Mark St. Amant

Fantasy Man-Crush Index

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Surprise, Surprise

Wednesday, July 08, 2009




STARTING PITCHERS:
Pleasant – My Red Sox homerism says Tim Wakefield's 10 Ws, but his 4.30 ERA and 1.35 WHIP say no. So, it's Zack Greinke and his 10 W/2.00 ERA/1.05 WHIP/120 Ks. Just dominant. (Honorable mention -- Kevin Slowey (10 W); Yovani Gallardo (8 W/2.75 ERA/1.15 WHIP/ 114 Ks); Mark Buehrle (8 W/3.09 ERA/1.12 WHIP); Justin Verlander (130 Ks); Jered Weaver (8 W/3.10 ERA/1.14 WHIP); Carl Pavano (his high .344 BABIP doesn't do his overall performance justice).

Unpleasant -- Congratulations to Daisuke Matsuzaka's 1-5 record and 823.00 ERA (okay, 8.23 but still . . .)! And Brandon Webb's secret shoulder boo boo! Oh, and would-be unanimous Cy Young winner Dan Haren's run support (okay, not his fault)! And Scott Kazmir's early implosion!

Second half surprise -- Nolasco is an obvious one as he's already turning things around. Ditto Francisco Liriano (like Rollins, he's been one of my favorite punching bags, but last three starts (19 IP) he's averaging a hair under 7.0 IP/7 Ks per, with a 2.66 ERA, lowering his ERA since June 5 from 6.12 to 5.49.) But I'm going with Kazmir. Two straight quality starts - one in Texas - since the quad injury.

RELIEVERS:
Pleasant – Tie between two waiver wire wonders Andrew Bailey and his 9 saves/2.03 ERA/1.01 WHIP/57 Ks, and David Aardsma and his 17 saves/1.41 ERA/1.15 WHIP/47 Ks (5th among primary closers behind Jonathan Broxton, Bailey, Rafael Soriano, and Mike Gonzalez). (Honorable mention: Ryan Franklin (20 saves, wasn't even supposed to keep the job); Brian Fuentes (MLB-leading 24 saves); Trevor Hoffman (old vet has 18 saves with 0.94 WHIP).

Unpleasant -- I drafted Joel Hanrahan everywhere as the proverbial "closer on bad team who Ks a ton of guys and will get at least 25 saves." Riiiiiight. Mark, meet Hanrahan's 7.79 ERA, 1.99 WHIP and 5 blown saves. (Honorable mention -- Carlos Marmol (ball could literally end up anywhere - the stands, luxury boxes, Lake Michigan - when it leaves his hand); Jose Arredondo (after 10 vulture wins in 2008, he was pure, set-up man gold on draft day. Ah, memories . . . ); Brad Lidge (16 saves, sure, but it's come with a 7-plus ERA, near 2.00 WHIP and constant injury worries. Pass.)

Second Half surprise(s) -- Closer is always volatile, especially as the MLB playoff picture starts to crystallize, so look for set-up guys on teams who may be sellers come late July, like Matt Thornton if the ChiSox deal Jenks; Manny Corpas (God, not him again!) or Matt Daley if the Rocks deal Street; Tony Pena if the D'backs lose Qualls (or Qualls' ongoing forearm tightness becomes a DL thing); LaTroy Hawkins is one of baseball's most coveted potential closers, could land in a sweet spot; Matt Capps could leave Pittsburgh, freeing up John Grabow (if he's not also dealt), Tyler Yates or even (shiver) old pal Joel Hanrahan; The O's could deal George Sherrill, opening up spot for Danys Baez or, more likely, Jim Johnson; Kerry Wood could leave the tribe, so watch Rafael Betancourt or would-be Franklin successor Chris Perez.

Final random thoughts that didn't make it in above, but bear mentioning because I'm traveling out west next week -- for a job interview of all things! – and won't be writing a column, so I have to cram a bunch of extra drivel into this one . . .

