Ryan Braun hit his first two home runs off Kyle Kendrick — you know, that Kendrick sure sticks out for a sore thumb — and then Braun emancipated a third ball off Lincoln. Three homers a mere two days after saying he was not able to swing normally is quite the 180. It’s like when Mickey Rourke is one of the best actors — in movies like Diner and Angel Heart — only to have a string of flops, terrible plastic surgery and then he reemerges in The Wrestler. Or Travolta’s career is in the toilet after Saturday Night Fever, dealing with whispers about his bedroom predilections and then he does Pulp Fiction. Doing The McConaughey while McConaughey was still ruining his career. A few years later, Mickey Rourke has another string of flops and his face still scares small children; Travolta does Battlefield Earth and now whispers about his religion have joined the other whispers. (Be forewarned, McConaughey.) So, will Braun now reemerge as the top hitter in the game and hold his Pulp Fiction/Wrestler renaissance or will his thumb continue to haunt him while he commits to Wild Hogs II: Where The Wild Hogs Are? All I know is he was complaining about his thumb a full nine months after he first hurt it, so it doesn’t seem likely to disappear that fast. His value may be even higher now, but I’d still be concerned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tanaka, Pineda, ooh, I’m gonna take you. To Sabathia, Kuroda, ooh, I wanna own you. K-Rob, oh hold up now, I don’t want Sabathia and I don’t care if I ruined the song. So, Michael Pineda will be the Yanks 5th starter, at least out of Spring Training. Damn you, qualifier! I don’t think the rest of the league will hit the stuffing out of Pineda (quinceanera pun for the win!), but I do think the Yankees will have have to limit Pineda’s innings at some point. He can’t return from serious surgery and throw 200 IP this year. I’m not adjusting Pineda in my rankings. He’s in the “Lottery ticket” tier and he will remain there, but you don’t need to wear overalls over to the Wawa to scratch him off and win. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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I don’t do 1st baseman sleepers because there are none. If you’re drafting a 1st baseman sleeper, you’re losing your league. Who are you putting at 1st? Yonder Alonso? That’s cool. Don’t pay your league fees until the end of the year and then duck out of the country. You feel me? Okay, now stop. 3rd basemen are more or less in the same boat, and that boat is the Titanic and if you draft a sleeper 3rd baseman that doesn’t pan out, you’re gonna sink while holding until to a lady named Rose who gets real old looking, but some of youse have corner men in your league, so may as well look at a few 3rd basemen for s’s and g’s. Good? Good. These are all 3rd basemen that being drafted after 150 overall. Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Indonesia) supplement to the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Anyway, here’s some 3rd basemen to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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For a seemingly decent leadoff hitter, Angel Pagan gets very little press.  Fantasypros.com has him ranked 246th overall, ESPN has him as the 156th best hitter.  Both rankings have him placed near players like David Freese, Chris Carter, Adam LaRoche, and Alcides Escobar.

Outside of his injuries, Pagan has been exactly what a leadoff hitter should be: getting on base often and have the potential to steal.  In 2012, his last full season, he ranked 66th in OBP among qualified hitters.  That is above players like Jason Heyward, Ian Desmond, Jason Kipnis, and Adam Jones.  If his 2013 numbers were extrapolated to a full season, he would have ranked 73rd.

