The topic of having a DH in both leagues has been around for a long time. The proponents suggest this would add some spice to the NL game. Rarely are pitchers good hitters. There have been many position players turned pitchers that could hit, but their stats didn’t show it. I think in recent history to Carlos Zambrano, Glendon Rusch, Mike Hampton and Dontrelle Willis. For those who are pro-DH, what would’ve happened to Babe Ruth if there was always a DH? If Ruth would’ve never hit, the history of baseball would’ve been changed forever. The DH rule wasn’t adopted until January 11, 1973. Does the DH need to be instituted at the Little League level? Playing baseball my entire life, defense and hitting was always part of the game. I believe it takes someone special to be able to excel at both sides of the game. Pete Rose once said, “It’s a round ball and a round bat, and you got to hit it square.” I argue that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in any sport. Forget the speed of the ball, the trajectory is an entire evil in itself. When a pitch has great movement it’s very hard to make great contact.
I’ve always thought baseball was a lot like chess. Sometimes, you have to give yourself up to plan for the future. This is what makes the NL so great. The fact that a manager has to strategize late in a ball game makes it more intense for those who aren’t watching solely for entertainment. The double switch, a sacrifice bunt, and a pinch hitter all come into play in the NL game. At times, these beautiful aspects are nonexistent in the American League. I’m not denying that having another successful hitter in the lineup would add more offense to the National League. It definitely would give aging players more of an opportunity to stick in the National League, rather than find a job with an AL team. On the other hand, it would reduce the risk of pitchers getting hurt. I think this argument is vague. How often do pitchers really get hurt while swinging a bat? They are more likely to get hurt while doing their job of pitching. Baseball has been so perfect for so long, why change it now?
Down & Out for Wainwright
Wainwright has been lost for the season from what is being called an Achilles injury. Reports suggest that Wainwright will have surgery later this week. During last night’s radio show, we talked about the effects of the injury occurring on his right leg. Initially, I commented that it would have been more devastating to the leg he pushes off the rubber with. On second thought, there is a fair argument that just as much pressure is exerted on the plant foot’s Achilles. After surgery, he’s looking at nine to twelve months before returning to the mound. This leaves St. Louis with a spot to fill. Initially, it looked as if Jaime Garcia or Marco Gonzales could fill in. Garcia looks to be out another four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, and Gonzales is battling should tightness of his own. That being said, two options are Tyler Lyons or Tim Cooney. Lyons has had two brief stints with the big league club, and his numbers haven’t been anything to write about. He’s had a 4.00 ERA during his minor league career, making Cooney’s career 3.50 ERA more appealing. The left-handed Cooney is sporting a 14:5 K:BB ratio while going 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Lyons has posted an impressive 20:5 K:BB of his own. Both pitchers are viable options, but can the Cardinals replace their number one starter with guys that don’t have much of a Major League track record. Many people have mentioned Cole Hamels as a trade target. In reality, this would definitely help the Cardinals this season and in the future. I just can’t see General Manager John Mozeliak putting together the package that Ruben Amaro, Jr. would want in return. Milwaukee has looked dreadful, and another option could be making a trade for Kyle Lohse. Lohse is a veteran starter who had his best seasons as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Lohse asking price has never been lower and I believe a trade back to Baseball Town would light a spark. His confidence would be renewed returning to a team that can produce on offense.
Just shy of the 20 game mark, Andrew McCutchen is batting a paltry .186 with more strikeouts than hits. This isn’t the first time McCutchen has started slow, but I’m sure it makes Pirates fans a bit uneasy. For as good as McCutchen is, he’s never had a 200-hit season. He was close in 2012, but fell six hits short. That being said, McCutchen is a career .300 hitter that’s only batted less than .286 once in his seven-year career. With his stock being low, now would be a great time to see if you can work a trade out for McCutchen. More than likely, McCutchen owners know he will bounce back, but it doesn’t hurt to inquire about the possibility of adding a stellar outfielder to your lineup. It’s only a matter of time before McCutchen gets back into his yearly hunt for NL MVP honors. If you can make the trade happen, do so now.
Week 3 Fantasy Studs
Anthony Rizzo [1B – CHC]: Rizzo absolutely pounded opposing pitching, hitting .455 with one home run and three stolen bases. There is a reason why Theo has acquired him on different occasions. Rizzo has blossomed into a premier power-hitting first baseman and looks to be the focal point to an up and coming Chicago Cubs lineup.
