I apologize for my absence. Life has kept me otherwise occupied, but I am back and should be back to regular postings.
That being said, this is my annual reminder not to overreact to the first few weeks of the season. I recommend not trading at all for the first two weeks, minimum. If I get one more email like this, from Curtis in Rhode Island: Should I trade Tim Lincecum for Johan Santana? Lincecum seems done. I might lost all motivation to give advice.
Tim Lincecum is 28 years old. He has 977 strikeouts in the last four seasons, with a 2.81 ERA over 881.2 innings. I think he’s going to be just fine. People talk about his velocity being down, but he hasn’t been at 94 regularly since 2009, and has been just fine at 91 or 92. Buy low on Lincecum, and if you own him, keep trotting him out there.
Ian Desmond is batting .406 through seven games. He’s a career .266 hitter. If someone is freaking out because of Hanley Ramirez’ .160 average, and believes in Desmond, laugh all the way to the bank. Maybe if you own Omar Infante, someone will buy into his .360 average or three home runs and seven extra-base hits. He has one season over 10 HR, in 2004, and a career .716 OPS.
Chad Billingsley is 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 0.63 WHIP. Meanwhile, the one they call the Buzzsaw is 35-33 with a 3.94 ERA over the last three years. Yes, he is young, showed promise early on and could theoretically break out in 2012, but I’m not nearly on the bandwagon yet… Maybe you can deal Billingsley for Dan Haren, who has failed to make it out of the sixth inning in either of his two starts. He is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA. Meanwhile, Haren has 190 or more strikeouts every year since 2007, with a 3.33 ERA and 1.127 WHIP in that time. Don’t make me waste my time telling you why Barry Zito isn’t worth owning in most leagues.
Now, to be fair, there are some “breakouts” that I am at least interested in. Jeff Samardzija gave up 1 earned run over 8.2 innings for the Cubs, with eight strikeouts and the key was he didn’t walk anyone. If he continues that control, he could emerge as a very useful option, with perhaps top-30 SP upside. Danny Duffy delivered six shutout innings with eight strikeouts. He might struggle for wins, due to run support, but if he continues striking people out, Duffy has always been projected to develop into a quality major league No. 2 starting pitcher.
I watched Chris Sale’s first start and it was fun to watch. Colby Lewis has always been a little bit underrated, and he won’t have an ERA under 2, like he does now, but he should win a lot of games, and have a respectable ERA and strikeout total.
When David Freese is healthy, I think he will produce well for the Cardinals. He won’t bat over .400 or hit homers at his current pace, but .280 and 20-25 home runs are possible if he stays in the lineup. Yoenis Cespedes might hit 30 home runs. He might also approach 200 strikeouts. Watching the A’s earlier this week, I was shocked by the violence of his swing-and-misses, which he does often, but when he connect, he really connects. I mentioned Andre Ethier as a sleeper in the preseason and I maintain he could have quite the productive year.
Other preseason sleepers of mine who are playing well so far include Dee Gordon, who might breeze past 60 steals and 90 runs scored. The previously mentioned Desmond, who I maintain won’t keep up his current pace, could still have a better-than-expected season.
My inbox is jam packed with questions, so I will try to get to those today or tomorrow. But keep your cool. Everything will be fine.