Clayton Kershaw’s continued domination highlights the latest Week That Was.
Clayton Kershaw: Clayton Kershaw just keeps on keeping on. Last night Kershaw won the duel with the Freak, upping his record to a gaudy 18-5. While I do not get a vote, I will tell you that if I did, I would vote for Kershaw for the Cy Young. The 23 year old southpaw has tallied a whopping 231 strikeouts to go along with a 2.36 ERA and WHIP of just 1.00. While those numbers are impressive, it is more impressive to just sit and watch him pitch. He will blaze a 94 MPH fastball and follow it up with a 71 MPH yakker. Simply put, it just looks unfair. And, to borrow a quote from the baseball classic Summer Catch, “best of all, he’s a lefty.” Bottom line: whatever you have to pay to get Kershaw for this pennant race or for next year, do it. He is that good.
Bartolo Colon: Bartolo Colon solidified his hold on his place in the Yankees’ post season rotation by tossing seven innings and allowing no earned runs. That the Yankees did not hit is not the portly one’s fault. With a 3.55 ERA and a K/BB better than 3.5/1,Colon has been a lifesaver for the Yankees. Can he do it again next year? I do not know. However, if you are in the race for your fantasy title this year, feel free to rideColon – 16K and just 2 BB over his last three starts show he is nowhere near out of gas.
Randall Delgado: Randall Delgado showed why the Braves continue to believe in him. Last night, he allowed just three hits and one run over 5 innings. Those looking for wins in a fantasy pennant race should look at the schedule. Delgado next faces off against either the Marlins or the Mets next week and neither of those teams reminds anyone of the Rangers, Red Sox or Yankees. Buy.
Brandon McCarthy: Brandon McCarthy continues to defy the odds. The former White Sox phenom went six innings, giving up just two earned runs. On the season,Brandon has a very impressive 3.39 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Fantasy lesson – was this foreseeable? Answer: Yes. McCarthy was a highly touted prospect who could never stay healthy. So, there was always the chance he would finally get out of the trainer’s room and succeed on the rubber. More importantly, he took his stuff to a pitcher’s paradise inOakland and to a team without a budget to replace him if he struggled early. Look for those types of tells in the pitching pool when mining for diamonds in the rough next spring.
Jordan Pacheco: According to reports, Jordan Pacheco will see a lot of time at the hot corner inDenver this September. Why am I telling you this? Do I think Pacheco will set theRockies on fire? Umm, no. In truth, it is hard to see why he is being elevated after managing to hit just 278 at the minor league old age of 25 in one of the best hitting environments in the minor leagues. If you are desperate for counting numbers and have a hole to fill, I guess you can go a buck on Pacheco. However, there are better places to speculate.
Brent Morel: Brent Morel went yard Thursday with a key 3 run bomb in the Chisox victory over Schultz’s tribe. If you own Morel, sell him if you can. If you don’t, keep it that way. Despite playing in a great hitters’ park, Morel has managed a meager .258 average with only 5 dingers and just 30 RBI. At 24, there may still be time for Morel to develop. However, given that he has never hit more than 16 homers at any level, the odds of him becoming a slugging 3B seem long indeed.
Jason Bay: In a rare highlight,JasonBay jacked a grand slam Thursday against the Braves. We know that this season has been another bust for Bay. Bay has just 18 HR combined in his two years with the Mets after hitting 77 in the two seasons prior to moving toQueens. The question for fantasy owners is what to do about Bay next year. Well, if he has a big auction figure, cut him. However, if he is pretty cheap, then you have a decision. In my view, he will not hit inNew York. The park is wrong for him andNew York fans simply will not forgive two straight years of big money, low production. However, if you start hearing rumors about Bay moving on, you should perk up. He will be just 33 this month and has time to turn it around IF, yes IF, he finds a new home.
Chad Billingsley: Chad Billingsley’s nightmare second half continued this week as he was smacked around by the lowly Nats. Chad was so bad that Donnie Baseball had to come and take the ball in the third inning. His 5.17 ERA in the second half yields serious questions about whether there is an injury lurking. He simply has too much talent to be this bad when healthy. Remember that when investing at the draft table next year or when you have to decide whether to ink Billingsley’s name on your keeper list.
Dee Gordon: Dee Gordon continued to clamp down his hold on the starting SS job in LA for 2012, going 4-5 with an RBI and a swipe in the same game in whichChad was so bad. September has been very very good toDee. Indeed, as of Thursday,Dee was hitting over .500 with 5 SB. Is he a .500 hitter? Duh, no. Is he a great source of speed for both this pennant race and all of 2012? You bet. This guy stole 73 bases in one minor league season in 2009. Remember that.
Kevin Millwood: Kevin Millwood finally showed why he had such trouble getting a job this summer, by giving up four runs on 10 hits on Wednesday. That said, it is hard to be critical as Kevin has posted a very solid 3.79 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 27/4 K/BB ratio pitching forColorado. Will he be a fantasy stalwart next year? No. Can he help your team down the stretch? Yes, if he pitches on the road at places like SF and SD.
And last and but not least, Schultz says: “If you are in the hunt for a roto-title, this is the time of year when its smart to start populating your starting lineup with players who are still playing meaningful games. Who wants to depend on Andre Ethier only to see his season ended early? Who wants to lose a start or two from your staff's ace because he's being rested for the playoffs? Most years, there's a decent smattering of teams to choose from: a division title fight here, a swatch of wild card contenders there. Oddly, this year is not like most others. Four of the six divisions are locked up (although the Angels seem like they are reeling) and the wild cards teams are pretty much etched in stone. In a weird way though, the dominance of the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies (not coincidentally the three teams with the highest payrolls) are forcing the Central and West division leaders to stay sharp. The wild card in the ALis going to be the consolation prize to the loser of the Boston/New Yorksprint to the finish. This is going to cause the Rangers and Tigers, who are in a virtual tie, to keep pressing to the end. Would you rather play a best of five series with the Red Sox or Yankees having home field advantage or take your chances hosting one of them for 3 out of 5? Same for the NL, the Braves have the wild card all but locked up and the Brewers and Diamondbacks definitely want to play host to Atlantainstead of spending some quality time in Philadelphia. The main thrust of all this is that for the homestretch of the season, you may get to ride the horses that got you this far. This doesn't happen to often, so enjoy it while you can.
On another note, Schultz not only manages this little area of The Week That Was, he manages a wonderful band called BuzzUniverse. For those of you in New York City, on Friday, September 16 at 8:00 p.m., come celebrate the release of the band's new CD, Living Breathing Magic, at The Canal Room, 285 West Broadway. As an added incentive, I will provide anyone who asks with free personalized roto-baseball advice (or at the very least, nod and listen politely while you talk about your team).”
Response: Schultz has been such a key part of TWTW and has taken the good-natured ribbing like a sport, so why not let him do a shameless plug? As for his analysis, well he is right up to a point. Yes, you have to make sure your players will play. However, with the Red Sox slide, the f/k/a Devil Rays have put themselves back in the playoff hunt. That means that Price, Upton,Jennings, Damon, Longoria and crew will continue to play regularly. Worth noting.