Hitters cheat all the time.  Some take PEDs, some cover themselves in pine tar like a pre-industrial shaming party.  Sometimes they’ll guess fastball or slider or change.  Sometimes they’ll guess outer half or middle-in.  Some just cheat on their wives.  The one guy who has kept all his cheating on the field is the most respected player since the late Tony Gwynn.  Derek Jeter married himself to the New York Yankees and they don’t care how many women he has as long as it’s only one at a time in the press.  It’s a good thing for the Yankees PR department he isn’t a switch hitter.  It does, however, make A-Rod sad and jealous.

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Wil Myers was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his hand. Experts are saying, “Guess you shouldn’t have drafted him!” Those are experts in schadenfreude. Other experts are saying he should’ve been wearing iron gloves called járngreipr. But those experts are in Norse mythology. Then there’s experts that say when he was injured he should’ve been going for a Chocolate Silk Pie Blizzard, but those are experts in Dairy Queen. Are there any experts on injuries that weighed in?! Oh, here’s one that says he’ll have his cast removed in about 6 weeks and could return in August. Ugh. I think I need a Blizzard. In shallower leagues where DL spots are already filled, I could see dropping him. In one 15-team league, I’m holding him, but Taijuan Walker is about to come off the DL, so I have room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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My favorite move clubs make is the manager says so-and-so is the closer, but then use someone else and that other player becomes the closer. A close second is when they say so-and-so pitcher just didn’t have his best stuff, then roll him out there one more time, watch him get rocked and then say he has a broken elbow. But my third favorite club move is when they hold a rookie back for some arbitrary arbitration day. Everyone knows it’s arbitrary, but it’s done because clubs are cheap and want to hold the rights. Super Two, stupid two. Amiright? But there’s one move clubs do that you don’t see that often that might be crazier. Calling up a prospect — Oscar Taveras — right before his Super Two status changes. That’s crazy like a fox! Three weeks ago, Cards GM said, “I know a lot’s being made out of Oscar … coming to St. Louis, but right now I don’t even think it’s a logical thing to do.” I get that Fatt Adams just hit the DL, but wouldn’t you wait just a few more days at this point? Bizzonkers, but it’s the kind of crazy I can get behind because it brings with it one of the best — if not the best — prospect in the majors. Here’s what I’ve said previously about him, “From what I’ve heard (read), Taveras’s biggest strike against him is he doesn’t see any strikes — turn of a phrase point! He’s being compared to Vladimir Guerrero without having knees like Mama from Mama’s Family. Taveras swings and hits everything. Also, like Vlad, his swing is long, unwieldy and it looks like he could swing at pitches above his head and in the dirt on two consecutive pitches. (Google video of Oscar Taveras if you don’t believe me; what, you don’t believe me? My feelings are hurt.) What wasn’t mentioned, his stats also look like a young Vlad. I will call you, Vladimir Guerrerito. He can hit for power and steal bases. At twenty years old, he hit 23 homers in 477 ABs with 11 steals in Double-A in 2012, his last full year of minor league ball.” And that’s me quoting me! Later on in my Oscar Taveras article from November, I gave him this line 42/10/32/.288/8 for this year if he were to be called up in June. Still sounds about right. Basically, A.J. Pollock, but there’s a chance here for huge upside, so he’s ownable in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The Braves called Tommy La Stella up to replace Fuggla. Here’s what I said about a month ago, “Incredibly, we already had a Tommy La Stella fantasy post. Don’t you people sleep?! There, Dano compared him to Pedroia and not because he needs his tippy toes to get on a roller coaster. I think that comparison might be a tad bizzonkers. Or as the gentle fantasy writers of our day would say, “That’s a bit more bullish than I’d say.” Has any group of people said the word bullish more? This word feels like it’s dominating all fantasy conversations. It’s a polite way to say, someone is smoking more crack than another person. Of course, in a world of small sample sizes, anything could happen, but La Stellllllllllla looks like an NL-Only play with a chance for 5 homers, 7 steals and a decent average if he were called up in June.” And that’s me quoting me! Now that he’s been called up, I’d add him in deeper mixed leagues (think 15+), but I still don’t have high hopes for him outside of maybe a decent average. He’s basically a forty-twenty. If Fredi Gonzalez had any brains in that squishy melon on his shoulders, he’d bat La Stella leadoff and move Heyward down the order. Smarts and managing baseball teams don’t always go hand-in-hand though. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950’s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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CC Sabathia is out until at least July. ESPN said, “The Yankees clearly want to save their ace for a late-season run, so will exercise caution, making sure to not rush a return.” Seriously, is ESPN purposely five years behind everyone else or do they try to anticipate what other people think and just feed off of that? Are they under the assumption that casual (read: lazy) fans think Sabathia is the Yankees ace, so they just go with that? Are they ignoring Tanaka? Are they afraid of upsetting Yankee fans? Do they think Yankee fans are stupid? I have questions, y’all! Sabathia hasn’t been an ace in two years and I see no return to that any time soon. Even if he loses another 75 pounds and grows back his belly, only now it’s from being malnourished, and he shows up at the ballpark with flies buzzing around his head. Chase Whitley will remain in the rotation now and he had a 10+ K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in Triple-A, but he wasn’t even a starter prior to this year and the Yanks are throwing crap against their dresser hoping it forms a pretty, flower-doily design. I wouldn’t mess with him outside of AL-Only leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In the past, I’ve gone out of my way to focus more on rookie hitters than pitchers, but after last year and living through season-after-season of diminishing offense, this is the world we live in. Before you blame anyone, look in the mirror. What do you see? Besides, the blackheads. You see someone that supported baseball ridding itself of PEDs. So, this is what we have. Pitching up the wazoo. I still contend it should be ‘out the wazoo’ and not ‘up the wazoo,’ but I’m playing by your rules now. I’m no longer sticking it to the man and going up the wazoo. Hmm, that sounded wrong, but never the hoo! Kevin Gausman just barely maintained rookie eligibility by only pitching 47 2/3 IP last year. Really showing a thing or two about not knowing what was coming or going either by having a 5.66 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. It really means nothing. First of all, his xFIP was 3.04, so his ERA shouldn’t have even been that bad. Second of all, he had a 9+ K-rate, which is right in line what you can expect. Third of all, there is no third of all. Why would you think there was a third of all? Gausman isn’t a 5+ ERA pitcher. He could be the best rookie pitcher this year. He has that kind of stuff. With the O’s, you gotta mind your P’s and Q’s. Excuse me, I had Alphabet Soup for lunch and just burped. What I mean is the O’s aren’t in the best division for nurturing along a young starter. You have to be on the top of your game in the AL East. Gausman has the stuff to tame the big offenses. As I’ve tried to beat into your head, a pitcher with great control and strikeout stuff is worth your attention. Gausman is that type of pitcher. The only real question is do the O’s stay with him in the rotation. If today’s game vs. the Tigers is a spot start and back to the minors, it’s not great. Opportunity + Stuff = Fudgie the Whale. Wow, my math is off there. It should’ve equaled “worth a flyer in all fantasy leagues to see if he stays in the rotation.” To give you an idea of this guy’s upside, in Prospect Scott’s top 25 fantasy baseball prospects, the top five are Tanaka, Abreu, Bogaerts, Taijuan and then Gausman. That’s elite company. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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There are so many Tommy Boy quotes that I can manipulate to start this post, so you choose which one…

