Imagine the Cubs decided to use Lester, Hendricks, Hammel and Lackey in the playoffs, and not Jake Arrieta.  Not sure it would be the wrong move either.  Arrieta isn’t just out of gas, he’s on a late-70s gas station line, cursing Jimmy Carter.  He’s eaten six Chalupas and a Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell, washed it down with a 16-ounce Coke, and can’t produce any gas.  He’s staying at a Marriott in Saudi Arabia where OPEC is meeting and all hotel guests get a complimentary barrel of petroleum and Arrieta can’t produce any gas.  Yesterday, Arrieta went 5 IP, 7 ER and his ERA went up to 3.10.  About five months ago, I said Arrieta doesn’t look right.  I said it around the time of his no-hitter.  That took some pants grapes.  What’s funny (not funny) when you’re super early at calling something out, people write you off as cuckoo in the coconut.  On April 29th, I said, “It’s hard to find a positive when you take this year’s numbers vs. last year’s (of Arrieta).  Velocity is down, K-rate is down, walk rate is up, xFIP is up, luck is up, homers are up, ground balls are down and fly balls are up.  It’s like looking under a Maserati’s hood and seeing a Mercedes engine.  It’s not bad, but it’s not a Maserati.”  And that’s me quoting me!  On May 9th, I said, “Not to sound like a broken record, but his peripherals just haven’t been as good as last year thus far.”  And that’s me quoting me sounding like a broken record!  I continued to say more or less the same for a few months, then SUDDENLY everyone else started saying it.  For 2017, I picture Arrieta being drafted a lot like Felix Hernandez in the preseason this year.  People are concerned, but he’s so good, they’re still drafting Arrieta around 60th overall.  Yeah, and it won’t work out either.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s never too late to start talking about next year, is it?  Well, that is the direction I am heading.  I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but second base, and for that matter middle infield, is going to be an interesting position come draft time or even for some keepers.  This is the first time in a few years that there will be a dearth of players with a value at the position, so I am personally sorta excited, about as excited as getting a onion ring in my french fry order.  The middle rounds for these second base eligible guys is going to be an interesting pecking order of who covets who more, and what we have seen this year steers them.  Now, this is a steals post and most of the guys I am talking about are going to have value there and in some ancillary stat contributions, I am not talking about the over-drafting of Brian Dozier, and to some extent, Robbie Cano.  Steals only guys, they in this case, have faces until at least your draft or keepers are pot committed. So this week, I am looking at some second sackers that will shine for you next year based on the second half stats.  For giggles afterwards, since the season isn’t over, some two-week guys that will help you down the stretch and of course some save stealers…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Is this Men on the Move Moving Company?  Great.  I have a small problem.  Okay, it’s not small.  But it is a problem.  I have a ‘hype sleeper’ sitting here and I’m trying to move sixteen posts in front of it.  You can handle the job?  That’s great!  Can I get hyphens between each post too?  I can?  Wow, you guys are lifesavers.”  *comes in to see* Hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-hype-post-sleep-hyper.  What the hell is this?!  I wanted sixteen posts in front of hype sleeper!  Not this gobbledygook!  So, Taijuan Walker flashed some of that post16-hype sleeper business last night — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks — to lower his ERA to 4.28.  It was an easy matchup (vs. Angels), but it still showed why year after year I keep going back to Walker.  He is talented.  Can anyone say seventeen posts for 2017?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“What about Asdrubal?  Asdrubal, Cron, Buxton, Peraza, Morales and Puig?  Puig, Morales, Asdrubal, Buxton and Morales?  Have I already mentioned Morales?  What about Puig?  What about Cron?  WHAT ABOUT CRON?!  Hardwiring is smoking!  I think I’m overheating!  Don’t throw water on me, I’ll short circuit!” It’s too late.  As the water hits the Fantasy Master Lothario’s mainframe, a sickening mix of smoke and sizzle expels from his metal joints.  He staggers to a pole and places his metal hand down.  With one last flicker, he looks up with his metallic, blue eyes and asks hopefully, “Is Puig facing a lefty?”  And shuts down.  The metal pole he placed his hand on wasn’t just any pole, it hung Old Glory.  As if the ghost of George Washington himself was a fan, the American flag lowers onto the Lothario’s shoulders, draping him like a metal Kid Rock.  If only people would’ve just picked up C.J. Cron!  My one major quibble with Cron — Or is it queef?  I always confuse those two. — is Cron going to have The Sciosciapath try to outsmart the universe and start benching one of the hottest hitters?  Not even the Sciosciapath can answer that, for he does not know what his brain tells him to do.  Plus, he’s crazy.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the Buy/Sell, just wanted to say a huge fantasy football announcement is coming in the next few days.  Let’s just say it sounds like Stream-o-Nator, but it’s got a football vibe to it.  And it’s less lonely.  Oh, Stream-o-Nator so lonely!  I wonder if the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron ever tried to date.  Anyway II, the Buy/Sell:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holy shizzballs.  That’s not the Urban Dictionary definition of shizzballs either, which is when you shizz your grapes.  That’s shizzballs as in this is the greatest display of sexiness since a young Kim Cattrall was featured in a window display.  Brian Dozier is doing more for the long ball than any old man with shizzballs could ever imagine.  That’s back to the original definition of shizzballs.  Right now, Dozier is the exact perfect moment when your 12-year-old self pressed the buttons perfectly together on the old cable box and unscrambled Playboy TV at its best, with a perfectly scrolled, snowy version of Naughty Candid Camera.  Trying to cover, when being caught, “It’s Allen Funt, mom.  Uh…Maybe that’s not an F on the front of his last name.”  Yesterday, Brian Dozier hit three more homers — 3-for-5, 4 RBIs, hitting .279 — and now has 38 homers on the year, and is easily leading the entire majors for homers in the 2nd half with 24 homers.  For 2017, he’s going to be tough to peg, due to his inflated HR/FB% and falling line drive rate, but he doesn’t look much worse than a 25 HR/15 SB guy, which still has value.  For this year, obviously you ride the lightning.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Royals are fun, no gimmick team to watch.  They aren’t really mashers, and they aren’t really a base-to-base team.  They are a cross of both, and masters of none kinda thing.  With the recent injury to Cain, who has been nursing a wrist injury, Jarrod Dyson has found himself a regular seat at the big boy table.  He always had the ability to steal bases, and by what we are witnessing as of late, it is that if given the opportunity for regular at-bats those SB numbers could blossom into something actually useful.  Over the last 30 days, he has more at-bats than any other 30-day span this year and the SB tally is a complete reflection of it.  He had 13 steals in the first half in 172 plate appearances, and in the second half, with more starts, he has 12 in 95,  The falloff in production, who could expect a lot from Paulo Orlando and the injury to Cain, seem to have cemented him in the top of the lineup for at least the next few games.  If nothing else, he is a pinch-run threat and with 25 total steals to date, could be an asset for a spot play down the stretch as we should be maximizing every angle or roster spot possible.  Available in 94% of RCL leagues and currently not just rewarding with steals, as he has 4 runs and 3 RBI’s over his last seven.  Not a true one-trick pony, sorta like the Royals.  Let’s see what else is on the get down with the Saves/Steals Ain’t Got No Face department…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Kyle Hendricks went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA (if that’s even possible at this point) to 2.09.  The Seattle museum, Experience Music Project is going to need to update their Hendricks section.  EMP Tour guide, “In 1970, Hendricks said, ‘I’m going to take my guitar, grab Janis, impregnate Afeni Shakur, have my lawyer write a letter that says Ben and/or Jerry can never name an ice cream after me while simultaneously sucking and blowing this joint.  Then thirty-six years later, I’m going to win the NL Cy Young if the BBWAA votes based on ERA.’  Now, let’s move on to our five floors of Nirvana memorabilia.  There’s some interesting flannel stories I can’t wait to share.”   No, of course, Kyle Hendricks isn’t this good.  His fastball velocity is down to 87 MPH, he’s relying heavily on a changeup that isn’t that much slower and his BABIP is absurdly low.  Not saying you drop him, but if Hendricks does win the Cy Young, in 2017, the same faith that befell Dallas Keuchel this year will happen to Hendricks too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Tuesday, Razzballero! If you’re still checking in on the baseball side of things, it probably means that you’re still in contention in at least one of your fantasy leagues, so kudos to you for that. If you were able to win the race to the waiver wire and acquire this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (58.4% owned; +46.8% over the past week), you’re probably sitting pretty right now. Not too much has changed since I highlighted him in this very column last week, except that he’s gained catcher eligibility in more formats and he’s even more white hot now than he was just a short week ago. Since last Tuesday, Sanchez has 12 hits in 25 plate appearances including 6 homers and 9 RBI over that span. His weekly triple slash line is merely a ho-hum .545/.600/1.455 while his .909 ISO looks like something you’d find on an OPS leaderboard. He’s even tossed in a steal for good measure. His .385 batting average is currently being boosted by a .405 BABIP and his 50% HR/FB is likely to be cut in half (if not more) over the long-term, but Sanchez looks like a legit .280-.285 hitter with 25-30 homer power. Think Buster Posey with a slightly lower average but more power. If you managed to grab him, enjoy the ride (and hold on for dear life dynasty leaguers!).

