By Zach Steinhorn
Monday, May 27 -- 5:16 PM
There you go! Two stolen bases today by Jose Altuve. About the only disappointing part of Altuve's second full big league season has been his lack of swipes coming off a 2012 campaign that saw him steal 33 bags. But now with seven steals through 47 games, he's on pace to finish the season with a respectable 24 steals, and if he can manage to put together a few more games like this, that number will rise significantly.
I like Altuve. I always have. The guy hits for average, makes consistent contact and rarely goes into prolonged slumps. I'm proud to be the new owner of the diminutive second baseman in Mixed Tout Wars.
Monday, May 27 -- 7:48 PM
Scared. Very scared. That pretty much sums up how I felt today heading into Mike Leake's start versus an Indians lineup that has, somewhat under the radar, produced a steady dose of runs so far this season. I picked up Leake a couple of weeks ago for his start against the lowly Marlins. After he pitched well in that outing, I decided to keep him around, as a struggling Mets lineup was next up for the Reds' righty. And, after he dominated the Amazins, I reluctantly left him in my lineup for this week, which happens to be a two-start week.
Holland finally breaking through?
Why reluctantly? Well, in addition to today's tough matchup, it seems like every time I have showed any loyalty to Leake in the past, he's let me down. One good start, maybe two, and then a blowup that erases it all. But, after officially trading away my staff ace, Adam Wainwright, on Saturday night and then losing out on Michael Wacha in FAAB, I was short on options.
So what does Leake do? He only goes out there and limits the Tribe to two runs (one earned) on five hits over 7 1/3 innings with seven punchouts! This whole Leake experiment could work out rather nicely after all. And, with the hard part of his week out of the way, he should have no trouble against the Pirates this coming Saturday. No trouble at all.
Wednesday, May 29 -- 10:02 PM
Yes! 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, lowering his season batting average to .186. Fantasy baseball is a mean game. After spending two months rooting for Dan Uggla, rooting for him to bounce back from what was a bust of a 2012 season, I'm now passionately rooting against him. And I actually feel bad about it.
This is exactly what often gets me into trouble as a fantasy owner. Too often I let emotion get in the way of rational decision making. Instead of seeing my players as names and stats on a computer screen, I see them as people who might be struggling at the moment but are bound to pick it up sooner or later. It's ridiculous, I know. The 10 homers are nice, but Uggla hasn't really shown any signs of tangible improvement since last season. He's still striking out way too much while not getting on base enough. So I'm actually quite proud of myself for saying "enough is enough" and opting to ship him out of town.
Middle infield power is hard to find, so Uggla still carries plenty of mixed league appeal, especially in a 15-teamer like Tout Wars. But there's a point where it's just no longer worth it, and I was at that point. I'll sleep a lot better now that I no longer have to look at those 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, 1-for-6 and 0-for-5 lines. It's no fun. No fun at all.
Friday, May 31 -- 11:05 PM
There was no way I was trading Adam Wainwright without getting back a solid SP replacement, and for me Derek Holland was that guy. Good choice. The 26-year-old southpaw always carried a great deal of potential, and it looks like he is finally realizing it this season. Tonight's latest gem has lowered his ERA to a sparkling 2.81. He's whiffed a shade under a batter per inning and, most importantly, he's allowed a mere four home runs over his first 11 starts, this after serving up a whopping 32 gopher balls in 27 starts last year.
Listen, I'm not expecting him to finish the season with a sub-3.00 ERA, especially since he pitches his home games in a less than ideal park, particularly when it comes to the longball. Derek Holland is no Adam Wainwright. But does he make for a fine No. 3 type SP with some upside? Definitely.
Friday, May 31 -- 11:33 PM
That's more like it! Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen rattled me on Wednesday when he allowed his first run since April 5, and his second of the entire season, in a blown save against the Padres. It was his first appearance as a member of my Tout team. The stat correction process had surely picked a wonderful time to get underway. I'm a bit calmer tonight, though, as Wilhelmsen tossed a perfect inning versus the Twins to secure the save.
As you can probably figure out by now, the major trade I made with Fred Zinkie last weekend went like this:
Give: Adam Wainwright, Dan Uggla
Get: Jose Altuve, Derek Holland, Tom Wilhelmsen
On May 31, this is looking like a steal for me.
On June 10, it will look like I got fleeced.
On July 22, it will look like I got the upper hand.
On August 18, I will be kicking myself for agreeing to this swap.
But on September 30, it will be remembered as a well-balanced deal that helped both sides.
At least that's what I think.