When Ryan Zimmerman hits a homer, they should play the Coming to America clip where Murphy says, “In dee face,” at the basketball game.  Speaking of Africa (sentence intro commonly found on fantasy baseball blogs), why is it called Out of Africa if it’s in Africa?  Granted, I’ve never seen that movie, but the one thing I know about it is that it is in Africa!  Straight Outta Compton is in Compton, but they get OUTTA OF COMPTON!  This post is brought to you by Meryl Movie Lovers, or MeMoLos, as they’re commonly referred.  Two more homers for Ryan Zimmerman yesterday, bringing his season total to 19 homers.  Shame I didn’t believe in him (and still don’t).  Why do I have more doubt than Meryl Streep in a habit?  Answer me that, MeMoLos!  He’s 32 years old, and, in his last two years, he had 15 and 16 homers.  In eleven years, he’s only topped 26 homers once.  So, don’t even give me that crap that I should’ve seen this coming.  He’s hitting .372!  Last year, he hit .218 and .249 the year before, and only hit over .300 one year in his career.  He’s not having a career year.  Nope.  He’s combining all of his years together into one year, putting them into a Magic Bullet, pulverizing them for five minutes and drinking it.  And, like Meryl sold French cuisine to an American audience in Julie & Julia, I’m still selling Zimmerman.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Usually I start my day eating breakfast while reading Grey’s excellent daily posts (suck up alert!).  I’ve been doing this for god knows how many years, at least a decade it seems.  Anyhoo, I usually look through the comments and see this comment (in various forms), “Player A for Player B.  Who wins?”  and part of that just bugs me. Not the asking for advice of course, because that’s the main point of the site.  I’m talking about the winning part.  Maybe it’s the current American winning obsession because to some we’re winning too much, others not at all (and that’s as far as I’ll dip my foot in the political pool).  I think it goes back to the idea that trading, in the minds of some, is a zero-sum game. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Can’t a trade help both teams so they both win? Absolutely.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, here we are gentlemen and five girl readers. Hmm, if I’m one of the five girl readers and I’m writing this [Jay’s Note: You forgot my mother.], does that mean I should only be addressing 4 girl readers? Or should I just stick with 5, since I’m certainly vain enough that I’ll be reading my own work once it’s published? Hold on, is “published” the wrong word since we’re talking about the internet, and does my use of it make me sound out of touch? Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, here we are: week 7! Most MLB teams have played around 40 games now, so we’re about a quarter of the way through the season. Have any owners just flat-out quit in your leagues? In one of my keeper leagues (which of course are a different animal than re-drafts when it comes to punting a season), there were several blockbuster trades over the past weekend… those “in the hunt” have definitely distinguished themselves from those who are “playing for the future”. Meanwhile, I have a few re-draft leagues where some owners are barely setting valid lineups. Does this happen in your league? And if so, do you care?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday was a bad day to quit being young with A.J. Pollock and Carlos Gomez both hitting the DL.  Together!  In a non-gay way.  But it would’ve been totally cool with me if it was in a gay way.  Let’s start with Pollock since he is the less ethnically sensitive of the two.  Pollock has a Grade 1 groin strain.  When the strain happened, Pollock was reading Groin Strains for Dummies.  Chapter 1:  Don’t Move Your Leg In A Normal Manner.  “Go to a trampoline, but don’t jump on it with your feet, fall on it sitting criss-cross apple sauce.”  Pollock will likely be out for two to three weeks, and in his place the Russian Game of Thrones character, Gregor Blanco, and Reymond “You Can’t Not Think Of Daisy” Fuentes.  Fuentes is the more interesting of two, since he should be on the stronger side of a platoon, and has speed.  Outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues, I’m passing on both.  As for CarGomez, he will miss four to six weeks.  That’s too bad, he used to be good three years ago.  Replacing him on the roster will be Jared Hoying, who looks like a Motter-fodder.  Then, we have Carlos Carrasco, who is affectionately known as Cookie, and I am a Cookie Monster for him, so this one hurts me.  In yesterday’s game, Carrasco had a huge lead, when he squandered that and left the game with a trainer.  All you had to do with cruise to the W on the Ivictory Coast!  Apparently, that’s the way the Cookie crumbles.  He was diagnosed with left pectoral tightness, which doesn’t sound bad.  Which, Part 2:  The Return of the Which, will still likely mean a DL stint.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Indians have a balanced system with good bats, good arms, and fantasy upside at all levels. At the tippy top there’s Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. Both should arrive in the next two years and the one you like better depends on whether you’re more of a speed freak or a power geek. You really can’t go wrong with either at this point. 2015 was the debut of Francisco Lindor, who exceeded expectations with his bat and was as advertised with his slick fielding at short. Given how hard it is to find offense at the position, it will be interesting to see how strongly fantasy players believe in his rookie year numbers and how high he’ll go in 2016 redrafts. I’m guessing pretty high. The Tribe had, in my humble opinion, a great 2015 draft and walked away with good players at great values. Their low minors is well stocked and it was honestly difficult to choose which players to profile down there.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (18) | 2013 (20) | 2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL Central
AAA: [79-65] International League – Columbus
AA: [73-69] Eastern League – Akron
A+: [62-74] Carolina League – Carolina (2015: Lynchburg)
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Lake County
A(ss): [33-42] New York-Penn League – Mahoning Valley

