Much to the chagrin of Mother Nature, I survived what shall be known forth as Thundermageddon. We seldom see many asteroids or Bruce Willis kicking their butt around the District of Columbia, but, nonetheless, we seem prone to naming any unexpected negative life-altering event by attaching ‘mageddon’ to the end of it. When the metro area got 80 inches of snow a couple years back –- you might have heard about it –- it was called Snowmageddon. What about that unexpected 5.9 earthquake last year that caused devastating destruction to my lawn chair? Yeah, that was, well, actually, that wasn’t anymageddon. We were too busy showering with our clothes on. But this time, our very lives, our very essence, was threatened. But not from the actual Thundermageddon mind you. No, that was pretty darn gnarly, if you’ll forgive my 70’s parlance. It was like I was Tom Cruise, jumping on the couch while really tall tripods were turning people into dandruff flakes. Rapid fire lightning, bright green sky, 90 mile per hour winds, and Andy Dufresne asking me to join him in starting the resistance by digging tunnels and wearing a wife beater. It was actually pretty thrilling. However, the real threat soon reared its ugly head. Power was gone, and with it, all the things I had come to depend on. Air conditioning, hot water, internet porn — all gone in one fell swoop. What was one to do? Well, during what became the four days of non-Geico caveman living, I did what I do best, and coincidently will be the cause of my second and third divorce — I deeply pondered on Fantasy Baseball. More specifically, I deeply pondered on the Fantasy Baseball future…
We are arriving close to the midpoint of the 2012 season. The July 4th celebrations and the immediate dates surrounding are not just for drinking, eating, and setting your children on fire with sparklers. It’s also a good time to assess how your season has gone. Unlike your regular run of the mill redraft leagues, deep leagues usually have some kind of dynasty dynamic. Alliteration aside, almost, if you are lagging in the standings, you’ll have to make some important decisions. Of course, only you can say whether or not you have a chance at the title. But time is not your friend. The fat lady is clearing her throat and is almost ready to be picked up at your nearest last call. So don’t get caught without anything to build on when she starts singing. And don’t worry, I’m not here just to let you inflate air into my Reebok Pumps, nope, I’ve come bearing gifts. I’m here to offer up some targets to acquire that will help you build a stronger team for 2013. So three more pumps there and we’ll get started.
Carlos Santana – Oye Como’n buddy. After putting up a productive 239/351/457 in 2011, this year, he’s quite obviously not done anything near that. His walks and power have completely disappeared. But at this point, that’s not your problem, it’s his owner’s problem. Now is the time to bring him in for a look-see. His BB% and K% have stayed stable from last year, and oddly enough, his BABIP has stayed on par at .268. There is a tick up in his GB/FB from 1.12 to 1.33, but there is nothing that overly concerns me here. It could just end up being a down year, but I still believe in his potential and he could really solidify a scarce position. If acquired, expect a 250/360/450 future.
Chase Headley – The eminently useful and underrated Chase Headley is about to be released from PetCo Maximum Offensive Prison. Currently in the last year of his contract, he will be freed, whether it be by mid-season trade or signing with a new team. Now is the time to get him onto your fantasy team if you are in need of a corner. In 1,160 at-bats away from his home park, his triple slash line has looked like David Wright Lite, sitting at 299/366/445. Buy in while the cost still remains low.
Vinnie Pestano – After rescuing the Karate Kid from certain incarceration in Alabama, my cousin Vinnie also enjoys beating wise guys with a fish and eating Gnocchi. Oh, and he’s also maintained a career K/9 of 11.70. Coupled with a low FIP of 2.76, it’s only a matter of time before he takes over the closer role. While Chris Perez is doing the job quite well, he has been known to implode here and there. Closers have a short shelf life regardless, and sometimes, you gotta try to buy into a guy next in line. I would also accept Greg Holland as a possible answer.
Justin Upton –- It looked like after last year, his age 23 season, J-Up had finally established his tools into awe-inspiring results, hitting 31 HR’s while improving his strikeout-rate from 25.9% all the way down to 18.7%. Along with averaging 20 SB’s in his career to that point, we were all giddy for what was in store for us this year. How giddy am I so far? The complete opposite of a school girl, that’s for sure. The power is obviously lacking and you can believe that his thumb injury has something to do with that. But you don’t care if he’ll rebound this year or not, so pluck him away from a team that needs a one-year upgrade, and reap the benefits of a healthy Upton next year.
Adrian Gonzalez –- While in a similar offense predicament as Justin Upton, A-Gonzo has had a rough year as well. Seemingly out of nowhere, he’s turned into a mediocre drag on the roster and the power has gone Casper on us. While I don’t see a career-path like Todd Helton in the cards, the lack of HR’s is concerning. He’s still bashing doubles though, tied for the third most in the AL with 23. He’s been prone to long cold streaks before, so try to take advantage of his owner’s possible exhaustion and buy the possible regression.
Matt Moore – Heralded to strike-out over 200 batters and walk on water, Moore was supposed to be Roy Halladay right out the gate. Well, the K’s are there. Only R.A. Dickey, Cole Hamels, and Stephen Strasburg have struck out more. The problem is a BB/9 of 4.26 and a rather underwhelming FIP of 4.41. It’s looking more and more that he’ll finish the year as a slightly above-average pitcher with middling wins. A team going for it has no need for that, so go after him.
Mariano Rivera – Mariano has fallen into a Fantasy Baseball Purgatory, too talented to drop but too far away to help. Most teams in the thick of it really have no need for a DL road block. Take him off someone’s hands and count on Mo being back next year closing just as effectively as he always has.
Ryan Zimmerman – The long time face of the National’s franchise, Zimmerman has ceded that post to Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. It’s probably good timing too, as he’s completely stopped hitting. Now three years removed from his 307/388/510 season, the only thing he needs is health. Suffering from a sore shoulder, which has already received one cortisone injection, his numbers are better left waiting for next year. Even though he’s hitting .351 with 3 HR in eight games since the injection, his year has been dreadful enough to keep his cost low. I’m hesitant giving him the injury-prone tag just yet, as all of his major injuries — strained ribs (2010), abdominal strain (2011), shoulder inflammation (2012) — don’t seem to give me the recurring heebie-jeebies. I think a corner that might, next year, get back to 300/370/500 is still a good gamble.
Depending on your league’s specific structure, there are guys on this list that might be cheap or under long-term control or both. For any rebuild situation, the future is your goal. Get rid of everything. Even if you sell on your talent a little low, get what you need, have a good ole fashion fire sale. Well, ahem, that’s it. I don’t really have a snazzy conclusion this time. Not sure why, to be honest. I had thought about ending the post with some DJ Kool lyrics to sorta tie in the title, but that just seemed too easy. Maybe mention Bruce Willis again? I never have a problem with that. I could go back and talk about last call leftovers, but we’ve all been there, we’ve all done that. No reason to get personal. Plus, it seems utterly macabre to try and title bomb with another repeat statement on the fat lady singing. I guess I should just be thankful that I have electricity back and all is well in a post-Thundermageddon world. Air conditioning, hot water, and… oh snap, you know what? I have, uh, an appointment. Yes, that’s it, an appointment. I’ll talk to you guys next week. Excuse me.
Oh and I hope you don’t mind… let me clear my throat.