  • I've enjoyed my interaction with you guys and everyone else on Twitter. Love sharing random fantasy nuggets. Love Twitter's marketing/branding possibilities. Love that it now keeps companies on their toes because customers can now provide instant criticism or praise (but mostly criticism). But two things drive me absolutely batpoop crazy: (1) People who tweet incessantly about how awesome Twitter/social media is. These are probably the same people who go to a concert, buy the band's brand new concert T and then wear it over their original shirt at that very same concert; and (2) People whose only contributions are either "witty, weird Steven Wright-esque asides/observations" that are neither witty nor weird nor Steven Wright-esque, or inspirational quotes whose only inspiration is inspiring me to go on a 13-state killing spree . . . starting with people who only tweet inspirational quotes.

  • So phenom Cuban LHP Aroldis Chapman – Chapman, being another traditional Cuban surname, like "Lowell" – defected on July 3 by walking out of his hotel. That's great, but do they really need to call it "defecting" anymore? Maybe when defecting involved using bamboo strands to sew together a crude raft of discarded trash bags and goat bladders and casting off into the darkness through 90 miles of shark-infested waters while Castro soldiers fire automatic weapons at you. Now? You just casually stroll out of a Four Seasons after the complimentary champagne-and-strawberry breakfast, hop into a waiting Hummer H3 and sign a 4-year/$60 mil deal. A MLB team could at least make the guy swim through a shark tank first and earn it.

  • You want to bitch about Reyes, Jhonny Peralta, Stephen Drew, Hardy, then fine. Be my guest. But why do we see "Hanley Ramirez" and "bust" so often on roto message boards? That's idiotic. He's at .346/14 HR/60 RBI/51 R/12 SB. Not good enough for you? I'll take him, please and thank you.

  • The U.S. almost upsetting powerhouse Brasil was the single most exciting game in American "futbol" history. But not all that surprising, considering we had Vin Diesel in net. He drives cars fast and furiously, don't you know.

  • Had a Twitter exchange with Rotoworld's stellar golf writer Rob Bolton (@buzzbolton), who mentioned Eric Chavez as possibly the best player never to make an All-Star game. A good one for sure, but I saw his Chavez and raised him a Kirk Gibson (didn't even make it in his '88 MVP year). Other semi-surprises: Pat Burrell. Adrian Beltre. Carlos Pena. Tim Salmon. Eric Karros. Richard Hidalgo. Mike Torrez. Danny Darwin. Richie Hebner. Ridiculous, Red Sox selections over the years: Scott Cooper in '93 and '94; Mark Loretta in '06; Jason Varitek last year. Ridiculous snubs this year: Ian Kinsler; Choo; Gallardo; Sandoval. Giving everyday fans an All-Star vote is like giving a teenagers a bottle of Jager and the keys to a Ducati.

  • Finally, I always answer emails, and invite you to contact me with trade questions, drop/adds, etc. And it's funny, I get so many "Wow, I never thought you'd write back!" responses. Have you people been treated that badly by your allegedly "way too busy for the common folk" fantasy experts? Trust me, we're not bent over Petri dishes every moment of every day trying to cure cancer. Seriously, is it that hard to respond to someone who's taken time out of his/her day to write you? It's just common courtesy. That said, I beg you, please keep your questions nice and short (unlike this column) Nothing makes me reach for the secret trap door button under my desk faster than opening a 23-part magnum opus with Roman numeraled subsections, Powerpoint slides and other various appendices. (Honest to God, I once got a 23-part question about a series of trades, moves, and counter moves he might make. I had to look twice to make sure it wasn't from Thomas.Pynchon@gmail.com.)

    Enjoy the All-Star game. See ya after the break.



  • For two seasons, Mark St. Amant was the fantasy football writer for the New York Times.com. He is also the author of Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie and Just Kick It: Tales of an Underdog, Over-Age, Out-of-Place Semi-Pro Football Player, and has written for New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine and Salon.com.
    Email :Mark St. Amant



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