Saturday, April 22, 2006

South Philly Cheer for MLB & Comcast

Dr. Bass has a beef with Comcast and/or MLB. I'm confused as to who specifically to berate, but I'm ill-tempered towards both entities at the moment because both are involved either directly or indirectly.

I found this on the InDemand web site RE: blackouts of the Extra Innings package...

"If you live in a zip code area that falls within an MLB team’s home television territory, that team’s games will be blacked-out from MLB EXTRA INNINGS. These games will generally be available on that team’s RSN or team affiliated OTA station. Blackouts protect the local rightsholders who arrange separate distribution agreements for their exclusive territories.


A: Counties/Zip Codes."

My home team is the Philadelphia Phillies...I live less than 30 minutes from Citizens Bank Park, and I would expect those games to be blacked out on the MLB Extra Innings package. However, why in the WORLD are Nationals and Orioles games blacked out when I live 1.5 and 2.5 hours away from Baltimore and DC and the Phillies are my "home" team???

On top of that, the Seattle vs Detroit game was blacked out last night...and I live in WILMINGTON, DELAWARE!!! I called Comcast and they described it as a "network problem that they have no control over." Right. That explains why the Dodgers vs D-Backs and Mets vs Padres games were NOT blacked out. By the way, New York is about as far away as I guess Mets and Yankees games will be the next ones blacked out.

THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!! Comcast and MLB need to DO SOMETHING, and until they do, they get the ol' South Philly cheer from Dr. Bass...BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Perhaps I should start watching more golf (maybe THAT will help me improve my short game)!!!

-Dr. Ill-Tempered C. Bass

UPDATE (4/23): I am happy to report that Comcast and MLB got it together. Baltimore and DET/SEA games are once again viewable in Delaware...and since we all know that Delaware is the center of the universe, all is right with the world.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Waiver Wire Wonders Part 2: Offense

Now, the offense:

C BRIAN McCANN (ATL) has set himself apart from other waiver wire backstops by crushing 3 homers so far this season. Good luck finding a better catcher in your free agent pool.

1B/OF JAY GIBBONS (BAL) has looked great so far, and he seems well-protected in a productive Orioles offense. Look for a 30 HR season, and 100 RBI is not out of the realm of possibility, either.

1B PHIL NEVIN (TEX) likewise finds himself in a good spot, hitting between Teixiera and Blalock in Arlington. He has generated excellent numbers so far, and there's no reason to think that trend won't continue as long as he stays healthy.

1B/OF CRAIG WILSON (PIT) is as streaky as they come. Get him in your lineup if you can and ride the wave as long as you can. Be prepared to cut bait early, though. When Wilson's on, he's good...when he's not, he's awful.

1B ADRIAN GONZALEZ (SD) is a former hot prospect who's making the most of his playing time in the wake of Ryan Klesko's injury. Expect similar numbers to those a healthy Klesko would put up...maybe a little better.

2B RYAN FREEL (CIN) is also eligible at 3B or OF, but there's no need to play him there unless you have a stud 2B already. If Freel is available in your league, you should get him now and start deciding where to put your league championship trophy. Freel will steal 35 bases easily, and it's cause for celebration anytime you can find that kind of production on the waiver wire.

2B TODD WALKER (CHC) will score plenty of runs with Derrek Lee and Aramis Rameriz hitting behind him. Walker boasts a .520 OBP out of the 2 hole this season, and while he'll cool off a little, he still makes a great play if you are in need a keystone sacker.

2B/3B BILL MUELLER (LAD) will hit .300 this season. He won't do much more, but if you're desperate for a 2B and Freel & Walker are gone, you can't do much better.

3B BRANDON INGE (DET) has upside if he can limit the strikeouts. He should hit 20 HRs for the Tigers this season.

SS CARLOS GUILLEN (DET) is somehow a forgotten man in many fantasy circuits. He deserves a roster spot in all leagues, and should be a starter in all AL-only leagues and 12+ team mixed leagues.

