Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Banana Stand - Week 2

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

Week two of the 2008 fantasy year was full of everything: great pitching performances (Wang, Sheets, Hamels), great hitting performances (Francoeur, J. Upton, Burrell), and Rich Harden’s annual DL stint. We saw some young arms follow up on their impressive debuts and we also saw some big bats continue to struggle – I’m looking right at you Papi (3 for 43). To top it all off, Johan the Great dropped his second straight decision, giving up three HRs to the Brew Crew.

In the power department, Carlos Pena is alone at the top of the HR list with six bombs on the year, four of them hit this week. He is on a mission to validate last year’s stats. Another four homer week came courtesy of Raul Ibanez who now has five on the year. Will this be the year he tops 35 HRs? I’ll take the under. Jeremy Hermida came off the DL and four games later has two doubles and two homers. Hermida came at a discount this year and his owners are reaping the benefits in his first week of action.

Chone Figgins and Joey Gathright lapped all of the speedsters this week, swiping 4 bags each. Michael Bourn, who had 6 steals through April 7th, hasn’t added to that total since. You were warned.

As Mike mentioned in the week 1 installment, pitching stats are more telling than hitting stats in the early goings. Cueto followed up his fabulous debut with one strong and one less strong outing. Johnny will have his ups and downs but he is a must start in all formats. Parra struggled against the Mets and Volquez didn’t allow any runs against the Pirates but wasn’t involved in the decision. Both of these young pitchers will finish 2008 with nice seasons, but for now neither is a must start. In fact, it may be wise to take a wait and see approach with Parra before plugging him into your rotation. With Volquez you will be better off playing the matchups. Week 3 is a tough call: he’s on the road against a good hitting Cubs team, but he is set to duel a struggling Ted Lilly. I will be rolling the dice on Edinson this week.

As for the more veteran arms, Chien-Ming Wang threw a CG two hitter against the Red Sox on Friday night. Livan Hernandez improved to 3-0 by blanking the Royals over 7 innings in a bid to become fantasy relevant. Ben Sheets was on the other end of Santana’s homer fest as he beat the Mets to improve to 2-0. If he can stay relatively healthy (no more than one 15 day DL stint) he will make a strong case to be in the top pitcher discussion at the end of the year.

League Updates
Here's how Mike and I fared in week 2:

7x7 League: My bats woke up over the weekend, propelling me to a 9-5 victory. I am now at the top of the standings. Mike battled a strong team and they called it a draw, each winning 7 categories. Mike is in 3rd place.

NL Only League: Mike and I went head to head this week, Pseudo Sports style. We both put up big points, but he could not overcome the power of Wandy. I took this tilt with a score of 302.42 to Mike’s 264.25. I am now 2-0 and I have the overall points lead. Mike falls to 1-1.

GOTS Expert League: We are still 8th out of 12 teams. It is way too early to make any adjustments. Our bats had a nice day Sunday so hopefully that will be the start of a positive trend. Our 14th round pick, Evan Longoria, got the call up this weekend and we are excited to see what he’ll bring to the table.

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