It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the off-season Rudy laid out his argument for why it’s important to maximize at-bats in fantasy leagues with daily moves (like the RCL ones). Even if the mathematical proof don’t resonate with you, there’s no denying the good vibes generated from streaming a hitter for a night and getting even just a 1-for-4 line with a run. Don’t know that feeling? Seriously, loosen up man. Do something crazy. Get black AND pinto beans on your next Chipotle burrito. Pay extra for guac. Add Mike Carp for a night. Just one.

The only downside to this strategy is time. The time it takes to sort through the options and decide who to add and who to drop. Razzball offers tools like Hitter-Tron and Stream-o-Nator to help speed up the process, but even then you have to scroll through its table to find who is available, make sure he will actually play, the game won’t be rained out, etc. For those of you with a wife, two kids, and a job, I get it. It’s tough being a loving father and winning fantasy manager.

I have no wife and zero kids so what I’m offering is to add meaning to my life and do some of that work for you. What I’ll do is scroll through Hitter-Tron, find the best players that are mostly unowned and likely to start, and present them here in an easily digestible format. My plan is to do this every Sunday and Wednesday so you can fill out your lineup on Mondays and Thursdays (the days when teams have off days and you’ll need to stream guys). Sound good? You’re not sure? Whatever, I’m not you trying to convince your girlfriend to try anal. It won’t hurt to do it once.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If any good can come from Joey Votto going to the DL with a strained quad, at least he didn’t try to play this weekend and have a set back. Well, there’s other good that can come of it. We can be thankful for our own health. Actually, that’s BS, I’d give my quad to have a healthy Votto. I don’t need my quad to type up my fantasy baseball ‘pertness. I got acumen for days! You know what a smart Indian chef uses? Acumen. Take it, Highlights magazine, it’s yours! Fortch, Votto sounds like he should be back in the minimum fifteen days. Here’s hoping, I got hard-hit singles I need hit! In tangentially related news, Reds manager, Bryan Price, said Jay Bruce would return “very, very soon,” then he was activated from the DL. I’d go as far as saying that was very, very, very soon. Bryan Price added “Very, very soon,” I will buy a thesaurus. That’s a very, very good idea! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I know, I know.  I promised everyone Dallas Keuchel, but he’s pitching tonight!  His last start was so long ago that Jose Abreu still seemed like a good guy to trade for if someone wasn’t selling too high (ack!).  So long ago that Jay Z seemed to still love his little sister-in-law!

But do not fret, I promise unless there’s a Noah-type monsoon that floods out four games, that Keuchel will be next week on his weekend start.

So in my despair when I saw Keuchel was tonight and not yesterday, I went to Twitter for some ideas and got a great one for Ryan Vogelsong.  I gotta admit – I love Vogelsong.  Helped carry me to titles in both 2011 and 2012 where he stayed undervalued for an entire 2-year stretch.  Pretty hard to do.  But 2013 was a disaster with hitters bashing him at a .299 clip, suffered a 5.73 ERA, and I guess the more appropriate adjective use of “suffer” would be for his broken hand on a comebacker.  It was in a 5-inning scoreless game too!  Talk about the worst timing, right whence he was turning it around.

