Allow me to paint a visual metaphor.  A vetaphor.  The entire league’s pitching is cornered on the grounds of a wildlife preserve.  A tiger, we’ll call him Blister, stalks towards the league’s pitching.  There’s no way out, but the league attempts to urinate on Blister to keep him away.  Then, out of nowhere, Nat Gio, dressed as Lord Beasley, a world famous butterfly collector from Gilligan’s Island, rides his Eddie Bauer jeep into Blister’s den, and befriends the beast, saying, “I slay pussy,” then off everyone’s look, “…cats.”  Yesterday, Gio Gonzalez had yet another great start — 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.49.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gio hears people talking about the new baseball and how offense is up.  Maybe he’s the one pitcher who likes a tightly-sewn baseball.  Up until this year, he must’ve been like, “Geez, is this ball going to unravel when I throw it?”  Of course, his outlook for 2018 fantasy doesn’t look anywhere near as optimistic.  Besides his ERA, there’s nothing promising in his peripherals.  He has left 85.7% of men on base.  That’s more than a wife with a headache.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Between Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Ozzie Albies, Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins and Yoan Moncada baseball is staying at a Renaissance Hotel.  “Is that a Cal Ripken mint rookie card under my pillow and a Beckett Baseball Card Guide in the side table?  What a great hotel!”  That’s me staying at a baseball-themed Renaissance Hotel.  Oh, and this is barely touching a majority of Ralph’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  By the way, I Googled top 100 baseball rookies from the preseason, and Baseball America had Dansby Swanson, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon, Robert Gsellman and Albert Almora in the top 10.  (Judge was 12th, Bellinger 19th and Ben Grieve 5th.  Okay, not Grieve, but you get the drift.)  Rookies are a crapshoot, but baseball ate some beans and is shooting crap!  (That sounded better in my head.)  Yesterday, Rafael Devers hit his 5th and 6th homers, coming in only his 16th game, as he hits .339.  He’s only 20 years old!!!  Triple exclamation marks due to sticky keyboard because of Giancarlo, my apologies.  If I had the time or motivation, I’d go back to the comments from people who said within three days of Devers’ call-up that he’s overmatched.  Yo, I think you might want to hold back your hot takes for a minute.  For 2018, Devers or Benintendi?  Okay, I’m gonna hold back my own hot takes, but you’re seriously considering the guy who’s only been up for two-plus weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Origin Story Alert!  In the Roppongi district of Japan, which sits between Chichibunomiya and Akabanebashi, lives a puppeteer named Goshi.  For his entire life, Goshi worked in the medium of strings and miniature clothes.  Sometimes, due to all the opium he smokes, he’ll forget where he left off one day and start new the next day.  Due to a three-year process of forgetting and starting anew, he accidentally built a puppet that was 75-feet tall and named it Marcell Ozuna.  The puppet simply went by the name, OZUNA.  Elsewhere in Japan, on holiday, Giancarlo Stanton arrived with his family and me in his suitcase (how I’m able to relay the story).  Giancarlo was marveled at everywhere he went, due to sheer handsomeness and size.  One Japanese man said of Giancarlo, “You are like Mt. Fiji of GLOW.”  