Will the Yankees break the glass and reach for their top prospect now that they're a man down?
It's not often that injuries to a backup catcher are met with cheers heralding the imminent arrival of even a Jesus of less than divine provenance, but such was the case on Friday when the Yankees announced that Francisco Cervelli had suffered a fracture after fouling a ball off his left foot two days earlier. Cervelli will be in a walking boot for at least four weeks, and could miss six to eight weeks in all, obviously ruling him out for Opening Day. His absence opens the door for Jesus Montero, who ranked third on Kevin Goldstein's recent Top 101 Prospects list, to break camp with the team. What already looked to be a compelling season-long position battle at catcher just got even more interesting.
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Picking up an argument from last week, the reason to favor one over the other when talking about the NL's great pair of young backstops.
Last Friday on "Fantasy 411," Cory Schwartz and I went back and forth a bit about Brian McCann and Russell Martin. Now, we were talking about fantasy value, and Martin's green light on the bases tends to tip the balance to him in most formats for that game. That's because stolen bases are generally divorced from their costs in fantasy, and so have disproportionate value. Even though McCann is likely to hit for a higher average and more power, Martin is probably a better fantasy catcher.
Different players adapt, learn, and improve according to their gifts, no implicit value judgment needed.
One of baseball's most interesting unsolvable questions is how much a player can truly learn during the course of his career. We know that dozens of players come into the minor leagues every year, many with similar levels of raw ability. Some get out of A-ball; most do not. For many that fail, it may be the case that they've already peaked, that whatever athletic ability they had reached its greatest extent in high school or college, and cannot be pushed further. Others not only have a higher ceiling, but through practice, repetition, and aptitude, they are able to get an extra something out of whatever nature gave them. Think of Ted Williams, obsessively taking batting practice, or Tony Gwynn and his videotape.
When you're already living in fantasy, some things just come naturally.
I think I'm in love. The object of my affection is 24, 5'10", and is putting out all the right signals. Unfortunately, it would never work out between me and this person, who we'll call R.M. R.M. lives in California for most of the year, about 2,000 miles away. Plus we've never met. And I'm already happily married. Still, my relationship with R.M. has gone from mere admiration to a full-on crush in the last few months. Eleven homers, 17 stolen bases, and a .310 batting average from a catcher will do that to you.
Greg Maddux throws a gem as Derek watches the Giants and Dodgers duel.
Taking the Dodgers first, they've hit the top of the division after residing in the cellar just a little over two weeks ago, going on an 11 game streak which was broken on Wednesday in Colorado, followed by a three game winning streak coming into today's matchup. Let's take a look at how a few Dodgers have performed during this stretch (courtesy of Dave Pinto's Day by Day Database):