2013 Fantasy Baseball, Peaks and Valleys – I Heart Brandon McCarthy
Growing up 45 minutes south of Chicago, it was much easier to grow up a White Sox fan than a Cubs fan. Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell, and a once great broadcast team of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and Tom “Wimpy” Paciorek peaked my interest in the early 1990’s.
As I grew up, I learned that I could learn about the team beyond television and began reading and researching the team. In 2004, the White Sox had a 17th round pick showing he was a diamond in the rough and on the verge of great things. Brandon McCarthy made his debut with the Southsiders in May of 2005, and I had a pitcher I could be a fan of because he was close to me in age.
McCarthy also had a filthy curveball, which was fun to watch as I matured as a fan. While he never amounted to much in short work with the White Sox, I followed his career after a trade to Texas that brought the Sox John Danks. I had always hoped for just one season where he could put it all together.
McCarthy’s two seasons in Oakland were his breakthrough. He may have only had a 17-15 record, but he changed his arm angle after a lost 2010 season due to shoulder issues and made it work. He helped himself with potential elbow issues in the future, and learned how to pitch for contact. As we all know, a line drive off the bat to his head ended his 2012 season and led to some serious surgeries.
As a free agent this past offseason, I had my fingers crossed that the White Sox would bring him back because no team has enough pitching. Even though he signed with Arizona, I would monitor his progress after his return from his head scare. On June 8, he suffered a seizure while at dinner with his wife. He is currently on the disabled list, so traveling is not always mandatory.
It was another incident in the long list of setbacks for a player I have cheered for from the moment he was on baseball’s radar. In fantasy baseball and in life, he will always be a pitcher I recommend because he has never given up. Fingers crossed he makes it back this season.
Tony Cingrani, Starting Pitcher, Cincinnati Reds: He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! His second call up of 2013 is for the same reason as the first: Johnny Cueto is on the shelf. Cingrani gets to face a team he beat twice during his first stint. In two starts against the Chicago Cubs, he pitched 13 innings, struck out 14, and allowed 6 earned runs. Cingrani is also scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Brewers, who have their own list of issues.
Adam Lind, First Baseman, Toronto Blue Jays: The fantasy graveyard has sent owners a fresh corpse. In five games this past week, Lind had nine hits, a home run, and four RBI’s. Toronto has been in dire straits all season, so getting a healthy, focused Lind is welcomed north of the border.
Jason Castro, Catcher, Houston Astros: A mini four game hitting streak this past week is just an extension from his solid May in which he hit .292 with six homers and 13 driven in. For an under the radar back stop, you have to like those numbers. The L.A. Angels and Seattle Mariners have had less than stellar pitching this season, and some of the Astros have taken advantage of that. Worth an add if you are lacking at the catcher position are play in a two catcher league.
James Loney, Dan Uggla, and Jose Iglesias should all be watched or owned. Iglesias will be pushed to a utility role with the return of Will Middlebrooks, but could/should steal at-bats from Stephen Drew.
In the Valley
Shane Victorino, Outfielder, Boston Red Sox: Sore groins and speed never mix. His playing time will be monitored for the foreseeable future, including a day off this past Sunday after playing in one game since coming off the DL. Outside of the occasional pop and .280-ish average, Victorino is a marginal fantasy player. The 32-year old should be owned under extreme caution or dropped.
Josh Johnson, Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays: In two starts since a return from the DL, Johnson has one loss and a blister. It is safe to say Johnson is a ‘Watch List’ player until he does something fantasy relevant for at least a handful of starts.
Jerome Williams, Starting Pitcher, Los Angeles Angels: His next and last start is this Wednesday, the 12th. The pitching staff is FINALLY getting healthy, and although Williams has pitched admirably to this point, there just aren’t enough spots in the rotation.