Glenn Colton

Week That Was

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Uggla Ugly in Atlanta

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Uggla's numbers looking ugly plus injury news headline the Week That Was.


Dan Uggla: The good news is that Dan Uggla had a good game Saturday going 2-3 with a homer and 4 RBI. The bad news is that he is hitting an atrocious .180. What fantasy lessons can be learned here? First, players going to new teams are often saddled with huge expectations. Many press and fail to live up to those expectations in their first year. Yes, there are exceptions (see Gonzalez, Adrian) but avoidance of risk is a key factor in roto. Getting burned on your early draft picks or big money auction acquisitions means a bad summer for you. Uggla simply carried too much risk. Post script -- it is also a risky proposition to grab a guy after a career year. Yes, it may be a new norm, but a career year is more likely to be an outlier. With Uggla, who had hit .240, .260, .243, his 2010 average of .287 looked to be a major outlier. Stated another way, he was a major risk of a batting average free fall. That risk has come home to roost.


Delmon Young: In bad news for the Twins and his fantasy owners, Delmon Young landed on the dl with a sprained right ankle. While it is true that Young has been pretty bad so far with a .259 batting average with only two homers, he was heating up. Last year he arrived hitting .299 with 21 HR and 112 RBI. He is not going to have that kind of year, but he is a good bet to post above expectations numbers in the season's final two months. At just 24 with 5 years of big league experience, Young is still way undervalued on the talent scale. If you need a late summer jolt, Young could be your man. Stash him cheaply now if you can.


Tom Gorzelanny: Tom Gorzelanny tossed seven innings of one-run ball Saturday but lost because well, the Nats don't hit. I have always like Gorzo's talent and I am not alone. He is not a great bet for wins on the Nats, but he does pitch in a pitcher's park, will get to face the Mets and the Marlins a lot, and had 25K in his last 22 innings before landing on the DL in May. This 28 year old lefty is undervalued. Buy if you can.


Shin-Soo Choo: In a nightmare season getting worse, Shin-Soo Choo broke his left thumb and will be out at least six weeks. Fantasy lesson here -- sometimes there is nothing you can do about bad luck. Take my home league for example. I own Choo. He is in his prime, has played full seasons for three years in a row and posted consistent speed/power stats. There simply was no way to know he would fall off of a cliff and then get hurt on the way down. Now, I am not saying I would have won the venerable Mercer Street league this year if Choo stayed healthy, I am just saying that with Pujols, Zimmerman, and Choo missing huge chunks of time, there is no way to win. Sometimes, you can make good moves and they don't work out. Stick to the fundamentals (SMART baseball) and you will finish "in the money" far more often that not.


Matt Harrison: Matt Harrison proved the value of matchup managing in roto, by tossing seven innings of one-run ball against the offensively challenged team from Flushing. After a few bumps, Harrison has righted the ship and given up just one earned run in each of his last three starts. Watching this kid pitch, you know he is a good one. The big, hard throwing lefty has a 3.00 ERA and 1.26 WHIP so far. Considering that he will get the A's, Angels and Mariners much of the way down the stretch, he is a good investment for teams planning for the pennant drive this year.


Jason Bay: The good news is that Bay went 3-4 Friday and as of Friday, had hit .378 over a nine game span. The bad news is that he has shown NO POWER at all. Indeed, Bay has 3 HR and 15 RBI on the season. Those are numbers fit for a part time "punch and judy" shortstop or backup catcher, not a big money slugger. If you ever needed proof of the "it is too risky to invest in big money players on new major league teams" principle, think Jason Bay. At this point, I think it is clear that he will not hit with the Mets in that park and needs to be moved. Unless he is traded, you should stay far far away.


Evan Longoria: Evan Longoria is finally coming out of it. Friday, he hit a two-run jack and had a third RBI in the win over Houston. There is nothing in the number trends that says Longoria is back. However, he is a star entering his prime on a very good offensive team. He also plays a very weak position. If you can get him at a discount, do it. He will have a very good summer in Florida.


Josh Beckett: Josh Beckett's next scheduled start has been pushed back again. This time until Tuesday (reportedly because of a nasty flu). Remarkably, there are still many out there who are not Beckett believers. Forget about the fact that Beckett has won two world series. Forget about the fact that he is throwing in the mid 90s. Forget about the fact that he is just 30. People just seem to think he will fall. Encourage that nonsense and grab Beckett now. His 1.86 ERA and 0.92 WHIP may not be sustainable, but great ratios, wins on a Boston team that hits and hits and strong K numbers are there for the taking. Do it.


Eric Thames: Reversing a move that should not have been made in the first place, the Jays recalled Eric Thames from AAA. While people still think of Thames as a benchwarmer, grab him. He has raked at AAA and with his .286 average in Toronto, proven he can hit in the big leagues. Buy.


Josh Hamilton: In a story I repeat here just because it amazes me, Josh Hamilton reportedly attributes his struggles during day games to his blue eyes. Hmmm, maybe the Cubs, who play more day games than any other team, have had too many blue eyed players over the last 100+ years and that is why they have not won? Um, no.


And last but not least, Schultz Says: "Playing Time. In leagues where the talent is spread thin, those two words signify the lifeblood of your chances for roto-success. It makes no difference that you own Albert Pujols for the next few weeks as he amasses no statistics while sitting on the bench. As your league's trading deadline approaches, pay heed to statements that concern "get him some rest," "lose playing time" or "moving into a platoon." The greatest roto-catchers of all time have been those that don't catch - i.e. have catcher eligibility but play daily at first base (Carlos Santana, of late) or designated hitter (Victor Martinez) - for the simple reason that they play everyday.

It may not feel like it while they are dragging your team to the bottom of the standings but the best thing that can happen for a struggling hitter is that he remains in the lineup. You don't fix your swing by sitting on the bench. Terry Collins has to constantly deflect rumors that he's moving Jason Bay into a platoon, Eric Wedge is about to convert Chone Figgins into a role player, Dexter Fowler might abandon switch hitting while he watches Charles Blackmon become the player he should have become and since Jack Hannahan's deal with the devil has apparently expired, he's spending time watching Orlando Cabrera learn a new position, namely his. Anyone hoping for a second half resurgence from an underperforming hitter isn't going to get it if they aren't on the field. Pay attention to what managers are saying in their press conferences and act accordingly.

A bit of a no-brainer but pay attention to what they are doing as well. Before his abrupt resignation, Edwin Rodriguez moved last year's surprise roto-studlet Omar Infante from second to eighth in the batting order. While this didn't affect his batting average - in fact, he started hitting better from the eight hole - Infante's peripheral numbers suffered. Runs scored diminished as the pitchers hitting behind him don't generate the same RBI potential as Gaby Sanchez or Mike Stanton and he was less likely to get the green light with a weak hitter up at the plate. I fear that Ozzie Guillen will have more diabolical plans in store for Gordon Beckham than a drop to ninth if he doesn't start hitting soon. Roto-owners that were counting on solid production from the Sox 2B may not lift a finger to stop him.

This leads to a non-roto baseball question: in a world where we follow Kardashians, Ice T and Playboy models around with cameras 24/7, why aren't ESPN or HBO recording Ozzie Guillen on a never-ending loop?"


Response: I would love to see the all Ozzie channel. Good stuff on playing time but I would add another note -- sometimes a quick break gives players the time to recharge their batteries and get back to form. It is not always easy to discern but keep that in mind.


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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