Fantasy Baseball Report: Week of May 14th
Monday May 14th, 2012
Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): I think we can learn a lot from Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, and Prince Fiedler, namely that it is not an easy transition to switch leagues in the middle a career. Adam Dunn, who also reported to the White Sox rather overweight in 2011, was completely overmatched last season and put up one of the worst statistical seasons in major league history. However, in 2012 he has already matched his home run total from last season and he is actually on pace for a career year with .993 OPS (career .879). Dunn is performing like the guy who blasted 38 home runs or more eight consecutive seasons.
Like Dunn, Pujols is struggling in his first season in the major leagues. One must figure that in addition adapting to the new surrounding and pitchers, the mental aspect has to be taking a toll on Pujols. Although I expect him to recover, it will certainly be too late in the minds of fantasy owners who took as one of the first two overall picks. I now see him as a nice buy-low candidate for 2013, in the same mold of Dunn. Although Prince Fielder is not struggling to the same degree, his .746 OPS in 2012 is well below his career .926 average. He and Pujols could still both finish the season with 30 plus homers, but it seems unlikely that they will produce at the level they were accustomed to in the NL. Look for them to both get hot at the end of the season and not struggle through the whole year like Dunn. And since Dunn looked to be one his way out of baseball and has recovered nicely, I think we can expect the same delayed results for the struggling first baseman in Detroit and Los Angeles.
Therefore, I think we have to temper expectations for hitter who switches leagues, especially from the American League to the National League. The opposite can be said for pitchers making the switch from the American League to the National League, i.e. Mark Buehrle (2.81 ERA through first 7 NL starts).
Another pervasive theme in 2012 is the struggle of the closer. Again, proving the point to not overpay for saves. The most recent victim is Grant Balfour, who brings the count to 15 on the year – the number of teams who have demoted a closer or lost one to injury. Frank Francisco appears to be next in line, and some teams like the Blue Jays, White Sox and Padres have gone through several end-of-the-game options. The situation is a mess in Miami, who continues to try and give Bell a chance to succeed. The diminished velocity and high walk rate leaves me little confidence in Bell, and I ultimately think Steve Cisheck is the best option on that team for long-term saves. The White Sox, after naming Chris Sale closer for a few days and then reentering him into the rotation, maintain that they are moving forward with three options: Hector Santiago, Addison Reed, and Matt Thornton. Look for Reed, who just yesterday gave up his first earned runs of the season, to merge as the main guy for the South Siders. The search for saves on the waiver wire is my favorite part of fantasy baseball, and this year the closer position has been more volatile than ever.
My last point of the day is to not forget about considering matchups. For example, Jered Waver surrendered a total of 1 ER in 15 consecutive innings against the weak hitting Minnesota Twins (including his perfect game) and then promptly enters Texas and surrenders 8 runs in 3.1 innings. I would honestly sit any pitching who is opposing the Rangers lineup on the road, and in general suggest putting equal emphasis on the pitcher’s opponent as their actual skill set. In another example, A.J. Burnett gave up a whopping 12 runs in a start on the road against the hot hitting Cardinals, and then came back to dominate the weaker hitting Nationals and Astros lineups at home.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Fantasy Baseball Analyst, Peter Stein. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Peter on Twitter (@peterWstein)***
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Posted on May 14, 2012, in Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles and tagged adam dunn, albert pujols, baseball, brian fuentes, chris, fantasy baseball, grant balfour, jered weaver, Matt Thornton, mlb, prince fielder. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.