In 2012, everyone ignored Vogelsong because he started the year on the DL and I think he missed all of one start.  Noobs!  To ignore him (like I obviously did) based on a terrible 2013 for a 36-year-old pitcher I think is more logical.  But he’s got his velocity back up to 2012 levels, dropped the line drive rate, and has four gems in his last five starts.  Indeed, it felt only logical to break down his start yesterday against the Marlins, and if he can indeed make another under-the-radar lasting impact on fantasy teams in 2014:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mark Ellis is considered a clubhouse leader. Listen, I’m gonna be real with you, there is no substitute for a leader in the clubhouse. These are real world intangibles you can’t quantify. Unfortch, no one has Clubhouse Leader as a fantasy category in their league, so good riddance as Kolten Wong was recalled. As Pitbull kinda says, “Hey, Mark Ellis, you’re going down, I’m yelling timber! Swing your butt, Mark Ellis is going down, he’s going down. I’m yelling timber!” Hopefully, the Cards give Wong a legit chance to play, but that’s not entirely clear yet. They should, since he could be Pedroia-like. For whatever reason the Cards seem to have a hard time going with a rookie in any kind of substantial role, but I’d still grab him in deeper mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Saturday, Jon Lester threw a gem: 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 15 Ks. Such a gem that if that were a blood diamond, diplomats from Monrovia would be lined up in the streets of Liberia for a taste of that. If that were an emerald, friends of Dorothy would stand outside of Ricky Martin’s hotel for weeks just for the chance he forgoes the hotel buffet and wants to eat out. If that were a ruby, it would stand outside a Dallas police station to cover any possible conspiracies and add fuel to other conspiracies. Lester has pitched spectacularly so far, and it’s not a product of luck. His 10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are elite. Those are fantasy ace numbers. His fastball doesn’t have renewed life, if anything he’s lost something on it. What appears to be the biggest difference is he’s almost completely abandoned his changeup and throwing his cutter a bit more. Since he’s always been good for 200 innings and has had huge success before, I’m willing to say he will hold the improvements to his rates and be an extremely reliable starter. Likely in the top 15 for the year. Yeah, he looks damn good. I want some, purdy puhlease. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note — JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note — I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Once again, the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball look a whole lot better than the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. For the first time that I can remember, I want a shortstop from the top tiers. Usually I punt shortstops along with catchers due to how bad they are, but this year it’s pretty clear 2nd basemen are worse than shortstops and I like quite a few shortstops. Hey, you gotta be malleable in this fantasy baseball game. Malleable is also a great name for a baby girl. Feel free to take it for your daughter if you so desire. As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where I think tiers start and stop and my projections. All the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Unsuccinct! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All strikeouts aren’t created equal, apparently. Holy Samardballs, are you kidding me? It was a short schedule day. There’s no middle relief disinfectant for this feces you sprayed all over my team. Why do you hurt me, Jeff Samardzija? Did I not show you enough preseason love? Did my March cuddles not warm your cockles? Did the hype get to your head? Are you better suited for football? Are you a great Scrabble word in search of a pitching repertoire? What the effin’ eff are you doing to my ratios? I GOT QUESTIONS, Y’ALL! Yesterday, his line was 3 1/3 IP, 9 ER and today he’s dropped to waivers. You can’t hold a guy who’s as explosive as bad Mexican food. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline passed in standard leagues. It’s just over. I feel like I’ve had an awesome couple of months talking to and hanging out with a girl, only to hang out with her, have an amazing night, and then find one unbelievably annoying thing about her and call everything off. It had to happen, but it still hurts. “Just try this. No, it’s not gross… it’s good. Of course the chef cooked it fine. No, it’s not going to kill you. Well how the hell do you know you don’t like if you’ve never tried it? People eat it all the time and they’re fine. Just go away. No, you’re stupid. Yes, you are stupid. No I’m not stupid, you are stupid.” Then you curse at her, she indignantly bails, and you’re left sitting there with what seems to be your pinky up your anus, a full check to pay, and some food that does actually look pretty bad. Hopefully you made your moves when you had your chance — that is, hopefully you listened to sha boi and are reaping the dividends. If not, there’s still hope, although I hate you a little. Not all keepers are acquired at the trade deadline or during a draft, but that’s obvious. At this point, we need to look at some small/disappointing/untrusted names that could pop from now until game-162, and who could see their stock skyrocket before the end of the season — we need to look at the guys we should pick up now so we can have them next year at value. Get it? Yes, you do. Know that old adage, “you’re only as good as your last game?” Well, it’s really stupid, but applies here. The ends of seasons have huge impacts on perceived value.

Quick note: so I appeal to more people, and so you’re not looking at me (my writing) and saying “HAY, I KAYNT HAFF HEEM. HE’S AWLRADDY TAYKEN,” I’ll limit it to guys who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?