Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: May 1st, 2013
One month is already in the books. It seems only yesterday that the Astros and Rangers were opening the season on ESPN. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. If you’ve missed out on the fun of the first month, it isn’t too late to get in the game. Draftkings is even offering a deposit bonus for those that want to get in on the action. We’ve seen some definite trends in the first month, but the beauty of Draftkings is that you are only in it for a day. It will take a miracle to get my “Jobu’s Rum” team out of the basement due to injuries and poor performance. Here, injuries and poor performance only cost you a day’s wager.
Today, we will be wagering the MLB Daily Dollar. It cost you a nere dollar, so it’s a great contest to play to get your feet wet. It’s also what we might call a confidence boost. Even the savviest of players can have a series of bad days. When the “experts” have two or three bad days in a row we often go back to the simplest of games to get that much needed shot in the arm.
Over the first month, I have used past season numbers to place my bets, but with the calendar turning over to May, we can begin to look at 2013 on its own. Mind you, we still don’t want to go too nuts. It might be until Memorial Day before we truly trust what we are seeing completely, but it is high time we stop looking at lefty/righty splits completely and start looking at that particular day’s matchup. With that in mind, we will see that from our lineup today.
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy vs. Jonathan Sanchez
The whole idea is to pick out a few starters that we would charitably call weak (or suck ass if you prefer) and exploit them. Sanchez is going on a three season bender where he really doesn’t belong in the big leagues. Pittsburgh will discover this soon enough, but you might as well take advantage while the getting is good.
First Base: Lyle Overbay vs. Erik Bedard
Once you get past Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell, the Astros rotation is an embarassment. Bedard still hasn’t built up enough arm strength to go 100 pitches and that is largely because he hasn’t pitched well enough to get there. He did earn a save on opening night and I suspect he will be back in the bullpen following this start. Overbay is cheap, so you can afford to spend elsewhere.
Second Base: Marco Scutaro vs. Brandon McCarthy
This is a somewhat riskier play given the fact that McCarthy is really better than his record shows. He should bounce back pretty soon, but it’s reasonably to go one more round based on his 7.00+ ERA. Scutaro is slightly cheaper than the other second baseman and is eligible at multiple positions should you want to go with a Robinson Cano here (remember the afforementioned Erik Bedard).
Third Base: Will Middlebrooks vs. Mark Buerhle
Middlebrooks has hit well against lefties and Buerhle is very hittable these days. Strikeouts have been Middlebrooks’ achilles heal and Buerhle rarely strikes out anyone these days. Middlebrooks strength is the ability to hit for power and this smells like one of those days where he could explode.
Shortstop: Stephen Drew vs. Mark Buerhle
There is a general theme here that we will see again later in the lineup. I like exploiting matchup advantages as much as possible. Drew has gotten off to a slow start like Middlebrooks, but he is going up against a hittable pitcher and there should be plenty of baserunners in this one.
Outfield: Brett Gardner vs. Erik Bedard
This usually wouldn’t be a matchup I like, but Bedard is pathetic and even if he were to pitch well he likely won’t get out of the fourth or fifth inning. That means Gardner will see long relief that likely will come from the right side. This one smells like a rout.
Outfield: Vernon Wells vs. Erik Bedard
This comes from the train of thought that we should exploit our weaknesses whenever possible. Wells has gotten off to a good start this season and that start should continue on this day. This makes three Yankees in the lineup, so we are really counting on Bedard sucking in this one.
Pitcher: Wei-Yen Chen vs. Seattle Mariners
There are three things that make this a good play. First, Chen is coming off of a series of solid starts including an eight inning effort last time. Secondly, the Mariners are not exactly a brilliant offensive team at this point. Finally, Aaron Harang is making his second start of the season and his first one was a disaster. Adds up to a solid play.
Pitcher: Clay Buchholz vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Buchholz is one of the candidates for pitcher of the month (we will see that shortly) following a 5-0 April with a sub 2.00 ERA. I can’t promise that that will continue against the Blue Jays, but he should get plenty of run support and I’ve always been a big believer in riding a hot hand until that heat runs out.
Since this is May 1st, I will take a unique opportunity to look back at the month and offer a series of rewards we usually look to later in the year. We will go with an MVP, Cy Young, Surprise-Positive, and Surprise-Negative. The beauty of daily baseball is that you only need to look dominant on one day to win there.
MVP– Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves
I didn’t think Upton would hit much more than 20-25 home runs all season and he is already half way to the higher mark through one month. Statisticians would point out that he is on pace to hit more than 60, but we all know that likely won’t happen. However, he has shown that 2011 may not have been a fluke. More importantly, he has given the Braves an identity that thought they might have lost when Chipper Jones retired.
Cy Young– Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Darvish was supposed to take the world by storm last season, but he had to adjust to the culture, the height of the mound in the states, and to the heat of North Texas. He was good but not great. Well, he has lept headlong into greatness this season. This site (and others) have already profiled his filthy repitoire of pitches. He may not win the Cy Young award this season, but he has certainly established himself as a number one.
Positive Surprise– John Buck, New York Mets
This could easily be Chris Davis, but at least Davis was on the fantasy radar. He had 30 home runs and nearly 100 RBIs last season, so at least he had that going for him. John Buck was really on no one’s radar and most people thought he would be supplanted by the all-star break. Travis D’Arnauld is hurt again and Buck is on pace to set career highs in home runs and RBIs.
Negative Surprise– Jonathan Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates
I really have a hard time calling him a surprise per se, but this is more a testament to bad management in the game. Dayton Moore made the ill advised deal to get Sanchez before last season. In fairness, I thought it was a decent gamble as he had replacements for Melky Cabrera and I thought he would crater. Sanchez could have bounced back from a bad 2011 season, but didn’t. Now, he is the equivalent of the couch that caught on fire and is now sitting on the curb. What kind of moron willingly picks up the couch and puts it in his living room? Well, you have your answer.