The week 8 two-start landscape is particularly cruddy. Sure, if you’ve got a Kershaw- or Miller-type two-starter you’re set; you’re awesome. Good for you. Those of us perusing the wire for our two-starters, though, are left with mostly turds. It’s really bad. We have ten dudes in the “DON’T START” tier. Our previous high in that department was six, and that week is the only other with more than three in the bottom tier. Maybe I’m just in a pessimistic mood, but I truly don’t trust the bulk of the week 8 crop. Take it easy on the two-start streaming this week.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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We’re some three weeks away from Major League Baseball’s First-Year Players Draft, during which droves of high school and college baseball players will be chosen by MLB organizations to fill their farm systems. Most all of the draftees will never make it further than the low minors. A handful of the college guys, however, are already too advanced for short-season or instructional ball. Mind you, this group is merely a tiny fraction of the overall draft class — there aren’t many guys worth noting for fantasy baseball purposes just yet. But there are some. So for the next few installments of this Scouting the Unknown series — which is typically reserved for already-pros — I’m going to highlight some draft prospects who could be bringing fantasy relevance to the not-so-distant future.

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In my Week 4 MiLB report, I included a brief writeup on Blue Jays pitching prospect, Roberto Osuna, highlighting his hot start to 2013 season at Low-A Lansing. My blurb from that particular post: “Number five on my Blue Jays top ten from March, Osuna is a rather plump 18-year-old with a front-end arsenal. Through 18 IP at Low-A Lansing, he’s posted a 26/3 K/BB along with an ERA at 2.95 and a WHIP at 0.82. Some folks are concerned about his potentially tubby frame, but the stuff might just be good enough to overcome the weight issue.” Well Osuna was pulled from his most recent start with elbow discomfort. A subsequent visit to Dr. Andrews has revealed a UCL tear, and it’s now all but official that the Jays’ prized prospect will require season-ending Tommy John surgery. The developmental setback is disappointing, but at age 18, Osuna was ahead of the developmental curve already. There’s still reason to remain optimistic about his future outlook, but it looks like it’ll be a full year before we see him pitching in a meaningful game again. And that sucks.

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If you’re anything like me (and your office’s firewall is feeble or nonexistent), then I’m sure you’ve wasted countless hours clicking through the player cards on Baseball-Reference.com. It’s fun to get lost in the vortex of baseball history, absorbing interesting nuggets, like how Hawk Harrelson posted a 155 OPS+ in 1968. Of course, scientific analysis is overrated according to Hawk, so don’t bother telling him that the metrics suggest he was quite awesome that year. Baseball-Reference is also the place where I learn about player nicknames and Twitter handles and all that sort of nonsense that we simply cannot live without. But the most fascinating feature of the site is one that I was only recently made aware of — I’m sure it’s been there for awhile, so forgive me if you know about it already. Next time you’re visiting the website, click on the player search box and type “f**kface”, only leave out the censoring characters. Then search it, and enjoy. I have no idea why that particular player card shows up, but it’s hilarious nonetheless. Any insight on this topic would be appreciated in the comments section. Also feel free to focus your comments on the coming week’s two-starters, which are listed below.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Brace yourselves for another revision of the prospect power rankings, this time with more turnover! There’s been plenty of movement in the past few weeks, both upward and downward, making room for five fresh faces in the top ten/next five. Nolan Arenado and Dan Straily, both top ten guys last time through, have surfaced in the bigs, while three guys fall from the ranks. Danny Hultzen drops out thanks to a shoulder injury, which has been deemed mild, but it’s concerning nonetheless. Nick Castellanos and Mike Zunino also slip out of the rankings, as both prospects are slumping severely at the dish. We also have a new #1, which is quite exciting — do try to contain your enthusiasm. Let’s get started.

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Almost exactly a year after Aroldis Chapman was pulled over and arrested for driving well over 90 MPH in Ohio, Yasiel Puig, Champan’s Cuban countryman, was arrested for essentially the same thing.  Puig was pulled over early last week for reckless driving after being clocked at 97 MPH in 50 MPH zone. 

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Senior year of high school, I cheated on my final exam in religion class. Never got caught. Three others involved in the cheating scandal were each brought to justice — they failed the test, failed the class, and had to retake the course the following semester. Did I feel guilty about my actions? F*#k no I didn’t. I aced the test, and got a B+ in the class. It was the best grade I ever earned in religion. My parents were thrilled! Ever since then I’ve held a sort of admiration for those who cheat and get away with it, and even for some who didn’t get away with it. I respect he who is ballsy enough to cruise down life’s low road, while the rest of the chumps fight traffic on the high road. I’m halfway kidding, of course, but there are moments when the opportunity to cheat presents itself, and you’d be crazy to pass it up. Take, for instance, just a couple weeks ago, when Jeff Samardzija didn’t immediately cease pitching while his throwing hand bled onto the baseball, perhaps doctoring the ball. Well done, Jeff. And as for this Clay Buchholz situation, the evidence against him isn’t quite definitive, and it seems extremely doubtful that any real fallout is to come. More power to the guy if he was indeed doctoring the ball — the umps didn’t notice, and neither did the Blue Jays. He goes twice next week, by the way.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Michael Wacha | RHP, Cardinals | Born: 7/1/1991

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I’ve covered Wacha in the Scouting the Unknown series. I actually wrote a brief report on him a little less than a year ago while highlighting some notable draft prospects. You can read that post here. Now, it may seem like I’m double-dipping, and I suppose, technically, I am. But since last June, there are very few prospects whose stocks have soared quite like Wacha’s has. Suffice to say, there’s plenty of reason to revisit his outlook, applying what we’ve learned over the past year or so in watching the 21-year-old compete at the professional level.

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Twins fans might be in for a frustrating year at the big league level, but trust me, the future is bright in Minnesota. No other organization can boast such a high-profile pair of hitting prospects as the Twins can with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. Sano, who boasts raw power unmatched by any other minor leaguer, is simply on fire. The 19-year-old is hitting .370/.429/.765 with 9 homers in 91 trips to the plate with High-A Fort Myers. Meanwhile, Buxton, the 2nd overall pick last June, is having no trouble with his first taste of full-season baseball, batting .400/.524/.662 with 3 homers and 8 stolen bases through 82 PA. I went over my Byron Buxton fantasy the other week, in case you missed it. Judging by tools alone, these two are among the most exciting talents in baseball. The fact that they’re backing up their tools with such serious production on the field only vaults their stock to new heights — I’m talkin’ top ten overall for both. 2016 can’t arrive soon enough for Twins fans.

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Did you realize that there was an epic breakthrough in the world of baseball analytics this week? Well, it happened! We did it! On Thursday, Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson joined Brian Kenny on MLB Network’s “MLB Now”, offering his thoughts on these newfangled sabermetrics. According to Hawk, WAR, and VORP, and OPS+, and all other products of science and reason fall short of his fresh new statistic — something he calls TWTW, or “The Will To Win”. Evidently, Hawk understands how to quantify this unmeasurable attribute, and he truly believes it is the most telling component of player evaluation. You can check out the video here, but most importantly, please make sure you apply Hawk’s lessons to your two-start browsing this week. Before you grab one of these guys off waivers, ask yourself: Is this a TWTW guy, or is this a non-TWTW guy? We only want the TWTW’s here. Choose wisely.

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