by Eddie Mayrose

Too Early To Tell, Or Is It?

Was headed into work the other day with my radio tuned, as it is every morning, to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio. The daily, often comedic give and take between hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic is my preferred choice on the AM dial during morning drive time as I respect the opinions and pedigree of each personality.  Friday morning, however,they gave me a hearty laugh that was, on  their part, completely unintentional.

In welcoming ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney for his regular guest spot, Greenie began his review of Opening Day by posing an absolutely ridiculous question. In discussing the terrible debut of Albert Pujols; one that saw the best player in the game ground into three double plays during the Cardinals’ opener, Greenberg asked Olney if, in light of the fact that Pujols is in a contract year, could we expect the slugger to begin pressing if he got off to a slow start.  Olney politely pointed out that he still expected Pujols to post an MVP season despite the hole he had dug for himself after one game.

Now, I appreciate that it is incumbent upon talk show hosts to generate topical conversation and that, every once in a while they’ll swing and miss.  Greenberg’s faux pas, however, is one committed by Fantasy Baseball owners every season, as they scramble to gain an advantage or atone for a sub-par draft.  Unlikely as it is that anyone traded Pujols off of Thursday’s oh-fer, there will be trades and acquisitions made over the first few weeks inspired more by impatience than intelligence.

Conventional Fantasy Baseball wisdom encourages owners to allow their charges a few weeks before making any decisions about their status. Not so, say the boys at FantasySportsDirt.com, as we believe that the first few weeks, even the first few days, do reveal trends that, when acted upon quickly, can improve your chances for a title run.  The trick is, to go quality over quantity; making a few smart transactions rather than a large number in the hopes that one or two work out.  How popular was the incredibly below average Emilio Bonifacio last season after a torrid start?  On the flip side, how badly did everyone who traded C.C.Sabathia two years ago when he started the season 1-7 regret the move? Simply put, there are moves to be made in the first month that can make or break your season.  To think otherwise is to miss out on a significant opportunity.  Here’s our take on the studs and duds that have been revealed over the season’s first few days.

Believe:

Travis Wood, moved up in the Reds’ rotation because of injuries, threw a gem at the Brewers; allowing 1 run and four hits while striking out 7 over 7 IP.  The 24-year-old Wood, whose WHIP was below 1.1 in his last three minor league campaigns, will be Cincy’s ace by the All Star break.

Many doubted that Jose Bautista could come close to his 2010 total of 54 HR.  His Opening Day dinger was a step in the right direction but the respect shown him by the Twins, who pitched around him whenever possible, coupled with the fact that he’s the Blue Jays’ unquestioned leader, is an indication that .275-30-100 will become an annual expectation.

Staying in Toronto, rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia welcomed 2011 with two homers, rewarding all of those owners who plucked him in the later rounds of their mixed league drafts.  Don’t be caught sleeping on this guy, as his 53 HR over his last two seasons are an indication that hispower is real, especially in a homer-dome like Rogers Centre.

Russell Martin shriveled under the pressure of bring “the man” in Los Angeles over the last two seasons. But we think he’ll be productive at the bottom of the Yankees order, where less is expected of him.  His Saturday dinger may be an indication of just that.

Dismiss:

The Orioles are off to a hot start, as is their injury prone 2B, Brian Roberts.  We’ve always said, “Back is a four letter word” and our opinion hasn’t changed.  If Roberts makes it through the season, let someone else be surprised.  Trade him as early as possible.

Don’t be fooled by the 8 K posted by Trevor Cahill in his debut vs. Seattle.  The Mariners have the worst lineup in the AL. Cahill, while a stud pitcher, should not be expected to amass more than the 118 K he registered in 2010.

It’s been a tough first weekend for Jose Reyes in Florida but the Mets’ SS is healthy and in a contract year.  If he continues to struggle, play up his injury potential and scoop him.

John Axford blew the save vs. Cincinnati in the Brewers’ opener.  Those who didn’t see the game don’t know that a brain cramp by 3B Casey McGehee extended the inning.  While Axford was hit hard, we love his K ratio and the Brewers really have nowhere else to turn.

 

Look for Eddie Mayrose with Tom DeAngelo on Down in Front!, a weekly sports talk show available on Time Warner Cable on Staten Island and Fios in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Check local listings.

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