Okay, so I am out of the bathroom tonight.
I figured I should go down the Ground Round which is attached to the hotel and sit in the bar, have a few cold ones, do some writing, and watch the NBA Playoffs. So, I rolled down there about 10:05 after all were sleeping in my hotel room, and set up shop at a booth.
I went up to the bar to get a beer and the bartender tells me that they close at 10 o'clock. Now, I know it is Sunday, but C'MON!!! TEN O'CLOCK at a hotel bar?
Needless to say, I was angry. I had thought about doing this all day long and could taste the hops and barley sliding down into my belly. So, instead I am sitting here in a room that says "Board Room" on the door with some other kid behind me no doubt playing Wizards of Warcraft at least by the looks of him.
I considered just running to the store and picking up my own six pack and heading back to my toilet, but I decided against it. So, needless to say...I write to you tonight completely disappointed.
Anyway, let's get to the games.
Everyone will be focusing on the bad news from the Phillies game, as Brad Lidge blew another save. But instead of dwelling on the negative, I thought we could focus on some good things that came out of the game.
Cole Hamels was great again today. He pitched against an incredibly tough Yankees lineup and allowed only two runs over six innings. Hamels was torturing his owners to start the season, but now he appears to be very close to the guy we saw in the playoffs.
He struck out five over those six innings, and didn't walk a batter. Hamels looks to be the fantasy ace we were hoping for when we drafted him. Also in that game, Ryan Howard stole his second base of the season, which begs the question "how the hell did that happen?"
Did the catcher roll the ball to second base in his attempt to get him out?
Dontrelle Willis again looked like he might be worth owning in fantasy baseball again even though he took the loss. He lasted 6.2 innings, allowed just three runs, and struck out four. Control was again a problem for him, as he walked four guys, but it was his offense that betrayed him on Sunday.
The Tigers were only able to scrape over one run against Colorado pitching and Willis fell to 1-1. I'm still not sure that I would be picking him up unless you had a real need for pitching and are just taking a chance, but I am starting to come around to the idea.
Neither Cliff Lee or Johnny Cueto factored into the decision today, but they both continued their strong seasons. Lee was more than decent as he allowed just three runs over six innings and struck out four, but Cueto was downright nasty again as he gave up just two earned runs over seven innings, and fanned seven.
Both guys are must starts every time out, but Cueto is the one who is on the rise. Lee will be a solid fantasy pitcher, but Cueto seems to improve almost every time out. I see a slight cold streak in the future sometime for both, but you have to put them out there.
Jason Bartlett continues his incredible season, but I really can't see him keeping this up. With his 1-4 today, Bartlett is now hitting .373 with seven homers, 30 RBI, and he has stolen 13 bases.
If you look, his career highs are .309 (in 99 games in 2006), five home runs (in 2007), 43 RBI (in 2007), and 23 steals (you guessed it, 2007). Even in the minors, the most homers he ever hit was eight.
So, am I crazy to say that he is due to fall on his face?
I would be shopping him everywhere in an attempt to maximize this amazing start.
Brian McCann will now hopefully put this blurred vision thing behind him. Geez, between hips, blurry vision, and dizziness we sure have had some mysterious injuries this year.
But McCann might have broken out tonight as he went 3-4 and connected on homers number four and five in a game against the Blue Jays. He had been hitting well since he returned to action with the glasses, but he wasn't hitting for much power. Since May 11th, he has raised his batting average 57 points but had only hit one home run.
As a McCann owner, here's to a hot streak!
Scott Richmond was good again for the Blue Jays (outside of one of the McCann taters). He only lasted five innings, but only gave up two runs, didn't walk anyone, and K'd five. So after two straight terrible starts, Richmond is back on track with two solid ones.
He isn't facing the stiffest competition, but how many truly great teams are there? I would hold on to Richmond longer if I had him; he has been mostly good this year.
It seems safe to assume that Joel Hanrahan is back as the Nationals closer after two saves over the past four days. He was dreadful to start the season, but it didn't take long for Washington to realize that he was by far their best option at the position.
If Hanrahan was dropped in your league and you need saves, pick him up. The save opportunities won't be frequent, but I would be willing to bet he will finish off most of them.
Shairon Martis continues to be the worst undefeated pitcher in the history of baseball. Well, maybe not the history, but in as long as I can remember. He was atrocious again today as he allowed five runs over six innings, walked two, and struck out two.
Lucky for him Baltimore's pitching staff is pretty bad as well, and his offense came through for him. I would not want this guy on my team, his ERA is nearly 5.00, but I have no comeback for the five wins.
