My older brother was one of those kids that took apart things just so he could learn how to put it back together. I'm not a car guy, but I've emulated that sticktoitness in other avenues, including the dissection of baseball players.
Fantasy baseball gamers often forget how much real-life fixes can yield better numbers. Fixing a corrupted machine offers potential for productive output.
Don't be Mad about Max
Every so often I'll don my Fantasy Baseball Mechanic uniform and dive into the nuts and bolts of players' struggles or success. No additional overcharges, either.
Chad Billingsley, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Heavy mileage hidden by lingering new-car smell ... Plagued by hard-working engine ... 5.91 spring ERA, but contended better power steering on pitches shielded by poor stats ... Fanned 11 Padres in 8 1/3 shutout innings last Friday ... Cut back on cutters for more sliders, seemed to avoid potholes more frequently.
Estimate: It was the Padres, and he often labors. But he'll be just 28 in July. Despite big MLB workload so far, still has upside for 2010 Blue book value if he can regain efficiency. Worth a lease if available, but proceed with caution, especially if he's one of your few sets of SP wheels.
Max Scherzer, SP, Detroit Tigers
Potent horsepower but herky-jerky delivery transmission ... Noticed flaw from the stretch during final spring training start ... Guess when next start came ... Oof, not enough time to make an appointment.
Estimate: Don't panic. He'll have runs like this, but at least he knows what caused this crash. Zero-to-mid-90s still a premium commodity; better handling on walks augments profit. Boston's no slouch, either. If left on the side of your waiver wire road, claim immediately. If held but issues continue, try to acquire at a clearance price.
Jason Hammel, SP, Baltimore Orioles
Tall-bodied machine received calibration for drag races last year ... Reconstructed body, courtesy of Rick Adair, could create another Doug Fister, one of last year's hottest-selling bargain models.
Estimate: Potentially useful deep mixed pitcher that could fan 6ish per nine. A long shot this continues, but two-seamer rebirth offers more reason to think he could deliver on his long-teased promise. Worth a deep-league test drive.
Need to bring in one of your players for a tune-up? Suggest one in the comments!
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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