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This weekend, I went to an Ikea for the first time. First of all – you are herded through the store on a specific path like you’re being herded alongside other furniture-buying sheep.

Bahhhhhh! That bottom left frame of Buster is about how I handle crowds like that…

Anywho, at the end when you pick your furniture to buy, it’s in this giant warehouse that makes the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark look like it’s in a studio apartment’s tiny closet. Ish is huge! And that giant warehouse is exactly how I used to look at starting pitching in my 10 and 12-team waiver wires through any given MLB season. Limitless streaming opportunities – sure some with more risk than others – but pretty much a starter widely available every night that I could feel decent enough with rolling out. Alas, it’s no more, with hitting making a comeback this season. Balls are juiced! And in that vein, I’ve been overlooking a lot of the “been there, done that” pitchers that have broken through, none worse than being slow to warm up to Danny Duffy. We’ve seen him have power stuff, but not hold up as a starter, getting meh K numbers in the process. This will anger people – but I saw him as a lefty Nathan Eovaldi coming into this year. Ouch! In more ways than one! But Duffy has been absolutely crazypants this season, vaulting all the way into my top-15 last week. And through this amazing run, he hasn’t even been blessed with a Pitcher Profile! This changes now! Here’s how Duffy looked yesterday afternoon against the Twinkies:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Indians traded Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen for Andrew Miller.  A regular Thanksgiving bounty to the Yankees as the Indians received SAGNOF and smallpox.  Hopefully, the Indians don’t have reservations later about those prospects they sent for Miller and want them back like, um, a regretful trade partner.  For a second this weekend, it appeared that the Indians traded for Miller and Jonathan Lucroy, but Lucroy vetoed the trade.  Looks like Milwaukee is a bunch of Brewer-givers.  Will say this, it was a bold trade by Cleveland vs. sitting around Indian-style as they did all offseason.  So, Miller becomes the de facto closer in Cleveland, and remains a top five closer in fantasy.  Cody Allen gets his value boinked on the head and it’s now seeing stars.  Mean’s while, in New York, Dellin Betances becomes the 9th inning man for the Yankees and, taking over setup, is their newly acquired, Tyler Clippard.  That’s right, the Yankee Clippard!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?