Rickie Weeks finally NOT living up to his name highlights this week’s Week That Was.
Before jumping into the baseball news, I just wanted to make sure you all know that Colton and the Wolfman has changed timeslots. We are now on Tuesdays from 10pm-1am ET on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). This week we will break down the SiriusXM hosts draft that can be heard live on the station from 7-10pm ET (right before us).
Ok, now back to business . . . .
Rickie Weeks: Rickie Weeks went 3-4 with two runs Friday night. Since July 1, Weeks has played like his old self, raking at a .297 clip with six homers and 17 RBI. This presents a major buying opportunity in roto leagues. Call the Weeks owner in your league and carp about his .218 overall average and 125 K’s and get a player who is much better than his year-long stats. After all, talent and ability were never the question with Weeks, only his affinity for the DL. Buy!
Bryce Harper: Bryce Harper has hit a predictable skid. The kid is a huge talent but rough patches were to be expected. Those in keeper leagues, keeping Harper until about 2030 is a no brainer. However, in re-draft leagues, monitor the situation carefully as he could start sitting more often. Of course, this only matters to mixed leaguers as Harper is a must play in NL only leagues.
Danny Valencia: The Red Sox recalled Danny Valencia to take the roster spot of Will Middlebrooks. Obviously, the loss of Middlebrooks is a tough break (no pun intended) for both the Sox and fantasy owners. Frankly, I am surprised Valencia flopped this year. Last year, in his first full season, he hit 15 HR with 72 RBI on a bad Twins team in a terrible hitter's park. Moving to Boston with the short porches and the lineup protection could be just what the doctor ordered. Worth a speculation bid, especially in AL only leagues.
Huston Street: Huston Street went on the DL again, and thus proved again the Wolfman’s maxim -- injury prone players get injured. Street, who is on the shelf for the second time this year, has been great when active posting a .75 ERA and an incredible .53 WHIP. However, he IS on the shelf again. Who gets the all-important saves in SD? My money is on Dale Thayer. During Street’s first visit to disabled land, Thayer notched 5 saves with respectable ratios. At this point in the season, it is well worth gambling big FAAB money on the probable Padre closer.
Brandon McCarthy: Brandon McCarthy was solid in his return from the DL, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings. If you own McCarthy, you gotta get him active. It is not easy to find pitchers with 2.68 ERAs who pitch for a hot team and in a pitchers park. Yes, he is injury prone and yes there is a fair chance he hits another bump, but at this point of the roto season, you have to gamble. Would I bet on McCarthy throwing 200 innings in a season any time soon? No. Would I want him for the final month and a half this year? You bet.
Jim Henderson: The Jim Henderson as closer show might have come and gone all before weekly leagues got to make free agent bids. After notching two saves, Henderson was roughed up Saturday. Then on Sunday, Ron Roenicke bypassed not only Henderson, but also KRod and Axford, and called on Kameron Loe for the save. I cannot see Henderson getting a substantial save tally this year. Guys who stay in the minors for 10 years often are there for a reason. As to whether Loe can keep the job? Probably not. Look for Axford to regain the job soon. In the meantime, it is anyone’s guess what will happen tomorrow.
Mark Rogers: Mark Rogers looked strong Friday, giving up just one run on three hits over seven innings while striking out eight. While I do not love the matchup against the Rockies Wednesday in Colorado, I do like Rogers and recommend him for the stretch run -- especially in NL only leagues. 20 K in 17 innings is a good start to the year. Add in the fact that Rogers last full minor league season resulted in a K/inning stat line. Buy -- especially if you can stash him on reserve for the Coors Field start.
James McDonald: James McDonald was bad again Friday giving up 7 runs on 7 hits over 4 1/3 innings to the light hitting Padres. Jimmy Mac, who was a stud in the first half, has been putrid in the second half (8.71 ERA over six starts since the All-Star break). Those in mixed leagues have to cut bait. Those in deep NL only leagues really do not have a choice but to hold. However, if getting smacked by the Pods is any indication, it looks like the Mac magic has magically disappeared.
Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro Suzuki had that big stat line his owners have been waiting for, going 2-5 with 5 RBI Friday. The bottom line on Ichiro for the rest of 2012 is not complicated -- he will be better than he was in Seattle if nothing else, because his team is better, his park is better and he is in a pennant race. However, don’t don those rose colored Ichiro glasses any time soon. He is not close to the player he once was and the pinstripes will not be a fountain of youth. Buy but with realistic expectations.
Tommy Milone: In what is a good news/bad news situation, Tommy Milone will be skipped in the A’s rotation and make his next start Friday at home against the Indians. Of course, the bad news is the skipped start but getting to pitch in the big park in Oakland against the struggling Indians next week is exactly what roto owners look for. Milone has been very, very good this year. However, he could easily tire and wear down in the dog days of August and pennant race of September. I am still high on Milone but I will be watching for warning signs carefully. Note the mixed bag recently -- even though his last three starts have been pretty poor, he still has a 15/2 K/BB ratio in those starts.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “One of the lesser publicized adages in the rotisserie baseball world is to stay away (or at least not go all-in) on any big name that changed teams in the off-season. For the most part, this seems to be sage advice and anyone who invested heavily in Carl Crawford last year should be nodding along knowingly. Personally, Schultz (yep, third person this week) thinks it's because most athletes like to celebrate a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract signing by taking the first year of it off. Cynicism aside, it does seem that having a new home locker, a different attendant and a new routine tends to throw talented athletes off their game. Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder all induced a feeling of schadenfreude from anyone that didn't have a roto-interest in their success. Why was Reyes flirting with the Mendoza line? Where's Prince's power? Oh my, 10 years of Pujols looking lost in LA? Well, hopefully you didn't get cold feet and bail. After his 26 game hitting streak, Reyes is now at .285 and hitting homers and stealing bases at the pace that could be reasonably expected. With his recent power surge, Prince Fielder is quietly heading towards a 35 HR, 120 RBI season while hitting north of .310. Pujols? Well, he's once again heading for the .300, 30 HR, 100 RBI season that is just the norm for Phat Albert.
What should you take away from this for 2013? Let someone else be the one to invest heavily in any significant player to move teams. When they get off to a slow start and all the criticism starts, pounce and get yourself a bargain.
Speaking of bargains, two of the hottest hitters in baseball were probably on the waiver wire as much as four weeks ago. Perennial minor leaguer Justin Ruggiano refuses to LaHair himself and regress to the norm. In only 160 at bats (a modest sample size, he's slugged 10 HRs and driven in 25 but it's his .350 batting average that's a bit eye-popping. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, perennial $1 player Ryan Ludwick slugged his 20th homer Friday afternoon and has shown no indication that he will tail off that pace. Neither are fantastic options to build around for 2013, but for a final sprint to the finish in 2012, why not play the hot hands? Same goes for Paul Maholm, who has completely forgotten that he's Paul Maholm. Rather, he's acting like he's Ryan Vogelsong. The nerve.”
Response: Wish I could pick on Schultzie this week but I cannot. His analysis of big names in new homes is right on the money. Nice work!