Photo Credit: Dave Herholz
Today’s edition of Real Talk is all about Pitches N’ Hoes. That’s right, the dudes slinging that ish are dominating this post. Oop, I think I just pitched inside... my boxers.
More after the jump:
-If you were paying attention in Spring Training, Jeff Samardzija and his brilliant season debut shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. He displayed pretty fine command in the preseason while maintaining his trademark mid-90s velocity. So when he pitched 8.2 innings of great baseball (zero walks), it wasn’t unexpected to your boy Daddy Starbucks. Make no mistake: Samardzija is the truth. He should be owned in a hell of a lot more leagues. He’s converting from a relief role to a starting gig, so the pratfalls of an innings limit or fatigue could reveal themselves. Still, it’s well worth taking a chance on Samardzija because from an execution standpoint, he’s looking like a breakout player.
-It’s only been one start, but Adam Wainwright may be a lot cheaper after his so-so season debut. The dip in velocity has some owners scared (averaged 89.1 mph in first start) and the fact that he’s coming off serious elbow surgery isn’t assuaging any concerns. You know what this makes Wainwright? A pretty solid early season target. He was throwing harder in the preseason and figures to get stronger as the season wears on. Wainwright is admittedly a bit of an unpredictable commodity in terms of what to expect, but that makes him all the more interesting. It increases the odds of getting him for a decent price. Fantasy owners tend to overvalue potential top 25 pitchers early in the season, but Wainwright’s 2011 absence has people all over the spectrum regarding how he will perform this year. A good sell job on how you are “taking on the risk of Wainwright” while giving up a “more proven” or “more useful” piece (think a very low-end closer like Chris Perez or someone your patsy can use in their lineup) can go a long way when discussing a player like Wainwright. You at least owe it to yourself (and to me... I NEED THIS) to try.
-I wasn’t as big a Yu Darvish fans as others coming into the season, but it’s pretty safe to say that last night’s ugly line (5.2 IP, 5 ERs, 8 Hs, 4 BBs) was not a true indicator of what he can do. The first inning got out of hand (four runs scored before he recorded an out), but he settled in after that and showed good swing-and-miss stuff. I still think the sticker price will prove to be higher than his actual value considering the hitter’s park he’s in and the adjustment he will have to make to the big leagues, but he’s still capable of being a solid SP2-SP3 in fantasy.
-Lance Lynn and Juan Nicasio need to be owned in more leagues. Lynn throws fairly hard, has done a good job of limiting walks in his pro career, and has a rotation job all sewn up thanks to Chris Carpenter’s neck. Nicasio throws harder and is even better at keeping hitters off base, but he doesn’t have Lynn’s whiff potential (though he’s still a 7-plus K/9 asset). These types of players are deceptively valuable in deeper formats or leagues that have a high innings cap, so don’t wait for them to have another dominant start or two. You may get left in the dust.
-For years, I talked mad shit about Carlos Zambrano and how overrated he was. Nowadays, I’m liking his style (pause). He seemed to regain some of the zip on his fastball in the spring, and induced a ton of swings and misses in his season debut. The spacious confines of Miami’s new ballpark are a nice bonus. I’m not expecting a full-on bounce back to his hey day by any means, but he could prove to be a handy SP5 with good strikeout totals.
-It’s not crazy to imagine Johan Santana posting a K/9 over seven with an ERA in the low 3.00s and a WHIP in the 1.20 range. His fastball is obviously not winning any velocity contests anytime soon, but it was never about his heater anyway. He thrives on his changeup, and that pitch is still sharp as hell. Santana should continue to build up arm strength as the season chugs along, but the fact that he was missing so many bats in his first start is a terrific sign that he will be a worthy fantasy contributor in 2012.
-Erik Bedard is unowned in more than half of all Yahoo! leagues. He has the reputation of being a giant disappointment, but he’s averaged a 3.41 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9 since beginning the “shitty” portion of his career in Seattle. Granted a big reason for the disappointment has been the injuries, but you’re not running a major league roster here. Let the Pirates worry about his workload while you ride him like a run-down prostitute until the breakdown occurs.
-Though the walks will always be an issue, Edinson Volquez and his strikeouts need to be picked up in more leagues. The long-ball really killed him last year, but that was in Great American Ballpark. Now in Petco, his ERA should come way down (think: something in the high 3.00s) while his strikeouts should remain great. Also keep in mind that despite the atrocious surface numbers in 2011, he actually was making strides in the peripheral numbers by increasing the number of grounders and cutting down on the line drives. Yeah his WHIP will be above 1.30, but they’re worth absorbing when you consider the respectable ERA and bevy of strikeouts he will bring to the table.