Monday, April 5, 2010

Season Preview: The Spam Avengers

I end my portion of the season preview deathmarch by taking a look at The Span Avengers, a franchise that has thoughtfully retained the same name for the past several years. This enables me to remember who in fact owns the team, which, given my increasingly advanced age and BAC, is a boon.

TSA is a little tough to preview with our usual format, because the team he’s running out on Opening Day bears little resemblance to the one that will be out there for most of the season (or, at least so he hopes). So even though we’ve ignored the bench and DL for most of the previews, indulge us in a slightly deeper look here.


The team has two healthy anchors at present. One is C Victor Martinez, who has been penciled into the #3 slot on a good Boston team and should be set for a big year as a result. The other is 3B Ryan Zimmerman, who is actually a better player than VMart, but whose fantasy value is limited by the fact that most of his teammates should be utility guys for the Nippon Ham Fighters instead of starters in the bigs.

There’s more uncertainty in the MI. The Yankees appear to have installed Robinson Canoe in the #5 slot, meaning he should see an RBI spike. But Cano is also traditionally very BA-dependent, meaning he’s always a threat to put up another of his patented .240/.280/.500 first halves). At SS, Jimmy Rollins is officially in Who The Eff Knows territory.

Finally, the owner, in a turn of phrase that demonstrates why people pay him money to write, described his 1B platoon of Joey Votto and Lance Berkman as his “loony/brokedown combo.” I decline to attempt to improve on that. All in all, there’s a lot of upside here, but more risk than you usually see concentrated into one unit.


Can’t argue with a Sizemore/Markakis top two. There’s currently a scramble for the last slot among SB-only man Julio Borbon and youngsters Travis Snider and Lastings Milledge, but with 3 guys on hand for 1 slot, the team should be OK. Much more stability here.


A little tough to tell at the moment, with Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard hurt. On hand now is erstwhile stud and current solid citizen Roy Oswalt, ST question mark Clay Kershaw, and the post-surgical recovery 2005 All-Star team (Tim Hudson and Ben Sheets). Drop a healthy Cliff Lee in here and everything slots into place; until then the team looks like it’s trying to spin one too many fragile plates.


As of now, there’s only 1 reliable guy (Jose Valverde) and one human heart attack (Carlos Marmol) healthy. But as with the rotation, this group would look better with its injured leader (Huston Street) on hand.

It is a little worrying to see so many high-profile guys on the DL to start the season. That said, as best we know right now, none of the injuries (bar Bedard) is serious, and it’s not like there’s an extra penalty for missing games in April instead of August. Assuming that this team is just getting its injuries out of the way early, they should contend for the board once everybody is back on hand. But if the injuries cause them to start in the hole, they might be forced to sell rather than risk getting caught all-in (or getting “Angeloed”, as it were). No team has a higher beta this year; we’ll all have to see together how it plays out.

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