Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders this week.
Dalton – KEMP. I liked him far more entering the year, and at least he has an excuse for a slow start since he's coming off shoulder surgery. Kemp is also three years younger and isn't the one who left an extreme hitter's park.
Brandon – KEMP. If I was drafting today, I'd still take Kemp ahead of Hamilton. The difference is the speed factor, which remains a a key differentiator as Kemp has run off three steals in his past four games (8-for-18 at the plate, as well)
Scott – I'm still on KEMP'S side on this one – he's three years younger and has a more diversified set of skills. But I'm glad to be watching from the sidelines in both cases, uninvested on both. That's not a victory lap really, it's a sigh of relief.
Waiver flavor of the week, Didi Gregorius, combined homers/steals for season 14.5
Brandon – UNDER. His combined HR/SB number for his past 167 games split between Double- and Triple-A is only 15. I wouldn't expect him to do that well in his first go-round in MLB with the expectation of less games.
Scott – Did he hit in the minors? No. Is he used near the top of the order? No. Bury the UNDER, kids.
Brad – OVER. Stranger things have happened. His minor league track-record is weak, no question, but his mitt will keep him in the lineup everyday, even when Aaron Hill returns. He should be able to muster another 13 combined homers/steals.
Believe or Make Believe: Mike Minor, who currently ranks No. 18 among SPs, will be a top-25 starter over the remainder of the season.
Scott – NYET. Still too much gopheritis for me to fully buy in. But calling Minor a Top 40 or 45 pitcher isn't a slap in the face.
Brad – BELIEVE. So he faced baseball's version of the Charlotte Bobcats to start the season (Colorado the exception), but the underlying data in those turns oozes deliciousness, especially his 21:3 K:BB in 25 IP. Gopheritis plagued him last year. Keep the ball in the park and he should tuck just inside the SP top-25.
Andy – FALSE. NO. REJECTED. Minor hasn't exactly faced a murderer's row of opponents (KC, MIA, CHC). He's a nice enough piece for your fantasy rotation, but wouldn't crack my overall top-35.
Travis Hafner, the youngest looking player on a club overflowing with septuagenarians, rest of season home runs 17.5
Brad – OVER. It's entirely possible Hafner would slip a disc tying his shoe, but Yankee Stadium favors what he does best: driving balls to right field. I realize it's a gigantic IF, but assuming he logs 450 at-bats, he should finish in range of 23-25 long-balls.
Andy – UNDER. Heck, I might take the under here if we were talking about games-played instead of homers. All the old issues still apply with Hafner. Just enjoy the stats while he's healthy-ish.
Dalton – UNDER. He already has five bombs, and Yankee Stadium boosts home runs for LHB as much as any park in baseball, but Hafner hasn't hit more than 17 homers in a season since 2007, let alone in five months. Moreover, his playing time should decrease once the Yankees get healthier.
Matt Adams, who has crushed everything in sight, rest of season at-bats 299.5
Andy – OVER. As long as this oblique issue is minor, not requiring a DL stint, then I think the Cards will make sure Adams finishes his year with something like 350 at-bats. It's not that difficult to find playing time for him. Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig are gonna need a few (dozen) off-days.
Dalton – UNDER. Adams is a nice player who's admittedly been terrific so far, but he's not some super elite prospect (he didn't exactly go crazy during his time with St. Louis last season), and there's just not a place for him to start. And even if an injury strikes, Oscar Taveras also looms as an alternative.
Brandon – UNDER. He's "Patch Adams" for the Cards, meaning that he only has a fill-in here, fill-in there role with the team. He's only projected for 194 ABs right now. It's a big leap to 299.5 ABs from where he's at in line right now.
Dalton – BUCHHOLZ. This one wasn't particularly close for me. I'm pretty shocked by what Dempster has done so far this year, but compare their ages, and my thoughts on Buchholz (http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/fantasy-roto-arcade/mostly-mlb-notes-max-scherzer-bryce-harper-making-083109118--mlb.html) are pretty strong. I'm buying in.
Brandon – DEMPSTER. While not exactly a consistency king himself, Dempster has a more bankable track record, and he's currently churning out huge swing-and-miss totals with a heavier reliance on his splitter.
Scott – A slight lean towards BUCHHOLZ, who's seven years younger. But in mixed leagues, I'd rather spin the dice on an NL pitcher or someone in the other AL divisions. The AL East isn't the death sentence it used to be, but there are still bumpy roads here.
Fill in the blanks: Soon-to-be-activated hot corner Hanley Ramirez finishes with ______ home runs and ______ stolen bases and tallies a final _______rank among shortstops, _______rank among third basemen.