SS HANLEY RAMERIZ (FLA) should already be taken in most keeper leagues. He has power and speed potential and is off to a great start so far. Don't sleep too long on him or you'll be sorry.

SS JACK WILSON (PIT) is another Pirate named Wilson who's rather streaky. Right now, that's a good thing. Last year...not so much.

SS OMAR VIZQUEL (SF) has surprised me by stealing 4 bases already. I thought he'd need a walker to get around the bases this season. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before he falls and breaks a hip, but if you need steals he's worth a flier in the meantime.

There are several outfielders who are worthy of roster spots in almost every league. RAUL IBANEZ (SEA) is a solid but unspectacular player who'll be available in many leagues. He's hot right now, and he'll hit for average and mix in a little power in the process. Scouts and experts were wondering when ALEX RIOS (TOR) would find his power looks like the wait is over, as Rios (pictured above) has 4 HRs already. The 6'5", 200 pounder will likely end the season with 20-25 bombs and 15-20 steals. COREY SULLIVAN (COL) is looking like the answer for the Rockies in CF, and the kid's got wheels. Look for 25 steals, plenty of runs scored, and an average around .300. SHANNON STEWART (MIN) is white-hot right now and contributes in every fantasy category. Get him in your lineup if you can. MOISES ALOU (SF) is a decent play when healthy...which won't be too often this season, so milk him for production while you can. REGGIE SANDERS (KC) continues to defy Father Time by producing both power and speed. His performance has declined, but he's still worth a roster spot in most leagues. CASEY BLAKE (CLE) is batting 7 for 8 (.875) with runners in scoring position. He won't keep that pace up, but he should still be good for 20-25 HR and 80+ RBI. GARRET ANDERSON (LAA) is playing through pain, but the man can flat out hit. Don't expect the Anderson of years past, but do expect a .300/15 HR campaign. Don't let the slow start by SHAWN GREEN (ARI) fool you...he can still rake. Green is another streaky hitter, but he's much more reliable than the Wilsons. Finally, don't forget about the Coors Field factor and what it can do for players like BRAD HAWPE (COL), who's absolutely tearing the cover off the ball right now.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Waiver Wire Wonders

With Week 3 of the regular season upon us, injuries to lineup regulars and slow starts by marginal roster fillers have the Fantasy Sports Doctors scouring the waiver wire in search of value. Frankly, we are shocked at what we are finding. In as many as 20% of CBS Sportsline leagues, at least one of the following injured players were unceremoniously dumped by their owners: Coco Crisp, Chipper Jones, Aubrey Huff, and C.C. Sabathia. Each of these guys warrants a spot on your DL list at the very least. If you don't have a DL, then sit these guys on the bench...they will be worth the wait in any league of any format. This is the time of year when it's easiest to benefit from knee-jerk reactions made by fellow owners.

In other leagues, Ben Sheets and A.J. Burnett were inexplicably cut. If Sheets is available in your league, stop right here, go pick him up, and come back to read the rest of this article. For those playing in leagues where this kind of craziness is uncommon, read on to find recommendations for players who are likely to reside in your free agent pool right now. I'll start with pitching:

SP - TOM GLAVINE (NYM) is off to a great start, picking up where he left off...he's quietly been on a roll since last year's all-star break. In Shea, with a terrific bullpen and loads of run support, 15 wins is looking more like a probability than a pipe dream, and he won't hurt your ERA or WHIP in the process.

SP - AARON HARANG (CIN) is young with great stuff and improving command. If he gains any semblance of consistency this season, you'll want him on your staff. He's definitely worth a flier right now as a back-of-the-rotation guy in 12+ team leagues, and he can be trusted for spot starts in any mixed league format when the matchup is right.

SP - JAKE WESTBROOK (CLE) was roughed up by Detroit after outdeuling Johan Santana, but don't let one start sour you on Westbrook. He's fanned four times as many as he's walked in his three starts, and he's 16-7 since last May.

SP - GREG MADDUX (CHC) showed his last time out that pitching is a lot like real estate...location, location, location. Nobody hits spots better than Maddux, and while he won't strike guys out anymore, he'll still get the job done as a back-of-the-rotation fantasy starter.

