Welcome folks, to another round of Bear or Bull. The series is so awesome, I am able talk about animals AND baseball(s). And this week, I guess Walmart. Word. And while the best play on words I could think of involves Starling Marte and one of the cornerstones to an eventual Corporatocracy, well, you know something special is brewing around this parts. And it ain’t just the fermenting kim chee. Am I lost? Maybe you’re lost. More rum for everyone! Yes it’s supposed to rhyme, or else, what’s the point? So yeah, see that perfect line of association I just drew? Point A, animals, straight to Point B, rum. Whoooo! Can we talk about baseball now? Never!

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Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever run out of players to talk about for this series. After all, we are dealing with a finite source of things to talk about when dealing with 20-30 team leagues. Then I remember, I passed that point about two weeks ago. So here we are, boldly going where no fantasy player ever wants to go. Yes, that was a Trek tie-in. Maybe it has something to do with the new movie coming out soon. As you can tell from my avatar, I’m certainly not anti-Trek. Yet, there seems to be a lot of angst with J.J. Abrams’ take on the franchise. I for one, being a fan since birth, have no issues whatsoever, even though the lens flares have given me skin cancer. So what if the new movies have lots of explosions? And shiny lights. And Canadian Bruce Greenwood. Yeah, I’m pretty sure William Shatner never got into a space suit and flew around asteroids. But what these movies presuppose is… maybe he should have?

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It just so happens that every player that I’ve covered so far, Edwin Encarnacion, RA Dickey, and Josh Hamilton all have nicknames. Well, Robert-Allen Dickey doesn’t, but he has Dickeyface (look at this one too!), which is just as good. But Encarnacion has E5, Hamilton has Hambone, and even I have JW1. Now, the streak has been broken with the Bear/Bull spotlight directed upon Matt Harvey. With the way he’s pitched so far, his nick status needs a change. I’ve heard of several that really don’t do him justice, but should be put out there for community research. There’s Matt ‘Hardcore’ Harvey, which is simple and rolls off the tongue pretty easily. But it also brings up images that can be described with words that end in ‘ingus’ and ‘lation’. Not exactly what you want. Well, *you* might want that, but this is about Matt Harvey. There’s Mattastic, which is just corny. If we are just squishing his name together with other words, why not go with Mattpocolypse or Mattmageddon? Even Matt-howyoulikemenow! has a certain synergy to it. I’ve also seen Heatflame Harv, which just sounds like my dating life… desperate. My choice, I feel, has the upper hand at the moment. Borrowed from the DC Universe, Harvey Two-Face, was recently played by Aaron Eckhart in Nolan’s Prestige, Inception, Batman movies. The association only adds to the flair, and the name has a good ring to it. It’s not like I was going to go with Rocket Racoon, amiright? He’s about as useful as Hawkeye, I mean, at least Black Widow is a good vehicle for bewbs. I mean, seriously… a big green Hulk, an all-powerful mechanized armor suit with gunz flown by a guy with charming sass and sarcasm, the son of Odin, a super soldier, and a dude who shoots arrows… yeah, tell me who doesn’t belong in that sentence. Anyhow, I’m going to go out on a limb and take credit for Harvey’s new nick. So it was said, so it shall be done.

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Remember when I told you about how to tell when streaks aren’t streaks anymore? You don’t? Well, here’s the refresher course. In that piece, you’ll find a nice story about Chris Shelton, a random aside on Mike Trout and, of course, some funky math. Well folks, the time has arrived, and our first major stat threshold has been met. And that threshold is Contact%, and it stabilizes at 100 PA’s. Contact Percentage is pretty much how it sounds. It is the total percentage of contact made when swinging at all pitches. With the majority of starting batters now eclipsing the 100 PA mark, I’ll be taking a look at some movers and shakers in fantasy that have new contact skill-sets, for better or worse.

