Nothing captures a reader’s interest more than an Al Gore reference. At this point in the long fantasy baseball season you don’t need me to tell you that Jarrod Dyson is a good pickup for SAGNOF. Likewise, it’s not in anybody’s best interest for me to write a thousand words on a player who may only hold steals value in some deep AL-only league. However, there are still schedules to look at and several players that have speed were called up to their respective clubs in the past week. Billy Burns of the Athletics didn’t do much with his first stint in the majors, but could chip in a steal or three down the stretch even if his role is as a pinch runner. Likewise for Terrance Gore of the Royals. Gore stole 47 bags in the minors this season and was caught only seven times. In 2013 he swiped 68 bags and was caught only 8 times. Gore has already recorded a steal as a pinch runner and should see opportunities for more of the same in the weeks ahead. Other speedy call-ups include Jonathan Villar, Dalton Pompey, and Aaron Hicks.

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Last week was about speculating which players might be getting the call this September and providing any kind of fantasy value in redraft leagues. With September now a week old, we have the names of the players who have indeed been added to rosters. With all of these call-ups, it’s important to remember that playing time could be sparse and their impact in a 12-team standard mixed league may be minimal. However, those of us who are playing in deeper leagues or keepers may have been rostering some of these players already. In that case their call-ups are more meaningful. They can add depth to the fantasy roster and sometimes it’s just fun to get a look at someone you’ve been hoarding in your NA spot or on your farm. Additionally, just because September 1st has come and gone doesn’t mean more players can’t be added as the month progresses and the MiLB playoffs come to an end. We’ll take a look at the pitchers next time, but for now let’s dive into some of the bats that got the call to the majors this past week…

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Two of the smaller pieces that stand to gain value after Thursday’s massive trade deadline are Tiger center fielders Ezequiel Carrera and Rajai Davis. The two will see all of the starts in center now that Austin Jackson has been traded. Davis should see the majority of playing time between the two speedsters, but Carrera could still be good for SAGNOF in some deep leagues or AL-only leagues. The 27-year-old had stolen 43 bases in the minors prior to his call up and while he only played a handful of games with the Indians last season, he stole 43 bags in the minors in 2013 as well. Meanwhile Davis started in center and led off both Friday and Saturday. The Jackson trade was really a big boost to Davis owners, since playing time had been his biggest concern and now he’ll get a shot to play every day in center.

For those looking to gamble on Carrera it’s worth mentioning that he bats left-handed while Davis bats from the right side. This could shift Davis’s value in the wrong direction should he begin to yield starts with right-handers on the mound. I don’t think it happens, but it’s worth keeping an eye on if Davis slumps. Carrera could also see a few starts for defensive reasons, as Davis posted a -3.8 UZR in left prior to the trade and center field isn’t exactly easier to play. However, Davis came up in the minors playing center field so expecting Carrera to play over him for defense is still a bit of a stretch. All in all, it’s just a situation worth monitoring if you’re a Davis owner or play in a deep league (15-team+) where Carrera is readily available. Here are some other steals options for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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With the Twins saying th-th-that’s all Fuld, it opened up a spot for Kennys Vargas in their lineup. My God, they killed Kennys (with kindness by promoting him)! He’s a David Ortiz clone. Too bad the Twins can’t have the real thing. Oh, wait. They used to! Oh, God, Twins, you fell for the oldest trick in the book, mon. Hopefully they don’t trade Lil Papi for a piece of spearmint gum the Red Sox find on the Pesky Pole. “So, you’re saying Denis Leary once touched this gum? We’ll take it!” The Twins trade for once-touched-by-Denis-Leary gum, and execs are lauded by Twins fans! Here’s the thing, if the Twins were in a different market, their moves that are ‘lauded by their fans’ would not be lauded. Sorry, but it’s true. People in Minnesota are too kind. With that said, I do like Vargas and he looks like he’s going to play every day. You don’t become Lil Papi without some power and Vargas has it to spare. In Double-A, he had 17 homers in 356 ABs, and a rock solid OBP and K-rate. He slugs, but doesn’t do it like most sluggers with huge strikeouts. He could hit .275 and 25+ homers over the course of the season, and I’m going to like him a lot next year if he has a starting job (which he should). For this year, I’d take a flyer on him if I needed power. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Last night, Melky Cabrera hit two homers. Watch out, Melky’s lactating home runs! Sorry, I cribbed that from Rotowire’s notes. Kidding. Of course. Imagine you clicked on a player’s name on another site and the first thing it said was Melky’s lactating home runs. Only it would probably be more like this, “Melky has found his groove this year, especially vs. right-handers, who he’s hitting .330 against. In the power department, he’s lactating equally against righties and lefties.” Snooze! Wake me when you’re not regurgitating numbers. Tell me how you’re glad mom slept with the Melk Man. Or tell me how Melky and Coco Crisp had a threesome that they would refer to later only as a ménage à breakfast. Give me the Juicy Juice with an extra straw! Or give me the obvious, Melky has been a number one outfielder, ranking in the top 15 outfielders on our Player Rater. He’s being sustained by runs, RBIs and average that I won’t put much faith in next year, which will almost definitely make him overrated, but we’ll ferry cross that Melky when we come to it. (Note: We did not give Melky the lede in exchange for free web development.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psych! Before we get into the roundup, I just wanted to point you to our fantasy football leagues. They are signing up now. Go there, and sign up for them. You can win expensive, custom-made prizes! No, not a mohair toupee! Who are you, Bud Selig? Anyway II, the roundup:

