The question of what to do with Ryan Zimmerman highlights this week’s column.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to make sure you all know to tune into Colton and the Wolfman Tuesdays from 8-11pm eastern on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). This Tuesday we will focus on football as fantasy baseball will be on hiatus during the mid-summer (used to be?) classic. We will be doing an expert mock draft to get people back into the football state of mind. Now is as good of a time as any to get the jump on your football competition.
Ok, now back to business . . . .
Ryan Zimmerman: Ryan Zimmerman continues to swing a hot bat. Friday, he hit his 8th jack and is hitting .333 (18-for-54) with five homers and 17 RBI over his last 12 games. That is the good news. That bad news is that his season long batting average is still a paltry .241 and he had a middling campaign in 2011 to boot. So, the obvious question is do we recommend buying or selling Zimmerman? Well, if you ask me, and presumably you are if you are reading this column, I vote sell. The weak performance over the last 18 months is clearly relevant. However, the big reason is that Zimmerman has been battling a bad shoulder that required a cortisone shot recently. The risk is just too great, and as you know this column advises avoiding risk. Sell high while you can and before the next sore shoulder report surfaces.
Tommy Milone: Tommy Milone was sharp Friday, giving up just one run in seven innings, while striking out nine. Milone is on fire -- pure and simple. In his last 28 innings, Milone has given up just 3 earned runs and has an eye-popping 22/2 K/BB ratio. Over the whole season, Milone has a solid 3.57 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Let people talk about how Milone doesn’t throw 95. Let them carp about how his strikeout rate is unsustainable and land a quality starter who pitches in a pitcher’s park. Buy! What? BUY!
Alex Rodriguez: ARod delivered three hits and swiped two bases as the Yanks beat up on the Sox Friday (yes, I am biased and enjoyed writing that). ARod presents a very interesting question for fantasy players. Yes, he is not the roto-monster he was in his 20’s and early 30’s, however, he is far better than people think. First, he is on pace for 25 HR and 17 SB. I actually think those numbers will be far better as he hits throughout the summer. However, the biggest reason I advocate buying ARod for fantasy teams is what I see when I watch him play -- hustling, stealing bases, taking extra bases and going with pitches rather than trying to pull everything. Buy!
Yovani Gallardo: Yovani Gallardo was strong again Friday, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out six in a win over the Astros. Gallardo presents a big time buying opportunity for smart fantasy owners. Thus far this year, his numbers are solid -- 3.74 ERA with 107 strikeouts. I recommend that you call or email the Gallardo owner in your league and point out the substandard 1.38 WHIP and steal Gallardo while you can. How many times can you land a pitcher who has struck out over 200 hitters each of the last three years and is on pace to do it again for a fourth year in a row?
Evan Longoria: In what seems to be a very old story now, Evan Longoria will not resume baseball activities until after the All-Star break. There is nothing a Longoria owner can do other than voice frustration. Fortunately, I have this column in which to do exactly that [expletives deleted!]. No, I do not feel better but I will get back to the analysis nonetheless. There is no way I pay more than 60% of anticipated value for Longoria until he establishes a record of staying on the field. He just seems to get nicked up every year and more importantly, does not seem to heal quickly. Worse, players do not heal more quickly as they get older. This is his fifth season and he has never managed 600 AB. Re-read this column before your 2013 draft.
Justin Masterson: Justin Masterson was tattooed Friday, giving up eight runs on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings. He even allowed a hit to Luke Scott -- the first hit for Scott in 43 AB! There has been much written about Masterson and much hype. Some (read Schultz) want you to believe that Masterson is a better roto pitcher than he really is. Well, let's look at the numbers. Through the first half of this year, Masterson has 5 wins, a 4.40 ERA, a K/BB under 2 and a very pedestrian 1.35 WHIP. So, what do you do if you own Masterson? Point to all the hype, block and copy some Schultz love sonnets about Masterson and sell while you still can. Will Masterson be a big time roto pitcher one day? Maybe. Is he today? No.
