Ahh, I remember the Midway, it was fun it was like an air show but instead of crashes there were bullets.  I was just informed by Jay that statement is both wrong and wrong.  Moving on as graceful as Martha Graham.  So  I was actually thankful for a few days off, unhappy I didn’t make the all-star team, but I’m told that poor vocabulary and lack of knowledge of the home row keys are not determining stats that merit all-stardom.  Holds are fun, I don’t care what you say, if that makes me a loser for rooting for a fake stat, then I’m a loser.  This guys help your team though even if you don’t play in a Holds or NSVH league.  I am being serious.  I am the Will I am Tell of the loogy business.  Let’s check out my four up and four down for the closers in the second half, and stay around after that for some set-up news and blues.

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jeter1

Has the Derek Jeter Memorial Midsummer lovefest ended in Minnesota yet? I need an afterglow cigarette and one of those Jeter gift baskets after that All-Star reach around. Hey, as a Red Sox fan I can actually tip the turban to Jeter for a great career ( I just vomited in my mouth a little), but it’s not like Jeets is on his death bed muttering “Rosebud” or was the greatest player of his generation. Or was he? At least Adam Wainwright wasn’t grooving pitches to him for the last 20 years. With the fantasy DT’s settling in, I turned my trembling hands to Razzball’s Historical Fantasy Baseball Player Rater to check the numbers. I was surprised by what I found. No surprise that the top 3 fantasy players of all-time were Ruth, Aaron and Cobb, but it is interesting to note that Jeter ranks in the top 50 at No. 41. The Yankees captain ranks just ahead of Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Paul Molitor, George Brett and should be Hall of Famer Pete Rose. According to the Razzball Rater, Jeter is the No.6 shortstop all-time ahead of Robin Yount, Barry Larkin, Joe Cronin and Pee Wee Reese. Now, as Jeter rides off into the pinstriped sunset, he currently ranks as the 22nd best shortstop in our fake ballin’ world. Not great, but still better than more heavily owned players like J.J. Hardy, Xander Bogaerts and Brad Miller. In honor of the departing Jeets, his “dating diamond”, the Midsummer Classic and the fantasy baseball DT’s, let’s jam or cram the currently under-owned (60% or less) waiver wire All-Stars.

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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All-Duds… sounds like a candy. But, if we are taking it literally, it would be candy flavored as poop. Or, actually, now that I think of it, it would be flavored as duds. Which might taste like poop, but I’ve tasted neither, so I cannot deny, nor confirm the flavor. So yeah, that’s right, we’re here at the All-Star break, an event which has actual real-world MLB ramifications, yet is regarded like a Bono press event by fans and players alike. Thanks Bud Selig! What’s the cure in our RCL corner? As I might have alluded to it with my candy-poop, (call me, ladies), I hereby refuse your All-Stars. I don’t want them, I don’t need them, and since I’m already knee-deep in the fantasy football warm-up (clutch link drop right there), I honestly have no idea who the All-Stars are. But this would be true of any season, seeing as how I care as much about the game as I care about my asparagus intake. Which is to say, not at all. So let’s have fun, and make an All-Duds team… a team, dare I say, full of poop…

Note: In a perfect world, I would tally a vote for this, then again, in a perfect world, I would be the one and only ruler of all that I see before me… which, if we’re still being literal, would be my basement. And I may have just stolen a quote from The Lion King. Anyhow, I chose these playerss using the arbitrary criteria of having at least 250 PA’s / 100 IP for SP / 28 IP for RP, and sucking every single orifice around them. Like your mom. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh man, did the Crew need that win yesterday!  Even up 11-1, I thought K Rod might blow the lead.  The way things have gone…

But it’s not all about me and the Brewers!  At least, that’s what the girlfriend keeps telling me… Yesterday, Wily Peralta showed some exceptional stuff in easily the biggest game of 2014 for Milwaukee, but the day before, high-profile prospect Jimmy Nelson looked to make a statement as the newly entrenched starter.

Anddddddddd… It didn’t go so hot.

Sporting absolutely stupid numbers in the PCL (1.46 ERA 0.92 WHIP 114 K in 111 IP), Nelson also shined in his 2014 debut, a 5.2 inning spot start allowing no runs on 8 base runners with 6 Ks for a W.  But the mightily cold Brewers squared off against the red hot Redbirds to spoil his encore.  How much was his atrocious start impacted by wrong guy, wrong place syndrome?  Should you still be holding on if you picked him up?  I decided to take an uncomfortable (for me) walk down memory lane to really break down how Nelson looked pitch-by-pitch:

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The Futures Game was yesterday, and while I’m writing this post prior to the game actually being played, here’s about what I’d expect the broadcast booth banter to sound like – “Player X has a lot of loud tools. He has a bright future in the bigs. This kid is going to be a perennial All-Star. Comps, hyperbole, etc.” Sounds cynical, but unfortunately there are no crystal balls. It’s fun to dream on these guys, though, and really that’s what the Futures Game is all about to me – showcasing the best young talent in the game at the moment. Be sure to check out the Futures Game edition of the Minor Accomplishments series from Chris yesterday. On this short week let’s see if there are any players in the minors we should have our eye on from a steals perspective. Players like George Springer, Gregory Polanco, Mookie Betts, and most recently Arismendy Alcantara have already come up this year. They all have the ability to make an impact in the stolen base department. So let’s see who’s next. Whether they are close to the bigs or a ways away, these players should make an impact when their time comes.

