Salary Cap Baseball – Week 8

I received a phone call from my college roommate this week that inspired me to try something new when it comes to salary cap baseball. He was assembling a new ESPN Baseball Challenge team, so he called to discuss strategies and possible lineup combos. His biggest challenge was working with the inflated values of the league’s best players. Starting a quarter of the way into the season makes it impossible to have a lineup laden with All-Stars. I was intrigued by the idea of mining for mid-season value and focusing more on weekly match ups. Because each ESPN Fan Profile is allowed two entries, I decided to give it another go. It also makes for a more interesting article this week because I’m not making any changes to the GoProFantasySports lineup for Week 8.

It is worth noting that Matt Kemp is making a minor league appearance on Sunday. If everything goes according to plan he will be back in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform on Tuesday.

My only concern heading into next week is Rangers catcher Mike Napoli. He’s been struggling all month and was out of the lineup again on Saturday. I have him locked in at $4.6 so I can afford to be patient, but something’s got to give.

Total Cost of Ownership – $50.0

Total Points – 2,067 (86.6%)

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If I had to start from Scratch…The GoPro 2.0 lineup for Week 8:

C: A.J. Pierzynski – CHW ($5.1) – Pierzynski has the most total points amongst catchers and only Jonathan LuCroy – MIL ($4.9) has more points over the last 15 days. Carlos Ruiz – PHI ($5.1), second in total points, is another solid option behind the plate.

1B: Albert Pujols – LAA ($5.5) – Pujols is red hot. His 41 points is tops amongst first basemen over the last 7 days. I predicted his stock would soar last week and I’m sticking with my story. If you’re looking for value, Adam LaRoche – WSH ($4.8) is tied with Price Fielder – DET ($5.9) in total points.

2B: Mike Aviles – BOS ($5.3) – You will find the Red Sox SS is listed under 2B in Baseball Challenge. No matter where he’s been playing, Aviles has been one of the top producing infielders in 2012. His numbers are on par with Dan Uggla – ATL ($6.1) and his teammate Dustin Pedroia – BOS ($5.7).

3B: Will Middlebrooks – BOS ($4.4) – It’s clear the Red Sox are going to find a way to keep Middlebrooks in The Bigs. Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzalez, and 3B Kevin Youkilis – BOS ($4.8) are versatile enough for Manager Bobby Valentine to routinely use the young third baseman in his starting lineup. Despite being limited to 3B or DH, Middlebrooks will get the at bats his salary cap owners need to justify using him in their lineups.

SS: Zack Cozart – CIN ($4.1) has been one of the top producing shortstops this season. His 24 points over the last 7 days ranks 5th amongst shortstops. Jed Lowrie – HOU ($4.1) is another solid option at short.

LF: Bryce Harper – WSH ($4.3) – Harper has been living up to the hype. He’s not going to give owners Melky Cabrera – SF ($5.6) type consistency just yet, but he is keeping up with the big boys. David Murphy – TEX also offers owners good value at ($4.5).

CF: B.J. Upton – TB ($4.7) – B.J. is back. He racked up 30 points at CF over the last 7 days. Mike Trout – LAA ($4.6) is another affordable phenom, but too much youth could prove costly. (See Fantasy Writer Scott White’s piece on the ups and downs of young players).

RF: Giancarlo Stanton – MIA ($5.2) – The Marlins are heating up and so is Mike (I still call him Mike). Stanton’s 79 points over the last 15 days is the league’s best. If I didn’t have the cap room I’d take Shin-Soo Choo – CLE ($4.9). Choo is healthy again and consistently producing from the leadoff spot.

DH: Luke Scott – TB ($4.6) – I didn’t pick Scott for his facial hair or for the fact that his last name is a first name. The reality is that there’s a pretty wide gap between Scott and the top of the pack at DH. When it comes to pts/$ he offers good value at a position that is thin in talent.

PS: Cincinnati Reds ($6.8) – The PS spot gives Baseball Challenge owners the most total points per roster position so this is not the place to be cheap. However, for a pitching staff under $7.0, CIN is a solid choice for Week 8. The face @PIT and @HOU. The Reds won two out of three against both opponents earlier in the year. The Pirates have scored the fewest runs in baseball and the Red shutout the Astros in the game Johnny Cueto started. I am going week to week with my PS, starting with CIN, for GoPro entry 2.0.

Total Cost of Ownership – $50.0

A special Thank You goes out to all that have served our great Country. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Memorial Day Weekend!

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