Reality Check: Too many moves to make (or mention)
You follow all that? This past weekend, I mean?
I'm not referring to Bartolo Colon complete game shutout Friday or Francisco Liriano 11-strikeout effort Saturday. What happened on the field wasn't nearly as interesting to Fantasy owners as what happened off it.
To recap, Yasiel Puig , who has kept us all salivating since hitting .517 in 58 at-bats this spring, is up and ready to claim the Dodgers' starting center field job. Tyler Skaggs , who struck out nine over six shutout innings in a spot start May 27, will inherit the injured Brandon McCarthy rotation spot Tuesday. Anthony Rendon , making the transition from third to second base in the minors, is now at Triple-A and likely only days away from unseating a battered and beaten Danny Espinosa . And apparently, Zack Wheeler , considered the best prospect of the four coming into the season, needs just a couple more starts at Triple-A before breaking into the big leagues.
And, oh yeah, two new closers have entered the fray in Rex Brothers and Luke Gregerson .
Gentlemen, start your bidding.
That's how it went in most of my leagues, anyway, with all sensibilities and thoughts of fiscal restraint drowned in a sea of FAAB dollars.
For good reason?
Well, it's not like these six will be the last to emerge off the waiver wire this season. We still have yet to hear so much as a peep from prospects like Billy Hamilton , Christian Yelich and the biggest of all of them, Wil Myers , and of course, the ever-shifting closer landscape will ever shift, introducing new sources of saves just about every week.
But this wave being the first wave, its effects will last the longest. Those who ride it will have a leg up on those who catch the next one, especially since the debris this time around might actually stick.
Yes, a weekend like this one is exactly what you save all those FAAB dollars for -- and I say that as someone who never cared to save in the first place, having spent more than half my budget in most of my leagues even before this weekend. Now, I'm down to $33 in one, and my only regret is not spending more.
Some of you are right there with me, whether your league uses FAAB bidding or simple add-drops to distribute free agent talent. But judging by the ownership percentages of some of these players, entire leagues somehow missed the boat.
|Player Name||% change|
|1.||Yasiel Puig , OF, Dodgers||40|
|2.||Michael Wacha , SP, Cardinals||38|
|3.||Tyler Chatwood , SP, Rockies||37|
|4.||Matt Joyce , OF, Rays||30|
|5.||Eric Stults , SP, Dodgers||26|
|6.||Tyler Skaggs , SP, D-Backs||24|
|7.||Jason Castro , C, Astros||22|
|8.||Bartolo Colon , SP, Athletics||20|
|9.||Luke Gregerson , RP, Padres||20|
|10.||Nick Franklin , SS, Mariners||11|
To bring them up to speed -- and perhaps reassure those still wondering if they made the right moves -- I've decided to relate my experience with the waiver wire this weekend right here, right now.
With so many competing variables, it's only appropriate in this case. Why assess player value with no thought to context or strategy?
Plus, I need something to show for my weekend. As many times as I fidgeted with the names and numbers, let me tell you, it was an experience.
My biggest regret
I didn't get Puig -- not in one single league. I made what I thought were aggressive bids ($10 in one league, $8 in another -- both with a $100 budget), only to see him go for a dollar or two more. What a lousy time to get cheap. What a complete lack of awareness on my part. All that anticipation, all that longing, all that hype, and I thought I could get him with one-tenth of my budget? I mean, Bo Jackson? You might as well have compared him to Chuck Norris.
So yeah, Puig is the first priority of this bunch simply because he's the most in demand. What's funny is he might be the least likely to stick around for the long haul. He'll have to wow the Dodgers for it to happen. Otherwise, they'll just stick with Andre Ethier in right field after Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp return, hoping to redeem something from his exorbitant contract.
But of course, given what little we've seen from Puig as a professional, he's fully capable of wowing -- a potential five-category stud from the get-go. For him, the ubiquitous just-in-case approach applies. If he sticks, he's a game-changer, and it's not as far-fetched for him as for someone like Jurickson Profar .
