Glenn Colton

Week That Was

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CoJack back in Prime Time?

Saturday, June 18, 2011


CoJack is Back? That story and others are explored in this week's Week That Was.


Connor Jackson: Conor Jackson had a good night in the battle of the Bay, stroking three hits and knocking in a run to help the A's beat the Freak and the Giants. If you watch the box scores closely, you will see that new manager Bob Melvin has penciled "CoJack" into the lineup quite often. Simply stated this is a buying opportunity. Daric Barton is not doing the job, Hideki Matsui is hardly lighting it up, Josh Willingham cannot stay on the field, and quite simply, the A's cant score. So, why not let CoJack try and prove he is all the way back from Valley Fever. If you are in a deep league, CoJack could prove to be your lightning in a bottle. Who knows, if he gets really hot, he might even say "who loves ya baby".


Mike Leake: Mike Leake was pretty good last night, giving up three runs on five hits in seven innings. Since the beginning of this month, the Reds youngster has a sterling 2.48 ERA and 17/2 K/BB ratio. Simply put – buy! He is all of 23, but he already has a full season under his belt and has shown real maturity in the way he has turned up the heat this month. The bad news is that he gets my Yankees next time out. The good news is that he will get the Cubs, Pirates, and Astros quite often during the rest of the season. Buy!


Dustin Ackley: In news that should shock no reader of this column (or frankly any fantasy column), Dustin Ackley has arrived in Seattle from the minors and will play every day. The good news is that Ackley has shown great eye and great patience in the minors (117/130 K/BB ratio over 918 plate appearances). The bad news is that he hit just .263 at AA and just .273 at AAA last year. Thus, Ackley is a work in progress. Those in deep leagues should take a shot. Those in 12 team mixed leagues should look elsewhere. Not only is Ackley not ready to star, he plays on a poor offensive team in a pitcher's park. Of course, no matter what Ack does, Adam Kennedy owners should realize that the ride is over.

Brett Myers: Rumors reported on this site and others noted that the Astros are willing to deal Brett Myers before July 31. Really? Wow, what a shock. Ok seriously, there are fantasy lessons to be learned (or at least repeated) from this unsurprising little tidbit. First, if you own Myers, this could be great or a disaster. If you are in a league that forces you to lose him if he is dealt to the AL, well, you may be SOL by July 31. On the other hand, if you can keep his stats, you may well have a pitcher who goes from a team who doesn't score for him to a team that will (hmmm, Yankees maybe?). The other lesson to be reiterated here is the old T in SMART stands for team. If the Astros were good, they would not consider dealing Myers. Thus, you would not be at risk of him moving leagues and possibly (depending on your league rules) losing him completely.
Doug Davis: Doug Davis, yes that Doug Davis, looked like Greg Maddux Friday, hurling 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball to beat the Yankees. What to do with this information? Ignore it. For some reason that I cannot explain, but know to a moral certainty to be true, the Yankees have trouble hitting soft tossing ineffective pitchers that they have not seen before. Coming into Friday, Davis had and ERA over 5.00 and a WHIP over 1.65. Indeed, over the last three years, Davis, has compiled an ERA over 4.50 and a WHIP well above 1.50. Bottom line – if you own Davis, carp about how he slayed the mighty Yankees and move him for whatever you can. If you are considering adding Davis for his next start at U.S. Cellular, well go splash some cold water on your face and think again.


Josh Harrison: Josh Harrison did something very few accomplish this week. He avoided the DL despite having the dreaded oblique injury and continued his hitting ways. The Bucs temporary 3B went 1-3 with an RBI in his first game back Thursday. Over the last 10 days, Harrison is 9-25. This is no fluke as he hit an even .300 last year at AA. There will be a logjam when Pedro Alvarez returns. However, Harrison is playing now and hitting, so ride the ship. If he keeps hitting, they will find a way to keep playing him.


Jesus Guzman: In what was probably a little notice item, the Pods called up Jesus Guzman from AAA and cut Jorge Cantu. As far as Cantu, it is hard to see him emerging somewhere else and hitting this year. He has now failed with both Texas and S.D. The more interesting play for deep NL-only players is Guzman. Before the call up, Jesus was raking at a .332 clip with 8 dingers and 57 RBI in 63 AAA games. While his glove at 3B and in the OF leaves a lot to be desired, the Pods need O and he can flat out hit. He missed last year with injury but before that, he hit .321 in AAA in 2009 and .363 in AA in 2008. He may just get splinters in SD but what do they, or you, have to lose by taking a flyer. Speculate.