SP - BRONSON ARROYO (CIN) has made headlines for slugging HRs in his first two games as a member of the Reds, and fortunately for astute fantasy owners, the focus has not been on his brilliant pitching performances to date this season. The move to Great American won't hurt his value much considering he spent his earlier years in hitter-friendly Fenway, and he's starting to show signs of command and maturity on the hill.

SP - BRUCE CHEN (BAL) is nobody's first choice when it comes to filling out a rotation, but you can do much worse. Chen has excellent command and therefore can actually help your ERA and WHIP.

SP - JOEL PINIERO (SEA) is looking better this season. Granted, that's really not saying much, but he looked great in the World Baseball Classic and he shut down the vaunted Boston Red Sox lineup this past week. Give him a look if you need strikeouts.

SP - DAVE BUSH (MIL) was rudely greeted by the Cardinals last week, but come to think of it, what pitcher DOESN'T get have a rough time against that potent offense? Look past the one game for the big picture: Bush pitched very well last year in Toronto, he looked sharp this spring, and he mowed down the D-Backs in the season opener (2 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings). The Brew Crew should offer plenty of run support, so it's a real possibility that this Bush could bloom in Milwaukee this season.

SP - KENNY ROGERS (DET) is throwing fairly well, and even though I personally despise the guy, I can't ignore what he offers in the win column. The guy flat-out competes, and you can do much worse than this savvy veteran.

SP - NATE ROBERTSON(DET) was one of my sleeper picks, and though he's looked somewhat spotty this season, his control numbers are actually fairly decent. If the Tigers offer run support, Robertson may turn me into Dr. NostradamBass yet.

SP - STEVE TRASCHEL (NYM) is not the sexiest option out there, but he's a corner painter that won't hurt you in the WHIP or ERA columns. If you need wins, you have to like Mets starters right now with Billy Wagner anchoring the bullpen and the offense producing like it's 1986.

SP - Aruba's SIDNEY PONSON (STL) pitched very well as the Redbirds' fifth starter last time out. If Sir Sidney finally lives up to his potential, he could easily eclipse 15 wins this season. However, it's a better bet that teammate JASON MARQUIS (STL), another potential waiver wire diamond in the rough, will reach that plateau.

SP - FAUSTO CARMONA (CLE) was impressive in his big-league debut vs. the red-hot Tigers, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings while striking out 4. He's one to watch...if his second outing his anything like his first, don't hesitate to add him to your squad.

RP - Ending up with DAVID WEATHERS (CIN) as your second or third closer is about as calming as finding out your wife hired Mark Chmura as your babysitter. That said, Weathers has actually perfomed well so far, and since the Reds don't have a plethora of other options, he'll be on a long leash. This translates to a 30+ save season for Mr. Weathers, so go get him while you still can.

RP - Many established fantasy baseball websites are saying TIM WORRELL's (SF) days as Giants' closer are numbered. Dr. Bass isn't buying what they're selling. Yes, Armando Benitez is due back soon, but lately he's only performed as as shell of his former self, even when healthy. Worrell has surprisingly closed well in his stead, and since I doubt Benitez will return to his 2004 form anytime soon, I like Worrell to notch at least 10-15 more saves.

RP - AMBIORIX BURGOS (KC) - True, the first name looks like a prescription medication, but the sad fact is that someone has to close games in Kansas City, and Mike MacDougal is simultaneously injured and on the trade block. Aside from one bad pitch, Burgos has thrown well this season, and the Royals will likely hand him the ball to close at least 15 games this season.

Middle Relievers to watch: Once guys like Scott Shields are taken, start looking at Justin Duchscherer and Scott Williamson. Both will rack up K's and vulture wins without hurting you in other categories. Others to watch include Elmer Dessens (a journeyman who's pitching very well in KC at the moment) as well as a pair of Mariners: Rafeal Soriano and J.J. Putz. Putz, who has 2 saves already, looks like Plan B at the moment, but it's no secret that the M's like Soriano as their closer of the future.