Sometimes a news story falls through the cracks, but Lewis Black is there to catch them in a segment we call Back in Black!  Oh wait, got a little carried away there…  I mean:

Sometimes a pitcher falls through the cracks, and Grey is there to catch them!

Now, I have somewhat of an excuse…  Due to the MLB and regional networks wanting to stick it up the rear of their viewers and black out however-the-hell-far their national maps can reach, I can’t watch Orioles or Nationals games live in my region.  It’s so frustrating that I sold high on Adam Jones in my keeper just because I couldn’t see the homers right away!  I’m an instant gratification kinda guy, wink wink.

It’s easy to follow the hitters from these teams and see the highlights, but I never see big samples from either teams’ SP unless it’s on national TV.  Or in this case, in a Pitcher Profile!  Grey has been all about some Miguel Gonzalez on the Podcast, and I guess it’s easy for me to be a little dismissive as he’s never had “huge” numbers and I can’t ever watch him.  Plus, how good could he be anyway, he’s not even the only starting pitcher named Miguel Gonzalez!  Mmmmmm, Alfredo.  But not the Simon kind!  Anyway, since I’ve seen so little of Gonzalez and he had a very under the radar 2.09 ERA in the final 3 months last year and a 2.59 ERA this year with nice Ks, I figured it was a good time to break down his last start hosting the Rays to see how he’s doing pitch-by-pitch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Everyone loves rookie nookie. Male upperclassmen scout the incoming class of freshmen girls like a hungry pride of lions stalking an oblivious herd of wildebeest and then pounce when the first opportunity presents itself. Fantasy baseball owners are the same way. They’re predators who stalk their prospect prey until call-ups are announced, and then the feeding frenzy on the waiver wire begins. This week’s prized target is Addison Russell (+66.4%), the new jewel of the Chicago Cubs minor league system ever since Kris Bryant was promoted just a couple of weeks ago. Due to the recent injury to Tommy La Stella and the early struggles of Arismendy Alcantara, Russell got the big league call and many a race to the waiver wire ensued. After all, young middle infielders with power and speed who possess ceilings as high and beautiful as the Sistine Chapel don’t come along every day. Those in redraft formats might want to take a cold shower though. Entering yesterday’s play (22 PA), Russell was sporting a .136/.136/.227 triple slash and had yet to draw a walk except for a dozen back to the dugout (54.5% K%) thus far. His plate discipline numbers make this approach look effective. Small sample size to be sure, but Steamer isn’t terribly optimistic as far as his ROS projections go: 35/9/38/10/.235 in 362 PA. Hang onto Russell for the upside if you have him, but don’t expect a fantasy superstar this season. Those who own him in dynasty leagues can party like it’s 1999. Or roughly 2025. You know what I mean. Here are a couple of this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our first prospect profile for the 2015 season will take a closer look at Orioles outfielder Dariel Alvarez. I mentioned him as an “under the radar” prospect on this week’s podcast, so it was a logical place to start. There are a few different directions dynasty leaguers can go with their farms, but most seem to fall in love with the high upside prospects whose ceilings trump their distant ETAs (I’m one of them). These kinds of prospects make sense when you only have a few farm slots to fill. Might as well use those slots for the very best prospects available, right? Then there are the leagues where it makes sense to include prospects who are a bit closer/safer, but who may not have the drool-inducing tools. Alvarez probably falls into the latter category. In leagues with larger farms or where depth is important, I think the 26-year-old outfielder should be given a look. He may even have stretches of value in 2015 redraft leagues depending on how the Orioles’ outfield shakes out this year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was the first day of autumn; this demands a poem. I call this, “Naked Prince Fielder Has The Definition Of Melted Tootsie Rolls.” The passing of summer; it’s a total bummer. Word, word, word; man, I’ve