Chicago Cubs mega prospect, and super phenom Javier Baez made his second start yesterday since being called up September 1 and went 3-for-4 with a 2-run HR and 3 RBI. After debuting 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Tuesday, this was a welcome sight for Cubs fans and more importantly, fantasy baseballers like you and me. Will he play every day? I don’t know. But if he keeps going 3-for-4 and hitting dingers…yeah, he’ll probably play! Cubs fans, you so spoiled with prospects these days. Kris Bryant is basically my role model. Rizzo be the Izzo. All Kyle Schwarber does is hit home runs. Now you’ve got Baez to fawn over. We all know about Javy Baez’s power by now, but let me remind you in case you forgot. In 2013, he hit 37 homers and slugged .578 in 130 games.  More recently, he slugged .526 with 13 homers and 62 RBI in 74 games in the minors this year. Last year, in just 52 games with the MLB Cubs, he hit 9 homers with 20 RBI! That’s a 30 homer hitter, folks. Sure he also batted .169 and struck out 95 times but that was last  year,  he was still a raw talent and not quite ready for the big show. This is 2015, a brand new year and Javier Baez is ready to shine. I’d grab him everywhere he’s available for the potential power upside. Grey told you to BUY and adds like this can win your fantasy league. It’s Javy time and this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tomorrow is September 1st which means:  Hooray for September roster expansions and the many interesting players likely to be called up.  My recent focus for Steals Ain’t Got No Face advice has been a weekly reminder to use our SAGNOF stolen base success rates versus starting pitchers tool.  This goes hand in hand with the September call ups because most of these players won’t play anywhere near everyday, but some of them might make great ‘streaming for steals’ options.And guess which type of players are among those getting called up?  Some of the trendy SAGNOF sleeper types from earlier in the year, including one of my favorites, Dalton Pompey (bats Both, plays OF) of the Toronto Blue Jays.  Eric Young Jr. (B, OF, New York Mets) is on the way up as well and I think we all know what he can do.  James Jones (L, OF, Seattle), he of the 27 stolen bases in only 108 big league games last year, could be called upon as well.

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Maybe it’s because Whip/Nae Nae is permanently stuck in my head — One word of advice.   If you take no other advice from me, please, I implore you, accept this advice.  If you don’t know what Whip/Nae Nae is, don’t, under any circumstances, Google it.  It make Gangnam Style seem like a walk in the park when it comes to catchy songs. If you don’t know what Gangnam Style is, I love how you’ve decorated under that rock of yours.  — but I can’t help looking at Jake Arrieta‘s no hitter less about the 12 Ks and only allowing one walk — Sure, those are sweet — but more about how his season WHIP is 0.94.  There’s Greinke (.85 WHIP), Kershaw (.90), Scherzer (.93) and deGrom (.94).  An under one WHIP and a 9+ K/9 is a little piece of heaven like sitting in an exit row of an airplane.  On the podcast that’s coming later today, I debate Greinke and Arrieta, Scherzer and Arrieta and deGrom and Arrieta as we try to figure out where they’ll be ranked in 2016.  I say something like Arrieta will be ranked around the 4th to about the 7th SP off the board.  I agree with Early Sunday Afternoon Grey, but I will say that Arrieta has made it difficult for me to think of four SPs that should be drafted before him.  Let alone six.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Soler is likely done for the year with a strained oblique.  This is one of those injuries that comes with a sigh of relief.  Yay, I don’t have to keep running Soler out there and being disappointed.  Disappointment, you are the mistress of expectation, aren’t you?  Soler fascinates me in a car crash that you rubber neck while you pass sorta way.  Here’s a preseason tweet from Peter Gammons, “John Mallee (Cubs hitting coach) says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring.  Scary good.  May be best of Cubs lot right now.”  Cubs committed to playing him, and, by the end of the year, you had to wonder if they should’ve just been committed.  If his year is over, he ends with 7 HRs, 3 SBs and a .265 average in 278 plate appearances.  Worse (yeah, it can get worse), his strikeout rate zoomed, and not in the fun way like Aretha Franklin’s zooming.  On our Player Rater, he was about as valuable as Will Venable, Brandon Moss and Jeff Francoeur.  Or make that, as craptastic as those guys.  In 2016, Soler will be one of those guys that goes in the 150 range that could be as valuable as Pollock this year, or as valuable as the Pollock that parked so close to your car you couldn’t get in your door and needed to climb through the trunk, knock down the backseat and crawl through to the steering wheel.  Time, not the magazine, will tell.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

SAGNOF just keeps finding ways to stay absurd.  Tom Wilhelmsen, Jean Machi, John Axford = good.  Carson Smith, Junichi Tazawa…. even Greg Holland = bad.  If all you care about are saves there’s been a wealth of options available.  Realistically, I think chasing saves with bad closers can be a losing proposition.  What do the first three (the so called “good”) have in common aside from taking over as the closer?  How about WHIPs greater than 1.40.  These players need to come with a warning label.  “Implosion likely to occur.”  I mean, it only took Edward Mujica about a week to implode and he was arguably better than any of these three.  Axford and Wilhelmsen look like brothers from different mothers with their K:BB ratios at 1.75 and 1.91 respectively.  Anything below 2.50 is really bad for a closer.  Unless you’re Brad Ziegler.  Then it’s okay.  (I need a “no sarcasm” alert for that one).  Here’s the lowdown on the closer situations that will make you want to scream.

