Don't have a gift for your mom yet? There's nothing more personal than the gift of gab, so if you show up empty handed, you can always tell her about the purpose of a double switch, or you can relay the usefulness of a platoon situation, or even argue such topics as Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, Spider-Man on the bases, steroids, the relocation of the Expos, or, for old times sake, the designated hitter rule. Whatever the topic, she'll love you for it!!
Without any marquee matchups this week, instead take notice of some individuals who might have flown under your radar so far this year. If you catch a Devil Rays game, you can be sure to see Carl Crawford do at least two exciting things. Watch the Padres - Marlins game tonight to see starting pitcher Jake Peavy. His pitches have incredible movement. If you don't have the baseball package on cable or satellite, then at least tune in to TBS to see if Smoltz is the same pitcher as last year. So far I'm thinking "no" from what I've seen.
Now that a month has passed, it's time to look at the leaders in our favorite fantasy stat, FPS. Check out all the results here. Surprising leader Scott Podsednik looks to build on his lead as the most productive fantasy player so far this year. The base stealers are keeping Barry Bonds' achievements out of the top 10. Don't forget, in (most) fantasy leagues, walks are useless unless the player scores a run or steals a base.
Stealing a bit from TV Guide, here's a quick "Cheers and Jeers":
Cheers to those forward looking owners who noticed Arizona closer Matt Mantei's double digit ERA (and the 5 ninth innings HRs he surrendered) and picked up or traded for newly appointed stopper Jose Valverde.
Jeers to newspaper and online columns such as John Nemo's in the Chicago Sun-Times that offer impractical, "after the fact" advice such as suggesting to pick up Joe Nathan on April 29th because he is 6 for 6 in save chances. What league is John Nemo in that the closer for a division leading team went undrafted and is still a free agent heading into May??
Cheers to the unexciting but always professional Atlanta Braves, who still remain above .500 and close to first place despite putting out a lineup with players like Dewayne Wise, Mark DeRosa, Adam LaRoche, Damon Hollins, and Jesse Garcia. Even fantasy baseball experts are saying "who?"
Jeers to Major League Baseball for allowing Spider-Man 2 advertisements to be placed on the bases and HOME PLATES for each game on June 11th, according to a Wall Street Journal article. Maybe they'll let Tobey Maguire intentionally walk Barry Bonds that day, too.
Defying the odds no more, last night Derek Jeter ended his 0 for 32 slump by launching Barry Zito's first pitch to him into the stands for a home run. Meanwhile, Danny Bautista will try to add to his 20-game hitting streak without the aid of Richie Sexson, recently sent to the DL with a separated shoulder.
Derek Jeter's slump, currently at 0 for 32, got me thinking about the odds of such a thing. For an interesting look at the probabilities of such a slump, as well as a look into Danny Bautista's current hitting streak, check out the latest Hot Corner article.
Congratulations to Mike Piazza for tying Carlton Fisk's record for most home runs while playing catcher (351). For all the knocks on Piazza over the years, you have to give him credit for maintaining his torrid hitting while sitting behind the plate year after year. The runs he generates offensively more than make up for the occasional stolen base he lets up now and then. Plus, if his teams had a better option at catcher, they would have used it.
Signs that it's still only April:
Ken Harvey is the AL batting average leader.
Rondell White (of the Tigers!!) is the AL RBI leader.
The NL batting leader is hitting .500 (Bonds).
We've got a loooong way to go, baseball fans!
For years the Montreal Expos deserved better than the sparse crowds to which they were treated each game. Now, there's little to cheer about and certainly nothing to get excited about in Montreal. After 19 games, the Expos have the worst record in baseball at 5-14 and the reason is simple: they can't score runs. Here is Montreal's run totals for each game:
3,3,0,2,1,1,0,0,0,2,3,4,1,2,2,2,6,0,2. 34 runs in 19 games! 1.79 runs/game! Only twice did they score 4 or more runs, but they lost both games! Their wins? 3-2, 1-0, 2-1, 2-1, and 2-0. Montreal pitchers only gave up 4 TOTAL runs in their 5 wins, so the Expos are actually fortunate to have 5 victories.
Fantasy owners: naturally, the trend will adjust upward, but don't expect huge numbers from and Montreal hitters. If you already own Vidro or Cabrera, you should hold on to them because you'll never get their worth in a trade. If you are seeking a Montreal hitter, you should get him cheaply but don't expect too much.
For those of you unfamiliar with the fantasy stat known as FPS, you can catch up here. After you've read that, check out the latest article on the best hitting seasons ever from a fantasy perspective. You will be enlightened.