Brian Roberts: After finally making it back from concussion issues, Brian Roberts suffered a tear in his right hip. One has to feel for Roberts after working so hard to get back on the field. What happens now in Baltimore? Three things seem clear. One, Roberts will be out quite some time. Two, Robert Andino will take over as the O’s 2B. Three, Xavier Avery will get a shot to prove he can lead off in the majors. Both Andino and Avery should provide value in deep AL leagues. Avery has the speed to add value in that category (but is not likely to add much more). Andino, on the other hand, is hardly a star, but he does produce decent MI counting numbers. In the last 7 games, Andino has 4 R, 2 RBI and a SB. Not bad from your MI guy, really your 13th hitter (with catcher 2 being the 14th).
Dee Gordon: Staying with MI injury news, Dee Gordon had surgery on the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb Friday. Fantasy owners will definitely miss his speed (30 SB in the first half) but will not miss his .229 average or 1 HR. Who plays in his stead? It really is not clear. Luis Cruz, Adam Kennedy, Elian Herrera, Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston Jr. likely will get time in the Dodgers MI. None are stars but Cruz was hitting .318 with eight homers, 46 RBI at AAA before being called up and could provide some value. Also, it is worth noting that the Dodgers invested more than many thought they should in Mark Ellis and may want to give him the time to succeed and prove management right (plus Ellis did hit .290+ in 2010).
Carl Crawford: In more injury news, Carl Crawford said this week that he may have to have elbow surgery in the offseason. What else can go wrong? Oh wait, he was also pulled from a rehab game because of a groin issue, that is what. Bottom line, this looks like it will be a lost season for Crawford. If he does get back and provides even a little glimpse of what he was before he joined the Red Sox, sell as soon as you can!
Dan Haren: And yet more injury news but news that should not have come as a surprise, Dan Haren landed on the 15 day DL with a sore back. Why was it not a surprise you ask? Good question. Answer: When top flight consistent starting pitchers experience a sudden drop in effectiveness, the cause is almost always a hidden injury. In 6 of the last 7 years, Haren had an ERA under 4.00 (4.11 was the only aberration). This year, the ERA is approaching 5.00. Similarly, Haren has not had a WHIP over 1.27 since 2004. This year, it sits at an ugly 1.41. You get the point.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “With the fireworks of July 4th a distant boom on the horizon and the All Star break looming, the dumping season of 2012 should be moving in to full swing in most roto-leagues. Long time readers of this little part of the column are likely aware that Schultz is predominantly averse to the practice of dumping. Just to be clear, Schultz (yes, we are relishing the third person this week) does not have any problem with the concept of dumping; many championship teams have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of a failed effort. Rather, Schultz detests the way it's predominantly executed with too many owners relishing their failure - sometimes the same ones year after year - and attempting to bring their league down from the inside by trading everything that isn't nailed down for something shiny that may turn into gold in the future. In your effort to spin silk from cheesecloth, owners would be wise to stay away from the unproven prospects like Nolan Arenado, Wil Myers or Dylan Bundy, especially in auction leagues in favor of trying to loosen your league's bargains from their present owner. Did someone wager correctly on Jose Bautista three years ago when all pundits were proclaiming him a fluke? Was there only one person in your league that believed that Adam Dunn wasn't done? Did someone horde Stephen Strasburg during his lost Tommy John season? If you are going to build for next year, you might as will build smartly.
All keeper leagues should have some sort of anti-dumping rules in place. If your league has been around long enough, Schultz wagers that you've had to implement quite a few rules to account for addle-minded rebuilding and unethical collusion. While long time readers may think of Schultz as solely a bard of baseball, others are aware of Schultz' status as the Greatest Commissioner in the History of Rotisserie Baseball. If your auction league is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of colluding owners, here's a couple rules that may help you shepherd the weak through your valley of a dumping season. 1) Pick a salary level that seems to be the demarcation line that separates the elite talent from the above-average (Schultz suggests $25). Require any owner that acquires a player at or above that level to keep them for the next season with a standard raise in salary. You will be amazed how many people think twice about acquiring superstars when they are saddled with them at or above market value for the next season. 2) Prevent any team from reacquiring any player they traded away in the two months before your trading deadline through a trade (whether directly or via a third-party) until the close of next year's auction. Shocking as it may seem, the words "I'll trade him back to you next year" have been uttered in trade discussions more than you could possibly imagine. Now go forth and benefit from my genius.
Next week: the Mid-Season All-Schultz Awards”
Response: I don’t know about the greatest ever, but Schultz makes some good points about anti-dumping. I look forward to his pro-Masterson diatribe next week!