a) I can get a good look at Luck by sticking my head up BABIP’s a**, but I’d rather take xBABIP’s word for it.

b) I write fantasy baseball posts for the American working man, because that’s who I am and that’s who I care about.

c)  You: Prince Fielder, Hmmmm, he should get better.”

      Me: “This guy is batting .231, which is actually backed up because of the gross groundball rate (11+% jump) and hitting into the shift with a sense of urgency, and all you can say is, Hmmmm, he should get better?”

d) The season is drivin’ along, la-de-da, woo. And you have Justin Morneau batting .338. And then you look at your team. Tires go EEEEEEEEE! Whoa, that was close.

Now let’s see what happens if you have Prince Fielder on your team… You’re drivin’ along, Tires go EEEEEEEE! I CAN’T STOP! “Oh my God, I’m burning alive! And this isn’t a fire sale! No! I can’t feel my legs!” Here comes the meat wagon. And the medic gets out and says, “Oh my God”. New guy’s around the corner puking his guts out…

…Whichever quote you go with, if you own Fielder then consider yourself the new guy puking his guts out. This post is the meat wagon.

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Coco Crisp‘s recent neck injury opens the door for Craig Gentry over the next few days. He’ll likely take over in center and bat at the bottom of the A’s lineup while Crisp practices turning his head in both directions. Hopefully he didn’t promise his bike to anyone who could fix him. You were supposed to sleep on a board, Coco! Gentry makes an interesting play for steals, and he appeared in this very column last week. In 2013, Gentry had 24 stolen bases in just 287 plate appearances, so he’s got some wheels. He’s already got six steals in limited playing time this year. On the schedule this week are the White Sox and the Indians. Both teams are tied for the 10th most steals allowed in the majors (25) so it’s not a bad match-up play. Crisp isn’t on the disabled list, he’s just day-to-day, so it could just be the White Sox series that Gentry gets all of the starts.

Take a peek at the new SB Rates vs. SP tool that Rudy has conjured up. Using all of last year’s data, it lets us know which pitchers to deploy our SAGNOF specialists against (based on their steals per innings pitched rates). I used it yesterday in DFS when I saw Eric Young was going to start against Cole Hamels, who’s pretty easy to run against. I swapped him into my lineup and it paid off with two steals from EY2 in the game. Here are some other SAGNOF picks for this week…

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The hits just keep comin’ for major league baseball players and their fantasy owners.

We’re just a month into the season, and it’s unlikely there are many owners out there who have not been dealt a significant injury to at least one of their players.  Oh, you’re raising your hand?  Here are two recommendations: 1) stop playing in 8-team leagues, 2) there are healthier forms of self-indulgence than a four-leaf clover enema.

In 2014, we’ve seen more pains, pricks, breaks, strains, pulls and tears in baseball than the amount of times Drake has changed his NCAA/NBA team allegiances.

Being in the know when it comes to a player’s health will always keep you one step ahead of your competition.  Here are some ailing hitters (and their possible replacements) to pay attention to in the coming weeks:

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