What has become tradition over the past several years, I’ve been pumping bold predictions, like, well, insert your own mom joke here. I’ve even done them over on the Fantasy Football side of things. Speaking of which, don’t forget, shameless plug alert, Fantasy Football is coming! [Insert another mom joke here.] So since this is my little corner here on the baseball side of things, and seeing as how we’re near the All-Star break, what is tacitly known as the half-time marker of the season, I thought it’d be nice to check out how badly my predictions look now, and estimate how much crow I’ll have to eat by season’s end. Join me? (I meant the post. Not eating the crow. Unless you like eating crow. Then here’s some salt. Just dump it all over.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does this happen to people? You’re working on something, and listening to certain tunes and that informs the way you go about your work. I’ve never had a real job in my life, so I don’t know how this works for those. Does a toll collecting juggalo listen to Insane Clown Posse while working and violently throw change back at drivers? Is this why a building’s roof caves in because the construction crew was listening to Because I Got High by Afroman? Or if you were to suddenly change a hitter’s walk-up music from say Next Episode by Dr. Dre (which seems to be at least one hitter’s song on every team) to The Pina Colada Song would that change everything? I don’t know, but I’m a deep thinker, and I saw Johnny Cueto‘s start yesterday and thought he had to be listening to the Silver Jews, specifically this one section, because that gets me so jacked I could jackhammer a driveway with my foot. I took a hammer to it all! *banging foot on cement* Right?! Okay, maybe it’s me. That’s why we’re having this one-sided conversation, to better understand each other. Yesterday, Cueto threw a farkin sparkler — a farkler, if you will — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA down to 2.61. Cueto’s the bomb dot gov. He’s almost exactly in line with what he was doing last year when he had a 2.25 ERA in 243 2/3 IP. And, if anything, he’s actually pitching better this year, lowering his walk rate from 2.4 to 1.7. For whatever reason, he seems to stay out of the conversation for the best pitchers in the major leagues, but yesterday he took on Max Scherzer (4 2/3 IP, 5 ER) and took a hammer to it all. A hammer to it all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You can think whatever you want about Juan Uribe. I don’t care what anyone thinks, he is one of the most unique players in baseball. A classic character from yesteryear. He has to be a latin 50. Have you seen a pic of him? His player page said 36… looks more like 56. But I ain’t hatin’. Have you seen how this pimp rolls? He works that cardigan harder than no other! To elevate his pimptatude even more is his love of slapping bones, which from what I hear is his clubhouse racket. Ryu looks locked in, kinda like the way he pitches. He must of been pissed when they traded Uribe since I heard they are boys. Enough about what a badass Uribe is off the field, I like him this week and below I’ll go over why. He’s a one of a kind playa’! Before moving on, I couldn’t believe how many songs have “one” in the title. It’s kinda cray. One of my favorites is a cover of a popular band redone by another popular artist and he kills it. And before you think anything, I don’t like the band he covered. I just wanted to put that out there. One more cut from the man with one in the title. Okay, I’m done. I will go back to the misery of having lost Springer and Miggy in the ‘perts league. I’ve been doing heavy doses of the blues, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. I miss you guys! *wipes tear* Grey dodged a bullet there.

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Steven Matz (+35.6%) was the most added player in fantasy baseball this past week. The Mets decided to roll out the welcome matz last week and promote the impressive young prospect to the big league club, joining a starting rotation that already featured Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard. Yikes. That would be a scary group for any team to face in a playoff series. Of course, the Mets would have to provide at least some run support for their young studs in order to eventually reach the postseason, but Matz might even be able to contribute in that area as well. He just became the first pitcher to drive in 4 runs in his MLB debut, which gave him the same amount of 4 RBI games as Mike Trout, Anthony Rizzo, and Josh Donaldson this season. I thought that looked like Jeff Gillooly hanging around Michael Cuddyer’s locker the other day. Hmmm… maybe the rumor that Matz could see some time in left field on his non-pitching days has some teeth after all. Or maybe I just made that up.

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I love me a hot schmotato almost as much as I love me a hot Latina. [Jay’s Note: I prefer the angry Latina.] Yes, it is true, I love Latin women more than fantasy baseball, except this week, when I love me some Eddie Rosario. He’s been a warming hitter looking primed to have a break out sooner than later, and I’m betting my money on this week. I know he has nothing to do with Rosario Dawson but I’ll take any chance to look at her pics and this beautiful gif (I couldn’t put that in the article for fear Jay would of removed it). It’s crazy to think she started her career in Kids and how much of a game changer that flick was. Will Eddie R be a game changer for you this week? I like the chances for that to occur and if you keep reading I will do my best to convince you why I like him, but before I do that, one more Rosario Dawson clip for the road… okay maybe not, the Alexander clip is very NSFW, but you can look it up on your own.

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Coming into this season Kris Bryant was the rookie third baseman that had everyone going coo coo for Cocoa Puffs. After the year he had in the minor leagues in 2014 and the home run display he put on during Spring Training, who could blame anyone. Yet despite hitting 10 homers, driving in 42 runs and stealing 6 bases for 152 points, Bryant is not the rookie you were looking for. Be sure to read that last part in your best Episode 4 Obi-wan Kenobi voice. In 148 at bats (85 less than Bryant), Maikel Franco also has 10 home runs to go with his 123 points. With 0.783 points per plate appearance (PPPA) Franco is on pace to finish the season with 408 points (126 games), making him a top 10 3B, just ahead of Bryant who is on pace for 375 points. Considering Maikel has played 24 less games than Kris, that makes this even more noteworthy. Bryant is still the one I’d prefer to own long term, but if I had to settle for Franco, I wouldn’t be very disappointed.

