Instead of relegating him to bullpen duties, the Cardinals have opted to send Jake Westbrook to the disgraceful list. In a corresponding move, they’ve called up Carlos Martinez from Triple-A. As of the time of this writing there’s been no official word, but it appears likely that Martinez will claim Westbrook’s spot in the starting rotation. That’d make C-Mart the probable starter for Monday, putting him in line for two starts next week. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I’ve not been shy about my unhealthy adoration for Martinez. The 21-year-old is flat out filthy — 4-seamers at 98; 2-seamers with unreal sink at 96; deceptive change in the mid-80s. If he can shore up his location, he brings as much K-potential as any pitcher in baseball, and that’s not hyperbole. I listed Martinez as a first tier guy below, even considering the tough match-ups. If you have a chance to watch him pitch next week, please do. It’s truly something to behold. The rest of your two-starters are below.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Javier Baez | SS, Cubs | Born: 12/1/1992

I realize I’ve been a little Javier Baez-centric lately (see here and here), but I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m also not going to apologize for the fact that I already wrote one of these posts on Baez around this time last year. No, I’m actually going to take this time to write a few hundred more words on him because he’s pretty much the hottest thing going in Minor League Baseball, and y’all need to take note. Baez is beasting right now. There’s no gentle way to put it. For the past month the 20-year-old has been drilling lasers all over Southern League ballparks, and in many cases, out of said ballparks. Since being promoted to Double-A Tennessee in early July, Baez has posted 28 XBH (14 HR) in 185 PA for a slugging average of .631, which is an insane figure for a middle infielder.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the past few seasons, Jose Abreu has been regarded as Cuba’s best offensive talent. The 26-year-old slugger has spent the past decade playing pro ball in Cuba where he routinely was at the top of the league in AVG, OBP, SLG, RBI, and HR. Well, it now seems he’s played his last game in Cuba, as reports earlier this week explain that he has left his homeland and has begun the process of becoming a MLB free agent. At 6-3, 250, Abreu is a large man with next to zero defensive appeal. He’s a 1B/DH type, so he’d fit best with an AL club, but scouting reports suggest he has enough glove to get by at first, so don’t rule out the NL entirely. Wherever he signs, it’s gonna be for big money and an immediate big league opportunity. Abreu is an MLB-ready masher, and at age 26, there’ll be no reason to start him in the minors. If all goes as planned, he should be occupying a regular MLB role by Opening Day 2014. There’s upside here in the neighborhood of .300 AVG and 30+ HR. It’ll be interesting to see how early he’s off the board in mixed league drafts next spring.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did you guys see that Clint Eastwood movie, “Trouble with the Curve”? No? Yeah, me neither. It got a 52% on RottenTomatoes.com, which is pretty awful, so I think it’s safe to assume we didn’t miss much. Anyway, I’m thinking the whole flick would’ve gone over better if it had just looped this clip from the Little League World Series over and over again:

