Yu Darvish is on his way to the States to pitch for the Rangers. Erik wrote a Yu Darvish 2012 fantasy post already. To pull some quotes from that article, “Darvish was once involved in a “major scandal” in Japan, where he was caught smoking,” “He also goes by the Persian name Farid, meaning ‘glorious,'” and “He mixes in a cutter.” He sounds like he’s in the Yakuza. I don’t want to draft Yu; I wanna hang out with him in illegal gambling halls and pick up coquettish girls. I’m gonna be honest with you (for the first time ever!) and tell you I don’t know what to make of Darvish’s Japanese numbers. Dice-K came to the States with some serious bells and whistles. In his first year, he had a 4.40 ERA. The Ks did, for lack of a better word, translate to the States early on for Dice-K and I think they will too for Yu (hey, sounds like there’s a haiku in there). His stuff looks filthy and batters will not be familiar with him at all. Last year, he had 276/36 K/BB in over 232 innings. That’s off the charts then making a new chart and going off that one too. For fantasy, I could see him giving fantasy #2 starter type numbers, say, around a 3.50-3.75 and 200 Ks. He could basically be the same as what the Rangers just lost in C.J. Wilson. There’s the chance for more, but Yu’re gonna have to draft him high so there’s gonna be very little room for error. Depending on his price tag, I’ll probably sit out the fantasy Yu-stakes. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2012 fantasy baseball:
Jed Lowrie – Heads to the Astros to become their new shortstop. On one hand, Lowrie has never hit more than 13 homers in any professional season (2007 when he split time between Double- and Triple-A). On the other hand, he hasn’t played too many full seasons since then. On the third lesser known hand that is actually a blown-up rubber glove, he hasn’t played too many full seasons because he’s always injured. People seem to love Lowrie’s potential. He’s gonna be 28 years old this year, it would be nice to finally see said potential. If he hits 12 homers and steals 5 bases, it would be a huge season for him. In other words, I don’t know any reason why people love him.
Mark Melancon – Goes to the Sawx. The GM over in Beantown says Melancon is “capable of closing.” In big market speak, that means he won’t be the closer. Melancon is the stereotypical small market closer, big market set-up man.
Daniel Bard – The Sawx are toying with the idea that Daniel Bard should be in the rotation rather than as the closer. To incorrectly quote Gordon Gekko, “That’s a toy with fleas.” As a starter in the minor leagues, his ERA was 7.08 and walked 78 hitters in 75 innings. Granted, this was early on in his minor league career, but I don’t see the Sawx taking a pitcher that is actually succeeding as a reliever and stretching him out to fail. Then again, their rotation isn’t exactly five deep. I think Bard’s the closer before Melancon, but it might not be decided until the spring. Hopefully he doesn’t stay *pinkie to mouth* Bard from the bullpen. Or should I say bullpun.
Michael Cuddyer – Gets away from Hubert H. Homerfree Dome and goes to Coors. Boom goes the dynamite! Or does it? Cuddyer just had a solid season, and terrific when compared to the team around him. Jack Wilson would’ve looked good in that Minnesota mucky muck last year. Cuddyer hits a ton of ground balls and he’s not a huge homer threat. I’d say if he repeats his 2011, it’s a win for him and his fantasy owners, especially since he has 2nd base eligibility. This isn’t great news for fans of the sexy 3rd base prospect, Nolan Arenado. Cuddyer, you’re such a prospblocker!
Kelly Shoppach – Signed with Sawx to be the weak side of a platoon with Saltymochachino. It doesn’t take a genius to know that when you get a situational hitter for half of a platoon when you have a switch hitter (Salty), it’s not a great sign. This does a lot more for real baseball than it does for fantasy baseball. Bummer, that’s no fun. In two catcher leagues, Saltymochachino will still have some value, but the reduced ABs will make it hard to own him in most leagues.
Josh Willingham – The Other White Meat is headed to the land of lakes — butter! Conventional wisdom says Willingham is a decent 25-homer, .250 hitter. Conventional wisdom also says middle-aged men pretend to go to conventions but really have another family in a different state, so don’t always trust conventional wisdom. Instead of Willingham, I’d prefer a fifth fantasy outfielder in a hitter’s park with upside (say Chris Heisey).
Allen Craig – Might be ready for Opening Day. Craig said, “I asked the doctor directly, when he thought I’d be playing and he said in 4-to-5 months I should be playing, which is right around Opening Day. Then I asked him for another lollipop and he said no. A real day of ups and downs!”
Jason Kubel – Signed with the Diamondbacks. Before this signing, Kubel was most well known for his mention in Ben Zobrist’s wife, a Christian singer, song, “Here’s The Church, Here’s The Steeple, God’s Fifth Outfielder Is Jason Kubel.” God plays in pretty deep leagues though (omniscience can’t hurt, right?). Kubel is one of those solid picks for NL-Only leagues — not flashy, gets some stats (20/80/.270), but a yawnstipating pick for mixed leagues for having the same attributes.