Edwin Jackson: Edwin Jackson lost yesterday, but really did not pitch that badly. Jackson gave up 4 runs over 6 2/3 innings but struck out eight and walked none. So far, his numbers are not pretty but not as bad as people think -- 4.47 ERA (not great and not terrible in this day and age) but 73K/30BB in 87 innings is not too shabby. Jackson has great stuff and had a terrific second half last year. Pitching is hard to find and sometimes you have to gamble. I would gamble here if I needed a jolt in the standings.


Now, before we get to our old anchor man, allow me to reflect a moment and give a well deserved shout out to one of Rotoworld's own. On Monday night, I was had the distinct honor and privilege of introducing Rotoworld's and NBC's Rick Wolf at his induction into the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Hall of Fame. According to the FSTA, over 32 Million Americans enjoy fantasy sports. That means that there are 32 Million of you out there that should be thanking Rick. Without his tireless effort on behalf of the industry, its members and all of you who play, the game and hobby you love so much would not be the same and may not even exist at all. Sirius/XM will broadcast the ceremonies so you can hear them in full if you want. Suffice it to say that it really was a great night and one of those rare occasions where the good guys really did finish first. Congratulations Rick and to Rotowire's Peter Schoenke (another giant in the industry and all around good guy). This recognition and induction was so richly deserved. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.


And now back to player evaluation and strategy with this from the baron of the bottom of the page -- Schultz says: "Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis. Think back to the beginning of the year and recall how you would have ranked those five pitchers. (For this little thought experiment, we're going to ignore the fact that Chamberlain was slotted into a set up role). Most likely, you had both Yankees ranked higher than the Rangers. After all, the Yankees had been overprotective-mother crazy with coddling Hughes and Chamberlain, making sure their tender young arms weren't worked too hard. If they could have wrapped them in bubble wrap and posted "Fragile!! Important Cargo," they probably would have. Meanwhile, in Arlington, the Rangers were going old school, treating their young pitchers like men instead of China dolls and making them pitch deep into games and challenging them to pitch while tired. With Hughes struggling to regain his fastball, Chamberlain on the shelf until late 2012 and the Rangers starters racking up complete games, it might be a signal as to where the scales are tipping. The conventional wisdom has always instructed roto-owners to be wary of young pitchers that threw a lot of innings the year before. However, I posit that any statistics backing up that theory are tainted by the corollating effect of hitters having more tape of a young pitcher in their second year. Nolan Ryan's way of thinking may be ushering in a new age that changes the way we evaluate the prospects of starting pitchers.

The other game-changing shift in the pitching world may bafflingly be found within the bone marrow of Bartolo Colon. After years of irrelevancy, the rotund ex-Indian has found new life after receiving stem cell injections into his pitching elbow. Colon's recent resurgence is no fluke: prior to injuring his hamstring this past weekend, his fastball had movement that had been missing for years and he looked very much like the Cy Young winner he once was. Since I doubt it's anything unique about Colon's bone marrow - and wouldn't that be funny if it was and he became a stem cell stud horse for injured pitchers - roto-owners should keep an eye out for those hurlers that opt for this treatment in the future.

Since my Dad is among our column's readers; Happy Father's Day!!"


Response: Hmmmm. Well, while I agree that young pitchers are coddled too much and too often, I think there is a different explanation for the Hughes, Chamberlain debacle – indecision and whimsy. The Yankees kept shifting these two gems from the pen to the rotation and back and back again. I have little doubt that the see-saw caused or at least contributed to their issues. So, I would argue that when you see teams mess with young arms (see Feliz, Neftali) rather than make a decision and stick to it (see Papelbon, Jonathan), that is when you should see warning signs.


Final Note: Happy Fathers' day to all those dad's out there, including those who have been dads for a long time – mine and Mr. Schultz especially, as well as those that have only been dads for a couple of weeks like my buddy, ESPN fantasy star and NFBC partner Nate Ravitz. I hope you all have a wonderful and restful day (and get to watch some good baseball too!)


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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