Apparently, I like to write columns in series, (Keep, Trade Drop, Impact Prospects, ADP values), and this will be no exception. I had always planned on penning a monthly “I’m a Believer” column, but I didn’t expect to have to start this early in the season.
Yes, I got the name from a Monkees’ song and yes I like the song. Did you know that Neil Diamond wrote it and also a lot of other songs by the Monkees? Isn’t Neil Diamond cool (Red Sox fans)? Therefore – fantasy baseball love notwithstanding – aren’t I cool (hello, transitive property)?
Didn’t think so, but, at least, you now have “Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer…” stuck in your head (Co-Stan-Za, by Mennen).
I originally thought this column, in addition to being annoying, would be a late April/early May discussion of baseball players who were off to hot/cold starts and whether those would continue, i.e. I’m a believer in Shelton’s hot start.
However, I see a need to advance some advice for those of you flocking to the waiver wire in search of the April flavor of the month. I know it is hard to stick with the plan and give players time to perform, but if you believed in them on draft day, your belief should not be different a few days into the season.
In April, you should not drop or sell low any players you drafted in the top 15 – 20 rounds, give it time to breath. Sure, you can jettison late round speculative picks for newly coronated closers (Brad Ziegler, Rodney, and Motte), but don’t overreact and drop or trade Cliff Lee because he got shelled. Pitchers get shelled, batters have o’fers – it’s a long season, so be cool/be nice.
One caveat to this rule is if a batter ends up in a much different line-up slot (Mike Aviles, for instance). Then you should ramp down your projections and it might make sense to try and sell while he has some draft round value intact.
That said, what speculative picks should you be jumping on? Well, I’m here to provide background on the fantasy baseball’s four-day darlings.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Catcher, Texas Rangers – I spent a paltry $6 on Salty in my 20 team Roto league and was a little concerned that he was my only catcher. It is nice to see him performing, as that could help him hold onto the starting catcher’s job. As long as he is getting regular at bats in the Texas lineup, he’ll be a good backstop.
Adam Lind – Outfield/First base, Toronto Blue Jays – Lind was about to get the AAAA stigma, but finished off strong last year, posted a good spring and is off to a fantastic start in 2009. His full season major league numbers suggest 20+ HRs, 90+ RBIs and 90 runs. He could also post a .270 batting average. That’s pretty good potential.
Adam Jones – Outfield, Baltimore Orioles – In 132 games last year, Jones hit nine homeruns and stole 10 bases. He is off to a hot start and would not surprise anyone with a 20-20 season, while scoring 75-90 runs and knocking in 55 or so. The Orioles line-up is vastly underrated, eh C.C.?
Hank Blalock – Third base, Texas Rangers – Blalock has become a huge injury risk, so you can only ride him while he is healthy. Still, he hits in the heart of a potent lineup in a phenomenal hitters park and can be in your lineup when the Rangers face right handed pitchers.
Ryan Church – Outfield, New York Mets – Church should be on everyone’s radar as the Mets outfield gets sorted out. Obviously the addition of Sheffield makes things murky, but let’s hope the Mets eventually come around and Church is an everyday starter. Church did hit 12 HRs in only 90 games last year and his per season average suggest a 17+ HR season is easily within reach.
Emilio Bonifacio – Second base, Florida Marlins – The Marlins leadoff hitter is grabbing everyone’s attention. He hit a homerun, knocked in four and stole three bases in the first game of the season. That said, Jesus Flores is not a good catcher and the Nationals are not a good team, so let’s temper expectations – eventually the Marlins will have to start playing major league teams. Still, he could steal 35 bags (like Brett Gardner) and score some runs.
Nyjer Morgan – Pittsburgh Pirates – Morgan held off Andrew McCutchen in spring training – during which he stole 6 bases – and is batting lead-off for the Pirates. He also swiped a bag in the opener and could be a cheap source of steals and runs as long as he continues to hit lead-off.