By Andy Behrens
June 11, 2007
Believe me, we read all your feedback. It's usually instructive, thoughtful, and it helps drive content. However, sometimes the volume of correspondence we receive about a specific player is overwhelming. When this happens there's only one logical solution: automated email responses. It's the only way to ensure that everyone gets a timely reply.
Don't be surprised if you receive the following out-of-office response from a Yahoo! fantasy expert over the next few weeks:
Thank you for your interest in Yovani Gallardo. We appreciate the inquiry. Due to the high volume of emails we have received on this prospect, your expected reply wait time is unusually long. We sincerely hope the following frequently asked questions address your concerns:
Who is this Gallardo dude?
He's a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Nashville Sounds. They're a Triple-A Brewers affiliate. Gallardo has been terrific this year, going 8-2 with a 2.89 ERA and 98 strikeouts in only 71.2 innings. He struggled in his last outing against Omaha, allowing six hits and uncharacteristically walking six. Still, Gallardo remains the most interesting pitching prospect in the high minors.
How do I pronounce his name?
It's possible that Andy screwed this up on "The Average Joe Sports Show" on Radio 1480 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Whoops.
So should I add him in my league?
Some of you aren't in a good position to wait on a prospect. We get it. Maybe you're in a dogfight for the sixth playoff spot in a head-to-head league. Or maybe you're struggling with the innings-pitched maximum in a roto league. Or maybe your pitching staff is just utterly dominant and you need the roster spot to address other categories. Really, we get it. Not everyone can afford Gallardo. But if you're at the top of the standings and/or your league has a deep bench, you need to consider him. Of all the prospects in the high minors, he's the guy most likely to have a significant positive fantasy impact this season.
If he's so great, then why did Craig Falzone just drop him?
He really can't wait. Falzone is in fifth place in the Yahoo! Friends & Family League, and a surging Brad Evans is closing fast. We only have three bench spots in that league, and 19 spots to fill in our starting lineups. It's extremely difficult to carry any player who isn't on a major league roster. It's an understandable move. Falzone tried unsuccessfully to shop him around the league prior to dropping him, too.
So when will the Brewers call up Gallardo?
That's the essential question. It's the most FA'ed of all the FAQs. General manager Doug Melvin recently told the Tennessean, "We just don't have a need right now. That's the tough part. Some teams are taking a lot of young guys and putting them in the bullpen. That's crossed our mind a little bit. But for now, we're just probably going to stay with that we have."
The Brewers are off Monday and next Thursday, so they'll likely skip fifth starter Claudio Vargas. He actually picked up the save in a 12-inning win on Sunday. Milwaukee plays a double-header at St. Louis on Saturday, July 28. Prior to that date they'll have played 15 straight games without an off-day. You can reasonably expect Gallardo to be up by then.
Oh, c'mon. That long? Hasn't Dave Bush been unfathomably bad?
No, not "unfathomably." Don't be so extreme. Bush certainly hasn't met preseason expectations – he's 3-6 with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. But he hasn't quite been bad enough to lose his job. Not yet. After a terrific start, Vargas has returned to being the big-WHIPped pitcher he's always been. He's now 4-1, but his WHIP is 1.52. His ERA won't remain under 4.00 if he keeps giving up hits and walks at that rate. Vargas also hasn't pitched more than six innings in any start this season. If everyone in the Milwaukee rotation remains healthy, he seems like the most likely candidate for a demotion.
That's just a working draft of our Gallardo-related automated response. We might add email links for Brewers' front office at the bottom of the FAQs, too.
Yeah, it might feel impersonal, like we're trying to stiff-arm readers. But we're committed to efficient turnaround times in customer service, and nothing makes a customer happier than an auto-reply. Research proves it.
To almost no one's surprise, Brad Lidge has reclaimed the closing job for the Astros. Albert Pujols won't have the opportunity to single-handedly remove him from the job until August 28-30, either. That's when the Cardinals next travel to Houston. Lidge is 73.8 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
Hunter Pence (hip flexor) should return to the Houston lineup Monday to face the (possibly) resurgent Carlos Zambrano. Expect Koyie Hill to catch Big Z tonight. That's not to say that Zambrano and Michael Barrett aren't tight. They are. Barrett says they're like brothers. They're just like brothers who can't interact.
It sounds like B.J. Upton (quadriceps) will be back in the Devil Rays lineup this week. Tampa manager Joe Maddon told the team's website, "He'll play Tuesday, obviously, if he can. I've got an idea it will be Wednesday or Thursday after that. But [head trainer] Ronnie [Porterfield] doesn't see an extended thing with this." Upton (9 HR, 13 SB, .320 AVG) is locked in a fierce competition with Al Reyes (1 W, 1.95 ERA, 15 SV) and James Shields (6 W, 3.04 ERA, 83 K) for lone-all-star-representative status in Tampa Bay, so he can't afford to miss any time.
The Arizona Diamondbacks play six games in American League parks this week, so that whole Chad Tracy-Mark Reynolds-Conor Jackson thing isn't really going to be an issue … yet. Tracy and Jackson would seem to have the edge here, long-term, although the Diamondbacks clearly have several desirable trade chips.
With Mark Teixeira (quadriceps) on the disabled list, Brad Wilkerson (21.1 percent owned) should play first base for Texas for a few weeks – definitely long enough to acquire Yahoo! eligibility at 1B. He's an interesting player in OBP leagues; his career on-base percentage is .356, and he's topped .370 three times. He has respectable power, too. Wilkerson hit 15 HR in only 320 at-bats with Texas in 2006.
If you're inclined to stream on a Tuesday, consider these starters: Kevin Millwood (39.5 percent owned) at Pittsburgh, Fausto Carmona (72.0) at Florida, or Daniel Cabrera (26.6) versus Washington.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Monday, Jun 11, 2007 2:31 pm, EDT
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