In Fantasy Baseball it helps to have players on strong teams that score many runs, and have solid pitching as the core of your team. As the season moves forward the competition increases. Positive energy flow is key for players as they strive to get into the playoffs to fulfill their ultimate goal of getting to World Series to be the champion. This week I share with you parts of two articles from Yahoo Sports writers Tim Brown who discusses Power Rankings and Scott Pianowski who does his column Roto Arcade.
Washington1. Washington Nationals– Displeased with inappropriate question put to rookie Bryce Harper, entire Nats team gets huffy, returns to hotel in its single tiny car.
Los Angeles 2. Los Angeles– Tommy Lasorda heart attack is “mild” according to those who didn’t suffer it.
New York 3. New York Yankees– Doctor rolls eyes, tells Mark Teixeira again that no matter how often he coughs, hernia portion of exam is over.
Texas 4. Texas Rangers– Rangers’ starters third in the league in ERA, but first in MRI.
Tampa Bay 5. Tampa Bay Rays– Ozzie Guillen offers to throw in “a couple million” for new Rays ballpark. Rays appreciate it, ask if they couldn’t have Giancarlo Stanton instead.
San Francisco 6. San Francisco Giants– Apparently, Tim Lincecum’s ERA on same diet as Pablo Sandoval.
Baltimore 7. Baltimore Orioles– First pick Kevin Gausman reveals he eats powdered donuts between innings of his starts. Guessing his favorite pitcher growing up was David Wells.
Chicago 8. Chicago White Sox– Commissioner advises Hawk Harrelson that all subsequent rants should be limited to manager’s office, where they’re considered “feisty” and “colorful.”
Cincinnati 9. Cincinnati Reds– Dusty Baker attempts six-out save by Aroldis Chapman. Next option, make Chapman a starter and begin games at 10:15 p.m.
Los Angeles 10. Los Angeles Angels– Mike Scioscia honored with bobblehead at Dodger Stadium, calls it the “soup de jour” of his time there, requests soda crackers.
Atlanta 11. Atlanta Braves– Imposter crashes Braves’ alumni weekend. Also, apparently, catches and bats third.
Pittsburgh 12. Pittsburgh Pirates– Pirates draft Mark Appel, resist temptation of forbidden over-slot bonus.
Cleveland 13. Cleveland Indians– Derek Lowe heaves cooler while getting knocked around against Tigers. Prince Fielder hits it for stand-up double.
New York 14. New York Mets– New Rule: Every ballclub must have a Libertarian, atheist (fine, apatheist), acerbic/enlightened, pot-smoking, hot-tubbing, Palin-hating part-owner. The Mets should have two.
Miami 15. Miami Marlins– Ozzie Guillen has been off Twitter for nearly a month. Can remove patch after six weeks, or whenever shakes subside.
Toronto 16. Toronto Blue Jays – Local TV reporter saddened by Bryce Harper’s “Clown question, bro” response, didn’t go through four years of circus school to take this kind of abuse.
St. Louis 17. St. Louis Cardinals– Mets sell “reprints” of game tickets from Johan Santana no-hitter over Cardinals, apparently so people can pretend they were there. Third-base umpire Adrian Johnson buys two.
Arizona 18. Arizona Diamondbacks– Kirk Gibson picks up Bob Melvin from airport when struggling A’s come to town. Sent limo for rest of team.
Boston 19. Boston Red Sox– Bobby V says watching Stephen Strasburg pitch at Fenway is like “looking at a rainbow,” prompting new Sabermetric stat that measures Romantic Optimization Yearning for Gifted Ballplayer In Visitation: ROYGBIV.
Detroit 20. Detroit Tigers– Jose Valverde denies throwing spitter, explains he was simply sweating heavily. Out of his mouth.
Philadelphia 21. Philadelphia Phillies– Charlie Manuel had swagger once. Wife made him stop.
Milwaukee 22. Milwaukee Brewers – So, anybody have a lead yet on the Tony Plush kidnapping?
Oakland 23. Oakland Athletics– A’s weigh the benefits of Manny Being Mini.
Minnesota 24. Minnesota Twins– Twins win two of three against Cubs, knew they had this kind of run in them.
Seattle 25. Seattle Mariners– Confusion reigns in publicity photos for Seattle Six when no one can remember what order they pitched in. Or which six it was.
Houston 26. Houston Astros– Marketing department rethinks promotional Jose Altuve growth chart give-away.
Kansas City 27. Kansas City Royals– Zack Greinke returns to KC, catches up with old pals, like, uh, Buddy and That Guy and Dude.
Colorado 28. Colorado Rockies– Poor clubbie can’t get any work done, what with all the pitchers asking him to go check again that the humidor really is running.
Chicago 29. Chicago Cubs– Folks on North Side shocked when team fires hitting coach. Had no idea Cubs had one.
San Diego 30. San Diego Padres– Good job! Good, oh, never mind
Tim Brown is an award-winning writer with 20 years of experience covering Major League Baseball at the Los Angeles Times, Newark Star-Ledger, Cincinnati Enquirer and Los Angeles Daily News. He studied journalism at the University of Southern California and Cal
Carlos Marmol is back in the Chicago closing chair, and he has the full endorsement of his manager. Heaven help us all.
