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A trio of players were Razzball comment section regulars last year due in large part to their phallic-referencing, chuckle-inducing monikers. Coincidentally, all three have outlooks that are pointing up for the 2014 season.

Let’s start with B.J. Upton. This one’s easy, since it will be virtually impossible for him to not top .184/9/26/12 and an OPS of .557. The guy snagged 30-plus bases five seasons in a row and has flashed 30-30 potential. Bro Justin Upton is in the same outfield, so clearly the talent’s innate and all he has to do is cut down on the whiffs and tap into it, right? Right?

At 29, Upton is in the prime time of his life. He’s batting .297 this spring with four steals. There’s a chance that, slotted down in the Braves lineup where there’s less pressure, he comes into his own. There’s also a chance that he reverts to what he was doing: .240 average, 20-some dongs, 30-some steals, 70-some RBIs. Wait, that’s not that bad! There’s no way B.J.’s gonna suck as bad in 2014 as he did in 2013.

Now let’s move on to R.A. Dickey. What Robert Allen delivers season to season, and even game-to-game, and even pitch-to-pitch, is the equivalent of the outcome of a Magic 8 Ball. Coming off a Cy Young year in 2012, Dickey joined the much-hyped Jays – you remember Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson leading the parade of the free agent-busts-to-be – and unfurled a Bert Blyleven-esque roller coaster of a season in which he went 14-13 with a 4.21 ERA. But his innings-to-hits ratio (224-207) wasn’t that bad, his WHIP wasn’t embarrassing (1.23) and he punched out 177 for the season. And after a putrid first half, Dickey rebounded in the second, going 6-3 with a 3.56 ERA.

Seems like a lot of fantasy drafters are scooping Dickey up in the middle-rounds of 16-team leagues and larger, and I’m on board with that. His 2014 is going to land somewhere between last year and his 20-win 2012, but you just can’t tell where. Sorry ladies, the knuckleball has a mind of its own.

That brings us to Dickey’s former teammate, Josh Johnson, now of the San Diego Padres. There’s a lot of knee-jerk reactions going on with both Johnson and fellow Padre comeback candidate Ian Kennedy – these guys were once great, these guys are in Petco, therefore these guys will have bounce back 2014 seasons.

It’s not that simple. For one, they moved the fences in at Petco, because God forbid there’s a park that prevents hitters from putting up Ruthian numbers. For two, Johnson is coming off season-ending elbow surgery and hasn’t been phenomenal in spring (although he did go 4 innings, giving up just one run and striking out three, in his most recent Grapefruit start).

But for the purpose of being an official bounce back candidate, Johnson is a lot like B.J. – how can you not improve on horrid (2-8, 6.20 ERA)?

So when draft day arrives and you find yourself in the middle rounds, go ahead and grab a Dickey, request a B.J. or bolster your rotation by sticking Johnson in there.

From Around The Web

  1. Jeff Sullivan says:
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    Its the blow job face from THE ROOM!

    Worth giving a shot at Grady sizemore and drop rollins in utility?

    • Hawk says:
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      @Jeff Sullivan:

      As an old friend of mine used to say: snot from the left nostril or snot from the right….

      • Jeff Sullivan says:
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        @Hawk: makes sense

        • Pete Nice

          Pete Nice says:
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          @Jeff Sullivan: @Hawk: On Sizemore v. Rollins. That’s a big fat yes. Rollins is toast, Sizemore looks rejuvenated in Beantown.

          And congrats on being the first to publicly spot Mike from “The Room.” It’s a modern classic.

  2. ChrisBcream says:
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    How about some Headley?

      • Pete Nice

        Pete Nice says:
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        @Jay: @ChrisBcream: Never been a fan but they did move those fences in. He might go long more often.

  3. Cutch says:
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    BJ getting to 20-some dongs is more of a mouthful
    than Saltalamacchia

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Cutch: I have no doubt that he gets to 20. Can’t say for certain what happens with the rest of the numbers.

