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While there were plenty of things to get excited about on Friday night such as six of Gerrit Cole’s first 38 pitches (three innings) hitting triple-digits on the radar gun and Stephen Strasburg’s successful return to the mound, there was a whole lot of bizarro baseball going on as well. For those not familiar with the term, the Bizarro world was an alternate reality created in the DC Comics universe where all the characters were replicas of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman but with opposite (read: evil) personalities. So in the baseball world, when we refer to bizarro baseball, we’re talking about things that can only be true in an alternate universe.
It’s difficult to say that any day during the baseball season is a slow day, but when the news is light and there are no performances that were good (or bad) enough to make your eyes pop out, then you’ve got to consider it a slow day. Sure, we could talk about the Yankees losing Kevin Youkilis for the next 10 weeks due to back surgery or Edwin Encarnacion quietly on-pace to actually surpass his career-best 2012 numbers, but that’s hardly the stuff that you’d consider a major headline grab unless, of course, you own either guy. Even the debut of Wil Myers on a doubleheader with the Red Sox was pretty tame as the highly-touted slugger went just 1-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in his debut. Perhaps had the rain not pushed off the Yankees/Dodgers game and the return of Don Mattingly to Yankee Stadium we would have had something more, but that would probably center around two under-performing all-star teams and, well, that’s just depressing. But I guess without days like this, you can't appreciate some of the more amazing days we get so often throughout a six month long season so rather than complain, we’re just going to get to the top and bottom performances from Tuesday. And yes, we’re even skipping the Fantasy Beast of the Day as there just wasn’t a performance out there deserving of the label. There were a few candidates who deserved consideration, but in the end, there just weren’t any performances that were worthy of such an esteemed daily award.
OK, so we’re pulling in a little late to the station today. What can you do? Father’s Day weekend had a few more festivities than I expected and like a good dad I was sound asleep on the couch by 8:30 pm on Sunday. So again, rather than just stick to the top and bottom performances from Sunday, we’re going to splash in a few random fantasy baseball thoughts and some news for today that might be integral to setting your lineups for the week. Remember, the games don’t start until 7:00pm (ET) today so there’s plenty of time. And away we go…
It doesn’t happen often but there are times, every so often, that you’d like to see your fantasy team get some credit for defensive plays. As I flipped between several of the games Saturday and then watched the highlight reels later on in the evening, I saw some unbelievable plays in the field. Colorado rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado had, what I thought was, the play of the day as he dove towards the line – full air, full extension – snagged the ball and after what appeared to be a T.J. Hooker-like roll, threw the runner out while still in the sitting position. Catches by Ichiro Suzuki and Jon Jay made the highlights as well, but as good as they were, neither touched Arenado’s play. Obviously it’s subjective as to how amazing you thought each play was which is why you just can’t score something like that at an appropriate value, but worthy of acknowledgement nonetheless.
The good news is that here on Monday, the games don’t start until 7pm (ET) so you can really take your time and study up on things before you have to set your lineup for the week. The bad news is that there’s a lot going on that you’re going to have to stay on top of during the day in order to set that lineup properly. Between Ryan Braun’s thumb injury and Hanley Ramirez’ hamstring MRI to the debuts of Gerritt Cole and Zack Wheeler, there seems to be a lot happening right now. Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison are headed back from the DL this week. Ike Davis? He’s in Triple-A. Brandon McCarthy? Still suffering seizures. Matt Kemp won’t return from his injury on-time, Ian Kinsler is finally working his way back from his and good ol’ Chase Utley is right on schedule for his mid-June return. Are you writing this stuff down?
With 30 major league teams, 40-man rosters for each one, and a slew of minor league affiliates filled with baseball’s rank and file and a First-Year Player Draft adding hundreds of names to the mix, you’d think there would be more to talk about than Yasiel Puig and Biogenesis, right? Yet everywhere you look, those are the headlines we continue to see. So allow me to address these two things one last time. Yes, I’m sure Puig’s name will find its way in and out of a daily recap article from time to time and once the final decisions on suspensions are announced we’ll throw the named names into a little section near the injuries part, but for a focal point of discussion, this is it. We’ve wasted far too much time already on them and personally, I think Mark Appel is a much tastier topic, even if he’s now stuck on the Astros.
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?
While the month of April gets ready to wrap, fantasy owners should realize that there is still plenty of work to do to get their teams ready for a long and arduous season. The offseason prep work, the draft, and the early-season waiver hunting may be your foundation, but now you have a five-month long process of taking that foundation and building it into a championship. You now have to keep an astute eye on the waiver wire, explore some possible trades that will help your team in the long run, track injuries, and most of all, pay close attention to the daily happenings around MLB. You’ve got full slates of games five days a week with shorties on Mondays and Thursdays. So much can happen over the course of just one day that missing even just one could be the difference between finishing in the money and standing on the outside looking in. Maybe it sounds silly and a bit over-dramatic to some, but just look at yesterday’s action and the potential fantasy impact…
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.
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.