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I Can’t Remember Anything
Can’t Tell If this Is True or Dream
Deep down Inside I Feel to Scream
this Terrible Silence Stops Me
Now That the War Is Through with Me
I’m Waking up I Can Not See
That There’s Not Much Left of Me
Nothing Is Real but Pain Now

That’s Metallica singing their ode to darkness, landmines and your 2014 fantasy roster. While I’m a big fan of the San Fran thrashers (and make a quick appearance in their Binge and Purge video collection), I’m not a fan of the creeping death that is the 2014 fantasy baseball season that currently has 151 players on the disgraceful list. As we hit the halfway point of the season the fantasy battlefield is littered with disposable heroes *insert 151 players here*. The latest casualties include Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), Edwin Encarnacion (quad), C.J. Wilson (ankle), Yadier Molina (thumb) and Brandon Phillips (thumb). Oh, is there anyone else for whom the bell tolls? Yup. Hanley Ramirez is getting injections in his shoulder, Mat Latos tweaked his back twerking, George Springer is dealing with a cranky knee, David Price has the sniffles and Jordan Zimmermann accidentally zipped up his zimmy. FML. I’m not one to quit mid-season, but I’m at my frayed ends of sanity here and it may be time to take up fantasy cricket. Before we hit the All-Star break, we have to drag the broken, beat and scarred off the stage and fire up the jammer crammer machine© as we go through the never looking for those players that just might inject some life into a lineup that is ready to fade to black. Take my hand, it’ s off to never never land – it’s time to jam it or cram it.

If you’re looking for more jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.

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I had a hard time trying to come up with a Creeper of the Week for a week that only has three games and no rotations announced. So in a moment of scotch fueled clarity, I decided to create my own All-Star team. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite Creepers of the “not a real half first half”. There is only one voter, myself, and like any list, there will be bias. Hey, it’s my list and the winners are very obvious. It’s not like if I was to rank some of my favorite movies or songs, then I’m sure we could really get into a discussion. Oooooooh that sounds fun! I’m going to throw some out for you. For my favorite movie, it’s Goodfellas and Apocalypse Now (both these clips are NSFW). The movie in third is a tie of about 20 flicks that all make a strong case. For music, I’m not going to make it easy on you. Here is my top three non-corporate underground independent soul songs of the last 5 years. 1) Lee Fields & The Expressions – You’re the Kind of Girl 2) Charles Bradley – The World (Is Going Up In Flames) 3) Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics – My Dear. Do you have any? Actually, the story of Charles Bradley is a really interesting tale of “it’s never too late”. They even made a documentary movie about him. I highly recommend clicking on that link. Have you done it yet? Okay, good, then let’s move on to my all star team… countdown style!

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Hyun-Jin Ryu ($8,700) got smoked in his last start, but he draws a weak Padres team today at home in our last day of games prior to the All-Star Break. What will we do for four days?! I for one will be catching up on what my wife and children have been up to for the last three months while their father stared at a computer screen combing box scores. Father of the year! I’ve recommended Ryu before and while he’s not flashy, he’s solid for the price you’ll pay in DFS. The Dodger left-hander has a 7.6 K/9 to go along with a 1.9 BB/9. Outside of the Tiger mauling, Ryu had given up 3+ ER in only one of his last 10 starts. The Padres, meanwhile, have a putrid 70 wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Given it’s a home start and the opponent today, Ryu appears to be one of the better values on the board. Good luck and enjoy the break!

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Another week completed, another step closer to excitement for prospect-watchers waiting impatiently for the next round of call-ups, and the ultimate “Christmas In July” for prospect-hounds across the globe as we get to spend the day with the ultimate showcase – the Futures Game. In honor of this great event, this week’s Minor Accomplishments Sunday Twelve-Pack will include several players that will be participating in the game, as well as some that would’ve been at Target Field for it (yes, I’m looking at you Arismendy Alcantara, Jimmy Nelson, and Christian Bethancourt).

The All-Star Break is upon us, the playoff picture’s beginning to come into focus for several teams that were “on the fence” a week ago, and trades completed over the next three weeks will lead to many more openings for prospects to get a look at the MLB level, as well as advancement opportunities for players further down each organizational pecking order.

Please, blog, may I have some more?