A lot can happen in a baseball weekend, especially in a world -- both real and fantasy -- in which patience is a lost virtue and panic sets in early. Consider the plight of the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, who both entered their Friday games winless. Sound the alarm!
It's not much different in fantasy baseball. I still think Rays reliever Jake McGee will lead the team in saves, but without the Rays scoring runs and with nary a save chance after a week, it's of little surprise that fantasy owners made McGee fantasy's most dropped player a few days ago. He since has been replaced at the top by Red Sox right-hander John Lackey, a pounding victim in his first two outings, including Friday afternoon's mess. From bounce-back candidate a week ago to clear-cut bust, right? It changes quickly.
As I type this, I've just watched Lackey and New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes serve up one meatball after another in Friday's afternoon tilt at Fenway Park. It was ugly. Hughes is not on the most-dropped list yet, but I bet that changes Saturday. Fantasy owners don't want to hear about him winning 18 games a year ago. They only care about lost velocity and way too many runs in the first week. From 16th-round pick in ESPN average live drafts to discarded, one week into the season.
Lackey and Hughes weren't the only guys who had important outings this weekend. Will these other starting pitchers, also on the considerable hot seat, perform better? They'd better, or those in the fantasy community will obviously judge them harshly, showing little patience. Let's investigate:
Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros: Bad spring, bad first start and bad first half last season. That's what fantasy owners are choosing to pay attention to. The awesome second half, with the 2.11 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings, as well as the greater body of work since 2008, seems forgotten. Look, I'm not cutting Way-Rod no matter how he performs against the Florida Marlins on Friday night, but if it's bad, I bet he continues to be dropped.
Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers: This one is tougher. Like with Way-Rod, he was awful in late March, allowing 20 runs in his last 12 1/3 innings, and while he beat the Yankees in his first start, he permitted four home runs and posted a 2.20 WHIP in five messy innings. There's no way a potential 200-strikeout guy should be cut this early, but I bet his owners look for trades if the Kansas City Royals hit four home runs off him.
Javier Vazquez, Florida Marlins: He's at 8.2 percent owned, so another pounding like last week's -- his ownership was around 20 percent before it -- with six hits, five walks and seven runs (four earned) in 2 1/3 innings won't be tolerated, not coming off his brutal 2010 for the Yankees. Those who drafted Vazquez are hoping a return to the National League fixes his dropping velocity. If the Astros light him up, those owners will no doubt lose hope.
For deeper leagues: I refuse to own Rick Porcello of the Tigers until he's less hittable and shows some consistency (on the good side). His first outing doesn't paint a good picture. ... Ivan Nova perplexes me. He can look so good for a few innings, then, generally the third time through a lineup, things unravel. ... Jake Westbrook of the Cardinals doesn't generally issue many walks. Against the Padres in his first start, he allowed five of them. Will the Pirates be as patient? ... Speaking of the Pirates, I saw quite a few people label James McDonald as their big sleeper. I think he'll improve, and there's strikeout potential, but he's not someone you wait a month for. ... The Rays can't get a break, but Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann did themselves no favors last week. The perception of all Rays looked a lot better a week ago. ... If you're still counting on Scott Kazmir, it's time to move on. The Angels seem on the verge of doing precisely that.
Have a great weekend!