May 26, 2008

The (sports) meaning of Memorial Day

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

Memorial Day is here and for me that means one thing (sports-wise): It’s time to see where your fantasy (and real life) baseball team is going. By now, teams are around the 50 game mark — a third of the season — so it’s time to really evaluate what kind of shot you have at the title and what kind of moves you need to be making. With a bit of research and scouting, you’ll know who is going to keep up their early season pace and who you should be dealing immediately, while their numbers still look decent.

Guys like Nate McLouth and Josh Hamilton are in the top-5 for Yahoo batters. Do you think that they’ll be keeping that up for the entire season? Chipper Jones is batting .417 but he is no Ted Williams. Dan Uggla — No. 6 overall on Yahoo — is a streaky hitter who happens to be in the midst of a scorching streak. But does anybody believe the Marlins will continue to top the NL East? What about No. 1, Lance Berkman? In my eyes, he has the most value because while his number right now are particularly gaudy, he has proven in the past that he can mash and is in a lineup and ball park that only can help.

If you’re short on wins, you now know which teams are getting it done and which pitchers are helping out. Players like Mark Hendrickson, Livan Hernandez, and Andy Sonnanstine all have at least 6 wins on contending teams and — chances are — available in your league. They figure to get into double-digits and may be worth a chance.

Memorial Day is also a time to re-evaluate sleeper picks you’re still holding and some guys who have struggled thus far. I’ve already decided that Jeff Francis (1-5, 6.18 ERA) are on the way out. While Jose Guillen had his ticket stamped a month ago. One decision I’m glad I made was talking myself into keepin Juan Pierre, who now will be continually playing more with Andruw Jones out. Picking up guys like McLout, Carlos Quentin and Ervin Santana have helped my cause and picked my boys (Panama Red) out of last place and poised for a run to the top with A-Rod returning.

So, a third of the way through the 2008 campaign, the lineup looks as follows:
C: Ivan Rodriguez — A bit worse than expected, but look at the Tigers.
1B: Mark Teixeira — Should really start playing for that contract soon.
2B: B.J. Upton — Solid, consistent and helping with steals.
SS: Stephen Drew — Hitting for better average than expected.
3B: Alex Rodriguez — Back from injury.
OF: Nate McLouth — Involved in proposed Dice-K deal.
OF: Carlos Quentin — Hope he (and the White Sox) keeps it up.
OF: Hideki Matsui — Right where he should be.
Util: Juan Pierre — Average, steals rising.
Bench: Christian Guzman (Decent pickup for SS), Jeff Francoeur (where are those extra homers?), Todd Helton (leaving soon)

SPs: Sabathia (glad he figured it out now), Hamels (more wins should be on the way), E. Santana (raking in wins), Danks (recent add, better than average), Francis (soon to be either Duchscherer or Kershaw).
RPs: Wagner (what do you mean one earned run and only nine saves?!?), Hoffman (who would have thought Padres would stink like this?), Sherrill (doing great in Baltimore), C.J. Wilson (nearly lost job, fine now).

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