A look at some sell high candidates as well as some other big things of the week comes at you right now in the Week That Was.Lance Berkman
: Lance Berkman
hit two more jacks Friday to bring his season total to a whopping six! Yes, this is a feel good story for a guy who has looked old and tired in recent years. Has he found the fountain of youth in St. Louis? Uh, no! The odds against the Puma returning to his previous glory after being so far removed from his last big year and trying to roam the outfield injury free are long indeed. So, what do fantasy owners do? Look for a Cardinal fan or just plain old novice in your league and peddle your Puma. Now!Jeff Francoeur
: Speaking of sell high candidates, Jeff Francoeur
raked Friday night, going 3-4 with a tater, three RBI and three runs. Thus far, Francoeur has a .327 average and 11 RBI in the early going. What to do? Has Frenchy rediscovered the stroke that made him a stud back in 06-07? Answers: Sell! and Heck No! In each of the last three years, Francoeur has struck out approximately 3 times for every walk. That trend is continuing this year. Also, he has not posted an OBP above a paltry .309 since 2006, so why would we think it would spike now? Finally, the Royals will fall out of the race early and will be bringing up their youngsters like Cain, Moustakis and Hosmer, leaving no room for Frenchy. Sell!Luke Hochevar
: Not all is dreary in Royals-land as Luke Hochevar
has shown why he was the number one pick overall. Last night, he was strong (albeit against the Mariners), allowing just one hit and one run over seven innings while striking out 4. Thus far on the young season, Hochevar has a WHIP just over 1.00 and a K/BB rate of 4/1. Pitchers take time to develop. It often seems like it takes forever when teams desperate for pitching rush kids who should be in AA to the majors at tender ages. Hochevar was rushed and does seem like he has been around forever. However, he is just 27 and looks strong so far. Buy cheap if you still can.
Andy Laroche: Speaking of being around forever and still a young player, Adam's brother Andy may finally be reaching his potential. According to reports right here at Rotoworld, Bob Geren indicated that he will give Andy LaRoche
a shot to win the 3B job outright. This is one of those situations that is intriguing for deep leagues. First, Laroche is eligible at SS in most leagues, so he could fill that very, very scarce position. Second, while Oakland will not produce a lot of runs with that lineup in that stadium, Laroche could still be useful. He is only two days older that Hochevar and like Luke, has been saddled with the high expectations of a top pick. From 05-08, the lowest minor league AVG Andy posted was .292. Now at 27 in the bigs, he is hitting exactly that, .292. Will he be roto-stud this year? No. Can he easily outproduce MI's that populate AL only rosters like Jack Wilson
? Oh, yes.Clay Buchholz
: Clay Buchholz
was pretty poor again last night, walking five in five innings in yet another Red Sox loss. The numbers thus far are quite ugly -- 6.60 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and an atrocious 8/10 K/BB ratio. Is he this bad? Of course not. Was a decline from last year predictable? Absolutely. While his 2.34 ERA in 2010 was very pretty, roto owners must learn to look past the peripherals and go deeper. What would they have seen had they done the deep dive? I am glad you asked. They would have seen a K/BB ratio that was hardly dominant at any level, minors or majors. Those who did not dig paid $20 for a $10 pitcher. Lesson learned?Aaron Harang
: Aaron Harang
is on a roll in S.D. Last night, Harang tossed a gem, giving up three hits and one run over six innings. Even more interesting is the fact that he pitched well in the hitter haven in Houston. With half his starts coming in Petco and a bunch of others coming in pitcher parks like SF and LA, Harang is a very good bet to bounce back. If the Harang owner in your league is a nonbeliever, fleece the fool while you can. Matt Harrison
: Speaking of for real, Matt Harrison
sailed through eight strong innings in the cold of Yankee Stadium last night giving up just one earned run on the way to a victory over the Yankees. Watching from my seat in the cold, I saw a pitcher who got stronger as the game went on (actually hitting 94 on the gun in the 8th inning) and who made the big pitches when he needed them. Each time runners reached base, he induced double play ball after double play ball. There will be some hiccups along the way, but this lefty is poised for a very nice season – especially given the 54 games Texas gets to play against the anemic offenses of Oakland, Anaheim and Seattle.Javier Vazquez
