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Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn't invent the saying "It's a marathon, not a sprint," but he has been fond of deploying it to remind both Cubs players and fans that no one wins the World Series in April. The long season, as fun as it might be, requires above many other things endurance and patience.
This is what you have to tell yourself anyway when it's April 20 and you've watched some of the players you praised in the preseason do little of fantasy value for the first three weeks of the regular season.
Who are the primary offenders?
Mike Trout, OF, LAA: I went against my own advice and actually picked him first overall in one of my leagues, partially based in reports that he planned to steal a lot more bases this year to go along with his typical power and other skills.
So far, he's not keeping pace with my vision of a 40 HR/40 SB season; he's hitting just .220 with one HR, four RBI, one SB and a truly lackluster .661 OPS heading into Wednesday's match-up with the White Sox
But now is a good time to remind myself that April is the cruelest month to the Big Fish, in which over the span of his career he has fewer HRs and RBI than in any other month, and fewer SBs and a lower BA than in most other months. There is nothing to do but wait for his annual May-to-August stat spree.
Zack Greinke, SP, ARI: I liked this off-season signing of a reliable top-tier pitcher who had a masterful 2015 only to get Arrieta'd out of the Cy Young prize. The potential for ARI's busy offense to make Greinke a 20-game winner seemed particularly enticing. What we've gotten so far is an 0-2 record with a 6.75 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Panic time?
I wouldn't entertain bargain-hunting trade offers just yet, though there have been a lot of reminders from MLB analysts of late that Arizona's home field is a hitter's paradise.
Still, the same observers have pointed out that once it gets stifling hot, the D-backs will play more games under a closed roof that allegedly takes the air out from under the ball . . . or something.
Well, hopefully either ballpark wisdom about domes is true or Greinke simply retracts head from butt.
Matt Harvey, SP, NYM: As much as the Cubs fan in me like to see a Met fail, I thought prior to the season that Harvey would be a dark horse candidate for NL Cy Young this year. An awful 0-3 record with just nine strikeouts in 17.1 IP, a 5.71 ERA and 1.56 WHIP seems shocking.
Harvey reportedly is healthy a full year distant from surgery that cost him all of 2014, but apparently is having some mechanical issues.
It may not help to hear that before this year, Harvey actually had been pretty strong at the season's start, with a career April record of 8-3, a 2.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 84 IP.
Again, nothing to do but wait, which certainly sucks if you jumped on the Harvey hype that people like me helped create.
Disco Dan O'Shea is our fantasyland man. He welcomes your comments.