Written by Robert Democh
Published: 10 April 2009
That joyful noise you hear is fantasy baseball managers eagerly setting their lineups as a new season begins. Hope springs eternal during opening week for real and fantasy teams alike. Let’s navigate the always changing currents around the majors in an effort to help you keep your fantasy team afloat.
Ichiro should come back in the middle of April.
Suzuki no Samurai...Seattle’s best player had been among the majors most durable (just three missed games in eight seasons) before a bleeding ulcer felled him last week. Endy Chavez will bat leadoff in his absence and might be worth a flier if you need a fill-in. Expect Ichiro back in action on April 15 (however taxing that may seem).
A-Rod’s return approacheth…Rodriguez’ return date from hip surgery, tentatively thought to be around May 15, is now being moved up to April 30 based upon his highly encouraging rehab progress. If the A-Rod owner in your league is anxious, see if you can strike a deal. Five months of A-Rod beats six months of most anyone else.
Slithering Scherzer…Currently residing on the DL, Max Scherzer will be activated next week when the D-Backs require a fifth starter. He will likely remain on pitch counts and inning limits this season, which slightly diminishes his value in standard Roto leagues. Capitalize on that, because Arizona’s top pitching prospect and his major league approved heater should provide excellent returns in strikeouts, ERA and WHIP.
Swinging Sheff…It was a mild surprise when Gary Sheffield was released by Detroit on March 31 and an even bigger one when he landed with the Mets four days later. He’s 40 now and the bum shoulder isn’t going anywhere. Sheffield lands in a great lineup in a new home park that projects to be at least neutral for right handed hitters. Without the ability to DH, however, it’s difficult to see him getting sufficient at bats to be a fantasy mainstay unless one of the Mets starting outfielders gets hurt. More likely, he’ll assume a role similar to that of Arizona’s Tony Clark: a capable pinch hitter and occasional outfield fill-in. Sheffield should easily acquire his coveted 500th career home run before hanging up the cleats for good.
The best laid plans…former White Sox great Frank Thomas used to hang a sign on his clubhouse locker bearing the letters DBTH, shorthand for “Don’t Believe the Hype.” It was his method of keeping things in perspective during good times and bad. My DBTH advice for you? Avoid the urge to chase the current hot hand. Emilio Bonifacio is a decent ballplayer but he’s not likely to bat .300 and steal 40 bases. Yet he has been scooped up in every one of my Yahoo leagues. If you did your homework and came to your draft prepared, sit tight. The fantasy baseball season lasts six months. Inevitably, patience will prove to be your ally and impulse your enemy.