: Moving from "for real" to "for sale", Javier Vazquez
allowed three runs in just five innings last night, while walking four and striking out just one. He has no life on his fastball, the radar gun says "I am waiting" when measuring his throws to home, and the stats are just plain bad. Yes, he has had national league success before. Tell that to your league-mates, trade Javy if you can and then repent for the sin you just visited on another team's ratios. So, I think you all get the point that I am not high on Javy, right?Justin Masterson
: Justin Masterson
has certainly exceeded this writer's expectations so far. Last night, he was strong again, giving up just one run over seven innings. Thus far, Justin has a tidy 1.33 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. What to do? Well, Schultz and his Indians rose colored glasses would tell you to buy. Me? Well, I would tell you to watch him pitch live or on TV first. If he has developed a pitch to counter lefties (either a change or a cutter), then I would say to buy. However, if you don't see one of those pitches working, then you are looking at a time bomb you want to avoid. Jury is out on this one. Phil Hughes
: Finally, in a move that should have surprised only those baseball fans without TV or the internet, the Yankees placed Phil Hughes
on the DL. He has been awful and is clearly not right physically. There is no reason for a big young kid to suddenly lose life on his fastball – both MPH and movement – unless something is wrong. This is the right move by Cashman and Girardi. In other words, they made the right choice by letting Hughes clear his head and then head to the minors on a rehab assignment while avoiding the stigma of a demotion. Yankee fans are now rooting for Bartolo Colon
to step up and continue his resurgent ways. I will be the first in line to give credit to my friends Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz if Bartolo produces. If you are in a deep league, you could do much worse than investing a buck or two in the former Cy Young award winner.
And last, but not least, Schultz says: "Its good to read the warning labels on products that might conceivably do you harm. I'm relatively sure that one of the tattoos on Josh Hamilton
cautions "Fragile! When damaged, do not use for 2 months." After his gargantuan 2010 season - in which he missed about 2 months due to injury - many roto-owners banked heavily on a repeat, quite possibly forgetting Hamilton's history of being unable to avoid the DL. While exact injuries are often impervious to prediction, there are some players that just have that stigma, Hamilton being one. If you own Hamilton and didn't account for a proper temporary replacement for his inevitable down time, prepare to reap what you've sown. Since we are in the advice business here at The Week That Was might I suggest looking into David Murphy
, who will get ample playing time until Big Josh returns.
One the keys to the success of the CLEVELAND INDIANS has been the remarkable efforts from the starting rotation. After getting hammered on opening day and dismissed by Colton, Fausto Carmona
has pitched like an ace, outdueling Jon Lester
and battling Dan Haren
inning for inning. Given how bad he was last year, it was easy to forget that Justin Masterson
was a top prospect in the Red Sox farm system and the key piece to the Victor Martinez
trade. Not so hard to forget now. Carlos Carrasco
will hit some rough spots along the year and Mitch Talbot
will throw an occasional gem but will likely come to define the word steady. Ignore all reports of the Indians' futility. The Tribe's young staff are likely the best source of waiver wire fodder out there right now.
Going back to warning signs, Joe Mauer
's abrupt placement for weakness in his legs should send waves of terror through his roto-owners. Two years ago, Mauer made anyone who wagered that he wouldn't miss much time with an amorphous back injury look like geniuses. The Mauer that giveth may also taketh away. There is clearly something amiss with the 2009 MVPs back that reportedly is causing serious problems. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Unless you backed up your catchers well - and who ever does that - the drop off from Mauer to the best catcher on your waiver wire will be precipitous."
Response: Great stuff on Mauer and Ham. Anyone who paid for 600 AB simply doesn't pay attention to either reality, or more importantly, the gospel preached in this column. As to the Indians, good stuff so far, but lets not drink too much of that kool-aid just yet!