Starlin Castro [SS – CHC]: Castro was another Cub that had a terrific week three. Hitting .360 with a homer and five RBI, Castro was my top NL shortstop of the week. It’s safe to say Addison Russell will have to get used to playing second base.
Starling Marte [LF – PIT]: Marte has turned into quite the fantasy stud. He’s shown some pop, as well as scoring runs while stealing numerous amounts of bases. This past week, Marte hit .381 with two home runs, four RBI and six runs. He’s been shouldering the hits while McCutchen battles through his slump.
Todd Frazier [3B – CIN]: I could’ve easily added Matt Holliday or Matt Carpenter to this list, but Frazier has been a bright spot to a pretty bad Cincinnati Reds team. Frazier connected on two home runs while driving in five runs.
Hector Rondon [CL – CHC]: On pace to become a top-tier close, Rondon was untouchable last week picking up two saves in three innings of work. He struck out four batters while only giving up one hit.
Jake Arrieta [SP – CHC]: How valuable has Arrieta been to the Northside of Chicago? He has been like an ace since his arrival. He went 2-0, in two starts, with a 13:3 K:BB and a mesmerizing 2.08 ERA. He’s turned into a viable fantasy option that is easily pitching like a number one starter.
Gerrit Cole [SP – PIT]: It’s safe to say you will see him on my weekly list many times this season. He’s turning into the number one for Pittsburgh and is blossoming into a front-line fantasy starter. There was no doubt when he was drafted that he would become a dominant pitcher. He raised his record to 3-0, in four starts, with 27 strikeouts to only seven walks.
Trevor Rosenthal [CL – STL]: The hard-throwing Cardinals closer has pitched admirably thus far. Control has always been an issue, but Rosenthal has managed to keep his walks to only four in 8.2 innings of work. Last week, Rosenthal rewarded fantasy owners with three saves to go along with four strikeouts. His 1.04 ERA on the season has been a great welcome to fantasy teams everywhere.
Favorite Matchups Week 4
Travis Wood: [vs. PIT & MIL] Wood is 1-1 in three starts this season, but I like his matchups against a struggling Milwaukee team as well as a Pittsburgh team that has yet to find their stride. Available in most leagues, Wood could pay off big for those who take the chance on him, although there is always the possibility of him getting hit hard. It’s almost a Jekyll & Hyde story.
Anthony Rizzo: [vs. PIT & MIL] Rizzo is off to a hot start and gets to hit against all right-handed starters this week. Thus far, Rizzo is hitting .283 with two home runs and six RBI against right-handed pitching. He’s as safe as it gets for first basemen.
Michael Wacha: [vs. PHI & PIT] The time is now for Wacha to supplant Wainwright as the ace of the Cardinals. Wacha is off to a torrid pace with a 3-0 record and a sparkling 1.33 ERA. He hasn’t been dominant in terms of strikeouts, but is still posting a 12:4 K:BB ratio. I love Wacha against a Phillies team that no one fears and a Pittsburgh team that features a slumping Andrew McCutchen.
Matt Carpeneter: [vs. PHI & PIT] Did Carpenter slow down last week only hitting .308? Absolutely not! There’s no way you can’t have this guy in your lineup. Trade for him. He’s hitting .366 with 19 hits, 11 RBI, 14 runs, and seven walks. He’s getting on base and sports a .423 OBP and 1.057 OPS. He’s easily the early MVP of the fantasy world.
Kris Bryant Watch:
It’s safe to say Bryant’s call-up has been a success. He’s hitting .333, in 33 at-bats, with four extra base hits. He has nine strikeouts, but has walked eight times. This has allowed him to have an OBP of almost .480. Bryant has yet to launch his first bomb, but I have a feeling it’s going to come Monday or Tuesday night. While the .333 may not hold up, I think it’s safe to project a .275-.280 average. I like what he’s done at the plate and I’m just waiting for him to clear the bases with his first Major League home run. I’m predicting it comes this evening [Monday night] in his first or second at-bat against Vance Worley.
Stars of Week Three:
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Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 3rd from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio Network. Call in at 646-915-8596. This week we will be discussing everything out west. The A.L. & N.L. West divisions and everything fantasy relevant within.