“Joe Talkin’ To Me?!” AL West Fantasy Baseball Manifest Destiny: Putting a Bullseye on My Back…
Nobody likes a know-it-all. That guy is right up there with the “one upper” and the “&#$@ block” as the dude you want to punch right in the throat. Sometimes I come off as a know-it-all, so I figured I would give you guys a chance to laugh at me while I punch myself in the throat.
I’ll give you guys some of my biggest whiffs so far this season, make fun of myself, and let you guys do the same.
much, you couldn’t even see my knuckles up against a sheet of printer paper. He busted out of the gate in April with a .309 BAA and over 5 BB/9. The bright side was that he only gave up one home run. In a promising sign, the BAA dropped down to .268 in May (still nothing to write home about), but he surrendered 7 damn home runs. He entered June with an ERA over six and just two wins. I do not want to get too much into his mini turnaround (this is not that kind of story), but it is worth mentioning that he has strung together some nice starts and pitched a gem on Monday (that would be three gems in his last four). That being said, if you bought into my hype, I apologize, but this could be an opportunity to scoop him up off the waiver wire. Because his overall numbers look so bad, fantasy players have not noticed he has pitched well of late. The talent is real and oozing out of this guy’s orifices, I’m not giving up yet!
Colling McHugh will be a steal. Twenty-eight-year-old journeymen are journeymen for a reason. This is something I know, and preach. I should have known this was a guy running into luck and peaking, at the same time. His ERA is over 5.00 and he has been taken yard 12 times already. Why the heck did I like this guy so much? Last season’s .208 BAA and the more than one K per inning looked so darn attractive that the 13 homers and 41 walks in 154 innings were clouded by my beer goggles. I might as well have been at a bar a decade ago…
The Astros and Rangers would occupy the AL West basement. I projected the Astros 4th and the Rangers 5th in the division, with two of the worst records in all of baseball. The Astros currently occupy first place, holding a half game lead over the Rangers. The angels are a seemingly distant third at 2.5 out, while the Mariners, my pick to win it, sit at 5.5 out. Im not really sure how either of these teams is doing it. My best guess is that it is still early enough in the season that one good hot streak can have a major impact on the standings. The angels are the only healthy team in the division right now, so look out for the defending champs, who bring the best player in baseball with them.
“Stay away” from Shawn Tolleson. I thought his walks from last season, 28 in just 71 IP, would catch up to him this season. The thing is, no one can hit him, still. With a .234 BAA and better command (just 5 BB in 29 IP), the strikeout numbers hold weight to be a borderline dominant relief pitcher. Even in leagues that use middle relievers, I said to “stay away!” For anyone who listened, I cost you an excellent closer who has racked up the saves since Deboing the job from Neftali Feliz. Ouch! I just punched myself for you. Sorry…
Robinson Cano will be a steal. Robinson Cano will come around. I touted him as a value pick because of his guaranteed production, guaranteed health, and Nelson Cruz’s protection. He is having by far, by leaps and bounds, the worst season of his career. He is hitting .237 with almost zero power and terrible counting stats. He has been a disaster and is showing no signs of coming around. Is this an Alomaresque or Baergaesque fall from the top? These were two 2B who went from MVP candidates to only playing because they were getting paid. The numbers are scary right now, but you have to think better days are ahead. Or, you think he got paid and doesn’t give a &*%# anymore? Either way, you are not dropping him, so you are stuck. Sorry if you listened to me on drafting him.
What We Missed (While I Was Canoodling With the NL West)
Joey Gallo(ps) onto the Texas scene. “You taught I said Gallo? It’s Callo, wit a ‘C’!” HAHA! Now that I am done entertaining myself, I don’t want to get to wrapped up in his tiny MLB sample of play, but the dude has hit a HR every 10 AB so far. Third base and soon to be OF eligible, he is a 6’5″ 230 pound behemoth. This dude has some real, undeniable power. His 115 K in 68 games in AA last season will tell you the 21-year-old slugger is going to slump at the MLB level. If you are in a redraft league, trade him while he is hot for a proven commodity. If you are in a dynasty or keeper league, hang onto him for dear life.
