For the most part, Daniel Straily's debut was a successful one in Oakland. He worked six crisp innings against the Blue Jays on Friday (5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K), showed a good mix of pitches. Like a lot of the current Athletics starters, he's doubtful to ever be a front-line pitcher, but he might be good enough to settle in as a No. 3 someday, perhaps a low No. 2. There's impressive depth in this organization.
Alas, Straily's debut had two missing elements to it that left roto players wanting. For one thing, he didn't get the win: Ryan Cook made a three-run mess in the ninth. And most Yahoo! players couldn't access Straily in their game, since he wasn't added to the player pool yet.
I know a lot of gamers are frustrated by that fact of life, and I've read your comments on the matter. Try to be respectful on this matter, amigos; you don't want to shoot the messenger, for one thing, and I'm always going to relay reasonable ideas and suggestions to the powers that be. I want to help whenever I can.
I hope most of you can see the perfect-storm elements to the Straily case. He had a mediocre season at Class-A last year and wasn't on anyone's radar entering 2012. Go back and look at whatever prospect list or guru you prefer: Baseball America had him buried in their ranks. Baseball Prospectus didn't put him in their annual. Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, Rob Steingall, none of these guys were discussing or promoting Straily last winter.
Heck, even Peter Brand missed on Straily. The A's selected the Oregon-bred righty in the 24th round back in 2009.
It's not practical for the Yahoo! game to have every minor-league player in the database to open the season. Consider for a second just how overwhelming the minor-leagues are; it's a gigantic landscape. And for the game to be fair to everyone in-season, we really don't want to have out-of-nowhere additions to the player pool; no one should be able to add a new commodity simply because they were the first gamer online to notice the random, unspecific insertion to the player pool.
Everyone at Yahoo! constantly wants to improve, all of us. Writers, editors, designers, customer care, we can always get better. I'm not going to engage any further debate in this issue - I don't see what the point of it is, since I'm not a game designer and nothing's going to change in 2012 - but if you have a good idea, I'll try to make sure it's advanced to the next level.
That's all I can do.
(Okay, I can do one other thing, here's your preview to the Straily Shuffle-Up price: something in the $6-8 range. You love him in the big ballpark and obviously he's been money in the minors this year, but we have to worry about a potential innings shutdown, not to mention those big name pitchers that are on the mend in Oakland. Full starting pitchers will be out at some point this weekend, be on the lookout for that. And yes, I trust Straily for next week's home start against the Angels.)
• Ah, those stupid thumb injuries. The Injury Gods took a shot at Emilio Bonifacio on Friday, giving him a jammed thumb that will keep him out for 2-3 weeks. Given that Bonifacio's game is all about speed, not power, perhaps this injury won't impact him as much as it might a slugging type. But with the Marlins 10,000 leagues from playoff contention, we can't be sure the team will opt for a quick return. As always, I suggest you take a realistic, if not slightly pessimistic, view of this injured player.
In the meantime, let's keep streaming against these fish whenever we can. It already was the worst offense in the majors with Bonifacio. Some of that will be lessened if and when Giancarlo Stanton returns, but we all know a train wreck when we see one. Jon Niese is the only Stream Police starter I see up against Miami over the next week (though a few universal arms come into play), but there will be others.
• Jacoby Ellsbury is another rabbit we're worrying about, through his issues are far less severe than Bonifacio's. Ellsbury has a sore leg and won't go Saturday. The Boston center fielder been an ordinary player in the second half (.280-11-1-3-3, over 20 games), again underscoring the idea that you shouldn't expect immediate miracles when name players return from long-term injuries. Heck, I know I priced him too highly in the last outfield Shuffle Up, too.
Are we sure this isn't all just Bobby Valentine's fault? Okay, let's move on.
• I'm not going to give you a long Tyler Colvin piece for a while — that tale has been told — but I will let you know that Colvin might have a full-time gig of his own fairly soon. Michael Cuddyer is dealing with an oblique injury, and it's possible he might need a DL stint.
Now you never know what Jim Tracy might do, so Colvin comes with no guarantees. But if the team plays him and leaves him alone, this could be a $15-17 bat the rest of the way. Lots of strikeouts, sure, but the pop is legit and the average shouldn't hurt you. Dare to dream.
• This isn't really a big roto note, but I'd like to thank the Orioles for bringing Lew Ford and Nate McLouth to the majors over the last week. Where was this service when I was a kid? Bombo Rivera could have played forever.
I'm off to Comerica Park for the Tigers and Indians. That guy in the upper deck with the Michigan cap who looks like me … is probably me. Good luck with your stat-grabbing Saturday night.