Friday, April 12, 2013

Fantasy Funkhouser: So You Think You Can Throw Your Non-Pitching Shoulder into a 6'2 240 LB. Man & Other Zack Greinke Mistakes

Running, rather than fighting, would have saved Zack Greinke's fantasy owners a lot of grief. (USAT)
Fantasy Funkhouser will review all things Fantasy Baseball. After all, life is a small sample size.

Let's go back a couple of weeks ago. Zack Greinke had some twinges in his pitching elbow. He was sent for an evaluation and had some concerns heading into the season. The few, the proud, the fantasy owners that said to hell with that and went ahead and drafted Greinke at a somewhat discounted price only to see Greinke shake off any signs of injury and perform like his usual self in his first 11.1 innings of 2013.

All of that good juju dissipated into the San Diego night sky as an up and in heater to the shoulder of perennial baseball beanee Carlos Quentin caused the outfielder to charge the mound in rage.

Quentin who is listed at the size of Ray Lewis chugged his way to Greinke, who decided the best course of action was to throw his non-pitching shoulder into the on-coming slugger. Now, to compare, Greinke is a couple pounds lighter than Roger Federer - so I'm no physicist, but I'd say Greinke is likely to come out on the short end of this transaction.


Sure as shit, after the multiple fights settled down, Greinke had done gone and broke his left clavicle. He'll be gone for 6-8 weeks.  I'm not sure what Greinke's owners did to earn such a brutal and absurd blow, but it is one of the more baffling and unexpected injuries in recent fantasy sports. Rarely ever is a player injured on these types of brawls, let a lone one of the best (and most expensive) pitchers in the game. I'm sure if you own Greinke, you'd just wish that Quentin would have grabbed Greinke in a headlock and rabbit punched him multiple times in the forehead a la Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura. Sadly, that is not how the levy broke Thursday night.

The backpack means bizness.(AP)
There will be heated debate on whether or not Quentin was in the right (per the player code guidelines of charging the mound) or in the wrong. Why Greinke stormed into Quentin rather than wait on the mound for someone to tackle him. And of course whether or not such actions should even be allowed any more in baseball. After top prospect Jorge Soler tried to use a bat in some capacity in a brawl a couple of days earlier, it does seem antiquated that such action is even tolerated in baseball today. Of course this isn't limited to just baseball, we all remember the time when former 4th liner Happy Gilmore used his skate in a hockey fight.

But, hey, that's for other people to talk about. What I'm here is to run through some replacement options for those owners who will have Greinke filling their DL spot. These are SP's that are available in over 40% of Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball Leagues.

Chris Capuano, LA (9% owned)

First thing is first. With Greinke out, Capuano steps in and takes over pitching duties. Capuano had a magnificent first half last year before tiring down the stretch. Through his first 18 games he had 100 K's in 111.1 IP and carried a 2.91 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He should be starting, but the Dodgers just buy players without much thought behind it. He's worth a grab.

Jose Fernandez, MIA (57%)

Fernandez was a shock call up at the beginning of the season, but he didn't look to fazed. The 20 year-old Cuban defector not only names his pitches, but he can also throw them. Enjoy for a minute. Like any rookie pitcher the ride might get a little bumpy, but even with a fledgling team around him - I wouldn't worry much about chasing wins so long as he keeps putting up figures in all the other pitching categories. Any severe worry for Fernandez should come later in the season for an innings limit or just general wearing down, but Greinke will be back by then.

A.J. Griffin, OAK (40%) 

How about those Oakland A's, huh? They're off to a rip-roaring start and the pitching has a part to do with it. Another A's rotation guy Tommy Milone I've already expressed an appreciation for, so feel free to nab him as well, but Griffin has continued his effective 2012 ways early in 2013. Much like Fernandez, who might lack Greinke's wins, Griffin might not come through with the K numbers you'd like, but you work with what you have.

Chris Tillman, BAL (18%)

Looking for a guy that can be Diet Greinke? It's potentially Tillman. The guy has a lot of talent and a lot of pundits have pegged him for a breakout year. His first start was a mess, but his second start looked much more like what you'd hope to expect. If you're riding upside, here's your guy.

Andrew Cashner, SD (9%)

Might as well end with where we started. Back on the field in San Diego. I had mentioned Cashner previously as a sleeper-ish pick of mine. Lo and behold, he lost his rotation spot to Tyson Ross. No shit! Anyway, lost is probably the wrong word as even Padres manager Bud Black said Cashner will get in the rotation once he has built up enough arm strength. With Cashner doing his Cashner thing so far - high K's, high ERA, manageable WHIP - he could take a leap up a couple pitching tiers if the oft-injured northpaw can take the hill every 5 days.

The Funkman says: "He's not lowering his shoulder is he?"

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