Welcome to the SCFE Week 10 Hot Topics column. We’re two months into the season, and it feels more like Fantasy Football thanks to all the injuries. If you’ve made it this far without a significant injury on your roster, buy a lottery ticket. I’m serious. The Force is with you right now.
For this week’s column, I’m going classic 1980’s cult movie. Maybe the ultimate sci-fi cult movie. Also, in my opinion, one of the most secretly influential movies of the last 30-plus years. I’m talking about The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (or just Buckaroo Banzai if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). This is one of my favorite movies and is on my list of movies everyone should see at least once.
Released in 1984, Buckaroo Banzai features a pretty impressive cast, including future Robocop Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum. Not to mention Clancy Brown (Kurgan from Highlander). So what’s it about? The title character, Buckaroo Banzai, is a famous particle physicist/neurosurgeon/rock star/race car driver who travels the word doing awesome things with his band/think tank/strike team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers.
While testing a device which allows him to travel through solid matter, he inadvertently travels through the eighth dimension, which draws the attention of a group of Red Lectroids exiled to Earth from Planet 10 during the 1930’s. The Red Lectroids, disguised as humans, steal the device so they can return to the eighth dimension and invade Planet 10. Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers then set out to stop the Red Lectroids with the fate of the universe hanging in the balance.
Did I mention the Red Lectroids are all named John? If you’ve ever heard a reference to John Yaya, John Smallberries, or John Bigboote (pronounced Big-Boo-Tay), this is where it comes from. Did I also mention there’s a character called Perfect Tommy? If that doesn’t get you interested, I don’t know what will.
Unfortunately, moviegoers in 1984 were looking for the next Star Wars, which Buckaroo Banzai never tried to be. Audiences just weren’t ready for it. However, Buckaroo Banzai would fit in just fine if it premiered today. A genre mash-up of sci-fi, comedy, action, and romance with its own mythology and inside jokes that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sound familiar?
My guess is the directors of all the blockbuster movies for the past 10 years have probably seen Buckaroo Banzai more than a few times. So put on your best 1980s outfit (double belts, skinny ties, and shoulder pads are recommended), and get ready for the Week 10 Hot Topics.
Week 10 Hot Topics
Hot Topic No. 1: “The Future Begins Tomorrow.”
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
This is not an actual quote from the movie, but a sign outside of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems (the Red Lectriods’ base). This is also an example of Buckaroo Banzai’s sly sense of humor, as the movie repeatedly takes an obvious statement and makes it seem profound. This could also describe Carlos Correa, the May AL Player of the Month. You might say Carlos Correa’s 2017 is the season Fantasy owners expected in 2016.
I should also note that Carlos Correa holds a place of honor with me. In 2015, he won me my auction league. How can one player win a Fantasy Baseball Championship, you ask? Get ready for one of those stories only Fantasy Baseball players can tell and appreciate.
In 2015, I picked up Carlos Correa a few weeks before his promotion to the big leagues. I wasn’t confident he was getting the call anytime soon; I just knew someone else would grab him if I didn’t. You know who you are. At any rate, my auction league is a standard 5×5 scoring format with two-week playoff rounds.
I made it to the championship, and I trailed for the first 13 days. Going into the last day of the season, I was down 3-6-1. I was behind in AVG and tied in SB. If I took both categories I would win the title with a 5-5 finish, because I held the tiebreaker. I securely flipped AVG early on, but I was still tied in SB going into the late afternoon games. Losing 4-5-1 actually felt worse than losing 3-6-1. However, in the late innings of the Astros game, I noticed Carlos Correa was on first. I looked away, and when I looked back he was on second. And there it was; after months of draft prep and six months of the season, I won my auction league and it came down to a single SB by Carlos Correa on the final day. Thank you, Carlos Correa.
However, in the late innings of the Astros game, I noticed Carlos Correa was on first. I looked away, and when I looked back he was on second. And there it was; after months of draft prep and six months of the season, I won my auction league and it came down to a single SB by Carlos Correa on the final day. Thank you, Carlos Correa.
Back to the present, does anyone remember Carlos Correa’s slow start to 2017? Me neither. With a .310 AVG/38 R/11 HR/39 RBI stat line through June 5, some might say Carlos Correa is redeeming himself for his disappointing 2016 season. But was it really disappointing? In 2016, his first full year in the majors, Carlos Correa finished with a .274 AVG/76 R/20 HR/96 RBI/14 SB stat line. Doesn’t sound too disappointing to me. The problem, however, was one of the expectations.
After winning 2015 AL Rookie of the Year in only 99 games, Carlos Correa was simply over-drafted in 2016. It is his fault Fantasy owners expected too much out of a player headed into his first full major league season? Absolutely not. Carlos Correa did not have a bad 2016 season; it just didn’t produce the value to justify his draft position. Trea Turner owners are experiencing the same phenomenon this season.
