Anthony Rendon was cleared for baseball activities, which meant he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust his jockstrap with no pain. Then he reported discomfort when he bent his knee. Matt Williams, singing a’la Weird Al, said, “Rendon’s Opening Day is in jeopardy…Baby…Ooh…” Honestly, I feel like I’m in a pickle wrapped in a can’t-win-shituation surrounded by a chimichanga of head scratching with a Mexican saying, “No lo se,” and me saying, “No lose? More like no win, Jose!” We’re still two weeks away from Opening Day and Rendon could be fine by the end of the first week, which means he’ll miss maybe 25 ABs, which is nothing in the big picture. Dock him 3 runs, 2 RBIs and four hits and move on. This could actually be a buying opportunity in drafts if he falls too far. But if he’s downplaying his injury as every player who has been injured does, then he could struggle, hit the DL for a month or two and have a lost season. He never had blazing speed, so I worry that he might not steal with the knee injury or at least not as much in the early part of the year. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis I lowered him out of my top 10 and into my top 20 where I’d be more comfortable drafting him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I joined Funston, Behrens, Pianowski, Dalton Del Don, Not The Noise (someone drafted using Brad Evans name, but it wasn’t him), Rudy, Paul Singman and others. Since Singman writes for us now, we’re up to three writers in the Friends & Family draft held at Yahoo. Within ten years, it’s going to be 14 Razzball writers vs. Funston, and Funston will prolly still win after only drafting Howie Kendrick. I’m not being entirely facetious, Razzball’s results in this league have been less-than-stellar. I don’t mention this to be modest — modesty’s for nuns! — I tell you this to preamble my reasons for drafting Billy Hamilton. I feel like my Friends & Family mojo is leaking oil, the carburetor is coughing up fumes and I’m on the side of the road, with my skirt hiked up, and no one’s stopping. So, I decided to draft someone I have never drafted before and paid full price, to boot! (By the by, when I go to Italy, I like to shout, “To boot!”) Well, enough about me, more about my team! Anyway, here’s my 15-team, 5×5, roto, Friends & Family fantasy baseball draft:

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Alex Cobb left his start the other day with forearm tightness, but he’s not concerned. “Not concerned with forearm tightness” is now the number two reason for Tommy John surgery. Number one is “torn UCL.” The number three reason is “I feel great!” If we have one more pitcher say, “I feel great,” without someone else saying they’re “not concerned with forearm tightness,” then it will be a dead heat and could come down to Tanaka’s translator chiming in with how Masahiro feels. A pitcher and manager’s reporting on an arm issue is like reading a Yelp review written by the owner of the restaurant. “I didn’t know scalloped potatoes could be so sublime!” And I didn’t know I had to avoid every other starter in drafts, but here we are. Cobb says he should only miss his Opening Day start, but I’ve lowered Cobb way down in my top 400 and into my top 60 starters to a tier where I would not draft him. There’s enough to worry about when drafting a team, don’t get too cute with “Well, so-and-so fell so far I figured I’d give him a chance even though his arm is dangling at every joint.