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You know, for a day with a short slate of games, Thursday turned out to be quite eventful for baseball fans and fantasy owners alike. There was crazy extra-inning drama, unsung heroes, devastating injuries, and breaking news filled with both hope and despair. We’ve got our usual highlights for you here, but once again, with fewer games on the docket, we can break from out usual format and discuss more than just the top (and bottom) performers from the evening. So let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.
Those of us that play in multiple leagues usually have some players that populate multiple rosters. To an observer, they may be considered our guys – players we like. In my case, the likely reason is these players all fit one of my philosophies – water seeks to find its own level. In a fantasy baseball sense, this means established players usually end up with their usual numbers. Or, perhaps on a more granular level, a particular skill set usually results in an expected level of performance.
Though it was a typical short slate of games Thursday, the night was jam-packed with big names and big stories. There was the much-anticipated match-up between Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish, Bryce Harper was back on the field to lend his support to teammate and fellow superstar Stephen Strasburg who was still looking for his first win since Opening Day, the Mariners were looking for their first series win at Yankee Stadium in what seemed like a bazillion years, and there were aces abound with the likes of Adam Wainwright, Jose Fernandez, Mat Latos and Matt Cain all taking the hill. Yet with all of that star power front and center and in the spotlight, none of it compared to what was actually my favorite part of the night.
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.
We'll take a look at five pitchers who toed the rubber on Monday. What is the outlook of this five-some – Bedard, Cain, Capuano, Diamond and Tillman – the rest of the way? We'll then touch on two bullpen arms that are dominating – Street and Betancourt – before detailing a couple of other arms that are headed in opposite directions (Colon and Wilson). Don't worry fans of offense, we've also got a breakdown of Cespedes, LaHair and Rutledge for you.
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.
So I had just finished watching the first wave of games on Wednesday night and was going to get a jump on my article. Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey just pitched a one-hit, complete-game shutout, his second complete-game shutout in his last three outings, and had now gone four straight starts without allowing a single earned run. And as a topper, his 12 strikeouts gave him a total of 50 over his last five starts. Right? How do you not lead with that when doing a recap article of the night’s baseball highlights?
And here we are at another Sunday morning. Time to look at the news and highlights from Saturday and start thinking about that lineup for next week, including Sunday FAAB claims that likely have to be in at some point today. We’ve got plenty of stuff to cover here, so rather than juts harp on one topic in particular, we’re going to run through yesterday in more of a “stream of consciousness” here and cover as much as we can. There are highlights, lowlights, jobs changing hands and of course, a few key injuries we’re going to have deal with. So let’s get to it…
Well, when no one is jacking three home runs in a game and you’re not quite ready to announce who the newest Fantasy Beast of the Day is just yet, it’s tough to focus on just one thing from Tuesday’s games. Do I talk about the possibility that Albert Pujols is this year’s Adam Dunn? The wild finish between the Rangers and the Blue Jays? News of Cory Luebke’s sore elbow and the perpetual concerns one should have with the health of young pitchers? Really, the options are almost limitless. So rather than just pick and choose, I’m just going to run through each game and toss out some fantasy nuggets that you may find useful as our season moves along. In no particular order, here’s what I noticed on Tuesday…