Okay, so not really Opening Day, just a few months late.
After running some blogs here and there, I've decided to settle down somewhere that I frequent often with running teams this year here. Coincientally, while I find that CBS runs one of the best fantasy baseball interfaces on the internet, I respectfully enjoy the pennings of many other websites, so I wanted to bring my own flavor here.
I'm going to establish a format for what topics will run what days sooner than later, but in the meantime, onto a little fantasy baseball, something that will be touched upon as often as anything else in this space.
A lot of discussion in the baseball community revolves around lineup protection, a subject that really has emerged again over the last weeks with Manny Ramirez absence in Los Angeles, and now the return of A-Rod in the Bronx. Statistical research has shown that there's really no connection between the two, but Mark Teixeira fantasy owners certainly must beg to differ, including myself. I called Teixeira a buy-low candidate prior to Rodriguez returning to the lineup, and I wasn't wrong.
Let's compare the numbers. Rodriguez returned on May 8th, so here's a look at the before and after:
Before A-Rod: 25 Games, .198 AVG, 5 HR, 15 RBIs, 19 BB
After A-Rod (through 5/27): 18 Games, .376 AVG, 9 HR, 22 RBIs, 8 BB
Staggering difference, certainly. But the walks are the real wildcard: the battering average couldn't tell you what kind of situations and pitches Teixeira was hitting in other than RISP, but the fact is that Teixeira was getting walked in crucial situations with pitchers more eager to face a guy like Hideki Matsui rather than, oh, a guy who can hit 50 bombs a year. He's getting better pitches, and more importantly, pitchers have to throw to him which is generating more opportunities.
As far as the park is concerned, thanks to the guys at HitTrackerOnline.com, here's a look at Teixeira's home runs this year.
You can't argue that a lot of these wouldn't still be over the fence elsewhere, but Teixeira is certainly comfortable at home, hitting 10 of his 14 bombs so far in new Yankee Stadium. Call it the jet stream or whatever, it's producing results either way.
Big Tex is getting better lineup protection than he's gotten in his whole career no doubt, and also perhaps in a better ballpark, arguably. So what are the expectations? After the last several years, 2005's 43 HR season looked like an anomoly, but perhaps a return to the spike in power numbers could be in store. I originally only projected Teixeira for 31 blasts this year, but I'll modify my power projections and say .301/110/40/120 isn't unreasonable now. I'll enjoy him on my fantasy team, and hopefully it isn't too late for you to either.