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It’s difficult to say that any day during the baseball season is a slow day, but when the news is light and there are no performances that were good (or bad) enough to make your eyes pop out, then you’ve got to consider it a slow day. Sure, we could talk about the Yankees losing Kevin Youkilis for the next 10 weeks due to back surgery or Edwin Encarnacion quietly on-pace to actually surpass his career-best 2012 numbers, but that’s hardly the stuff that you’d consider a major headline grab unless, of course, you own either guy. Even the debut of Wil Myers on a doubleheader with the Red Sox was pretty tame as the highly-touted slugger went just 1-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in his debut. Perhaps had the rain not pushed off the Yankees/Dodgers game and the return of Don Mattingly to Yankee Stadium we would have had something more, but that would probably center around two under-performing all-star teams and, well, that’s just depressing. But I guess without days like this, you can't appreciate some of the more amazing days we get so often throughout a six month long season so rather than complain, we’re just going to get to the top and bottom performances from Tuesday. And yes, we’re even skipping the Fantasy Beast of the Day as there just wasn’t a performance out there deserving of the label. There were a few candidates who deserved consideration, but in the end, there just weren’t any performances that were worthy of such an esteemed daily award.
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.
Given the way the Red Sox pitching staff has opened the season, it’s hard to argue against any decision John Farrell makes. So when he opted to go with Junichi Tazawa for his new closer instead of the well-proven Koji Uehara, there was little backlash from the fantasy community. Sure, there were some grumblings from the eager-beaver waiver hounds who remain glued to their league’s waiver wire and snatched up Uehara moments after Joel Hanrahan was hurt, but most of them were still fairly quick on the draw the following morning when it was announced that the choice made was actually Tazawa.
OK, yes, I saw the final strike called in the Texas/Tampa Bay game on Monday. Yes, it was an ugly call. Was it the worst call I’ve ever seen to end a game? Maybe. There have been so many over the years. But rather than dwell on something that has very little impact on your fantasy baseball team and will, in the grand scheme of things, mean absolutely nothing, I’d rather discuss something that may actually help you this season. I know it’s painful – like dentist chair painful – but let’s talk closers.
I definitely enjoyed Ray Flowers’ article the other day in which he broke down a number of the pitching performances from some of the aces we saw on Opening Day. There were, obviously, a number of names we expected to see, such as Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg, but we were also treated to some outstanding performances from guys like Jeff Samardzija, Jhoulys Chacin and even Ricky Nolasco. While you shouldn’t expect to see some of these guys pitching at that level each and every time out, their performances do give credence to the belief that starting pitching is crazy deep and you can, in fact, build a winning pitching staff without investing heavily in one of the top aces out there.
Every year we get the rush of people who, acting like it's a holiday sale at Walmart, aren't afraid to run over their competitor to add the hot new toy to their basket (in this case we're talking hot shot youngster to their fantasy team). Believe me I understand the temptation. Just look at what guys like Trout and Harper did last season. But for every successful rookie standout there are tons of youngsters who fail to live up to the overblown expectations of many in the fantasy game. I'll try to lend some sanity here. I'll then touch on some of the news of the day including will Manny Ramirez play in 2013? Is Joe Saunders a reliable innings eater? What were the Phillies thinking signing an unreliable veteran righty? Is Mike Napoli every going to sign with the Red Sox? Is Jose Valverde's career as a closer over even though he had 35 saves last year?
While there were no beast-like performances or any big, developing stories regarding the deadline, Thursday still had some pretty exciting moments. Normally we don’t do a recap due to the short slate of games, but since I was down and out yesterday, I thought sharing a little “somethin’ somethin’” with you today would help make us all feel a little better. We’re going to forego the usual format and just hit some quick highlights as the Cubs and Cards get ready to do battle over at Wrigley this morning/afternoon.