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?

Here’s what I didn’t say in June, but could have, “With the promotion of George Springer and Gregory Polanco, Mike Trout and Mike Trout’s father, Tim Salmon, should make room in their mini-van that’s designed to look like a submarine because there’s new top hitters in the major leagues of baseball. Put down your periscope, Trout, no need to look any further. You have the new challenger for your supremacy. Polanco is especially intriguing due to his blend of speed and power, and inability to hit for a low average. There’s just no chance he hits below .280. No chance. Also, on August 25th play the Powerball numbers 37-08-32-11-09-38.” And that’s me quoting what I could’ve said! Of course, I didn’t say it exactly like that, but that was generally my feelings. As it started to appear like each was overmatched, I told you to sell both of them before they bottomed out. Springer’s got his strikeout problems, that I’ll go over at some point in the offseason, but Polanco got a raw deal. He had 6 homers, 12 steals in 64 games. That’s a 15-homer, 30-steal guy next year. The Pirates demoted him yesterday as some kind of neg designed by pick-up artist, Mystery. Polanco’s K-rate wasn’t terrible, his walk rate was fine, he was done in by a .241 average. A .241 average with the aforementioned strikeout rate that wasn’t bad. So what happened? He was unlucky. That batting average was being grounded by a .277 BABIP. With his speed, Polanco could easily have a .320 BABIP and a .290 average. For this year, you can lose him, but I’m still going to like him in 2015. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in June, about six weeks ago, the Twins were liking their chances this year. They went out and spent money on Kendrys Morales, just to put them over the hump. Then about five weeks and six days ago, they realized their chances for the playoffs were slim to anorexic, and regretted their move. They had buyer’s remorse quicker than Betty Draper’s new husband. “How could Don not appreciate this blonde beauty?” Dot, dot, dot. “Oh, that’s why.” I personally thought trading for a complement to Willingham, Arcia, Plouffe and Colabello was a good idea. I mean, who among those guys is a power, lousy average and no speed threat? Oh, wait, they all are. Now back to the Mariners, yeah, they need another 1B/DH-type. We’ll assume Kendrys plays every day (which he should). In the 2nd half of last year, he hit 9 homers and a .274 average. I don’t see much more from him this year. If anything, maybe a few less homers since he’s been struggling. Basically, what you can get off waivers in most mixed leagues. Or what the Mariners already had in Coreygan Smoakison, their Frankenstein 1B/DH. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, the Astros had a scare when Jose Altuve was hit hard on the hand by a pitch and he immediately left the game. Because of the nature of Altuve’s hand, a broken bone would’ve been devastating. You know those tiny boats that people use tweezers to put into little bottles? Those people are called tinyshoremen. Tinyshoremen are the only ones capable of working on a hand as petite as Altuve’s. Finding a doctor who is also a tinyshoreman? Good luck with that! Thankfully, X-rays came back negative and he’s day-to-day. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryan Zimmerman should just join a kickball league. His upper stuff doesn’t work right. He’s got a bad case of waist-up-is-not-up-to-snuff-is. He should tent his entire body, because he’s got an infestation of the bad health termites. They lay dormant, living off of bacteria that is produced naturally by your secretions. Then one day you wake up and you dive into the 2nd base bag and break your thumb. The preceding was taken directly from WebMD, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. It’s a thumbpocalypse! So, Zimmerman’s gonna be out for six weeks with a broken thumb. I’d point out that I told you on Friday to sell him, but that’s in poor taste. As would simply pointing and laughing at you. Mostly due to the fact, I don’t know where you are, you don’t return my phone calls! So, put Zimmerman on your DL, and let’s pray his shoulder gets miraculously better in the mean’s while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

I’d say Alex Cobb was fantastic again last night, but I have to pay David Stern a nickel to use the word fantastic and money is tight, yo. If it wasn’t for the ball off his melon, The Tampa Bay Peach would’ve been a top 15 starter this year. I’m currently debating if Cobb is going to be in my top 15 for 2014 fantasy baseball. (What I mean by debating is I have three monkeys stand against a wall with signs that read, “Yay,” “Nay” and “Let Rudy decide.” Ling Ling, put down the sign until I ask the question. Ling Ling! Hard to find a well-trained monkey nowadays. His K-rate wasn’t otherworldly like I prefer my beefcake starters. It ended the year at 8.41 K/9. That is ace-ish, but not straight aces rollin’ through Compton flashing signs. His walk rate was 2.83. Again, it’s solid, I’d like to see better on that. Now his ERA ended up being 2.76, but his xFIP was 3.02. That’s not shabby at all. That’s right around Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale and Anibal Sanchez. Guys with seasons you would hump if a ‘season’ wasn’t an amorphous thing. For 2014, I think Cobb’s gonna be right around 15-20 overall for starters, which does mean Cobb is ready to emerge from the husk. Zadow! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Clever girl.

The McC went 1-for-2 last night with a run. Not really numbers deserving of the lede, but since I only get to do this once a week, I do what I want. And plus, I had already done my photoshop before the game ended. So there’s that. Truth be told, I really have nothing else to say about Andrew McCutchen. It is a very fine season. You know that. I know that. Sky… may not know that. He’s busy helping out all you folks that don’t have a Fantasy Baseball team in the running over at RazzFoot. That’s what I’m calling our Fantasy Football site. Because 20 years ago, I loved the Ninja Turtles. You know, the Foot Clan? RazzFoot? NINJA VANISH! Eh. Whatever. The McCutch is having a great year. He’s having a great Fantasy Baseball year. To hate him is to hate kittens. To love him is to not spell it McCutcheon. Start spreading the word. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?