Opening day is great for so many reasons. I am super excited because, with baseball starting, summer can not be too far behind, which means swimming and barbecues. Opening day is a day you want to spend with your friends at a sports bars with 30 different televisions, 200 wings with 10 different flavors, and pitchers upon pitchers of beer while enjoying the sport we grew up on — the sport that we have loved for generations.
This year, opening day was tarnished for me. Not because I completely forgot to set my lineups in fantasy, but because we had these random regular season games while spring training was still going on that became the start of the season. I sound like an old man, but I like the tradition of how opening day had always been; now, this tradition has been ruined. Opening day was not celebrated in a bar with friends, opening day was celebrated while most of us were asleep, dreaming of better days to come.
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Now, on to the headlines …
If you listened to Bill Simmons’ podcast this week, you may have heard him talking about a fantasy pitching guide written by Paul Sporer. You can find the link to it here. It’s a 151-page, PDF file breaking down nearly every single pitcher, team-by-team. Its a great reference tool if you are looking at pitchers and need to know more about them.
In one week, two big name closers, Ryan Madson and Joakim Soria, are done for the season, both requiring Tommy John surgery. While neither team has announced replacements, the fantasy baseball world has been grabbing every possible replacement guy for these teams. Sean Marshall went from zero percent owned to over 80 percent owned and Jonathan Broxton is up to 50 percent owned.
While Dustin Ackley and Yoenis Cespedes (it only takes one look at that name now to spell it correctly) got the fantasy baseball community all giddy at their possible big seasons ahead, I was more impressed with Bartolo Colon’s performance. It should not go unnoticed and the ballpark he pitches in can make normal pitchers look like All-Stars (cut to a shot of Barry Zito nodding).
If you owned Adam Dunn last season, chances are you did not come close to winning your league (unless you traded him earlier to the resident idiot in your league). A new year and a very impressive spring training brings new hope for Dunn. Only this year, he’s not a top 100 player — he should be going at the end of your draft.
Many remember Jeff Samardzija catching passes for Notre Dame and what looked like a very promising career as an NFL wide receiver. Instead, Jeff wanted to be a pitcher and now, years later, as well as many struggles toward his dream, Jeff has finally cracked the starting rotation and could be a nice sleeper pickup in NL-only leagues.
Another pitcher to keep an eye on is Chris Sale. This starting pitcher, turned reliever, turned back into a starting pitcher this year and has looked good thus far. He should easily make the starting rotation and could be a nice AL-only pickup.
It is looking more and more like Michael Pineda will not be in the starting rotation after his latest outing. It is not looking good and it could be a good time to sell high while you can. I hope he can bounce back, but it could be a long year for Pineda owners, especially in keeper leagues.
If you have not noticed in some of your drafts, Ryan Braun fell. Some are worried that that he won’t be on steroids this season, therefore his numbers will drop; however, he has been killing it this spring. Draft with confidence people, this guy has been killing it since he came up. If he drops like he did in my draft, then you have yourself some real value.
In my sleepers column, I listed Bobby Abreu has a potential sleeper since he seemed to be on his way to Cleveland; however, this has fallen apart. I think he is going to be traded, but we are going to have to wait a bit longer. This trade may pick up steam again next week, because you never know with these things.
Speaking of the Angels, they have officially sent Mike Trout down to the minors. This was only a matter of time. He should be up before the year is up. Keep and eye out for any potential injury or traded that would force the Angels to bring him up.
Those expecting to have first baseman Michael Morse to start the season opener are going to have to wait a bit longer. He will start the season on the DL. He should be up by mid-April.