  4. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    I keep leaving the draft table with a handful of Johnson. I hope he reverts back to his hard (throwing) ways of old and not the flaccid noodle of last year.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz: I know, for some reason in each of my drafts Johnson has been dangling right there not unlike a scene from “Magic Mike.” I think he’ll be solid.

      • Chicken Dinner says:
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        @Pete Nice: What’s with the penis pun comments. Last two….everyone ELSE noticed that, right?

        • Chicken Dinner says:
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          @Chicken Dinner: WOW! Sorry guys, caught my own fail. Next time a read first.

  5. Shake N Bacon says:
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    BJ was available until the 22nd or 23rd round in my 12-team keeper league. I am regretting not grabbing him, just for the potential upside he has.

    I like the call on Johnson. If he can stay healthy (big if), I like him a lot in Petco.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: If BJ struggles early someone might blow him off and then you can snag him off waivers. I think you’re Ok for passing on him – he’ll bounce back but not beyond his norm. As for Johnson, I read that his fly was up, I mean his fly ball rate was up, last year in the Sky, so maybe it goes back down to where it was pre-Blue Jays and he returns to form.

  6. Clint says:
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    I was with you re the Braun bounce back but these guys give me the heebie jeebies. Scouts are saying Upton looks lost in spring training and that’s no good for a guy who shouldn’t be still trying to find himself as a hitter. Dickey’s unpredictable being the knuckleball guy he is so I suppose you could see his glass as half full. Josh Johnson gives me the willies just thinking about him considering his injury history and I’m not sure who scares me more: him or Anibal Sanchez at this point.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Clint: Well I can’t take credit for Braun. That one’s a little more obvious and less risky – he was going to come back and be above average at the least. These are more risky plays, but I could see all three staying on your roster all year as productive players.

  7. Greyismyhero says:
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    Bounce back or not, I will never, ever, ever draft Blow Job Upton again, screw me once…etc, etc. done.

    • IW-Dave says:
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      @Greyismyhero: AMEN…In his case B.J. stands for Bad Job

      • Pete Nice

        Pete Nice says:
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        @IW-Dave: @IW-Greyismyhero: I can’t blame you for staying away. Last year was just plain awful.

        • Greyismyhero says:
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          @Pete Nice: Whats even worse is I hung on to him way too long b4 I dropped him missing out on D. Brown and others, etc, etc…. thinking he was just in a bad slump…yeah, joke was on me. Take care!

  8. Chris says:
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    Hello Pete,
    In a 12 keeper league, im keeping Yu, Stanton, and Edwin Encarnacion. I pick 11th. When or what tier pitcher should be my next SP? Im think taking a batter (4th round) and another sp (5th) round, and then concentrating on offense… Is it too much investment on Sp early on? Thanks!

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @Chris: It depends who’s there. In non-keepers Felix, Verlander, Lee, Scherzer and Sale are coming up around then. I think if Felix is there it’s hard to pass but there are a lot of dudes later. Cobb and Teheran will be there later, and then not too long after that the vaunted Gray-Wheeler-Wacha-Cole tier. Get one or more of those and you’re in good shape.

  9. stonepie says:
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    i drafted dickey, kennedy and josh johnson. dickey started throwing the knuckler harder towards the end of last season and the velocity has continued this spring training. when he was playing through injuries in the first half of the season, he lost some zip on the knuckleball which hurt him.

    kennedy and johnson came later in the draft since at the end, i want all upside picks. johnson’s xfip was 3.58 last year which looks alot better than his era. health will always be an issue but if hes on the field, he’s worth a flyer.
    kennedy on the other hand could really benefit from petco has he has terrible gb rates. im actually less confident in his ability than josh’s and both could easily be off my roster by the end of next month.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @stonepie: All three should be better than last year. I bet at least one of them is a season long keeper.

    • Pete Nice

      Pete Nice says:
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      @JDW: Dang. pop goes the weasel!

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