gotten dumber. Michael Brantley was da bomb; Napoli’s mom has got it going on. Jose Abreu would’ve been a sweet draft pick; Frank Thomas sued him for copyright infringement. Kershaw’s FIP is 1.87 on all hitters; Sonny Gray’s got selective dyslexia, using my teams for his personal shitter. Everything will be okay in this final week; Avisail Garcia is on a streak! Garcia went deep twice yesterday for his 6th and 7th homers. If he’s out there, of course you grab him. I’d prefer to talk about Avisail Garcia for 2015 fantasy baseball. He was a preseason sleeper this year, and he will be again in fifteen-after-twenty because he missed five months this year with an injury. Yes, he looks like Miggy, but he doesn’t act like Miggy. He’s a 20/20 type guy without killing you on average. In this injury-plagued year, his stats don’t look exactly as he has in the past, but that’s probably due to shutting it down in April and starting it up in August. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years we look back at this year and see how it didn’t portend anything. Unless he really did learn how to take a walk, as he’s shown this year. Though, I kinda doubt it. I expect he’s a line drive machine, 17-20 homer and 15-steal guy with a solid-enough average. Think what you were expecting from Brantley, rather than what you ended up with. Now smoke a spliff! Oh, wait, I stopped rhyming about ten lines ago. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Go, go, go, go, go, go. Go, Corey, it is your birthday. We want to party like it is your birthday. *dance like a white man that has on parachute pants* We will sip Bacardi like it is your birthday. And you know we do not give an expletive it is not your birthday. I see Corey Kluber on my iPad and I want to kick him in the ass, but I still can’t make heads or tails of him. “Mr. Kluber, why do you bring anguish to my potluck dinner?” Justin Masterson had RSVP’d already with anguish! Ugh, I really don’t know what to make of Kluber. He’s hella risky and, yes, I still say hella. After his start yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks — you obviously have to own him if he’s on your waivers. The good news is his BABIP is obscenely unlucky (.353). The bad news is his velocity is down. He gets the Angels next and the Stream-o-Nator doesn’t like it and I’d be lying if I told you I had the utmost confidence in him. In other words, own him, but it could be a rocky road without delicious marshmallows. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lots of people tried to explain to me why you don’t slide into first base. I still don’t get it, so apparently I’m dense. Is 1st base lifted higher than other bases? Are there Lilliputians standing by first base with mini hammers? Is there a mini MC Hammer there singing U Can’t Touch This which is just so bizarre it screws you up and you hurt yourself? I get that it slows you down, so there’s no point to doing it. I understand that sprinters don’t slide into the finish line. I’ve heard that from countless announcers. I do kinda wish in the next Summer Olympics a sprinter would slide into the finish line just so announcers would stop saying it. I still don’t understand why people invariably get hurt doing it. Josh Hamilton for one. He’s out for 6-8 weeks with thumb surgery. He should’ve just had Ryan Braun look at it, he can cure thumbs just by brining them in vinegar. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It may only be for two games, but Dee Gordon draws a nice match-up against the Tigers to start the week. Gordon is already in mid-season SAGNOF form, hitting over .400 with 3 steals entering Sunday’s game. Alex Avila can’t catch a cold. In 2013 he caught base stealers at a 17% clip. That was well below the 28% league average. Word on the street is that he spent the off-season catching up on Breaking Bad and True Detective instead of working on his times to second base, so here’s hoping the good times continue. Tuesday’s probable starter Anibal Sanchez gave up a steal every seven innings pitched last year and the battery should be an easy target for a speedster like Gordon. I found the info on Sanchez using the new SB Rates vs. SP tool here at Razzball. It’s a big help when deciding which pitcher’s to target for stolen bases in your daily match-ups.

