There are some situations in fantasy baseball that just have disaster written all over them. Below are three positional battles and playing time configurations that could bring a summer of heartbreak.
The Nationals’ bullpen is the biggest embarrassment in Washington since Watergate. How bad is it? The Nationals have blown 13 of 19 save opportunities this year. Kip Wells, who began the season in the minors, has a strong chance to emerge as the top reliever for the team. The main culprits have been Joel Beimel who regained the closers role after coming off the disabled list and promptly allowed 5 ER’s in 4 IP and Joel Hanrahan who blew three of his first five save opportunities as the teams closer. The only saving grace is that the Nationals’ offense is not as bad as in years past. The Nat’s are currently 3rd in the National League at 5.92 Runs per game. With a little help from the other pitchers, whoever emerges as the closer could get some save opportunities.
Houston Street started as the Rockies’ closer out of spring training and held the job until April 17th when he was replaced by Manny Corpas. Corpas then picked up three losses and only one save during his tenure as the Rockies’ closer before being replaced by Street again. Street has put together a small string of strong performances. But, we have been down this road before. Last year he started as the A’s closer, posting 17 saves in the first half of the year. The second half of the year he lost the closers job and only earned one save. Street also has a long history of injuries. Given Corpas’s performance and Street’s performance problems and injuries, I would stay away from the whole situation.
Indian’s First base/Catcher rotation
The Indians’ inability to trade Kelly Shoppach in the off-season has created a mess involving several players. Shoppach hit 21 homers last season and drove in 55 runs in 352 AB’s. He could be an everyday catcher on many teams; instead he starts approximately half the time for the Indians. Currently batting .210 with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI, don’t look for that playing time to increase unless injury comes into the equation. He started the season with less fantasy value than weaker players earning more playing time and now his value is even less. Ryan Garko posted 90 RBI last year, yet has started only 20 of 39 games this season. Even the use of Victor Martinez creates problems for fantasy owners because of his split time between catcher and first base. His value is highest in deeper leagues or in a utility slot in the lineup.
Of the three situations above, Martinez has the most fantasy upside. But coming off an injury plagued 2008, I would even be careful with him until he’s shown he will stay healthy.