After the Break, Some Fly, Others Flop

by Moonlight Graham

Moonlight regular, Joe Mreczko, posed a question about pitchers that might be able to help his Fantasy Baseball team over the second half of the season.  It’s actually a two-sided question, as any Fantasy Baseball owner should be just as worried about the hurlers to avoid as the ones to target.  So, in order to help Joe work his way past all of the Phillie cheese steaks in his league, here’s a special, Moonlight, second half preview from sixty feet six inches.

Grab Bag

Any list of post All Star Break Studs has to begin with Johan Santana as the Mets’ ace is 64-19 over his career in the second half.  Don’t be fooled by his mundane 8-5 record, either. He’s suffered eight no decisions in which he’s allowed just nine runs.  Use his struggles to your advantage by grabbing him from J-Roller frustrated to this point.

Detroit’s Max Scherzer must have been given a magic elixir upon being sent to the minors a little more than a month ago as he suddenly discovered the velocity that had been missing through the early part of the season.  Since his return, Scherzer is 4-3 while averaging 7 K per start.  His numbers still appear unimpressive because of the slow start so, he may come cheap.

Javier Vasquez has spent half a season seeking the approval of ignorant Yankee fans convinced he didn’t belong in the rotation.  He’s the #2 starter now, (as predicted here in February), but may still be undervalued.  Go out and grab him. Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

St. John’s Basketball Hires (Settles For?) Steve Lavin

Don’t know if there’s a better indication of how far the St. John’s basketball program has fallen than the difficulty the powers that be had in signing a new head coach.  ESPN analyst and former UCLA head man, Steve Lavin, accepted the job after the Johnnies were rebuffed by Florida’s Billy Donovan and Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech.  In addition, Fran McCaffrey, who led Siena to the top of the MAAC during his tenure, and Boston College head man Al Skinner were brought in for interviews and may or may not have been offered the job.  That Lavin is, at best, the Red Storm’s third choice, and might actually be the fifth, speaks volumes to the current irrelevance of what was once a national power.  While Lavin has his work cut out for him, he does have a significant resource of talent in his own backyard.  Armed with four returning senior starters and eight scholarships, he may actually be able to effect a significant turnaround in very short order if he can tap into the prep talent in New York City; something at which his two predecessors failed miserably.  It’s been too long since the Johnnies were at the top of the Big East and a viable threat in the NCAA tournament.  Lavin has an opportunity to be a hero to all of the Johnnie faithful longing to, once again, be a part of March Madness.  Here’s hoping he delivers. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

Beware the Young Studs

So, you’re beginning to prepare for your Fantasy Baseball Draft and the annual dilemma of when to start assembling your pitching staff rears its ugly head. “Can I really let Tim Lincecum get past my early, second round pick?”  “If Johan Santana falls to the fourth round, is he worth the risk?” And, finally, “When do I look to grab one of the young guns that could put my staff over the top?”  Well, to answer the first two, Lincecum would be a tough pass at that point in any Fantasy Baseball Draft and Johan is a steal if he drops to the fourth round.  As for the third question, there’s a little more to consider than potential. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

The HK Fantasy Baseball League

Did he really do that?

Last Sunday morning, having received an absolute gem from Johan Santana the day before, Skippy Shakes owner Bob Carr looked at the HK Fantasy standings and found himself one point ahead of the Mean Street Posse and a point and a half ahead of Ricciardi Brothers Inc. Having waged a two month assault on the top spot from as far back as twenty seven points, Carr had finally grabbed the lead with just one day to go. Unfortunately, he couldn’t leave well enough alone and almost managed himself out of a title.

One of the deals that catapulted his Shakes squad in the last two months was the acquisition of C.C. Sabathia. As the Brewers’ ace carried his squad toward the playoffs, he also carried Carr; allowing the Shakes to make huge gains in the pitching categories. So, with C.C. on the bump for Milwaukee’s finale, Carr was sitting pretty. Santana had given him the slightest of leads in ERA and WHIP. Leads that were crucial to holding on to the top spot. So, what did Carr do? He reserved Sabathia rather than risk a bad outing. The plan was to stay right where he was and allow the others to fall back. Sadly, he paid no mind to the results of his last grand plan to protect his ERA; the ill fated benching of Hideo Nomo on the day he threw a no-no at Coor’s Field. Lightning couldn’t strike twice in the same place, could it?

As Sabathia was holding the Cubbies to just four hits and one run during his complete game, Carr watched in horror as Jerry Manuel summoned Luis Ayala from the bullpen for the Mets. True to form, Ayala grooved one for Dan Uggla, pushing Carr’s ERA just below Ricciardi Bros. and creating a three way tie. That Tim Lincecum and Ubaldo Jimenez had strong outings for RBI only served to drop the Shakes further down in the category. Carr was distraught.

Resigning himself to being the perpetrator of the biggest bonehead move in league history, he flipped through the channels to see if there were any games still going on. That’s when he stumbled across the ninth inning of the Mariners- A’s game and found the now beautiful J.J.Putz standing on the mound protecting a one run lead. Forgetting for the moment that he had cursed Putz’s incompetence for two months, he now begged his fellow redhead for just three outs. You see, Carr was also tied in the saves category and could gain a critical half point if Putz could only close out the A’s. He did and Carr had his league title by the slimmest of margins. He still pulled the biggest gaffe in fantasy league history but at least it didn’t cost him a Yoo-Hoo shower.

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Next week, we’ll start to look back at the 2008 season with Fantasy Awards and readers’ tales of their successes and failures, booms and busts and plans going forward. Enjoy the playoffs as we turn our focus back to the world where the only numbers that count are the ones on the scoreboard. Incidentally, I like a Rays- Cubs World Series so, you might want to put a little money down on any of the other six teams.

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