April Sours Bring May What?…A Typical Fantasy Misfire…

by John Farrell | Posted on Friday, May 6th, 2016
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Jason Castro

OK Fantasy Geeks, we’re five weeks into the 2016 campaign. How’s your squad looking? Mine is listing. I traded Huston Street and Roberto Osuna this offseason (i.e. my entire bullpen) and received Andrew Miller and Aaron Sanchez as the return. The going price for closers at my Fantasy auction was too steep for my tastes so I settled for would be closers like Keone Kela. Heck, even Ryan Madson was $19 and this was long before he began edging Sean Doolittle out of the closer role in Oakland. I don’t have to tell you how that strategy worked out so far. I still like Kela very much, but see you at the All-Star Break. He fanned 12 in 6 1/3 IP and vulture a win before heading to the DL, but he also gave up 5 runs. Not a big return for my $10. If only that was the worst of it.

I come to discuss Jason Castro today. He sort of typifies my ineptitude these days. Castro was an unknown to AL only Fantasy players in the Spring of 2013. Houston had just jumped leagues and we all had a new team to devour. To shorten a very long story I grabbed Castro with a $2 bid in 2013 and was thrilled. He went on to hit 18 homers, drive in 56 runs and hit .276. He helped me win my league that year. Thinking he was headed for bigger things, I protected him heading into the 2014 season. He again drove in 56 runs, but his homer total dropped to 14 and he hit a mere .222. Not the best performance, but these things happen right? The following season I packaged him in a deal and bid farewell…seemingly forever. Guess who needed a catcher as this year’s draft came to a close? Yep, yours truly. Guess who was left hanging around at draft’s end? Yep, old friend Jason Castro. The rest of the board was littered with part timers & would be part timers like Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh Phegley. It seemed all of them were on 3 catcher teams with murky playing time issues coming off crappy seasons

So I bid a whopping $12 on Jason Castro because I had leftover funds and wanted an everyday catcher. I knew nobody in their right mind would top that bid, but the thing is, I never quite got on board with the dollar catcher theory. If you’ve got Salvador Perez pumping out 21 and 79, you’ve got a huge advantage over the other teams if you can approximate their production everywhere else. I can usually do that and if I can’t it’s so much easier finding a hot OF or CO man to help later on. Find a good starting catcher after the draft? Good luck with that. Fast forward to last Tuesday night; I’m sitting in a bar (I’m a Comcast Hostage so I can’t see the Yankees play at home until their ugly dispute with YES is resolved…That means I am forced from my lair complete with bar tab if I want to see the Yankees play for now) watching the Texas Rangers maul young Luis SeverinoIt’s a 1o-1 laugher behind the surprising A.J. Griffin, but I’m mostly interested in recent Ranger call up C Brett Nicholas. You see, he homered off Dellin Betances the previous night and the catching situation in Texas is putrid. Nothing to see there from a Fantasy standpoint is my point. Surely anyone who could hit would move to the fore with Robinson Chirinos out for another two months right? Well, wouldn’t you know it? Nicholas belts an RBI double in the bottom of the 6th as I’m sipping my Bass Ale. He had already lined to Beltran in RF earlier in the game. Did I mention he homered off Betances already? Now I’m getting antsy. You see I’ve got Jason Castro hitting a homerless .115 and he’s already stuck me with 2 errors. I’m not happy. After a belt of Jameson for courage and watching Nicholas strike out against a reasonably tough lefty in Chasen Shreve I make my ill advised move. Dialing up the transaction hot line I go against every Fantasy tenet in my being and I pick up rookie C Brett Nicholas and drop the veteran Jason Castro. What did I have to lose? Nicholas had a pretty good track record of hitting in the minors and we know for a fact erstwhile Texas starting C Bryan Holaday, recently acquired from Detroit, is a career .238 hitter. Castro had completely fallen off the earth since his big 2013. He crash landed at .211 last year. I had a feeling he would rebound on the cheap (for me), but his April was abysmal and I wanted out. My whole team was hitting like crap, but Castro was particularly heinous. I had nothing to lose right? Right? Well…

Brett Nicholas

We only have weekly transactions in our league so I had to wait until the following Monday to get Brett Nicholas active. I usually don’t pick up anyone early in the week unless there’s a threat that someone else might grab him. Our league (10 teams AL only) has a couple of owners you can count on not to dig as deep as Nicholas for answers, but the dearth of catching had me worried. Castro was stinking the joint out so I wasn’t all that concerned about losing him figuring he might even clear waivers the way he was hitting. Well, wouldn’t you know it; he started showing patience and walking more almost instantly. Even if that is all he did that would mean less outs I’d have to absorb.  My batting average is second to last in the our league thanks a lot of guys hitting under .250. I was like 8 for 45 every night in April. It was laughable.  April Showers? Try April Sours. So, even though Nicholas homered off R.A. Dickey in his first AB (I’ll called that one on my couch…I’m wicked smart as they say in the Northeast) for me and played well the entire time he was up, the Rangers farmed him out this week in favor of (ZZZZZ) Bobby Wilson! I couldn’t believe it. Castro? On a tear! 2 homers & 4 RBIs last night! Really? Add a gaping catching hole to my list of things my underachieving squad has working against it. Fantasy Baseball can be cruel. Castro will never clear waivers after his big week so I’m out of luck. A dumb move and it won’t be my last. It happens to us all, but to me more often than it should. I get impulsive with a shot of Jameson in my hand…What can I say?