The closer conundrum
Like many of you, I play in a league where saves are in such high demand that anyone who emerges as a viable source of them goes for $20-plus in weekly FAAB bidding. It's absurd.
Being in first place but second-to-last in saves, I decided to use Puig's arrival to win some saves on the cheap, bidding more on Brothers and Gregerson than on Puig himself.
I bid more on Brothers than Gregerson, and he's the one I got. Kind of outsmarted myself there. I assumed everyone else would also bid more on Brothers since he has the electric arsenal and superior pedigree, but I actually trust Gregerson to last longer in the role. Rafael Betancourt has already managed to pitch through his groin injury, so I expect a minimal DL stay for him. Huston Street , on the other hand, might need to rest his strained calf for a month, as slow as they are to heal.
What's worse is the expectation of getting both prevented me from bidding the extra $4 that would have landed me Puig. Priorities, sir, priorities.
I should stress that Brothers and Gregerson deserve high bids only in leagues where saves are scarce. If in yours, other fill-in closers like Francisco Rodriguez or Vinnie Pestano -- or even full-timers like Bobby Parnell or Ernesto Frieri -- are still available, don't bother.
My greatest triumph
Rendon is mine. I don't even need to provide context there. By some miracle of miracles, I got him in every league where he was available.
And apparently, I still could. He's owned in only 25 percent of leagues.
My colleague Nando Di Fino put it best: With all the hoopla over Puig, Rendon could potentially slip through the cracks just because he's not here yet.
But if the reports -- and I would classify them as reports, not just rumors -- of him unseating Danny Espinosa in matter of days are true, he's potentially the more impactful pickup than Puig. He'll soon be eligible at one of the weakest positions in Fantasy, and though he struggled in sporadic duty during his first stint in the majors, he has an impact bat.
The sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft is showing just how refined his talents are after having missed most of the last two seasons -- including his last year of college -- with injuries, destroying the upper levels of the minors with a .320 batting average and 1.064 OPS, not to mention more walks than strikeouts.
Rendon may not be as high-priority as Puig, but anyone who needs middle-infield help should nab him before it's too late.
Those other guys
I have to admit I didn't make the same push for Wheeler or Skaggs that I
did for Puig and Rendon in my leagues. Where they're still available, so
are half a billion other pitchers I'd like to have on my roster.
Colon is great example. His shutout Friday opened my eyes to just how effective he's been this season, but I still can't get him higher than 89th in my starting pitcher rankings. The position is just too deep.
That's not to say I wouldn't take Wheeler or Skaggs over Colon, but I'm not usually choosing between them and Colon. I'm choosing between them and A.J. Griffin or Travis Wood or John Lackey .
Any way you look at it, it's not an easy call, but with Wheeler not even here yet and Skaggs likely to forfeit his spot to Daniel Hudson (if not McCarthy) a couple weeks from now, I wouldn't consider either a must-have.
The forgotten man
Frankly, I'd prefer Kevin Gausman to both, and he's still available in one-third of our leagues. I didn't even think to check for him in my leagues with everything else going on, but with an impressive start Sunday (against the Tigers, no less), he's locked into the Orioles rotation for the time being. And his upside is about on par with Wheeler's and Skaggs'.
But again, starting pitcher is a deep position where, more likely than not, you'll have to pass on some of the options you like. For a better idea of how all the pieces fit together and whether or not you can make room for Gausman, Wheeler or Skaggs, check out my updated rankings.
But what about ...?
As I mentioned earlier, some of this weekend's biggest performers had to go by the wayside with everything else happening on the waiver wire. Jonathan Lucroy , with his eight hits and three homers during a weekend series at Philadelphia, has re-entered the mixed-league discussion at catcher, and the surprising James Loney , with his two-homer game Friday, doesn't seem to be going away.
Am I saying you should ignore them? Of course not. But I see them more as needs-based options. Players like Puig and Rendon (and let's add Profar to the mix now that he looks like he'll be staying longer) should appeal to everybody because of their upside. They have the potential to unseat whoever you currently start at their positions.
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