I love the Aussie people; they have goofy words for a barbecue and even goofier animals — koalas and kangaroos? Is Australia animated? Those things are goofy! Why not just get a duck-billed platypus and anteater and call it a day, you wacky-animal-having country! How about baseball there? Did all the fans in attendance win a Bowie knife if a player hit a home run into the big marsupial pouch? Did Crocodile Dundee throw out the first pitch? Did the batters hit with a fraternity hazing paddle? I don’t know, because it was at four in the morning! Selig really needs to stop doing this to Opening Day. The players will be exhausted from traveling and won’t be able to get their usual reps in during the spring. The first pitch of the season should be at a time when 7-year-old North American boys and girls can watch it. Not at 4 AM EST. What if the first game went extra innings or someone got hurt? Can they just call up someone from the minors for the next game? No, so then you’ll have a team playing short. Do these stunts in December as a goodwill trip. Don’t make major league baseball teams into the Harlem Globetrotters for a regular season game. Eh, whatevs, baseball is back, who cares if it comes with a big helping of Vegemite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:
Justin Turner – 1-for-4. Started the first game of the season and hit 2nd (oy). He started because the Dodgers were facing a lefty. Of course, Mattingly’s platooning Turner and Dee Gordon (3-for-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI in 2nd game) because Mattingly’s from Indiana. When people ask him, is there anywhere cool in Indiana? He says, “Not really, just Indy.” When people ask me who’s playing 2nd base for the Dodgers and what’s the least lame part of Indiana, I say the same thing.
Yasiel Puig – 0-for-5, 3 Ks in the first game. Drop him! 3-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs in the 2nd game. Pick him back up! Mattingly says after Puig strikes out he blames it on a different injury every time, saying, “Shoulder yesterday, back today, so I’m not sure if they’re going to get him tests or get him to the MRI Monday or a bone scan on Tuesday, maybe. I’m not quite sure what we’ll do. We may not do anything. I’m not sure.” One thing Mattingly clears up every time he talks, he doesn’t know.
Scott Van Slyke – 2-for-3, 2 RBIs as he homered in the first game. If you picked him up for the opening series, how very sly…ke!
Clayton Kershaw – 6 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks. He’s a right-o bastard ace! Bloody oath! Sorry, practicing my crikey.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 5 Ks. The jet lag didn’t bother him because he’s used to commuting from the far east to Dodger Stadium. What? He lives in San Gabriel Valley.
Wade Miley – 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks. I wouldn’t expect this many Ks from him stateside because in the southern hemisphere, his curve breaks down.
Mark Trumbo – 2-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 1st homer. The cheer from the Australian fans on the homer was priceless. A mix of ooh’s, aah’s and ‘Why isn’t he wearing a sweater and pants like our other cricket players?’
Cody Ross – Will begin the year on the DL, but should be able to return early to mid-April. When he returns, Pollock, Parra and him will form a three way platoon for two outfield spots. Or as Kevin Towers calls it: Ross, Outfield for Less.
Addison Reed – Kirk Gibson named Reed the closer, which seemed like a foregone conclusion. To go with anyone else, Gibson would’ve had to be a Putz.
Jurickson Profar – The Jurickson store is closed for 3 months with a torn shoulder muscle. I removed him from my top 20 2nd basemen and shortstops. I’d *pinkie to mouth* Profar to not draft him in any league now.
Geovany Soto – Going for a precautionary MRI on his knee. A precautionary MRI on a catcher’s knee is like giving someone a bucket on the Titanic. J.P. Arencibia and Robinson Chirinos could be in for increased at-bats. Chirinos has been hitting well in the spring, but Josh Satin was the league’s best hitter last spring, so there’s that.
Elvis Andrus – Won’t return for a few days, but should be fine for (real) Opening Day. On the no foolsies tip, even if he misses the first week of the season, I’m not too worried.
