Player Focus 6.12.08

Carlos Gomez Ready to Run Again?
There were mixed feelings about Carlos Gomez, the Twins’ centerpiece in the Johan Santana trade, coming into the season. At 22, concerns centered around the fact that perhaps the Twins were rushing him just to show that the trade wasn’t a bad idea, but he made them look great with a fast start out of gate (no pun intended). Gomez was providing Jose Reyes-type speed with tons of early stolen bases, but then he just stopped running for some reason.

Despite a paltry .300 on-base percentage, Gomez racked up 16 stolen bases in the first month and a half of the season. The .269 average was hardly Earth-shattering, but it kept him from Michael Bourn-like liability (.224 average/24 SBs) in every category but stolen bases. Prior to last night’s stolen base, Gomez had a disgusting 1-for-7 success rate in almost a month’s time. The average was strong and he included some unexpected bombs, but the lack of stolen bases has been a huge disappointment after that start. On the whole, he is still on pace for 44 stolen bases and with the May power surge, 12 home runs as well. Owners of his services would undoubtedly consider 2008 a smashing success if he were able to achieve those numbers by season’s end.

Pitching Dominates the League Wednesday Night
Perhaps it was just because several of these performances found their way onto my fantasy teams, but I don’t remember the last night that this many pitchers were on their game. There were 17 really strong games thrown on Wednesday and it’s not like all of the #1s were going; only five of the gems were out of bona fide aces.

Three complete games and three others going eight innings. All told there were nearly 14 games of 1.30 ERA ball (124.3 IP divided by nine). Reliever turned starter Braden Looper turned in the game of the night with a complete game shutout as Hernandez, Lincecum and Jimenez joined him by holding their opponents to no runs. Cole Hamels paced the crew with 13 strikeouts and Ryan Dempster (!) was close behind 11 of his own. No one posted worse than a 3.00 ERA meaning any combination of this group yielded a very impressive evening for your fantasy team.

A Painful Season Continues…
The disabling of Victor Martinez, Albert Pujols and Alfonso Soriano continued the 2008 ravaging of fantasy baseball teams. There was a message board this morning about the overwhelming rash of key players missed for periods of time due to injury this season and it was jaw-dropping to see.

I wouldn’t even begin to pretend to have an answer as to what is going on or even speculate just to feel like there is a specific reason. What I do know is that having a couple of these players on a roster can decimate a team’s chances. Seeing 14 starting pitchers on the list offers just one more (of the hundreds) reason not to invest heavily in “surefire” aces. Injuries happen, but this seems more like a season-end list of them as opposed to one we’d see nearly two and a half months into the season.

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