There were surprises and history galore in the fourth week of the baseball season which has left an ample supply of material for this week’s 3 up, 3 down. Earlier this week I was in the basement organizing and re-arranging for an upcoming garage sale, as well as finding space for winter gear/supplies and I came across a box of music cd’s (remember those?). It happened to be a box filled with close to 100 discs that I hadn’t yet had a chance to convert to mp3 format. Many were amazing to listen to once again and the memories flooded back in from when I first bought, or listened to them. Everything from long road trips with friends, seeing a band live in concert, or hearing a song that brought back some funny, but also terrible memories (We don’t need to go into details of having to interrupt a moment of college romance due to a case of explosive diarrhea).
Anyhow, finding and listening to this music reminded me of the real aspects of baseball, and how sometimes we can forget great and vivid memories, or players, due to time or the newer and fresher replacements. Week 4 brought us a historical moment for Albert Pujols and his story correlates with my week as well. A unanimous top 3 pick for several years struggled throughout all of 2013 and was discarded as a finsihed Fantasy commodity or as a used CD would be by many in the industry, myself included. He has had a great start, and although he won’t likely finish as a first round caliber player, he should continue to have a great 2014. It was great to be sucked out of the Fantasy Vortex for a moment and see Pujols achieve something astonishing solely from a Baseball perspective. Pujols is a Hall of Fame player, and whether he is fantasy relevant or not in 2014, should not overshadow his entire career or just be forgotten like my cd’s in a box in a basement.
Either way, many Pujols owners, and fans are enjoying wiping the dust off of one of their favorite Fantasy Baseball players, and giving him a chance again. Much like I listened to Radiohead’s- OK Computer for the first time in years and enjoyed every single minute of it.
All statistics provided by fangraphs.com
These three items are trending upward and we should react accordingly.
3. Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland
I was high on Kluber after his rather surprising 2013. Sadly, I missed him in several drafts, and after his rocky start this year I was secretly thankful. Then he made a loud return in Week 4 with a complete game-shutout with 11 strikeouts. It made for a great week 4 and pleased all of his owners who were patient enough to trust him to rebound. I see this trend continuing.
2. Nelson Cruz, DH/OF, Baltimore
Cruz powered himself to a top 5 hitter in week 4. Raking in a .368/.478/.897 with 3 home runs and 11 RBI and which made Cruz a valuable fantasy asset to those who use him. It also made me a tad excited. You see, I made a bet with some other Industry writers this offseason that Cruz would somehow stay healthy as a DH and hit 30 home runs this season. Still a stretch, but not looking as crazy right now.
1. Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels
.353/.389/.941 with 3 home runs is a very good week for anyone in the majors. For Pujols it is a normal week throughout much of his career, but when one of the homers was number 500, it makes for a historic week. Pujols is a great player, and he looks to be on his way towards a solid 2014 as well. Heck, he even tossed in a surprise stolen base.
Now for the bad news–These three items are struggling.
3. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami
It was not a pretty week for the Miami slugger. A line of .188/.235/.313 and only one RBI is nothing to make Fantasy Owners or Marlins fans for that matter, very excited. Thankfully it is only one week, and if there is anyone who can bounce back with a monstrous week it is Stanton. Let’s just sweep this one under the rug and forget about it shall we?
2. Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh
Marte is a young player who will have plenty of ups and downs, and week four was a down week. Slashing .167/.211/.167 with no stolen bases or RBI and only 1 run is not the stats line you want to see from the Pittsburgh speedster. As mentioned above, it is only one week, and perhaps he will bounce back after the weekend and approach normalcy. No need to panic, but if we see another week of down numbers and you have options on your bench, then maybe Marte should take a seat for a bit.
1. Pine Tar and Michael Pineda, SP, New York Yankees
This story was a big talking point and all over Twitter feeds last week. Yep, I said last week where it was first discovered that Pineda had a sticky brown substance on his palm against Boston. It was discussed, ridiculed and even shrugged off by both teams.
Fast forward to this week and in a game against Boston (Once again) the second inning is interrupted. Umpires, and teammates go to the mound to inspect what appears to be a large amount of a sticky brown substance on Pineda’s neck. Really? What and the heck is going on here? Did he think he could get away with it again? Was he put up to it? Does everyone use it and he just can’t hide it well?
Who knows…..Either way, he is suspended for 10 games and hopefully he and the Yankees will figure out a way to pitch without it, or at least hide it better. Perhaps he could consult Joe Niekro for pointers, I mean he hid an emery board while pitching so well, right?
Thanks for reading once again and see you next week. As always feel free to send any questions, or comments my way here or on twitter @fantsychillpony.