By Eddie Mayrose
Who Do You Trust?
There isn’t a Fantasy Baseball writer or publication, (including this one), that isn’t penning a piece this week cautioning Fantasy owners to be patient; that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and that the convictions you held entering your draft should not have been shaken by a player’s performance over the first few weeks.
That is a predominantly valid theory, as three weeks is certainly not a large enough sample to make a decision on how a player’s season will evolve. At least not those of whom you had a very strong opinion before the season began. But what about those major leaguers of whom you weren’t sure? The guys returning from injury, the kids making their major league debuts or the veterans looking to bounce back from bad years? When have we seen enough to make an informed decision about them?
As part of our weekly quest to guide you to a Yoo-Hoo shower in he fall, we present the following list of players that have our full faith and confidence, as well as those for whom we’d accept a few felt tip pens and a 2013 Draft Cheat Sheet in return. It’ll help you identify the guys you should keep, discard or acquire. Good luck
“Maybe this is Heaven.”… Ray Kinsella
Bartolo Colon (A’s)- If Colon keeps this up, he may be the second pitcher in MLB history to have a surgery named after him. In one stretch during his last start, he threw 38 consecutive strikes. Much like Tommy John, he seems even stronger in the second season after his return than the first- and Colon was certainly a pleasant surprise in the Bronx last year. Colon is becoming the workhorse of the Oakland staff and absolutely warrants a spot on your roster.
Lance Lynn (Cardinals)- At first glance, their is no reason to believe that his 3-0 record and excellent peripherals are anything more than a hot streak. Maybe, but, given that his next three starts come against Chicago, Pittsburgh and Houston, ride him for another two weeks, at least.
David Freese (Cardinals)- His fast start is actually a carryover from an incredible September and Postseason. Lots of players can put together productive streaks but the stars are the ones that can do it when it counts. We strongly believe that Freese is serving notice that he is one of the NL’s next big names.
Austin Jackson (Tigers)- Every once in a while, Fantasy owners have to put away the spreadsheets and SABR metrics and listen to the men on the field. Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland was adamant during spring training that Jackson was in for a big year after changing his approach at the plate. He’s off to a sizzling start, drawing more bases on balls than last year and making a prophet of his skipper. Expect a performance much closer to his 2010 total than those of last season.
Justin Morneau (Twins)- Many Fantasy owners were burned last season when Morneau couldn’t shake the effects of the concussion that cost him most of 2010. Even more vowed that they wouldn’t make that mistake this year and are dismissive of his production over the first few weeks. But, we’ll take the word of Ron Gardenhire. The Twins’ skipper was the most cautious voice during Morneau’s return in 2011, vowing to keep his MVP first baseman out of the lineup until he was completely healthy, no matter how long it took. So, when Gardenhire declared him ready for a big year, we listened. Good thing.
Jonathan Niese (Mets)- There used to be a time when pitchers, especially lefties, were given time to hit their stride. To gain the experience necessary for success. Niese, in his third full season, has arrived at that point in his career. A fluid lefty with sneaky fast velocity, he’s learned how to pitch in the big leagues and will soon be the Mets’ ace. None other than Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson agrees, as he signed Niese to a long term deal just before the season.
“You said your finger was a gun!”… Terrence Mann
Adam Dunn (White Sox)- Don’t be fooled by his 2 HR game yesterday. Dunn had three more hits vs LHP in 2011 than you did. We have no idea why Dunn is no longer the HRv terror he was in the NL but, as Fantasy Owners, we don’t have the time to find out. There is every possibility he’ll return to form. Just let someone else bet on that. Not you.
Chris Davis (Orioles)- His .375 BA into this weekend is encouraging, as is the fact that he’s cut down dramatically on his strikeouts. However, that contact rate comes at a price, as Davis has but 1 HR so far. You can’t have a first baseman with no pop.
Bryan LaHair(Cubs)- Admittedly, we don’t know much about him. What we do know, however, is that it took him more than a decade to reach the majors. There’s a reason for that. Take what LaHair gives you for now and dump him as soon as he hits a bump in the road, as GM Theo Epstein is dying to get his old Boston farmhand, Anthony Rizzo, into that spot.
Chase Headley (Padres)- We all know the story of the blind squirrel. Nine of Headley’s first sixteen hits have been for extra bases, despite the fact that he has never been a power hitter.Couple that with Petco park’s unfriendly nature toward hitters and you have a classic, “sell high” candidate.
Jake Arrietta (Orioles)- We got a glimpse of the rest of Arrietta’s season last night as he was cuffed around by the Angels. He’s a talented kid with all the tools, but has yet to put them all together to the degree necessary for him to survive the brutal lineups he’ll face in the AL East.
Fantasy News and Notes
Don’t miss a great piece by Joe Sheehan in last week’s SI. In the column, titled, “Abolishing Savery”, Sheehan makes the point about the absurdity by which the save rule dictates how managers employ their bullpens. Nice to know I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness… In 50+ seasons, the New York Mets have never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter. However, after yesterday’s perfecto by Philip Humber, ex Mets have now accounted for 13… Before you look to acquire Marlon Byrd for your AL-only roster, take a look at his dismal start in Chicago. His 3 for 43 start might take a little of the Boston Boo-Birds’ focus away from Bobby V… The greatest thing about my XM Radio and MLB.TV accounts? Having the daily enjoyment of listening to Vin Scully broadcast a game. It should be a crime for hacks like John Sterling to say their in the seame business… After watching a few A’s games, I’m quite impressed with RF Josh Reddick. He’s got a terrific swing, good speed and is a strong defensive outfielder. His slow start may give you an opportunity to stash him as a prospect on your reserve roster… Umpire Joe West is easily my least favorite figure in all of baseball,as his pugnacious, combative nature and diminishing skills as an arbiter combine with his desire to be the focus of attention to create a mountain of incompetence. Have to give Cowboy Joe his props, though, when it comes to Yankees-Red Sox. With all of the stepping out of the box, interminable pitching changes and softball lineups, games between these two rivals are unbearably and unnecessarily long… Stick your toe in the water and see if anyone in your league is frustrated enough with Josh Johnson or Tim Lincecum to dump him in a trade. Given their pedigrees, their is no reason not to expect both to respond from their sub-par Aprils and give you a huge return on investment… With Aroldis Chapman’s K rate at 2 per IP and Sean Marshall struggling, how long will it be before Dusty Baker makes Chapman his closer.