Tanner Scheppers – Will be a starter this year. I’m starting to see a pattern. Move Ogando into the bullpen then rotation then bullpen then rotation. Do the same with Neftali. But then you run out of arms to ruin and what can you do? Ruin a new arm! The Rangers never saw a young (is Scheppers young?) arm they couldn’t screw up by shuffling from the bullpen to the rotation and back again. If Mariano Rivera was in Texas all those years, he would’ve been made a starter at least five times. I’ve adjusted Scheppers in my top 400 and added him to my top 80 starters. I debated putting him in an unfavorable tier, because he had an under-7 K-rate in relief, so that could fall even lower and be useless in most mixed leagues, but I decided his unknown is worth a late flyer.
Joakim Soria – Will be the Rangers closer. He shoots up my rankings and I think he could be one of those dark horse candidates to be a top three closer. Think Holland last year. Huh? Think Greg Holland. Oh, yeah! My other candidate for sleeper $12 Salad is Nate Jones. If you own Feliz, you can’t be, um, feliz. He’s droppable in most leagues.
Yu Darvish – Scratched from Friday’s start due to a stiff neck he got from sleeping. Hehe, Yu woke with a stiffy.
Chad Qualls – The Astros decided their bullpen wasn’t not interesting enough, so they’re going with a closer by committee. I’d go with them in order Chad Qualls, Josh Fields, Jesse Crain, The Guy Who’s Eating Fruit Roll Ups In The Supermarket Line In Front Of You and Matt Albers. It’s a total closerfudge.
Kolten Wong – I had a sleeper post written for him, and in that post I was like, “This guy’s a young Pedroia… Blah blah blah… He can hit 15 homers and steal 20 bases… Blah blah blah… A solid average… Blah blah blah…” But then I realized I couldn’t publish something that has blah blah blah as every other statement. Also, Mark Ellis was signed by the Cards and I was worried he would steal time from Wong. The Cards said this weekend, Wong is their starter and Ellis is nothing but a backup. And my Wong went up! Um, in my rankings.
Carlos Martinez – Will set up Rosenthal with Joe Kelly slotted into the 5th rotation slot. Joe Kelly has a 6.28 ERA this spring. Spring stats mean nothing, except when it’s the player’s talent level. The Cards wanted any reason to put Martinez in middle relief and, when he gave them no reason, they still did it.
Matt Moore – Knocked down by a liner to the melon, but he deflected it enough with his glove to avoid serious injury. He has no concussion symptoms and afterwards said, “We’re very lucky today.” Was he a ‘we’ before getting hit in the head, because if not, may want to check him again.
Derek Dietrich – Took a grounder to his face and had to be helped off the field. This is what happens when Little League coaches teach you to watch the ball into the glove.
Mike Minor – Will start the year on the 15-day DL. It seems his urethra issue has made its way into his shoulder. His shirts’ armpit stains must be real yellow. I’ve updated his projections and rankings in the top 40 starters.
Jose Iglesias – Will miss the entire 2014 season due to his shins. When something like that is kiboshing his season, dashing any hopes for this year, it must be crushing. Not to mention, those gerunds have shin in them, which is just salt in the wounds.
Andrew Romine – Traded to the Tigers. I sure would’ve liked to see the Tigers replace the defensive-minded Iglesias with an offensive-minded shortstop. The Tigers obviously don’t consult me. I added him to the top 20 shortstops.
Bruce Rondon – Will have Tommy John surgery. Do you see how damaging peer pressure can be?
Manny Machado – Not ready to play in games due to his knee. That never stopped Mickey Mantle. Have a whiskey and get out there!
Cole Hamels – Threw a successful simulated game. Pretty impressive he could get through his motions with that giant virtual reality helmet on.
Jacoby Ellsbury – MRI on his calf came back negative, which is actually a positive. Weird! I’m sure if Ellsbury tries real hard during the year he can get a positive MRI that is negative.
Aaron Hicks – Gardy said Hicks, the guy who hit .192 in 281 ABs last year, is going to be the center fielder. What better way to start off an offense that’s not out of the woods than by having a guy named Hicks leading off?
Kyle Gibson – Named Twins 5th starter. Last year, Gibson had a 5.12 K/9 and 3.53 BB/9 in 51 IP. Yeah, that’s hideous. The Twins are trying to give their guys some major league experience. It’s noble of them, but it would be more noble if they put down the seat so we didn’t have to look at it.
