This Week in Roto
I've been remiss about posting updates for fantasy baseball, but it's still
fairly early and trends are only now starting to develop.
I was pretty high on Colome to start the season, especially after a strong
showing in the spring training. However, that blew up with his first
couple of outings this season and left the naysayers saying their "I told
you so's" through most of the first month.
Not so fast. After those first two outings, Colome has been on the
verge of impressive. He's pitched 19 innings, allowed just 15 hits
and 6 walks (1.1052 WHIP) and only 4 earned runs (1.89 ERA) with 12 strikeouts.
Not the stellar numbers of uber-closers like Gagne or Smoltz, but pretty
decent. Meanwhile, over the same time frame, D-Ray closer Lance Carter has
pitched 20 innings, allowed 18 hits, 8 walks and 9 earned runs with 12 strikeouts.
I'm not saying Colome will necessarily become closer next week, but
he's pitching well enough to take over the role if Carter should continue
Speaking of the Devil Rays, Lugo was released by the Astros and signed
by Tampa this week. As a player, the knock on him has been inconsistent
defense. The Devil Rays have mentioned that they'd like to use him
as a Melvin Mora-type super-utility player, subbing at short while Rey Ordonez
is out with an injury and then playing a number of positions the rest of
the way. This seems like a perfect fit for Lugo, who won't have to
worry too much about whether his defense will cost him at bats. It's
also a nice fit for him as the Devil Rays are second in the league in stolen
bases and they are much more apt to use his speed with so few power options
in the line-up.
It's amazing to think that at his current pace, Bruce Chen will have appeared
with every major league team by the time he's 35. For one of the most
highly touted pitching prospects of the 90s, it would have been hard to imagine
changing teams 7 times in the last 3 years. But now he's in Boston
where yet another braintrust will try to unlock the secret of the enigmatic
Red Sox pitching coach Tony Cloninger has an impressive resume, including
fine tuning the Yankees arms for much of the last decade, so if there's a
pitching coach out there who can get Chen to pitch like his talent indicated
he was capable, Cloninger is as good a candidate as any to be that guy. The
Red Sox surely could use another quality arm. The early results have
been very encouraging. Chen, in low pressure relief, has pitched 3.1
innings, allowing 3 hits, but striking out 7 with no walks. As weak
as the non-Pedro Boston rotation has been, Chen has an outside chance to
babystep his way into the rotation by June if he continues this well.
Giambi's sporadic use continues, which is incredibly puzzling since he is
hitting .391 in May and slugging .870. Meanwhile, Shea Hillenbrand,
the guy who's taking at bats away from him, is doing the same thing he did
last year after a hot April: he's hitting just .227 and slugging .341.
I have a theory that all managers go with the flow from the start of the
season until it becomes obvious that they can't. Meaning, managers
go with players who are hot until it's overwhelmingly evident that some of
them aren't cutting it anymore and are stinking so badly that Dr. Scholl's
makes a house call. Whatever that means. Anyway, this happens
at all levels, including fantasy leagues. No one sees your team's flaws
as well as your opponents do, and a team's manager (or roto-owner) is often
the last to see them. I know that despite the denials, the Red Sox
would entertain offers to deal Hillenbrand and that may be a factor in the
amount of playing time he's getting. But the time to trade him has
passed, when his value was at it's highest. The Red Sox brought in
Giambi and David Ortiz (.321/.406/.464) for their bats this offseason; it's
time to let them use them.
I know I've said this before but it bears repeating: Johan Santana is the
Twins' best starter, hands down, no doubt. Like Secretariat in the
1973 Belmont, it's no contest. I understand Rod Gardenhire's reluctance
to demote one of his starters, especially one of his precious veterans, but
the Twins are a much better team with Santana in the rotation. Joe
Mays has struggled all year and there was some concern that his surgically
repaired elbow needed babying. What better place to do that than in
When Rick Reed needed to miss a start due to back troubles, Santana stepped
in to replace him. It should be noted that the team Reed missed pitching
to was the Red Sox, who at the moment have the 2nd most prolific offense
in the American League. Santana held them scoreless through 5 innings,
allowing just 4 hits and a walk. The most impressive part was that
he pitched 5 innings with just 76 pitches. Given a regular turn in
the rotation where he can throw up to 110 pitches an outing, that rate puts
him at between 7 and 8 innings per start. Last year, none of the Twins'
starters averaged even 6 innings per start.
And for your updated starting ERAs since the beginning of last year:
Santana - 2.93
Reed - 3.93
Lohse - 3.94
Rogers - 3.97
Milton - 4.84
Radke - 4.99
Mays - 5.52
He's still a full run better than anyone else on that staff. Eventually,
the truth will shine through.