Cargo getting going and Bryce Harper's big league debut highlight this week's look back.
Before I get started, allow me to mention again that Rick Wolf and I will be hosting Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio this and every Tuesday night from 8-11pm eastern time. Feel free to call in to comment on anything you like (or, heaven forbid, dislike) about the analysis and tips below or just to hear the Wolfman howl.
Ok, now back to business . . . .
Carlos Gonzalez: CarGo went 3-6 with a homer and six RBIs Friday in Colorado's romp over the Mets. After a slow start with strep throat, Cargo has knocked in 11 in the past five games alone. He is poised for a huge year. He has the right mix of speed, power, youth (26) and major league experience (4th year) to take his game to an even higher level. There may be someone out there who thinks Cargo was hurt last year and started slow this year and undervalues him. If that guy is in your league, well, at least you know you won't come in last. CarGo is not only worth full price, you should pay a premium! Remember, his "down" year last year was 26 HR, 20SB, 92 runs, 92 RBI and a .295 Avg. His "down" year.
Bryce Harper: In a bit of a surprise move, the Nats recalled Bryce Harper to take Ryan Zimmerman's spot on the roster. Frankly, I think this is a bit of a panic move by a team that has lights out pitching but little punch without Morse or Zimm. Of course, if you are in a keeper league, you must go after Bryce. However, remember that 19 year old hitters, no matter how much potential or raw talent they have, rarely succeed in their first major league go round (see, Trout, Mike). So, if you are in a one year league, do not chase Harper unless you think you can FAAB him and then flip him.
Mike Trout: Speaking of Mike Trout, the Angels recalled him to take the roster spot vacated by released veteran Bobby Abreu. Trout should see a lot of action and produce now that his maiden voyage in the show is in the rear view mirror. Before his promotion, Trout was hitting a gaudy .403 in AAA. As to Abreu, if he gets cut in your deep league, grab him. Abreu will land on a team where he will play and produce. There are many teams that could use a veteran bat who still can run.
Jake Westbrook: Jake Westbrook continues to look good early in 2012. Friday, Jake tossed seven innings of one run ball to beat the Brew Crew. So far, Westbrook is 3-1 with a microscopic 1.30 ERA. The Cardinals always get the most out of their pitchers, so Jake makes a nice option in deep leagues. Plus, he gets the Pirates and Astros a lot (including this week when he faces the Bucs). Buy.
Yovani Gallardo Yovani Gallardo was just atrocious Friday, giving up 8 runs in just two innings. That clunker took Gallardo's stats to these sorry low points: 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. The good news is that he is still striking out more than a batter per inning. Of course, the question you have is what to do if you own Gallardo. The answer is simple. Don't panic. Not only is he on pace to strikeout over 200 again, he had 3 very good starts before last night and has struck out over 200 for three years running. If someone is selling low, enter the market. If you own, you own a growth stock, so hold on.
Daniel Bard: Daniel Bard yo-yo'ed back into the starting rotation Friday and pitched pretty well, giving up two earned runs in seven innings. Let me see if I can be clear about this ... SELL, SELL, SELL. Clear enough? Yes, Bard has a solid 3.72 ERA thus far. However, guys that get bounced between the pen and rotation tend to underperform or worse. See Chamberlain, Joba.
John Danks: John Danks looked pretty bad again last night, giving up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings. While I am by no means sure, I see a bounce back and buy low opportunity. Yes, he has a 6.23 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Yes, he won only 8 games last year with a 4.34 ERA. However, Danks is only 27, is in his 6th big league season and posted three seasons of sub-4.00 ERA before last year. Talented lefty starters with substantial experience and youth do not grow on trees. Get this one while you probably still can.
Edwin Encarnacion: Edwin Encarnacion went 2-5 with his fifth jack of the year and two runs scored Friday. Those who were smart enough to realize that E5 was just waiting for an opportunity to put his cast iron glove on the shelf and just use the lumber are reaping their rewards. As we near the end of April, EE has a .289 average with five homers and 14 RBI. Given that he has hit 51 HR over the last three years, EE's solid start should not be written off as a fluke.
Austin Jackson: Austin Jackson had a huge night in a losing cause Friday, going 4-5 with 2 runs and RBI. Through April 27, AJ is hitting .297 with three homers but that is not the big news. After posting 351 Ks against just 103 BB, his 11/17 BB/K ratio this year says he is maturing as a hitter in his third year in the show. Jackson has increasing power, great speed and hits in a stacked lineup. Buy before it is too late.
Justin Masterson: Justin Masterson was solid against Albert Pujols and the Angels on Friday giving up just two runs and four hits over 8 1/3 innings. The bad news is that he issued 5 free passes. Thus far this year, the hyped Tribe hurler has a 5.40 ERA, not exactly the step forward hoped for by many. I vote sell high. Masterson still has not solved lefties and until he does, he will be erratic at best. If there is a Masterson fan in your league who believes he will take his game up a notch in 2012, make the deal.
And last and but not least, Schultz says: "Since the NFL Draft is taking place this week, Schultz thought it would be fun to refer to himself in the third person and engage in some Monday Morning Quarterbacking, regardless of whether its anachronistic to a baseball column.
Despite the fact that the actual game of rotisserie baseball hasn't changed much in the past twenty years, the way that it's players attempt to predict what will happen in the future has undergone a wholesale revolution. Where it used to be sufficient to look at a basic box score or (heaven forbid) watch a pitcher pitch or batter swing, now people seem overly concerned with mathematical projections hinging on statistics like Batting Average On Balls In Play, Fly Ball Rates and Fielding Independent Pitching. This may give hope to the Sheldon Coopers of the world that they can immediately compete in any type of roto-league but it doesn't quite answer all questions or solve the tea leaf/crystal ball/dumb luck component of winning a championship. Sometimes rumor and innuendo can serve the same purpose.
When the Michael Pineda/Jesus Montero trade took place this off-season, there were anonymous rumblings from general managers across baseball that there was something wrong with one of those two players. What worried the folks in-the-know was that the Mariners and Yankees made the trade without letting anyone else in the league know that either player was available. No one would put their name to the thought but the belief was prevalent - something was amiss. If you are the sort that reads this type of column, you already know that Pineda is out for the year with a torn labrum and the 24-hour news cycle requires analysis of whether the Mariners duped the Yankees for the second time in three years. (Anyone else besides Justin Smoak still remember the Mariners trading Cliff Lee to the Yankees and then shipping him to Texas instead).
Stat-geeks will start throwing out numbers that point to Pineda's decreased production at the end of the season, like lower swing-and-miss rates and batting-average-against rates, in an attempt to show that Pineda's woes were foreseeable. Sometimes though, all you need to know in order to discern what's ahead is listen to what's blowin' in the wind. If you knew what the GMs were saying over the winter, heard that Pineda showed up to camp overweight and that his velocity was down - why would you even have him on your draft board? If you were smitten by the allure of the big name prospect, you deserve to reap what you have sown."
Response: Great stuff from Schultzie (as much as I hate to say it). Stats and numerical analysis are great tools -- if you use them in conjunction with soft information and watching players play.