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You’d think with a lineup featuring Prince Fielder, the Alfredo would go down fast and leave a mess for someone to clean up. I mean, I know Fielder is a vegetarian so maybe there were too many meatballs? How else can you explain it? It wasn’t Sunday so ‘Any Given Sunday’ need not apply and Any Given Thursday just opens the door for all the days of the week to claim coincidence as its catch phrase. We can’t have these things, there must be a reason! Yeah, there are no reasons. To the antithesis of all baseball nerd reasoning, Alfredo Simon pitched a complete game yesterday against a reasonably good Texas Rangers offense, only giving up one hit and two walks in the process while K’ing five in the shut out. Alfredo was giving up 1.45 HR/9 to go with a .383 wOBA to lefties on the year going into last night and faced a team that had five reasonably good lefty bats in their lineup. Let’s just stuff this one away in Gray’s Sports Almanac and move on with our lives without giving it a second thought, shall we? Yes, let’s. So without further ado, the guy who isn’t Grey will lead you through the rest of what he saw from yesterday for 2015 Fantasy Baseball…

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Here’s some things we know about Hector Olivera. A) The Braves say he could arrive with the team on Tuesday. B) The Braves are throwing him into the fire like they’re you at a backyard fire getting rid of all pictures of yourself from high school so no one can ever do a #tbt to you. The Braves president of baseball operations said Olivera will do a few days in the Gulf Coast League, then start moving him through the system. That’s fast, since he only has a week of Triple-A games under his belt. C) There’s no C. D) B was really long so there’s no D either. E) Olivera may not need much minor league time. He’s not exactly a rookie, he’s 30 years old. F) That’s a Latin 30; he may really be 44 years old. G) Money. H) oly smokes. I) am Grey. J) This preseason, I said this about Olivera, “After watching Olivera hit, he looks like Hanley Ramirez. Out on a limb like the Tootsie Roll owl, Olivera could hit 12-15 homers, steal 6-9 bases and hit .275-ish. There’s obviously a huge amount of risk, upside, downside and unknown here. He reminds of another import from this offseason. Call him The Cuban Kang.” K) And that’s me quoting me! L) MNOP Q) Would I own him? R) you serious? Of course. S) CarGo. T)he time to grab him is now. U) I’m talking to. V) Great TV show! W) Great movie! X) Great black militant! Y) Cause. Z) Fin. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The term “tool” has multiple meanings around here.  A major league baseball player can have up to five tools.  A fantasy sports writer can be a tool — like when he recommends the wrong next in line to closer for the Rockies (that’s me).  Rudy Gamble makes tools — like the SAGNOF tool I talked up last week that gives you some insight on the best base stealing match-ups and like our DFS (daily fantasy) tools available here.  A commenter pointed out last week that “Using the (SAGNOF) tool, Venable (FA) faces Nelson who ranks #25…pretty stealable. Problem is, Nelson has been in top form lately so tough to get on base. I’m gonna give Venable a shot nevertheless.”  At this point I felt compelled to remind him and the rest of you that by using the tool “You can put the odds in your favor, but a one game result is ultimately a total crapshoot.”  Well, everything with such a small sample size is a crapshoot, so what I meant was that putting the odds in your favor is a good thing and something that you need to try to do consistently when it comes to managing your last few roster spots.  What happened that game?  Venable stole a base against Nelson.

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Like typical closenado news and happenings, it comes in spurts.  The White Sox, Giants, and the Angels all made changes this past week.  All changes were needed, but only one team, the Giants, look like they will try something new and not return to the original status quo.  Sergio Romo is a proven and decent closer, but he’s overused, predictable, and doesn’t throw very hard.  The change to Santiago Casilla and the cast of Affeldt, Machi or any other Giants RP seems to be temporary.  Casilla has done well in the past with 25 saves in 2012, and a shiny ERA that hasn’t eclipsed 3+ since 2010.  Consistency makes you reliable as a relief pitcher.  I stole that from a German beer ad, or at least I think I did…it was in German and me no sprechen di lingie.  So to continue the look down the road, take a look at the SF bullpen picture for next year and you’ll notice that Romo is a free agent.  So the point is: either Santiago Casilla is the answer there for a one-year stop gap, or should they look to, what is IMO, the best relief pitching group of prospects in baseball.  They have three guys who look to be ready (dynasty leaguers go get a pen!): Stephen Okert, Heath Hembree, and my favorite, Ray Black (public advisory over drop pens). So sit on Casilla if you grabbed him.  It could be a long ride, but big head Bochy, and the monsters of the SF bullpen have a proven closer that will, for all intents and purposes, be back…maybe.  It’s more fun to leave it suspenseful, like Murder She Wrote.

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Yesterday, the Astros had a scare when Jose Altuve was hit hard on the hand by a pitch and he immediately left the game. Because of the nature of Altuve’s hand, a broken bone would’ve been devastating. You know those tiny boats that people use tweezers to put into little bottles? Those people are called tinyshoremen. Tinyshoremen are the only ones capable of working on a hand as petite as Altuve’s. Finding a doctor who is also a tinyshoreman? Good luck with that! Thankfully, X-rays came back negative and he’s day-to-day. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?