Fantasy Sports: Injuries piling up to start season
I started my fantasy baseball season with six players on the disabled list. This did not strike me as unfair, and was even partially strategic as I felt they were players that offered good value and roster depth after an initial period of suffering as they healed.
It turns out I may not be the only person suffering through such a situation, though, as a record 115 major league players started the season on the disabled list. The real-life numbers made me not feel so bad as Texas and Oakland were worse off than I, beginning with eight players on the shelf. Since then, Tampa has done them even better and shelved nine guys as the total number has grown to 123. Only one team in the league began with a clean health slate, as Minnesota tries to prove a chillier climate is best for one’s health (see chart).
These are not all bit players, either, as some teams are dealing with gaping holes in their rosters in the early games (with a special nod to the no-hope-for-a-return from Yu Darvish, Zack Wheeler and Marcus Stroman). Although this presents some issues for those actual clubs, it can present potential for your fantasy squad.
For there are eager owners out there, ones who waited through the cold and very snowy winter months to start the fantasy season again. Now that the season has started, they are in pain as they look at that roster spot taken up by White Sox starter Chris Sale that’s getting them no points, making his value less than it will be at any other time this season.
In fact, most of the affected out there appear to be pitchers, with potential stars like Sale, the Angels’ Garrett Richards and the Tigers’ Justin Verlander all battling (hopeful) short-term injuries that could be negligible when it comes to end-of-season numbers.
If you’re in a league with a deep bench, you can dig a little further and see if it’s worth stashing someone like the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez or the Phillies’ Cliff Lee and cling to the prospect of second-half stardom.
It is not just starters, though, as the Rays’ Jake McGee, the A’s Sean Doolittle and the Mets’ Jenrry Mejia all should resume closer roles when they return to the mound in a month or so.
No matter where you are on the spectrum of owning the wounded or trying to bring them into the fold, though, remember it Is early and a little early-season patience could serve you well come September.
Fun with math
To further enhance my preaching of patience, it is time to engage in one of my favorite foolish early-season practices. For in the beginning of baseball’s 162-game season, you can extrapolate numbers from the first series of the year through an entire campaign.
Consider it parody where these little bits of ridiculousness show how long the season is:
The Reds’ Billy Hamilton will swipe 324 bases this season. That would be some sort of record if Rickey Henderson doesn’t hire Shane Stant to break Hamilton’s leg first. Fun fact: Another player named Billy Hamilton — at least I’m assuming they are different and the current speedster hasn’t been hanging around Doc Brown’s DeLorean or can run fast enough to reverse time a la Richard Donner’s Superman — stole 111 bases in both 1887 and 1891.
The Royals are so intent on returning to the World Series that they will not lose a game this season and Greg Holland will save 108 of those contests to prove he’s the best of their back-end bullpen’s three-headed monster. The defending champion Giants will counter with Santiago Casilla saving 121 games.
The Tigers will have three players not only bust the .400 batting-average barrier, but will place them all north of .500. Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Ian Kinsler? Nope, Anthony Gose, Jose Iglesias and Alex Avila.
Houston’s Jed Lowrie will hit 54 solo ninth-inning homers to break up no-hitters. Pitchers will start to throw at him more.
Boston’s Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez will each hit two home runs in the same game 54 times. Pablo Sandoval will cheer from the dugout with frosting on his chin.
Also for the Red Sox, Clay Buchholz will be among the starting pitchers who will not allow an earned run this year. Others on the list: Detroit’s Shane Greene, Texas’ Nick Martinez, San Francisco’s Chris Heston and Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick. The Indians’ Trevor Bauer will also join this list and take it up a notch by not allowing any hits. Giving up almost a walk an inning, though, will keep him from tossing a no-hitter.
The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw will strike out around 270 batters, but not win a game, and get a root canal on each of this teeth.
Things will be OK for the L.A. Blue, however, as Adrian Gonzalez will still give their fans something to cheer for as he blasts 270 homers, while batting better than .750. Red Sox fans will still think it was a good trade.
Contact Josh Bousquet at firstname.lastname@example.org.