I’m a degenerate fake baseball junkie and Cubs fan and I’m not sure which one comes first. I used to have centerfolds from the vine Line all over my bedroom, Jerome Walton, Damon Berryhill, Mike Bielecki, Rick Sutcliffe, all of them, I loved those Cubbies. As long as a fella wore the blue slo-pitch pants and ran around Wrigley I was a fan. I busted my auction budget on Ryne Sandberg in 1990 and even selected George Bell the next season when he joined the Cubs. In case you weren’t playing fantasy baseball in 1990, Sandberg mashed to the tune of 116 R, 40 HR, 100 RBI, 25 SB, and hit .306.
I was a smart 7-year-old. In fact, it has basically been downhill ever since, but to be fair and not self deprecating, how do you top that season from your favorite player? No wonder I’m an addict and still chasing that first Sandberg high. Now, there is this nifty Internet thing with fantasy sports everywhere – smoking is less addictive. I refresh the various player update pages to the point of cursing under my breath about these guys not firing out at least an update a minute, what are they doing? They’re probably drinking coffee and smoking big cigars!
And Paul Assenmacher, I loved Paul Assenmacher, how couldn’t you like him? I wish I could draft him tonight, I might just to say his name. Les Lancaster has a cool name too, imagine Ron Burgendy saying, “Don Zimmer is calling in Les Lancaster from the bullpen to replace Paul Assenmacher.” Wait, imagine Will Ferrall doing his Harry Caray saying it. No wonder I’m a Cubs fan, why isn’t everyone a Cubs fan? Harry Caray is a legend and Mark Grace is a hell of a party.
But 1990 was a long time ago and the 2013 season opens up tomorrow so here is your weekly Fantasy Baseball preview for the first week of the 2013 season. Every week I’ll be tossing out sleepers and busts for each position, looking at 2 start pitchers and potential streaming options. This is really all for my own benefit, but I’m trying to model sharing for my children, so make sure to check back next week too.
Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Bats
Pick – Salvador Perez: Like all Royals he is coming into the season on fire and KC misses the big 3 in Philly to finish the week.
Sleeper – Alex Avila: While Victor Martinez grabs headlines, Avila is healthy and focused on getting back to his 2011 self.
Bust – Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Daily Gamers beware of the whiffs, you might catch a cold.
Pick – Paul Goldschmidt & Freddie Freeman: These two are going to have big years and are red-hot coming into the season.
Sleeper – Ryan Howard: Healthy and launching balls, he is a great buy low target right now.
Bust – Anthony Rizzo: Unfortunately the Runs and RBIs aren’t going to be there for Rizzo to keep pace with other options.
Pick – Howie Kendrick: Look for Kendrick to get back to his 2011 self after a hot spring and benefiting from a great lineup.
Sleeper – Brian Roberts: Remember when he was awesome? He might be somewhat close to that good if he stays healthy.
Bust – Dan Uggla: He gets the occasional walk which helps and says enough in itself.
Pick – Mike Moustakas: He started hot last season and has serious upside. Expect a large season from Moose.
Sleeper – Michael Young: A change of scene should help the veteran and he is an accomplished hitter.
Bust – Pedro Alvarez: Power to spare, but his streakiness is riskiness, but he does mean business and might not be bustness. Sorry, just had to do my Suess’ness thing.
Pick – Starlin Castro: He loves April baseball and has started strong the past 2 seasons.
Sleeper – Jed Lowrie: When he is healthy he has proven to be an excellent hitter, with good pop too.
Bust – Ian Desmond: It’ll be difficult for Desmond to live up to his price tag this season.
Pick – Bryce Harper: He is hitting baseballs frequently, touching a lot of bases and even stole 6 this spring.
Pick – Michael Morse: Few players combine his ability to hit bombs and post a solid batting average, buy low while you can.
Sleeper – Srarling Marte: He was better than Cutch in the Minors, which means nothing and something at the same time.
Sleeper – Alex Gordon: Not really a sleeper at all, but a great points player who gets overlooked, daily gamers take note.
Bust – Mark Trumbo: Being an All Star isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as Trumbo has been awful since last season’s break.
Bust – Justin Maxwell: The popular sleeper hasn’t had a great spring and might be best avoided until he gets going.
Weekly Fantasy Baseball Preview: Arms
All the top dudes are throwing twice this week and you have to start your studs, but there are matchups that appear more promising than others.
Yu Darvish: Starting out against the tanking Astros and then hosting the Angels with Jared Weaver on the hill is promising. Jared Weaver gets rocked in Arlington, check the numbers if you want, it is ugly.
David Price: Two home starts against the pesky Orioles and Indians. They’re both favorable and Price is stingy at home. In fact, Weaver almost gave up more runs in Arlington than Price did all season in Tropicana.
Jonathon Niese: The Mets don’t project to have a heavy offense, but Niese is a good pitcher and Volquez and Slowey aren’t intimidating. Both of Niese’s starts are at home this week too, which is always a bonus.
Yovani Gallardo: Anytime Gallardo doesn’t face the Cards it is awesome news for fantasy owners. He has 2 home starts against the Rockies and DBacks, although Ian Kennedy can be tough to beat.
James Shields: It is a tough first week for the new Royals’ Ace. He gets Sale and Hamels on the road and a number of Royals struggle against south paws.
Tim Hudson: Firstly, Hudson doesn’t strike anyone out, but he also draws Cole Hamels and Jeff Samardzija. Hamels and the Phillies will be tough to beat and Samardzija is a breakout favorite this season.
Justin Masterson: Pretty tough week for the Indians Ace, as he is set to face RA Dickey and David Price on the road. It might be a long season for the Indians.
It may be a little early to get your stream on, but here are some early candidates that can help you out.
April 1st – Brett Anderson: Obviously a tough matchup against King Felix, but Hernandez hasn’t been as money in Oakland and the A’s always find a way to win ball games.
April 2nd – Hyun-Jin Ryu: Imagine Harry Caray saying this guy’s name, but on topic, he is a solid start at home against the Giants.
April 3rd – Paul Maholm: He has been a quality pitcher the past 2 years and is undervalued. Roy Halladay is struggling right now, so it is a solid matchup for a W.
April 4th – Mark Buehrle: The veteran might not be readily available to add, but if he is, start him against the Indians with confidence.
April 5th -Julio Teheran: This is more of an endorsement to go add him to your roster right now if you can. Teheran was the best pitcher in baseball this spring.
April 6th – Jorge De La Rosa: His career 7.9 K/9 is intriguing, throwing from the mound in Coors Field is not. It is a risky game this streaming pitching.