Two pseudo-no hitters highlight the inaugural 2018 Week That Was.
Kyle Gibson: Kyle Gibson tossed six innings of no-hit ball, striking out six, to get his first win of the year. While he did walk five (not ideal), pitching this well in a tough park (Camden) and on the heels of a very strong end of 2017, bodes well for this season. Team Colton and the Wolfman is heavily invested in Gibson this year. The no hits and almost 16% swinging strike rate from his first start make me think the investment was wise. Yes I know we have all been fooled before; however, Gibson was very strong down the stretch in 2017 and gets to pitch a full one-third of his games against the Royals, White Sox and Tigers. Buy!
Trevor Williams: Like Gibson on Saturday, Trevor Williams went out Sunday and tossed six innings of no-hit ball to get his first win of the year. Also, like Gibson, he walked five (though with fewer strikeouts). I would like to see more K’s but you have to be happy with this first outing. Last year, Williams was far better at home than on the road. So, unlike Gibson, I view Williams as a streamer (at home and against teams like Detroit). The swinging strike percentage under nine (as compared to Gibson’s almost 16) tells me he was not nearly as dominant. Buy for streaming in NL only or deep bench 15 team mixers.
Brandon Drury: Brandon Drury is not why the Yankees lost Sunday. Indeed, the new Yankee went 2-3 with a dinger, a run scored and two RBI. On the young season, Drury is hitting .385 and has walked more than he has struck out. The T in SMART stands for team and the Yankees team will provide Drury with many opportunities to score and drive in runs. Moreover, he will soon be both 2B and 3B eligible (positional flexibility already proving key in fantasy circles). I believe those is shallow leagues should check if Drury is on the wire. If he is, remedy that post haste!
Luis Castillo: On first blush, Luis Castillo’s outing Saturday was not pretty – six runs and six hits in five innings. However, Castillo did strike out six and walk only one. Moreover, he registered an other-worldly 21+% swinging strike rate on the day, induced close to 50% of the balls that were hit to be hit on the ground and got ahead of the count close to 70% of the time. If he keeps doing that, he will have a big year. Indeed, if not for the pitiful 20% strand rate, the day would have ended much differently. It is hard to imagine someone in your league is willing to move Castillo after one “bad” outing but if they are . . . you know what to do!
Robinson Cano: Yes, I know I am biased when it comes to Robbie but people have been undervaluing the great Robinson Cano all throughout draft season. So far, Robbie has been Robbie. Saturday, the sweet swinging lefty belted three hits in four AB, scoring a run and knocking in a run. (As I am drafting this, he is already 1-1 with a BB and a year-long batting average of .625). Yes, he hit “only” .280 in 2017 but he registered his highest hard hit percentage since 2013 and his second lowest soft contact percentage of his career. Translation – Cano can still rake and will do so in 2018. Pay the freight as team Colton and the Wolfman did in Tout Wars.
And now, the moment you have been waiting for all winter (ok, maybe all month) -- Schultz says: “Spring came early this year in the form of lots of March baseball, which also meant a somewhat abbreviated pre-season. Schultz has always been a strong advocate of ignoring Spring Training as a predictor of things to come. History is littered with the corpses of pre-season heroes that wither under the bright lights of The Big Show. This year, Daniel Vogelbach tied for the major league lead in home runs, Gio Urshella hit .500 in his 42 at-bats while Brad Peacock and Dominic Leone posted minuscule ERAs. Anyone foolish enough to invest heavily thinking this would carry over into the season has been "rewarded" for their silliness: Vogelbach has a single at-bat so far, Urshella was placed on the DL, Peacock returned to the Stros' bullpen and the Cardinals were so impressed with Leone they rushed to sign Greg Holland once the season started.
While statistics are meaningless, the pre-season does provide good data as to whether a player is physically ready to play ball. Matt Kemp and Jason Kipnis' solid numbers shouldn't lead anyone to think that they're ready to provide game-changing numbers in 2018 but roto-owners can rest assured that they will, at the very least, play all of April before the inevitable injury bug strikes. Nelson Cruz began the season nursing an injured quad that seemingly only prevented him from running. Who knows whether that factored him into falling down the steps after hitting his second home run of the season? Anyone who decided to invest in any pitcher that left a start with "arm discomfort" deserves the bad news that will likely be coming down the pike.
What Schultz found strange about this season was that the collective roto-expert world seemed to overreact to any small tweak or injury, especially one that might spread into the start of the season. Of course, this doesn't apply to the news about J.T. Realmuto, Andrew Heaney or Dan Straily, who clearly suffered injuries of concern. However, Jose Ramirez' cut finger, Tim Beckham's sore groin or Steven Souza and Mike Zunino's oblique issues shouldn't have been much more than a blip on the radar. Might the problems spread into the first week or two season? Sure. But answer this - how many roto-championships were decided in the first two weeks of the season? Hopefully, the smart, educated readers of The Week That Was were able to sort through the meaningful news without the Overlord or myself to guide the way.
Welcome back everyone.”
Response: In all seriousness, Schultz starts 2018 strongly with some common sense on how to approach spring and the early going. Can this trend of intelligent, well-reasoned contributions continue? Tune in next week to find out!