For Carlos Correa, the past is prologue. He is developing into exactly what was envisioned when the Astros drafted him number one overall in 2012. A dominant SS with MVP-caliber numbers. He also doesn’t turn 23 until September. Enjoy the ride, Carlos Correa owners. And never let anyone tell you he was a disappointment in 2016.
Hot Topic No. 2: “Give her your coat. Why me? Because you’re perfect. You have a point there.”
Edinson Volquez, SP, Miami Marlins
Buckaroo Banzai’s exchange with Perfect Tommy sums up Edinson Volquez’s day on June 3. Maybe it wasn’t a perfect game, but on June 3, Edinson Volquez was the best pitcher in the world. Congratulations to Edinson Volquez for his no-hitter and place in baseball history. Dedicating the day to departed former teammate Yordano Ventura as well as departed Marlins phenom Jose Fernandez was first class.
From a baseball perspective, a no-hitter is always relevant. But was Edinson Volquez’s masterpiece relevant from a Fantasy perspective? The numbers say not so much. On June 3, Edinson Volquez was owned in 9% of Yahoo leagues and 5% of ESPN leagues. In fact, he wasn’t even owned in an NL-Only league I play in.
From a Fantasy Baseball standpoint, Edinson Volquez’s no-no was the equivalent of the proverbial tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it. I’m guessing that start was good for some serious DFS money, however.
Does this performance mean you should stampede to the waiver wire to snatch up Edinson Volquez? Again, the numbers say not so much. Even with the no-hitter, he’s still sporting a 2-7 record with a 3.79 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 57 Ks in 61.2 IP. You can imagine what his stat line looked like before June 3. He turns 34 in July, and is coming off a 5.37 ERA in 2016 (including 6.00 in the second half).
That being said, Edison Volquez was once a promising young pitcher. If you set the Wayback Machine to 2008, Edinson Volquez posted a 17-6 record with a 3.21 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 206 Ks in 196 IPs. Like too many young pitchers, injuries and command problems ensued. Throughout his career, Edinson Volquez just walked too many hitters. His lowest WHIP ever in a season was 1.23, and his career WHIP is 1.44.
As June 3 demonstrates, however, the stuff can still be electric as shown by the 10 Ks. He also had 9 Ks in 4.1 IP in a start on May 2. Of course, he also had 8 BBs in that start. You read that right.
Where does that leave Edinson Volquez in Fantasy Baseball terms? A streaming option with the right matchup in deeper leagues sounds about right. Don’t forget he started in the World Series for the Royals in 2015, so he may have a productive run in the tank. With all the pitching injuries, sometimes you have to get creative. But no matter what else happens this season, Edinson Volquez pitched a no-hitter on a sprained ankle. Congratulations again.
With all the pitching injuries, sometimes you have to get creative. But no matter what else happens this season, Edinson Volquez pitched a no-hitter on a sprained ankle. Congratulations again.
Hot Topic No. 3: “If it ain’t one thing, it’s something else.”
Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Atlanta Braves
Mike Foltynewicz confuses me like Alien: Covenant. Ridley Scott said that Prometheus was not an Alien prequel. But Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus, is an Alien prequel? Like Austin Powers contemplating time travel, I’ve gone cross-eyed. I guess you could say Mike Foltynewicz is consistently inconsistent.
Like the quote above, there always seems to be an issue when Mike Foltynewicz starts. Even though he’s got lights-out stuff, he doesn’t generate a lot of Ks. He also runs up pitch counts, and he hasn’t lasted more than 7.0 IP in any start. His control is improving, but he just can’t seem to put it all together. You could say Mike Foltynewicz is more of a thrower than a pitcher.
On June 2, however, Mike Foltynewicz showed that maybe he’s starting to figure things out. His line for the game: 7.0 IP with only two hits and two BBs allowed, along with 10 Ks. You can see why Mike Foltynewicz was a fairly popular sleeper heading into draft season. But is this the start of a trend, or just a blip on the radar? That’s the conundrum.
Since pitchers have been getting hurt this season like nameless henchmen in a James Bond film, anyone with potential can’t be ignored. A former first-round pick of the Astros (19th overall), he has a blazing fastball, a solid changeup, and a curveball which could become wicked. He’s also only 25 years old.
Mike Foltynewicz is owned in only 15% of ESPN leagues and 18% of Yahoo Leagues. If you’re feeling lucky, Mike Foltynewicz might be a good pickup in the right two-start week or as a streamer with a good matchup. If he continues to develop, he could be a significant contributor in the second half. The promise is there; it’s just a question of whether it will be realized. For your pitching decisions, check out the Pitching Planner by Scott Guthrie.
There are your Fantasy Baseball Week 10 Hot Topics. Hopefully, everyone’s teams are getting healthy, and the past month wasn’t completely disastrous. There’s still a lot of season left, and anything can happen. If you’ve got spare time, check out Buckaroo Banzai. Like it or hate it, you can’t say it’s ordinary. Until next time, no matter where you go, there you are.
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