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How can a baseball season that already has two perfect games and one should-have-been perfect game get any better?
Stephen Strasburg, otherwise known as Fastball Jesus, made his debut Tuesday night, striking out 14 batters in seven innings and getting his first career win in his first try.
Regardless of outcome, his debut alone represented at least a partial payoff for fantasy team owners who used a mid-to-late round draft pick on him but then had to wait through two months of largely perfunctory minor league warm-ups before they could insert him in the starting rotation.
Now, 14 Ks later, his initial performance is enough to give Strasburg's fantasy owners visions of league championships regardless of where they are currently in the standings.
Would any of them even think of trading Strasburg at this point? That's an interesting question because, it's a good bet he will be very cautiously managed and held to low pitch counts. There has even been some talk that he could get shut down early before the end of the season if he has reached a certain number of innings. That could be enough to make him trade bait in non-keeper leagues if you read this as a sell-high (or maybe sell-very-high) situation.
Strasburg's primary initial value obviously will be through strikeouts, as well as WHIP and Ks-to-walks ratio. As the season goes on, the Washington Nationals will have to get a lot of early leads to get him wins. But if you can strikeout 14 guys, maybe winning is over-rated - at least in the fantasy world.
It's Week 10 in the fantasy baseball world, and Jim Joyce approves this message.
Fantasy Find of the Week: Justin Smoak, 1B, Texas.
The farm-fresh Smoak did little in his first month to match the advance hype on him, but I might be ready to buy in after an 8-for-17 stretch last week that included 2 HRs and 7 RBIs. Just 13% owned in Yahoo! leagues.
Fantasy Stud of the Week: Javier Vazquez, SP, NY Yankees.
Really seems to have straightened himself out after a bad stretch, collecting two wins last week with 16 strikeouts and a 1.93 ERA. If he can stay in games, he'll be among strikeout leaders at the end of the season.
Fantasy Dud of the Week: Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia.
He is mired in a long slump, along with the rest of the Philly lineup, but the last week or so has been particularly terrible: .130 batting average, 0 HRs, 1 RBI.
Fantasy Match-up of the Week: Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas.
He'll be hitting in Milwaukee this weekend, a nice hitters' park for a former Home Run Derby champ who has been making great contact the last two weeks or so.
* In other phenom news, Roto Arcade takes a closer look at the No. 1 pick in the amateur draft, Bryce Harper, the much-hyped catcher who apparently will never play catcher again.
* In still more phenom news, Yahoo! also has this note from the Associated Press on Mike Stanton, the latest slugging outfielder to feed the hype machine.
* Bleacher Report has some sell-high candidates for you, including Austin Kearns, who perhaps finally living up to expectations that were pretty high about six or seven years ago.
* The New York Times says that - with a third of the season is over - your fantasy team has shown its true colors.
* FakeTeams wants to know when Ricky Nolasco will be coming around. Last year, he did get pretty bad before he got very, very good. I would still bet on a strong second half.
* By the way, Roto Times says some guy named Griffey just retired.
Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes yoru comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at SwingsBothWays, which isn't about what it sounds like it's about.