OpinionApril 3, 2008

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Cleat Marks #4

By Madison Jones

Sometimes the internet going down has benefits. I’m a few days behind on this installment and wasn’t sure when I’d be able to get to it. So thanks AT&T, I guess. Anyway, baseball season has officially kicked off, to the delight of most of us. With that has brought a ton of early injuries already, got closer situations completely up in the air, and has us full of hope for not only our fantasy teams, but also our real life favorite teams. Or despair, depending on your exact situation. While we may not be able to do anything for our real life teams, the future of our fantasy teams are still in the palms of our hands.

Who’s closing?

A ton of closers have had rough outings already, and has the fantasy world scrambling to pick up anyone that may wind up with the job. Before you go nuts and possibly make a drop you shouldn’t in order to grab a possible closer, research the situation. This is a closer thread where our registered members discuss and keep up with what’s going on in the bullpens. Or just use your head in some situations. The most scary thing I’ve seen so far this year is the knee-jerk reaction to Gagne’s bad outing. He’s got a $6 million dollar contract, so don’t drop someone who could be of value just to pick up someone in Milwaukee’s bullpen in hopes of snatching the next big closer. Gagne has rope, not a ton of it, but enough that one or two bad outings isn’t going to remove him from the position. It’s possible he has a bad year, or even gets removed from the role, but it is not likely to happen within the near future. And on the flipside, he could go on to be a solid closer the rest of the year. Now not all situations are cut and dry, Arizona and Seattle are just two situations that are currently up in the air. Brandon Lyon of Arizona doesn’t have a long leash I don’t believe, and J.J. Putz going down in Seattle has tons of fantasy players snatching whoever is available from free agent pools due to the news that Seattle will use a bullpen-by-committee. Don’t overreact. React quickly to solid news, but do your homework as well.

April Fool’s day a few days late?

As of this writing, Kansas City is in first place at 3-0 and is the only undefeated team left. No joke! Everyone else has taken at least one loss already. Detroit has the honor of being the only team to not have at least one win yet (0-3). I know, I know, it’s early and I agree, it just stood out to me when I happened to see the standings this evening. I check box scores every night along with watching as much baseball as possible, and yet the standings still took me by a bit of a surprise and stuck in my mind, so I mentioned it.

Need spare body parts!

Not sure if it’s just me, but it seems injuries are happening like crazy this season already. I’m only playing two leagues this year, so it could just be me, but I’ve been bitten by Carlos Zambrano (finger), Derek Lowe (leg), Victor Martinez (hamstring), and Kelly Johnson (knee) after only a couple of games. Luckily I didn’t also own Pedro Martinez (hamstring), J.J. Putz (ribcage), or Conor Jackson (flu-like symptoms that sent him to the hospital). So it could always be worse, but at the moment the health of my fantasy teams isn’t too bright. Anyone else’s fantasy teams feeling the pain of the injury bug already?

Careful, careful!

Remember it is very, very early into the season, so measure your fantasy moves accordingly. Nothing stings worse than cutting bait on a player you spent the off-season researching in order to pick up the “name of the moment”, see your competition pick up the player you dropped, and then watch that player put up the numbers you expected – or worse, said dropped player exceeds your expectations. You’ll kick yourself for quite some time, and your competition most likely won’t let you forget that mistake either. Also, don’t worry about “Power Hitter X” not having a home run yet (or possibly not even a hit of any kind yet). If he smacked a home run in each of their first two games, you really wouldn’t expect him to hit 162 homers on the year, right? No difference here either. React and pay attention, but don’t overreact either. Weigh your options, do your research, make the best decisions for your team, and remember that it is a very long season and we’re only a couple of games into the full 162 games on the schedule.

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Cleat Marks and may everyone’s fantasy teams stay healthy!

Madison Jones is always lurking in the shadows of the Cafe. When he does venture into the forums, you can find him posting as Madison.
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