If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth considering, depending on the format in which you play.
Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.
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Answering that question is not quite so simple as you'd think.
The last time I was at a Spring Training game, I tossed down a couple bucks for charity, threw dignity to the winds, and stepped into the radar gun tent. I used the first two pitches to ramp it up before letting fly for reals on the third: 72 mph. I carried my beer left-handed for the rest of the day.
I bring that up because you should understand who is writing this, but mostly because speed is sexy. We all love to watch a 100 mph pitch because it’s amazing but also because it’s rare. Most major league pitchers, let alone internet writers, can’t throw that fast no matter how many times we embarrass ourselves in front of small children throws we make. When at a game, we count the number of pitches that break 100. For example, take a look at this Aroldis Chapman fastball:
Trying to keep his team from facing an elimination game, Randy Wolf gave the Brewers some much-needed length in a come-from-behind win.
The Brewers entered Game Four of the NL Championship Series in St. Louis needing to buck a couple of ominous trends just to ensure that the festivities would return to Milwaukee. They had yet to win a road game during the postseason, going 0-3 after stumbling to a 39-42 mark in the regular season. Furthermore, their ballyhooed rotation had yet to deliver a quality start from anyone besides Yovani Gallardo, instead getting three disaster starts (more runs than innings) and two that were just Greinke (10 runs in 11 innings) in five turns. Behind seven strong innings from Randy Wolf, they shook both slumps with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory that evened the series at two games apiece.
Is Randy Wolf's hot start for real, and is he worth a look in your fantasy league?
Randy Wolf is not a household name in fantasy baseball circles; he is all but forgotten about. In ESPN leagues, for example, he is the 73rd pitcher drafted on average, 228th overall. A quick scan of his career numbers reveals he is a boringly average player. He had that nice 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but has usually been found with an ERA in the mid-4.00's. He has not won more than 13 games since 2003.
That makes his start to the 2011 season all the more surprising. He held the Houston Astros to one run in eight innings of work on Sunday. With a home run in the eighth, J.R. Towles ended Wolf's scoreless innings streak of 19 and two-thirds innings, which spanned three games. Wolf's popularity, as expected, has been skyrocketing. He is owned in 54 percent of ESPN leagues, over 37 percent of which has come in the last seven days. Yahoo! players are a bit slower, as Wolf is only owned in 34 percent of leagues there.
A look at the best and worst free agent signings, at least at the season's midpoint, from last winter.
Like most sports fans, over time I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with the concept of free agency. Since I happen to root for a team that’s seemingly gone a galactic year since last winning a title, the idea of getting something for nothing (since it’s not my money being spent) and adding a player for “free” is a powerful one. From an entertainment perspective there’s something to be said for the off-season interest that the annual free agent feeding frenzy engenders, while on a sociopolitical level it’s hard to argue with the concept of a worker bargaining his own worth on the open market.
The Phillies and Brewers combined for an amazing six lefty-on-lefty home runs on May 14 and hardly anyone noticed.
As Christina Kahrl has said, one of baseball’s well-worn tropes is that every game provides you the opportunity to see something you’ve never seen before. When you buy your ticket and settle into your seat, you hope to witness something unique, or historic, or even comic, but in a marathon season of roughly 2,430 games, not every game can be so obviously special—and the May 14 game between the Phillies and Brewers, in which the visitors from Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 9-5, appeared to be just such a mundane early-season contest. Ageless wonder Jamie Moyer ran his record to 5-2 on the season, key off-season acquisition Randy Wolf fell to 3-3 for the Brewers, and Milwaukee’s continued pitching woes managed to drag them five games under .500 for the year. Just another win for Philadelphia; just another loss for the struggling Brew Crew; just another box score to digest and forget.
Which starting pitchers can help you improve your fantasy team?
Removed from the list
Randy Wolf, Milwaukee Brewers: Wolf is not being removed due to performance reasons; he is simply last on this list of value picks. He had a decent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, holding them to two runs in eight innings. Wolf still is available in about 75 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues. Wolfie's next start will come on May 2 against the San Diego Padres, who collectively hit for a .509 OPS against him. If Wolf is available in your league, his next start may be a good bet.
The Brewers have been one of the most active teams as GM Doug Melvin's plan takes shape.
In December, Wisconsin news tends to be dominated by two things: the weather, and the Green Bay Packers. This week's blizzard (which residents greeted with their standard mix of stoicism and whimsy) was definitely the lead story, but the latest Packer news was pushed below the sports page fold when the Brewers shelled out $30 million over three years for oft-injured starter Randy Wolf, and $7.5 million over two years for veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins.
The Rangers aren't afraid of a little danger, the Astros take a chance of their own, and saying good-bye to a Hall of Famer.
The public perception of Milton Bradley as a glowering, angry man is a fairly accurate portrayal. The Rangers' designated hitter has had his share of problems throughout his career, much of it triggered by his quick temper, whether it has been walking off the field in the middle of a spring training game, throwing a plastic bottle at a fan, yelling at a reporter in a crowded clubhouse during the postseason, blowing out a knee while being restrained by his manager from going after an umpire, or rushing to the press box in an attempt to “introduce” himself to an opposing team’s broadcaster.