OZUNA and Giancarlo remained on separate paths for many moons, until one faithful day when an explosion at a nuclear plant caused a giant lizard to emerge from the ocean.  That lizard’s name was Allahzilla, because it originated in the Middle East, according to scientists.  Armed with merely bats, Giancarlo (3-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 22nd and 23rd homers) and OZUNA (2-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 23rd homer) beat back Allahzilla and the Cardinals while freeing all of humanity, and fantasy.  Thanks, heroes!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m at my computer checking baseball news about six months a year.  Give or take about five hours here and there.  On Saturday, it was one of those times I was away from my computer, due to a family wedding in Cape May.  Closer change, prospect call-up.  Happens when you’re away from the computer, that’s it.  Call it a wrap.  With Prospector Ralph in the league, there’s no chance for me.  Around 6 PM, I got the dreaded text.  “Lewis Brinson was called up.”  Too bad I didn’t see it until about 7 PM.  Had a lavender-flavored champagne in one hand, a lobster claw in the other hand, my mom was like, “You have butter dripping down your chin,” my grandfather was complaining Bruno Mars doesn’t have good choruses in his songs, and there was the text, sitting there on a locked iPhone screen.  Done.  Sigh.  Well, if you got him, or can still get Brinson, you should.  Jonathan Villar hit the DL, and, brucely, he wasn’t playing well and Keon Broxton (1-for-4 and his 7th homer yesterday) moves to a platoon role.  Unless Brinson totally flames out, he’s up, and playing for good in center.  In Triple-A, he had six homers and seven steals in 45 games, which is what I’d expect from him in the majors.  Your basic 25/25/.280 guy.  Yesterday, he hit leadoff went 0-for-2 with two walks and stole his first base. Yes, he should be owned everywhere, and could be the Trea Turner-type call-up of the year.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Matt Adams was acquired by the Braves for Juan Yepez, who was always a little too excitable for the Braves — Yepez!  See?  Not a good look.  It was a tearful exit from the Cardinals’ clubhouse for Adams.  His emotions hit a crescendo when he realized he couldn’t carry out all the food he had accumulated in the clubhouse refrigerator.  Through tears, “Why didn’t I learn to balance soda on my head like I was Jamaican?”  Hey, mon, they have grape soda in Atlanta.  Adams will be the 1st baseman in Atlanta until Freeman returns, while conceding to Loney on occasion, assuming Adams doesn’t try to eat him, “I thought his jersey read Baloney!  I’m a terrible person!”  Adams gets a boost in value, but mostly just for NL-Only and very deep leagues.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you look around Petco and see Padres fans on the edge of their seats, they’re A) Probably the visiting team’s fans. B) If they are Padres fans, they’re on the edge of their seats because they don’t want to wrinkle the back of their Izod shirt.  C) There’s no C.  They’re not anticipating Trevor Cahill, because they think Trevor Cahill is the ex-Navy guy who works in their office who they need to fire but are worried he’s going to beat the crap out of them.  When they hear Trevor Cahill is a Padres pitcher, their response is, “Ah, Padres, I miss Tony Gwynn.”  So, who is Trevor Cahill?  He ain’t Luis Severino, I’ll tell you that.  I don’t see the upside of Pineda, Paxton, McCullers, Urias or any other sexy AF young starter.  As commenter, Bigly Leagues pointed out, Trevor Cahill is:

7th in FIP (2.64)
6th in xFIP (2.83)
8th in K/9 (11.1)
18th in WAR (0.8)

What he didn’t point out is how Cahill is doing it.  That’s no critique of BL, it’s not his job to point it out, though I guess he could’ve and saved me the work.  C’mon, BL!  Cahill’s doing it with the league’s 2nd best curveball.  He’s not doing it with his 90 MPH fastball, that’s for sure.  He doesn’t even have the world’s best control (3.3 BB/9).  The rest of his pitches are mostly basic, which brings me to my problem.  If he doesn’t get the curve over, or it’s just not working for some reason, the house of cards is going to fall and Kevin Spacey is going to be talking into the camera about how terrible Cahill looks.  I’d own Cahill everywhere to see if he can continue, but I have less confidence in him in away games.  That giant safety net in Petco makes everyone a slightly better trapeze walker.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I can’t believe Aaron Judge was caught stealing yesterday.  I’d be afraid of tagging him.  He should have just put the MI in The Claw, Baron Von Judgeske-style.  You remember The Machines?  They were the most obvious masked wrestlers in the 80’s.  Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan put on a mask, but wore exactly everything else.  Here’s Hulk Machine:

It’s like the Clark Kent of disguises.  It’s like if I wore a Hamburglar disguise but you could see my mustache.  They should do Baseball Machines.   Right now, Judge Machine is my favorite Machine and moving in on my love for Giancarlo Machine, and where the hell is Odor Machine?  He needs to pop Bautista Machine in his big, fat mouth and get crazy like Charlie’s mom, Ma Sheen.  As for Judge Machine, yesterday he went 3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his major league-leading 13th homer as he hits .330.  That last number is the real surprise.  Is he a .300+ hitter?  I’m gonna go unlikely with a side of nuh-uh.  Can he hit 40 HRs and .270?  That’s looking affirmative.  I’m sure he’ll cool off; they all do, but I wouldn’t be against buying him high either.  If someone doesn’t believe the 40-homer, 275-pound love muscle, get him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Eric Thames went 2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and hit two more homers (9, 10).  *does exaggerated yawn*  Justice Eric Ruth Thames is like, “Yeah, I had a harder time in Korea, ya’ll suck.”  Jer-Ru the Damaja is like, “The Sun Also Rises in the East, and sets in Milwaukee when I’m done hitting homers, goodnight.”  At this point, I’m surprised Justice didn’t hit, like, 80 homers a season in Korea.  Who got this guy out?  An NL team should sign that guy.  Or watch the Korean broadcasts of the games to see how they got him out, if for no other reason than the weird game show-like moments in-between innings when they’d have contestants try to find which part of the stadium is made of chocolate.  (I know this is Japanese, but it’s funny, so stop with your judging.  Leave that to the Justice!)

Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This morning, I decided to look at my deepest NL-only league to see who the highest-ranked player who went undrafted was. It didn’t take long to find him: as of Tuesday morning, Anthony Senzatela was ranked as the eleventh most valuable pitcher in standard, mixed 5×5 fantasy baseball leagues. My NL–only league includes a fairly complex farm system as well, so it is beyond hard to find a diamond in the rough, since most minor league players with any decent prospect status at all were drafted years ago. It’s clear why Senzatela slipped through the cracks, though – he was a mid-level prospect at best, who entered spring training as a long shot to be part of a pitching rotation in the worst pitchers’ ballpark baseball has ever seen…

Will Senzatela still be the eleventh best pitcher in fantasy at the end of 2017? Uh, no. We’d have to expect some major bumps along the way even if half of his starts weren’t going to come at Coors Field. But he’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues (21% of ESPN), which I think is too low. I am basing this almost entirely on the gut feeling I had while watching him pitch. In fantasy, upside can be overrated: just ask the Robert Stephenson owner in the league I mentioned above. Stephenson has been taking up a minor league spot on his owner’s roster for four years now. Even worse, now that he’s on the big club and his owner feels pot-committed to him, Stephenson and his 5.40 ERA are taking up a valuable active roster spot. There is no guarantee that even the highest-ranked prospects will even reach star status, either in real baseball or the fantasy variety. Taking a flyer on gut feeling won’t always work out either, and sometimes can be fairly disastrous, but it’s a risk that I think you need to take from time to time in a deep league. Otherwise, how will you ever find this year’s Junior Guerra — that guy whose past statistics make you absolutely sick to your stomach, but looks damn good on the mound every time you watch him pitch… and before you know it, has been a major contributor to the success of your single-league team.

Moving on to some other deeper-league names, starting with the AL…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every year, after finishing my Top 100 post, I have a player or two I immediately regret not ranking higher. This year those prospects were Zack Collins, and Kyle Tucker. The funny thing is, Tucker wasn’t ranked that low at 32. Granted my prospecting brother from another mother Halp ranked him 21st, and based on last night it looks like Halp’s right. What happened last night? Welp, Tucker: Man and My Dreams, went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. He’s now hitting .343 in the Carolina League, can you imagine what he would have done with a full season in Lancaster? BTW Lancaster is one of the most homer and hitter friendly environments in minors, and was the class A advanced affiliate of the Astros up until this season. As for Tucker, he’s a 5×5 player’s dream, with hit tool, speed, developing power, and massive upside. Seems only appropriate that I would open this week’s Minor League Update with a native son of Tampa, while I’m on vacation here. How meta.

Please, blog, may I have some more?