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I really don’t want to spend much time on Endy Chavez. Which means basically two things. 1) I don’t think to much of the guy. 2) The Mariners outfield situation is bad. Really bad. Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if they still had a fourth outfielder that could play center and have some pop? Granted, they could have claimed Casper Wells, after the either previous DFA’s this past week, but pride goeth before a fall, or so they say. Well, now that I’m thinking about it, if I’m going to talk about Shelley Duncan and Don Kelly in previous iterations of this series, might as well make Chavez feel right at home. Hitting 269/308/367 for his career, that’s basically who he is. But he’s getting at-bats, so he’s filler if you need it. And if you need filler like that, bless your heart.

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Surprised that I showed up with a post today? I’m sure most of you thought I was still writing my 30-page thesis on R.A. Dickey. What can I say? It was more a labor of love than anything else. And that doesn’t mean I treat other players differently. In fact, if I had children, I would love all of them equally. Except Hunter, he’s just so bad-ass cause he knows how to drive stick and already has a brown belt in taekwondo, all at the age of three. That’s my number one seed son! Maybe I messed up by naming his sister Samardzija, because I dunno, ef her childhood I guess. But like I said, this post will not be tl;dr, only because my wrists are still sore from last week’s marathon. And I need my wrists for other things. It’s funny because I watch redtube.com all the time. Get it? So while you can be assured I love all baseball players, except Luke Scott, I won’t get out of hand like last time. Unless I ever happen to pick a player from the Padres to spotlight. Hint: I have 5000+ words ready to go on John Baker. I think Grey just threw up all over me. So, on to today’s subject, one Josh Hamilton.

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I’ll be honest here, I had no idea that Shelley Duncan was still playing. Not only is he playing, he’s, um, well, I’m supposed to put something he’s doing well here to make the play of words work. But that’s not really possible. Oh, he does have two homeruns. Does that help? With a career slash of 230/306/427, I think I’ve actually found a worse outfielder than Don Kelly. What’s next, stigmata? While, if given regular at-bats, 260/330/480 represents the very high end, I could foresee 10 homers and 50 RBI’s if he play’s for 50% of the season’s games.

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R.A. Dickey will not be remembered for what he did before wearing a Rangers, Brewers, Mariners, Twins, Met’s uniform. Nor will he ever be remembered for his mediocre fastball or equally mediocre changeup. He likely won’t be remembered for his scrumptious beard. (Actually, I have no proof of that. He *should* be remembered for his facial hair, since all beards are regal and spiffy in nature and form, but I will leave that in the capable hands of history.) No one will remember that he was born without an ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Or that he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for awareness of human trafficking. Or even that he had been sexually abused as a child. While all these things are noteworthy, the truth of the matter is, he will most certainly always be remembered for throwing a very goofy pitch, and throwing it in a very special way. For baseball fans, like myself, who are enamored with such an unconventional baseball skill, this is still quite a special thing to be remembered for. Though we should at least try to remember the beard too.

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Wow, assembling this week’s list of players made me dizzy with enthusiasm. No. I’m lying. To help write this post, I have a hired a shadow writer sorta speak. Readership meet my shadow writer — Vodka. Vodka, meet readership. What did you say? Drink more? Silly you. You’re already empty! Let’s get this thing started before I get prescribed anti-depressants.

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Welcome to the brand new series called Bear or Bull. In this series, we will be talking about animals and how they relate to baseball players. No, really, we are. Otis Nixon is a cheetah! No, not like that. More like, if by animals I mean market trend descriptors. Yes, that totally makes more sense. No, not really. Basically, I’ll be spotlighting players every week and make a framework of where they trending, a big picture analysis type of thing. Think Sky’s Creeper of the Week, but for multiple seasons, mixed with a hint of Grey’s Buy/Sell with a touch of my manly musk and prowess. We’ll do some light bio work, have some lol’s, make some GIFs, and assess where this player is and where this player is going. In the end, you’ll learn whether or not I’m Bearish (not zesty) or Bullish (yes please) on the player. Personally, I’d always want to be the bear. A polar bear actually. All I would do is hunt for seals and fish, drink a bunch of Coke, and never fear anything. Well, except global warming I guess. And maybe acid reflux.

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