It is hard to believe, but Tuesday has once again come and gone which means it is time for the Top Ten list of newsworthy fantasy baseball happenings. The calendar has turned to June and the fantasy baseball season has entered its tenth week. Time seems to fly by when you are having fun or checking the waiver wire to fill the void left by an injured player. That being said, let’s dive right into the June 7, 2011 edition of the Tuesday Top Ten list and see what is crack-a-lacking.
10. On the Mark – The Yankees and Red Sox have one of the most storied and dramatic rivalries in all of sports. The two AL East powerhouses are at it once again as they battle for first place in a mid-week series at Yankee Stadium. Sure enough, it didn’t take very long for the drama to rear its ugly head again as Jon Lester hit Mark Teixeira in the knee with a pitch in the first inning. Teixeira would ultimately leave the game and will undergo x-rays and tests during the night. This could be devastating for Teixeira owners if he has to miss any significant time. After an uncharacteristic hot start to the season, Teixeira has been pedestrian at best through most of May but started showing signs of hearing up on the Yankees’ recent west coast road trip. The Yankees will be cautious with Teixeira no matter what, so carefully monitor the situation and have some backup plans in place.
9. It Burns When I Peavy – Ok I will admit that I did not come up with that slogan. It is actually my friend’s team name in one of my fantasy baseball leagues, and arguably one of the funniest ones I have seen over the years. Speaking of funny, it is hilarious to think that Jake Peavy could last more than five games in the major leagues without a stint on the disabled list. Well, after missing the beginning of the season recovering from an arm injury, Peavy returned to Chicago which then employed a six-man starting rotation. Peavy went 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in five starts since coming back. Sure enough, he injured his groin which will likely land him on the disabled list. If you want to send a “Get Well Soon” card to him, please send it to Jake Peavy c/o The Disabled List since that seems to be his primary residence. If you are looking for a headline about this, it can read “Peavy lands on DL with another injury. In other news, man invented fire.”
8. Future Jackass of the Year – This doesn’t necessarily affect much in terms of current fantasy baseball, but it has to be included in today’s update. Nationals’ prospect Bryce Harper, the #1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, continues to prove why he has a reputation of being an assclown. In a game against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Harper hit a homerun off Zachary Neal who glared at him as he rounded the bases. Cameras caught on film Harper blowing a kiss at Neal before he crossed home plate. While some may interpret this as a harmless romantic gesture, others are probably insulted. Harper may be a very talented player and will likely end up a successful major league hitter. But his reputation and antics are going to attract a lot of fastballs heading between the numbers on his back.
7. Wright is Still Not Alright – Mets third baseman David Wright got some bad news from doctors saying that the stress fracture in his lower back hasn’t healed as quickly as they thought and have prescribed another three weeks of doing nothing. This means that the earliest Wright could start resuming some form of baseball activity is the end of June, which puts him in line for a return around the All-Star break. Wright was having an abysmal year before the injury anyway, but historically he was going to end up with his standard numbers (.285, 25 HR, 90 RBI). There are not many great options on the waiver wire for third base. You will need a stop-gap option that is dispensable once Wright comes back later on.
6. Paying for Failure – There are no guarantees in the game of baseball or fantasy baseball. Players commonly sign ludacris free agent contracts with teams desperately looking to rebuild and contend for the playoffs with high priced talent. However, things don’t always work out that way. Some glaring examples are Jason Bay, Adam Dunn and Jayson Werth. In terms of fantasy baseball, these players probably cost a middle round draft pick or a decent amount of auction dollars. And all you have gotten in return is absolute crap. At some point, you will have to consider benching these players because they are essentially a waste of a roster spot. Of course these veterans may turn things around, but for over two months these three players have been guilty of stealing a salary for pretending to be a baseball player.
5. Know Your Role, Jabroni – Brad Lidge, who is still waiting for Albert Pujols homerun from six years ago to land, is currently rehabbing and working his way back to the Phillies. The former closer had graciously indicated that he has no expectations to close games when he does make his return. The success that Ryan Madson has had since being anointed the closer in April is no longer considered a fluke. Lidge’s addition to the bullpen should provide added depth and insurance should Madson falter at some point. But kudos must be given to Lidge who understands the nature of the business. Not such great news for those of you who drafted Lidge on the cheap and have stashed him away. But great news for those of you who have Madson (and a special kudos to those of you who have Madson as a result of my closer profile on him from two weeks ago).
4.Uh oh for Brett Anderson – Not that many people have a burning desire to go to Birmingham, Alabama, but there is especially one reason why Major League Baseball pitchers do not enjoy going there. Of course, that would be Dr. James Andrews, the noted surgeon who specializes in performing Tommy John surgery. A’s young pitcher Brett Anderson will be visiting with Dr. Andrews to get an opinion on his elbow, which has currently landed him on the disabled list. If you can stash him on the DL, do it in case he doesn’t need surgery. If he does have to go under the knife, he will be gone the rest of this year and likely most of next season as well.
3. Edinson’s Light Bulb Went On – Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez made his return from the minor leagues to defeat the Cubs 8-2. He threw seven innings and allowed only one run on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. This is a step in the right direction for the former ace of the staff who was sent to the minors to work on the command of his pitches. He may be available in some leagues, so grab him if he is. Rumor has it that Tigers’ legend Billy Chapel taught Volquez how to “clear the mechanism.” Get the reference???
2. Summer Lovin’ in San Diego – Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo is expected to be recalled very shortly once he receives a clean bill of health on this thumb. Rizzo is a strong first baseman who will be immediately be relied upon to inject some power in the middle of San Diego’s lineup. He is one of the top prospects in baseball and should be added if he is available.
1. Flash 2.0 – Dee Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon, made his big league debut on Monday night as a pinch runner. On Tuesday, he made his first start and proceeded to go 3-5 with a run scored and a stolen base. With Rafael Furcal back on the DL and likely out a month, Gordon should get plenty of playing time to show off his skills. He could be a big boost to your roto team if you need stolen bases from the weak middle infield position. If he plays especially well and doesn’t seem overmatched, it would not be surprising to see Gordon supplant Furcal as the starter when he comes back. For now, keep an eye on his playing time and definitely add him if available.