After eight years of spreading the fantasy baseball gospel at SportsTicker, this preacher has a new church.
Thanks to the good people at the Bleacher Report, me and my "Rotisserie By The Numbers" column have a new home, and we are more than happy to move in. So let’s start tackling the fantasy baseball world.
You cannot put too much faith in just one week of baseball. Do you honestly think Kevin Youkilis will bat .522 all year long? Do you believe Kyle Davies has a realistic chance of surpassing Orel Hershiser’s scoreless inning streak? Are you assuming that Erik Bedard will not miss any starts from here on out?
But there are some players whose opening weeks have to make you take notice. They may have been overlooked in your fantasy drafts and auctions, but they are talented guys who could have huge fantasy impacts this year. Here is a look at three of fantasy baseball’s top performers during Week One and what you might be able to expect from them over the course of the whole season.
Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins: He was considered by many fantasy pundits to be nothing more than an Anderson Hernandez clone with speed, but Bonny is looking more like Luis Castillo did in his prime. Bonifacio kicked off the 2009 campaign with a four-hit, three-steal, one-homer game and has kept up his frantic fantasy pace with five multi-hit games and nine runs in his first week of work.
The bad news is that Bonifacio is not going to keep hitting like Rod Carew. Fantasy owners should be overjoyed if he hits .270 throughout the season. The good news is that base stealers are hard to find, and even harder to find at third base, so Bonifacio should be valuable (think 50 stolen bases and 90 runs) as long as he doesn't pull what Houston’s Michael Bourn did last year and hit so poorly that his speed gets stuck on the bench.
Adam Lind, Blue Jays: Toronto did nothing to upgrade its offense in the offseason except pray for an injury-free year out of Vernon Wells, so an everyday spot in the middle of the Blue Jays batting order is Lind’s to lose, and after one week he has put a headlock on it. Lind leads the majors with 12 runs batted after a seven-day stretch that saw him hit .400 and post a 1.186 OPS.
Lind showed some flashes of brilliance during the second half of the 2008 season when he hit .282 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 88 games. He was one of Toronto’s brightest prospects for a long time and has the potential to crack 25 homers and drive in 100 runs if everything breaks right for him.
If he can keep hanging in against southpaw pitchers and stay out of any prolonged slumps, he should definitely have an above-average fantasy season, and possibly a better season than his teammate Wells.
Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles: It is amazing that a steady starter who posted sub-3.70 ERAs in back-to-back seasons while pitching in the toughest division in baseball was shunned at fantasy drafts this year, but that was the case with Guthrie in my leagues. He was avoided like he was a Bank of America stock. He went undrafted in one league and was taken in the late, late rounds (once by yours truly) in my other two leagues.
Guthrie had two tough starts to begin the new season, so many fantasy owners probably sat him on the sidelines. Big mistake. Guthrie had a quality start in his Opening Day win over the New York Yankees, then pitched like the second coming of Don Drysdale while he threw six shutout innings against the Tampa Bay Rays.
There is no reason to think Guthrie cannot have another season where his ERA is under 4.00, and maybe, just maybe, Baltimore will provide him with some much-needed run support and he will end up with 15 victories instead of a losing record.