Yesterday, Kyle Hendricks went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA (if that’s even possible at this point) to 2.09.  The Seattle museum, Experience Music Project is going to need to update their Hendricks section.  EMP Tour guide, “In 1970, Hendricks said, ‘I’m going to take my guitar, grab Janis, impregnate Afeni Shakur, have my lawyer write a letter that says Ben and/or Jerry can never name an ice cream after me while simultaneously sucking and blowing this joint.  Then thirty-six years later, I’m going to win the NL Cy Young if the BBWAA votes based on ERA.’  Now, let’s move on to our five floors of Nirvana memorabilia.  There’s some interesting flannel stories I can’t wait to share.”   No, of course, Kyle Hendricks isn’t this good.  His fastball velocity is down to 87 MPH, he’s relying heavily on a changeup that isn’t that much slower and his BABIP is absurdly low.  Not saying you drop him, but if Hendricks does win the Cy Young, in 2017, the same faith that befell Dallas Keuchel this year will happen to Hendricks too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To paraphrase Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, “America has so many enemies:  Iran, Iraq, China, Mordor, Josh Tomlin in away games, Justin Upton, Melvin Upton for the last two months, Clint Hurdle, the people on Twitter that take a trending topic and attach linkbait, Giancarlo Stanton’s groin when its injured, but not at all when its healthy, anyone that gets Mookie Betts out the once-in-a-blue-moon when someone can get him out, Clint Hurdle again, anyone that doesn’t appreciate blue raspberry, undesirable immigrants, by which I mean everyone that came after Carlos Martinez.”  Yesterday, Carlos Martinez went 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners with 13 Ks to lower his ERA to 3.07.  Thank you, come again!  From last year to this year, C-Mart’s strikeout rate is down (9.2 to 7.8), his walk rate is unchanged, his velocity is virtually the same and his xFIP is up due to a lucky BABIP.  So, what does that mean for Carlos Martinez 2017?  Random prediction alert!  I won’t be enthused about drafting him again next year, but he’ll likely be a solid #2 fantasy starter, i.e., good in a pinch, but not exciting, i.e., convenience forever, freshness never!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I’m taking us down yet another rabbit hole, into yet another JB’s-vanity-project-abyss. Although, since the last time this happened only two weeks ago, Alex Reyes made it into the rotation! He was only “OK”, and we’re not sure if he’ll be starting again for the next turn, but at least we were put on readiness!

Of course since I added this guy in the REL, I’ve been following Brock Stewart pretty intently this season. Maybe it’s because Brock is a common name we share! But really, it has to do with his under-the-radar ascension through the Minors this season. He’s dominated in the minor leagues with a 9+ K-rate, a BB-rate well under 2, including a 2.49 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 50.2 PCL innings, with a 9.59:1.07 K:BB in OKC. Overall, his MiLB numbers are a 1.68 ERA 0.86 WHIP in 20 starts, with 126:18 K:BB in 118 innings. And yet, no one seems to care about this guy since they want Jose De Leon! While many may be surprised Brock got the call yet again to spot start over De Leon with an opening in the rotation, logistically he’s on the 40-man while De Leon isn’t and there’s a roster crunch. But it’s not like Brock isn’t deserving! And he’s got pretty good stuff – 93-95 MPH fastball, hard slider, and a change-up that is oddly WAY slower than the heater at 81ish MPH.

