We’ve finally got one season in the books. What did we learn from the opening stanza to the 2012 fantasy baseball season?
Buster Posey is getting the day off Monday after starting all three games in Arizona. His slash line in those three games was immensely encouraging (.333/.429/.583). Did you see the way the ball jumped off his bat on that inside out swing that resulted in his first homer of the year, and first in 99 at-bats dating back to last year? I don’t know how a guy who is so normal in terms of his physical size, and one who swings so smoothly, can generate power like that. Guess that’s what makes him such an elite talent. It’s early, but those early returns are extremely encouraging.
Giancarlo Stanton, I still have a hard time writing that without thinking I’m talking about an actor in some 1970′s detective movie, will not play Monday because of left knee pain. The Marlins are listing the slugger as â€śday-to-dayâ€ť – aren’t we all â€“ and are not putting out there any type of panic whatsoever with Stanton. I on the other hand have some concerns. Let’s say I have a lot of concerns actually. As I mentioned all spring when people asked me, I just couldn’t fathom why Stanton was seemingly a lock for everyone in terms of being a top-25 overall fantasy player. In addition to concerns about his batting average and his lack of stolen base acumen, there was this troublesome knee issue. Now that we’re into the regular season and it’s still a worry I think everyone should be nervous. It’s pretty hard to play a 162 game season under the best of circumstances, and when you start out a year injured, that’s a steep hill to climb to greatness.
Mark Trumbo was being drafted a good 5-8 or so spots ahead of where I would have felt comfortable taking him on draft day in relation to other first baseman. Everyone saw the 29 homers and 87 RBI from his rookie season and was justifiably excited. At the same time I tried to point out that he hit only .254, that his OBP was .291, and that he walked all of 25 times in 149 games last season. I also kept mentioning two other salient points. (1) The Angels had too many hitters in their lineup. This situation was alleviated somewhat when the team chose to send Mike Trout to the minors, but the issue didn’t go away since Kendrys Morales seems intent on making the All-Star team this year. With Morales locked into the DH spot on a daily basis, at-bats could be somewhat hard to come by for Trumbo. (2) Everyone assumed he would make a smooth transition to third base and he’d be in the lineup every day. Not so fast. Trumbo has made three errors already on just six chances. Awful. As a result, he’s only been the teams starter at third base in two of four games this season (the other two starts have gone to Alberto Callaspo). Moreover, he even admitted that he’s unsure how things will go at third base. I’d be lying if I said otherwise,” Trumbo said. “I don’t think jitters played much of a part. The mistakes I made were purely physical. They weren’t due to a lack of preparation or planning.” Changing positions just isn’t as easy as so many people seem to think it is. Don’t forget that Mr. Trumbo had never played third base in a professional game before this season.
Everyone is smiling ear to ear when you talk to them about Adam Wainwright, everyone besides me that is. Wainwright is coming back from Tommy John surgery, though everyone seems to have forgotten that after he went out and had a dominating spring training (the fact that everyone seemed comfortable making him their #2 starter in mixed leagues just seemed odd to me and way to premature for a guy who missed a season). I continued to be non nonplussed. Wainwright had a successful first outing giving up three runs in 5.2 innings, but did you see the radar gun from that outing? The gun showed an average of 89 mph on his fastball in his first start, well below the 93-94 he hit early in spring. As the innings started to pile up this year, and we’re hardly talking about a lot of them at this point, that fastball speed has declined (he was 89-90 in his first outing in April). I’m not saying he’s going to be Jamie Moyer in two weeks, but this is one of the reasons why I felt too many people were putting the cart before the horse with Wainwright. Recovery from any injury is never linear, especially when surgery is involved in that story. Wainwright seems to understand that. “… Early on in spring I was throwing quite a bit harder and I had more life on the ball. As my arm gets strong as we go here, it will come.” Hopefully he is right or a lot of people are going to end up being terribly disappointed in his performance this season.
Matt Holliday is 3-for-18 (.167) an I could care less.
Cain was over-drafted this year based on a hot spring. He certainly was productive last year in Triple-A hitting .312 with 16 homers, 81 RBI, 84 runs and 16 steals, but that’s Triple-A folks, and the jump from Triple-A to the big is a huge step. Moreover, so many elite players anymore seem to skip Triple-A, or at best have a cup of coffee there, that there might actually be situations in which Double-A competition is more telling. Regardless, Cain is an intriguing talent I’ll give everyone that, but at the same time I’ll never understand the fascination people have with unproven players. If everything breaks right for Cain this year he could turn in a Peter Bourjos (.271-12-43-72-22) type effort. If Cain does that will you be happy or disappointed?
Colby Rasmus is 1-for-15 (.067) and he’s another player I’m nervous about. Once thought of as a potential five category fantasy star, Rasmus has fallen to the point where he likely wasn’t even rostered in many 10 team leagues. A 23 homer, 85 run player in 2010, his 2011 effort was awful as he hit .225, only went deep 14 times, stole a mere five bases and posted a middling .688 OPS. What happened to the once dynamic player that the Cardinals thought they had? Questions about Rasmus’ makeup continue to dog him, and the constant presence of his father in the mix hasn’t helped, so tired of his act were the Cardinals sent Rasmus to the Blue Jays last season. After hitting .173 over his final 35 games with the Jays last season, Rasmus had better start to pick things up, and quickly, or his playing time could dry up. Rajai Davis an all his speed is waiting in the wings, and let’s not forget that Travis Snider is waiting in the wings in Triple-A. At this point it’s more a faith driven situation holding on to Rasmus because he certainly isn’t producing. Know though that he does have the talent to at least repeat his 2010 numbers, though with each passing week the sand in his hour glass is closer and closer to running out.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.