Graduated Prospects
Trevor Bauer, RHP | T.J. House, LHP | Jose Ramirez, SS | Roberto Perez, C

The Gist
Several of Cleveland’s younger players made waves during the 2014 season. Corey Kluber pitched his way to a Cy Young award, Michael Brantley broke out in a big way (h/t Grey), and Carlos Carrasco rode a down and up season that included a trip to the bullpen. He ended up as one of fantasy’s best starters over the final two months. You could even throw Jose Ramirez into the mix, who held his own at shortstop for the Tribe down the stretch. Looking ahead, this is a system headlined by top prospect Francisco Lindor, who should be in Cleveland at some point in 2015. Beyond Lindor, it’s a farm that is strong “up the middle” (catcher/middle infield/center field) and there is plenty of impact talent lurking in the low minors. It’s worth noting that two of the top five prospects were 2014 draftees.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week was about speculating which players might be getting the call this September and providing any kind of fantasy value in redraft leagues. With September now a week old, we have the names of the players who have indeed been added to rosters. With all of these call-ups, it’s important to remember that playing time could be sparse and their impact in a 12-team standard mixed league may be minimal. However, those of us who are playing in deeper leagues or keepers may have been rostering some of these players already. In that case their call-ups are more meaningful. They can add depth to the fantasy roster and sometimes it’s just fun to get a look at someone you’ve been hoarding in your NA spot or on your farm. Additionally, just because September 1st has come and gone doesn’t mean more players can’t be added as the month progresses and the MiLB playoffs come to an end. We’ll take a look at the pitchers next time, but for now let’s dive into some of the bats that got the call to the majors this past week…

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On Razzball Radio last week, where you finally got to see my perfectly circumferenced face, that looks like almost any chubby latino catcher that you can think of (to name a couple: Ramon Castro, Josmil Pinto), I got into my win-now approach. I traded high impact prospects (Gregory Polanco and Anthony Rendon) for a more immediate influence, (Robinson Cano).

I often wind up with no top prospects by year’s end, but still wind up with a sundry of “B” prospects that turn into more i.e. Mookie Betts and Joc Pederson last year for nothing! It’s about this time of the year that I start delving into C prospects in dynasty leagues for warm bodies to displace my empty prospect slots. Often, guys that come up will have initial contact problems, so I look for guys that can elevate their BABIP through both power (ISO) and speed (SPD). An extreme example is Yasiel Puig. He had contact problems last year, but he’s a monster in the power and speed departments ensuring an elevated BABIP. This year he’s put that together with a rational HR/FB ratio and a really nice contact and discipline jump. He’s elite.

It seems like I’m always seeing current and former Mets when I do this. This year is no different thanks to Andrew Brown and Eric Campbell (current Mets) as well as Nick Evans and Mike Jacobs (former) – all on this list due to their wOBA’s and ISO. While we might find more eventual, longer-term impact in AA, for this post, let’s look at the AAA minor league leaderboard (as of 5/30), including the Mexican League ranked by wOBA combined with BABIP (weighed by ISO and SPD)… just trust me:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (20) | 2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3) | 2009 (7)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [92-70] AL Central
AAA:  [71-73] International League — Columbus
AA:  [68-73] Eastern League — Akron
A+:  [57-83] Carolina League — Carolina
A:  [54-83] Midwest League — Lake County
A(ss):  [30-44] New York-Penn League — Mahoning Valley

Graduated Prospects
Yan Gomes (C); Cody Allen (RHP); Danny Salazar (RHP); Nick Hagadone (LHP)

The Run Down
The Tribe are coming off a surprisingly successful campaign in 2013, winning 92 games and earning a spot in the postseason.  Big league acquisitions had a lot to do with that success, but a fair amount of it needs to be attributed to homegrown talent, too.  At age 26, Jason Kipnis isn’t quite a youngster anymore, but he was drafted and developed by this org, and his breakout year can’t be ignored.  The same can be said for graduating prospects, Yan Gomes and Danny Salazar, both of whom offered value in the fantasy game (Gomes was actually acquired via Toronto, but you get the idea).  What remains on the Cleveland farm is a nice collection of talent, including two top-50 prospects, and perhaps a couple more in the 50-100 range.  Pitching is the glaring weakness here, and only one pitcher makes this top 10.  Of course, when considering that shortage on the pitching side of things, it’s probably important to also consider that the Tribe graduated Salazar, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister in the last two seasons.  Not too shabby.

Please, blog, may I have some more?