Yu Darvish hit the DL with elbow inflammation.  In Grey’s 2nd half rankings, he said, “BAM!  What?  (Darvish) should be in the top 20 with the rest of the big-name pitchers, but I’m worried about an injury, so I ranked him much lower and that gets a BAM!”  And that’s me quoting Grey!  Dayum, son, Grey called that one.  Sure, he called it so long ago that no one even remembers it, but he called it neverthehoo!  Actually sounds a bit like Grey is writing this.  Oh, shoot, here he comes!  Hey, who wrote those previous, beautifully written sentences?  Sure as heck wasn’t me!  Guess that’s what I get for leaving my computer open at a Starbucks while I order a double foam, half-Sanka, half-espresso mocha, goochie, goochie, ya ya latte, LaBelle-style.  Well, I told you I had concerns about Darvish and when I have concerns, I make it happen with my mind like some crazy, telekinetic-fantasy-baseball-Scott-Baio-in-Zapped mofo!  The Rangers haven’t given a timetable for Darvish’s return yet, but like I also said in the 2nd half rankings, the Rangers have nothing to play for so they could shut him down.  Give him more time with his lady friends.  What does Darvish’s girlfriend call Yu’s erections?  YD Bulger, and it’s in hiding.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday 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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Something many of you don’t realize, but one of the first people to talk to a player that was just traded is his new team’s tailor. The Yankees tailor got on the phone with Chase Headley to find out what size jersey he wears, and Headley looked down, beaming to be out of Petco, and said, “Giuseppe, you might want to take out my inseam too.” I wonder if the flowers smelled a little better as Headley stepped into Yankee Stadium for the first time. Sure, in contrast to his hour long ride through the Bronx, getting lost in Hunts Point, anything would smell better, but it can’t be worse, can it? His career in away games prorated over a 162 game season is: 79/19/79/.286/14. Doode’s David Wright! Well, almost. Which is sad for Headley and Wright. More sad for Wright. What a guy does in only half a season can be anywhere from bupkis to I-want-to-bump-grind-and-kiss. Will Headley suddenly be mixed league worthy? Yeah, for at least a flyer, if nothing else. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well that was a nice easy title to kick things off after a week’s vacation. All that fresh sea air and funnel cake at the Jersey Shore really refreshed me spiritually. Of course the Atlantic City Expressway had the reverse effect, so I guess I have to call it a wash. This week, James Jones and his five steals in two weeks is getting the lede. Jones went from being more of a deep/AL-only play to mixed league relevant rather quickly. His biggest asset in fantasy is obviously the speed, and he’s now 17-for-18 in stolen base attempts in just 228 plate appearances. The 25-year-old outfielder bats from the left side and he’s a no-brainer add if you need some cheap steals out of an OF5 slot. Jones will face off against the Twins and Athletics this week. The Twins are just outside the top ten in MLB for steals allowed. By the by, it’s hard not to think of James Earl Jones when discussing this guy. My association with JEJ isn’t Darth Vader or Field of Dreams, though. It’s as the host of Long Ago & Far Away, a trippy claymation style kid’s show. Maybe there are some other thirty-somethings out there who remember the Pied Piper episode as vividly as I do. I digress. Here are some other steals plays for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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Eric Young is set to return from the disabled list prior to today’s game. While hamstring injuries are never fun to mess around with, Young did have 17 stolen bases before the injury. He had been relegated to a fourth outfielder role with the Mets, but now that Juan Lagares is hurt, Young should see a decent amount of playing time in the near future. He’ll draw the Cardinals and the Marlins this week. The match-up with St. Louis is obviously tough (only 18 steals allowed) but then there’s a four game set with Miami. That series should be a good opportunity for Young to show off his wheels as the Marlins are currently ranked fourth in baseball with 52 steals allowed. Here are some other steals picks for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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I already went over my Danny Santana fantasy three weeks ago. But forget SAGNOF, Daniel Santana was an offensive machine this weekend! Leading off for the Twins on Saturday, the 23-year-old went 4-for-5 with a double, five runs batted in, and his fourth steal of the season. Need more? He’s eligible as a shortstop and an outfielder. His defense hasn’t been all that great in the outfield, but he could continue to see reps at both center and shortstop even when Morales is ready to DH. Santana is now 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts in just 72 plate appearances. He’s also hitting .373 with a .408 on base percentage. While it won’t last, he’s worth a look while he’s hot if you need a short-term spark. He’ll face the Blue Jays and the Tigers this week. Both teams are in the top ten in baseball for stolen bases allowed… we call that a green light special.

