Happy Wednesday gang, hope you’re ready for this week’s Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems - our weekly glance at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, which will in turn lead to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping before your mates, in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Kyle Wren, an OF for the Atlanta Braves (Okay, insert your homer comment here!!!) [Jay's Note: Will do. Homer.].

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline passed in standard leagues. It’s just over. I feel like I’ve had an awesome couple of months talking to and hanging out with a girl, only to hang out with her, have an amazing night, and then find one unbelievably annoying thing about her and call everything off. It had to happen, but it still hurts. “Just try this. No, it’s not gross… it’s good. Of course the chef cooked it fine. No, it’s not going to kill you. Well how the hell do you know you don’t like if you’ve never tried it? People eat it all the time and they’re fine. Just go away. No, you’re stupid. Yes, you are stupid. No I’m not stupid, you are stupid.” Then you curse at her, she indignantly bails, and you’re left sitting there with what seems to be your pinky up your anus, a full check to pay, and some food that does actually look pretty bad. Hopefully you made your moves when you had your chance — that is, hopefully you listened to sha boi and are reaping the dividends. If not, there’s still hope, although I hate you a little. Not all keepers are acquired at the trade deadline or during a draft, but that’s obvious. At this point, we need to look at some small/disappointing/untrusted names that could pop from now until game-162, and who could see their stock skyrocket before the end of the season — we need to look at the guys we should pick up now so we can have them next year at value. Get it? Yes, you do. Know that old adage, “you’re only as good as your last game?” Well, it’s really stupid, but applies here. The ends of seasons have huge impacts on perceived value.

Quick note: so I appeal to more people, and so you’re not looking at me (my writing) and saying “HAY, I KAYNT HAFF HEEM. HE’S AWLRADDY TAYKEN,” I’ll limit it to guys who are owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We had a photo-shoot today at the mag. One of the models — that is, one of the people who were getting their photo taken because they were being featured in our next issue — was a blonde 26-year-old female. Another one of the models was a 28-year-old brunette. Neither was ugly. “Dude, that blonde is so incredibly hot,” one of my office friends said to me as we creeped covetously from a dark corner. “No, sir, she’s not. The brunette, on the other hand…” “You’re an idiot.” “LOL, why? It’s kind of subjective, don’t you think?” “Not really, the blonde has boobs, a nice bod (he did say bod), a cute face — she’s the definition of hot.” Eventually, after some high-horsing from me on the subjectivity of beauty, we agreed to poll the rest of the guys in the office, and whichever guy’s girl got more votes, he’d get $20 (I work in a weird place). This, friends, is where my metaphor goes off track, and where I start comparing guys like Everth Cabrera to beautiful women.

