Yesterday, Noah Syndergaard admitted to having an elbow bone spur after denying it multiple times.  Terry Collins said, “No one would know our business if it wasn’t for giving the PR job to a puppy dog!  Ruff ruff!  Come here, Fido, I wanna spank you with a rolled up newspaper!”  This is the 2nd Mets’ starter in two days with elbow spurs.  I look forward to the opening round of the playoffs when all of the Mets’ starters are wearing Iron Mike Sharpe elbow pads to hold their arms together.  Or they hire John Cusack to marionette their starters.  So, this is obviously not good news from Syndergaard, but it’s also not the end of his season.  He could opt for surgery if he’s in pain, but he says he’s not in pain (though, he also said he didn’t have elbow spurs up until yesterday).  Jon Lester has pitched through elbow spurs for the last five years.  It’s not uncommon for starters to power through.  Would I look to sell Syndergaard low?  No.  If you can get a healthy, similar starter, then sure, why not?  No reason to panic.  Unless Syndergaard starts wearing cowboy boots on his elbow.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Trevor Bauer has a long history of not being great like he has long toss, which is to say he has it.  Was that clear?  Good.  I’d hate to start us behind the eight ball for understanding one another.  Unless it’s a Magic Eight Ball, then we’d be finishing each other’s sentences.  But since you didn’t finish that sentence maybe our Magic Eight Ball says ‘Outlook:  Cloudy.’  I feel like I just went into Home Depot, bought the color paint, Persimmon, then painted myself into a logic corner.  Can we start again?  Trevor Bauer’s history is as long as his long toss, which is to say he could throw from here to China, have the ball begin a trade agreement for fortune cookies, with us sending them to China, have fortune cookies become our number export over Kardashians and balance the budget, making Trump announce his running mate is Bauer’s ball from his long toss, the Ball Broker, as it’s colloquially known.  That’s how long Bauer’s toss/history is.  Long story short, Bauer’s been around a while.  Long people short, Altuve.  Bauer came up in 2013 with ‘He can be an ace’ pedigree, and failed.  Then failed for three more years.  Old dude I’m moving on, is what you’re thinking.  Well, you’re thinking wrong.  He’s only 25 years old.  His velocity upticked to 93.3 MPH this year vs. 92.8 last year.  His walks have always been issue.  So far this year, not much of an issue.  His Ks are always around 8.5, still there.  His ground balls have been whatevs in the past.  This year, they’re way up, which is to say down.  Everyone has been burned by Bauer.  Been there, need aloe for that.  But he looks like he’s finally turned a corner, and he wouldn’t be the first pitcher in his third full year at the age of 25 to accomplish that.  If you need a starter, I’d grab him.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Albert Almora, Jr. went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI Friday night and the rookie outfielder has now hit safely in his past three games and is slashing .429/.455/.619 since his call up June 7. Oh, hello there, AAJ. Have we met? This isn’t just any prospect we’re talking about here. This is a Cubs prospect. Alert the media! Oh wait, that’s us? Grey covered him a week or so ago, and I’ve been telling you to pick him up as well. Grey said, “Albert Almora also anagrams to Barrel T. Alamo, who’d be great as a San Antonian oil man villain.” Sound advice as always, boss. I will summarize in case you no read good. Almora had 3 homers and 10 steals in 55 games at AAA and he likely won’t play every day, so expectations can be tempered. I added him everywhere I needed runs and average, but I also drafted Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Upton, so I’m not so sure you should be listening to me anymore. Regardless, he’s definitely a player to keep your eye on, especially if you have a third eye, and the other two are busy trying to watch the NBA Finals and the most-hyped episode of Game of Thrones ever simultaneously. If you’re a sucker for the rookies like me, Almora has looked good so far at the plate and bats in a stacked Chicago line up and could certainly be worth an add for his upside alone.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tommy Joseph continued his early success last night going 2-for-4, with two home runs, and four RBI. I felt it was appropriate to go with the biblical headline because for those in desperate need of a corner infielder, Joseph has been heaven sent. The big game Friday brought his season stats to a .323/.333/.677 triple slash with seven home runs and 12 RBI in just 21 games (65 at bats). All this coming on the heels of Manager Pete Mackanin naming Tommy Boy the starter Friday afternoon over Ryan “I’m Not Sure How Old You Are Anymore, But I Would Have Guessed Older” Howard. Joseph has really turned on the jets in the past week hitting .438 with six runs, 4 homers, and 7 RBI. This isn’t coming completely out of nowhere either. After an abysmal 2015, Tommy was slashing .347/.370/.611 in 100 ABs at AAA this year. The advanced stats are a bit wonky for Joseph at the moment (.333 BABIP, 26.1 K%, .354 ISO), but don’t necessarily suggest Joseph is playing over his head. Regardless, TJ has carved out a nice spot for himself batting clean up for the Phils and I could see his success continuing. Grey told you to BUY, Joseph is available everywhere and is definitely worth grabbing in all leagues where you need a corner infielder with some pop.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wikipedia says groupthink is, “A psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.  Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.  Now spend forty minutes randomly popping around the internet until you somehow end up on an exercise video of Morgan Fairchild.”  I’m sure someone has already done this, but you know how there’s Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?  Why isn’t there an internet six degrees to tepid porn?  No matter where you are, you are six clicks from tepid porn.  Any hoo!  I was thinking about groupthink because of the comments on this site, but it’s more like groupspeak.  Just listen to what the groupspeak say.  Sometimes you get comments that can be helpful, even if they’re not intentionally trying to be helpful.  If you see ten to twenty random comments asking about Danny Duffy, a pattern emerges.  A beautiful snowflake pattern because every comment is different unless it’s a catcher question.  With that many people asking about Duffy, there might be something there.  So, I looked at his stats, and, J. Lo and behold, his peripherals are gorge.  In 43 IP, he has a 10.3 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 and a 3.52 xFIP.  He’s there with a 95.7 MPH fastball and a change that is buckling hitters.  These are not waiver wire pitcher peripherals.  These are ace pitcher numbers.  I’d go pick him up right now…Which should only take you three clicks, so you have three more clicks to find Morgan Fairchild doing crunches.  Enjoy (or be careful)!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Albert Almora was called up yesterday by the Cubs, and he’s the latest barely in-his-20s, big-time Cubs prospect.  Albert Almora also anagrams to Barrel T. Alamo, who’d be great as a San Antonian oil man villain.  “Remember my wrath, Walker, Texas Ranger!  Now hand me my seersucker suit, and, yes, I’m in my underwear because I just bedded your wife and daughter together.  I dig holes for a living!”  So, Almora’s up while Jorge Soler mends his broken hamstring, and Almora’s ready to get all that and a cup of coffee.  Or is it bring Maddon a cup of coffee?  Well, he’s here for his cup of coffee.  And Maddon says he’ won’t play every day.  And, Part II, And There’s More!, I still grabbed him in two leagues.  He’s basically a young Dexter Fowler.  I will call him Dexter Chick.  In Triple-A, he had 3 HRs, 10 SBs, .318 average in 55 games.  He could see action here and there, and might provide a few steals.  In most leagues, he’s not worth grabbing yet, unless you’re like me and can’t resist rookie nookie.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When your farm system graduates four top 100 prospects in one season, like the Cubs did, it’s only natural that your overall minors grade takes a hit the following year. After coming into 2015 with one of the most talented groups in recent memory the 2016 version is a bit of a letdown. Don’t misunderstand me, the Cubs system is still head and shoulders above the last two systems we previewed, but it’s a far cry from the level it’s been the previous two springs. There’s still a solid group of hitters left and some upside arms with ETA’s a year or two out. So there’s still a lot to discuss, but none of the current crop has the through the roof tools of Bryant, Russell, Soler, or Baez. In closing its not the prospect pants tent of yesteryear, but it hasn’t dipped to Angelic levels either.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (4) | 2013 (12) | 2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] NL Central
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [66-73] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [67-69] Florida State League – Daytona (2015 Myrtle Beach)
A: [91-49] Midwest League – Kane County (2015 South Bend)
A(ss): [41-35] Northwest League – Boise (2015 Eugene)

