Dexter and Davis crushing the ball and my thoughts on 42 highlight the maiden voyage of the 2013 Week That Was.
First, 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). We will keep you informed and hopefully even entertain a bit!
Speaking of entertainment, I was privileged to attend a pre-screening of 42 (which opens on April 12). Whether you are a baseball fan, historian or just like quality films, go see 42. Of course, I cannot give away the story or ending because you all know it. Suffice it to say that it was riveting and impressive to see the greatness and bravery of Jackie Robinson and the disgusting ugliness of racism all brought to life in one two hour piece of art.
Ok, now back to current baseball news:
Dexter Fowler: Dexter Fowler went yard again Friday, smacking his 3rd dinger in only the 4th game of the young season. Do I expect Dexter to keep killing it at this level of power? Of course not. Do I expect a big step forward. You bet. This is already Fowler’s 5th full year in the bigs yet he is only 27. Loyal readers and listeners know that means that he was at a false plateau of performance - one that hides the jump in production typical of experienced players in the 25-27 range. A 20-20-.290 season is easily in reach. If there are doubters in your league, get a deal done before it is too late. Rick Wolf, Stacie Stern and I will not be dealing Dexter off of our LABR team without a big offer.
Chris Davis:: It did not seem possible but Chris Davis actually got hotter Friday, hitting a grand slam to propel the O’s to a big come from behind win. The scorching Davis would likely have been the lead to this column but one of my Rotoworld colleagues beat me to it. Does this hot start mean Barry Bonds 73 HR record is in danger? No. Can Davis put up a 40 HR, 100 RBI season. Yessir (of course 4 HR and 16 RBI in the first 4 games is a great start). Like Fowler, Davis is 27 and has over 1600 AB in the bigs. Like Fowler, the best has yet to come. Team CTW is very happy to own Davis in both Toutwars and LABR AL.
Jonathan Sanchez: Jonathan Sanchez pitched pretty well last night, giving up just 3 runs in 5+ innings. However, the big fact is that the perpetually wild Sanchez walked just one hitter in those 5+ frames. Just three years removed from a 200K season in SF, Sanchez should not be ignored. I am not saying I trust him yet. I am just saying that if you are allowed to stash a starter on reserve in an NL-only or otherwise deep league, you could do worse than a lefty with big time major league success in his background.
Brett Wallace: Brett Wallace is ice cold. The Houston first baseman took the collar Friday going 0-4 with three Ks. Wallace is now an ugly 1-14 with 11 strikeouts over the first four games of the season. Is it time to bail? No. Houston knows they will not win, so they will stick with their young players to see what they have. Wallace is only 26 and has a career minor league average well over .300. No way you are starting Wallace in anything but very deep leagues right now. However, he makes a nice stash as the playing time and pedigree say he could return value. Speculate.
Aramis Ramirez: According to reports, Aramis Ramirez will have an MRI on his left knee on Saturday. It looks pretty certain that no matter the results of the MRI, AmRam will be headed to the DL. Of course, we hope it is a short term thing but this does highlight the risk of paying top dollar in roto for players in their 30s who already have injury issues in the spring. Of course, with Ramirez, missed time is to be expected. He has not reached even 575 AB since 2005. I hope you reduced your bids accordingly.
Homer Bailey: Homer Bailey started 2013 off right, tossing 6 scoreless innings to beat the Nats on Friday. Homer rang up 6 while giving up just 2 hits (just two lousy hits as Harry Doyle would say). Bailey seems like he has been around forever but is only 26. His 3.68 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 2012 showed what he is capable of. I would not be surprised to see even better numbers in 2013. The only real concern here is the large jump in IP between 2011+2012.
Justin Upton: JUp went yard again Friday, his third of the year, to help the Braves topple the Cubbies. Through the first 4 games, little Upton is hitting .308 with three homers and five RBI. While I was not sure he would blaze out of the gate, I was confident that last year was an outlier. Invest with that same confidence if you are drafting this weekend. Justin is one of the true elite in the MLB. Fantasy owners can be harsh critics. His “bad” year at just 24 still yielded 107 runs, and a combined 35 hr+sb.
