These players are valuable fantasy hitters, but their versatility will be diminished in 2014.
For fantasy owners, nothing is quite so scary as the prospect of a good player taking a huge hit to his value thanks to a loss of positional eligibility. It happens every year, but it’s always tough to see a productive catcher move off the position, a great shortstop transition to third base or a floundering middle infielder make a shift to the outfield.
We tend to think of first base, in particular, as a position meant for mashers and as a fantasy gold mine. This is true, of course, but it’s also true because first base is the “back up” position for so many good players. If your catcher is a key cog in your offense, you try to sneak him PA at first. If your third baseman or corner outfielder is aging, you might try to get him some rest on the right side of the infield.
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Bret went out on 10 limbs based on small samples from April; it's time to find out how he did.
April is a time of goldmines and landmines for fantasy players. The annals of rotisserie leagues are filled with owners who jumped in head first on a player who could not maintain a small-sample stretch. And we see it every year. Using 2013 as an example, let’s take a look back at the 10 players who hit eight or more homers in April (see if you can spot the two players who actually hit more than 15 homers from May 1 on):
The Astros and Reds make many mistakes, Josh Hamilton is hitting, and Chris Davis delivers a big blow.
The Wednesday Takeaway
For all the grief we give big-league managers and players, most MLB games, even those with a couple of fielding errors or a small army stranded on base, can teach valuable lessons to Little Leaguers and young baseball minds. Every once in a while, though, a game sets the sport back so far that the only saving graces are sheer athletic prowess and a finish so late that the most impressionable fans are long in bed.
Last night’s meeting between the Reds and Astros was precisely that sort of debacle, but it wasn't until the ninth inning that the game truly began to devolve. Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar misplayed a popup that led to a Reds run in the top of the sixth, but those things happen—they’re a part of the game.
Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera continued their personal home run competition on Sunday.
The Weekend Takeaway
During the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, there were 21 days on which both the Cardinals first baseman and the Cubs outfielder went yard. This year, with a little over three-fourths of the season in the books, Chris Davis and Miguel Cabrera have traded long balls on 14 days, four of them this month and 13 since May 29.
The most recent of those days was Sunday, when the Tigers hosted the Royals at Comerica Park and the Orioles finished off their series with the Rockies at Camden Yards. Cabrera got his yard work out of the way early at the expense of Bruce Chen, slugging his 40th bomb of the season on the first pitch he saw in the first inning. Davis waited until the eighth inning to crank big fly no. 45, doing so on the first offering he saw from Edgmer Escalona. Cabrera’s shot gave Max Scherzer a 2-0 lead that the right-hander rode to his 18th victory of the season, a 6-3 decision. Davis’s homer, his fourth hit of the day, produced two insurance runs for the Orioles in their 7-2 win.
The Rays have ridden strong pitching to within a game and a half of first place in the AL East.
The Weekend Takeaway
At the end of play on June 28, the Rays were two games over .500 at 41-39, and their plus-15 run differential suggested that their middling record was just about what they deserved (42-38). To that point in the season, Joe Maddon’s squad, a pitching-first team in recent years, was in uncharted waters, relying on its offense to dig itself out of holes. And with the pitching staff’s ERA sitting at 4.22, compared to a league-best 3.19 finish in 2012, there was a good deal of digging for the lineup to do.
In late May, when the story was much the same, R.J. Andersonwrote that the Rays still had plenty of time to “hold true to their identity,” which they seemingly had lost over the first two months. It took another month of sputtering for the pieces to fall into place, but if the past three-plus weeks are any indication, the Rays many expected to sting opponents from day one have finally arrived.
The tater trots from April 4: Michael Morse and Chris Davis are ridiculously hot while a pair of Yankees speed on home.
The total number of home runs hit across the league went down on Thursday, but you wouldn't know it from the game in Toronto. The Blue Jays and Indians combined for seven home runs, with J.P. Arencibia launching two himself. You also wouldn't know it from Chris Davis or Michael Morse, who continue to place the ball over the fence as if it belonged to an annoying neighbor. All in all, not a bad way for this first week to continue.
The O's first baseman goes oppo on a pitch off the plate.
In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Ben Lindberghshowed us the strength of Matt Holliday. Some 17 hours later Chris Davis hit a home run that begged for an examination of his strength. Take a look at this baby. At first glance it might appear as nothing more than your standard opposite-field blast. Look a closer at the location of the pitch at the point of contact:
Michael looks at his best and worst Value Picks for the 2012 season.
As the season winds down, Value Picks takes a fond look back at our picks from the season, looking at the hits and misses we collected in our efforts to find value among the overlooked players on your league’s waiver wire. As with assessing fantasy players, the notion of “value” can be slippery to pin down, especially when looking at players who are largely castoffs from other fantasy squads.