I wanted to talk about what Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton can provide for you in fantasy baseball this year. Then I realized I had already and again and again. Strasburg can throw a perfect game today and nothing will change in my mind. Stanton could hit 7 bombs by the fifth inning and… Well, I actually like rookie hitters better than rookie pitchers, so I might continue to like Stanton and not tell you to sell him. Though it doesn’t seem likely. Instead of going over again what I’d expect from those two, I wanted to talk about rookies in general and what we’ve gotten so far from them in fantasy baseball. As I’ve said before, rookies and Craigslist ads that read, “5′ 7″, 120 lbs., fitness model who loves cooking and cleaning and sex” are often very similar. Expectations and reality don’t always run hand in hand. Don’t always believe the picture.
This year we have Austin Jackson, Scott Sizemore, Starlin Castro, Justin Smoak, Reid Brignac, Lou Marson, Wade Davis, Brennan Boesch, Mitch Talbot, Jaime Garcia, Buster Posey, Ike Davis, Alcides Escobar, Tyler Colvin, Gaby Sanchez, Jon Niese, Brian Matusz, David Freese, Mike Leake, Jason Heyward, Ian Desmond, Chris Tillman and Neftali Feliz, to name a few. Heyward and Garcia are the standouts in this crowd. Heyward is currently sandwiched between Podsednik and Pagan on ESPN’s Player Rater. Both of those vets are having good years, but I think you could’ve had Pods and Pagan together in a trade for Heyward. For this year, hype over value. Garcia and Leake are both due for a regression. I’d say Neftali Feliz could be the most productive of the rookies if it weren’t for Frank Francisco’s shadow looming over him (though because it’s Frank Francisco’s shadow it may be why Feliz is safer than most). In the end, Feliz is SAGNOF anyway. Austin Jackson has an empty average and that’s due for a regression. The rest of the list includes guys you’ve either picked up and dropped or are considering dropping.
Justin Smoak is a great example of rookie hype and what happens after it wanes. When he was called up, everyone added him. After I grabbed Smoak, ‘perts in my ‘pert leagues wrote things on the message board like “Great Grab, Grey!” and “Smoak Pickup Almost As Impressive As Your Mustache!” Smoak’s hitting .211 with 6 homers. Sweet! I don’t know what I would’ve done without that. He’s actually been on my bench for the better part of the last 3 weeks. If he wasn’t a rookie, I probably would’ve just dropped him. Rookie nookie, you’re in my brain too.
Upside. That’s what it’s all about, right? It’s what makes “Beautiful Girls” such a great movie. It understands how enticing upside is. No one wants to commit to boring productivity like a wife or Angel Pagan when you can have a sexy as f**k Stephen Strasburg. As Michael Rapaport says, “Supermodels are beautiful girls, Will. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack and Coke all morning. She can make you feel high full of the single greatest commodity known to man – promise. Promise of a better day. Promise of a greater hope. Promise of a new tomorrow. This particular aura can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl. In her smile, in her soul, the way she makes every rotten little thing about life seem like it’s going to be okay. The supermodels, Willy? That’s all they are. Bottled promise. Scenes from a brand new day. Hope dancing in stiletto heels.” Stanton is dancing in stiletto heels right now. Remember, the moral of the story was the supermodel was wrong. Boring productivity gets the job done.