Gerrit Cole, one of the better young pitchers in the game, landed on the DL Sunday with “right shoulder fatigue”.  What does this mean for the Pirates?  Well, they have been playing much, much better of late, and this is gonna put a wrench in their chances of making a run at first place in the division.  Yes, they are still eight games back, but with Gregory Polanco likely getting called up this week, if they had a push in them, now was the time they were going to have to make it.  Instead, 2013 All-Star Jeff Locke, who was so bad post-break that he finished the year in the minors, will fill the void left by Cole and his 6-3 record.

Fantasy baseball owners are also going to be affected by this.  The Pirates hope Cole will only miss one start, but this sounds like it could develop into a multi-week recovery.  Concern arose when Cole, who normally throws in the 95-98 MPH range, was showing decreased velocity in the mid- to-late innings of games.  Assuming the Bucs fall further out of contention, the team will be in no rush to bring back their 23-year-old stud.  For what it’s worth, the Reds’ Tony Cingrani landed on the DL in May for the same reason (left shoulder fatigue) and missed just the minimum time, but he hasn’t been good at all in the weeks since.  For now, fantasy owners will just have to stash Cole on their DL and hope for a speedy recovery.

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Yesterday, Felix Hernandez had the best game of the season for fantasy — 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 15 Ks. F-Her was the best thing to hit the world since Natalie Portman decided it was a good idea to get naked for a short film. Granted, that short film was by Wes Anderson. In film school, it was always met with a mixture of amusement, bewilderment and excitement when any student filmmaker convinced an actress to take their clothes off for a student film. Invariably, they were a better salesman than auteur if they were able to pull it off. “So, your husband, hungry for approval, just left you for a ham sandwich and now you want to shed your clothes, which is a metaphor for the stripping of your soul. Don’t worry, it’s a locked set.” I’ve talked in the past about how if a pitcher has a difference of six between his K-rate and walk rate, then he’s usable in all leagues. F-Her has a difference of plus-8. That’s glorious. He has 106 Ks to 17 BBs. That’s insane. His ERA is at 2.39. He’s real and he’s magnificent. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .408. I’m not even joking. Member those days when you’d open up the paper and look at the league leaders? You’d then rub your face with your ink-stained fingers and you’d look like Bucky Dent with the eye black, then you’d overdo it and you’d look like Al Jolson and you’d get your family in a race war with your neighbors. Do you even know league leaders now without the newspaper? I don’t. I mean, I know guys that are doing well, but actual league leaders? It is irrelevant to a certain extent. If a guy is tied for 2nd most wins in the AL (Martin Perez) and he goes out and gets bombed yesterday (5 IP, 5 ER), does it matter? I guess it does matter with Tulo since he’s hitting four hundred and eight preceded by a decimal. That’s kinda beautiful. I own him for the first time in my life, and, due to that, he’s going to stay healthy all year. What, it’s putting it out in the universe. Yeah, unlikely, but hot dizzamn he’s good when going well. Yesterday, he hit two homers and in the last week he’s hitting over .600. As lyrics say in the lone single to go platinum off my Rod Stewart/MC Hammer mash-up album, “Stay forever young, Tulo legit, to quit.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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One of the questions from Bernard Pivot by way of James Lipton is, “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say at the pearly gates?” That’s easy, “Play ball!” Today, butterflies fly north for the summer, birds and bees have sex to John Fogerty’s Centerfield, and Carlos Quentin is already injured. *slowly smells in a flower* Ahh…Shin-Soo Choo! Stupid allergies. With spring in the air and baseballs in mitts, we’re back in the swing of things. Literally. Sadly, it’s not all good news. With Opening Day comes the news that Clayton Kershaw is starting the year on the DL. Aw, that makes me so sad. Wait, that’s not sadness, that’s happiness. Darn, my emotion detector needs recalibration. My first Sell of the year doesn’t look so bad right now. I feel like Ace Ventura right after he shows up all the other cops. Yes, I have exorcised the demons! The Dodgers are saying it was precautionary and Kershaw will be back shortly. If you own him, I wouldn’t sell him for fifty cents on the dollar. I’d take out my rosary beads and pray to the Patron Saint of Baseball, Ryan Church. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Japhet Amador is a giant man, standing at 6-foot-4, weighing in at 315 pounds. In the Mexican League, where he’s played for the last four years, they called him El Gran Burrito. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto once remarked that Amador is welcome at the Presidential Palace anytime, as long as Amador brings his own snacks. When Jose Altuve heard the Astros signed Amador, Altuve was thrilled. No more walking around for Altuve; Amador will just carry him around in a baby bjorn. I watched video of Amador and I’ve never seen such a slow bat through the zone. He looks like a Mexican Meat Loaf in a celebrity softball game. I swear, Amador stopped to eat one of those spicy dried mango candies halfway through his swing. His power is huge, but I’m not sure he’d gonna be able to catch up to anything. Last year in the Mexican League, he hit 36 homers and he’s 27 years old. The Mexican League is supposedly comparable to Triple-A, only instead of buses for transportation, the teams pile into a Toyota Tercel. Right now, he looks pegged for Triple-A, but since the Astros have Robbie Grossman, Marc Krauss, Jesus Guzman and J.D. Martinez vying for everyday ABs, anything could happen. I’d take a flyer on Amador in AL-Only leagues, and wait and see in mixed leagues. Best case scenario, he gets the DH job and hits 25+ homers and .220. The worst case scenario, you draft Altuve and Amador accidentally sits on him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw recently in spring training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to the year end Razzball awards. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice, Hey. Also, on the red carpet for everyone’s arrival we have, Comatose Blue Jays Fan, “Hurry up, the Blue Jays are gonna be facing the Yankees tonight on Fox.” And up in the balcony critiquing everyone’s outfits we have Clunky Segue, “As I was saying…” Before the show even begins, we have a very special musical guest, Lighter Shade of Brown! Live from opening for Kanye West! Not playing on stage with him, but literally opening doors for him. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2013 Razzball Year End Awards:

