing out the best in a lot of players right now and we’re seeing some real good ball played here. I’m in weekend quick-wrap mode though, so let’s just get right to the action. A few nominees for top honors this week as several pitchers had tremendous outings and a number of hitters kicked in to do their part. So without too much build-up or fanfare, let’s just get right to it…