“Brooklyn Sound”: Foreigner(s)
Sorry to all those that read the title and assumed you were going to get your classic rock fill with a post about the chart busting, smash hit “Cold as Ice.” We are going to be talking about the kind of foreigner that brings joy to our hearts, but not the band! If there was ever any argument that foreign players were just a waste of your fantasy draft picks, this is certainly not the year. It has become largely apparent that America’s favorite pastime has become a launching pad for talents all over the world. Let’s be honest with ourselves here folks, the best player in the game, fantasy or not, was born in Maracay, Venezuela. I think it’s great for baseball and even more so for civilization that players from all around the globe come together to enjoy the game we have loved since childhood. Having said all of that, if you were lucky to snag these guys in your draft or off the wire early in the season, you have even more reason to love these breaths of fantasy fresh air.
Yu Darvish – P – Striking out a whopping 36 more batters than innings pitched, Darvish is a top contender for the Cy Young this season. At this point in the year, he is on pace to finish with an upgrade from last years stats by .107 in ERA, .025 in WHIP, and .031 in BAA, while increasing his K’s by 37. The only thing getting in the way of Darvish giving you the goods we have come to expect this year is a lingering shoulder issue due to fatigue in his trapezium muscle, which has caused him to land on the 15 day DL this month.
Hiyun-Jin Ryu – P – Albeit regressing from his fantastic first three months where he posted a 2.81 ERA over 105 innings pitched, Ryu has been exactly what the late rounds in a draft were made for: helpful production at a reasonable price. Personally, I do wish he could have sustained the 40+ strikeouts per month, as he did in April, but he should be pretty good for at least another 60 on the year, which would put him a little over 150 for the season. The Dodgers are playing well, so there is no reason why he couldn’t pick up another three to four more wins at worst. Down the stretch, this is definitely someone owners should be looking to attain on the cheap, before their leagues up coming deadline arrives (which will be the topic of next weeks post).
Yasiel Puig – OF – It would be mighty dim of me to create an article on foreign players producing at a high level and leave out the Cuban masher in LA. He still has many speculating how long he can keep up playing at this level, yet the reality is that at the moment, he is crushing the ball at an insane rate, and his owners are enjoying his presence on their teams. He is a possible five tool player that would have you ranked 1st if there was a category based on running into walls on a nightly basis. You cannot deny he is the type of guy when he is up, you pay attention to his at bat, hoping to see something special happen, which makes him an exciting commodity for your team. After all, is that not what participating in fantasy baseball is about? Enjoying the game more because you put this team together?
Hiroki Kuroda – SP – Every year I talk myself out of drafting Mr. Kuroda, and all he does is put up sweet lines of 2.65/1.04/88/9W’s/13QS/125.2IP, including a complete game shutout. I honestly thought playing on the Yankees this year would seriously be a problem for the 38-year-old (I know, right?). Obviously, he has proved me wrong once again. That will probably not stop me from doing it again next year, though, because at some point, I have to be right in the next few years. Moving forward for the rest of the season, he is the kind of player that you can rely on to give you what he has so far, which is consistency.
I hope to see the amount of foreign players entering the league continue to grow, because it has certainly been helpful to the league in terms of excitement. MLB loves a great story, and we as fantasy owners love high production, so it’s a win/win scenario for all. These are not the only players making an impact by far. Andrelton Simmons, Shin-Soo Choo, and Hisashi Iwakuma have all proved to be highly useful in fantasy this season, and will most likely continue to be for many to come. When next season rolls around, I am sure we will be talking about even more foreign stars making fantasy waves.
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