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We started this thing like boys and four girls (but, let’s be honest, one or two of the girls are kinda manly), and we leave this season as men and four women. In March, we dazzled each other with our drafted lineups in the comments. Today, most of those people are playing fantasy football, fantasy basketball or fantasy hockey and forgetting all about their one-two punch of Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton, that, in their words, they were just shocked to be able to draft both. Fantasy baseball isn’t made for the water cooler like the Breaking Bad finale — holy crap! — it’s made for the vending machine, because you don’t walk away from your team to talk. You rush away to get snacks and run those snacks back to your team, so you can watch as your team accrues stats or just ‘a-screws’ you. Some of you will sit with your fantasy team’s lineup open on your desktop through November like it has been for the last six months, hoping for one more day to save your season. Some of you will just close that team lineup browser window, ripping off the Band-Aid. But even if the lineup isn’t open, the player’s names will be burned into your screen because you shut off your screensaver six months ago. You should go ahead and turn that back on, or buy a new monitor. If you won your league, the salary hours you put into your teams could’ve saved the economy. Well, eff the economy, you won bragging rights! If you won your league with Henderson Alvarez and his no-hitter, then God bless your foresight, but I wouldn’t be shocked if you were really a witch. Conspiracy Theory Alert! The Tigers are securely in the playoffs and Henderson Alvarez is in the on-deck circle. Bases are juiced with two outs. The Tigers don’t want extra innings right before the playoffs and the Marlins can’t score with a prostitute and a roofie. Leyland sends the pitching coach out and tells Putkonen throw a breaking ball to the backstop and give the kid the no hitter. Either way, what a great way to end the baseball season. A sport that you just can’t ever predict gives a guy no one would’ve predicted a no hitter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The Cardinals are sick of Edward Mujica not playing way over his head like the rest of their entire team. “You see Joe Kelly? He sucks and he’s pitching well. You see Seacrest?” “You mean Siegrist?” “Yeah, him. He’s dynamite! Pitch better than you’ve ever pitched in your life or you’re out.” Mujica couldn’t find the intestinal fortitude (maybe he didn’t eat enough Thai food) and was replaced from the closing role for a few days. The Cards bullpen is solid behind him, which makes it difficult to pinpoint who exactly is his replacement. It could be John Axford, Trevor Rosenthal or Kevin Siegrist. I’d own any of them, but more because of how solid they’ve been. For saves, I’d rank them Rosenthal, Axford then Siegrist. Then there’s Mark Melancon. Like a guy who never flushes his toilet, the crap has caught up to him and the Pirates are now going ‘one day at a time’ for who their closer is, which I believe was Clint Hurdle’s nod to the late-great Bonnie Franklin. Bonnie, we miss you every day and we love your son, Nick, for the man you made him. I’d absolutely own Jason Grilli if I were chasing saves, but I wouldn’t drop Melancon either. Unless you don’t need saves and no one can catch you because you’re more bomb dot com and less bomb dot org. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Chris Davis hit his 51st home run, breaking the Orioles’ home run record of 50 set by Brady Anderson. In a ceremony following the game, Chris Davis sheared Brady Anderson’s sideburns, donating them to a teenager who wants to appear closer in age to his fake ID. Teenager Billy Lutkin said, “I already look like I’m at least 22, these will make me look like I’m like 30! I’m gettin’ drunk!” Davis’s season line is 100/51/132/.293/3, and rightfully sits near the top of our Player Rater. Old news, but I’m thinking about new news (almost stutterer!) and what can he do for 2014 fantasy baseball? In the 2nd half, he hit .255 with 13 homers as his BABIP and HR/FB% came soaring back to his career norms and rather than otherworldly as in the first half. He has a near 30% K-rate and doesn’t look anything close to the guy he was in the first half. Next year, he should still get 35 homers, but will probably hit closer to .265 and with those numbers his counting stats will come back to earth like Andrelton after holiday. Let’s just say someone will be drafting him before me next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I did some complaining last week about how the plethora of six-man rotations this time of year dilutes the two-start pool and makes two-start forecasting quite difficult. And while all of that is surely true, it’s also true that at this point of the season is probably the easiest time all year to get your greedy little hands on some quality two-start streamers. If you’re still reading this post midway into September, you’re in the minority. Week 25 is the finals in most H2H formats, the semis just about everywhere else. And if you play in one of the weird no-playoffs H2H leagues, odds are there aren’t more than two teams in serious contention at this juncture. Point is, there just aren’t that many people exploiting the two-start scene anymore. From this point forward, you should be able to snag some usable streamers without much trouble. Of course, if you’ve made it this far, I’d like to think your staff is strong enough to succeed without the help of fringy waiver adds.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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