Monday, April 7, 2008

The Banana Stand - Week 1

The Banana Stand is a weekly look back at the fantasy week that was.

Week one of the 2008 fantasy baseball season can best be described as the week of the pitcher. Specifically, it was a week for young, emerging flamethrowers. Johnny Cueto, Manny Parra, Edinson Volquez & Jair Jurrjens had mixed leaguers and disgruntled Yahoo! owners scrambling for the waiver wire. Then, there were the veterans. While the young guns were breaking through, Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb & Johan Santana quietly did what everyone expected and others turned heads with glimpses of what's capable when healthy. Ben Sheets' CGSO on Sunday capped off an impressive week where he threw 15 1/3 innings while racking up 15 Ks. Rich Harden is 2 starts into the season and so far, he's been able to avoid the disabled list. In 2 starts against the Red Sox, he survived 11 innings giving up just 1 run while striking out 15. Going from good to bad, Barry Zito provided more proof that the GMs who signed Bobby Bonilla, Albert Belle & Ed Whitson have nothing on Brian Sabean.

On the offensive side - Xavier Nady showed that he is worth drafting every year if for nothing else than a week 1 start. Does anybody consistently start off a season hotter than Nady every year? Derrek Lee looks healthy again as he returned to his MVP form of 2005 with 3 quick HRs. The Diamondbacks are showing that they have a great young nucleus that is ready to perform now. Justin Upton, Chris Young & Mark Reynolds put up veteran numbers in week 1 with a combined 8 HRs and 13 RBIs in just 6 games. It will be interesting to see what happens when Chad Tracy returns from the DL. The way things are going for Arizona, there's no way he should bump the youngsters (Conor Jackson or Reynolds) out of the lineup.

Perhaps pitching was so much of the story in week 1 that there isn't much else to mention on the offensive side. Many hitters had solid weeks, but nobody really turned heads. Besides, right or wrong, a pitcher throwing up 2 good starts to begin the season means a lot more than an offensive player hitting a couple of HRs or batting over .400 in week one. Similarly, a pitcher getting rocked in his first couple of starts is a lot more concerning than a slumping hitter. It cuts both ways for pitchers but means a lot less for hitters, even though the sample size is larger. The important thing to take out of week 1 is that it's just one week. Don't overreact to established players exceeding or falling short of your preseason expectations. Be impressed, however, with rookies showing that they are ready to perform at this level. So much of a youngster breaking into the majors and sticking around is mental. Cueto, Parra & Volquez, while extremely talented, are all on relatively short leashes (Volquez & Parra more), so for them to go out and perform under that much pressure shows a lot. While it may be tempting, don't go out and trade Josh Beckett for Johnny Cueto just yet.

League Updates
Chris & I are both in a head to head 7x7 league, an NL only head to head points league & we share a team in the Greener on the Other Side Expert league. Here's how we fared in week 1:

7x7 League: We are both 1-0 so far. Chris dominated and won all 14 categories, while I went 12-1-1.

NL Only League: In a recurring theme, Chris had a dominant week riding the arms of Cueto, Peavy & Volquez. He put up the most points in the league & has already established a high mark for weekly points that will be tough to beat. I won as well, but in much less impressive fashion (Chris put up 347 points to my 261), but a win is a win. We face off, Pseudo Sports style, in week 2.

GOTS Expert League: After week 1, we are in a cluster right in the middle - 8th out of 12 teams. It's a bit early, so a good or bad day can move you significantly in either direction.

No comments: