The question of whether you like Ike highlight this week’s Week That Was.
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.
Ok, now really back to business . . . This week, a bit of a different type of column – one with fewer stats, fewer numbers and just some good old-fashioned fantasy baseball common sense. I hope it helps.
Ike Davis: Ike Davis had a nice night in his return from the minors, going 3-5 with 2 RBI and 2R. Common sense: This is a guy with serious major league success under his belt and a track record of slow starts. Would it surprise anyone if he had a strong second half for a team out of contention? Well, I guess “anyone” means some could be surprised, but they should not be. I like Ike as an undervalued producer for the 2d half of 2013.
David Phelps: Yankees placed David Phelps on the 15-day DL this week. Using your common sense, you realize that 1) Ivan Nova takes over for Phelps; 2) the Yankees are hot right now, winning 5 of last 6; and 3) they will only get better as Jeter, ARod and Granderson join Nunez off the DL. Translation: Nova makes a strong pickup. Common sense conclusion #2: Phelps will be back and with a rotation made up of older pitchers (Pettitte, CC and Kuroda) and inconsistent ones (Nova and Hughes), Phelps will get another opportunity. Thus, one should not cut bait on Phelps unless you have very limited DL spots.
Eduardo Nunez: Speaking of Nunez, he was finally activated from the DL this weekend. At the beginning of the year, Nunez was a top sleeper for power and speed at the MI spot. Has he lost his role? No. Even when Jeter and ARod return (may be a month before they both do), Nunez will spend a lot of time in the field as those guys DH. Common sense also tells you that a healed oblique injury should not prevent Nunez from having the second half many thought he would have for a full season before the injury. Buy.
Juan Francisco: Juan Francisco had a big night Friday, going 2-3 with a solo home run and two runs. Common sense should tell you that this 26 year old with some major league success under his belt, hitting well and playing on a team decimated by injuries (Braun, Hart) and home to a very injury prone corner man (Aramis) will get the playing time and opportunity to continue raking. Exercise common sense and buy now if it is not too late.
Matt Cain: Matt Cain got tattooed Friday, giving up 8 runs over just 2 1/3 innings. Cain had been on a good run that came after an awful run. What does your common sense tell you? It should tell you that Cain is better than his first month, better than his last start and not as good as his hot streak. If you can deal him for Matt Cain marquee name value, do it. If you are in an NL only deep league, remember he is still better than many, if not most, starters you could roster. Act accordingly.
Felix Doubront: Felix Doubront continues to pitch well, going 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball Friday to beat the halos. Felix is a young pitcher finally getting the ball every 5th day for a team in first place who has shown it can play. Your common sense should tell you that Felix will be undervalued and could be had cheaply if you act quickly.
Eric Hosmer: Last week I wrote “Eric Hosmer is the classic make the majors early and get judged too harshly type of player. He has the talent and now, entering the 2d half of his third year in the show, that talent should take over. Buy now before it is too late.” Common sense should tell you that this cream is rising to the top. Hope your leaguemates do not read this column and go get Hos!
And last and but not least, this from the Baron of the Bottom of the Page -- Schultz says: “The July 4th celebration always seems to be the unofficial commencement for dumping season in most keeper leagues. Owners dumping usually fall into two categories: shrewd dealers who understand the value of their players and the ones they seek to acquire and dunderheads that take an "everything must go" philosophy and justify their misconceived deals by proclaiming they weren't keeping the people they traded away, so they pulled the trigger and locked up Mike Moustakas and Edwin Jackson for below market prices. The latter group tends to dump year after year without ever seeming to learn from their mistakes, remaining blissfully unaware of the self-perpetuating cycle of damage they do to their own roto-hopes and dreams.
Playing for the next season is often as hard as stock speculation. All too often, sure things evaporate. Last year, in my league, the available keepers that were available for trade for dumping teams were Josh Hamilton, Johnny Cueto, James McDonald, Adam Dunn, Jeff Samardzija, Kris Medlen, Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista (due to his wrist injury), Wilin Rosario and Paul Goldschmidt. Your humble narrator was lucky enough to make a deal that netted him Bautista and Goldschmidt but that had less to do with shrewd haggling and more to do with luck. Had events broken differently, I might have returned with Cespedes, Hamilton, Medlen and McDonald and a lot of misplaced optimism. When trading for the next season, there is all too fine a line between clever and stupid.
The purpose of dumping is abundantly obvious but the joy some owners take in it remains mystifying as it never seems to work out as well for people as they imagine. All too many approach dump deals in an all too scattershot manner and refuse to shrewdly seek out bargains. So, this summer, a number of last place teams will surely chase the Jean Seguras and Shelby Millers of the world for a run at 2014 and beyond and pay steep prices for the privilege. Sadly, many more will rush to overpay for the likes of Corey Dickerson, Zoilo Almonte and Jackie Bradley, Jr. and wonder why their 2014 is no better than 2013.
Decide whether you want to get taken in by the next Facebook IPO or invest in an emerging Google.”
Response: Gotta give him this – when Schultz gets on his high horse about bad actors in roto leagues, he can be funny. His advice on dump trading, while funny, is also dead on accurate. Listen to him on this one.
Final thoughts: Last Tuesday, we were proud to welcome the original Viper, the gifted actor Tom Skerritt on Colton and the Wolfman. In addition to some entertaining stories, Mr. Skerritt described a wonderful project on which he is working to help veterans overcome post-traumatic stress and return to a productive civilian life. Check it out at www.theredbadgeproject.org and consider lending a helping hand.