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Fantasy sports: If only the game was that easy

Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:20 p.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is making the game look way too easy to be a rookie.

This Yasiel Puig character's pretty good, huh? I think Charlie Steiner said it best during a recent broadcast.

"This game is too easy for him," the Dodgers' radio play-by-play man said.

If only the same went for us fantasy baseball players. I would bet about half of you didn't know who the mythical Cuban defector was until recently.

But doggone it, if that isn't what makes fantasy sports – baseball, especially – so fun.

It seems like every year there's a Puig-type story that is brought to light during spring training – a multi-tool-sporting stud who flat-out mashes.

But more often than not, the traditional dismissal of spring training performances proves spot on. All too frequently, the beast in question never quite measures up to the noise he makes in Arizona or Florida.

Even can't-miss prospects (see: Kyle Blanks…although he might be figuring it out) wilt in the bright lights of the show.

But Puig's story is not to be confused with those like that of late-drafted Hall of Famer Mike Piazza. Or handyman with demons-turned slugging utilityman Evan Gattis.

Puig didn't come out of nowhere. He enjoyed a breakout season in the 2009-10 Cuban National Series, but slipped below the radar when his punishment for trying to defect was that he was not allowed to play during the 2011-12 seasons.

The Dodgers knew exactly who he was, signing Puig to a 7-year, $42 million deal about a year ago.

Now the rest of us are simply getting to know Puig. And I have a feeling that, in about 5 years, his Fathead is going to cover more pint-sized baseball fans' walls than any of his fellow MLBers.

Just look at what he's racked up through his first 10 MLB games: four bombs, 10 RBIs, one incited brawl and even a namesake grindcore band, Puig Destroyer.

So why isn't he a member of my fantasy team? Because, like Puig, these guys I play with are pretty good.

Despite all the, "This guy can't really be this good. Wait til spring ends" murmurs, his was the first name called in our minor-league draft.

For those in keeper leagues who are looking to add a new element but haven't done so yet, consider adding a farm club to your organizations.

Each of our managers has six players in his "system" at each season's start. They can be carried over to the following season if the fruits of their draft labors don't ripen in timely fashion. If they call 'em up, that spot remains open until the following season's draft.

It's a slick wrinkle and brings us ever closer to that element I've brought up about a dozen times since starting this column: being the GM of a real baseball team.

The Hot Corner

Let’s Get Some Chatter Goin’

This week’s banter

Which MLB player do you hate, but you’d love him if he played for your team?

Last week’s topic

Can the game ever be clean? Why or why not?

• Scott VanOosten (Sterling): No. The cheaters are always a step ahead.

Pitch the Commish

Second base can be a veritable wasteland. The commish selects Pirate Neil Walker. Pick from one of these four drug probe subjects and, if he rates higher, you’re in the SVM league next season:

• Indians 2B Jason Kipnis

• Yankees 2B Robinson Cano

• Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia

• Reds 2B Brandon Phillips

Send responses to cheimerman@saukvalley.comor tweet them to him (@CHeimerman_SVM). Also, look for questions on Facebook (Sauk Valley Sports).

Market survey

Buy low: A 4-for-48 funk and a measly three stolen bases entering play Thursday has to have his manager feeling mighty impatient.

Sell high: DISCLAIMER: Only consider this if you play in a non-keeper league. And sell very high. Like Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera high.

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