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Tuesday night was so loaded with action that it’s tough to know where to start here. Do I appeal to your traditional baseball side and talk about the hot, young starting pitching that we saw or do I go lowest common denominator and appeal to your inner thug? Decisions , decisions. Well, why don’t I do both and we can cover it all? And since that Dodgers/Diamondbacks game got pretty crazy and had some fairly big names involved, let’s just lead with that, shall we?
Just a quick look and acknowledgement of the highlights from Thursday as I just don’t have it in me to perpetuate the hype-machine and feed into the Yasiel Puig lovefest that’s going on. He had a phenomenal spring and three of his first four games have been absolutely fantastic. But while I may own him on a few of my fantasy teams and have been lucky enough to benefit from his white-hot start, I’m not quite ready to ship his cleats off to Cooperstown and start engraving the plaque just yet. We’ve seen a number of ballplayers come and go over the years, many who have gotten off to hot starts such as this. Some have lasted. Some haven’t. So for those who are freaking out over Puig’s start, tread lightly. It’s four games in right now. Let’s see where we’re at after say, 40 or 50 more. The Cuban hype is on such overdrive that I've stopped drinking mojitos in protest.
It’s time again. Are you ready? Got your waiver trigger finger locked and loaded? With the news breaking that the Orioles are calling up Kevin Gausman, their number one pick (fourth overall) in the 2012 First –Year Player Draft, to start against the Blue Jays on Thursday, fantasy owners are tripping over each other as the run to the waiver wire to pick up the “next big thing.” We’ve already gone through Tony Cingrani, Jose Fernandez and Jurickson Profar, all youngsters rushed up to the big leagues and into fantasy stardom, so adding Gausman to the fray not only seems logical, but expected. Now the question is…is he worth it?
I'm just going to be honest – and those of you that have the pleasure of knowing The Oracle know that he always is honest – this is going to be a somewhat rambling post in some respects. Normally I'm very structured with my approach. I hit on positions or list players alphabetically. None of that is happening today. I'm going to meander, ramble if you will, through a variety of thoughts dealing with fantasy baseball drafting. Yes, I did refer to myself in the third person at the top of this piece. According to the woman I'm dating I'm very arrogant. Is referring to myself in the third person arrogant? I prefer to think of myself as simply an interesting fellow with a healthy does of self confidence. Tit-for-tat I guess. Back to fantasy baseball drafting...
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?
It feels like forever ago that we started interleague play this year and finally, it is coming to an end. This is the final week of the cross-league match-ups and then these players won’t see each other until the All Star Game and then the World Series. I couldn’t be happier. Aside from the baseball purist inside of me that cringes every time he hears MLB try to hype one of these match-ups, the fantasy player in me gets aggravated by the unnecessary wrinkles that it causes in our game. If you’re in an AL-only or mixed league and rely on designated hitters like Billy Butler or David Ortiz, you suddenly lose them for a few games a week and in some cases, either have to take a zero for the day, or use up a waiver claim to get a (probable) subpar replacement for a pair of two-week stints. Why should I lose out on either player’s power because MLB wants to make a few extra bucks?
So that’s a wrap for our first round of interleague baseball and I have to say, we saw some pretty good ball played this weekend. There were plenty of standout hitters, some amazing pitching performances and even a few stokes of the ol’ rivalry fires. The White Sox shows the Cubs who the boss of Chicago was, the Reds took down the Yankees in 2-of-3, and how about the Mariners opening a can of whup-ass on the Rockies this weekend? Fantasy-wise, we saw plenty of action from the usual suspects and a few shining moments of surprise as well. Sunday certainly didn’t disappoint as the capper for the weekend, so let’s get to the highlights, shall we…?
It's been two weeks, but everyone loves to panic. It's in our nature. Something goes wrong, and we immediately start looking for a quick fix (think of all the weight loss pills out there when the best course of action would just be to eat well and exercise). Fantasy baseball is no different and the start to the season has led to a whole lot of consternation over names like Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, Johan Santana and Mark Melancon. I'll address all of those arms. I'll then wrap the piece up by focusing on something near and dear to me – numbers. What numbers have stood out to me in the early going? Read on to find out.
Talk to any hardcore numbers guy out there and ask about some of the hot and cold starts to the season and they’ll tell you the exact same thing – small sample size. We’ve got a long way to go before these numbers have any sort of a major effect. With only a small handful of games in the books, an 0-3 start is not the end of the world. There are still 159 games to go, so simmer down, Yankees and Red Sox fans. Austin Jackson is batting .571 while Matt Holliday is hitting just .167? Relax. We’re less than 20 at-bats into a season in which both will see atleast 500 more. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement as we wrap up the first weekend of baseball, but if there’s one piece of sound fantasy advice you’re given every year, it is to be patient. The fantasy season, like real baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.