Obviously, at the Major League level, things couldn’t be more of a polar opposite. Going into yesterday afternoon, his ERA was over 11 in two spot starts and one relief appearance. In that 3 innings of relief his last MLB appearance, he walked 4, or what would’ve been 22.2% of all the walks he’s thrown in the minors all year. Someone isn’t suited for the bullpen! And the two awful starts? One was a little unlucky with some BABIP hits @MIL, then a murdering @COL. Way to make a guy who progressed all the way from A-ball pitch in the two worst parks in the NL! So the start this afternoon, hosting the Cubs, is BY FAR his best matchup. Man, trial by fire! With Stewart so far off the radar, I am hoping that being pot committed and writing this open before the first pitch will cause some cosmic karma and help Brock throw a breakthrough game. Here’s how he looked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Ivan Nova threw a complete game with one earned run — 9 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 6 Ks — ERA at 3.20 on the Pirates, after having a 4.90 ERA on the Yankees.  This Ray Searage guy can do miracles.  People should travel far and wide to go see him with their ailments, anguish and general malaise.  “So, I was standing in line for a frappuccino and I was thinking, ‘What’s the point?’  So, what is the point, Searage?”  “Sounds like you should use the change more.”  By the way, malaise is not the actress that plays Arya Stark.  Ray Searage is a modern-day miracle worker.  Move over, Anne Sullivan!  This is also exactly what they said about Searage in regards to Juan Nicasio before he flamed out about three weeks into the season, and Gerrit Cole has been pretty gross.  Searage seems totally competent, but to think he can fix all Pirates pitchers seems foolhardy.  No relation to Tom Hardy.  I could see grabbing Nova if the matchups are right, but I’m not running out to grab him in 12 team mixed leagues.  Not simply because my computer’s at home and it makes no sense to run out anywhere.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This weekend, I went to an Ikea for the first time. First of all – you are herded through the store on a specific path like you’re being herded alongside other furniture-buying sheep.

Bahhhhhh! That bottom left frame of Buster is about how I handle crowds like that…

Anywho, at the end when you pick your furniture to buy, it’s in this giant warehouse that makes the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark look like it’s in a studio apartment’s tiny closet. Ish is huge! And that giant warehouse is exactly how I used to look at starting pitching in my 10 and 12-team waiver wires through any given MLB season. Limitless streaming opportunities – sure some with more risk than others – but pretty much a starter widely available every night that I could feel decent enough with rolling out. Alas, it’s no more, with hitting making a comeback this season. Balls are juiced! And in that vein, I’ve been overlooking a lot of the “been there, done that” pitchers that have broken through, none worse than being slow to warm up to Danny Duffy. We’ve seen him have power stuff, but not hold up as a starter, getting meh K numbers in the process. This will anger people – but I saw him as a lefty Nathan Eovaldi coming into this year. Ouch! In more ways than one! But Duffy has been absolutely crazypants this season, vaulting all the way into my top-15 last week. And through this amazing run, he hasn’t even been blessed with a Pitcher Profile! This changes now! Here’s how Duffy looked yesterday afternoon against the Twinkies:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m just gonna throw out the reason why right off the bat: I’m selfish and lazy. That’s what mid-August baseball talk is all about!

As part of my rebuilding efforts in the REL – well, I should say, my main anchor in my rebuilding efforts – I got Alex Reyes to hopefully be my staff stopper. I mean, have you SEEN the Brewers rotation?! Yikes. With some control issues and a pretty bad ERA in AAA, I wasn’t too surprised to see a fantastic arm like Reyes get the call-up anyway as a bullpener. This had been speculated upon all season – the Cards did this with their major prospects in Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez – so we’re not getting a big shock. And with Reyes called up at the same time as Luke Weaver, it appears they might piggyback each other for the foreseeable future. But Reyes clearly, CLEARLY looks like a dominant starter that’s about ready. After seeing his debut inning last Thursday night where he hit 101 twice, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an encore. Here’s how Reyes looked in his 2nd-4th career MLB innings Saturday afternoon at Wrigley:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Mookie Betts went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 8 RBIs with three homers (24, 25, 26).  In the long, storied history of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts is only the 2nd Sawx player to have two three-homer games in a season; the other is Ted Williams.  Mookie Ballgame.  The Splendid Splurger.  The Greatest Mookie Who Ever Lived With Apologies To Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock.  The You Can’t Make This Up Because Your Imagination Can’t Come Up With Anything This Beautiful.  The Hamilton Musical In Baseball Form.  The Unfrozen Ted Williams.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole — which is not the chamber Michael Jackson used to sleep in — to think Mookie Betts will be a top three hitter in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  He’s now cemented himself in the three hole in one of the best offensive parks, surrounded by a team that is always potent on offense.  Betts or Trout?  There’s a legit case for Betts, The Splendid Splurger!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the roundup, just wanted to announce our RCL fantasy football leagues are signing up.  So, go over there and rush the QB!  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t stand for Q-Bert.  Anyway II, here’s the roundup:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Milwaukee Brewers non-roster invitee Josh Hader, points to help his catcher field a wild pitch, Wednesday, February 24, 2016, in Phoenix. Arizona.(Photo/Roy Dabner) ORG XMIT: RD037