Graduated Prospects
Javier Baez, 2B | Arismendy Alcantara, OF | Mike Olt, 3B

The Gist
This is about as stacked as a system can get. There’s upside all over the field including the graduated prospects listed above. Granted, they are still prospects and where everybody ends up playing is a good question. Heading into 2015 we’ll all wait for the arrival of Kris Bryant and later in the year we’ll be chomping at the bit for Addison Russell’s debut. Meanwhile, Javier Baez might be one of the most polarizing players on this team and there’s a chance he could start the year in the minors. But that would just give fellow sophomore Arismendy Alcantara some more time at the keystone and he’s no slouch either. Even the rotation looks good with Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta one-two. Can the bespectacled one take this team to the promised land? *grabs popcorn*

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (12) | 2012 (14) | 2011 (16) | 2010 (14) | 2009 (27)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [66-96] NL Central
AAA: [66-78] Pacific Coast League – Iowa
AA: [76-62] Southern League – Tennessee
A+: [75-51] Florida State League – Daytona
A: [55-80] Midwest League – Kane County
A(ss):  [41-35] Northwest League — Boise

Graduated Prospects
Junior Lake (OF); Chris Rusin (LHP); Hector Rondon (RHP); Blake Parker (RHP)

The Run Down
Twins and Astros fans might take umbrage with this statement, but from a fantasy perspective, the Cubs have the most exciting farm in the minors.  It starts with Javier Baez, of course, but the impact potential runs throughout this top ten, with every prospect bringing at least one high-end fantasy tool to the table.  And I could’ve gone deeper too, with upper-levels arms like Arodys Vizaino and Neil Ramirez set to surface this season, and top latin talent, Eloy Jimenez, lurking at the instructional level.  Plain and simple:  this system is stacked.  Some of you know that I was raised a Cardinals fan, and that the Redbirds are still my team.  As such, I should be taken seriously when I tell you that the future of the Cubs is really friggin’ bright, and it is near, and it scares the piss out of me.

Please, blog, may I have some more?