Fantasy baseball News & Notes: Harang's magical streak ends
In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
To say that Aaron Harang has been a surprise this April would be an understatement. Or, rather, he was a surprise prior to 7:00 p.m. EST, when he took the field to face the Miami Marlins, a team he had dissected in his previous outing. Had Harang pitched well yet again, had he somehow been able to maintain his sub-one ERA, then maybe it'd be time to concede that he's for real, and that all the metrics in the word, all the scouting and analysis and appraisals, simply can't account for something as random and flukey as Aaron Harang being one of the five pitchers in baseball.
Fortunately, order was restored to the cosmos last night, because Harang was beaten like a drum to the tune of nine earned runs and 10 hits, which ballooned his ERA up to 2.97. And just like that, he's no longer be considered a must-own pitcher. His numbers, even with this drudging, are still pretty solid, but you can't trust him to perform well in his next start against the Cardinals. If a pitcher isn't worth starting in any one matchup, he probably shouldn't be owned in the first place.
At this point, the only logical outcome is that Harang's ERA will regress to its mean until it's up to the mid-three's or the four's. Harang could very well surprise me and be great against the Cardinals, but his numbers are predestined to collapse, meaning he should be high on your list of players to consider dropping.
For your consideration
• Jarrod Saltalamacchia continued his hot-hitting ways, going for 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBI. Salty has always been a secretly viable mixed-league option at catcher, if only because of his potential to hit 20 home runs. His batting average has been a deterrent throughout his career, but a year ago he brought it up to .273 and he's currently swatting .299 with five home runs. Even though that average is likely to plummet, Salty is absolutely worth owning in standard leagues, and if you don't possess an elite catcher (Posey, Mauer, Molina), you should definitely give him a whirl. To put him in perspective, a year ago, Salty produced 14 homers, 65 RBI and a .273 average last year; Carlos Santana, one of the first catchers off the board, produced 20 homers, 74 RBI and batted .268. Santana was/is better, but not by as much as you might think -- only six homers and nine RBI. In other words, a catcher who's 80 percent as productive as Carlos Santana is still available in 67 percent of all Yahoo! leagues.
• The Orioles' last two games against the Pirates have been rained out, which is a shame for two reasons. Firstly, 3B Manny Machado was expected to make his season debut after having offseason knee surgery on Tuesday, which, much to the disappointment of Baltimore fans and his fantasy owners alike, has now been delayed two days. Machado is owned almost universally, despite not yet playing a game this season, and owners are surely excited to move him off the DL. Also, Nick Markakis has started the last two games for the Orioles at first base, filling in for the sidelined Chris Davis, and needs only three more to get first base eligibility in most fantasy leagues. Markakis will be a tad more valuable once he can be deployed at first -- and it's absolutely a helpful development for Davis' owners, who might be searching for a temporary first baseman while he's on the DL. Markakis' numbers have plateaued over the last few years; after reaching 100 RBI a few times early in his career, he's produced no more than 15 home runs and 12 steals in any season over the last four years. It'd certainly be better if he could find his power stroke again, or try to steal bases again, but Markakis still has merit, thanks to his solid plate discipline. You can pencil him in to hit near .300, which makes him a low-tier add in fantasy leagues.
• George Springer went 1-for-4 yesterday, dropping his average to a sour .182 in 14 games. The Astros prospect seemed destined for greatness when he hit in his first five games, but he's now slid into a slump of sorts. I'm being Captain Obvious when I note that Springer is young and talented, and has a chance to be a fantastic baseball player, and that we shouldn't judge him too quickly. However, he doesn't appear to be a player who's going to make an impact right now, and usually, it's easy to tell which hitters are ready for the majors and which aren't. Puig, for example, was a monster when he was brought up last year. But some need a little more finessing in the minors, and that even includes Mike Trout, the best hitter in the game who hit just .220 over 40 games as a rookie in 2011. For all his potential, Springer has done exactly squat so far and can be safely dropped for a more productive hitter.
• There are three doubleheaders tonight (thanks, rain!), and in certain leagues, it's not too late to add a hitter who you can plug in and implement as a streamer. The teams playing two games for the price of one tonight are Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Boston, Minnesota and the Dodgers.