Glenn Colton

Week That Was

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A Panda in Shin Guards?

Saturday, June 11, 2011


A catching Panda? That story and others are explored in this week's Week That Was.


Pablo Sandoval: According to reports, the Giants are seriously thinking of having the Kung Fu Panda don the tools of ignorance a couple of times per week. This is a classic example of where fantasy and real baseball diverge. In fantasy, having Panda as a catcher will be a huge boon to Panda owners' ability to achieve fantasy nirvana. Imagine being able to replace a second catcher like Dane Sardinha or Koyie Hill with a revitalized Panda bat. However, the move makes no sense in real baseball. The Giants are built on pitching and defense. Why risk both by putting Panda behind the plate? The move becomes even more illogical when you consider that it would only add Brandon Crawford or Miguel Tejeda's bat to the lineup. All that said, I believe the Panda's bat is for real. So, for me, catching or not, I say buy a Panda!

Emmanuel Burriss: With the injuries to Freddy Sanchez and Mike Fontenot and the slump of Miguel Tejada, it is only a matter of time before Emmanuel Burriss gets a serious look. If you have a need for speed, think about Burriss. "Manny" is hitting a solid .292 so far in the bigs and has speed to burn. At 26, all he needs is an opportunity. Invest the buck. No guarantees, but it could be a sweet return. Why not speculate?

Jose Lopez: The Fish took a good risk and invested a bit in former fantasy darling Jose Lopez. At .208 this year, Lopez has been pretty poor – and it wasn't much better last year at .240. However, Lopez is just 27 and did hit 42 HR with 185 RBI and a composite average over .280 in 2008-09. The Marlins could use the bat, have the time to invest in Lopez and may be the home he has needed. Lopez is far from a sure thing. However, where else are you going to find a free agent MI with a record of strong major league success? Again, speculate.

Anthony Rizzo: Anthony Rizzo made his San Diego debut, going 1-2 with a triple and two bb Thursday. The bad news is that the Padres lineup is sorry and the ballpark destroys hitters. However, Rizzo is a real talent, was the centerpiece of the Adrian Gonzalez deal and could well do what Eric Hosmer has done for the Royals. For those in one year and keeper leagues, Rizz is a buy. Just don't expect superstar numbers just yet.

Martin Prado: Martin Prado landed on the DL with, of all things, a staph infection. Best guesses thus far have Prado missing 2-3 weeks. Bad news for Prado owners as the Braves OF had raised his average to .277 to go with 8 HR and 33 RBI. Unfortunately for Prado owners, it is hard to figure who will play in Atlanta. I figure Eric Hinske and Joe Mather platoon but who knows given that Jordan Schaefer in CF is hardly lighting it up, Matt Young is just that, and Nate McClouth should return at some point. Bottom line, other than those in very deep NL leagues should just go to the next entry in this column.


Joba Chamberlain: Doh! Joba Chamberlain will undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss at least the next 12 months. Of course, the obvious is that Joba will be missed in both real and fantasy baseball. What does this mean for those in fantasy leagues? Well, the Yankees will make a deal for a bridge to Mariano Rivera. Indeed, it would not be a surprise to see them overpay. Thus, those with closers on bad teams should be very worried. It would not shock me to see the Yankees repeat what happened with Kerry Wood last year – grab a closer to become an 8th inning guy. Beware. Final note here – this is why the T in SMART stands for team. If you own a closer on a good team, you have no risk of him being dealt into the set up role.


Ryan Zimmerman: In news that has been too long in coming for the Nats and Ryan Zimmerman owners, the 3B will return to action within the next few days. If he happens to be available on the free agent wire (because you play in a league with owners in cryogenic freeze) or if you can get him in a trade (because your league-mates overreact to injuries), do it. Over the last three years, Zimm has average .293 with 24 HR and that was from ages 23-25. Buy!


Cliff Pennington: Responding to Bob Melvin's vote of confidence and hitting in the two-hole, Cliff Pennington went 3-5 with two doubles, an RBI and run Friday. Hmmm. On the one hand, the A's cannot hit and the ballpark can be found in the dictionary under "pitchers' park." However, Pennington has been around for 3 years and is just 26. Over those three years, he has hit a decent .250+. He also showed serious speed, swiping 29 bags last year. As I have preached many a time in this space, when a player makes the majors young, has three or four years under his belt by age 26 or 27, he is a buying opportunity as he will likely outperform the misleadingly low baseline. At MI, Cliff is a good speculative buy.


