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For the months leading up to, and right up until the very last moment before your draft, I’ll always be one of the first to tell you to wait on starting pitching. The position is incredibly deep and if you do your homework, you can find outstanding, quality pitching throughout the middle to late rounds. In a 12-team, mixed league with a snake draft, I’m not even looking at a pitcher until the sixth round. You can easily build yourself competitive pitching staffs without investing an early round pick on a Justin Verlander or a Clayton Kershaw. Sure, those guys will be great, but clearly there are others. If you watched that Colorado/ St. Louis series this past weekend, you’ll know exactly what I’m, talking about.
On a night when Roy Halladay apologized to Phillies fans for his lackluster performance and informed them that he would be out for the next three months due to shoulder surgery, Cardinals fans were treated to the joys of watching a young ace in the making build off of his already impressive start to his rookie season. The changing of the guard is always a bittersweet moment as the excitement of seeing a new up-and-comer is always tempered by witnessing the end of a legendary career. But it’s just the cycle of things in the world of baseball and, obviously nothing new, as there was a time when Halladay himself was a rookie and we were all watching Dwight Gooden wrap up his time spent in the major leagues. But while the nostalgia of a great career is always nice to pore over, we fantasy folk need to focus on the present and the future and that future is found in Shelby Miller.
If you play in multiple fantasy leagues, there’s nothing worse than hitching your wagon to a particular player and watching him struggle to open the year. More often than not, if you believe in the player enough, you’re going to end up with him on as many teams as you can and once you do that, you’re fairly committed to him for the season. A slow start hurts you across the board in your leagues. A major injury can be devastating. For me, that player was Jason Heyward, and while the rest of my team has been working hard to cover for his early-season shortcomings, news of an emergency appendectomy just put everything into, for lack of a better way to say it, a whole new stratosphere of suck.
While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
Though it makes it sound more like a Broadway show than a baseball game, we are less than a week away from Opening Night. That’s right. Sunday night the Rangers and Astros square off for the first official MLB game of the 2013 season. Excited? I know I am. But what makes it even better is that Sunday night is the first official set of stats recorded for the 2013 fantasy baseball season and after a long and arduous offseason filled with countless hours of draft prep work, it’s all about to start paying off. But before we get ahead of ourselves, there are still some who have yet to draft and are looking for a few last-minute nuggets of information. Well, with big decisions coming down here in the final week of spring training, I am always happy to oblige.
Should you care about September call-ups: guys like Wil Myers, Billy Hamilton, Dylan Bundy and Shelby Miller? Mike Trout is still killing it. How long can he keep it up? Just how far has Adan Dunn rebounded? The homers are there, but what about his horrific batting average and atrocious strikeout pace? Roy Oswalt pitching better than you thought. Seriously. Should someone be giving him a chance to start?