Michael Bourn – Ran on an anti-gravity treadmill. Everyone else is at spring training and this guy is at Space Camp?
Josh Johnson – This is gonna astound you. Astound, I say. Josh Johnson is injured. He’s gonna miss around a month with a strained flexor. His porn star brother, Gosh Johnson, once strained to flex her, but that’s probably just a coincidence. I’ve moved him into my top 80 starters.
Nolan Arenado – Struck on the hand by a pitch, but it’s merely a flesh wound.
Mat Latos – He’s got knee problems and a pitch ain’t one. Huh? Oh, Jay-Z. Damn, Grey, you so ghetto, you spell ghetto ‘getto.’ And talk in 3rd person like a mothereffer! Latos will start the year on the DL, and, honestly, I’m starting to not like how it sounds. I’ve dropped Latos in my top 40 starters and top 400. I’d still draft him, but it would be about 40 picks later now.
Devin Mesoraco – Shut down for a few days with an oblique injury. The doctor actually said, “Well, um, er, uh…” and everyone just assumed oblique.
Aroldis Chapman – Out 6-8 weeks due to surgery to repair fractures around his nose. Jon Niese has a great doctor for that! Maybe Aroldis can come back wearing Lebron’s face mask, or the Phantom of the Opera one. Maybe those are the same, I don’t know the answer. I’ve moved Aroldis down in my top 400 and have added Jonathon Broxton and J.J. Hoover. Sean Marshall could also sneak into the picture, but he needs to get healthy first, so I’m in no rush to add him. I’m guessing Hoover will suck up the majority of saves (vacuum pun!), and Broxton will gobble up a few (he’s fat), but won’t gobble up any until he’s healthy; Broxton’s starting the year on the DL. For all intents and porpoises, Hoover’s the closer for now.
Johnny Cueto – Scratched from his start with a scapula issue. Cueto with injury concerns? No way! Say it ain’t true! He says it’s a minor issue. Mmm-hmm. Riiiiiiiiiight. Yes, ten I’s.
Jose Reyes – Left Saturday’s game with a tight hamstring. He doesn’t think it will be a major issue. Yeah, what does he need his legs for anyway?
Carlos Gomez – Brewers announced Gomez would be the leadoff hitter. There’s maybe ten players all year who actually stay in the same lineup spot from spring training until October. Gomez won’t be one of them. He will shuffle between a few spots and I wouldn’t put too much credence into this, especially for fear of a lawsuit with Saul Zaentz.
Hisashi Iwakuma – Threw 45 tosses with a tennis ball on Friday. I think that was a game I used to play with my Puerto Rican friends in high school. Did he throw the tennis balls off a bunch of freshmen’s heads? Then it definitely was.
Brendan Ryan – Won’t be ready for Opening Day. Ryan hurt himself backing up Jeter during infield drills.
Jarred Cosart – Named the Astros number two starter. Rarely does a player page make me giggle, but click his name and look at his player page. Now, look at his walk and K rates. Hehe. If you own Jarred, you will be scarred.
Brett Oberholtzer – Named the Astros number three starter. Can the Astros just not order their starters? It’s embarrassing to numbers everywhere.
Skip Schumaker – Will miss a month of games with a dislocated shoulder. If only there was a Find my iPhone app for shoulders.
Jose Abreu – Taking a few days off to rest his ankles. In Cuba, no one is allowed ankles, so he’s just trying to get comfortable.
Darin Ruf – Out for 6 weeks with a strained oblique. Ryne Sandberg said, “It’s unfortunate. We all wanted that to happen to Rollins.”
Freddy Galvis – Will start the year on the DL. When he heard the news, Sandberg walked by Rollins and simply said, “You did this.”
John Mayberry – Placed on the trading block because he was seen talking to Rollins.
Ryan Goins – Seemed to be named the Blue Jays starter at 2nd base, but the Blue Jays manager, John Gibbons, refuted that report, saying he hadn’t named anyone yet. And that wraps up another segment of today’s comings and Goins!