Long ball, dinger, long ball, slam, moonshot, goner, blast, wallop, knock. We all have our favorite terminology for baseball’s most exciting hit. Not only is a home run thrilling in a baseball game, but also in the world of fantasy baseball. Whether you compete in a head-to-head or rotisserie league, odds are home runs are one of your key offensive criteria that your team is measured. Not only do home runs contribute to this category, but also help your team in runs scored, runs batted in, batting average, and any other categories custom to your league including
on-base plus slugging, slugging percentage, etc.
When I drafted the Fantasy Sharks team in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Experts League, I made sure to select a few “boppers” that may contribute to this category. However, I have the benefit of a few sleepers that have been swinging for the fences early this season. Last week alone, I had three hitters hit four home runs, which were Mark Trumbo, Russell Martin and Alfonso Soriano. Jose Bautista hit three. Five hitters on the team have already produced double-digit home runs this year. With this success, I lead the league in home runs and runs batted in by decent margins, and rank fifth in runs.
Despite the torrid pace of my hitters, the team still sits in sixth place as our pitching continues to demonstrate a complete lack of consistency. Los Angeles Angels starter Jerome Williams had earned four wins in six starts and had an attractive home start against Seattle last week. Unfortunately, the Mariners hit Williams hard for five earned in just over five innings. Boston Red Sox starter Felix Doubront had won six of seven with all quality starts, but was rocked by the surging Washington Nationals, which swept Boston at Fenway Park. However, none of these disappointments can compare to Arizona’s Daniel Hudson. Hudson had returned from injury in late May with two solid starts against Milwaukee and San Diego. With confidence I started Hudson against the lowly offense of the Oakland Athletics. Oakland absolutely manhandled Hudson with six earned runs in 1.2 innings. Yes, Hudson left in the top of the second inning. In previous weeks, the Sharks’ team earned run average gradually improved to the just over 4. After this week, the earned run average has risen to 11th in the league at 4.20. Ouch!
Let’s think about the positive contributions this week. Take a dive with me as we review several performances that exceeded expectation. Hopefully you either have some of these players on your team or may consider targeting through trades or the waiver wire.
Russell Martin - The New York Yankees catcher struggled under the Mendoza line for the first two months of the season. However, his consistency improved near the end of May and beginning of June. Although Martin has not shown any speed this year with only one steal, he hit four home runs last week, including a walkoff blast against the cross-town New York Mets. Martin will certainly cool down, but he appears to be on pace to match his 18 home run season last year.
Alfonso Soriano - Chicago Cubs fans have little to get excited about this year, unfortunately. However, Soriano has been on a tear with four home runs, nine runs batted in, seven runs scored, and a .357 average last week. Keep starting him and enjoy the ride.
Mark Trumbo - His role may have been uncertain at the beginning of this year, but there is no way that Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia is keeping his lumber out of the lineup. Trumbo leads the team in home runs (14) and hit four more last week with 12 runs batted in.
Good luck this week as we continue with more interleague play!