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Welcome to Bizarro baseball. While the anticipated debut of Yu Darvish was on everyone’s minds on Monday, the real excitement ended up coming from a very unlikely source. Barry Zito, the $126M albatross that hangs on the neck of the Giants organization and its fans, turned in a gutsy and vintage performance to help his team ruin the Colorado Rockies 2012 home opener. With the Giants seeking their first win of the season, Zito turned in a complete game, four-hit shutout with four strikeouts and no walks as the Giants offense went to town and pummeled the Rockies pitching for seven runs. Zito hurls a shutout? The Giants offense scores seven runs in a game? Bizarro baseball, indeed.
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.
“Wait, wait, wait….whaaaat? What’s today? Easter? Really? Well did they know it was the first weekend of baseball when they made it Easter? Oh, really? It was Easter before it was baseball? Hmmm. Yeah, I don’t know about that, but ok, I guess.”
So here we were today with the fourth installment of Opening Day and while there was plenty of action to talk about with the afternoon games, the primary focus remained on Albert Pujols and his debut with the Angels. Thousands of flickering lights illuminated the stands at Angel Stadium on Friday night as everyone maneuvered in the stands to catch a shot of Prince Albert digging in for his first official American League at-bat. Unfortunately for those expecting a powerhouse debut, Pujols finished the night 0-for-3 with a walk and had a very unassuming evening. Angels fans will just have to wait another night for their 240 million dollar man to shine.
So it was Opening Day on Thursday….again. And while some people will mock the fact that MLB pretty much has four different Opening Days, I’m going to relish in it. For me, the offseason drags on for far too long. Sure, football is a nice distraction, but I’ll take a heated pitcher’s duel for nine innings any day. And that’s exactly what we saw on Thursday – outstanding pitcher’s duels. Roy Halladay squaring off against Erik Bedard, John Lester versus Justin Verlander, Johan Santana against Tommy Hanson, and Stephen Strasburg taking on Ryan Dempster. Some of the other matchups were good, but the show that these eight pitchers put on the other day was top notch. Maybe some of the offenses each guy faced were a tad anemic (yes, Pittsburgh, I’m looking in your direction), but overall, you have to love watching a guy standing on the hill pulling strings on pitches left and right, making hitters look just plain silly in the batter’s box.
To say that I woke up Wednesday morning feeling like a kid on Christmas morning is an understatement. Doesn’t matter how old I am, doesn’t matter how many Opening Days I’ve seen or been to, I get the same feeling I had when I was a kid heading to the stadium for the very first time – pure, unabashed excitement. It’s like Ray Kinsella when it hits him that he’s pitching to Shoeless Joe Jackson. It’s like Ben, Jimmy Fallon’s character in Fever Pitch, when he gets his new set of Red Sox season tickets. It’s like those kids in The Sandlot gazing at either the fireworks or Wendy Peffercorn. Just pure joy; complete euphoria. That’s what the start of the baseball season does to me.
The weekly Top Ten list will now transition back to fantasy baseball as we approach the Super Bowl. Sure some of you still may be playing fantasy football playoff leagues or survivor pools, but most of you are now getting ready for baseball. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in a month and fantasy magazines are hitting the newsstands. After an incredible end to the 2011 MLB season and a very entertaining World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers, everyone gets a clean slate and a fresh start. Part of starting anew is evaluating what changes have been made during the offseason. So, without further adieu, here are the Top Ten baseball offseason transactions (as of January 18, 2012) with the most fantasy implications.
The 2011 baseball season is almost over, so this edition of the Top Ten List will be my final edition of the fantasy baseball season. Don’t cry…no really, don’t cry. I will still provide you with witty insight during the offseason. But for the purposes of the 2011 season, this marks the end of our wonderful journey. This special edition of the Top Ten List is much like the Oscars, except there is no corny host with bad jokes and no one will judge you because you wear skin-tight nylon shirts and skids. The 2011 fantasy baseball season was filled with many surprises, both good and bad. There were some remarkable performances and some underwhelming ones as well. While we are always looking ahead and planning for the future, this Top Ten List focuses on the past and remembering the memorable 2011 season. So, without further adieu, here is the final fantasy baseball Top Ten List of the season.
With the 2011 baseball season about to end in a couple weeks, most fantasy leagues are also in or near the end of their playoffs as well. To commemorate these events, this week’s Top Ten list discusses the ten best fantasy baseball performers of the year. I have split the list with five hitters and five pitchers. Obviously this list is up for debate as others may have different opinions. But my evaluation is based on both rotisserie and points-based fantasy leagues. Before anyone asks, no, Jason Bay did not crack this list. If I was compiling a list of suck, then Bay would be right near the top. Now, without further adieu, here is this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball players of the year.
Welcome to the very special Hurricane Irene Edition of the Tuesday Top Ten. Just days after many in the northeast felt the rumble from the earthquake, we were subjected to Hurricane Irene and all of its aftermath. Before you start thinking the end of the world is near because of all these natural disasters, just remember that Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds both struck out three times since you began reading this article, so all is right in the world again. Now, without further adieu, here is this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for August 30, 2011.