Hamilton got ANOTHER Boo-Boo. After making his anxiously anticipated (by anyone stashing him in fantasy and Rangers fans) return, he got of to a hot start hitting 2 HR, driving in seven runners, and posting an OPS over 1.000. His owners and Ranger fans were drooling. Then, he got hurt…again! At this point, I’m not going to tell you to waste your time on him, but I wont tell you to drop him either. Follow your heart.
Springer has sprung yo! Everyone’s favorite bust-out player of the year got off to a rocky start hitting under .200 as late as May 20th. Since then, he has hit in 20 of 25 games, including 11 multi hit affairs. His slash line now looks like this: .269/.373/.472. Thats good for an .845 OPS. He has only 8 HR, but the power is coming around, as evidenced by his two dinger game on Monday. Looking at his stats and then seeing 13 SB, well, that leads you to believe this guy can be a monster…NOW! This guys is still a flawed player as he strikes out a lot, but I don’t care what kind of league you are in, this guy is a keeper.
Waiver Wire Rescue
Cesar Ramos, RP, LAA – If you play in a league that counts IRS+H (inherited runners stranded + holds) then check you waiver wire for Ramos. He has 26 IRS+H, good for 5th in MLB. He is a one trick pony, but he is excellent at that one trick as the Angles lefty specialist.
Robinson Chirinos, C, TEX – If you are in desperate, yes DESPERATE, need of a catcher, take a peek at Chirinos. His numbers kind of stink, but he has 15 XBH and plays in a hitter friendly park. I know it’s not a compelling argument, but hey, I specified “desperate”.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA – If he is floating around on your waiver wire, now is the time to stash him. He will be back in about three weeks, and if you have been in need of pitching, this guy is proven. He wont be spectacular, but he should be his usual solid self, and a part of the Mariners surge.
Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX – Might be more headache then he is worth. Personally, I’m sticking with him. But if you need the roster space, he is a candidate to get dumped.
Drew Pomeranz, SP/RP, OAK – Young guy under performs. Young guy gets hurt. Young guy comes back and is now in the bullpen. No thanks. You are the weakest link. Goodbye.
Delino DeShields, Jr., 2B/OF, TEX – For a guy whose sole purpose on your fantasy team is SB, it might not be worth the wait for him to come back from injury, especially since there are questions about playing time. It’s a race between him and Hamilton to get back.
“And Boggs Never Walked Again”
Jed Lowrie, SS, HOU – Thumb, expected return after the All-Star break.
Scott Feldman, SP, HOU – Knee, expected return mid July.
Neftali Feliz, RP, TEX – Abscess, June 19th.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX – Thumb, no timetable for return.
Delino DeShields, 2B/OF, TEX – Hamstring, expected return mid July.
Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX – Hamstring, expected return July.
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.
Ike Davis, 1B/DH, OAK – Strained quad, expected return June 17th.
Sean Doolittle, RP, OAK – Shoulder, no timetable for return.
Coco Crisp, OF, OAK – Neck, no timetable for return.
Jarrod Parker, SP, OAK – Broken elbow, expected to miss entire season.
Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, SEA – Back, day-to-day.
Hisashi Iwakuma, SP, SEA – Lat strain, expected return early July.
James Paxton, SP, SEA – Finger, no timetable for return.
Off the baseball topic, but Bill from Orlando says “Leandro Barbosa is a more exciting player than LeBron James.”
Bill, Congrats! You are the dumbest sports fan ever.
Remember to send questions to [twitter-follow screen_name=’theCiccone’] or firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in future columns.
I will begin covering the NL West next week, there will be no AL West. I am going to be alternating weeks as MLFS transitions into cultism…um, I mean football season.
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