Put down the turkey leg and up your bandwidth. This is the part where we all huddle around the warm glow of our computer screens to watch streaming video from countries not buried in seven feet of snow. Dust off your Spanish dictionary – it’s time for the winter leagues. Granted there will be names you’ve never heard of but there are cheerleaders…and prospects. There are also some major leaguers getting in the extra reps before we put a bow on 2014. Several leagues playing now will continue until the end of December, but the majority of the players we follow are concentrated in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, so we’ll roll with them for the most part. Just like the AFL, these are small sample sizes and the competition varies, but some performances stand out and are worth mentioning. Plus dynasty players don’t know the meaning of the word offseason. Here, in no particular order, are some of the players that have stood out to me in the winter leagues so far (stats through Friday)…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was the first day of autumn; this demands a poem. I call this, “Naked Prince Fielder Has The Definition Of Melted Tootsie Rolls.” The passing of summer; it’s a total bummer. Word, word, word; man, I’ve gotten dumber. Michael Brantley was da bomb; Napoli’s mom has got it going on. Jose Abreu would’ve been a sweet draft pick; Frank Thomas sued him for copyright infringement. Kershaw’s FIP is 1.87 on all hitters; Sonny Gray’s got selective dyslexia, using my teams for his personal shitter. Everything will be okay in this final week; Avisail Garcia is on a streak! Garcia went deep twice yesterday for his 6th and 7th homers. If he’s out there, of course you grab him. I’d prefer to talk about Avisail Garcia for 2015 fantasy baseball. He was a preseason sleeper this year, and he will be again in fifteen-after-twenty because he missed five months this year with an injury. Yes, he looks like Miggy, but he doesn’t act like Miggy. He’s a 20/20 type guy without killing you on average. In this injury-plagued year, his stats don’t look exactly as he has in the past, but that’s probably due to shutting it down in April and starting it up in August. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years we look back at this year and see how it didn’t portend anything. Unless he really did learn how to take a walk, as he’s shown this year. Though, I kinda doubt it. I expect he’s a line drive machine, 17-20 homer and 15-steal guy with a solid-enough average. Think what you were expecting from Brantley, rather than what you ended up with. Now smoke a spliff! Oh, wait, I stopped rhyming about ten lines ago. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’ve been scouring all your picture books for a proper fantasy hitter in the final week, look no further. Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-4 with his 19th home run and two RBI last night. Arcia has a nice little six-game hitting streak, with four homers in that stretch. To be fair, however, he’s also sat four games in that span with a tweaked muscle in his upper back. Injury concerns aside, Oswaldo is destroying baseballs when he’s on the field. In his past six games, he’s clubbed four homers and with 8 RBI. He’s slugging .858 in the past two weeks while batting over .400, and with 19 homers (12 at cavernous Target Field) in 94 games, he’s got serious power and might be someone to consider on draft day next year. He’s worth the pick up in all leagues if you need some pop in the final week of the season. Oswaldo could power you to fantasy glory. He’s missed some time in the past few days, but he hasn’t shown any ill effects of the injury while on the field, so hopefully this back injury is behind him for the most part. Get it!?  Ha! Either way that shouldn’t discourage you from picking him up this hot little potato while he’s mashing.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know a hitter is going well when I look to pick him up, see he’s taken, then look again a few hours later to make sure I wasn’t incorrect the first time. Then I call over Cougs and tell her to look up the player, just to make sure I’m not missing something. Then I summon my dog to the computer, and he’s good for nothing, but he does look cute trying to work a mouse. Then I call up our neighbor, who is a reverse Cougar — have I ever mentioned that we have a neighbor who is in her thirties and dates only guys in their late-70’s? Daddy issues much? Plus, she takes on the old doodes’ personas, going to the library to use a computer, eating dinner at 4 PM, calling everyone “Sonny” — and my neighbor at the library doesn’t even see the player, so I know I missed out. Yet, this hitter is only owned in 30% of leagues, so he’s available somewhere, he must be! In the last week, Norichika Aoki is hitting .517. That’s not a misprint. In fact, it’s not even a print; it’s typed on a screen. Sure, he rivaled Nadir Bupkis for the least amount of fantasy value given between April and August, but he’s on fire now. I’d grab him in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to look right in your eye and say, “I don’t know where Jacob deGrom‘s coming from.” Don’t turn away from me. *turns your face by chin* Look at me. I don’t know everything. I’m sorry. I know that upsets you like finding out that Santa Claus is really just a drunk man in a costume. I apologize profusely if you didn’t know that about Santa too. It hurts me to ruin your naivete more than anything. Your child-like innocence is what originally drew me to you. Alas, we’ll find something else. Like deGrom, for instance, we can discover him together. In Triple-A, deGrom had a 6.8 K/9 this year, and 7.5 last year. Always had nice control, but he has a 9 K/9 in the majors. You don’t see guys often