Fantasy baseball is all about riding the wave. Sometimes we paddle out and just wait, and wait, and wait. Other times we start paddling and we time the wave wrong and it just rolls by. But when everything breaks right, when the wave meets the right timing, the result is one heck of a ride. Here are some folks who have hit the wave or missed it through the first quarter of the 2013 baseball season.
Gordon Beckham (hand) will start his rehab this weekend, he hopes, and he should be back by the end of the month. Does anyone care?
Tony Cingrani has a sore shoulder so his next start will be pushed back and potentially skipped. With Johnny Cueto nearing a return, could Cingrani be DL’d or sent to the minors? Certainly possible. Oh, and this is one of the main reasons why I suggested going Tim Lincecum over Cingrani a month ago. We know that Lincecum can make 30 starts, something he has done the last five years. Cingrani? He’s never made 30 starts and we have no idea if he can handle that workload (he’s made 36 starts since the beginning of 2011). You can love those rookies, but as I keep saying, more often than not, they fail to live up to expectations.
Josh Donaldson have a strong start to the season. Donaldson had four more hits Tuesday night and is now hitting .314 on the year. He’s doubled his walk rate from last season, up from 4.8 percent to 10.7 percent, and if he can hold on to those gains that would be huge. He’s also seen his K-rate go down five percent, and when you combine patience with discipline, success follows.
To see how others are evaluating Donaldson and others, don’t forget to go to Fleaflicker.com where you can check out the owned percentages of all your favorite players.
Bryce Harper is dealing with some nausea, but the Nationals continue to insist that Harper did not suffer a concussion when he ran into the wall the other day and these bouts of feeling ill are not concussion related symptoms. I’ve been nauseous this season watching Barry Zito pitching on the road this year with an 11.25 ERA and 2.58 WHIP over three starts. He’s got a 0.55 ERA at home with a 1.03 WHIP in five home starts.
Paul Konerko returns to the lineup after sitting out the last two games to clear his head Wednesday. Through 33 games this season Konerko has been lost with a .214 average and .623 OPS. Konerko has hit at least 22 homers every year since 2004, and he’s had at least 75 RBIs in eight of the last nine seasons. He’s 37, but he should still be able to rebound from this rough start to be productive, even if he’s unable to reach his previous levels of expectation. A .235 BABIP, that mark has been over .300 the past three years, and a 25.5 percent line drive rate which would be a career best, hint at the potential comeback here. It’s also fair to guess that his 8.0 percent HR/F ratio will improve. He’s never had a mark below 12.2 percent in a career that began in 2002.
James Loney check in. He’s leading baseball with a .381 batting average. He’s hitting .391 in May and has shown no signs of slowing down… though of course he will soon. He’s hitting .446 on the road (25-for-56) and .478 against lefties (11-for-23). In his career he has hit .255 against left-handed pitching though he has hit .299 on the road.
Russell Martin had two more hits Tuesday as he returned from a neck issue. In his last nine games Martin has four games with at least two hits. He’s also gone deep four times with eight RBIs in that time as his average has gone from .227 to .273. All of a sudden this guy looks like a hitter again.
Mitch Moreland is hot, hot, hot. He has hits in nine of last 10 games. In five of those games he had two hits. He also ripped three homers in his last two games and has gone deep six times in his last nine games. He’s pumped up his fly ball rate to 45 percent this season, five percent higher than normal, and he’s also sporting an 18.4 percent HR/F ratio, four percent above normal. If he holds on to those gains we could be looking at a 20-25 homer bat this season (he hit 16 and 15 big flies the last two years).
Nikita, starring Maqqie Q, is a pretty good series. Hot babes shooting guys, strong action scenes too. It was re-upped for a fourth season, but in a limited run, so you had better start watching before it moves to DVD.
Carlos Zambrano finally got a big league job when he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies (he had previously agreed to a deal with the independent Long Island Ducks). Can you believe that Big Z is 31 years old? At least he can take the ball whenever a team wants him to. Perhaps a workhorse in the bullpen?