The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow. Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women. I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles. “Yay, he hit a home run!” Dot dot dot. “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games. I guess that’s okay.” Dot dot dot. “He’s hitting .250? Hmm…” Dot dot dot. “Yay, another home run!” Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either). Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year? Prime Aramis easily. That’s 27 HRs, .290 average. This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant? I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us). Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average? Yes. Could Aramis? Yes. Would I draft Bryant first? Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off. At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year. I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me. I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess. The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid. The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops). This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way. Move your fat L’s, Tommy! I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Danny Salazar was sent to the minors because the Indians are trying to make life difficult for themselves. As someone who needs to pat their lip with a kerchief after a sip of anything, I know about making your life difficult, but my mustache makes me sexy, Salazar going to the minors does the exact opposite. Behind this move was almost definitely The House of McAllister trying to boost their progeny, Zach. “I don’t need stirrups.” That’s Zach McAllister, talking to the Indians equipment manager, as he dons a kilt. McAllister isn’t terrible (or Allisn’terrible if portmanteaus light your fire), but he’s really nothing more than any standard 5th starter. He’ll have stretches where he’s usable in all leagues, and other stretches where your ratios will need stretchers. Pithy points! I’ve moved Salazar into my top 100 starters and down my top 400 and I’ve left McAllister unranked, because what will likely happen is he’ll be replaced by Salazar by June. The other half of the scheming House of McAllister is T.J. House, who will also be in the rotation. Sky gave you a T.J. House sleeper, and I’m a bit more excited about House’s foundation and have ranked him in the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The latest Cuban raftee, Hector Olivera, signed yesterday with the Dodgers. Olivera leaves Cuba with a slight tear in his UCL and he missed out on the 2012-13 season in Cuba due to a blood clot in his arm. Michael Moore just called, he says you better go back to Cuba for better healthcare. In related Cuban news in regards to the Dodgers, Alex Guerrero might be the first person to raft back to Cuba to play. “I was watching Coach Taylor in the Florida Keys, and I think I need to go back to Cuba to play 3rd base.” That’s Alex Guerrero discussing his future with loved ones while enjoying Netflix streaming. I’d love to interview Puig about this Olivera signing. Not because I think Puig would have anything interesting to say, but because Puig strikes me as a guy that is always at a strip club, and that would make for a fun interview. Olivera has some huge question marks like The Riddler’s leotards. He has those aforementioned health concerns, he’s about to turn 30 years old and he doesn’t have a place to play every day. The Dodgers are so concerned about his health, they put a provision in his contract in case he needs Tommy John surgery. He could take over for Uribe at some point, but he’ll need at least a month in the minors, maybe a few months. So, a guy with injury concerns that will need at least a month of minor league at-bats that doesn’t have a set place to play? Well, I’ve heard better scenarios. Want more wonderful that isn’t wonderful? Lots of baseball people seem to think Olivera is a Latin 29, i.e., he’s actually a few years older than what is being reported. Also, baseball people scratch themselves and spit a lot. Those same spitting, scratching people also think Olivera fatigues too quickly, because his conditioning isn’t there. I will say that after watching Olivera hit he looks like Hanley Ramirez to me. The me who has a minor in Punting Middle Infielders from the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston. The me who is out on a limb like the Tootsie Roll owl saying that Olivera’ll hit 12-15 homers, steal 6-9 bases and hit .275-ish. There’s obviously a huge amount of risk, upside, downside and unknown here. He could be up in July or April. He could play every day and hit 22 homers while stealing 15 bags or platoon with Uribe and hit 8 homers and steal 2 bases. He reminds of another import from this offseason. Call him The Cuban Kang. For this year, I’ll give him the projections of 51/14/56/.272/6 in 400 ABs. That is admittedly almost complete conjecture. Or as I said in the top 20 3rd basemen after I ranked him, “Hector of Olivera, Cuban Baseballmania, Ole Uribe, Corey Seager year away, Dodgers beat Padres, Pope Vin, Puig X, Mattingly Lineup Sets, NL West blown away, what else do I have to say?