The beauty of keepers is mixing standard fantasy analysis and our perception of how we think baseball players will be perceived by fantasy players. It’s not just, “this guy mashes I want to pick him,” it’s “this guy mashes, how much will my enemies be willing to pay for his mashing?” I agreed on our “girl bet” because I thought that most of the guys in the office would perceive the brunette as prettier — I applied a value to her because of what I thought others would think about her. Unfortunately I screwed up, but fortunately (or maybe not) I study fantasy baseball a lot more than I do girls, so let’s just delve into keepers before I stare at the $20 void in my impecunious wallet and wallow in my geeky lameness. That is, it’s fantasy keepers time.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I had a dream last night that I was fifteen and Derek Jeter was caught with steroids and suffered the same consequences as Ryan Braun and those who will be suspended from their Biogenesis connections. Smart, interesting people dream about other worlds, space, love, mustaches, breasts, and loads and loads of money — I, on the other hand, seem to be stuck thinking back on my adolescence and how neurotic, nervous, and unconfident it eventually made me. I grew up in New York as a Yankee fan — 2001 ALCS game 7 is my fondest moment that doesn’t involve sex, alcohol, or gambling — and if Cap Jeets was indeed ever connected to PEDs, HGH, IGF, ATD, or any other incriminating acronym, my entire perception of good and evil would be forever skewed. All the Luke Skywalkers, Frodo Bagginses, and Disney Worlds on Earth would be incapable of convincing me genuine goodness exists. I’d probably become homicidal. I’m not even really sure if I can say I’m kidding. All underdog stories would be a joke, right? Did Luke really use his targeting computer? Did Frodo actually just fly one of those giant eagles all the way to Mordor?! (and why didn’t he just do that?) Did Rudy take steroids?! The possible deceptions are endless! My faith wouldn’t keep. I’d be an empty soul. I’d be… Ryan Braun, the soulless rat who could grow back into a prince if we play our keeper cards right.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Monday was probably the most welcome reprieve from fantasy baseball I’ve had in years. After a first half crapped upon and spoiled by my rosters’ inclusions of Jason Heyward, Jose Reyes, Yovani Gallardo (I sympathize, almost every commenter we have), and Andre Ethier, I was saved the Gom jabbar-caliber torture of merely looking at my roster—not setting it, not thinking about it, not watching my team suck giant Andy Dirks, but simply just seeing who’s on my roster. This week, I actually enjoyed a Monday night. I went out with friends, got a few cocktails, had some sushi, chitchatted about things that “actually matter” (FANTASY SPORTS MATTER, MOM! NO I’M NOT HUNGRY), and lived a social life untethered by the emotional and intellectual restraints of staring at stats and hoping for the best. But, despite my melodrama—similar to the past few sentences I just wrote—I’m right in contention in every league. So, pretty reader (hey ;)), let’s take a gander at some guys you might/won’t want for the rest of 2013 and for 2014, 2015, etc. IT’S FANTASY TIME AGAIN YAYYYYYY.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Jeremy Bonderman was designated for assignment on Monday, I left work, went to the bar next door, bought nine shots of Jameson, drank 11 shots of Jameson — I don’t know where the other two came from — and then drove home. I was ecstatic. Like Grey, I had been desiring an Erasmo-Ram for my behind for quite some time, and not until Monday did I finally get to feel its smooth touch. It was fantastic. On Monday night, in my drunken sleep, I once again fantasized about Erasmo Ramirez, but was interrupted when Grey entered my dream and caught E-Ram cheating on him with me, which pretty much ruined my night. Grey and I weren’t on speaking terms Tuesday, but Wednesday morning we agreed to share E-Ram in some type of fantasy domination sex triangle. The whole triangle, though, of course balances perilously on E-Ram’s nauseating Thursday matchup against the Red Sox — a matchup you don’t want to bet love, or at least sex on. This fantasy baseball Ramirez fantasy is so vivid and marvelous, of course, because Ramirez is one of those young studs that has the keeper potential to carry your staff year-in-year-out, allowing you to focus solely on offense for the first six or seven rounds of your draft. It’s a relieving feeling. I don’t really need to elucidate any further on what Ramirez offers as a one-year pitcher or a keeper guy, because a) Albright did that already, and b) love needs no explanation. What do need explanation, though, are those other guys who might not be so lovely, yet still look keep-able.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Today I had jury duty for the very first time. As a lot of you know, that means I sat in a room doing literally nothing for eight hours hearing about some guy who accidentally burnt himself, while I’m sitting there wishing the trial was actually for a drug-deal-gone-bad-quadruple-homicide. After about five hours I was simply staring at the hottest fellow juror because at that point I no longer cared what she or anyone else in the room thought of me. As you might assume, all the time I didn’t spend making phony racist assertions and promising that in no way will I be a fair judge, I was fantasizing about fantasy baseball. It was the only thing that kept me from scratching my eyes out, God of War combo-punching everyone, and subsequently getting shot in the face by a security guard, which now seems like it might have been the best course of action because I have to go back tomorrow. “Who the hell is Yoervis Medina and why did he get a save last night?” “Excuse me, sir, phone usage is discouraged.” “LOL, yeah.” In a way, the entire day’s proceedings were eerily similar to a lost fantasy season — as time went on, things seemed bleaker, time moved slower, and windows seemed more appealing. Even if this season is a jury duty of a season, don’t let next year’s be. That’s why we have our beloved keepers — guys on whom we develop creepy man-crushes and who symbolize hope.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You’ll be surprised to know that on September 28, 2011, both good and bad things happened. I’m sure someone got married and someone got divorced and someone was born and someone died, and I’m sure somewhere someone was fired and someone hired, but, to be frank, I do not care about these people. Ex-girlfriends have made it fairly clear that I only really care about myself. Hopefully they’re not reading this because dem chicas was whack, yo — always asking for my attention and for kisses and hugs and love and stuff. I mean, C’MON. Did they have a point? Do they still? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean I want to change (not yet, at least), especially after my debauched trip to Costa Rica, which so happened to help end my fantasy baseball hopes, and which so happened to end on that fateful night in September.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It happened again this Saturday. I went out with some pals and gals, like usual — pick a friend’s apartment at which to do some borderline problematic pre-bar drinking, have too much, pick a Manhattan bar that is depressingly similar to the one we attended the night prior, stumble down the subway stairs, meet friends, undereat food, overdrink drinks, over-laugh laughs, flirt with a girl, start enjoying myself, develop a crush, have great conversation, she goes to the bathroom, I check my fantasy team quick, I’m a petulant schmuck for the rest of the night. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week we’re starting a new weekly column that will be here every Thursday afternoon, it will be all about 2012 fantasy baseball keepers. The column will then move to Friday in the offseason.  Since many fantasy baseball keeper leagues don’t decide on their keepers until the start of the new season, I figured I’d go over some fantasy baseball keepers from now until next spring.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?