jump up a pedigree when they go from the minors to the majors. He’s always featured nice command, which is the key here. When a guy can command his pitches and then learns how to throw a new pitch that is special, he can use it effectively. So, what did he learn? Supposedly, Johan Santana gave him the secret sauce recipe for The Change. Another key is his velocity. This isn’t a guy who is adding a new pitch with 89 MPH velocity. He throws his fastball in the mid-90’s. Throw one pitch in the mid-90’s and another dropped in around 84 and you have a recipe for Ks. As was the case yesterday — 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 13 Ks — when the Marlins were like Farmer Ted striking out at deGrom. Still think he’s closer to a high-7/low-8 K-rate guy with a mid-3 ERA, but it’s still a lot better than I thought he was when he came up. Now let’s move past this lapse of judgment by me and try to enjoy ourselves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Madison Bumgarner threw a near-perfect game vs. the Rockies, ending with a one hitter and 13 Ks. Tim Lincecum was the first one to congratulate him, saying, “I’ll see you in the bullpen in two months.” Then Lincecum laughed, a hallow, empty laughter and his eyes glazed with what appeared to be tears. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive that even Gattis said, “I’d bunk in a cardboard box with that Bum anytime.” Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Brian Sabean altered Bumgarner’s contract, making him twelve years older. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Giants fans didn’t roll their eyes when someone had white wine with a burger. On the year, Bumgarner has a 3.02 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and is about as consistent as a starter that you can find. Oh, and he’s only 25 years old. *Homer Simpson drool* Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grab Luke Gregerson! Ah, that’s how you start a post. Some sweet, sweet SAGNOF. It’s like when I walk into a room and it just lights up. Guys and four girls be going, “Ooh, what’s his name, and can I get his number?” My mustache is yours. *eye wink* There’s plenty of me to go around. On the other hand (wasn’t that the first hand?), there hasn’t been that many closer jobs changing hands (there’s those hands again). This weekend us save chasers caught a lucky break when Sean Doolittle came down with a strained intercostal. Yes, he strained the highway that runs down the side of Florida. What the H do I know? Handsome, that’s the H I know. Now, go grab Gregerson and come back for some straight fantasy flavor from the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it, thank you). UPDATE: A’s said they might go to or Eric O’Flaherty, the dad from Freaks and Geeks. I’d grab both Gregerson and O’Flaherty until the situation worked itself out. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If Miggy were a Russian nesting doll, the first doll under him would be Avisail Garcia. They look like so similar they could do Sister, Sister-type stunts. “I don’t want to face Felix Hernandez today, you take my jersey and you face him…Then take my algebra exam.” “Okay, sis, but you have to go out with Bobby for me. Pinky swear!” That’s them conspiring to use their physical similarities on unsuspecting people. (Bee tee dubya, I’ve never seen an episode of Sister, Sister, and if I missed the general gist of the show, I apologize to all the prankster twins reading for generalizing. But, I will say, twins should apologize for looking similar, it’s disconcerting. The first time you see them you have to ask yourself, “Am I on peyote right now? No, I’m not, I’m looking at a twin.” Any the hoo!) Comparing him to Miggy doesn’t give the whole picture of Avisail. Well, it does, but, okay, bad choice of words. It doesn’t tell you what kind of hitter Avisail is. He’s not a 40-homer hitter. At least not yet. He has some speed, even stole 20 bases one year in the minors, when he was only 18 years old. He also probably won’t hit for more than 25 homers all of next year. He can hit for a solid average. Last year, while only 21 years old for half the year (no, he doesn’t have two birthdays a year; I mean he was 21 for half the season), he hit .370 in the minors. He reminds me more of a young Matt Holliday — think around 25 HRs, 15 SBs and .315. Definitely someone I would be aggressive about in keepers. As for this year, now that he’s fully recovered from his torn labrum, an injury that sounds like it would happen to a gymnast, he’s someone I’d look at in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Richards is talking to trainers but remains on back. Injury appears to be serious.” That’s how the news was tweeted out yesterday by the Angels beat writer. If Agatha Christie were around today, she’d adapt that tweet and name the novel, 140 Characters On A Train Wreck. Then it would be re-released after a train disaster with its new title, The Pitcher’s Trap. No matter the title, there was and will only be one antagonist, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who gets his jollies from the misery of fantasy baseballers. You sit on his lap; he says, “What do you want this season?” “A healthy pitcher.” “Ho, ho, ho, no.” Arm injury, oblique, hip impingement, parallel parking impingement because of a stupid cone, broken toe, Tommy John surgery, Tomas Juan surgery in Mexico, forearm strain and now a knee. The Angels best options are Wade “Joey” LeBlanc, Randy “Team Jacob” Wolf and Chris “Lord” Volstad. They are all horror shows. Mean’s while, it sounds like Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, but hopefully will be fine for next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ‘em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?