The future is now in Baltimore.
Well, it's Friday, anyway.
Matt Wieters, everybody's rookie of the year favorite before the season started, will start for the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, presumably at catcher.
Wieters, who hit .355 with 27 home runs in 2008, had scuffled in comparison this year, hitting .285 with 5 HR and 26 RBI in 36 games. Striking out 30 times, Wieters also has 10 other extra base hits for AAA Norfolk.
(Check out this earlier blog from Weiters' trip to Knights Castle in mid-April).
So, is Wieters an automatic pickup? Well, not exactly.
It all depends on the makeup of your roster and your league. If you're carrying Joe Mauer or Brian McCann, and you're carrying only one catcher, the answer is probably not. Now, if you have bench spots, and think you can grab and stash and it's a good trading league, then I'd try to get him now. And yes, he's worth a high waiver claim.
For leagues where Wieters won't be put on Yahoo! until 3 a.m. on Saturday, the question becomes, is he worth setting your alarm? Again, only you can be the judge. I'd say it depends on the ratio of young kids that will wake you up before 7 a.m., divided what odd jobs you wanna get accomplished on Saturday, subtracted by any dinner parties you need to bring your "A" game for.
If you're still riding with Geovany Soto or A.J. Pierzynski at catcher, my advice is not only set your alarm for 2:55 a.m., but the phone, too.
Unless, of course, you're getting married on Saturday.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The future is now in Baltimore.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
The wait is over. Practically.
Tampa Bay playoff hero David Price will get his first start of the year on Monday at Cleveland after the Rays placed LHP Scott Kazmir (right quad strain/no confidence) and closer Troy Percival (shoulder tendinitis/old age) on the disabled list.
And Percival may retire, according to Joe Madden.
The info about Price starting, not made official yet by the Rays can be found in this official Rays blog, which is a good one to book mark, if you own any Tampa players.
Price, from what anyone can figure out, was being held down at AAA Durham to keep his arbitration clock from ticking. Of course, nobody can prove why the Rays thought their best weapon from the ALCS, who was outstanding in spring, was deemed not worthy to make the opening day roster. The only thing that makes sense is it's a money thing.
Price scuffled a couple times in the past few weeks, including his start at Knights Stadium here in Charlotte, but still finished with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP, along with 35 Ks in 34 1/3 IP. His last outing was a no-hitter through five innings, when the Bulls pulled him (via pitch count).
With only 34 1/3 innings through 8 starts, you can expect Price to be freed up to go at least 6 innings a start, after he gets up to full strength. Yanking him after 5 IP will be too taxing on an already depleted bullpen. But Price could get skipped a time or two in the rotation if his innings pile up and the Rays are still in contention.
Fantasy spin: By all means, Price is a must add. If you've held onto him this long, Merry Christmas. I bailed two weeks ago and regret that decision, but fifth starter Jeff Niemann has been solid and Price was going through control problems. Don't expect last year's postseason miracles to translate completely, but he should be a steady source of Ks and wins and he shouldn't hurt your ERA/WHIP, if he can locate the slider and the improved change-up. Price may give you a rookie season comparable to Tim Lincecum, who was dominant, but had his share of blowups in 2007.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Some big name pitchers are falling to pieces. Another one is putting them back together.
Here's a quick 2-minute drill on some pitchers who may be weighing your staff down:
Kerry Wood: Cubs fans have been here before. Talk about summer rerun season...
Wood entered with a 5-2 lead in the 9th, after Cliff Lee pitched a masterful game (some think he should've been allowed to come back in the 9th after 101 pitches, but that's another blog for another day).
Mike Jacobs and Mark Teahen launch back-to-back homers before a walk, triple and sac fly completed a 6-5 Royals comeback.
“Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen a comeback like this in our home ball park,” said Royals manager Trey Hillman. “As soon as the ball left the bat with Teahen, I think the whole dugout felt like we’re going to do this.”
Confidence is a tricky thing and K-Wood might be a little shy these days. It's only his second blown save, but his ERA ballooned to 8.31, his WHIP is up to 1.77 and probably most worrisome for Wood owners (and Tribe fans) is he's surrendered 9 earned runs in the past 6 2/3 IP.
Not much you can do if you're an owner but sit and hope Wood corrects himself. And remember, he went through a couple of these stretches with the Cubs last year (and don't be surprised if he ends up on the DL soon). You should have been prepared for at least one DL stint, but as soon as he looks right again, try to unload.
You're on borrowed time here.
Felix Hernandez: He flirts with you, throwing impressive outing after impressive out, making big league hitters look silly with that nasty hook.
Then, he'll blow you off, not return your calls and texts....as he did Wednesday night: 6 ER, 11 hits, 3 BB and only 3 Ks.
Felix may never fully figure it out. His ERA/WHIP are up to 4.13 and 1.34 with 56 Ks in 56 2/3.