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, there’s one schmohawk post I don’t have to write, right? Stutterer! Yu Darvish left a game the other day with a tight triceps. That’s what the she-dinosaur said! Huh? Then, this past weekend, it was announced he’s a candidate for Tommy John surgery. Stop sullying the word candidate with your surgery, Tommy John! I wonder if the whole -san suffix for names like Daniel-san gets confusing with Tommy John. Thomson John? Tommy Johnson? Thomson Johnson? It’s no secret that I didn’t like Darvish coming into this year. For my foray into pannin’ Asian, too much risk was attached to his arm for where people were drafting him. His NFBC ADP was 43 prior to this news, so you had to start thinking about him in the 3rd round. No thanks, Yu, I said. Of course, when I told you in my top 40 starters post to avoid him, I was beat up in the comments for losing my way. Yu was the greatest pitcher since sliced bread that had a portrait of Hello Kitty on it! Don’t Yu know, Grey?! Yu can strike out so many something-somethings that you should want to bear his children, then one day shout at him in divorce court, “These are all Yus!” I had Yu in a tier named, “Not touching them with a nine-foot pole that has twelve one-inch straws taped to its end.” One person in the comments on the top 40 starters said, “Phil Hughes ranked above Darvish, I’ve seen everything now.” Then there was someone else arguing for Darvish’s dignity like they fought with Darvish in The Great War. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I’m saying I told you so by saying I don’t want to say I told you so. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear to you, they’re gonna drive me nuts. All of them. Mookie and Rusney and Victorino and Hanley and everyone in that dugout that gets a preseason talk from Schilling about all the good PR you can get from ketchup on a sock. I’m gonna go stand on a street corner with a cardboard sign that reads, “Will work for clarity on the Red Sox outfield situation.” Hey, H&R Block, can I write off clarity on my taxes? The Red Sox said early this week that Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will split time in center to see who will win the job. I originally placed Betts at a 10 to 1 long shot to win the job, pun intended and noted. Then Castillo strained his oblique. Oblique with no clarity is just perfect. As I mentioned in our first podcast of the year, the Red Sox are gonna be a mess for fantasy value vs. playing time. There’s so many scenarios that could happen — Hanley can’t play outfield, goes to short and Bogaerts goes to the bench; Rusney and Betts platoon; Betts looks great and Rusney gets benched; Rusney looks great and Betts goes to the minors; Rusney and Betts both look just okay and Nava plays well; Victorino gets hurt and Rusney and Betts both play; Allen Craig looks good and Betts and Rusney are benched. Okay, the last one has no chance, but you get the idea. Rusney’s health should be fine by Opening Day, but the oblique injury obviously puts him behind Mookie now. I’ve lowered Rusney into my top 60 outfielders and changed his projections. I’m sure this will change again by tomorrow. Brucely, I think the only one guaranteed playing time in the outfield is Hanley (assuming he can handle it, and doesn’t Hanley it), unless there’s injuries, which there likely will be. It’s a shituation of Old Testament, swarm of locust proportions. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wish filling out your fantasy roster with middle relievers was as easy as plop-plop, fizz-fizz.  But I’m sure it isn’t, because not everyone is using the same model of success.  I can dig that, I mean, I come from a long line of Smokeys that like the art of shoveling.  Listen, I get it if you don’t wanna help your team-rates and ratios by adding guys that are stout in production for basically free at the end of your draft.  Streaming relievers is a real thing, I didn’t make it up.  It does exist, and it lives in the house between Nessy and Sasquatch.  It’s not for the faint of heart and is probably not for everyone.  It is about optimizing your free innings (very useful in RCL leagues that have games started limits, which everyone wants to win).  It’s a basic theory and the patent is pending, so stick around as I get into the art of streaming relievers. And as an added bonus, I have broken down the MR corps into four separate groups.  These groups are broken down by usefulness.  We have one for straight cuffs, one for rates and holds, a straight holds, and then some stone cold sleepers for you deep-leaguers.

