The issues surrounding Matt Cain highlight this week’s edition.
Before I get started, just a quick note to remind you 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.
Matt Cain: Matt Cain gave up three dingers in one inning and walked 4 in his last start. That is bad news. On the flip side, Cain did strike out 6 in that outing. Thus far this year, Cain has allowed nine homers in just 34 2/3 innings this season to go along with an atrocious 6.49 ERA and subpar 1.30 WHIP. What happens from here on out? Reasons for optimism: 1) Cain has posted five straight years in which his ERA was 3.14 or under and four straight with WHIPs under 1.10; and 2) his K/BB this year is still better than 3:1. Reasons to worry: the awful outings thus far. Bottom line: I have not heard anything about any injury or arm problem. If he is not hurt, he will rebound – the question is whether it will be in time to repair the damage he has already done to your fantasy team. One thing is clear – those who predicted he would be Cy Cain this year are not going to be bragging about that pick.
Dee Gordon: In news that has the speed starved salivating, the Dodgers recalled Dee Gordon from AAA to take the roster spot of again injured Hanley Ramirez (the WBC strikes again!). We all know the Gordon story – speed to burn and a toothpick for a bat. What will happen this time around? Well, one of the key aspects of fantasy baseball success is opportunity. Gordon clearly has that on a Dodger team where one MI is worse than the next at the plate. Gordon was hitting .314 at AAA (not bad but not that exciting for the PCL). However, what is exciting is that Gordon was showing far better plate discipline than ever before with 14BB against just 17K. For that reason alone, I am rating Gordon a buy.
Dustin Ackley: Dustin Ackley went yard in style Saturday smacking a grand slam in Seattle’s shellacking of Toronto. Ackley, a preseason breakout favorite, started badly but is 21 for his last 62 and has raised his average up to .255. The rules of engagement that Rick Wolf and I preach say that with approximately 1000 at bats in the bigs at just 25 years old and previous success in the minors, Ackley is poised to take his game up a notch. Given the dramatic weakness at 2B, Ackley is a buy low if someone is selling. Never ever leave your wingman.
R.A. Dickey: The rules of engagement also say avoid players in new teams in new cities who just signed big new contracts. Had you followed that rule, you would not have paid big for R.A. Dickey. Today, you would be glad not to own the Blue Jay hurler as he was poor again, giving up 7 runs in just 6 innings of work against a Mariner team not known for its offense. Thus far, this year, Dickey is proving up the rules of engagement with his 5.36 ERA. Some may say he is a Cy Young guy so he will bounce back. I would not bet on it. He is 38, suffering from nagging injuries, pitching in a far better league in a far worse park for pitchers and does not get to strike out the pitcher 30-40 times per year. Sell if you own. Abstain if you don’t. Again, never ever leave your wingman.
Yonder Alonso: Yonder Alonso had a big night Friday, going 2-4 with a two-run homer. Alonso, who was one of my favorite candidates to return far more production that his auction cost, is off to a nice start. Alonso is hitting .292 with 4 HR and 19 RBI through the first 29 games. The 26 year old was solid in his initial campaign in SD with 9 HR, 62 RBI and a .273 average. With another year under his belt and the fences moved in, it is not surprising to see him thrive thus far. If his owner in your league is not a believer, pounce while you can.
Miguel Montero: Miguel Montero finally showed some life Friday, going 2-3 with a homer and three runs scored Friday. Remarkably, it was Montero’s first multi-hit game in almost a month (yes you read that right). Thus far this year, Montero (like Jesus, the other Montero catcher) has been a big disappointment to fantasy owners. In the first week of May, Miguel’s average sits at just .208. Given his career .272 batting average, no one expected Montero to be flirting with the Mendoza line in May. If you own Miguel, stay the course. Arizona is a great place to hit and hit he will. Hold.
Felix Hernandez: King Felix continues to dispel the doubts caused by rumors of pre-season injury. Last night, he hurled 8 shutout innings to get the win. Thus far this year, the King has a sweet 1.60 ERA and 51/7 K/BB ratio. You know the story with Hernandez – he will put up great ratios, give you the K’s and fail to win more than 12 games pitching in Seattle. You have to devalue him for that win total but don’t be afraid to pay if you need to buck up your ratios. One point of concern here: Felix’s average fastball velocity was over 94 in 2009. It has fallen every year, including this one where it has dropped to below 91. Something to watch.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “For practically the entire month of April, no one could fault you for paying little attention to what was going on with the Cleveland Indians. A lackluster start highlighted by one Tribe hurler cementing his reputation among Indians' fans as "F%#!^%n Ubaldo" and projected superstars like Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera weighing down roto-teams everywhere had Cleveland battling the lowly Twins and White Sox for the AL Central cellar. The sole bright spot for the Indians may have been the start of Justin Masterson, who was more Jekyll than Hyde over his first handful of starts. A funny thing happened over this past week. The Cleveland Indians remembered that they a major league ball club and over the course of a five game winning streak during which they are hitting close to .400 as a team, the Tribe has shown that like Alex Forrest, they will not be ignored.
With Colton offering advice like Jim Cramer about buying and selling, The Week That Was has evolved into a roto version of Mad Money. Following in that theme, there are a lot of buying opportunities on the Cleveland roster right now. There's definitely some risks involved but roto-leagues are won on calculated risks. While it be foolish to believe that the scorching hot streaks of Ryan Raburn and Jason Giambi will continue, it might not be out of the question to foresee career years coming from Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs, who are both hitting unseemly standard deviations over their career norms. Jason Kipnis' elbow seems to have healed and it's showing in how the ball is coming off his bat. While Carlos Santana isn't a .383 hitter, Asdrubal Cabrera isn't a .217 hitter. Don't go booking October flights to Cleveland just yet, but you could do worse when looking for roto-bargains that will pay dividends over the rest of the 2013 season.
On a different note, Glenn mentioned last week that he will be inducted this summer into the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's Hall of Fame. Whether you have ever heard of the FSTA or not, know that it is a big enough organization to have a Hall of Fame. The Week That Was is but a small fraction of Glenn's work within the world of fantasy sports and this honor from the FSTA is extremely well-deserved. Congratulations O Mighty and Beneficent Overlord!!"
Response: Thank you Mr. Schultz. You are too kind! And in keeping with that spirit, I will agree that the Indians are a good place to go for roto bargains. They can hit and they have young pitchers who will contribute. I am a big Corey Kluber fan and advise that you all watch for the recall of flamethrower Carlos Carrasco.