“Joe Talkin’ To Me?!” AL West Fantasy Baseball Manifest Destiny: Cocaine Cowboy Back in Texas
The Angels had what they considered a problem on their hands until they unloaded Josh Hamilton to the Rangers. In order to rid themselves of the talented outfielder who cannot shake his attraction to the “white lady”, the Angels are eating $68 million of the remaining $80 million owed to Hamilton. Considering they did not even get a player in return, this is puzzling, to say the least. The Angels will basically be paying a ton of money to one of the most talented outfielders in the Bigs, to play for a division foe. What does it say that Arte Moreno wanted to get rid of him that badly? Does it mean he knows the 40 plus HR, RBI machine Hamilton is gone forever, or does it mean Mr. Moreno is a man of high moral values and does not want cancerous players in his clubhouse?
As fantasy players, lets take it at face value, then hope for more. The oft injured Hamilton of 2013 and 2014, when healthy, produced at a 20 HR, 80 RBI, .255-ish pace. If those numbers are sitting on your waiver, in this post-steroid era, go get him. Hamilton is expected back on the field in two to three weeks. He will be swinging the bat in Arlington once again, and the ballpark and hot Texas air alone should bump him closer to a 25 HR, 90 RBI pace. Consider the two big “what ifs”…If the shoulder, after two years, is finally 100%, and if Hamilton himself is again in an environment that proved to be healthy for him mentally, will we see the 40 HR, RBI machine again? Hamilton will be entering the Texas lineup around the time Adrian Beltre will be heating up and is worth the roster stash. I have been telling you to buy this lottery ticket for weeks, and this is surely your last chance.
Remember how feared this guy used to be?
AL West Headlines
Astros leading the space race. The surprising Astros are leading the AL West by four games (as of this moment). They are looking down on LA, SEA and OAK, all with nine wins. How have they done it? They are 9th in MLB in runs scored and 5th in team ERA. Is this sustainable? For a team that strikes out as much at the plate as Houston does, there is no way they continue to be near the top 3rd of the league in runs scored. While the bullpen is good, the starting rotation after Kuechel and McHugh is littered with journeymen, making the ERA unsustainable as well. The more talented Angels and Mariners will get hot and Houston will cool off, rendering April a distant memory.
“Miller Time”, last call? After he nearly lost his job in Spring Training to Chris Taylor (injured to begin the seaon), Brad Miller has posted an unimpressive 1 HR with a .323 OBP. Seattle needs a top of the lineup guy badly. This makes Taylor, who is over a career .320 BA and .400 OBP in MiLB, an intriguing option for Seattle. In 75 PA for AAA Tacoma, Taylor is hitting .328 with 5 SB. It is only a matter of time before he gets the call, and the shot to take Millers spot.
Taijuan Walker coming around. After two disastrous starts to open the season, Taijuan Walker, my favorite breakout player of the season, was looking like the bust of the season. After two starts, Walker’s ERA sat at 10.66 and WHIP at 2.50. These numbers cut in half would not be rosterable in fantasy leagues. Since then, Walker has given up one earned run in his last two starts, picking up his first win in his last. Also, he is striking out a batter per inning on the season. The difference in the last two starts? He decided to trust his stuff and use his nearly unhittable high fastball to get guys out. If he keeps pitching this way into the summer, he will pay huge dividends to those who stayed patient through the first two starts.
Garrett Richards not yet in the swing. Richards is apparently shaping into form, rather than showing up in form. He has walked seven batters in his first 12 IP, but the strikeouts are still there and he is not surrendering many hard hit baseballs. He will continue to improve and I anticipate he will be in mid season form by mid May.
Thumbs down for Lowrie. Lowrie is one of the big reasons Houston has jumped out to a four game lead in April. Unfortunately, for Lowrie and Houston, he will be sidelined until after the All-Star break with a torn ligament in his thumb. The Astros have recalled Jonathan Villar, not former #1 pick Carlos Correa. Villar is just 23-years-old and has 36 SB in 153 MLB games played. He is worth a look if you need SB or a SS.
Waiver Wire Rescue
Josh Reddick, OF, OAK – Unchallenged for playing time and hot as hell at the plate, Reddick
remains unowned in many leagues. With11 RBI, 6 XBH and only 4 SO in 14 games with a .360/.408/.580 slash line, Reddick is either now a mature 28-year-old ready for a career year, or simply off to a hot start. Take a gamble on the former. At minimum, you can ride the hot streak until it ends.
Jonathan Villar, SS, HOU – As mentioned above, will be a source of steals at a shallow position, but don’t expect much more.
Jesse Chavez, SP, OAK – Uncle Jesse now finds himself in the 5th starter spot going forward for the A’s. His first start was a 6 IP, 1 H, no decision. We all know his home games will be in a pitcher’s heaven, but don’t forget the 3.45 ERA and 136 K in 146 IP he posted in 2014.
Jed Lowrie, SS, HOU – I’m not waiting half the season, or more, for a career .260 hitter who might not have a job to come back to. By the time he is healthy, the Astros will be well out of any race and might be getting Correa some MLB ABs.
Luis Valbuena, 3B, HOU – OK, the mini HR barrage is over and the BA is back to .225. Time to say good bye. It was fun while it lasted.
James Paxton, SP, SEA – He has been one of the most disappointing fantasy performers so far. A few bad outings to start the season is not a big deal, but coupled with reports of diminished velocity, is a combination for disaster. Deep leaguers probably need to hold on, but if you are in a shallow league, go grad yourself some some Colon (or another fast starting, un-drafted pitcher) to cover up the stench of Paxton.
“And Boggs Never Walked Again”
Jed Lowrie, SS, HOU – Thumb, expected return after the All-Star break.
Matt Shoemaker, SP, LAA – Will miss next start.
Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX – Shoulder, expected return in May.
Ryan Rua, OF, TEX – Sprained ankle, bum heel, no timetable for return.
Derek Holland, SP, TEX – Shoulder, expected return early July.
Yu Darvish, SP, TEX – Tommy John Surgery, out for the season.
Jurickson Profar, 2B, TEX – Shoulder surgery, out for the season.
Coco Crisp, OF, OAK – Elbow surgery, expected return late May.
Ben Zobrist, 2B/SS/OF, OAK – Knee surgery, expected return mid June.
Jesse Hahn, SP, OAK – Blister, day-to-day.
Sean Doolittle, RP, OAK – Shoulder, expected return early to mid May.
Jarrod Parker, SP, OAK – Tommy John Surgery, expected return late May.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA – Lat strain, expected return late May.
Tom Wilhelmsen, RP, SEA – Hyperextended elbow, expected return mid May.
I ran into an unnamed British man wearing a Yankees cap at work. We got to talking about baseball and I told him about this website. He asked me, “Will Mr. Dellin ever get to dance with the sandman?” I think he wanted to know if Betances would be the Yankees closer.
Short answer, not now. Andrew Miller is pitching lights out; 9.1 IP, 17 K, 3 H, 0 ER and 8-for8 in save chances. Miller will be the closer, but Betances will “dance with the sandman” in his future.
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