The venues my band has played over the years run the gamut from the po-dunk hole in the wall bars with 15 disinterested inebriated patrons, to large festivals containing a raucous 5,000+ fully engaged in every song. There is a palpable difference in intensity and the notion that it can’t impact ones performance is peculiar. There’s an unspoken myth floating in some sabermetric circles that there’s little difference between pitching in the 8th inning and closing out games in the 9th. Rubbish. If I’m a David Robertson owner I’m not panicking right now, but I am concerned. After 12 consecutive scoreless appearances to start the season, most of them dominant, the new Yankee closer struggled mightily in his first two games in the Big Apple trying to preserve the lead in the 9th. In his first outing against the Devil Rays he gave up a hit and walked two to load the bases before getting out of the jam. Truth be told, he probably would have walked 10 if not for the ocean sized strike zone in place that inning. The next evening his luck ran out as the strike zone shrunk back down to normal size and Robertson served up four hits, a walk, a home run, and a Yankee loss. It is obviously way too early to give up on Robertson or Soriano (1.69 WHIP), but I am glad that I own Cory Wade in my AL Only league.
In February Big Lead Sports reported that San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker had no problems finding a replacement for Eva Longoria. Roto owners still trying to replace Evan Longoria have a much bigger challenge. Recent injuries to Kevin Youkilis and Pablo Sandoval have decreased an already limited third base supply. If you missed out on the Will Middlebrooks sweepstakes, is there anything coming down the pipeline?
Scott Rolen is exhibit 1,373 of why spring training stats don’t mean jack. The Reds third-baseman claimed this spring that he was pain free for the first time in four to five years and that he finally had full range of motion in his shoulder after playing without it the last few seasons. The box score from exhibition games seemed to corroborate that his stroke was back (.356/.442/.578). I saw several of Cincinnati’s spring training games. Every time the former Cardinal made contact he smoked the ball. Even his outs were line drives right at defenders. Like so many pre-season success stories, Scotty’s March mashing seems like a distant memory from an alternate universe (.174/.238/.304: in 29 real games). The Reds claim that Rolen’s shoulder is barking again and have placed him on the disabled list. Todd Frazier stands to benefit the most from the move. The 2007 supplemental first round pick had already seen a start in left field where Chris Heisey (.200/.253/.286) and Ryan Ludwick (.184/.271/.342) have been disappointments. Rolen’s injury opens the door, but Dusty Baker’s fickleness could force him back to the pine if Todd goes hitless two straight games. Frazier remains a batting average risk, but has 15-15 potential if he earns regular playing time.
Kung Fu Panda remains out with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. Conor Gillaspie’s three hits and zero walks in 20 plate appearances earned an option back down to AAA Fresno. Charlie Culberson (.284/27/5/24/1) was called up to replace him on the 25-man roster. He will man the keystone for the Giants, but qualifies at third base in the NFBC. The 2007 first round pick stole 25 bases in High-A ball two years ago, so he could provided double digit steals and homers if you are desperate and everything clicks for him right out of the gates.
There was a conspicuous lack of interest in Brandon Inge in Sunday night’s FAAB bidding. I grabbed him with a token $15 bid in one league and he remains unowned in a few others. Fascinating. Third base is a scarce position…or so I thought; yet the Motown castoff is deemed unworthy of even a bench spot or occasional spot play in favorable matchups. Since 2006 Inge has averaged 67 Runs, 79 RBI’s and 19.6 HR’s every 550 AB’s. Granted that comes gift wrapped with a career .234 BA, but for waiver wire fodder among corner infielders he possesses decent upside. He has two 27 HR seasons on his resume, and don’t forget his pre All Star break numbers in 2009 (.268-51-21-58-2). That’s good production over 86 games. Obviously you can’t bank on that, but for a buck or two that’s a solid ROI dart.