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OK April 2016 is in the rear view mirror…What have we learned if anything?…Let’s a take a look at some players moving and shaking in whatever direction…

Byung-ho Park is a big man and he hits bombs. Sure he strikes out a ton, but so does Russell Martin and I don’t see any joy every 10 AB’s. I love watching Park hit, even when he whiffs. Lookout once he learns the league

Leonys Martin is about 12 outs from losing his grip on the CF job in Seattle, but he’s such a good defender and he does have 4 bombs & 12 RBIs to go with 3 steals…And a Bob Uecker like .200 BA. I still think he can adjust.

Nick Castellanos is hitting .378. Whoa. So what if he’s walked 3 times? I’ve got a roster full of hackers, but none of them are raking like that. He’s got a good stick, but not this good. Regression flag.

Jose Altuve is one fantastic baseball player.  He’s filling up the stat sheet for the 1st place team in our league with 10 steals already. My whole merry band of underachievers has 12. Steals are a lost art.

Jose Bautista is apparently planning on puts the Bats back into Joey Bats to work at a more convenient time for him. I’m a little tired of seeing the Bringer of Rain doing all the damage up in Toronto.

Colby Rasmus is a late bloomer, but he’s doing some real damage this year on a .231 batting average. 19 walks jumps out at me, let alone the 7 HR/22 RBI line. Now about that ‘do…

Logan Morrison is terrible. I never understood the appeal give or take his monthly homer. I’m fighting with everything I have not to pick up Richie Shaffer down in Durham. Steve Pearce?  Please…

Manny Macho is among the very best players in baseball as far as I’m concerned. What a talent. Batting .355 with 7 HR and 16 RBIs after a month. I think that computes to 42 and 96 out of the 2 hole. Nice…

Mike Trout is, ho hum, beginning to dominate once again. He is wasted in Anaheim. That team is a lock for last in my opinion. Good to see Matt Shoemaker back at Salt Lake where he belongs. No offense to his owners.

Joe Mauer is in line for the Bela Lugosi Award this year. Don’t know where he’s been for a couple of years, but he’s back to using the whole field and hitting for average at .323 with 22 Walks! I wouldn’t have touched him.

Christian Vazquez is the one player who turned the Red Sox around in April. Blake Swihart was not getting it done. Vazquez is hitting a torrid .138, but managed to ambush my boy Dellin Betances  for a HR last Friday.

Mookie Betts is a terror.  Doesn’t walk much, but 17 RBI out of the leadoff spot is getting it done. 6 thefts to boot. Wish he was on the Marlins so he would leave Michael Pineda alone.

Chase Headley is the new Yankee Nation whipping boy (i.e. Stephen Drew). It looks like he’s taking it personally because he can’t get out of his own way these days. He hit in tough luck last year, if you can’t believe it.

Robinson Cano seems to have righted the ship. Those big year prognostications seem right in line with what we are seeing. It’s May 5th and he’s got 26 RBIs already. He’s on pace for 175 or so. I better trade him now.

Matt Moore has been impressive even with 1 win and the high ERA to date. He looks healthy, the rest should follow.  Speaking of impressive, how about teammate Drew Smyly? He’s out pitching David Price!

Chris Sale is absolutely dominating. Jose Quintana is absolutely dominating. Carlos Rodon is learning fast. Mat Latos is absolutely overachieving. John Danks? He Gone!…

Rich Hill is surprising some folks around the league including Boston (is my guess). Clay Buchholz or Rich Hill? Thank God they let Hill go. The AL Least is full of flawed teams. No wonder Boston is in first place.

Ian Kennedy is also surprising some folks. I guess if you have infield defense it does make a difference. Will he be able to keep it up? He was once a pretty good pitcher. Wish I had taken the flyer…

White Sox and Mariners at 19-9 and 16-11 are the surprise teams in the AL to date. Let’s see what May brings us…I’m not expecting flowers personally, but I wouldn’t mind the Mega Millions jackpot…Talk soon…

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John Farrell
About the Author

John grew up in NJ and has been following the game since 1968. John has played Fantasy Baseball since 1988. 2 Loves; Baseball and Rock & Roll…

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