Devon Travis was activated from the DL yesterday (1-for-4, 1 run).  Be interesting to see what he can do in his return from shoulder surgery.  Shoulder surgery never really stopped anyone from doing well before.  “Yes, Michael Brantley?  Ask your question.  Okay, if you’re not going to ask your question, at least put your arm down.  You can’t put down your arm?  Oh.”  The Blue Jays said that Travis could move up the order soon, and hit leadoff.  No way, Azul Jays!  You mean Jose Bautista isn’t a leadoff hitter?  That’s downright shocking.  I never would’ve guessed that.  Shiver me Timberlands, and stockpile my hatch chiles before Trump kicks New Mexico out of the union.  There’s been a lot of talk in the comments about how unenthused I am for Travis, and it’s not entirely true.  I would take a flyer on him in all leagues, but it takes hitters a while to return from shoulder surgery, so I’d tempura my expectations.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Hey, I’ll take two home runs from Khris Davis and be more than happy.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll take one homer.  Gently farting in your direction, Prince Fielder.  Three homers?  Well that is too much for my little old heart.”  So began the monologue I told myself in my mirror last night.  I was wearing a fedora with a feather in it and no pants.  That’s added color for you to understand the scene.  Then, it was the ninth, the A’s in the lead and Davis’s night looked over with two homers until.  Dot dot dot.  Ian Desmond homered off Ryan Madson and sent the game into the bottom of the ninth inning.  Khris Davis came up to the plate, bases loaded, already with two homers on his scoresheet, could he hit one more?  Could my monologue presented to my reflection come to fruition?  Could my neighbors stop screaming for me to put on pants?  Yes on all three!  Finished the night with 3-for-5, 6 RBIs and three homers (9, 10, 11).  I had Davis ranked around eight rounds higher than anyone else because I thought he could easily hit 30 homers in an age when 30 homers doesn’t come that easily.  Has anything changed since the preseason?  Yeah, the date.  Dur.  I love Khris Davis and right now looks even better than his namelganger, Chris Davis.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Chris Young went 2 2/3 IP, 5 ER as he allowed five solo home runs, which tied a franchise record, and was only the 7th starting pitcher to give up five home runs in less than three innings.  He was then followed by Dillion Gee.  Too bad Gee wasn’t followed by Aaron Laffey, then the box score would’ve read Chris Young, Gee, Laffey, which, as everyone knows, is an Asian giraffe, which is where these pitchers should be pitching:  Asia.  I didn’t know the Mets had an exchange program going with the Royals.  Oh, and the Mets’ AARP affiliate was on the Yanks too with Carlos Beltran (2-for-4) hitting two homers.  Member the days when the Mets got the Yanks’ also-rans — Willie Randolph, Orlando Hernandez, Rick Cerone?  Now the Yanks are taking sloppy seconds.  The Yankees are Ben Affleck and the Mets are Joey Lauren Adams and the Yanks are listening to the Mets in the bar in Chasing Amy.  Watch out for the gear shift, Yankees!  Also, in this game, Brian McCann (1-for-4) mick-can-can with his 4th homer, Brett Gardner (1-for-4) said, “Same,” and hit his 4th and Aaron Hicks (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) blasted his 2nd.  With Ellsbury out for a few, I grabbed Hicks in one league, and this is now his 2nd homer in the past four games.  As for Christall Young, he’ll likely be replaced in the rotation by Gee.  Though, I vote for Gee with Laffey on his shoulders for the Asian giraffe.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a week for starting pitcher callups!  Thankfully we’re seeing Major League clubs unshy of bringing up their future aces instead of being little scaredy-cats and using the Super 2 as a crutch.  “Stop wasting some of your better pitched innings in the Minors, ya bums!”  That was me two years ago.  I was also skinnier and not married yet, so not everything has gotten better…

