OpinionMay 27, 2004

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The View From Here II
Rants and raves on various subjects in the fantasy baseball world

By Ryan Fay

• What’s going on with Montreal Expos second baseman Jose Vidro? A lifetime .302 hitter, the 30-year-old Vidro is only hitting .228 this season. The month of May hasn’t cured his slow start, either. Vidro has gotten worse in May, hitting .207 with a .599 OPS after managing a .253 average and a .719 OPS in April. Those numbers are far from what owners expected, but why has Vidro slumped to mightily? Most 30-year-old players don’t lose their ability to hit overnight, but a sore knee nagged Vidro most of last season and caused him to hit .227 last September. He reported to spring training and declared himself healthy, but the knee flaring up again is the only logical explanation for Vidro’s troubles at the plate. A possible buy-low guy, but I’d have reservations about his knee.

• Staying with struggling middle infielders, I’ve finally given up on Diamondbacks shortstop Alex Cintron, hitting only .249 after posting a .317 average in 2003. A look at Cintron’s numbers will reveal his current season is a lot more similar to his 2002 campaign, when he hit .213 in 75 major league at-bats. Besides that, two of Arizona’s best prospects are 2B Scott Hairston and SS Sergio Santos. And with Chad Tracy at third, Cintron seems to be the odd man out.

• Keep an eye out for 3B Kevin Youkilis, who will be the man at third for Boston for at least six weeks. Regular Bill Mueller will be sidelined as he undergoes surgery to relieve his arthritic knee. Youkilis, 25, has hit .320 with a 7/7 BB/K ratio in 25 at-bats with Boston this season. After making his way into the bottom half of several top 100 prospect lists this year, he was only hitting .259 for AAA-Pawtucket at the time of his call-up, but consistently hit better than .280 in the minors and often drew many more walks than strikeouts. He doesn’t project as a power source, but he figures to have a solid average and a high on-base average.

• If you haven’t done so already, sell-high on Paul Wilson, now 7-0 with a 3.34 ERA after another strong showing on Tuesday night. There are simply no major statistical indicators that validate his season thus far, and he’s on pace to throw 240 innings, or close to 50 more than he ever has before. You can try to convince someone that he’s finally living up to the promise he had with the Mets a decade ago, but we all know he’s not and will begin to get creamed soon.

• Is anyone else worried about Angels ace Bartolo Colon? He looked quite ace-like early on, but has an 8.00 ERA over his last five starts. He’s battled lower back stiffness, something definitely not helped by his 5′11″, 250 pound frame. He’s been worked hard in his career � he’s tossed 200+ innings all but one year � and typically is among the leaders in pitches thrown per game. Maybe he’s just going through a normal slump, but the back stiffness and past workload finally catching up all bear worrying about.

• After dropping for three straight years, Mark Buehrle’s K/9 and K/BB ratios are at a career best this season. The 25-year-old lefty is striking out 7.39 per nine and is fanning nearly three times as many as he’s walking.

• Jon Rauch’s star as a good prospect has dimmed in recent seasons, but it’s getting brighter again. With Felix Diaz and Neal Cotts struggling as fifth starters for the White Sox, could Rauch soon get a chance to fill the roll? In 50.1 innings for AAA Charlotte, Rauch has a 3.04 ERA with 37 hits allowed, 18 walks, and 40 strikeouts. The bad news is that he’s surrendered seven long balls, but the White Sox will be hard pressed not to call Rauch up soon.

• Tommy Phelps will replace Darren Oliver (or, potentially, Dontrelle Willis) as the Marlins fifth starter until AJ Burnett returns. Phelps has been solid in relief, posting a 3.00 ERA and a 4/16 BB/K in 15 innings, and didn’t allow a run in his first start. He could be a decent filler for a few weeks, but don’t expect much more than 5-6 innings a start.

• The news that Garrett Anderson has arthritis in his back, neck and shoulder at age 31 is disheartening. It hasn’t affected his production this season � he hit .339 before going on the disabled list � but I fear it will cut his career much shorter than it should end up being. He seemed to be a good bet for .300-30-100 for fantasy leaguers for the next couple seasons, but I’m hard pressed to believe he can keep hitting at that level. A lot of people underrate Anderson, who should be considered one of the best hitters in the game and a legitimate fantasy stud. Before the injury news, Anderson racked up 1,653 hits and I thought he had a real chance to get to 3,000 for his career.

• Jose Reyes is hurting yet again. The Mets hoped to have him back sometime over the upcoming weekend, but Reyes has been troubled by back pain during his rehab stint at A-ball St. Lucie. When is enough, well, enough with Reyes? Five leg injuries in the past year and now a sore back? I’m hoping he gets himself right and turns into the fantasy star that peeked at all of us last season, but it’s looking less and less likely every day.

Ryan Fay, a four-year fantasy baseball veteran, has also written for the fantasy football website Fantasy Asylum since the 2000 season.

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