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Though the events from Monday remain unresolved and our thoughts linger with those affected in both the city of Boston and around the world, the show must go on. Major League Baseball is not pausing the season and your fantasy leagues aren’t shutting down. Obviously it’s okay to be distracted but you still have to pay attention to what’s going on. There are job battles still being fought over, players coming on and off the DL, hot starts to consider and cold starts to shake off. You need to make sure you’re still dialed in and up to date on all the latest happenings.
When the Toronto Blue Jays began their roster overhaul during the offseason, things were looking pretty good for the Great White North. The deal with the Marlins landed them an elite shortstop in Jose Reyes, a highly touted starting pitcher in Josh Johnson, a speedy super-utility guy in Emilio Bonifacio and a veteran lefty in Mark Buehrle all for very little. They then brought in Melky Cabrera, R.A. Dickey and Maicer Izturis to add to a fairly strong core group that already consisted of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Brandon Morrow and J.P. Arencibia. They immediately went from also-rans to top contender in the American League.
I wanted to sit down tonight and finally write about some fantasy baseball for the first time in far too long. Since our show, The Fantasy Alarm Show has gone to five and sometimes six days a week it has gotten hard to encapsulate any additional thoughts into text. But alas I have a belly full of some weird Mike’s Hard Mango Punch crap that my wife stocked the refrigerator with (it’s just so yellow and yummy looking!) so here comes two weeks work of fantasy baseball angst.
Hi everyone. I’m thrilled to be contributing to Fantasy Alarm’s coverage of this part-time hobby, full-time obsession we call fantasy baseball. I’ll be dropping by each week to share some thoughts, discuss some strategy and hopefully have a little fun. Today we will take a look at Starting Pitching and the numbers you need to remain competitive in your league as well as which players have become eligible at new positions this week.
Now I don’t want to get all religious on you here, but as I look at one of my teams sitting at the very bottom of the standings in one league, I am reminded of a very important biblical quote that you should always pay very close attention to, especially if you’re dealing with a certain amount of fantasy frustration. “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” You know how some coaches have inspirational quotes hanging in their offices? Well, this one is hanging in mine and it is specifically directed towards the sharks in every league who think they smell blood in the water just one week into the season. Three guys hurt on my roster isn’t exactly chum, but there they are, circling and ready to strike.
Offense first – that’s what they say. Pitching may win championships in the real world, but this is fantasy baseball we’re talking about and in fantasy, it is a dominant offense that wins it for you. It’s said so many times that you would think it would be ingrained in people’s heads by now, yet we still see starting pitchers get taken in the first round and people reaching for “aces” faster than they really should. It’s an age old debate that leaves most scratching their heads as to how and why it is still even up for discussion. Well, if there were ever a day to prove the point for the pro-offense side of the argument, it was Sunday.
It was the great Terrence Mann who once said, “The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.” I know exactly where I was when I heard the news that Thurman Munson, my childhood idol, died in a plane crash. I had my first real kiss during the summer of the year Cal Ripken, Jr. won the Rookie of the Year award. Craig Biggio’s MLB debut was on the TV as I sat in the hospital waiting room following the worst car accident I’ve ever been in. A strike robbed the Montreal Expos of a probable World Series championship the year I met my wife and Albert Pujols won his first title the year we got married. So when I sat there watching Andy Pettitte pitch eight innings of one-run ball to shut down the Red Sox and Mariano Rivera closed it out for the team’s first win of the season, I have to admit, it felt a little strange as I knew I was literally watching the end of an era.
A quick question for all you keeper league owners out there who love to protect starting pitching – why? With a position as deep as starting pitching is and with the ease of which pitchers get hurt, why is there such a need to protect any starters outside of the super-elite like Justin Verlander. Wednesday actually presents you with just a slice out of the “why you don’t protect starting pitching” pie. On a day when CC Sabathia was put on the DL with a strained groin, Andy Pettitte was lost to a broken ankle on a comebacker to the mound and Daniel Hudson headed to Dr. James Andrews to confirm his torn UCL and need for Tommy John surgery, you saw some unbelievable pitching performances from some rather unassuming names like Lucas Harrell, Jarrod Parker, Jonathon Niese, Clayton Richard and Jordan Zimmermann. And like I said, Wednesday was just a slice of the pie. The rest can be seen throughout the year just by running down some of the names on the stats page of your league’s web site.
To a certain extent, every player is an injury risk. They are grown men, playing a game, throwing their bodies around with reckless abandonment. They get hurt. That’s just fact. But obviously, there are some that are riskier than others and for all intents and purposes; Josh Hamilton is the riskiest of them all.
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?