By my count, there have been 20 games postponed already this season due to inclement conditions. To which I say, "Enough already." You don't even have to be a head-to-head owner to be frustrated by this foul (weather) trend. I haven't watched "Inconvenient Truth" yet, but if this is the sign of the times, count me among those that feel the new standard should be that only teams with roof-enabled stadiums and/or located south of, say, the 35th parallel should be allowed to host games during the first couple weeks of the season. While my happy face is on hold as I wait for those grey skies to clear up, here's a look back at the weekend that was on the diamond:
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
- Perhaps more frustrating than the recent bad weather has been the sustained power outages by some of fantasy's bigger names – Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Delgado, Mark Teixeira, Manny Ramirez, David Wright, to name a few, all have yet to register their first home run. I'm getting killed in a couple leagues because I'm sitting on some of these guys. Owners of Soriano, a consensus top 5 pick, have to be particularly irked. And, while I'm not a Soriano owner, I can offer some solace with a quick history lesson. Last year, Soriano went through two droughts equal to or greater than his current 11-game dry spell – one of 13 games and one of 11 games. In fact, this is hardly unfamiliar territory for the others, as well. Here's a look at some homerless streaks from '06 by the previously mentioned sluggers, along with their ending HR total:
Manny Ramirez (16-game drought – hit 35 HRs)
Mark Teixeira (17- and 22-game droughts – hit 33 HRs)
Carlos Delgado (15-game drought – hit 38 HRs)
David Wright (28-, 20- and 18-game droughts – hit 26)
So, as much as these players are driving you to madness, it's not time to do anything drastic. The season is less than eight percent complete. Patience is still the most virtuous route – that is to say, I'll continue to ignore the deals where I give up Jose Reyes at a discounted rate for power.
- If there is to be another Francisco Liriano this season – and that's a huge "if" – I firmly believe it's going to be last week's Prospect Watch nominee, Tim Lincecum. His stuff is just downright filthy. I drafted him in a couple mixed leagues, and was all hot to add him on Monday in two of my other leagues (Funston Blog League and Y! Friends and Family League) after seeing that he didn't allow a run in his second outing at Triple-A – he's now 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 17 Ks in 12 IP. Unfortunately, I was beat to the punch by a matter of hours in both leagues. But it says something that a pitcher that has yet to throw a pitch at the major league level is already snapped up across the board in all my leagues. He's ready for his chance, and he has Russ Ortiz standing in his way. Yeah, it's not going to be long …
- Notable Notes: The Blue Jays took a beating over the weekend as closer B.J. Ryan (elbow), shortstop Troy Glaus (heel) and outfielder Reed Johnson (herniated disc) all landed on the DL. Only Glaus is likely to return when his 15 days are up, however. Ryan is gone for roughly a month and a half, while Johnson isn't expected back until around the All-Star break … Rich Harden left Sunday's game after 6.0 IP (1 ER, 7 K) because of shoulder tightness. While it doesn't sound serious, it's wince-worthy news given his injury history … Victor Martinez (quad) is set to return to catching duties on Tuesday … Adam Dunn missed Sunday's game because of back spasms … Aramis Ramirez (wrist) is expected to play Monday … For those who have asked, and there have been many, Zack Greinke and Adam Wainwright will earn SP-eligibility this week after their third start of the season.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
- Chris Duncan, StL, 1B/OF
I actually get a lot of emails from people asking me to give Duncan Big Board consideration, which makes it even more surprising that he is owned in just 52 percent of Yahoo! leagues – although he currently tops the Buzz Index most added list. With three home runs in his first 10 games, Duncan now has 25 home runs in his past 100 games dating back to last season. Hitting in front of Albert Pujols, I think it's safe to say the guy can hit a fastball. The son of Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan, Chris is a legit power source – a rarely available resource on waivers. I actually added him in one mixed, 12-team head-to-head league over the weekend, so I know he can be had.
PROSPECT WATCH: Top players down on the farm
- Adam Lind (ETA – Now)
Reed Johnson is out until at least July after having surgery to repair a herniated disc. That has opened the door for Lind to get everyday playing time. Lind, who acquitted himself nicely in his 60 at-bat MLB debut in '06 (.367 BA), went 4-for-8 combined Saturday and Sunday in his first appearances of '07. He needs to make three more starts in the outfield to shed his Utility-only tag in Yahoo! leagues, and that should happen this coming week. The rookie entered the season rated as Toronto's top prospect according to Baseball America after hitting a combined .335 with 26 home runs between minor league and major league stops last season. He's an AL-only add, for sure, and he's worth a bench flyer in mixed leagues of 14-plus teams.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Russell Martin, LAD, C – Three stolen bases this past week pushes his season total to four. Four stolen bases from a catcher! His .366 BA and 11 Runs are gravy.
Al Reyes, TB, RP – A potential closer-by-committee situation has turned into the Reyes show, as the veteran reliever who sat out all of '06 has nailed all four save opportunities for the D-Rays – he has yet to allow a run in 5.0 IP.
Ramon Ortiz, Min, SP – A long time ago, Ortiz was a highly regarded pitching prospect. After a 2-0 start (1.80 ERA) folks are starting to recall that 15-9, 3.77 ERA, 162-K season with the Angels in '02.
Tim Hudson, Atl, SP – Hudson has pitched seven stellar innings in each of his three outings this season, combining for 2 W, a 0.86 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 16 K.
Aaron Hill, Tor, 2B/SS – Fantasy owners could ignore him only so long. After a .476 week that included 8 Runs and 7 RBI, Hill currently sits among the top 6 most added players in the Yahoo! game.
Gary Sheffield, Det, 1B, OF – Life after the Yankees continues to be a struggle for Sheff, who endured a 2-for-24 week to lower his BA to .122.
Eric Byrnes, Ari, OF – The poster-child for streaky, Byrnes is 5-for-29 (.138) in his past seven games after opening the year on a 10-for-26 (.385) tear.
Mike Cameron, SD, OF – Cameron hit just .095 this past week, and struck out nine times in 21 at bats, second-most in the past seven days.
Jason Schmidt, LAD, SP – Schmidt went 0-2 this past week, allowing eight earned runs (three home runs) in 6.0 IP combined. He will work out in a bullpen on Monday to determine the cause of his decreased velocity.
Yahoo! Sports Blog Funston League Update
As referenced above, homerless starts by Mark Teixeira and Carlos Delgado are wreaking havoc on my Blog League team. Strong pitching by Felix Hernandez and Josh Beckett has kept me afloat despite pulling a 1 in the home run category – I'm six points out of second place. Dave Aardsma, Tim Lincecum, and Brian Giles are the latest league-wide free agent additions.
You can follow along with the Yahoo! Friends and Family experts league here, but please spare me your ridicule – it's a long season.