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Some serious apologies to those still stopping by the Rounding the Bases blog only to find a major lack of content lately. I had taken a few days off last week and we’re at that point in the year where we’re all transitioning to the fantasy football side for the upcoming NFL season. That’s not to say that we’re abandoning baseball coverage, but we are scaling it back a bit with just a month to go.
Oh man. Look at this. A guy goes away for a couple of days and look how everything falls apart. Say it ain’t so, Bartolo. Say it ain’t so. I guess we all now know how, at 39 years old and 267 pounds (which is definitely lowballing),Bartolo Colon managed to post up 10 wins and a 3.43 ERA while pitching for the A’s this season. But now,he's following in the footsteps of Melky Cabrera and sitting out the next 50 games which kisses this season goodbye as well as any chance of a legitimate contract during the offseason.
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?
With six shutouts, four teams held to just one run and overall, 17 of 30 teams being held to three runs or fewer, it makes for a pretty quick recap article. It happens sometime. What can you do? Not every day can be filled with fireworks. It does make for some nice pitching highlights overall, which we’ll get to, but rather than try to create something out of…well, literally nothing…we’ll just get on with the regular highlights. I mean, we could sit here and discuss the dissension within the Red Sox organization, but how many people really enjoy talking about what a huge a-hole Bobby Valentine is and how many times can you actually say it? He does it enough with both his words and his actions. So without further ado, let’s just hit the highlights.
While 2012 has been filled with a variety of different story lines, it could be the rookie impact that really defines the season and sets it apart from most others. From the spring hype of Bryce Harper to the amazing dominance of Mike Trout to the now suddenly surging Manny Machado, this year has been all about the youngsters. With each and every step closer to the playoffs and World Series, the buzz around the league remains with the inundation of young talent that MLB has seen, particularly from these three individuals.
It’s crunch time, people. It may seem like there’s still plenty of baseball left to go in the season but before you know it, it’s going to be mid-September, there will be two scoring periods left in the fantasy season and suddenly that six-month long season….that marathon you began in April….is going to whisk by and all that time you thought you had left is going to be gone. You need to keep your focus now, more than ever.
Well, with no feel-good story, no big rookie call-up, and no big trade to report, it makes me just want to sit here and start gushing about Mike Trout some more. I happened to be watching Friday’s Angels/Mariners game and again, this kid just does it all. The Angels are down 5-0 in the third because for some inane reason they still let Ervin Santana start games, and in the bottom half of the inning, Trout steps up with two men on and BAM! Smacks a three-run shot over the fence to put the Angels back into the game.
It’s a little late in the season to have the same amount of impact, but it looks like the Orioles are trying to catch lightning in a bottle just as the Angels and Nationals have done with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Word came down that on Thursday, the Orioles are promoting uber-prospect Manny Machado straight from Double-A to the majors. While he is a natural shortstop, he’ll be coming up to take over at third base, a veritable black hole for Baltimore right now, both offensively and defensively.
While perhaps the story of the day should be how Bartolo Colon hasn’t allowed a run in 20.2 innings, dating back to July 22, center stage again belongs to everyone’s favorite rookie, Mike Trout. Turns out that when Trout homered off of A’s reliever Travis Blackley, he became the youngest player in MLB history to hit 20 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season. Even better is that he did it on his 21st birthday! That’s right, for the first time in his fledgling career, Trout could actually celebrate one of these milestones with a legal alcoholic beverage. No more getting drenched with non-alcoholic sparkling cider, no more guys buying him root beers and Diet Cokes after the game. When they say it’s Miller time, it’s actually Miller time.
There was a little bit of player movement over the weekend that, while not of the same magnitude as the non-waiver trade deadline, still had some significance in the fantasy baseball world. As the teams that are out of playoff contention fall further and further out of the race, they begin to audition some of their more highly touted prospects to see just how they rate at the major league level. Some of them, you’ve heard of and some, maybe not so much. But if you take the time to scout a few of them, not only could you find yourself a nice two-month boost for this year, but you could also be getting a leg up on your competition for next season. Keeper league owners likely have a good number of these guys on their radar already, but they tend to be afterthoughts in re-draft leagues, and that might be where you can get a leg up, whether it’s using the players now or scouting them for your draft next year.