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The Futures Game was yesterday, and while I’m writing this post prior to the game actually being played, here’s about what I’d expect the broadcast booth banter to sound like – “Player X has a lot of loud tools. He has a bright future in the bigs. This kid is going to be a perennial All-Star. Comps, hyperbole, etc.” Sounds cynical, but unfortunately there are no crystal balls. It’s fun to dream on these guys, though, and really that’s what the Futures Game is all about to me – showcasing the best young talent in the game at the moment. Be sure to check out the Futures Game edition of the Minor Accomplishments series from Chris yesterday. On this short week let’s see if there are any players in the minors we should have our eye on from a steals perspective. Players like George Springer, Gregory Polanco, Mookie Betts, and most recently Arismendy Alcantara have already come up this year. They all have the ability to make an impact in the stolen base department. So let’s see who’s next. Whether they are close to the bigs or a ways away, these players should make an impact when their time comes.

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…And by “IBS”, I don’t mean irritable bowel syndrome. In this context, I mean BABIP verified by ISO and Spd scores. Two things induce my real life IBS: nutrition, and my high impact dynasty leagues. Consider this series your dynasty IBS treatment.

BABIP has little face, so I use ISO (isolated slugging) and Spd (FG’s speed score) to verify the BABIP.

Check out Part 1 of this series where I delved into Trois-A assets. While Joc Pederson and Gregory Polanco naturally lead the rankings in conjunction with Quad-A guys like Andrew Brown and Chris Dickerson, I pointed to some translatable future impact in Chris Taylor and Domingo Santana, among others.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (13) | 2012 (1) | 2011 (14) | 2010 (24) | 2009 (21)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [86-76] NL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Syracuse
AA: [77-65] Eastern League – Harrisburg
A+: [84-55] Carolina League – Potomac
A: [80-57] South Atlantic League – Hagerstown
A(ss): [26-49] New York-Penn League — Auburn

Graduated Prospects
Anthony Rendon (2B/3B); Tanner Roark (RHP); Taylor Jordan (RHP)

The Run Down
Once again, the Nationals are sporting an exciting group of prospects, with fantasy intrigue at every level of the org.  Even after graduating Anthony Rendon and Taylor Jordan, and then trading away Robbie Ray, this Washington farm is still primed to churn out big league productivity for the next handful of years.  If there’s a weakness to this top ten, it’s that a handful of the prospects listed are on the wrong side of the age curve, developmentally.  That sort of trend needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  You can’t write a prospect off simply because he’s 25 — there are other variables to consider.  And having had the chance to weigh the risk, I’m not overly concerned with that aspect of the Nationals farm.

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