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Yesterday, we went over the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and today we (hint: it’s in the title) go over the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Now that we’re knee deep in the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings we can get a better idea of how deep certain positions are. Martin Prado is 16th overall on the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball but 23rd here. Juan Francisco is 34th on the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball, but 28th here. Quickly we can surmise that the 3rd basemen is shallower than the 1st basemen, but deeper than the 2nd basemen. Outfielders are obviously the deepest, and will be coming tomorrow, and, after that, positions rank from deepest to shallowest: 1st basemen, 3rd basemen, shortstops, 2nd basemen then catchers. Not much change from previous years, except for the flip-flop with the middle infielders. As always, my projections and tiers are noted. Oh, and if you don’t believe the magic in my fingertips, here’s the review of my rankings from last year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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This is a true story. In 1981, the St. Louis Cardinals bought a barrel of oil for $12, then sold that barrel of oil to OPEC for $13, netting the Cardinals one dollar. That one dollar was used by the Cardinals to buy a pack of gum that was used to repair a broken condom that was used by Albert Pujols’s father so there would be only one Albert Pujols and no competition for the best 1st baseman from 2001 thru 2011. Marxists and Capitalists have argued for years about the right of the Cardinals to use that dollar to stunt natural selection and why didn’t they just buy Albert Pujols’s dad one new condom rather than a pack of gum. This illustrates a very important point. You and I may want David Freese due to his position eligibility, but never underestimate the Cardinals ability to get the better side of a trade. If they’re smarter than OPEC, they’re smarter than us. Peter Bourjos is in the pile of scraps in mind that includes Brett Gardner and Michael Brantley as guys that I like a lot, maybe more than is reasonable. (BTW, my 2nd album that critics called ‘very emo’ is also called, Scraps In Mind. That’s purely coincidental.) Bourjos got a sleeper post from me for about three years in a row, though he had the misfortune of playing under The Sciosciapath, and The Sciosciapath doesn’t play the hitters he should — hello, Napoli. Bourjos had a 50-steal season in the minors one year. You don’t just lose that kind of speed, and, if you’ve ever seen him run out a triple, you know how crazy fast he is. Oh, and he’s not just SAGNOF. He also had 12 homers one year for the Angels. If he put together a 15-homer, 35-steal season, I wouldn’t be shocked. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 74/12/58/.263/20 with a chance for much more. He’ll definitely be someone I’ll be looking at in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Damn, the planets had all lined up for Jacoby Ellsbury to be overrated for 2014 fantasy baseball. 50+ bases and only four times caught (!). Some power (8 homers) and solid counting stats (89 runs; 52 RBIs). Seemingly repeatable numbers for 2014. All he needed to do was get through this season healthy so people would forget how he can’t get through a season healthy. Then, he goes and injuring himself. Now when I say to avoid him next year, people are gonna think I actually have a point rather than being the cracked out of his mind guy who invented something this weekend that I will only share with you. It’s really for our four girl readers, but since guys are likely to buy it for their women, here it is: a Segway vacuum cleaner. Think of it as a ride-along Roomba! Brilliant, I know. So, as of right now, Ellsbury’s in a walking boot. That sounds terrific. Almost as good as Salvador Perez when a loved one is on their death bed. Ellsbury headed off to the Steadman Clinic for a second opinion — ’bout time he started bringing in some money for Oprah! — and Ellsbury was diagnosed with a compression fracture. Ellsbury’s not going to be back until the playoffs, in the best case scenario. I’d absolutely drop him. In his place has been Jackie Bradley Jr., who can walk multiple times in one game! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The news is good, Allen Craig is in a walking boot and on crutches. Yay! Sorry, I should’ve said the news was good for people who don’t own Allen Craig. *smacks forehead with palm of hand* Geez, I’m such a huckleberry! So, this means the new Cardinals first baseman is… Please, open door number one! Actually, all I see is his elbow. Could you open door number two, as well? Hmm, still missing his right side. Go ahead and open door number three, too. There he is… Matt Adams! I’ve teased Adams a lot about his girth and that ain’t right, even if right and girth are anagrams. Adams isn’t out of shape…if watermelon is a shape! The zaftig Madams will be playing first for as long as Craig can’t and I’d grab Adams in all leagues where I needed power. He could hit five homers the rest of the way if Craig stays sidelined until the playoffs. As of right now, there’s no word on how much time Craig will need. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I remember as a kid trying to watch Kelly’s Heroes with my dad, and not understanding any of it.  I mean, it didn’t have a Wookie.  Reading over that Wikipedia synopsis, sounds a lot like Three Kings that came out almost 3 decades later.  Nothing original in Hollywood anymore!

But to baseball, Joe Kelly has some heroes of his own.  First there’s the Cardinals developmental system that seems to churn out pitching prospects that can throw upper 90′s faster than Hollywood sequel greenlights.  Then there’s the Cardinals offense that leads the NL in runs scored by 53.  Using his rag-tag unit of pitching coaches, arguably the best catcher in the game Yadier Molina, and an offense ready to give him a lead every game out, can Joe Kelly help you steal the gold in a fantasy title?  I tuned into his start yesterday in Pittsburgh to break down how he looks and if he can be a wildcard contributor to your final fantasy push:

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