On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.” I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV. It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend. Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways. After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news. I shut it off and turned to the internet. I’m still piecing together my thoughts. He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life. I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties. I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels. There’s a giant pit in my stomach. Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling. Not having fun. I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time. That exuberance came through in everything he did. I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile. How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons. “That was us. That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said. How baseball does that. How special that is. You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
“Naquin the Chef looks determined without being ruthless. Something heroic in his manner. There’s a courage about him. Comes across so calm. Acts like he has a dream. Full of passion. Well, you know why. Knock homers out of the box all the time. Pitches know his repertoire, big fly. Yeah, straight up, Naquin mess your whole team up. It’s for real though, ball connect with stick, ditto. We could trade places, ball lifted run around the bases. Word up, peace, infatuated redfaces.” I almost didn’t write the title of the Naquin the Chef song, Infatuated Redfaces, but then I was like, “There’s a team named Redskins and a mascot named Chief Wahoo, I think I’m all right.” Yesterday, Tyler Naquin kept it going with the insane run he’s been on — 3-for-4, 6 RBIs with two homers (11, 12). He now has six homers in the last ten games. That’s six homers in July to go with his six homers in June. As I said back in spring training when I saw Naquin play, he had a nice stroke against righties, but looked kinda gnarly vs. lefties. Looks like a 17/17 player that needs to platoon. Right now, his power’s way above that, but will likely come down to earth at some point. Of course, I’d still own him now. Word up, peace, infatuated redfaces. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here’s what I said this offseason, “Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals. This is something I don’t usually do. Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten. But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh? He’s listed at six-six and 230. He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing. Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.” With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast. (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, an idiom that never made any sense to me. If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything? It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right? I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.) Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year. If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH. He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have about no chance of hitting it. A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors. With speed comes no control, to sound like a drunk Yoda. Or does it?! Snap, reversed on that. No, Giolito has control too. 97 MPH with command? I’ll say it for you, hummna-hummna. Oh, and his strikeout pitch is his hard breaking curve. In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way. Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos. He could be special, and TMZ spotted Pacino shopping for eighteen-inch stilettos, so that could be a good sign.” And that’s me quoting me! He should be added in all leagues, like yesterday. To put just the tiniest bit of dampers in these happiness diapers, Kershaw had a 4.26 ERA his rookie year in 107 2/3 IP. Rookies give roofies and take your kidneys. Hashtag truth. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: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?
Yesterday, Matt Harvey (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 6.08) briefly held the honor of having the worst ERA of any National League starter at 6.08, which means Harvey is the only one happy with Shelby Miller this year. It’s time we addressed the giant imaginary rabbit in the room, Harvey. The Mets thought that Harvey’s problems were mental and considered burning all of his locker’s contents to rid him of the bad juju. Can you put his “animosity for Terry Collins” in the locker too? How about his “bitterness at not being the star pitcher anymore?” Does that fit in a locker? What about “brooding?” Does brooding fit in a locker? Someone needs to salve Harvey’s ego with some Jergen’s lotion because you can see his buttsoreness (totally a word!). His velocity looked fine yesterday, but his slider is not being located with precision. Also, check this: 1st time through the order facing Harvey: .241/.292/.373; second time: .301/.326/.518; third time: .509/.563/.764. What does that tell me? He’s having a hard time keeping his pitches fresh the 2nd and 3rd time a hitter sees him, which goes back to the slider. I don’t think his problems are unfixable, but he may need a trip to the Disgraceful List with a mysterious ailment to clear his head and figure out his slider. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Sonny Gray hit the Disgraceful List with a combination of ineffectiveness and Grey calling him a preseason schmohawk. My schmohawks: Schwarber, Pollock, Gray, Tulo and Sano. If I were Sano, I’d move into the giant bubble that Tulo is apparently living in to still be healthy. Seriously, if you were placing odds in the preseason on which one of those would hit the DL, Tulo would be 10 to 1 odds as the first one; Pollock likely 2nd since he was nursing an elbow issue in the preseason; third would be Schwarber because he was playing a position he had no business playing and bound to run into a wall; finally, Gray because I put the kavorka on my namelganger, which is a magic spell so hideous that no amount of Creoles with an unlimited supply of chickens to sacrifice could reverse that hex. By the by, everything I know of Creole black magic I learned from Angel Heart. Gray has a 6+ ERA, so you can DL him if you have room, but I could see just dropping him if you don’t. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jose Altuve is on pace for 60 homers. He can’t even reach the cereal in the morning! If an opposing manager were to ask to see Altuve’s bat, they would crack it open to reveal gumballs because he’s the leader of the lollipop guild. If the major leagues were to institute a Daffy Duck ‘You Have To Be This Tall’ sign before getting to the batter’s box, Altuve would need his mother to escort him into the batter’s box every time. That’s assuming she’s tall enough! If she’s not, who does he get? His uncle? Erik Kratz? If might were height, Jose Altuve would be a giant. That much is true. I love that lil’ bugger! I want a Teddy Ruxpin in the shape of Altuve to cuddle at night. Last night, he went 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th homer, hitting .330. So, the question is, can he keep it up? Up is not a word I associate with Altuve, and, no, he can’t keep it up. No one could keep up this pace. Of course, he’s still a .315 hitter with an easy 110 runs, 35 steals and 70 RBIs, i.e., a top ten bat. So, keep it up? No, not without four phonebooks under him. Do enough to make you glad you didn’t sell high? As a French dwarf would say, “Wee!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Matthew Wisler threw a gem yesterday — 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 Walks, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.24. Or if you like portmanteaus and/or vomit — Matthrew up a gem. By the by, after anyone says their name is Matthew, do you always want to say, “Gesundheit?” “Name for the cup?” “Matthew.” “Wow, it’s allergy season, huh?” That’s me as a barista, a job I never had. I’ve actually held one real job in my entire life. I’m like Mark Cuban without the money. Since I own Wisler in more leagues than I care to admit, I watched the whole game. Prolly first time I watched one of my pitchers while listening to the opposing broadcast, but you cannot beat the Mets announcers for a broadcast booth or for stories about insane cocaine intake in the 80s. Wisler was dancing a 94 MPH fastball just at the knees, spinning a backdoor curve that had Neil Walker look more like Neil Statue. Duda? Go take a doodie, it’d be more productive than facing Wisler! Asdrubal? Well, he actually hit the ball hard. Quite a few Mets did. It was like, “Matthew! Damn, I think I caught something,” and the Braves would look up with a ball in their glove. So, Wisler’s performance last night was a gorgeous line, but I wouldn’t go near him outside of the deepest of leagues. In shallower leagues, Matthew? God bless you for last night, but I don’t need those tissues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
“Hi, I work in the front office for the Twins and I’m ordering lunch. I was wondering what you have that’s old that you can give us a discount on. Can you eat old pork? Hmm, let’s try it with extra sauce. John Ryan Murphy briefly converted to Judaism, or so he wrote in 6-point font inside his lined notebook where he talked about murder, but he’s back to the gentile side of things. I’d also like to know if any of your very old or very young employees want to join our pitching staff. We can’t pay them in money, but Byung ho Park and Kurt Suzuki often wrestle together, reenacting Foxcatcher, and it’s just fun to be around when that happens. Gotcha, okay, just send the old pork then!” Incredibly, the Twins reached into their oh-so-deep pockets, pulled out some lint and decided to call up their top pitching prospect, Jose Berrios. He’s only been ready for about three years now; crazy to start his clock now when they could’ve held him down in Triple-A for another five years. Never underestimate the Twins’ frugality. It’s FRU-JOUL-LAY, it’s Italian! Here’s what I said previously about him, “A team like the Tigers would’ve promoted Berrios about two years ago. No fear, John Deere, Berrios is still only 21 years old. I’ve seen people peg Berrios as having #3 fantasy starter upside, but I see him landing eventually with a barely-2 BB/9 and 9 K/9 from his mid-90s MPH fastball and plus-curve. That makes him a borderline fantasy ace in the making. Of course, as a rookie, there will be stretches where he doesn’t look like that, but want a guy that could come on and give you a Shelby Miller in 2015-type year? Berrios has that potential.” And that’s me quoting me! Yes, I’d grab him, yes, in your league too. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As George Bush Jr. once said, “Fool me once, shame on you, you can’t fool me again because we won’t get fooled again,” then he was joined by Pete Townshend in a duet that made sense at the time, but now seems inconceivable. GB was right on, and that’s how I initially felt about Matt Moore. How many times could we be fooled by this guy? What’s that? Twelve? I was asking that rhetorically, I didn’t want a number. Why did you just say thirteen? I don’t want a number! Whether it is twelve, thirteen or one time fooled, it doesn’t *pinkie to mouth* Matt-er. Yesterday, Moore went 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 baserunners with 10 Ks. He now has a 10.3 K/9 and a 1.5 BB/9. That walk rate, I mean muah. That with a 8 K/9 would have me interested. With a 10+ K/9? Yes, please and thank you, to get politely excited. On a related note, not sure how this happened, but I have an abundance of AL East pitchers in different leagues. Great, terrific, adjective, except when they face New York, Boston and Toronto, which is basically every game. FMFBBL! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?