Big time pitchers on the shelf down the stretch as well as some last minute fantasy football draft tips highlight 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 11pm-1am eastern on SiriusXM (Sirius 210, XM 87). A full rundown of week 1 in fantasy football, a look forward to week 2, some real and fantasy pennant race analysis and more.
Ok, now back to current business . . . .
Jered Weaver: Jered Weaver will throw on the side Saturday in the hopes of proving he can come back from bicep tendonitis and pitch Wednesday. However, according to reports, Weaver admits there is no timetable for his return. Weaver’s yearlong stats have been strong (2.86 ERA + 1.03 WHIP). However, the 4.24 ERA since the ASB and 1.62 WHIP over last two weeks say he has been dealing with the effects of the injury for a while. If you own Weaver, you have no choice but to hope he can gut it out. However, remember the injury issue when you put an auction price on Weaver for next year. In other words, account for the risk.
David Price: The Rays don’t expect David Price to miss much time with his shoulder issue and expect him back for next weekend’s series against the Yankees. While that sounds positive, all cannot be lemon drops and gum drops here. The Rays are fighting for their playoff lives and Price missing a key start down the stretch means there is an issue. That said, what is a fantasy owner to do? There is no way to replace a guy with a 2.54 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and almost K/inning. However, like with Weaver, Price’s recent stats tell a different story -- a story filled with risk. Over the last two weeks, Price has been bad: 6.75 ERA and a whopping 1.88 WHIP. Ouch. Like with Weaver, make sure Price is healthy before laying out the big bucks in 2013.
A.J Griffin: From hurting star pitchers to thriving rookies, look at what A.J. Griffin did Friday night -- he tossed 5 1/3 innings of one run ball to improve to 5-0. Griffin’s yearlong stats are quite pretty: 2.21 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 47/11 K/BB ratio through 57 innings. Can he keep this up? Well, I doubt he can be as good as he has been over the last two weeks (12 IP, 12K, 1BB), but strong minor league numbers in hitter leagues such as the PCL say he can be a big help in the fantasy pennant drive.
Russ Canzler: Russ Canzler went yard Friday for his first big league dinger. On the night, Canzler was 3-4 with a run scored and three RBI. Reports are that Canzler will get a long look this September. The good news is he could be a source of power having hit 22 HR in AAA. The bad news is he hit .265 this year as a 26 year old minor leaguer. Bottom line: Canzler is a flier with limited upside who carries major batting average risk.
Jose Reyes: Jose Reyes had a big night Friday, going 3-6 with two triples, two runs scored and three RBI. Overall, Reyes is hitting .284 with 11 HR and 34 SB -- quality numbers but hardly what many paid for in March. The real Reyes showed up after the ASB. Since the break, he is hitting .318 with 8 HR, 30 RBI and 14 steals. Roto lesson here -- guys who sign big contracts get out of the gate slowly and often do not put up year-long numbers that justify their huge price tag. Roto lesson 2: Reyes will be underrated a bit next year because his second half will not be the benchmark (and it should be) for year two in Miami.
Matt Dominguez: Matt Dominguez connected on a three-run jack Friday in the Astros win v. Cincy. Dominguez, who struggled in his other stints in the show is hitting .344 with two homers and four RBI so far this time. The good start aside, there is little reason to get excited. Dominguez hit .258 in AAA in 2011 and .252 in AA in 2011. To make matters worse, he hit .234 in 286 AB in New Orleans in the AAA this year. If you are desperate or in a very deep league, maybe you roster Dominguez and hope, but as the Wolfman always says, “hope is not a management strategy.”
Adam Jones: Adam Jones blasted another long ball Friday night. This one, a three-run homer, was not as clutch as his Thursday night jack, but still huge for his fantasy owners. On the whole, Jones is hitting .288 with 29 homers, 74 RBI and 13 steals and is on pace for 34 HR and 15 SB. Looking for a fantasy lesson for next year? Look for guys 25-27 who made the majors at 20-22 and who are trending up. Those guys, like Jones, will pay a nice profit.
I laid out 5 rules for fantasy football drafts in last week’s column. With drafts still going on this weekend, I think they are worth repeating:
1. Don’t waste a high pick on a QB. Rivers, Romo, Ryan and the Mannings all there in the round 4-6 range or later. You should be happy starting any one of them. [Note, Romo made me look smart on this one Wednesday]
2. Get your RBs early. If you don’t get Megatron, you should own an RB in round 1.
3. Late in the draft, load up on talented WR or RB even if they don’t have a role right now. If you pick 4 of them, I guarantee 1 will be a big time starter for you before too long.
4. Do not forget the basic maxim - injury prone players get injured. Football is a brutal and dangerous game at times. However, the injury prone suffer more than other players. Adjust values accordingly.
5. Don’t be too much of a homer. If you are a Cowboy fan and pick Romo over Rivers or Bryant over Cruz, fine. But don’t end up with a team of Romo, Murray, Bryant and Witten -- there is no way they all have big games in the same week and they could easily run into a tough D and all have bad games. Spread the risk. [Note, while Romo and Murray had big days, Bryant was just OK and Witten not himself, so if you were too much of a homer, only two of those four starters would have come through].
I am going to stop here and turn it over to the Carlton the Doorman of Fantasy Sports -- Schultz says: “I would imagine that everyone is familiar with the old adage that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. While the maxim does have its wisdom, it's not always the greatest advice for rotisserie sports enthusiasts. Despite the widespread use of previous statistics as a barometer for future performance, everyone always ignores the fact that all those prior stats took place in the past . . . meaning you don't get any credit for them. Swinging a deal for Bryan LaHair and his gaudy stats in late May or for Lance Lynn and his fascinating ratios in mid-June likely seemed like genius moves at the time; how you liking them now? For the last month of the season, those in tight roto-races would be well advised to forget much about what they think they know about the past five months. If Russell Martin has a renaissance over the last four weeks of the season, do you really care what he did over the summer?
Since the whole purpose of roto-sports to foresee the future and act accordingly, the Washington Nationals would be a good model to follow. Mike Rizzo ignored the fact that Gio Gonzalez never saw an American League batter that he couldn't or wouldn't walk and realized that he was simply a pitcher learning his craft. Same with Mike Morse, who seemed to be floundering in the Mariners system and never really produced stats that would foresee what he's done in D.C. when he's been healthy. With waiver wire fodder being scarce over the next four weeks, look for hitters and pitchers that are hitting a hot streak - even pitchers with 6.00 ERAs have the ability to get down to 4.00 with a fine four starts (yes Josh Beckett and Tim Lincecum, we're looking at you - even if neither of you should be on anyone's waiver wire). That little bit of foresight could be the difference between roto-glory and roto-runner up.
Response: Solid advice though I wonder whether anyone really believed that Bryan LaHair was going to keep it up all year.
Final Note: Last week I wrote this plea “Jason Garrett -- please do not forget about the run Wednesday night!” Jason uncharacteristically stuck with the run and the Boys are 1-0! Nice work. Stick to the plan and keep on chugging!