In the top 40 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball, Patrick Corbin headlined the tier named, “Taking a number three doesn’t mean a pee and poop combo.” Corbin now has UCL damage, so he actually is a pee and poop combo. Now, as Alfred Einstein once said, “For every negative reaction, there’s a not-negative reaction to it. I’m hungry, anyone have any snacks?” Alfred Einstein also took three years to pass 4th grade, until his teacher finally passed him saying, “I think all the chromosomes went to his brother Albert.” I’m here to defend Alfred; he did have a point. Corbin’s out, but that means Randall Delgado‘s back in. I’ve re-added him to my top 60 starters, top 400, the War Room and have adjusted my pitchers’ pairings. Where Corbin was a solid, if slightly yawnstipating number 3, Delgado is an exciting upside number five or six. You say tomato, I say that’s a one spicy meatball! What does this mean for Archie Bradley? He doesn’t get wet willied by Didi Gregorius anymore? Kirk Gibson stops calling his name like he’s Edith from All in the Family? Bradley starts the year in the rotation? No on all three. Bradley shouldn’t be affected by this Corbin injury. At least not at first. Since Delgado is now in the rotation, Bradley might be one more injury away from joining the Diamondbacks rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:
Chris Owings – Jim Bowden wheeled by on his Segway and said he thinks Owings will be the Diamondbacks starting shortstop. Prospect Scott has Owings in his top 50 fantasy baseball prospects, and, if he gets the job, Chris is definitely worth owings. Hehe. What? If Owings gets the job, he would be more valuable than The Notorious Didi would’ve been for fantasy, and my top 20 shortstops post reflects that.
A.J. Griffin – Well, Griffin done after hours of elbow exams. Movie pun! You know what happens when you try to put elbow macaroni in an Alfredo sauce? You get your hairy knuckles whacked, your Italian mother asks you, “Why do you break my heart?” and you have your IROC repossessed. Now when you mix a bad elbow into Alfredo Jettuccine, you get a starting pitcher that is tumbling in my top 400 and top 100 starters. I was pretty tentative about my enthusiasm for Griffin since he loved gopher balls more than a female gopher who is really into teabagging, but he was in a favorable starter tier prior to this. Now, I wouldn’t go near him with a six-foot wooden stick tied to five other six-foot wooden sticks like you’d find in a Survivor elimination challenge. He’s supposed to be fine in about a month, but a pitcher who gives up homers + bad elbow = No Frank you. Dah! Was supposed to equal no thank you; I wonder if I forgot to carry a one somewhere.
Jarrod Parker – Will start the year on the DL with forearm tightness. He wasn’t in a favorable tier in my top 80 starters and this doesn’t change that. He’s visiting Dr. James Andrews today, who performed Tommy John surgery on him in 2009, to see if Parker can get the second one half off.
Jesse Chavez – Now in the A’s rotation due to aforementioned A’s arm woes. Fun fact! The word in Mexico for when a wet bathing suit is rubbing your inner thigh is Chavez. Chavez, the player, not the wet Mexican bathing suit rubbing action, is an interesting name in AL-Only leagues. Like most guys that have nasty stuff, he wasn’t able to control it at all. Sometimes having a 4+ walk rate. Last year, he made a big step forward with his control, barely over a 3. Whether he can do that in the rotation isn’t a gamble I’d take right now in most mixed leagues, but definitely worth a look in AL-Only leagues.
Drew Hutchison – Likely winner of the Blue Jays 5th rotation spot. Interesting cat, this Hutchison. Great K-rates in the minors — occasionally topping a 10+ K-rate. Sometimes sitting around 8. His stats have bounced around a lot in his early career due to Tommy John surgery a few years ago. In his cup of coffee in 2012, he got creamed (pun point!). At 23 years old, he’s young enough to still take a step forward, but I can’t recommend picking him up in mixed leagues until he shows something in-season. In AL-Only leagues, well, everyone’s owned, and you could do worse than Hutch, plus he taught Kevin James how to bag Amber Valletta, imagine what he can do for your underrated handsomeness.
