The value of the almighty (John) Buck highlights this week's column.
Timeout for another shameless piece of self-promotion: Don’t forget to tune in to hear Rick Wolf and me on Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio (Sirius 210 XM 87) Tuesday nights from 8pm-11pm ET. A very special one year anniversary show is on tap this week!
Now back to why you clicked on this column to begin with . . . .
John Buck: John Buck has been absolutely unconscious in the early going. Last night, Buck not only went yard, he did so in style – grand slam style! Remarkably, Buck has 6 HR and 19 RBI through the first 10 games. If you look up “sell high” in the dictionary, you will see Mr. Buck’s smiling face. If you own Buck, tell your league mates about that one good year he had back in 2010 when he hit .281 with 20 HR. Do not tell them about his .237 career average in the bigs, the fact that 2010 was the only year he hit over .250, or that his career year of 2010 had all the hallmarks of luck (a BABIP over 60 points better than his career average). SELL. SELL HIGH. SELL HIGH NOW!
CC Sabathia: CC Sabathia was great last night, giving up just one ER in 8 innings while striking out 9 (without a walk). For those who predicted his demise after a weak opening day performance, shame on you. That is now 1ER in his last 15 innings and those innings were against the Tigers and Orioles – no slouches. My view is and was that CC will put the Yankees on his back and carry them through the early season injuries. In fact, during our prediction show on “Colton and the Wolfman”, I predicted CC will win another Cy Young. He does not need to be nearly that good to provide value given the reduced cost at which he sold in this year’s fantasy drafts. For those doubters, think about this: CC has posted an ERA under 3.40 for seven straight years with his lowest inning total being 184. Buy!
Prince Fielder: From one hefty lefty to another. Prince Fielder continues to enjoy life as a Tiger. Last night, Prince raked, including a 3 run jack. With 17 RBI in just 10 games (no easy task when Miggy is cleaning the bases before you get to stand in with the lumber), Prince is proving that he may indeed be the best bet at 1B even in a class crowded with talent. If there is someone out there worried about the physique, feed their worries, hide the fact that Prince has registered over 680 plate appearances for 6 straight years, and get yourself a bargain. There is a reason Nate Ravitz and I would have selected Prince over Votto and Pujols in the NFBC had Cargo not been there when we picked in round 1.
Dexter Fowler: Yeah, I know I headlined with Dexter Fowler last week but this guy deserves more props. Last night, Dexter hit not one but two homers to lead the Rockies past the Padres. For those of you who continue to hide your head in the sand thinking Dexter only hits in Coors, did you notice that his two jacks last night left Petco Park? Yup, that Petco. In fact, 4 of his 6 dingers this year have been hit on the road. Oh, did I mention that in his huge start over the first 10 games, only 3 games have been played at home? Bottom line – this guy is for real and the window to buy at any kind of discount is about to smash down on your fingers!
Patrick Corbin: Patrick Corbin was great last night, tossing 6 innings of shutout ball, giving up only 3 hits in the process. So far, Corbin is 2-0 with a pretty 1.50 ERA. Props need to go to Stacie Stern (call sign “Charlie” on our radio show) for hyping Corbin from early spring when he was still battling for the 5th spot in the rotation. She called that one from our outfield grass seats in an early March Arizona spring game! Corbin has had a K/BB better than 3-1 at every stop since being a 19 year old at rookie ball – usually a pretty good indicator of success. I do not want to oversell. Corbin is not destined for superstardom. However, he is exactly the type of undervalued solid starter that winning fantasy teams roster.
Danny Espinosa: Danny Espinosa is stone cold. Last night was another bad night for him as he was 0-4 against the Braves and dropped his average to a paltry .162. Those who bet big on Espinosa were hoping instead of analyzing. First, he was coming off a shoulder injury – one that had not healed and for which he did not have surgery. Second, he is a .237 lifetime hitter in the majors and managed to hit just .259 at AA in 2010 and just .264 at A ball in Portland in 2009. So, why was it that you expected him to break out this year?
Russell Martin: Russell Martin notched his first RBI of the year Friday night to up – yes up – his average to .074. Is Martin a quality backstop who plays hard and plays tough in the field? Yes. Do you want him anywhere near your roto team? Heck, no. Martin’s batting averages have progressed as follows: .250, .248, .237, .211 and now .074 (and he had to get red hot at the end of last year to reach .211). The bottom line here is: as soon as he smacks his first dinger or two trade him while you can. (P.S. while Martin is hitting .074 with 2R and 1RBI, his replacement, Francisco Cervelli is hitting .316 with 6R and 6RBI – just sayin.)
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “Major League Baseball may not subscribe to the thought but everyone that has watched the game for any significant period of time has somewhat vivid, if not entirely fond, memories for some sort of baseball brawl. Disagree? Hand Nolan Ryan a photograph of him pounding Robin Ventura in a headlock and watch the lightning fast speed in which he rushes to gleefully autograph it. In the late 90s, many watched in awe as the Orioles and Yankees brawled into the visitors' dugout in Yankee Stadium. That night would be known for Armando Benitez sparking a near riot by hitting Tino Martinez and trying to take on the entire team singlehandedly were it not for the reemergence of a maniacal Darryl Strawberry taking things up a notch. On the flip side, brawls sometime provide comical moments of anti-machismo. There was Don Zimmer charging Pedro Martinez only to be unceremoniously tossed to the ground and Dennis Martinez running towards the bullpen rather than engage in a confrontation with a hit batter charging the mound.
The only people that aren't grudgingly conceding the lurid appeal of baseball brawls are the roto-owners of Zack Greinke. After breathing a sigh of relief over the reported elbow discomfort in the pre-season, the Dodgers' hurler seemed poised for a productive return to the National League. All it took was one idiotic rampage from Carlos Quentin in his second start of the season to quash a myriad of roto-hopes and roto-dreams. Much like Reggie Sanders thinking Pedro Martinez would rather hit him than hurl a perfect game, the paranoia-fueled Quentin figured Greinke's errant pitch was all about him in the midst of a close game. As the adage goes, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. If you have Greinke, stash him away and hope for a speedy recovery (and it might not hurt to send him some deer antler spray). If you are looking for a temporary stopgap, it's worth noticing that Justin Masterson is presently in a Dr. Jekyll period, Ross Detwiler has an actual spot in the Nationals rotation and Jake Westbrook is doing that thing where starting pitchers wearing a Cardinals uniform pitch unreasonably well."
Response: Hate to say it but Schultz is right about this – no way Greinke was looking to hit Quentin in that spot. I also think Donnie Baseball is right. 8 games for Quentin when Greinke is going to miss 8 weeks is just wrong. As to pickups for Greinke, I would also consider his direct replacement Ted Lilly. He always seems to be more effective than what it cost to roster him in roto.
Final thoughts: 42 opened yesterday. I can understand why you might not want to stand in line on day 1. However, if you love baseball (and you probably do if you read this column), make it a point to see this movie. Trust me.