There was a tear in the fabric of the SAGNOF universe during Opening Week. Pedro Alvarez stole a base off of Yadier Molina while Billy Hamilton was caught. Black is white. up is down. We’ve gone through the looking glass, folks. Seriously though, Hamilton looks lost. Good thing we have SAGNOF options for all of us schlubs who didn’t draft him in the first five rounds. Here are this week’s steals plays…

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So, I took part in one of those 15-team NFBC drafts that Rudy and all the cool kids were talking about-slash-doing. What a snoozefest! I mean, it was fun, but I fell asleep literally 19 times during it. Granted, it lasted for 19 days, so if I didn’t fall asleep 19 times, I would’ve needed trucker speed, but still. Speaking of which, I have much respect for truckers. They’re driving all day and they have to wear the stupidest hats. Any the hoo! This draft was one part fresh, two parts ‘to def’ and some random Razzballers took part, so maybe we can chat in the comments — I have no friends! We can’t talk about trades, because there are none. There’s also no waivers. This was a 15-team league that went 50 rounds deep. What you draft is what you have. No backsies, no foolsies. Anyway, here’s my 15-team NFBC team and some thoughts:

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It’s a closerousel! Which is a play on carousel, not arousal. Pick up your pants. Recently, the Cleveland Indians organization talked to the media about moving away from the unfortunate Native American stereotype their team is known for. They said, “We respect the people who came before us. This was their land, and we drove them out. Scalping was a crime on humanity. In other news, we just signed a guy that goes by the Ax Man. Chief Wahoo, can I get a woohoo?!” John Axford should be perfectly competent as the closer in Cleveland, until he’s not. What I mean is he’ll be handed the job and will hold it the whole year unless he reverts to his hideous ways. I was burnt by him in more leagues than I care to remember, but I would still draft him again. SAGNOF, after all. Then Theo Cubstein went out and got Jose Veras to close games. Cubs fans will miss the days when their games went an extra fifty minutes due seven men getting on base in the ninth inning. If you throw out Veras’s first five appearances and start his stats on April 13th of last year, he had a 2.48 ERA. Yeah, that’ll work just fine. Then the Orioles pulled their best Billy Beane impersonation when they let one high-priced closer go and got Grant Balfour back. Oddly enough, Billy Beane was the one that took the high-priced one. I scream, what’s the world coming to?! Then Billy Beane shoots Spider dead. Then Beane turns to me and says, “Not so fast, amigo. Check Balfour’s health. Oh, and amigo is being sarcastic, you dumbass.” I knew that! But not about the health. No one did. Except for the Jedi master. Of course, there was more to it. So, now Balfour’s deal may fall through with the O’s due to health concerns raised in his physical. It’s a developing situation as they say in third world countries about their water and cable TV. Finally, Addison Reed went from the Chicago White Sox to Arizona. Now the Diamondbacks won’t have to worry about what happens when J.J. Putz hurts himself opening a tin of Band-Aids. Irony only takes you so far, Putz. This leaves a vacuum in the South Side of Chicago in the ninth inning, but I guess they don’t plan on winning any games. White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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In what can only be described as the biggest trade ever made for some Hoes, Bud Norris was traded to the O’s for L.J. Hoes. Hoes ain’t shizz against pitches and tricks! An almost title, “Hoes Go South, Norris Makes O’s Face.” But too gangster for you. You can’t handle such gangster frivolities! You play your tennis at the country club and call your girl and tell her, “Guess what, baby? Houston got some Hoes!” See where that get you. Get you a month straight in the man cave watching pay-per-view Hoes. That’s where it get you. So, Norris goes to Baltimore, and takes his 3.93 ERA with him, replacing the newly-DL’d Jason Hammel. He’s a trifling Bud that can’t get out lefties all that well. I wouldn’t put him at more than match-up capable against weaker righty heavy teams. So, does his fantasy value go up with this trade? Hoes please! Another barely fantasy-relevant starter to move at the trading deadline was Ian Kennedy. Reminds me of the idiom, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. This also applies for any starter who is struggling. There’s only one place for them. Petco! It’s no surprise that his career numbers are superb in Petco — 2.27 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 48 Ks in 35 2/3 IP. His major problem everywhere is the home run ball and this is negated in a park that is 1025 feet to dead center and has tumbleweeds blowing past a statute of Nate Colbert in left. Also, it certainly — or sointly if you’re reading in a Stooge voice — does not hurt — or hoit — that he was facing the Padres. He could easily be a low-3 ERA pitcher at home. I still wouldn’t start him in road match-ups, but I’d own him in all fantasy leagues for home games. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?