Grady Sizemore – The Red Sox center field job appears up for grabbsies. Not that Jackie Bradley Jr. is anything great — though he did walk multiple times in one game!!! — but Sizemore is such a joke. He’s going to really play center field? Let’s just say, his knees wouldn’t draft him. But with great opportunity comes responsibility (for me to project him). Sizemore hasn’t been good since 2008. He kinda played in 2009, and wasn’t good. He gave it the ol’ college try in 2011, and again wasn’t good. If Sizemore were to win the job and get 500 ABs…Sorry, I couldn’t even get through that sentence without laughing. Okay, if he were to get 500 ABs, he might hit 14 HRs, steal 5 bases and hit .250. I wouldn’t bet the house on that might turning to will.
Brandon Beachy – Sounds like he’s headed for his 2nd Tommy John surgery in two years. Seriously, we don’t at least want to check to make sure Dr. James Andrews doesn’t have a gambling problem that is causing him to try and make five surgeries out of one? GA isn’t just my initials, it’s help for those that are powerless to Powerball.
David Hale – The forecast for the Braves rotation is cloudy with a chance for Hale. For now, Hale will be in the Braves rotation. He doesn’t have strikeout stuff, even if his small sample size last year indicates otherwise. He’s probably around a 6 K-rate with around a 3 walk rate. That’s not good for mixed leagues outside of matchups, which he should have plenty of vs. the Mets, Marlins and Phillies. Which, Part II: The Return To Which Mountain, means he’s a decent $1 gamble in NL-Only leagues.
Evan Gattis – Had offseason knee surgery to remove a dime-sized chip. But how big is that in bitcoin? This could stop him from catching more than three days in a row, but Gattis is a bat first catcher, so he’ll probably see time in the outfield even when he’s not catching.
Freddie Freeman – Has a thumb bruise. Lucky he’s got Gattis on his team to tell him alternate ways to hitchhike.
Ryan Doumit – Will have X-rays on his finger after being struck by a foul tip. If he’s hurt, it would the first bit of good news the Braves pitching staff received all spring.
Yordano Ventura – Favorite to win the Royals fifth spot. Boing! Sorry, that’s embarrassing. I feel like I’m a teenager again, getting hot and bothered looking at a Mrs. Buttersworth syrup bottle. Every time I try to get out of the pancake aisle of the supermarket in my mind’s eye, Yordano puts me right back there. I bumped him up in my top 80 starter rankings and changed my projections slightly due to the extra innings he should throw.
Adrian Beltre – Dealing with a tight quad. Better than being a tight wad!
Jimmy Rollins – Has returned to the lineup after his three-game benching last week. This year might be the first time a player in Philly has a battery thrown at him by his manager.
Michael Bourn – Left yesterday’s game with tightness in his hamstring. Bourn’s already ranked in the mid-200’s for me and about to go from SAGNOF to NOTNOF.
Jon Niese – Dealing with a hyperextended elbow. We’re all just happy his nose is no longer hyperextended. I dropped him further in my top 100 starters and wouldn’t draft him in any league. Oh, and since this is really all about me, I lost Corbin and Niese on my NFBC team, and the first game of the season hasn’t even happened yet. Yay me! *opens oven door, turns to first page of The Bell Jar, starts to read*
Gordon Beckham – Suffered a strained oblique. I’m sure anyone who has suffered owning him sympathizes. Maybe the White Sox can play one of their four outfielders or three 1st basemen at 2nd base. Let’s see someone slide hard into 2nd to take out Adam Dunn.
Michael Morse – Mild calf strain. Brian Sabean seemed to think it shouldn’t be a problem going forward. Going back in the outfield, well, that’s a whole ‘nother pickle.
Mat Latos – Threw batting practice on Friday. He said everything went to plan. Then laughed evilly for three minutes.
Homer Bailey – Scratched due to a mild groin strain. Is he sure it wasn’t jock itch? Any the hoo! The Reds are saying his groin is no big deal — that’s what she said! — and he will be fine for the start of the season.