Right on the heels of the Jose Berrios callup, the A’s promoted Sean Manaea after an absolutely meteoric rise after being traded by the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal.  Manaea always had power stuff and great K-rates, but never quite harnessed the command to get himself atop prospect lists.  But when you have awesome pure stuff, sometimes one minor tweak can take you from “meh” to “mania”!  After a 21:4 K:BB in Triple A over 18 innings this year, it certainly came with a lot of fanfare that Manaea was getting called up, and he’s surely scooped up in almost all leagues at this point.  Is he worth all the hype?  Here’s how he looked on Friday night in his MLB debut against the Astros:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In what seemed like a meaningless spring training game, Dee Gordon bunted and it landed 12 feet from home plate.  The announcer said, “Wow, didn’t think that was going to make it out of the batter’s box”  And an investigation began.   Dee Gordon, unaware, of the investigation continued to use exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, two performance-enhancing substances.  Later in spring, he knocked a single that fell just out of the 2nd baseman’s reach.  That ball, it was said, looked like a 47-footer.  It went 57 feet.  Another shot, sailed just over the pitcher’s mitt, and just before the 2nd base bag.  Gordon raced to 1st, and everyone looked around, “That was a half-a-pede.”  That’s baseball jargon for a 50-footer.  So, Dee Gordon will be out for the next 80 games, call him The Suspended Splinter.  Sure glad I bought him in my Tout Wars draft.  Super!  What the hell was this schmohawk doing?  Who thinks they can possibly get away with using in today’s game?  It’s just stupid.  This is a break for Derek Dietrich; he should be the 2nd baseman on most days.  He has 15-homer pop, and is worth a grab in NL-Only leagues.  Look forward to seeing Gordon return in August when his 28-footers go 28 feet again, and he’s back to a .215 hitter.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“It’s an All-Star edition of Chopped!  I’m your host, Ted Allen.  Let’s meet the competitors.  First up, Aaron Sanchez.”  *hits fast forward button*  “You know, I didn’t think you could put together such a great starter with turkey jerky, kumquats, Mallomars and boxed rice, but this sauce you made is divine.”  Alex Guarnaschelli lifts the bowl and slurps.  Geoffrey Zakarian, “I thought it could’ve used a bit more spice.”  “Okay, GZ.”  True Story Alert!  My dog’s name is Ted, and the dog walker’s name is Allen, so in my phone I have him listed as Ted Allen.  Whenever he calls, I yell out to Cougs, “I finally got on Chopped!”  So, I started Aaron Sanchez and he threw a dazzler, 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks.  His 89th pitch was a 97 MPH fastball.  Sign me up for some of that!  I grabbed him off waivers in my RCL (no idea why he wasn’t owned), and I plan on starting him every time out, Stream-o-Nator be damned!   To keep the runner at first, I’m gonna quick pitch this one.  For the cost of four cups of coffee, you get the Stream-o-Nator.  To buy stats for all major leaguers that helps the tools run costs us about $8,000.  There’s a shizzton of man hours for Rudy to make the tools.  A lot of it is a labor of love; we get that.   No one is getting rich here; again, it’s all good.  I don’t want to pay extra taxes anyway!  Now, with that said (here comes a reversal!), I take the Stream-o-Nator with a grain of salt in April.  Sample sizes need to grow.  Ugh, that’s what she keeps saying!  That’s the size of the sample, sweetheart.  Please, don’t put me on the DL with a fractured ego.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Astros announced that Lance McCullers would start the year on the DL.  Just like a Mick to skip out on work on St. Patty’s Day.  Keeping an eye on you, Andrew McCutchen!  At least we don’t have to start the year with tears for Fiers.  Everybody wants to rule the Astros rotation!  With it being announced that McCullers would start the year on the DL, I dropped him 15 spots in my starting pitcher ranks and lowered his projections.  He’s now in the top 60 starters vs. the top 40 starters.  He’s a young pitcher with a shoulder issue, so if you take my previous excitement and divide it by my current hesitation, you get the entire Angels team dancing on the head of a pin.  Okay, my math might be off there, but I’m trying to weigh my current cautious optimism with my realistic pessimism.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is another ridunkly long post, I’m just going to cut to the chase, like the city of LA going after OJ.  Ah, whatever’s old is new again.  Except, oddly enough, the phrase “whatever’s old is new again” is just old.  The number one thing I’ve learned from watching the OJ TV show?  Marcia Clark perm’d her hair.  She chose to look like that!  Oh, 1990s, you were a glorious time of an irrational fear of STDs and women wearing large bulky sweaters.  All of my 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are there.  As with the other posts, my projections and tiers are noted for every player.  Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?