When the dust clears in Seattle, this is what you're left with. An exciting guy to watch with average ERA/WHIP numbers and above average Ks. But he's not elite and in his 5th season (including an abbreviated first year), you'd think Felix would learn how to minimize damage with such good stuff and more than one out pitch.
Maybe one day, we'll all sit around the fantasy campfire and laugh at the times when nobody could own Felix for a full season as the heartburn was too painful and how now he's the right-handed Johan Santana.
But don't go buying the smores any time soon.
Scott Kazmir: His second consecutive seven-run massacre tonight tells me one thing: The Kaz will be on the shelf soon.
I don't have any inside info, but a pitcher with Kazmir's stuff just doesn't go south without something being physically wrong. And you know the Rays are just dying for an excuse to finally promote David Price now that 1). It's past mid-May and 2). He pitched five no-hit innings his last Durham outing.
This makes his fourth outing in six where he's given up 6 or more ER. Not to mention, he's walked 25 guys in 41 1/3 IP and has a 6.97 ERA ... it's really time to pull the cord.
And stash Price while you're at it (if he's available).
Dontrelle Willis: I asked a trusted colleague what he thought of Willis' outing and his first words: "Don't you dare go after him."
Needless to say, he wasn't buying the comeback gem Willis whirled Wednesday night. I'm not exactly buying it yet either, but I am picking it up off the shelf and checking the nutritional contents on the back label.
Here's the deal with Willis. It was just 2005 when Willis went 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Those ERA numbers seem very other-world-like (aka Peavish), but there is some inner talent somewhere, if Willis can just figure out how to master his anxiety issues.
But the psychologically-challenged lefty could very well catch a fresh batch of confidence and parlay it into a comeback season of the ages, if he can just figure out his loose wires.
If there's a spot on your bench, Willis is worth a speculative add. Maybe this turns out to be just a false alarm, but the next couple outings will tell us a lot about Willis' recovery.
Yes, you'll take some flack in your league for making the move.
But you may be laughing last.
Just don't tell them I told you to do it. I've got a reputation to uphold.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
When a pitcher has been on the DL all season, then lasts just 2 pitches, you're allowed to jump to conclusions.
Saturday events in Arlington, however, had nothing to do with John Lackey's right elbow inflammation.
Lackey's first pitched sailed behind Ian Kinsler's head. This is the same Kinsler who just so happened to tag the Angels the night before for a couple home runs, his 10th and 11th of the season, in the Rangers' 10-8 victory.
So, he threw one behind his head. Understandable, I guess. Hasn't pitched in six weeks.
The next pitch landed squarely in Kinsler's ribs.
The rest was history. And that included Lackey's first start of the season. If you're keeping score at home, that's two pitches, one hit-batter, one earned run in 0.0 IP.
I was obviously trying to come in on him but there was no intention to hit him or to come in behind him,” Lackey said. “It was definitely surprising.”
Seems pretty bizarre for a guy to risk sending a message in his first start after missing six weeks of the season already.
There's probably a 96 percent chance it was just lack of control. But after two straight pitches, the umps couldn't take that chance. A warning seemed fair, but instead, Lackey got an early visit to the showers.
Here's crew chief Tim Tschida's version of what happened:
“When the first pitch of the next game to that hitter is behind him, that’s a red flag,” Tschida said. “We gave (Lackey) the benefit of the doubt because maybe he was a little amped up coming off the DL. When he hit him with the second pitch, that was something else.”
Good news for Lackey enthusiasts, his next turn is at Sleepless (Offense) in Seattle.
Might wanna start out a bit outside on Ichiro for starters.
Where's Murphy: Everyone's New York darling Daniel Murphy has almost overnight turned into just a pinch hitting specialist for the Mets. Gary Sheffield has actually been swinging a warm bat, causing Murphy to log four pinch-hit at-bats in four games. If you picked him up, hoping for an oil spring of runs and decent numbers everywhere else, it might be time to bail. I can't believe Sheff is stealing at-bats, but they're both defensive liabilities, so the PT will probably go to whoever's got the hot hand.
Ibanez the pickup of the year? I'll admit it. When the Cubs were linked to Raul Ibanez's name in the off-season, I cringed. He's out of gas. Nothing left in the tank. I didn't want Milton Bradley, but would've taken Ibanez over Bradley and definitely Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu. Well, after a 3-HR day, Ibanez is hitting .368 with 13 jacks and 35 RBI. (Don't ask me to look up Bradley's numbers). Dealt straight-up for Dice-K in the first week of the season, owners thought Ibanez wasn't enough of a hitter to justify that trade. Five weeks later, it's looking just the opposite. Think about selling high. He can't keep this up.
