The Week That Was: Fantasy Baseball Week 5 Recap
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the fifth week of the MLB season and how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Oh boy, will these injuries ever stop? Let’s not dwell on the bad but rather where and how to find value or avoid potholes in this week’s Week That Was.
Starlin Castro: In the week that was, the Yankees 2B hit a cool .353 with a .900+ OPS. You want the really good news? The .353 week actually brought his average down! Yes, Castro is off to a huge start. Buy now or sell high? Buy! Not only are the Yankees a good offensive team in a great offensive park, but Castro is in a contract year and despite his MLB longevity, he is just 27 years old. Wait, there is more – this 27 year old already has almost 1,200 hits in the major leagues. Let that sit in – almost 1200! This guy can flat out play and is still getting better.
Joe Biagini: In his first start of the year, Biagini tossed 4 shutout innings. Yes, one wants more length but it was his first start. The Jays rotation is a mess with the injuries to Happ, Sanchez, etc. Moreover, the rotation was never thought of to be the Braves of the 90s anyway. In comes Joe B with his 95 MPH heater, 7:1 K:BB ratio and WHIP under 1. Yes, those numbers will rise some in the rotation but those in AL only leagues could do a whole lot worse than banking on a guy who not only has those gaudy numbers but also has skills indicators that back it up, i.e., solid ground ball and first pitch strike rates. Team CTW owns Joe B in both Tout Wars and LABR-AL so we are in.
Nick Martinez: The oft-hit Rangers righty has two quality starts in his first three – the only wart being a bad outing against the hot Astros. This week, Nick has a sweet two start week against the Padres and the A’s. Remember that Martinez is only 26, has jumped his velo over 93, his GB rate close to 50 and his first pitch strike rate over 60. Is he Yu Darvish? No. Can a young hurler who is throwing more strikes, throwing harder and getting more grounders succeed in the bigs? Yessir. Buy in AL-only and if you embrace risk, in 15 team mixers.
Jose Reyes: Last week we wrote: “After a truly ugly start to 2017, Jose Reyes is heating up. Saturday, Reyes went 2-4 with a dinger and two runs scored. On the year, he still sits at a putrid .174. However, he hit .375 over the last week with 2 dingers and 2 swipes. He is not the superstar of yesteryear but I have no trouble seeing a .260 hitter with 15 dingers and 30 SB by years’ end. I can use that on all my teams. How about you?” Well, in the last seven days, Reyes put up 8 RBI, 5 runs and a dinger. The numbers will be there. Buy in this last week before he crosses the Mendoza line for good.
Matt Carpenter: Last week we wrote: “Good hitters hit. Seems obvious but many often forget that simple fact. Sunday, Matt Carpenter went 2-3 with 3 RBI. After a slow start with some back issues, Carp is on the verge of breaking out. Even with the slow start, his OPS is near .800 and his OBP is around .375. Bottom line – he is seeing the ball well, hitting it hard and will no longer be a buy low candidate unless you act quickly.” I hope you listened as the Cardinals 3 hitter raked to the tune of a 1,500+ OPS (yes, you read that correctly) that included 4 dingers, 9 runs and 9 RBI! Probably too late, but maybe someone will think they are selling high.
And now, the moment you likely have not been waiting for -- Schultz says: “Every so often roto-baseball becomes like classic rock and things that are old become fun and useful again. David Chase puts "Don't Stop Believin'" in the finale of The Sopranos and a decade later the resurgence in Journey's popularity end with an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Guardians of the Galaxy resurrects a whole host of K-Tel Songs of the Seventies and they have a bona fide cultural sensation on their hands (although the less said about making Looking Glass' "Brandy" a plot point the better). What music festival generated the most interest in 2016? Desert Trip a/k/a Oldchella.
Unless one had been truly living in a time warp, you surely let your draft/auction pass without giving any thought whatsoever to Ryan Zimmerman or Mark Reynolds. Why would you? For the past three seasons, Zimmerman has barely been on the field and not extraordinarily productive when suited up. Although his double digit homer production was likely useful in NL-only leagues, his diminishing batting average and spotty RBI production left much to be desired. Just a little more than one month into the 2017 season though, Zimmerman is a beast unleashed. His 13 homers and 34 RBIs nearly match his entire 2016 output and his .435 batting average, while unsustainable, is better than any two of three prior years combined. In 2009, Zimmy had his career year, putting up a .292, 33 HR, 106 RBI. If he stays healthy, there's no reason to believe that he won't eclipse those numbers in a comeback player of the year effort.
As for Reynolds, no one would have faulted you for failing to realize that the once potent HR-K machine from 2009-2011 was even still in the league. Even if you remembered that he was hanging on with Colorado, playing time seemed unlikely as the Rockies seemed intent on making Ian Desmond their everyday first baseman. Well, an untimely injury to Desmond opened the door for the once-and-future masher and anyone who took a gamble has been rewarded with a .315, 10 HR, 26 RBI outburst to start the season. Enjoy this little reverie from the past while you can. There is little evidence that Reynolds has miraculously rejuvenated into the masher he once was. Even less that he will limit to strikeouts to a 1:1 ratio with his RBIs as opposed to his customary 2+:1. This would be the equivalent of Quentin Tarantino turning "Hooked On A Feeling" into a hit more than 20 years after everyone else forgot about it. So ooga chaka ooga-ooga, enjoy while you can.”
Response: Zimmy? “ooga chaka …”? Amidst the inventive mechanism for communicating, Schultz raises the interesting question of whether “Zimmy” can stay healthy (I hope so but am dubious) and whether Reynolds will continue to hit in Colorado (he will but not at a 50 dinger pace). Time will tell.