Major League Baseballs 162 game schedule is a grind for any of the ball players. The fact that Cal Ripken Jr. played 2,632 consecutive games is one of the greatest accomplishments in sports.
Spring Training allows these athletes to get in game action and clear away some of the cob webs before the start of the regular season. So the fact that some teams key players are spending time on the DL or missing valuable days due to injury may affect their chances of having a great season.
Two of the worst injury excuses I have ever heard came from baseball players. One of my favorite players ever Sammy Sosa missed games because he sneezed to hard, therefore giving him back spasms. Another player from the mid 90′s missed games from scratching his eye while sleeping on a feather pillow. Both injuries helped prove that baseball players are not the toughest athletes in the world.
How will these injuries affect your fantasy teams? What are some of the things you should avoid when drafting your fantasy team?
A Spoon Full of Sugar
The big panic in St. Louis is that there is word of Albert Pujols having back problems. He sat out a game last week due to soreness and Manager Tony La Russa decided that he would be better off not making a four hour bus ride to play the Nationals.
I’m sure the fact that Pujols had nothing to gain by taking AB’s against the minor league pitching staff of the Nats. Pujols is more regular in the lineup than a nun’s period.
The Cards are also dealing with a injury to all-star catcher Yadier Molina. He has been suffering from pain in one of his side muscles. The Cards are hopeful that he will be ready for opening day. These are the kind of injuries that Mary Poppins can take care of.
Nothing to Sneeze at
Unlike the notorious Sosa hay fever injury of the 90′s, this spring there are several injuries that are nothing to sneeze at as far as impact. Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Ian Kinsler may all start the season on the disabled list.
The Houston Astros are already having major problems with the injury bug this spring, so the last thing they wanted to see was there ace Oswalt suffering from hamstring issues. Oswalt has been schedule to be the opening day starter, but if misses any more time this spring he may not be ready to throw opening day. The Astros chances of winning the Central were already similar to me winning a heavyweight bout against Mike Tyson, this injury could mean a TKO for the “Stros”.
The Seattle Mariners acquired 31 year old lefty Cliff Lee this off season to compliment young stud ace Felix Hernandez. Lee was shut down for five days due to an abdominal strain. If Lee doesn’t feel considerably better after the five day rest period he could start the season on the DL. This injury may be a result from being stabbed in the back by the Phillies after leading them to the ’09 World Series.
The Texas Rangers franchise player, second basemen Ian Kinsler is hoping to be ready for opening day after suffering a high ankle sprain two weeks ago. Kinsler was optimistic that he would be able to get some reps in before the Rangers broke from camp, but after receiving a anti-inflammatory shot his expectation became more realistic. Kinsler is a power hitting base stealer who needs his ankle to be 100%. Think of it like Paris Hilton having a throat injury, she won’t be on her A-game if she can’t swallow… her food.
Early Fantasy Mistakes
If saves are a category in your league don’t worry about getting them to early. Think of closers the way you would a field goal kicker in the NFL, there is no guarantee they will be the closer at the end of the season.
The biggest category in which you can reach for a player is catcher, after Joe Mauer of the Twins the position drops off drastically. Your at a party with one supermodel and 10 average chicks, if you don’t have a shot at the model, then do the other stuff you need to do. Go ahead and get some beers, solid food, and then see which one of the average Betty’s falls into your lap later that night.
The positions you want to take early if the right guys are still there are second base, shortstop, and third base. There are not a lot of guys at these positions so after the top two or three apply yourself back to the “supermodel party rule” of drafting a fantasy team.
You should get at least one ace in the first four rounds and then pad that position in the middle rounds. Sometimes you need to take a chance on the guy rebounding from injury. Think of it like this, you befriended an ugly girl freshmen year, by junior year she could have blossomed into the catch you thought she could be.
The outfield is one of the deepest position on the board. Stock up by covering a wide variety of categories; power, RBI’s, speed, and batting average. Remember when you went to college and you had to make new friends; find one with a car, one with a weed connection, and one kid with super rich parents.
If you have already had your fantasy draft or don’t play because you actually have a social life, at least you’ll know what to do next time your at a party with a supermodel. Have fun and forget about the 10, find the 7 and swing for the fence.