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With a quarter season of jamming and cramming behind us, it may be time to start taking some serious inventory. No, not a fearless moral inventory, that’s 12-step talk and I ain’t no quitter – just ask my liver. I’m talking about taking an honest look at where your team is good and where it absolutely sucks donkey dongs*. We have enough data behind us now that we know Matt Kemp is actually Milton Bradley in disguise, Billy Butler needs a mansiere (It’s called The Bro!), Jedd Gyorko is more myth than man (and mercifully on the DL), Troy Tulowitzki is really good at baseball, and Nelson Cruz can hit a ball a long way with or without his juice. Now I’m not saying to go and blow up your team and drop Dustin Pedroia  because he has just two more homers than the late Johnny Pesky this year. What your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is pulling on your coat about here is that it’s time to drop the dead weight wasting away on your bench for some fresh meat that could save your fantasy season. I’ve played this fake game long enough to know that we have about two weeks to go until disgruntled owners completely abandon their teams for fantasy Cricket which cuts down on our trade options, but increases our chances of moving up the leader board. It was around this time last year that I bailed on Josh Rutledge and Jason Heyward for Jean Segura and Dominic Brown. I eventually traded them off for Ian Desmond and Hunter Pence. That worked, and all the cash and glory (and glory holes) were mine. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can discover some riches for our bankrupt roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

*Donkey dongs is a technical sabermetric term taught at Mathew Berry’s Fantasy Baseball College for the Criminally Insane.

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I said in my last post I wanted to start off my articles with small discussions about this common game we play that bonds us. The people demanded, I deliver. Today, I want to talk about awareness. Being an aware fantasy manager. This means having some sense of what’s going on in your league, how the other managers are operating and how your general strategy compares.

Some of you, I’d bet, run your team like a horse wearing blinders during a race. While not always bad in horseracing, I would say this is decidedly a bad thing for a fantasy baseballer with title aspirations. This is because how you should optimally run your team is directly affected by how others are running theirs.

Right now, right this very instant, I encourage you to check out every roster in your league if you haven’t recently. At least the competitive ones. Indulge in a passing glance. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you will find interesting and in some way help you make better lineup decisions.

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It’s not even June and the Mariners are on their second leadoff hitter in James Jones. The 25-year-old center fielder has hit at the top of the Mariners lineup and looks to remain there for the foreseeable future. Yes, I copied and pasted that last sentence from the Abraham Almonte post. Jones has looked good though, hitting .306 with a .377 OBP in the twenty games since his call up. More importantly, he’s swiped three bags already and projects to steal around 15 bases by year’s end. That’s a serviceable number for deeper mixed league owners struggling to find steals in their lineup. Jones stole 25+ in each of his last two minor league seasons, and he’s currently sporting a 62% ground ball percentage which is allowing him to maximize his speed. That percentage is seventh among outfielders with at least 50 plate appearances. This week, Jones gets a favorable match-up against the Tigers, who have allowed the tenth most stolen bases this season (34). A battery of Anibal Sanchez and Alex Avila has quickly become one of my favorite to run against since beginning this column. Jones probably won’t get to face that specific battery this time around, but one of our other SAGNOF picks will. Here are some of this week’s steals plays in fantasy baseball…

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Coco Crisp‘s recent neck injury opens the door for Craig Gentry over the next few days. He’ll likely take over in center and bat at the bottom of the A’s lineup while Crisp practices turning his head in both directions. Hopefully he didn’t promise his bike to anyone who could fix him. You were supposed to sleep on a board, Coco! Gentry makes an interesting play for steals, and he appeared in this very column last week. In 2013, Gentry had 24 stolen bases in just 287 plate appearances, so he’s got some wheels. He’s already got six steals in limited playing time this year. On the schedule this week are the White Sox and the Indians. Both teams are tied for the 10th most steals allowed in the majors (25) so it’s not a bad match-up play. Crisp isn’t on the disabled list, he’s just day-to-day, so it could just be the White Sox series that Gentry gets all of the starts.

Take a peek at the new SB Rates vs. SP tool that Rudy has conjured up. Using all of last year’s data, it lets us know which pitchers to deploy our SAGNOF specialists against (based on their steals per innings pitched rates). I used it yesterday in DFS when I saw Eric Young was going to start against Cole Hamels, who’s pretty easy to run against. I swapped him into my lineup and it paid off with two steals from EY2 in the game. Here are some other SAGNOF picks for this week…

Please, blog, may I have some more?