Is seven bucks out of a $100 FAAB budget too high a price for Charlie Blackmon? Some might say yes. They’ll point to Blackmon’s uncertain playing time status once Dexter Fowler returns from the DL, but in my NL-only keeper league, I’m so devoid of quality outfield options that I think it’s a risk worth taking. Actually, considering that Blackmon was batting .337 with 10 homers, 49 RBIs, 12 steals and 49 runs scored through 58 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs, I’m rather surprised that my bid turned out to be the winning one. Look, I’ve been very fortunate to catch lightning in a bottle with Laynce Nix, and one would think that it’s only a matter of time before the career part-timer will fizzle out. Jonny Gomes’ measly batting average was tolerable back in April when he belted six homers. But he’s hit just one homer since and I’m still trying to figure out why I’ve kept him in my lineup all this time. Outside of Justin Upton, the rest of my group can be summed up in one word: uninspiring. Meet Roger Bernadina, Nyjer Morgan and Gerardo Parra. Blackmon is certainly a welcome addition. But do I start him right away or hold off a week? And if I do start him, who do I bench? This could turn out to be a huge mistake but I’m sitting Blackmon just for this week. Let’s see how he adjusts to big league pitching. My current patchwork collection of outfielders has helped me reach first place. Let’s show them some respect!
Tuesday, June 14 – 11:15 PM
I’m a big fan of Adam LaRoche. For some reason this guy is always undervalued, and while he is streaky, LaRoche finishes every year with roughly the same numbers. 25 homers and 80-plus RBIs are a given, yet LaRoche goes undrafted in many 12-team mixed leagues and even gets overlooked in non-mixed formats. For the NL-only owner like myself who shies away from spending big on an elite first baseman, LaRoche has always been an ideal consolation prize. So for the third straight season in my NL-only league I drafted LaRoche. Too bad this is the first season that I will regret it. Today it was announced that LaRoche, who has been on the DL since late-May, will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Injuries in non-mixed leagues are an absolute killer, even at a position as deep as first base. In reality, no position is all that deep in a non-mixed league, and it’s often the case that staying healthy is what separates the fifth place team from the first place team. Come to think of it, the fact that I reside in the middle of the pack despite owning Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and LaRoche (notice how I’m not mentioning our friend Brandon Lyon) is a flat-out miracle.
Anyway, I’ve got a problem here. My current starting first baseman is Brad Hawpe. Enough said. There was a time in the not so distant past when Hawpe was a valuable fantasy commodity, but an injury-plagued 2010 campaign combined with the 180-degree move from Coors Field to Petco Park has reduced him to a marginal option, even in an NL-only league. I need to make a trade here. Relying on Hawpe is simply asking for trouble. But how exactly does one go about making a deal in a league where there is no such thing as roster depth? There’s a reason why I’ve made just one trade in my three years of NL-only play. This is challenging stuff.
Wednesday, June 15 – 5:37 PMThere’s no way around it. My decision to sit Charlie Blackmon was, plain and simply, the wrong one. Through three games this week, he’s hitting .583 (7-for-12) with three RBIs and three steals. But I’m not upset. I can stomach a few days worth of wasted stats if it means that I’ve found myself a long-term solution to my outfield dilemma. Now, word is that the Rockies might keep Fowler down in the Minors even after he returns to action so that he can rediscover his stroke. Blackmon’s future is looking very bright as he will be given every opportunity to stay in the Majors for good.
Friday, June 17 – 5:19 PMPart of the reason why I was a little intimidated when invited to join an NL-only keeper league this year is that I’m far from a Minor League guru. Usually, I learn about the next great prospect when the rest of the fantasy world does, which in most cases is a few months before their eventual call-up. But to have continuous success in this league, being a year or two ahead of the curve could pay off big down the road as players can be signed to long-term contracts. So last week, I spent some time perusing fantasy sites in search of the next hidden gem, and I found one. His name is Paul Goldschmidt and his Minor League numbers jump off the page. He hits for average, he hits for power and this season he has more walks than strikeouts. Placing a $0 bid on Goldschmidt came with zero risk and the consensus opinion was that he would be up in the Majors by 2012. But I was in more need for the immediate help of Blackmon, and since there was only one player who I was ready to drop, I prioritized the Blackmon bid. Well, I won Blackmon, so the Goldschmidt pickup would have to wait another week.
At least that was the plan. This week, another team decided to place a $0 bid on Goldschmidt, and since he trails me in the standings he won the tiebreaker. I think it had something to do with a recent quote by Diamondbacks’ GM Kevin Towers about Goldschmidt possibly being called up around the All-Star break. Thanks a lot, Kevin.