Bhahahahahah. I laugh, but I’m sure my effort wouldn’t have been much better. Your two-starters are below.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Right about now is when I expected to start hyping the arrival of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. The 26-year-old Cuban defector reportedly signed with the Phillies in late July, and we covered his potential fantasy impact here and here. Given the nature of the contract and all the money involved, there was plenty of incentive on the Phillies’ part to push Gonzalez through to the bigs as quickly as possible in order to get him accustomed to performing on a MLB stage. He was set to be your savior for the H2H playoffs, your last-ditch effort at a late-season roto push. He easily would’ve been top-two on this list by now, provided he hadn’t already surfaced in Philly. Alas, folks tend to tread carefully when there’s $60 million on the table. Reports suggest that some concerns popped up regarding Gonzalez’s elbow, and as of today, he remains unsigned. Whether it’s with the Phillies or elsewhere, M.A.G. figures sign for a much more reasonable sum ($60 mil was a little ridic).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The White Sox traded Jake Peavy to the Red Sox not long ago — perhaps you remember it. The three-team swap sent Peavy to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, and a handful of lower levels prospects to Chicago. It also sent 22-year-old outfielder, Avisail Garcia, to the Southsiders. In the aftermath of the trade, I rushed to add Garcia wherever I could, working under the assumption that Alex Rios would also be moved before the trade deadline, which would create an immediate opportunity for Avisail. Well, it took about ten days longer than I anticipated, but Rios is now playing for Texas, and Garcia is now a regular in Chicago. If you’ve been paying attention to my ramblings, you already know that I’m a big fan of Avisail. He has the tools to help across the board in the fantasy game, and high-impact potential in HR, AVG, and RBI categories. Garcia is still a little raw, and his approach needs some refinement, but I’m thrilled to see him finally getting an opportunity to play everyday in the bigs. If you’re in need of outfield help, I absolutely endorse adding him in mixed formats.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re into two-start streaming, then you’re likely not into six-man rotations. They suck. They push back useful, healthy starters. They dilute the two-start pool. They’re maddening for H2H purposes. And six-man rotations are especially awful when quality teams turn to them. Enter the St. Louis Cardinals. Word from St. Louis is that Michael Wacha will be called-up on Saturday, and that he’ll remain in the rotation throughout the stretch run. Now, I’ll admit I’m conflicted on this one — as a prospect enthusiast, it’s awesome to see guys like Wacha and Carlos Martinez starting big league ballgames, but as a weekly league fantasy player, I loathe the six-man rotation. It’s a selfish hatred, as I realize it’s important for a contending team to pace out young arms like Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn, but still… what about my H2H team, John Mozeliak? The upcoming week for the Cardinals lays out the cruddy nature of SMRs pretty clearly: Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start Tuesday, which is game one of a six-game week. A typical five-man corps would have him pitching again over the weekend, but that doesn’t appear to be the case in St. Louis any longer. Perhaps Wainwright will get a special exemption and always make his starts on four days rest, but that seems unlikely. Oh well. It appears I’ll have to make do with just one Waino start in this HUGELY IMPORTANT WEEK. [weeps softly at desk]

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the best record in baseball. At least right now, as I’m typing this, they do. The Bucs are an exciting big league club composed with a seemingly perfect balance of youthful talent and veteran savvy, and they have a legitimate chance at a pennant this year. But if we’re looking ahead to 2014, 2015, and beyond, Pittsburgh has a chance to be frighteningly good. Their system has already graduated top-shelf prospects like Starling Marte and Gerrit Cole, and there’s plenty more on the way. Gregory Polanco — currently at Double-A — is one of the brightest outfield prospects in the game, ranked #10 on my Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects list. One spot ahead of Polanco on that list is the 6-foot-6 RHP, Jameson Taillon. Taillon’s projectable frame and elite stuff have him profiling as a top-of-the-rotation arm, and there are plenty folks around baseball who like his upside just as much as Gerrit Cole’s. The 21-year-old has showed some inconsistency this season at Double-A Altoona (3.67 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), but the Pirates, holding to their development plan, have promoted him to Triple-A. He looks to be exactly one year behind Cole, so it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing Taillon with the big club next summer.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I think we can all agree that Two-Startapalooza is pretty much mind-blowingly awesome. But as far as paloozas go, let’s be real: our weekly two-start feature takes a backseat to Lollapalooza music festival. Sure, both paloozas have similarities: each attracts crowds in the hundreds of thousands; each is a celebration of profound creativity; each is best experienced while under the influence of booze and/or mind-expanding chemicals. It’s close, but I must admit, Lolla’ is a slightly better event than this blog post. Anyway, I only bring this up because Lollapalooza is happening right now in Grant Park on Chicago’s lakefront. I’m there today. I was there yesterday. I’ll be there tomorrow. Needless to say, my comment activity will be sparse during the PM hours this weekend, but I’ll be around in the AM to address your inquiries. Also, if any of Razzball Nation is headed to Lolla’, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@Scott_Razzball) — I’m always down for havin’ a cold one and talkin’ ball. Now for the two-starters.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As veteran players are shipped out at the trading deadline, it’s inevitable that opportunities will reveal themselves for several high profile prospects.  The Phillies are set to trade away Michael Young, and they’ve already called-up third base prospect Cody Asche to fill the soon-to-be vacant hot corner. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?