We spend lots of time in this space talking about fantasy baseball pickups. We do our share of buying, and holding.
But sometimes the story is about a drop. And it’s nothing personal, Mark Melancon, but it’s time for me to move on. I’m done with the infinite sadness.
It’s not me, it’s you. Farewell and goodnight.
(I know, I know, it’s a hard C, not a soft C, in his surname. And we’ve run with this bit before, sure. Call it a seven-year itch.)
Melancon’s had a solid career. He’s recorded 250 career saves, and led the majors a couple of times. He had 39 handshakes for San Diego last year, best in baseball.
But Melancon is currently in his age-37 season, and his strikeout rate has been under league average for most of his career. This year, the line is flat-out ugly: 10.1 IP, 18 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Even if we cut him a break for the usual batted-ball bad luck mumbo jumbo, this looks like a pitcher who could be near the end of his usefulness; his fastball is barely over 90 mph these days. Soft rock gets scary at the end of a career arc.
We have to be fair when we appraise Melancon’s recent slump (he was torched for four runs Wednesday against Miami, and also for four runs last week against Colorado) — he did miss about a week with Covid-19. Perhaps he’s simply dealing with fatigue. The Diamondbacks call Melancon’s slump a mechanics issue — teams always say that, and sometimes it’s even true — and Melancon hasn’t lost his closer job yet. He’ll get more time to fix things.
I only had one Melancon share, in a deliciously-fun 8×8 head-to-head league I compete in. We should have a talk about fantasy baseball formats before the 2023 season; I’d like to encourage people to give head-to-head a try. It’s fun to have a weekly carrot placed in front of you, and a specific rival to root against. We have five weekly moves to consider, and there’s some fun strategy involved. There’s a playability in this format that I really enjoy.
The league has 12 managers. Some teams went after saves aggressively, and some are punting. I did a semi-punt but came away with Corey Knebel, Tanner Rainey, and Melancon. I’ll have to decide how much I want to turn into the skid. It’s a lot easier to junk closers when it’s a head-to-head format and the save is just one category out of 16.
It’s plausible that Melancon will right the ship and start closing smoothly, but I can live with that. He’s on a team not expected to contend, or even finish above .500. If he’s closing games regularly come July, he’ll probably be traded. If he continues to scuffle, he’s likely to get replaced. This felt like a low-upside, low-floor situation. And sometimes I just need some fresh blood anyway, the fantasy manager’s version of retail therapy.
For what it’s worth, Dane Dunning was my corresponding add. In this format, any quasi-reliable starting pitcher has value. The eight pitching categories reward steady volume — innings, wins, saves, walks, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, and quality starts. Dunning might never be a true ace, but he’s shown positive signs in his last three starts. He’s also averaging about a strikeout per inning.
Friday’s turn against Boston should be interesting. The Red Sox offense has been a first-month flop, but there’s still plenty of name-brand talent on that roster. I’ll give Dunning a scouting watch on one of my primary TVs.
WWE has announced additional matches for Friday Night SmackDown as two singles matches have been added to the card.
Xavier Woods vs. Butch and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn were announced this afternoon on WWE’s website.
When Nakamura attempted to call out Roman Reigns for his attack several weeks ago, Zayn came out instead as he was out to prove he can be an asset to The Bloodline. Zayn recently beat Nakamura with a Helluva Kick to earn a count-out victory.
Last week on SmackDown, Butch earned a win over Kofi Kingston. Woods has two wins thus far over Butch.
While away from in-ring action, he has been working behind the scenes in AEW and is part of the development team for AEW’s upcoming video game. Despite rumblings that he could be close to making a return, that’s not the case.
The Young Bucks recently teased that when Omega is healthy he would return and face Vikingo. Dave Meltzer reported in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that “there isn’t even close to a date set for Omega to return.” He added that the third AAA TripleMania event isn’t until October and if Omega is healthy then this was a match he personally asked for.
Vikingo won the vacant AAA Mega Championship after Omega vacated the title at the end of 2021.
Omega previously stated that he hoped to be back in action by February, but admitted at the time that he was a little too optimistic and that turned out to be the case.
This week on “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy,” Hardy discussed the relationship between Bray Wyatt and Vince McMahon, as well as Bray’s overall creativity.
Matt Hardy explaining the relationship between Bray Wyatt and Vince McMahon:
“Windham (Bray Wyatt) has always had a very strange relationship with Vince, very strange, like, I almost felt like Vince looked at him like a son in some ways,” Hardy said.
“When he would do things that he liked, he would love him and he would really give him everything that he could possibly give him. He would bend over backwards to try and accommodate him. But then when he did something he didn’t like, he hated, like he was going to lock him away for good.”
“It was almost like a really weird, a really strange and different duality that Vince shared with Bray. When he liked him or loved him, he was all about him. But when he disliked him, oh my god, it was really bad and he would like punish him and insult him. To me, it was so strange. It was almost like a parent.”
Matt talking about the creativeness of Bray Wyatt:
“He’s just an out of the box thinker. He’s also a very interesting person. Some of the material that he reads and studies is stuff that is just really out of the blue, things that you wouldn’t expect.”
“He’s a very well versed and educated person and he has a lot of interests. I feel like that makes him overly creative in many ways. His thought process of trying to do things new and differently is very unique and very special just to himself. Not a lot of people think like he does. He’s very unique and it really is a very special talent and gift that he has when it comes to being creative.”