The season numbers aren’t going to defend Marmol. He’s walked more batters than he’s struck out (22 and 21, respectively), and his ratio stats are ugly (5.79 ERA, 1.98 WHIP). But the league is still batting just .208 off him — if he can hit the zone most of the time, he should be fine — and the last-place Cubs have built-in motivation to try to get Marmol fixed. It’s not like Chicago is dealing with a pennant race; this 22- 42 club can accept some ninth-inning mishaps as it tries to get to a better point down the road.
The value of closers is a very context-driven thing. In some leagues, every save has a blood value, no matter the stats attached. In thinner pools, it might not be worth it to chase a ninth-inning option who might torch your ratio stats. You’ll have to measure your level of desperation for yourself. Marmol is currently owned in 38 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Gut feel: I think Marmol gets at least 10 saves the rest of the way, though they might be ugly most of the time. This is one of the ultimate “don’t watch” closers. But his value will fluctuate greatly from format to format.
After going nine starts without any wins, Ryan Dempster finally came up with a plan that works: don’t let the other guys score. He threw seven bagels at the Red Sox (4 H, 2 BB, 3 K), his third consecutive start without surrendering a run. Perfect timing, as the Cubs would like to trade Dempster before he hits free agency this winter. A durable right-hander with a 2.11 ERA and 1.01 WHIP is sure to draw interest; the Yankees and Dodgers have been mentioned in early scuttlebutt. Dempster is a 10-5 man, so he can reject any trade.
Yep, he did it again, The Twins dropped their third straight game Friday, despite the ongoing exploits of Trevor Plouffe. The Midwestern Masher clocked a couple of pitches into the seats (the second one landed in the upper deck), giving him nine homers this month and seven in his last seven games. Plouffe was a waiver-wire nomad a short time ago, but his ownership has shot up to 51 percent in Yahoo! leagues. The four positions of eligibility (second, short, third, outfield) are a nifty selling point.
There’s not much new info to offer on the player. You probably know by now that Plouffe was a first-round pick back in 2004 (20th overall), and you probably know that he’s shown some pop — and a sketchy batting average — for most of his pro career. This is one of those short-leash pickups that’s fun to make, but don’t get locked into the story. The midnight bell could strike at any time.
One of the general takeaways from Plouffe is the playability of Target Field. It was a home run graveyard for everyone in 2010, but right-handed batters actually enjoyed a four-percent spike in power last year (while the lefties paid a 28-percent tax). This year, more of the same: it’s no shock that Plouffe and Josh Willingham have crushed the ball at home while disappearing on the road; conversely, lefty-swinging Justin Morneau has been the exact opposite (feeble in Minnesota, a thumper everywhere else). Make sure you’re seeing this park for what it really is.
Jason Bay is probably headed to the seven-day DL, and with all concussion injuries, no one can be sure when he’ll make it back. Bay’s expected absence might open up more time for Scott Hairston, though the book on Hairston suggests he’s really nothing past a platoon player.
The amino acids split stats do a good job of breaking Hairston down. He has a career .840 OPS against the southpaws, but just .697 against everyone else. It’s been more pronounced this year: a .347/.382/.708 line when he holds the platoon advantage (with seven homers), and a whole lot of nothing when he doesn’t (.188/.250/.417, two homers).
Hairston did reach the seats Friday against righty Bronson Arroyo, for what it’s worth, but the skills are well-established here. This is the type of deep-league flyer that’s schedule-dependent. The Mets run into some lefty opponents next week, so keep Hairston in mind down the road (Brian Matusz on Wednesday, Andy Pettitte on Friday, CC Sabathia for Sunday). And if you must add a Mets outfielder in the meantime, sweet-swinging lefty Kirk Nieuwenhuis (three homers in two days, .297 average) should be your target.
Before we leave the Metropolitans, let’s offer some nice words about Ike Davis. He’s on a snappy 9-for-16 run over the last six games (one homer, two doubles), and more importantly, he’s seeing the ball well and making decent contact (six walks, just three strikeouts). Perhaps he’s finally over his physical maladies and any confidence issues. If you’re in a forgiving mood, head to the free-agent wire: Davis is available in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Is the light bulb finally going on for Phil Hughes? The enigmatic New York righty has been useful in seven of his last eight starts, fashioning a 3.27 ERA and 49 strikeouts against 13 walks. He’s been fortunate to win six of those turns, and the solid ERA comes despite a seven-run nightmare in Anaheim.
Hughes cruised in Washington on Friday (6 IP, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K), making a solid impression on the Nats. “He was spotting his fastball,” Ryan Zimmerman observed after the game. “When you throw 94, 95 (mph) and you can put it wherever you want, it’s tough. He did a good job of that.” Hughes is owned in just 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues; consider adding him before next week’s home turn against Atlanta.
Visit again for baseball news, tidbits, waiver wire suggestions and articles that I am reading that I will share with you to help you achieve your goal of reaching the playoffs, and be the 2012 Fantasy Baseball champion of your league! Post your comments questions and feel free to e-mail me any time at BonnieGortler@gmail.com.
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