Don’t be a hader. Don’t hade the player, hade the game. Hader. Hader. Hader alligator. Alright, well maybe that last one was a bit of a stretch, but far be it from me to give it the old college try. What have I got to lose, two of my remaining eight readers? Based on the metrics available to me it seems I lost about thirty percent of my followers after I posted that article comparing Julio Urias’s eye to Sloth’s from The Goonies. If you serve it up on a silver platter you better believe I’m going to gobble it up like a bag of Doritos after a session with Tim Lincecum. Besides, that one was like hitting the ball off of a tee. Since that post I’ve been trying to figure out how I can lose another thirty percent while still providing some valuable fantasy baseball advice. Enter Josh Hader, the minor league pitcher for Milwaukee. There’s no pussy footing around it, this guy is not handsome. Talk about getting beat by the ugly stick. This guy fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. He’s so ugly he makes Willie MgGee look good. He’s so ugly his manager insists that he wear a catchers mask at all times. He looks like Randy Johnson had a baby with Jorge Cantu and that baby had a baby with Pascual Perez. You don’t have to tell me that it’s wrong to poke fun at something another cannot control, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to. Besides, it’s not like I’m making this sh!t up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was talking to a couple of friends about baseball and the necessity of pitching and we agreed that we don’t need it.  IN Fantasy that is.  Don’t get me wrong, I like pitchers and realize they are an integral part of the game; I mean someone has to throw the ball.  Or do they?  We have pitching machines already, and we don’t have to worry about them getting hurt.  All we have to do is make them look cool.  Let Kayne design them.  Nah, you say, c’mon man, that’s crazy.  I know it is; I’m just looking forward to when we have half man/half machine and full on robots like Super Baseball 2020 for the Super Nintendo (or if you were a rich kid back in the day you had it on Neo Geo).  I don’t expect we’re getting there soon, and definitely not by 2020, but when we do I will be there cheering on Barry Bonds (if anyone is getting fused with a robot to play baseball it’s him, right?).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was all about some of that young prospect snell early in the season, ranking Blake Snell within my top-75 preseason ranks. He destroyed the Minors in 2015, then was a little iffy when he hit the Majors for the first time. HE’S AWFUL FOREVER! As we see 95% of the time, initial failure means a prospect is forgotten, even if they start putting up solid numbers a month or two later.

And such was the case for Snell, who had a 3.86 ERA over his first 5 starts (passable), but a horrific 20:15 K:BB and a WHIP close to 2.00. He’s no Trevor Rosenthal! That aforementioned success in the Minors came with some control issues as well, so it stood to reason he might need a little more refinement. On top of that, I watched a few of his starts and his stuff looked a little too “loopy” for me. I have no idea if that makes sense… But it looked like a lot of huge rolling movement, with nothing crisp, ala a Corey Kluber or Jake Arrieta cutter. Just very bendy.

Things have gotten a lot better lately though, with a 24:11 K:BB heading into yesterday’s start against the Yanks in 24 innings. As such a highly regarded prospect and with good pure stuff that I think just needed that little extra “umpf” of crispness, I bought in heavily across my leagues and in last week’s ranks. But I figured it would be a good idea to see for myself if his breaking stuff looks a tad better than when I saw it in his 2nd and 3rd starts. Here’s how he looked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?