Brandon – 13 HRs, 16 SBs, No. 10 at SS and No. 13 at 3B
Scott – "14," "11," "No. 11," "No. 13." And I expect to be the most bearish with those numbers.
Brad – "15," "16," "No. 7," "No. 11"
Ervin Santana, who currently sports a tidy 2.48 ERA, rest of season ERA 4.49
Scott – Easy UNDER. Nice buy-low from the Royals. I see 4.00 as the truer O/U.
Brad – UNDER. Though last year was a disaster, he's contributed serviceable numbers in the past. Homers are an ongoing problem, but if he can continue to miss bats (8.07 K/9) and limit free passes (1.55 BB/9), he should tally ROS ERA well-below 4.00.
Andy – UNDER. C'mon. As of this writing, the average team ERA in the A.L. is 3.99. I'm not the world's biggest Santana fan, but I certainly think he can finish somewhere near league-average.
Pick your OF Poison: Lorenzo Cain, Angel Pagan, Alejandro De Aza or Denard Span
Brad – CAIN. Placed him on a pedestal preseason. After a smokin' start, he'll remain there. He won't wow in any single category, but he's a strong candidate to be a .285-12-65-60-18 player by year's end.
Andy – CAIN, please. Injuries delayed the breakout last season, but this is still a player with respectable power/speed potential. Can't complain about the early results.
Dalton – PAGAN. He has zero homers and just one steal but has displayed solid plate discipline and is on pace to finish with 123 runs scored and 85 RBI despite the slow start. Sign me up if there's a buy low opportunity.
Requiem for a STREAM (Hush your mouth, Behrens). Which plug ‘n play pitcher: Justin Grimm (at Min), Hiram Burgos (at LAD), Andrew Cashner (vs. SF), Kevin Slowey (vs. ChC) or Garrett Richards (at Sea)?
Andy – RICHARDS, easy. The match-up isn't too intimidating, and he's coming off a terrific start vs. Detroit (7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 8 Ks). There's lots to like here.
Dalton – CASHNER. He'll be limited to 5-6 innings at best, and his opponent has won two of the past three World Series, but Cashner will be pitching at Petco Park and is by far the most talented option among this group.
Brandon – Take me down SLOWEY and easy ... the Cubs have hit .202 on the road, so far, and Marlins Park has played as the fourth-toughest venue for hitters in '13.
Scott – RICHARDS gets the check mark. He just kept the Tigers in check, and the Mariners don't scare anyone (what would Ackley need to do to get demoted? Put a hit out on the Mariner Moose?).
Brad – SLOWEY. Undoubtedly, runs will be a premium for both clubs, but the ex-Twin has pitched masterfully allowing a combined five earned against quality opponents Cincinnati, Philly, Atlanta and Washington. The Cubs are far from intimidating.
MULTIPLE CHOICE BONUS: Recently axed rookie TV anchor A.J. Clemente, who famously muffled expletives on his first ever newscast for KFYR-TV Bismarck, should work next as: A) Rodeo clown, B) Broadcast journalism professor, C) Fantasy writer, D) Porn star E) Joe Pesci impersonator F) Ron Burgundy’s personal mustache handler
Dalton – FANTASY WRITER. I loved his response to the mistake and feel for the guy. I'd welcome him with open arms. He seems self-deprecating, which is pretty much a must in our industry
Brandon – FANTASY WRITER - the one industry where they'll let any 'ole "Yahoo" claim to be an expert.
Scott – He needs a redemption like Mike finds in Swingers. Is Heather Graham still a working actress? Rollergirl to a housephone, please? Maybe A.J. Clemente can flush his demons down at the Ha-Ha Hole on Pico.
Brad – PESCI IMPERSONATOR. Clearly he already has the lingo down. I could definitely see him thrive in a one-man Broadway show reprising Pesci's role as Nicky Santoro from "Casino." SMASH HIT! ... "I think in all fairness, I should explain to you exactly what it is that I do. For instance tomorrow morning I'll get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank and... walk in and see and, uh... if you don't have my money for me, I'll... crack your (expletive) head wide-open in front of everybody in the bank. And just about the time that I'm comin' out of jail, hopefully, you'll be coming out of your coma. And guess what? I'll split your (expletive) head open again. 'Cause I'm (expletive) stupid. I don't give a (expletive) about jail. That's my business. That's what I do."
Andy – FANTASY WRITER, no question. He's already blurbing for Rotoworld, actually. You've probably read some of his work and didn't know it. "Is Gregorius worth a flyer in an only-league? [Expletive] yeah he is. What are you, a [expletive] [expletive]? [Expletive]. Add him already, [expletive]-weasel."
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