A little buy low shopping at the VMart highlights 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.
Victor Martinez: Victor Martinez went yard Thursday and Friday finally showing the pop fantasy owners paid for in March. VMart is 6 for his last 12 with 4R and 4RBI. VMart’s stats on the year are uninspiring to say the least (.241 with 5 HR). However, there are reasons for optimism beyond the recent hot streak. First, VMart missed all of 2012, so it is not surprising that he took a couple of months to get back into the groove. Second, he has hit into a bit of bad luck. His BABIP so far in 2013 is .259 while his career mark is .318. As that number normalized, VMart’s average will rise. As the Tigers continue to hit, VMart will post counting numbers. As all the other roto catchers begin to wilt in the summer heat, VMart will relish his role as catcher eligible DH. Go get him right now before the door closes for good.
Josh Donaldson: From buy low to sell high. Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat Friday, leading the A’s to a 4-3 win over the pale hose. Yes, Donaldson has already earned you a year-long profit with his .328 average, 9 HR and 42 RBI. Good for you. Now, don’t get emotional. Think rationally and sell high while you can. If you have not figured it out, I just do not believe he will continue to rake at this pace. Why? Good question. Here you go: 1) he has not hit above .272 at ANY LEVEL where he has registered 250 or more ABs; 2) other than in the hitter-friendly PCL, Josh has not hit double digit homers in any year; and 3) his BABIP is .374 which is 50+ points above his career average. Yes 3B is an overrated position as Lawrie, Middlebrooks and others continue to fail and that makes Donaldson valuable. However, if you can get full value now, do it. Enough said.
Carlos Gonzalez: Fantasy baseball owners everywhere are breathing a huge sigh of relief after Carlos Gonzalez was removed from Friday night’s game with an apparent knee injury. Never before have fantasy owners rejoiced in an 0-4 as much as they did after Saturday’s game. The Rockies are always super cautious with CarGo so the fact they ran him out there yesterday is great news. The real question for CarGo is whether he can stay healthy and deliver than MVP season. He is on his way so far. In just over 1/3 of the season, CarGo has some pretty gaudy stats: .304, 17 HR, 45 RBI, 51 R and 12 SB. Extrapolate those out and you have real and fantasy MVP numbers. If there is a CarGo owner in your league who still fears the injury bug, play up the knee tweak from Friday, make a credible but not full offer and attempt to land exactly the type of player who can lead you to the promised land.
Zach McAllister: Under the heading of “oh, now I get it”, the Indians placed Zach McAllister on the disabled list with a finger sprain. Zach, who had given up more hits than IP only once in his first 9 starts, did it twice in a row – including a 4.3 inning, 7H, 4 ER performance on June 2. Now we know why his fortunes took a turn for the worse. If you own McAllister, stash him on DL. If the finger resolves, he could serve you well in your deep mixed or AL only league. Even including his last two clunker starts, McAllister has a 3.43 ERA and has controlled the HR (less than one per nine innings). This is exactly the kind of 5th or 6th roto starter that could win you a deep league. Stash and hope.
Vernon Wells: Vernon Wells went 0-4 Friday as his woes from May continue. After a torrid April, Wells hit .221 in May and worse than that so far in June. Is the honeymoon over? I guess it depends on how calibrate your expectations. If you expect the guy from April, yes it is over. If you expect a guy who will play full time the rest of the season, yes it is over. If you are in a deep league and want some counting numbers and some pop – and can handle the low average – Wells can still deliver value. My advice: wait for the next mini hot streak and sell. Once Granderson comes back, PT will be hard to find for VW.
Matt Cain: Matt Cain survived a bout of wildness in the first inning Friday, to register a strong start. He gave up just one run in seven-plus innings in hitter friendly Chase against the Diamondbacks. After an atrocious beginning to 2013 that caused many to question whether there were just too many innings on Cain’s right arm, Cain has righted the ship. Overall, the Giant hurler has a 1.19 WHIP with 75K in 81 innings. Yes, the 5+ ERA is ugly but that will correct. Cain’s strand rate is well below his career average and the fly balls are leaving the yard far more often than they should be or will the rest of the year. Bottom line here – Cain will be Cain for the rest of 2013 and you would do well buying low if you still can.
Jose Valverde: Jose Valverde continues to confound. Friday he gave up two dingers in a non-save situation and Saturday he notched a save. If you own Valverde, enjoy the ugly saves while they last. There is just no way Detroit goes into the post-season relying Papa Grande. Before July 31, they will make a deal. So, save your FAAB money as there will be a new AL closer available in your league next month.
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “If you are paying attention to the real world news that provides the data on which roto-experts base their opinions, you've seen the headlines about Biogenesis investigation and Major League Baseball's purported intention to seek onerous penalties against Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and others. Based upon credible reports, MLB wants to differentiate the violation of the league's drug policy from the act of lying to them about it and charge each player with two strikes and a 100 game suspension. For Colon and Cabrera, who have already served 50 day suspensions, it's unclear whether any further disciplinary action - whether for buying PEDs from Biogenesis or dissembling with MLB over their purchase - would be for the same violation. It's curious to note that if MLB succeeds in their current line of thinking, a slew of players will be suspended without a positive drug test.
Now, here in this little section of The Week That Was, Schultz isn't about to rant on whether MLB has gone plumb loco in the cabeza or whether the players on the Biogenesis list should be shunned like Amish iconoclasts. For fantasy purposes, everyone that has one of the Biogenesis 20 (well, really 18, one's a minor leaguer and they keep saying Gio Gonzalez bought non-banned substances) should be thinking like Al Franken: how does this affect me?
For 2013 purposes, the answer may be "not that much." In light of the novel theories that MLB apparently intends to try out, the players union (as well as those involved) are going to fight back with the type of great vengeance and furious anger that would make Samuel L. Jackson proud. Whatever suspensions MLB attempts to levy are unquestionably going to be appealed and the players permitted to play while the appeal is pending. I think that it will be a very safe assumption that the appeal process, in this case, may carry through the season. No promises or assurances for 2014 and forward but everyone on the Biogenesis list should very likely be safe for the rest of 2013.”
Response: Schultz is right. If there is anyone in your league selling a Biogenesis list player at below market, swoop in and fleece the fool.