Dan Haren: Dan Haren did not start his Nats career in style. Last night, he was lit up for 6 runs, including 4 dingers in just 4 innings. Haren struggled this spring, has not shown anywhere near his typical velocity and is coming off an injury-riddled down year. I am not confident of a rebound and you should not be either. If you play in a deep NL-only league, you might think about grabbing Chris Young who is sitting down at AAA and may get a chance if Haren cannot right the ship and prove he is healthy.
Wade Davis: Wade Davis had an ugly start to his Royal career giving up four runs in just four innings with only two strikeouts. Bottom line here - the obvious happened. Davis was ineffective as a starter from 2010-11 with a combined ERA over 4.25 and a WHIP well over 1.35. Then in 2012, he converted to relief, the velocity spiked and the results followed (2.43/1.09). Now, back as a starter, the velo is back down and the early results followed. Buyer beware.
Kyle Kendrick: Kyle Kendrick did not get off to a good start. Actually, that is not totally accurate. He was strong for four innings and then was undone in the 5th. Overall, 5 runs, eight hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings is not getting it done. Despite this poor start, I am still a believer. Kendrick has been shuffled from reliever to starter and back again. When he finally stuck in the rotation in August last year (and learned the change to get lefties) the results followed. Buy cheaply if you can. There is profit in them there hills.
I am going to stop here and turn it over to the Carlton the Doorman of Fantasy Sports -- Schultz says: “I have no idea what sound a bear makes when it comes out of hibernation (nor have an interest in being close enough to ever find out in person, I suspect they are hungry and indiscriminate about their breakfast cuisine) but that's the noise coming from this little corner of The Week That Was. After an off-season that proved brutal for Cleveland sports fans (i.e. Ravens; Heat), it's April and everyone can put on the rose-colored glasses of optimism and excitedly root for their recently acquired championship roto-team. April truly is the greatest month for rotisserie baseball: everyone is excited about their team, no players are unexpectedly injured and no one is angering the league by making terrible dump deals. It is also the most unsettling time of the year because after one week, there is often little to be learned.
There are a few, though not many, things to be learned from the opening week of the 2013 Major League Baseball season. First and foremost, those who have not been formally introduced to Kyuji Fujikawa, should remedy the situation immediately. Whether stats bear it out or not, Carlos Marmol was the worst closer in baseball last year and pretty much managed to keep his job on the strength of being so bad no other team would take him. Marmol has started out 2013 like last year: terribly. Marmol already had to be yanked from one save opportunity and turned a 3-0 gift save into a 3-2 nail biter. Fujikawa has saved nearly 200 games in Japan and left the country with a 1.80 ERA. Those numbers may not translate fluently into roto-stats but they should serve nicely.
A similar situation is evolving in Milwaukee where John Axford has been reasonably putrid in his first pair of 2013 outings. Unlike the Cubs, the Brewers heir apparent - the hard-throwing Jim Henderson - doesn't have a sparking resume. A career minor leaguer that has just recently perfected his approach, Henderson may very well be a late bloomer in the Jason Grilli, Joel Hanrahan mold. However, it's hard to ignore Henderson's success since ensconcing himself in the Brewers pen. It bears remembering that Axford got off to the same shaky start last year and still managed to save 35 and strike out more than a batter an inning. (Hard to ignore those 8 losses though). The Brewers may make a switch at some point just to see if it works. If they do, I wouldn't be so quick to dump Axford though.
Other things to note: Roy Halladay's start should give his roto-owners cause for concern. Hopefully, you didn't spend much. Cliff Lee's roto-owners have to be extremely pleased that he got his first win in his first start. Last year, that didn't happen until June. Yet another lesson in how you can't predict wins. The Astros lineup seems to swing and miss a whole lot. When debating amongst pitchers for any particular night/week, maybe something to keep in mind. Chris Davis? On pace for 162 HRs and 648 RBIs - count-em and write it in stone or, more realistically, enjoy the fact that this may be the year Davis lives up to his potential as a dependable source of power.”
Response: Loyal readers know I like to poke fun at Schultzie but the truth is he provides solid and entertaining info week after week in the Week That Was.