A tale of two Zimmermans highlights this week’s edition.
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 – all the fantasy baseball news as it is happening and the strategy tidbits you cannot get anywhere else.
Jordan Zimmermann: Jordan Zimmermann tossed a complete game on the way to his third win earlier this week. Yes, it was the Fish, but sailing through 9 innings on just 102 pitches against any major league club is a nice achievement – especially when you realize that he did not complete any of his starts in 2012. JZimm will try and move to 4-0 when he faces the Mets on Sunday. Loyal readers and listeners know that Zimmermann is my pick for NL Cy Young, so it will not surprise you that I think he is still undervalued and can be had at 80 cents on the dollar if you move fast. Point to the low strikeout rate (4.5/9) so far this year, don’t mention the excellent k/bb, whip and era and get yourself a horse you can ride all season long. BUY!
Ryan Zimmerman: The Nationals other Zimmerman -- Ryan -- has not been as fortunate or as rewarding to his fantasy owners as Jordan. The Nats had to place RZimm on the DL with a hammy injury. With only one HR and a K every 4 AB, Ryan was hardly lighting the world on fire. Better that he gets some rest and some time to work out the kinks than try and play through, continue to struggle and maybe even make the injury worse. For at least the next two weeks Anthony Rendon, who was called up from AA, will man the hot corner in DC. If you are in a keeper league, grab Rendon. In re-draft leagues, he makes sense only in deep leagues. Just please do not get too excited. He has never even had an AB at AAA nevertheless the majors. [Post script – Rzimm has only had 600 AB once in the last 5 years. When sitting at the 2014 draft table, I think you have to start thinking of him as more Aramis Ramirez and 550 AB max than a 650 possible AB guy]
Tommy Hanson: Tommy Hanson tossed 6 shutout innings Friday to beat the Tigers. Is Hanson back to the Hanson of old? Is he going to once again be the top flight starter fantasy players remember fondly from his days in Atlanta? I just do not see it. Hanson threw only 57 of 102 pitches for strikes and not surprisingly ended up walking 4 against just 2 strikeouts. Sell high warning. Sell high warning! If you own Hanson, send an email around touting his 2011 stats, tout his win over the mighty Tigers of Cabrera and Fielder fame, conveniently ignore his 2012 stats and his 1.53 WHIP so far in 2013 and see if you can sell above real value. You do not have a lot of time because his value is very likely to plummet after the next outing versus Texas. Well, what are you waiting for? Now!
Adam Dunn: Speaking of plummeting value, Adam Dunn had an ugly afternoon Saturday, going 0-4 with three strikeouts against the not so mighty Twins. Thus far this year, Dunn is hitting a paltry .098 with an even more abysmal .154 OBP. Of course, this is not surprising as he hit .204 in 2012 and .154 in 2011. I personally never liked low average hitters in fantasy. For every Dunn, you need two Robbie Canos just to get your average back to respectable. If you own Dunn, wait for the 2 HR game or 3 HR week and sell while you can. This is not a growth stock nor is it a value stock. Dunn will not be on many fantasy baseball title teams this year. Hold him at your own peril.
Garrett Richards: Garrett Richards may have arrived Saturday. The Angles hurler tossed 7 shutout innings against the Tigers to score the win. The easy call is to start him against the Mariners next time out. The big question is whether Richards could be a mainstay in deep AL leagues all year. My answer is yes. First, the Angels rotation is anything but secure. Weaver is hurt and recovery could be tricky, Wilson is coming off of surgery, Hanson mentioned above has not been himself for two years and Vargas has not proven he can be consistently effective away from the pitcher-friendly environs of Safeco. Second, this kid just throws gas. With an average fastball velocity that has consistently registered at or close to 95MPH, one has to take notice. Speculate.
Lorenzo Cain: Lorenzo Cain had one of those days about which roto owners dream. The Royals CF went 4-4 with a HR, 2 2B, 3R and RBI and a SB. Will Lorenzo hit.392 this year and evoke images of George Brett and his .390 season? Uh, no. Is Cain the type of speed/combo 27 year old post-hype player you should target as likely undervalued? Yessir! If the Cain owner in your league is willing to sell, feel him or her out. They may sell lower than you think. A 15 HR, 25SB season would not shock me at all. Buy.
Dayan Viciedo: 2013’s injury parade continued on the south side of Chicago this week when the pale hose put Dayan Viciedo on DL with the dreaded oblique strain. That is bad news for the White Sox and Viciedo fantasy owners (like Rick Wolf and me in AL ToutWars). If you own Viciedo, you should not expect him back for a month – oblique injuries tend to linger. The question now is can Jordan Danks step up and perform. John’s brother hit .317 at AAA in 218 AB last year. The bad news is that he was already 25 when he started to hit at AAA and had not hit .300 since A ball. Frankly, there is not much to get excited about with Jordan Danks unless you are in a deep AL-only league like ToutWars.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “Since it's always easy to forget in a rush of enthusiasm, it bears repeating that there is nothing to be learned from Spring Training beyond sussing out who is injured and who is healthy. Exhibit A for 2013: Jackie Bradley Jr. The JBJ phenomenon carried the 22-year-old outfielder out of the $1/final round flyer group into the moderately expensive sleeper category. He rewarded expectant owners with a .097 batting average, 3 RBIs and a steal - a far cry from his spring training run of .441, two homers, 12 RBIs and a pair of steals. The saga came to a close this week with Bradley being demoted to the minors to make room for the return of David Ortiz. Bradley should make his mark in the majors someday but the foreshadowing of its time will not likely be a fantastic spring.
Brandon Belt is another spring flower that has yet to bloom with the start of the regular season. After belting (yes, we love witty wordplay here in this part of the column) 8 pre-season home runs, the Baby Giraffe has yet to hit one when they roto-count and has sadly reverted to his prior form with a .197 batting average. Belt's initial slow start could be attributed to an illness that had him receiving IV fluids but his slow start has carried on a bit too long for that to still be a credible cause. For the past two seasons, there have been lofty expectations that Belt will develop into one of the league's more prolific hitters. That may happen one day as he has just turned 25 (Saturday was his birthday - see what you can learn at Rotoworld) and he wouldn't be the first prospect to develop later than expected. Like Bradley, Belt should one day be a roto-powerhouse. It just won't be signaled by a strong spring training.
Now, do we need a refresher on the evils of the WBC?"
Response: Drat! I hate it when Schultz is right. Yes, unless you can draft Albert Belle of years ago, spring stats are not likely to signal a coming out for hitters. And yes, I really do loathe the WBC. That should be played, if at all, during the winter ball season not during major league spring training.