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Anthony Rendon was cleared for baseball activities, which meant he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust his jockstrap with no pain. Then he reported discomfort when he bent his knee. Matt Williams, singing a’la Weird Al, said, “Rendon’s Opening Day is in jeopardy…Baby…Ooh…” Honestly, I feel like I’m in a pickle wrapped in a can’t-win-shituation surrounded by a chimichanga of head scratching with a Mexican saying, “No lo se,” and me saying, “No lose? More like no win, Jose!” We’re still two weeks away from Opening Day and Rendon could be fine by the end of the first week, which means he’ll miss maybe 25 ABs, which is nothing in the big picture. Dock him 3 runs, 2 RBIs and four hits and move on. This could actually be a buying opportunity in drafts if he falls too far. But if he’s downplaying his injury as every player who has been injured does, then he could struggle, hit the DL for a month or two and have a lost season. He never had blazing speed, so I worry that he might not steal with the knee injury or at least not as much in the early part of the year. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis I lowered him out of my top 10 and into my top 20 where I’d be more comfortable drafting him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alex Cobb left his start the other day with forearm tightness, but he’s not concerned. “Not concerned with forearm tightness” is now the number two reason for Tommy John surgery. Number one is “torn UCL.” The number three reason is “I feel great!” If we have one more pitcher say, “I feel great,” without someone else saying they’re “not concerned with forearm tightness,” then it will be a dead heat and could come down to Tanaka’s translator chiming in with how Masahiro feels. A pitcher and manager’s reporting on an arm issue is like reading a Yelp review written by the owner of the restaurant. “I didn’t know scalloped potatoes could be so sublime!” And I didn’t know I had to avoid every other starter in drafts, but here we are. Cobb says he should only miss his Opening Day start, but I’ve lowered Cobb way down in my top 400 and into my top 60 starters to a tier where I would not draft him. There’s enough to worry about when drafting a team, don’t get too cute with “Well, so-and-so fell so far I figured I’d give him a chance even though his arm is dangling at every joint.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear to you with the sincerity of someone you’ve never met, I woke up yesterday and saw the news about Zack Wheeler and decided it wasn’t a catastrophe for my already-drafted teams. At least I only drafted him in one of three leagues. I liked him a lot, so things could’ve been worse. I felt downright well-adjusted. Breathe in, breathe out, Grey’s fine. So, I went to my car to go on my morning trip to Starbucks, where I have the pleasure of buying an overpriced coffee and having my name misspelled, but, when I got in my car, it wouldn’t start. The car’s not a clunker, never had problems before. Then I realized something very profound. There was a higher power that would not let me be well-adjusted to Wheeler breaking down. A higher power that insisted I mourn the lose of my Wheeler even if it meant hitting me over the head with sad, sad irony that my four-wheeler wouldn’t start either. That higher power’s name, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Now I have no car and no number two starter on one of my teams. As I said in yesterday’s podcast that was taped on Sunday prior to the official Wheeler news breaking, the Mets said Wheeler’s elbow was fine so that meant he’d need Tommy John surgery. I was being facetious at the time, but is there any such thing as being facetious when talking about the Mets? Not to answer, but to ponder. Terry Collins said on Sunday, and I quote to let you absorb fully what teams say vs. what is actually going on, “There is nothing alarming or different from what’s been going on before. I know (Wheeler)’s got some issues with the finger (a blister). Other than that, just a little rest and he’ll be fine.” On Monday, Wheeler’s UCL was fully torn and needed Tommy John surgery. That’s one heckuva blister! Wheeler’s biggest challenge will now be finding time to see Dr. James Andrews. He’s getting booked up quickly! I’ve removed Wheeler from my top 40 starters and my top 400. To add insult to Wheeler’s injury, the Mets will moved Dillon Gee into the rotation and not Noah Syndergaard. Gee, terrific. Gee’s a 4+ ERA, 6+ K-rate guy that I won’t add into the rankings because he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues. Also, he’ll be bumped in June for Syndergaard, assuming no more Mets pitcher injuries– Ha! Damn, almost got through that last sentence without laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marcus Stroman tore his ACL and is out for the year. Remember me?” says the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Then the opening to Seven Nation Army kicks in and FBO does a little dance. His dance partner isn’t a person, but rather a pitcher’s limb. It’s very disturbing to watch. Oh, my God, he’s taking a picture with the limb with a seven-foot-long selfie stick. Oh, this is just awful. No one over the age of 14 should ever have a selfie stick. Why do you hate such wonderful, Fantasy Baseball Overlord? Why?! “I wasn’t loved as a child.” So, Stroman is out for the year and now the Blue Jays have moved one step closer to being the 2014 Texas Rangers. All they need is Edwin to gain 200 pounds and have a boo-boo on his neck. I’m guessing that filling in for Stroman will be Marco Estrada, but I have Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris projected in my top 