Memorial Day Weekend Hangover: Effect on Fantasy Baseball

What a Memorial Day weekend. You can tell it was a helluva Memorial Day, because I’m writing my Memorial Day themed column on Wednesday night. In between supporting our troops by drinking copious amounts and gorging ourselves on giant meals, there were some pretty significant fantasy happenings. Every one of them has a serious impact on almost every league. What do you do about it? Well let me tell you…

Kendry Morales married into the Gramatica family, breaking a leg during a celebration.

The Angels lost Kendry Morales this past weekend to a freak injury while he was celebrating a walk-off trip to Denny’s (grand slam). The Angels will certainly miss their first baseman and slugger, who was hitting .290 with 11 homers and 39 RBI, but there is value to take from this. The Angels have played the Robb Quinlan and the Crappy Players (could be a band name, right?) at first, but it looks like they’ll be throwing their current catcher Mike Napoli in the mix once injured catcher Jeff Mathis returns. If you need a backstop, Napoli is obviously eligible there, and he hit .272 with 20 homers last year. This year he’s at .263 with 8 homers and can provide some power to teams that need it.

Buster Posey called up by the Giants, finally.

Posey was, by some people’s standards, the top minor league hitter around since the beginning of the season. The issue in San Francisco was twofold, though. They wanted to keep him in the minors long enough to avoid paying him for as long as possible (I’m not going to pretend I understand that loophole). More importantly, they had their catcher spot filled with Bengie Molina. Enter first base. I wrote here that Posey may come up to play first because the Giants first baseman suck, and what’d you know? Posey has played first since coming to the show. He’s already an above average major league hitter and is eligible at catcher, that being his assumed position for the majority of his career. Also, he’s hit .438 since he’s come up. If you need a catcher, expect .290 with 10 or so homers and 50 RBI for the rest of the season.

Stephen Strasburg to pitch June 8th, right after he fixes the oil spill and just in time to go to South Africa and win the World Cup by himself.

Strasburg is owned in most leagues, so there isn’t much to take from this. If an owner is sick of waiting and is in desperate need of something now, offer him as many trades as possible. Stevey Wonder is for real. He’s got 60 strikeouts in 50.1 innings with a 1.43 ERA in stops in AA and AAA. He’ll be a top-30 starter from the time he comes up to the end of the year. Expect about a 3.50 ERA tops with at least 8 or 9 strikeouts per 9 innings. The only caveat with him is that there will be a strict pitch/innings count for this year and probably next. That’s why we can’t project his wins. It’s times like this that I wish Nolan Ryan ran the Nationals, then Stras would be out throwing 150 pitch starts and there would be no worries about him. Alas, I’d still grab him ASAP if I could.

Andre Ethier is back!

Even though he missed a few weeks, Ethier is still currently the 15th best hitter in fantasy. That should show us just how awesome he’s been all year. His 11 homers are more than Evan Longoria and his 38 RBI are more than Ryan Braun and Justin Morneau. Despite missing two weeks of games. With Matt Kemp coming on fairly strong as of late and returning to form, Ethier should benefit. Clearly, he won’t hit .376 all year, but an average of .300 from here on out isn’t out of the question. Plus, he’s a super rarity with his BABIP actually being lower than his average (.368 to the aforementioned .376. Don’t ask me how this happens, I don’t know). If your team needs some hitting from an outfielder and you love abnormalities, take a look at Ethier.

So is Curtis Granderson!

Yes, he sucked before he got hurt, but he’s been improving his average and has already hit a home run since he’s been back. He’ll be a productive member of this Yankees lineup as expected, and will add home runs and a few steals to yours. Granderson is entrenched in the best lineup in baseball (the Yankees have scored the most runs, I’m not just a homer) and should benefit greatly. Grab him while his value is low if you can, he’ll be a solid outfielder the rest of the way. I’m thinking top 20 at least. You’ll get about 15 homers and 10 steals with a .250 average at the minimum.

This lacks any fantasy relevance, but Ken Griffey Jr. has retired as of a few minutes ago. In an era full of backne, enlarged heads, and shrunken testicles, The Kid steered clear of all of it. He is the greatest player anyone of my generation has ever seen play, and would’ve hit 800+ homers if he hadn’t gotten injured. In honor of this, here’s his best fantasy season, in 1997: .304, 56 homers, 147 RBI, 125 runs, and 15 stolen bases. Astounding.

‘Til next time, keep the bat on your shoulders.
-Backwards K

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