I was craving sashimi last night, so I sauntered to my local sushi joint. When I walked through the door, I heard the familiar, “Irrashaimase maido,” from the chefs behind the counter. As I nodded my head down reverently, I realized there was a new member of the crew. I like to live dangerously, so I sat down at the bar in front of him. I usually ask the chef, “What’s good today?” but last night it was just, “Prepare what you think is best.” Like I said, I like to live dangerously. If I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I would’ve knocked my chair backwards and banged my head on the floor from the show I was presented. It was all so un-Benihana-esque. The skill. The grace. As he wiped the sweat from his forehead after slicing and dicing the manta rays placed before him, I asked him one simple question. “Who are you?” He looked me in the eye and responded, “I am Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees.” Tanaka was perfect for five innings Friday night. He ended up allowing two hits, one earned run, did not walk a batter, and struck out 14 in eight innings. 77-of-109 pitches were thrown for strikes. That’s how you earn a big tip! Now, keep in mind that Tampa Bay strikes out the fourth-most frequently against RHP and the huge night knocked down his ERA to 5.09 for the year. He did give up four, three, and five earned runs in his prior three starts and got pummeled in his two previous starts against TB. As Friday night showed, though, Tanaka does have the ability to absolutely dominate. When I eat raw fish, I know there’s always the risk that I could be eating some three-eyed monster from Fukushima. That’s how I feel about starting Tanaka. As I said before, I like to live dangerously.

Here’s what else I saw from Friday night’s action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Raise your hand if you did not trust Danny Salazar ($8,200) in his first start off the DL facing the Blue Jays.  I’ll admit, I benched him everywhere to feel him out and wasn’t touching him with a stick in DFS.  All he did was give up 1 hit and ZERO walks while striking out 8 in 7 IP.  Where the heck was that all year Danny?  All can be forgiven if you keep that up for two months though.  Tonight, the Czar gets to face the lowly White Sox who are in the midst of fire-bombing their major league roster that quite frankly, wasn’t very good to begin with.  The Chi Sox rank in the bottom three in all of baseball in team OPS vs. RHP and that was before shipping off Todd Frazier.  The Pale Hose are middle of the pack in strikeouts, but Danny has big time upside in that department, probably the biggest of any pitcher on the slate today.  Ks pay the bills and that’s why Danny will the pitcher I have the most exposure to tonight.  Let’s see who else I’ll be exposing myself to on this fine July night below:

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light.  Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy.  So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship.  That being Marcus Semien.  I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals.  Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube.  So why now?  Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year.  Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats.  (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.)  So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10.  I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference.  Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230.  The steals are what we want and that’s why we here.  So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues).  With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

On the podcast coming later today, I felt a reverb.  Luckily, I do everything while standing in a doorway because who has time to run to a doorway in the event of a earthquake?  This reverb wasn’t God practicing his spinning of tectonic plates.  Oh no.  This reverb wasn’t Dr. Dre messing with Technics either.  No siree, Bob.  This was the Padres trading Brandon Maurer and Trevor Cahill to the Royals for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz.  Damn, San Diego, save some of the trading deadline hype for other people.  Okay, I’m laying it on too thick.  This trade is okay for both teams.  Royals appear to have playoff aspirations, and get bullpen depth that they should never use in Maurer and Cahill, who has some of the most extreme splits I’ve ever seen.  In Petco:  0.72 ERA; elsewhere:  5.75 ERA.  Goodbye, my old friend!  Of course, this means Brad Hand officially officially becomes the closer.  Wouldn’t totally shock me to see Hand dealt — to who?  Phil Ivey? — and Maton become the closer, but that’s more for NL-Only.  Matt Strahm is an interesting name for NL-Only leagues for next year.  As of now, he’s out after knee surgery, and he’s from the crazy Ks and crazy walks variety show, Krazy BBs.  By the way, I believe Esteury Ruiz is Rio Ruiz with a badly thought out new name in the Witness Protection Program.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In his first game since being called up on Tuesday, Astros rookie Colin Moran had himself a 2017 debut going 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run and driving in two runs Friday night versus the Orioles. You can see how upset his teammates were with his performance here. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the Astros desperately need another young, extremely talented infielder, and Colin Moran could be that missing piece. Called up to to play while Carlos Correa misses the next month and a half with an injured thumb, Collin could see time at 3rd base, especially if he keeps having games like this one. Did you miss out on the Astros sweepstakes this year? Did you ignore the prophetic Sports Illustrated article that all but guaranteed a World Series victory for the Houston Astros in the year 2017? Are even the Yulieski Guerriel’s and Marwin Gonzalez’s owned already? Well my over-the-internet friends, this could be your last chance to get in on this action and add Moran. In 79 games (338 ABs) at AAA Fresno this season, Moran slashed .308/.373/.543 with 18 dingers and 63 RBI. With 18 homers and 15 doubles, he was having his best offensive season to date. Although part of that could be the hitter friendly PCL as the 55/31 K/BB rate isn’t really impressing. Still, the 24 year old left-handed rookie could see some serious playing time if he starts hot, and in a stacked line up like the Houston’s a player like Moran can really make some noise. He also has a really cool red beard. If you you missed out on Yoan Moncada and want a rookie with upside it’d be moronic not to take a chance and add Colin Moran in deeper mixed and AL-Only leagues. In shallower league its best to see how his playing time will shake out, but I’ll be watching him closer than the Game of Thrones premiere. Which judging by the ratings, you all watched. (Arya is BAE). So check out Moran, he’s Colin to you!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Since I haven’t touted my wares in a minute, I wrote a Jake Lamb sleeper post last December.  Going back to read that now, and, I don’t often laugh at my own stuff, but the opening paragraph is funny.  Not unintentionally either, like I called Aaron Judge a preseason bust (I actually liked Judge a lot in the preseason, and own him; something I also don’t tout often — the hype’s strong enough, isn’t it?).   Then, into the 2nd paragraph, I drop more gems, but they’re useful vs. haha.  One gem that particularly stands out to me as I reread it, Jake Lamb hates the summer.  He might also dislike girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch.  Before yesterday’s 2-for-5, 6 RBIs, two-homer game, Lamb had a .150 average in July with no homers.  Last year, as I point out in that post, he was just as bad — 9 HRs, .197 in the 2nd half.  Last year, there was a wrist problem — That’s what she said!  What? — so maybe his splits aren’t as obvious as a banana gymnast.  Here’s hoping he makes last year an outlier and not the beginning of male pattern badness.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?