I still will be surprised if he gets to ten, or twelve at the most.
Brandon McCarthy has had an up and down season, but at least for one night he put it all together. He threw a complete game shutout against the Houston Astros, giving up nine hits and striking out six.
I have no idea what to think of this. On one hand, McCarthy was once one of the brighter pitching prospects in baseball for the White Sox, but has done nothing but disappoint in his four years in the league.
The other hand says, most young pitchers struggle in the beginning, maybe this is McCarthy finally figuring it out. I have to say, right now the hand that is telling me not to get too excited about this is winning the argument. But chances are McCarthy will be picked up in most leagues within the next 24 hours on mere speculation alone.
So, if you feel you have a real need for starters, I would make up my mind quickly. However, I would say unless you are dropping someone who is out and out hurting you, I would let someone else make that transaction.
Josh Hamilton continued his surge since coming back from a few different injuries with his fourth home run and tenth RBI in his last ten games. Right after coming back from a stint on the DL, Hamilton got banged up again crashing into a wall.
He appears to be fine, and I urge you not to sell cheap on him. He will reward you greatly going forward, and don't forget how great he did the first four months of last season.
Hamilton will rake again.
Josh Outman won again today, but it certainly wasn't pretty. He pitched into the eighth inning, allowed just one earned run, and ran his record to 2-0. The ugly part was Outman didn't strikeout a batter, and walked five!
That's not good for the old WHIP!
But going into the game, he had walked only 13 and struck out 31 in 32 innings, so hopefully this is just one tough outing, although the D'Backs aren't exactly known for being patient hitters. Outman is certainly flying under the fantasy radar. If you look at his minor league career, it wasn't stellar, but it wasn't bad either.
Does he have staying power?
I'm not ready to answer that question yet, but I am going to poke around some of my deeper leagues to see if he is available.
One of my bigger disappointments in recent years, Kevin Kouzmanoff has caught a little fire lately. He has improved slightly from year to year, but he has yet to get to the level that I thought he would, not to mention he is usually dreadful to start the year.
2009 has been no exception. On May 16th, Kouz was hitting .222 with one home run. However, just eight days later, Kouzmanoff connected on his fourth of the season and is now hitting a robust .236.
OK, so the average is still horrid, but he is picking up the pace some, and is at least looking like he could challenge the 23 homers he hit last season. He hit 22 homers in 94 games in 2006 in the minors, so the power is there but PetCo Park is certainly not helping.
Unless you are in a deep league, I probably wouldn't grab him, but see how hot he stays.
Scott Baker almost went the distance tonight for the Twins in an attempt to turnaround this nightmare of a season. Last year Baker was 11-4 with an ERA of 3.45 and was a popular pick at the end of drafts. But even with the win tonight he is still just 2-5 and his ERA is over 6.50.
I think Baker is a decent guy to grab a hold of if he is out there and you are in need of some pitching. I don't think he will be as good as he was in 2008, but he is better than he started out this year. I could see him go on a little roll in the month of June and might not be a bad option.
Chances are he might be available in your league.
For those of you who are regular readers, or even new to the site, I would like to offer a new service.
I am starting a mailing list.
Sometimes I see news during the day, but I wait until this nightly article to pass it along to you guys. Prospects coming up, injury news, closer movement, etc. Just send me an email to email@example.com with “Mailing List” in the subject line and I will add you to the list.
Then, whenever I find news that I feel is breaking and important, I will send it to you as soon as I find out about it. Hopefully this is something that you all will find valuable to make a possible move before your competition.
Also, you can now follow me on Twitter for more updates. Go to www.twitter.com/fightingchance.
Attention League Commissioners!
If you are looking to spice up your league some, go and visit Fantasy Sports Trophies. Tom Harkins has put together a great site with all kinds of different trophies to give the winner of your league something besides just bragging rights.
There are trophies for fantasy baseball, football (check out the Beer League Fantasy Football Trophy), basketball, hockey, and auto racing. I invite you to take a look at the site and try them out.
I’m also going to start mentioning the Fantasy Windup with Steve Gardner over at the USA Today again. His blog is updated many times each day, and is always covering the stories you are talking about when it comes to fantasy baseball. Yesterday he had a great post about the five most frustrating players to own in fantasy baseball.
Go vent your frustrations on the message board.
As always, your comments and questions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week from Monday-Thursday. The Big Show on Wednesday is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com.
To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru. You can also hear me weekly on the Tuesday Night show. Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10pm EST for all the news, free agent pickups, minor leaguers, and injuries. A can’t miss if you plan on winning your league.