Alex Rodriguez: Yeah, I know, I write about Yankees sometimes (ok a bit more than sometimes). But hey, this is worthy of mention. Alex Rodriguez jacked his 12th dinger last night. Why am I telling you this? Well, to give you a buying opportunity of course. Alex is as reliable as any fantasy player in recent memory. However, expectations have been set so high (see 54 HR in 2007), that owners may wrongly conclude ARod is fading. Alex is on pace for 31 HR, 95 RBI and 100 runs. Who would complain about that? So, if you have an ARod owner who is getting frustrated about not getting 40 dollars of value or who is worried about the latest tabloid story, pounce. ARod is money in the bank.


Paul Konerko: Last week, I was incredulous about Paul Konerko's ability to come back two days after wrist surgery. Well, I should have kept the faith. Last night, Konerko went 2-4 with a home run and two RBI. That makes 16 on the year to go with a very pretty .321 average. Like ARod, Konerko is fantasy money in the bank. His three year average is 30 HR, with 87 RBI and a .278 average. In my mind, that is the floor and he should post even better numbers than that floor. Buy.


And last, but not least, Schultz says: "We are well past the first trimester of the baseball season and for roto-purposes that means there's enough of a statistical sample size to make it an appropriate time for each owner to start assessing their chances for the rest of the season. Personally, I feel too many roto-owners are too quick to throw in the towel, start dumping and play for next year. For the most part, they are gutless: anyone starting to play for 2012 in early June has a) no faith in the team they loved just two short months ago and b) wants to start making excuses for why they aren't performing well ("well, of course I'm in 11th place, I started dumping in May because Albert Pujols started slow"). Dump if you must but it should be a last resort after everything else has failed.

The simplest method of determining whether you have a chance to get back in your league's race seems to elude 95% of the people that play the pseudo-sport. Simply go through your roster, player by player, and decide for yourself whether you are getting the numbers from them that you were expecting at the beginning of the year. When you get to names like Hanley Ramirez, Joe Mauer, any Yankee hitter not named Curtis Granderson (or Teixeira for that matter), you can check the "Hell, no" category. When you get to names like Matt Joyce, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman and Alexi Ogando, you can check the "Hell yes, and then some." (If you haven't guessed, I'm exploring whether I can say "hell" in this column - I wonder what this will look like if the answer is "hell no, you can't say hell).

If you find you're getting less out of your team than you expected, you have reason for optimism. If the Yankees don't Gillooly Jorge Posada, he's probably going to improve on his .203 average. Albert Pujols? Unlikely to finish the season at the .277 clip he's hitting at now. Cliff Lee's 3.62 ERA and 1.25 WHIP? Don't those feel high? You also need to take a hard luck at the players on your team that are exceeding expectations and candidates for a regression to the mean. This is an infinitely tougher call. Ogando, Berkman, Justin Masterson, Charlie Morton are all potentially due for a fall from grace but then again, they have to make the leap at some point in time - why not now? There's nothing anyone can tell you that will dissuade you from your opinion of your overperforming players - you either believe or you don't and most likely nobody's going to change your mind.

The point here is to trust the instincts you had in late March when you put your team together. Then again, if you're team is being paced by Alex Gonzalez, Macier Izturis, Chone Figgins, Dexter Fowler and Brian Fuentes, ignore everything I've just said, it presumed competence and you're probably are reading this cause you mistook us for Grantland."


Response: Hell of a good piece from the Carlton the Doorman of fantasy sports!


Glenn Colton is co-host of Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM Tuesdays 8-11pm ET and a long-time fantasy sports player, author of numerous print and electronic media fantasy sports articles, and a participant in expert leagues, including baseball's LABR league and football's FTSA experts league. Colton and Rick Wolf have won the AL LABR Championship three times and football's FTSA experts league four times. Colton joined Wolf in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Hall of Fame in June of 2013. He can be found on Twitter .



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