400 and think they both will see some starts and have value. It’s still too early to call on Sanchez vs. Norris, but I’d draft Sanchez first since he’ll either see starts or Brett Cecil will be nodus modus operandi. As for Stroman, well, I’ll make sure to write a 2016 sleeper post for you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, there’s one schmohawk post I don’t have to write, right? Stutterer! Yu Darvish left a game the other day with a tight triceps. That’s what the she-dinosaur said! Huh? Then, this past weekend, it was announced he’s a candidate for Tommy John surgery. Stop sullying the word candidate with your surgery, Tommy John! I wonder if the whole -san suffix for names like Daniel-san gets confusing with Tommy John. Thomson John? Tommy Johnson? Thomson Johnson? It’s no secret that I didn’t like Darvish coming into this year. For my foray into pannin’ Asian, too much risk was attached to his arm for where people were drafting him. His NFBC ADP was 43 prior to this news, so you had to start thinking about him in the 3rd round. No thanks, Yu, I said. Of course, when I told you in my top 40 starters post to avoid him, I was beat up in the comments for losing my way. Yu was the greatest pitcher since sliced bread that had a portrait of Hello Kitty on it! Don’t Yu know, Grey?! Yu can strike out so many something-somethings that you should want to bear his children, then one day shout at him in divorce court, “These are all Yus!” I had Yu in a tier named, “Not touching them with a nine-foot pole that has twelve one-inch straws taped to its end.” One person in the comments on the top 40 starters said, “Phil Hughes ranked above Darvish, I’ve seen everything now.” Then there was someone else arguing for Darvish’s dignity like they fought with Darvish in The Great War. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I’m saying I told you so by saying I don’t want to say I told you so. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear to you, they’re gonna drive me nuts. All of them. Mookie and Rusney and Victorino and Hanley and everyone in that dugout that gets a preseason talk from Schilling about all the good PR you can get from ketchup on a sock. I’m gonna go stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign that reads, “Will work for clarity on the Red Sox outfield situation.” Hey, H&R Block, can I write off clarity on my taxes? The Red Sox said early this week that Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will split time in center to see who will win the job. I originally placed Betts at a 10 to 1 long shot to win the job, pun intended and noted. Then Castillo strained his oblique. Oblique with no clarity is just perfect. As I mentioned in our first podcast of the year, the Red Sox are gonna be a mess for fantasy value vs. playing time. There’s so many scenarios that could happen — Hanley can’t play outfield, goes to short and Bogaerts goes to the bench; Rusney and Betts platoon; Betts looks great and Rusney gets benched; Rusney looks great and Betts goes to the minors; Rusney and Betts both look just okay and Nava plays well; Victorino gets hurt and Rusney and Betts both play; Allen Craig looks good and Betts and Rusney are benched. Okay, the last one has no chance, but you get the idea. Rusney’s health should be fine by Opening Day, but the oblique injury obviously puts him behind Mookie now. I’ve lowered Rusney into my top 60 outfielders and changed his projections. I’m sure this will change again by tomorrow. Brucely, I think the only one guaranteed playing time in the outfield is Hanley (assuming he can handle it, and doesn’t Hanley it), unless there’s injuries, which there likely will be. It’s a shituation of Old Testament, swarm of locust proportions. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not a total ass. Partial? Sure! I have no problem with that. With that said (here comes the ass part!), I have no sympathy for Josh Hamilton. Everywhere you look you hear about how heartbreaking, sad, *searches Thesaurus.com for sympathetic word* it is that happened to Hamilton. Light a candle for the literal manifestation of the prayers that you send out to him. Put on If You’re Gone by Matchbox Twenty and picture Rob Thomas singing directly to Josh. Go to your local package store and protest until they close on Sundays. Do what you want, but you know what’s heartbreaking to me? The fact that spring training starts and the baseball news that people are discussing is Hamilton running down the wrong foul lines. Also, I feel like most of the sad emoticons that go out for him are generated because he believes in God, family and is white, especially the last one. If he were non-white, there would be no sympathy from anyone. A Josh Hamiltonguez would be released by his club and the public’s silence would be deafening. Arizona would even consider building a fence to keep him out. A Josh Hamiltonjackson would be vilified and there would be a criminal case opened with only the Reverend Al Sharpton standing by his side. Torii Hunter would need to say something, because no one else is. My advice for Hamilton is get some help, but stay away from Dr. Drew, because one out of three celebrities never make it out of Celeb Rehab. Maybe at some point Hamilton can get past the crack and back to the crack of the bat, but I don’t have much hope for him this year and have adjusted my top 100 outfielders. Anyway, here’s what else is going in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?