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Before you accuse Jose Tabata of leaning into a pitch with two outs and Max Scherzer on the brink of a perfect game, let’s take you back to 2009. The then 19-year-old Jose Tabata was with his wife, the 54-year-old, Conchita Alonso Rivera Consuela Charlynn Torres, and she was pregnant. Conchita etc. would tell Jose to lean into her belly to hear the baby, and Jose leaned. At supermarkets, at carnivals, at the car wash, Conchita etc. asked Jose to lean and listen, and he did. Of course, there was no baby in her belly, it was actually a Betsy Wetsy doll that she shoved under her shirt. Later when Conchita etc. was arrested for falsifying a pregnancy and kidnapping a baby for Jose and her to raise as their own, they would meet at the glass partition in prison and she would tell Jose to lean in. Times were good, Jose leaned in. Times got rough, Jose leaned in. So, on Saturday, when the Pirates were one out from having a perfect game thrown against them, Jose did what he always did — he leaned in. After that no hitter, Max Scherzer has a 10.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. So, yeah, he’s a top three starter, if not the best this year, and he is amazing. No kidding; hey, sorta like Tabata and his wife! (There is a lot more truth in this opening paragraph than you’d likely ever imagine. Just Google “Tabata wife” if you don’t believe me. Happy belabored Father’s Day, Tabata!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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What is not to love about Marlon Byrd? He is one of twenty-one hitters who have 49 homeruns over the past two seasons, and is on pace this year to hit over 20 bombs again. He has been on the DL since June 2nd and just came off this past Friday. I understand the batting average is something to be concerned with, but even if that’s your issue, he is still a donkey (the flying donkey to be exact), and donkeys are useful… and they are really darn useful in fantasy baseball. You rent them like a lady-friend on a trip to Vegas, and if they bring you some winnings, you keep them around a few days to give you a place to rest your hand. Now, like our friends in Vegas, you never keep them around any longer than your trip. Byrd could be a creep-to-own, so be prepared to hold if he comes out of the gate hot. But enough about Byrd, I’ll cover him below. It’s Fathers Day today, and being that my dad introduced me to the Yardbirds, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some title-related links into the fold, as I know you enjoy it and I think it irks Jay.

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Joe Ross was spectacular again Friday night, pitching 7.1 innings, allowing just six hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out 11 Pirates. He  grabbed his second win after coming off an 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 K gem last week in Milwaukee. Owning the zone, like a Boss. Striking out hitters, like a Boss. Racking up wins, like a–Ross. Ohh. See what I did there? Ross holds a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 23/2 K/BB rate in 20.1 innings. It’s not like this is coming out of no where either, Ross has been pretty boss all year. In 50.1 innings at AA, Ross held a 54/12 K/BB rate, a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. Unfortunately, despite his boss-like tendencies of late, with Fister back and Strasburg set to return, Joe Ross is likely headed back to the minors for more seasoning. Gordon Ramsay might say any more salt would kill this dish, but the Nats and fantasy owners have to be pleased with Ross’ performance and he is certainly a name worth watching as the season goes on. Is it bad that I kind of want him to stay in the rotation over Strasburg? It is? Well, how about Roark? Maybe Doug Fister can get injured again? Here’s hoping we see Joe Ross again sooner rather than later.

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

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Yesterday, the Cubs scored seventeen runs, so enough jibber-jabbering, let’s get to it! Starting this whole she bangs, she bangs, Oliver’s got bangs in the 2nd inning, Addison Russell (2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 5th homer as he continues to hit ninth. Joe Maddoning says he’s hitting Addison ninth to take pressure off him. McNulty would call that bunk. (By the by, tell me this doesn’t look like McNulty.) Isn’t there pressure just being in the major leagues? Did Addison not see how the Cubs pushed aside Javier Baez and Arismendy from year to year? Bunk! Chris Coghlan (2-for-3, 3 runs, hitting .251) needs to hit fifth? David Ross (1-for-5, 1 run) in any lineup should be hitting ninth. There’s absolutely no reason Russell should be that low. Move him up! Then Kyle Schwarber went 4-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs in his first major leagues start, and became only the third Cub in their history to have four hits in his first major league start. The other two were two guys you never heard of, which makes this record depressing. Thanks, Elias Sports Bureau! Oh, and there’s no pressure on Schwarber as he hits sixth? Okay, I’ll let it go. I pray to the deity of your choice that Schwarber gets four hits in every game until Sunday, Miguel Montero stays injured and Epstein says, “Okay, Schwarber schways. He schways! Stays, sorry, it’s hard to say anything normal after Schwarber.” Then (Yes, it keeps going!) Chris Denorfia went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 1st homer, hitting .396. Put the microwave on defrost and stick in Ted Williams’s head! Never to be outdone (or overdue, as the case might be), Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 12th homer. Finally (I’m exhausted!), Kris Bryant (2-for-6, 4 RBIs and his 8th homer) as he grand salami’d in the ninth. You at a 2016 fantasy draft, “I need a Bryant.” *Smash* As a pie gets thrown in your face. Five over-the-internet dollars to be paid out in fake installments, if you get that reference. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?