Thursday, April 16, 2009

Something Sneaky

'Twas a short slate tonight, as baseball does tend to give teams Mondays and/or Thursdays off on occasion.  Fortunately, though, we have some red hot nuggets of information surging out of said short slate, mostly pertaining to closers.

Ryan Franklin - The closer role in St. Louis seems to be as desirable as a moldy head of lettuce.  Jason Motte was given a chance, and defecated on the pitcher's mound.  Dennys Reyes was tossed into a save situation against lefties, converted it, but apparently that was insufficient.  Then came Ryan Franlin.  The big righty had the closer's job for a substantial period in 2008, and was about as effective as a middle reliever should be closing games -- not very.  But, here we are, another year wiser, and Franklin is closing again.  He's converted both chances so far, and is still available in many leagues.  Dump an extra position player, and snatch up a potential 30-closer RP.

Huston Street/Manny Corpas - The closer deathmatch in Colorado that left fantasy nutjobs partially bald during the preseason is moving from "casual hair-tug" to "forceful yank," as Street failed to retire a batter in his last appearance (a non-save situation).  There hasn't been a formal change yet, but Corpas has been significantly better, if still lacking in results.  If you have a spare roster spot, or better yet, if you're stashing Fausto Carmona for 2011 (when he gets his "turbosinker" back, take a flier on Corpas and hope that Street lays a few more eggs.  And while we're discussing Carmona, if I hear Chip Caray refer to his fastball as a turbosinker one more time - and I'm talking about in my life, not just the next year or two - I will string him up by an XLR cable.  Carmona's fastball, which apparently is straight out of Street Fighter II, CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION, is not even in the top-10 sinkers in the league.

Latroy Hawkins - Jose Valverde is out for Houston with back soreness, and no one is quite sure for how long.  Unfortunately, back injuries are some of the most unpredictable, not just in sports, but in general.  Valverde could be 100% tomorrow, or he could miss 3-4 weeks.  If you think the situation is the latter, Hawkins is the man with the golden arm.  Latroy "Hiding the baseball is for sissies" Hawkins got his first save of the year tonight, and even if Valverde is completely healthy tomorrow, will probably see at least a couple more opportunities in the long run.  It's always a good idea to have one revolving spot on your roster for temporary fixes like Hawkins (or Carlos Villanueva in Milwaukee).  Having a full roster at all times can often leave you unable to make quick decisions and gain ground in particular categories.

That's Closers Corner for the night, and indeed it is a lonely little corner.  The featured man of the evening, and we teased it last night, is Pirates 1B Adam Laroche.  Normally one of the WORST Spring hitters in baseball, Laroche seems to have ironed out at least a few of his early-season woes.  Laroche isn't putting up mindblowing numbers, but his .294 average, 3 homers, and 4 multi-hit games is so far beyond where he has been the last few years at this time, it makes my eyes bounce inside my head.  At the end of April, 2008, Adam Laroche was hitting .174 with 1 homer and 5 batted in.  He still has half the month left (the season started later this year, too), and he has eclipsed all relevant values already.  If he makes his usual warm weather surge in July, Laroche could be looking at a .315 average, and 25-30 home runs.  I'd suggest waiting a few days, or as long as you think he'll be available, then grab him and sell him to the highest bidder come August.

In some hometown news for me, the Dodgers swept the Giants (and have won 5 straight).  Compound that with my $1,000 fantasy NBA winnings of last night, and I'm about ready to RE-post the "Jizz in my Pants" video.  I won't, but suffice to say that a sports-related smile is plastered across my mug.  In the hopes that I can do the same for you, here's a woman passing out:


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