Fantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball: Fantasy Baseball Final– April 14, 2016

As the season enters its 11th day of the season, it’s a little early to be making any conclusions based on what we’ve been seeing, but we are beginning to notice some trends. For one, offense may be taking more of a foothold than it has in seasons past. The game has been a constant pendulum swing between pitching and hitting. We might be seeing as much balance as any time in history.

The Week in Review

I last saw you on Friday of last week, so we have quite a bit to cover before getting to tonight’s action. Both the American League and National League have been the tale of two cities. In the case of the American League, we have seen the Orioles stock rise and Twins stock fall. The Orioles lost their first game of the season on Wednesday night to move to 7-1. Meanwhile, the Twins sit at 0-8 through Wednesday night’s action.

There are very few American League teams that don’t envision themselves going to the playoffs this season. Even the Oakland Athletics (last in the AL West last season) can see a path to the postseason this year. The Twins themselves came within two games of the playoffs last season. They only lost Torii Hunter from their everyday lineup and were hoping for further development from Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Eddie Rosario. It still may happen, but for now it looks bleak.

The Washington Nationals have only one loss of the season coming into Thursday’s action. With Dusty Baker at the helm, that isn’t too surprising. He has a knack for getting talented teams to play to their potential early on. As long as they stay healthy, they should be contenders anyway. The Braves were also expected to be bad, but 0-8 is beyond bad. At this rate, we might start looking at their magic number by the end of the month.

If you read anything…

Before the season, there was a significant debate over who the number one overall pick should be. Part of the baseball world went with Mike Trout. After all, he is a former MVP winner and had led the American League in WAR three seasons in a row until last season (he finished second to Josh Donaldson). The other part of the baseball world went with reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper. In essence, this debate is one that started several seasons ago when both were drafted.

Make no mistake, debates like these won’t be settled in April. Heck, they won’t be settled over the course of a season. They are generational battles that will wage on far after their careers are over and done with. Harper staked his claim with a grand slam in the game against the Braves. He is already on pace to do what he did last season.

We kind of expected…

I took some good natured ribbing from readers when I rated Nolan Arenado a little lower than what they thought he should be rated. He followed a huge performance on Wednesday night (two home runs, seven RBI) with another productive afternoon against the Giants. His two run double gives him 14 RBI on the season so far. That kind of blistering pace could make him the top fantasy third baseman in baseball.

But we didn’t expect

The Phillies pitching has gotten off to a brilliant start on the season. They were swept by the Reds in the opening series, but since then they have gone 5-2 with some brilliant starting pitching performances and three early saves from Jeanmar Gomez. Vincent Velasquez didn’t need Gomez or anyone else as he torched through the Padres lineup giving up three hits, no walks, and adding a staggering 16 strikeouts.

Velasquez is 2-0 on the young season with a 0.00 ERA in 15 innings. Maybe more importantly, he has 25 strikeouts in those 15 innings. Obviously, there has been some good batted ball luck that has accompanied his season so far, but he is missing enough bats to sustain a fairly high level of success and he might be worth a waiver wire add down the line.

Save Opportunities

  • Francisco Rodriguez (converted)
  • David Robertson (converted)
  • Roberto Osuna (converted)
  • Wade Davis (converted)
  • Shawn Tolleson (converted) 

Injuries

The Pablo Sandoval saga is becoming a soap opera all by itself. His belt tapped out on a rare pinch hitting appearance last week and now it appears as if the Red Sox brass has tapped out. Officially, he is going on the disabled list with a sore left shoulder. Goodness knows how that could have happened given that he hasn’t been playing. There are whispers that he has been given an ultimatum to lose weight or stay on the disabled list.

Clearly, the Red Sox have all but admitted that they made a mistake when they signed the portly third baseman to a five year, 95-million-dollar contract. However, even a team with a payroll as big as the Red Sox cannot easily dump that kind of money without exploring every avenue first. They would love to trade him, but if they could possibly get him into decent shape by the stretch drive, at least he could help them in the playoffs.

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