How great did it feel to see the Braves and Phillies take the field on Sunday night? For me, it's what I've been waiting five months for. We've all spent the past few months staying up to the wee hours of the morning researching players we didn't even know existed. We talked trash to our buddies about how we took our league's championship last season. Or maybe we had to endure an off-season of obnoxious bragging from the guy in our league that everybody loves to hate. The greatest part is that whether or not you were first or last, Opening Day brings a new year, and another chance to be victorious.
The time has finally come to put our money where our mouths are and begin another six-month journey to the top of the fantasy mountain. Rest assured that I'll be here along the way to give you all the fantasy nutrition you need to reach the summit. Don't worry, this is steroid-free zone, so my advice will be pure, unfiltered goodness. With the season finally underway, here are my T.I.P.S for success in Week One.
If Delgado's eight-homer, 22-RBI, .340 September wasn't enough to catch your attention, his .485 spring training should have you fully enthralled. Delgado's ADP of 97 makes him the 15th 1B selected in most drafts. Haters point to his declining average the past few seasons, but his .271 campaign in 2008 was his best since '05. There's definitely some mileage on Delgado, but I'll take his '08 line of .271-38-115 over other 1B going ahead of him such as
Figgins numbers have been trending downward for four years now, which is a scary thought for a player who relies so heavily on his speed. But, he's still 2B-eligible in many leagues and that makes him intriguing regardless of his trends. His main attraction is steals and his inconsistent average no longer makes him a lock for .300. The concern with Figgins is the health of his legs. His stolen bases the last four years have been 61, 52, 41, 34. Similarly, his hits have gone from 186 in 2005 to 125 last season. Granted, he has been limited by injuries the past two seasons, but he's 31 now and the wheels have to fall off at some point. The good news is that Figgins has been all over the basepaths this spring training. When finally healthy, he stole seven bases last September and had nine this spring. It's hard to imagine him staying injury-free this season, but 500 at-bats and 40 steals still makes him valuable.
Gallardo is one of this year's top candidates to join the upper tier of starting pitchers. While his skills are impressive, some people have forgotten about Gallardo since he spent almost all of last year rehabbing a torn ACL in his right knee. Only 23, the former second-round pick has 24 career starts and a 3.35 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Known for his control, Gallardo has uncharacteristically walked 13 batters this Spring to only 19 strikeouts. While I'm not overly concerned, I think you can expect a slight rise in his WHIP as he works on his command. The Brewers expect big things from Gallardo and he should step up to be the team's new ace.
Like many young White Sox pitchers seem to do, Floyd broke out last season and finished with 17 wins, 3.84 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 145 Ks. While his numbers were fantastic, one couldn't help but wonder what his stats could have been if he cut back on those 70 walks. Floyd must have heard our thoughts, because he was slinging darts this spring. Despite finishing with a 4.81 ERA, Floyd struck out 26 batters in 39.1 IP. But most importantly, Floyd gave free passes to only six batters. Still only 26, Floyd seems to be one of those formerly hyped prospects that finally figured it out. But don't tell that to your leaguemates, as the vaunted "One-Year Wonder" label seems to be the universal sentiments regarding Floyd.
How rare is it that Ichiro will be missing a few games to start the season? Well, this is his first-ever trip to the DL, and the eight games he will miss will be the most he's ever missed in any of his eight MLB seasons. He played 157 games in 2001 and '02, and since then hasn't missed more than three games in any season. But, a bleeding ulcer will keep him out until at least Apr. 15. Apparently it isn't bleeding anymore, and Ichiro is on track to return immediately after he is eligible to come off the DL.
Scherzer begins the season on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation, but all signs point to him returning to start on Apr. 14. The Diamondbacks have a plethora of great starting pitchers, so they won't hesitate to handle their prized 24-year-old carefully. Scherzer gets lost in the shuffle with other high-profile young hurlers like
Ziegler got a lot more popular after
Bonifacio will start at third base for the Marlins since
It seems that
While many believe that
With the regular season finally here, the buildup and excitement can take an emotional toll on you. For instance, after watching
Every league has the guy who grabs players immediately after they hit a home run and drops people after a rough game. This person probably has racked up 20 transactions already, and the season has barely begun. This is a sucker, and someone you need to target with multiple trade offers. Notice the guys who have made a ton of moves and see if they have any underachievers on their squad. These type of owners have a genetic makeup where they constantly need to make changes. It's simple buy-low, sell-high and these owners are the ones you can take advantage of.