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Ah, the stretch run and the second to last Holds post of the year.  If your not streaming RP at this point to your advantage, I don’t know what else to tell you but to give me your password, and just get ready for Sunday fundays.  It’s not Sunday is it?  Because I can’t talk about it with it around, because it slowly consumes me, then beats me, steals all my money, and makes me feel like that time at the water park.  Sorry, sidetracked on terrible memories.  So Drew Storen has popped up and taken the reigns until Soriano figures out why seven ate nine.  I have heard that people are questioning why Tyler Clippard isn’t in there trying to win one for the skipper.  It’s easy, but has multiple levels to it.  First, you don’t take your best reliever out of the key spot, and that’s setting up and clinching the game for you. Rhis is documented by Clippard dominating in appearances with the lead over the last 30 days.  The second is– Storen, who will be awfully expensive next year, while pitching effective, is basically being showcased and used to keep Rafael Soriano from getting his guaranteed 15 million doll hairs next year.  You heard me: 15 million.  Which becomes guaranteed at 120 games finished, he currentlly sits at 104.  The moon landing, JFK, and keeping Rafi Soriano from getting duckets. Conspiracy theories or truth, all I can do is type it… hold on, Oliver Stone is on the phone.  Stick around for some snippets of relief pitching lore and a flashy chart made from unicorn tears…

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Rosters are just about to go from Foster’s oil cans to forties for our annual tradition of getting completely wasted on rookie nookie. I remember in September of 1997, this young talkative player debuted. He could spin a yarn as well as he could spin his bat. That player had modest power in the minors and was hitting .361 in Triple-A at the time of his call-up. His name: Sean Casey. He had a solid career, hitting for modest power and a solid average. Later he became more known for his defense. Not with his glove, but how hitters would purposely not get a hit so they didn’t have to stand on first and hear him talk. He’d say there’s nothing a good conversation can’t defend. What is all of this getting at? That first year Sean Casey was called up, he didn’t do anything. Looked totally overmatched. Now if I would’ve dropped Ryan Klesko to grab Sean Casey, I would’ve missed out on a damn fine September from Klesko. If that happened, it may have shook my confidence in the great game of baseball and the ability to grow sideburns, and maybe I would’ve never have went on to become the fantasy baseball ‘pert you’ve grown to love and secretly dream up of scenarios where we’re hanging out and sharing a burrito. A parallel universe none of us want to imagine. So, be careful about who you drop in the coming days as players are called up. I love Joc Pederson, I’ll probably make him my preseason NL Rookie of the Year next year, but this year he may not even have a starting job.* *Fantasy Players who read this also searched for Kevin Maas, Sam Horn and Nadir Bupkis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The problem you’re having with your innings limit is everyone’s problem with just five weeks to go. The combative strategy against this is to use a familiar SP option for streaming, but this time, use it for RP.  The concept is sound, and is an effective method for leagues without limits, kinda like doctors without borders, but with mitts and jerseys.  So here’s how it goes: find the guys you’re streaming on your roster for SP, but instead, find an effective middle reliever or two or three. Get greedy, as they help in groups, kinda like the non-anime version of Voltron.  These RP stream guys don’t have to be elite names, as most of them are going to be owned already, but if they aren’t, lets start there.  You wanna focus on guys that have a K-rate above 10, which cuts the available guys you want in half. Next, pay attention to their opponent and their teams record… both important. Guys on contenders get used more frequently in better situations. Lastly, and this is important, as soon as they pitch, dump them and pick up a guy who hasn’t pitched that day or the day before to maximize your usable stats. I don’t care how well they did in the game you streamed them in.  He pitched? Now he’s is gone. Forget about em. Pretty simple. No? I’ll draw it in crayon, but put on this helmet so we don’t have any liability issues. (If you pick the right guys that is.)  Stick around for some pretty charts and tidbits of fantasy goodness…

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Adam Wainwright went 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 5 Ks as he was out-dueled by Jeff Locke (7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks). Wainwright being out-dueled seems to be the norm lately. In August, his ERA is 5.17 and he says he’s going through a ‘dead arm’ phase. Ways that a dead arm could help (in no particular order): tricking a zombie while playing dead, making your other arm feel more alive, doorstop, can’t pick up a bill because your wallet is in the dead arm pocket, screaming out “Sorry, dead arm!” when cutting off people while driving and making your Bernie Lean more believable. Ways that a dead arm won’t help: pitching. Verlander’s arm must be so dead that necrophiliac stray dogs try to constantly hump it. You have to hold onto Wainwright and hope he comes out of it, but obviously this was not what you wanted to hear. By the by, Rudy tells me after he learned his wife was preggers with twins he went through a ‘dead penis’ phase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?