Fantasy baseball News & Notes: Strasburg worrying his owners
Tonight, George Springer, the Houston Astros' highly-touted outfield prospect, will make his major-league debut, and fantasy owners need to pounce on the add button if someone else hasn't already. We analyze his very high ceiling in depth in this week's prospect watch, but I will say here that we're looking at a potential five-tool superstar, a player who could be a 30-30 guy if he pans out. The bottom line with Springer is that it's incredibly rare for someone to be available on the waiver wire who has this much potential, who could instantly boost your fantasy team if he's the real deal, the same way Puig, Trout and Harper did.
Anyway, let's discuss Stephen Strasburg's outing Tuesday night. One of the main reasons to own an expensive, elite pitcher like Strasburg is for his consistency -- owners know they'll almost always get a good-to-great outing from them. A lower-tier pitcher like Ervin Santana might only be good 25 times, and a complete shot-in-the-dark pitcher like Aaron Harang could be as good as often as he's lousy.
Strasburg by most accounts still is in that elite category, but he's already had multiple lackluster outings. Last night, Strasburg allowed six earned runs and struck out only five in four innings, bringing his ERA up to 6.00 and his WHIP to 1.57. This wasn't exactly the start his owners could have expected, especially since the teams that have burned him -- the Marlins and the Mets -- are teams he's expected to tear through like tissue paper.
The saving grace here is that his finishing stuff is still excellent; he does lead all major lead pitchers in strikeouts, and so long as he's still able to put people away, we should expect the ERA and WHIP to deflate in time. Still, the amount of runs and walks he's allowed are a tad disturbing, and while he does deserve the benefit of the doubt, there's a limit to how many poor outings his owners can absorb before they actually do have to start to worry. Strasburg has a tough matchup with the Cardinals over the weekend, but if he can look sharp in it, that would do a lot to reassure his owners that they didn't make a mistake when they drafted him.
For your consideration
• Jhonny Peralta went 2-4 with a home run for the second straight day, and is looking like a competent player again after a truly miserable start to the year. Hitting behind the core of the Cardinals' lineup could pay its dividends if he can keep raking, and he's 6-12 over his last three games. He's not quite worth starting in standard leagues, but he makes for a strong backup.
• Despite his recent woes, Matt Lindstrom remains the White Sox' closer, according to manager Robin Ventura, who was quoted as saying, "He's in there right now." Lindstrom's odds of finishing out the season as the Sox closer are next to nill. Nate Jones, who's currently on the disabled list, is the man most likely to be passed the closer baton, though he's expected to be out for a few more weeks with a lower back injury.
• After two excellent outings to begin the year, Garrett Richards regressed a tad on Tuesday, allowing five runs to the A's over seven innings. It wasn't an atrocious outing, and he still has 18 strikeouts and a 2.84 ERA over three starts. He's a decent mixed-league play.
• Michael Bourn has been activated from the disabled list. Bourn, who once led the majors in stolen bases for three straight years, seems almost quaint now, given the speed that exists in players like Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton. Still, if Bourn can stay healthy, he could be a nice source of runs and steals. At this point, he's not a must-own player anymore -- last year, he stole just 23 and was caught a whopping 12 times -- but he could still be helpful if he can turn things around.