Upton's bat no longer hitting snooze alarm? B.J. Upton, with home runs in back to back games (and a pair of steals in a 9-0 contest on Friday) is proving he might end up being the fantasy commodity that caused folks to grab him in the 2nd or 3rd round (and $24 in our auction draft). Some think the window to buy low has officially slammed shut with today's HR. I disagree. I dealt him awhile back for an equally-struggling Jimmy Rollins, but there's still questions with the shoulder and I bet you can get him for a 15-20 percent discount still. If he has fully recovered, you could have yourself a deal. If Upton hits 9 HR again, well, you should at least get 30+ steals from the speedster the rest of the way.
Friday, May 15, 2009
The call has been made.
No, it's not David Price. Or Matt Wieters. Or even Tommy Hanson. But keep your eye on all three.
Two other minor league studs got the call to the bigs on Thursday, mostly to infuse some life into struggling offenses.
Nolan Reimold, Orioles, OF: Adam Jones' hammy and Luke Scott's shoulder are two reasons why Reimold was called up from Triple-A Norfolk, where he was hitting the stitches off the ball.
Check out these numbers: .394 avg., .485 obp., 9 HR, 27 RBI, 6 SB in 31 games.
There's no question Reimold can rake. The question is PT. But with former Cubs flameout Felix Pie still getting regular at-bats, you have to think that Reimold will find his way in the lineup once Jones and Scott are no the mend. All he has to do is perform, to a modest degree.
The future is, well, a year or two away in Baltimore. The O's are enjoying an OK start (15-20), but in the AL East, it's almost time to scrap 2009.
Add Reimold and expect semi-regular starts from here on out and 15-18 HR the rest of the way is very possible.
Mat Gamel, 3B, Brewers: Ranked as a slightly higher prospect than Reimold, the Brew Crew's hot hitter at the hot corner may not make near the fantasy impact as the O's rookie, as Milwaukee is very much alive and well in the playoff race.
The Brewers' problem is their bench has hit around .100 in pinch-hit at-bats and they're looking for a punch. Interleague at Minnesota is around the corner, so DHing that series is likely for the man with a one-T first name.
Word on the street is Gamel would be invited to the Ryan Braun fielding clinic as an guest teacher, committing a whopping 40 errors between this year and last. So, Bill Hall's job as the primary 3B is probably safe for now. But spot starts (ala Cleveland's Matt LaPorta) will trickle in and the more Gamel hits, the more you'll want him on your team.
If your league is one of those with bench spots (or is a keeper league), make the move now and your patience will be rewarded. With 8 HR, 19 extra-base hits, 31 ribbies and a .336 avg. in 119 AAA at-bats, there's a lot of life in Gamel's stick.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
This is the fantasy equivalent of The Perfect Storm.
You have Josh Hamilton, Aramis Ramirez and Hanley Ramirez on your team and they're all not playing. The infamous day-to-day, which is a fantasy player's worst nightmare.
Meanwhile, your team is plummeting in the standings worse than newspaper stock. All you can do is click on the little red update box and day after day after lousy day, you see they are not in the lineup.
Maybe this weekend. Maybe Monday. Possibly next week.
But the kicker: (Insert name here) will appear to avoid the DL.
Personally, I'd much rather one of my stud hitters hit the disabled list if they are going to miss more than one or two days. Otherwise, they hold you hostage if you are in a league without a bench spot.
Currently, I'm a Josh and Aramis owner in a no-bench league. My power is being zapped. Even if I could put a warm body in for these two, I could make a little dent on the sagging power numbers.
Your only viable option is to trade at a discount. But I say don't do it.
Unless you can get fair value for your stud hitter, try to hold on. As the PGA campaign used to preach "These Guys are Good." And a panic trade in April can cost you a chance at any success.
Josh Hamilton (updated): Breaking news out of Arlington, where the Rangers have finally put Hamilton on the DL. Hamilton's rib injury was the most serious of the three as Hamilton injured it running the bases on Sunday. But the day after, he was lobbying to manager Ron Washington for 20 minutes before the game to play. Two days later, he told trainers he was in "extreme pain." Now, he's feeling better, but said he's still not ready to play and today, Texas decided to pull the trigger, which should give fantasy owners closure.
Aramis Ramirez: If you've had Aramis on your team, it's no surprise he's dinged up. Seems like 3-4 times a year, he's dealing with something. Usually it's the back or the quad. But the calf thing seems to be a little more serious than originally thought. An MRI yesterday showed no tear (just a strain), but the Cubs had Iowa's Bobby Scales at the ballpark, ready to call up, pending the MRI results, it was that close. The team is hopeful Ramirez can suit up this weekend, but based on verbage I'm reading, my money is on a Monday return.
Hanley Ramirez: Suffering from a bruised right wrist. Obviously, the Fish are being cautious. Hanley wants to play bad. That's a good sign from a guy who has been dogging it a bit on deep fly balls lately. He was 80/20 to play on Thursday and now, he's out of the lineup again today. Get him back in the lineup tomorrow in daily moves. I'm almost certain he'll be back.