Jose Iglesias – Will miss most of the season because of his shins. This injury ruined the movie, Garden State, for Iglesias. Hernan Perez will handle shortstop duties (hehe, I said duties). He has some speed, but isn’t worth your time outside of AL-Only leagues because the Tigers will probably go out and sign someone. Who? Well, that sounds like a mystery for Nancy Drew’s brother.
Matt Wieters – Out until today because his ankle is a little swollen. If I were him, I’d be saying to my ankle, “If you’re swole, say you’re swole!”
Dylan Bundy – Optioned to Double-A. He should emerge in the O’s rotation sometime in the 2nd half of the year, unless the O’s hold Bundy down for the five count.
Manny Machado – His running has been limited due to scar tissue he wishes you saw. O’s are saying he could still make Opening Day, but that seems like a long shot at this point. I’d guess he misses the first ten days of the season.
Jonathan Schoop – The Baltimore Sun is reporting Schoop has won the 2nd base job. Did Gus make it the lede? If Scott Templeton wrote it, did he exaggerate Schoop’s Dickensian back story? Here’s what Prospect Scott said about Schoop, “An impressive athlete with good skills at the plate, Schoop is the type of 2B who can offer fantasy relevance. Injury disrupted his 2013 season, so it’s really not worth digging into his line, but throughout his minor league career, the 22-year-old has shown projectable skills at the plate. Once he’s settled in the bigs, 20 HR seasons and an AVG in the neighborhood of .265 seems like an attainable projection. Oh, and I still hate Grey.” What? Why? In my top 20 2nd basemen post, I said, “I’d draft Schoop just for the smell of it, just for the yell of it! If he wins the job over Jemile Weeks (which he should if anything’s right in this world), he looks like a guy that will hit for some decent MI power and not a whole lot else. For this year, he looks like a poor man’s Uggla when he was young, I will call him Dan Fuggla.” And that’s me quoting me! I would take the flyer on him, but I think he’s gonna slightly underwhelm this year.
Troy Tulowitzki – Sat out only a few days with a deep bruise. Fun fact! Tulowitzki was the only person denied Obamacare.
Oscar Taveras – Optioned down to Triple-A. The reality of the situation is he’s going to be 22 years old in June and even if he’s not a starter for the Cards until he’s 23, he still has a lot of time to be a perennial All-Star. Then again, Bourjos, Allen Craig and Holliday could injury themselves in a marshmallow factory and we see Taveras in April.
Jesse Crain – His timetable has him returning in late-April. Until then Chad Qualls will prolly serve as the closer (assuming Astros have games to close), then it might be a Closer Death Match to see who emerges with the job the rest of the year. In my top 400, I have the Astros saves down as Qualls: 21; Fields: 4; Crain: 3. It’s a pretty fluid situation that will make their owners want to go to the bathroom.
Jurickson Profar – Out for a few days after having wisdom teeth removed. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery and replaced the wisdom teeth with two of Profar’s toes.
Taijuan Walker – Due to an injury discount, I’ve now drafted Taijuan on three of a possible three teams, so I’m officially pot-committed and my news on him will be tinged oh-so-rose-colored. Oh, and he threw a bullpen session saying “I feel normal again,” and I feel “terrific,” you sexy, upside pitcher! I wonder if Taijuan wants sex with a Cougar because I will donate my wife if it makes him happy. Cougar for sale! *rings bell* Cougar for sale!
Ruben Tejada – Terry Collins told Tejada he is the Mets starting shortstop. No mention on whether Collins had his fingers crossed. Please let the Mets sign Nick Franklin. I’ll be their very best friend!
Carl Crawford – Won’t travel to Australia for the opening series because his girlfriend is having a baby. Crawford got confused watching a Seinfeld rerun and didn’t want to risk bringing home a baby-eating dingo.
Francisco Rodriguez – Behind schedule because he stepped on a cactus. The cactus was planted there by his father-in-law. After K-Rod stepped on the cactus, he backed up and stepped on a rake that clunked him in a head. Then he backed up and stepped on another rake. And another.
Jason Giambi – Out for a month with a fractured rib. In related news, Jeremy Giambi is telling a party of four about the ribs special at a Tony Roma’s.