Now that the closest baseball stadium to me is in Anaheim I’m watching more Angels games.  Truthfully I’m watching more MLB network, and then Cubs games, and then Angels games.  It’s still more than just the Mike Trout highlights I would normally but in any event I’ve seen some of this guy, Jefry Marte.  Jefry Marte?  Who is that?  And why can’t he spell Jeffrey right?

Well this Jefry is seeing time in left field for the Angels, who really stink out there to the tune of an MLB worst .550 OPS (thanks Yahoo!, as that tidbit is on his player page).  That is pathetic.  So they’re running Marte out there, who is normally a corner infielder.  Only 24 years old from the Dominican Republic, which is on the island of Hispaniola (which is such a fun word to say, especially if you throw a lisp in there), Marte has been around in his short career.  He originally started with Mets at age 17, played in the Futures game at the 2011 All-Star Game, was traded to the A’s for the not aptly named Collin Cowgill (he’s not a cow at 5’9, 190), and then was released by Oakland after the 2014 season.  Signed by Detroit two weeks later, he wound up being designated for assignment so the Tigers could sign Justin Upton (I can’t imagine that Detroit could foresee that Marte would be almost as good so far in 2016 as Upton) and traded to the Angels.

Marte did play in the majors in Detroit last year, hitting four homers in 80 at-bats; this season in limited action he’s hit four homers in 42 at-bats and has an OPS of 1.078; which is good.  His 4.5% BB and 29.5% K are not.  Those numbers last season on the Tigers were 8.9% BB and 24.4% K.  So he looks like a hacker.  A power hitting hacker in the same lineup as Mike Trout?  Are you sure I’m not really talking about Albert Pujols?  No, I’m not.  Not even I can recommend Albert anymore.  Just think, the Angels get him for how many more years?  Five more?  And full no-trade protection? Ha!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aw, man, now we’re left with the ominous team updates of “Giancarlo Stanton is not in lineup, no other news available.”  I think I need to have a talk with him.  Maybe I’ll hide in the trunk of his car and get out when he parks in his four-car garage, then go in through the kitchen that’s got the espresso machine on the left; not the kitchen with the soft-serve machine.  What?  I memorized his Cribs episode, I never snuck in his house.  So, times are rough for Giancarlo.  The Marlins score 13 runs and he’s not even playing.  Holy sit!  Giancarlo has the lowest batting average for a qualified hitter.  Things are so bad, the other day he hit the hardest recorded ball in StatCast history, 123.9 MPH, and it was a double play.  Digging through his numbers is a little bit encouraging.  His BABIP is way below his career mark; he’s hitting .192, but could hit .250 the rest of the way.  You don’t get him for average; it’s homers you desire like I desire him.  His ground balls are through the roof.  Not literally, unless we’re talking about roofs of ant farms.  All he’s hitting is fly balls and ground balls.  His line drive rate is poor.  He usually kills fastballs.  So far, he’s a negative on them.  That was his bread and butter, and right now he’s toast.  He’s 26 years old; this should be the prime of his beef.  Instead, he’s been getting a steady diet of sliders.  That’s not real beef!  What I think is going on, he’s dealing with some health issues after his collision with OZUNA, he’s not spitting on sliders and waiting for fastballs.  Then when he gets a fastball, he hits it hard, but gets unlucky.  Can all of this be changed with me appearing mysteriously in his Snuggie?  I’m not sure.  The health is an unknown question mark.  Eventually, he should get luckier and do damage on some fastballs, assuming he’s healthy.  I wouldn’t count him out, but health has been an issue for him in the past.  If I were able to get a tasty offer for someone buying him, I could see letting him be someone else’s problem.  For now, I will wait in his bathroom wearing a shirt that matches his wallpaper, and try to ‘talk’ some encouragement into him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m back baby! Returned henceforth from thy vacation, and I have no idea if that attempt at Ol’ English made any sense. Now I wanna drink a 40! Which is something Julio Urias can’t do!

So much happens in baseball when you’re gone for two weeks! Well, I was just on vacation for one week, but most of it was without internet. Yeah – rough! First time I’ve done a big vacation like that during the baseball season. Not gonna lie though – kinda worth it for a little break. But alas – we have a lot to catch up on! Like Urias getting a very surprising (to me) call up this early. Sure he was mowing down AAA, but he’s 19 and the Dodgers seemed to go into the year with a lot of pitching options. Then Alex Wood went from scratched (giving Urias his debut in a “spot-start” that went poorly against the Mets) to the DL, so Urias has a shot to stick in the rotation for a bit. With that little bit of extra leash, how would Urias respond in a tough matchup at Wrigley? Here’s how the MLB’s youngest cub fared last Thursday afternoon:

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Jon Gray pitched seven innings Friday night versus the Mets, allowing just five hits, two runs, a walk and struck out eight in his first win, in well, in ever. Congrats on your first major league win, chief! It only took you nine months! How about that headline? That was a bad Fifty Shades joke. If you don’t like it I will tie you up and make you like it. Mmm. Bondage. Anyway, Jon Gray–Coors pitchers be damned! After surrendering 11 runs through his first two starts, Gray has been damned good in his past three starts, giving up just four runs and 10 hits in 20.0 innings, and his 1.15 WHIP and 36/7 K/BB are certainly impressing me mucho. I know what you’re thinking, still a Coors pitcher pitches at Coors and even in the most stream worthy of starts it makes him very hard for me hard to recommend. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on your radar, folks. You should be watching him closer than the latest episode of Game of Thrones, looking for secret hidden fantasy clues in the sand. You guys, I’m pretty sure the scarring on Jon Snuh’s chest spells out R+L=J! Oh em god, wait! The “J” must stand for, dot, dot, dot…Jon Gray! But Jon Gray knows nothing. He must be Targaryen!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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*walks into a Moroccan marketplace*  I got me some Marra-CASH to spend!  Hoo-ah!  Wow, I sound a little like Al Pacino in my own head.  Okay, I’m going to go over to that table that is filled with players to buy low.  “Hello…*reads name tag* Djibooti, I see you’re selling slow-starting hitters for a deal.”  “Good deal!  Good deal!”  “Well, I’ll be the judge of that.”  *picks up Justin Upton*  “This smells like skunk.”  “No skunk!  Good deal!”  *goes through crates filled with albums that have a player’s face on them, lifts Lorenzo Cain*  “How much?”  “Djibooti need to check MLB Statcast.”  Djibooti looks at his iPad, looks up and snatches Cain out of my hands.  “No longer for sale!”  “Damn, Djibooti, don’t put your emotions in a tagine and get them all heated.”  So, Lorenzo Cain obviously was struggling mightily going into yesterday’s game, and, now, not so much — 3-for-5, 5 RBIs with 3 HRs (3, 4, 5).  This is why I rarely sell low on struggling top 50 hitters.  There was a reason they were drafted there in the first place.  Now the buy low is going to be much more difficult too.  “Djibooti, how much for David Price?”  “You take for free!  He’s yours!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And if Vince V. is so money, it would make the Padres a bunch of Swingers.  Seriously, tell me Vince Velasquez wasn’t money?  He struck out 16, baby.  He only gave up three hits, baby.  He is a beautiful baby, baby.  C’mon, he’s so money.  You gotta grab him, baby, you gotta.  Call him up on waivers, go ahead, c’mon, baby, call him up.  “Hi, uh, this is a random fantasy baseballer, which is, uh, Grey’s mom’s term.  I saw you struck out 16, uh, Padres, in a shutout and I was, uh, wondering–”  Machine beeps.  Call back, baby!  Velasquez wants you to!  “Hi, Mr. Velasquez, it’s me again.  Ha, silly movie answering machines always shutting off prior to a message ending.  I mean, who even has answering machines like this anymore–”  Machine beeps.  C’mon, baby!  You’re almost through that message!  Then you can go on to direct Iron Man and be the namelganger for a Washington speech writer, while I can go do a lot of blow with Jennifer Aniston and singlehandedly ruin True Detective playing essentially myself.  You gotta, baby!  You are so money!  So, Vince Velasquez went 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 16 Ks, and if he’s still on waivers in your league, I want to be in your league.  Yes, you should grab, like yesterday (preferably before his last start).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So far I have rolled out the entire infield minus shortstop in our OBP series, and it appears there is no avoiding it anymore. As you might have expected, the average “spread” for qualified shortstops in 2015 was the worst of all positions analyzed thus far- sitting at .050. And while that total might not seem too horrible in its own, the names after the top five drafted are what can make a man lose his mind. I mean really, this position is brutal.

How bad is it…be honest? Is it Windows Vista bad? It’s not iPhone 4 bad…is it? Fu**. Don’t tell me this is Zune bad?!

I’m sorry boys…. It’s Apple Maps bad.

And here you have it…my risers, fallers, targets, and sleepers at the shortstop position!

 (Keep in mind, the format is 12-team 5×5 OBP)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re not a fan of The Walking Dead or haven’t watched last week’s episode, then you can just skip this paragraph. Am I that only one that cheered when that arrow shot through Denise’s eye? That was awesome. Her insufferable rant made me want to jump into the television and drop the People’s Elbow on that thang. Thankfully the writers took care of that for me. I also loved seeing Daryl reunited with his crossbow. Welcome back! With only two episodes left I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what will happen. Here’s my theory. A major character has to die. It’s happened every season. So who’s going to die? My money is on Glen. Here’s why? The writers have already teased his death. Back in episode 3 “Thank You” Glen appeared to meet his demise after he fell off the dumpster. It wasn’t until episode 7 “Heads Up“, four weeks later, that we found out he survived. I believe the writers were testing the waters to see how the fans would react to killing off Glen. That’s my theory. With that said, if they kill off Daryl I’m going to lose my sh*t. Literally!

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What goes through J-FOH’s head when he does these ranks? I’m glad you asked. Wait… you didn’t ask? Are you sure? No? Not at all? Sheesh, thanks guys… and four girls. I’m going to be my usually contrarian self and tell you anyway. I’m looking at players from their floor to their ceilings over the next 3-5 years (and beyond). I’m looking at games played over the previous few seasons, projecting risk going forward, and predicting how they will age based on their skill set. A player whose value is heavily dependent upon speed will usually lose that speed going into the 30’s and players with power will usually keep that a little bit longer. There are always guys who defy the odds like David “I never juiced” Ortiz or Adrian Beltre. They are a special breed that should never be slept on ’til the day they retire. There is science, stats, and anecdotal B.S., and then there are “those guys”. Joey Bats and those sweet bat throws would fall into that class for me. Excuse me while I preach for a second. I love bat flips. I think they should be mandatory for any home run after the 7th, 6th for the Yankees. This is a kids game that is suppose to be fun and guys like Mad Bum need to either throw the punch or shut the front door. Any a-hole can stand there shouting with a team behind him. At least Robin Ventura had the cojones to try and fight. (I want that shirt!) Now that we have my major side track out of the way, let’s move down to some words about the list before we get to the list. Note to self, take an english class at the local adult education center next year.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?