“For Kris Bryant‘s first game, can we have Steve Bartman throw out the first pitch and have a goat catch it? Or maybe we carry Bartman through the streets like a Muslim funeral and rip the clothes from his body. Yeah, go with the 2nd idea!” That was the recently fired Cubs PR guy. You know the billboard that announces the Cubs World Series win in Back to the Future II? I took a freeze frame and blew it up, noticing something interesting. It’s not exactly the dead ghost girl in the window of Three Men and a Baby, but I could’ve sworn I saw Kris Bryant’s face reflected in the billboard. I’d show you, but I threw it away by accident. Sorry! So, Kris Bryant is being called up and I don’t own him anywhere, but I do get a certain pleasure out of the Cubs calling him up just after the extra year of team control kicked in, er, kicked Boras in the nuts. In my projections, I had him down for 42/19/54/.256/3, but not getting called up until June 1st. Now, 30 homers is a legit possibility. I do think he could have a 30%+ strikeout percentage and hit below .240, but I’ll give him the highest compliment I can, I wish I owned him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’ve lived in an area with access to the major Turner Broadcasting networks at any point since 1997, you’re probably familiar with the popular holiday movie A Christmas Story. The plot of the film revolves around Ralphie’s desire to obtain a BB gun (or more specifically a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle – but who can remember for sure) for Christmas that year. What nine-year-old boy wouldn’t want a BB gun? I know I would’ve loved one. All I usually got were a bunch of socks and sweaters and other boring stuff that I couldn’t care less about. What the hell, Mom?

But I digress. Just like Ralphie, we’ve all wanted that shiny, new BB gun at some point. Without those BBs, how would’ve young Ralphie fared against the likes of Black Bart and his crew? This fantasy season, we want those BBs instead of Aunt Clara’s homemade gift of choice. That brings us to this week’s exercise. Watch A Christmas Story tonight and then post your review in the comments. Wait, that’s not it, though feel free to discuss the movie if you’re so inclined.

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Looking at the title of this post, I could of easily called it Catchers! What are they good for? In fantasy you wouldn’t be wrong, because they can cause more harm than good. Those average draining, games played depleting, good for nothing bums. Except for you Yan Gomes, I own you in a few places, as I got a thing for Brazilian booty. What’s wrong with that? Have you seen the pics of female Brazilian soccer fans? Don’t judge me monkey! Seriously my fetishes…I mean my preferences are not what I’m here to talk about, we can do that in the comments. Oh and I’m gonna talk about a few end-of-the-draft CI’s too.

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They say talent trumps experience. That said, they also say persistence trumps talent. They also say persistence pays off. Sorry y’all, got lost reading motivational posters it seems. But that’s what happens when you are trying to get people excited about Josmil Pinto for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season. Believe me, I know it’s a bumpy road. I mean, haven’t we been down it before? The Twins organization has been a confounding crew, turning 5 year aged Malbec into two buck chuck (now probably three buck chuck…curse you, inflation!) for what feels like a long time. I mean, name the last Twins hitter you were actually excited to own? Chuck Knoublauch? And how have I made two references to ‘chuck’ in an opening paragraph and it’s not even about the same type of chuck? Weird times. All this to say, Josmil could be on the cusp of greatness…or getting traded…or being completely forgotten. Man I love those three true outcome guys! If you’re curious why I say these things, read on. Here’s my red hot take on why Pinto could be an exciting get as a second catcher in deep league settings for 2015 Fantasy Baseball…

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It feels like yesterday the baseball regular season started. You wrote “I heart baseball” in permanent marker on your arm, then you met a girl who wrote “I heart guys who heart baseball” on her arm, then, during sex in August, you screamed out “I love you, Giancarlo!” and now you don’t have baseball or a girlfriend. C’mon, calendar, make like a soldier and turn to March. The only cure for the post-baseball season blues — recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand-fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2014. It’s important to look back before we look ahead to 2015. To paraphrase the one and only B-Real, “How do you know where you’re at, if you don’t know where you’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from?” It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. It’s cold hard math, y’all! Please, for the love that all is holy, don’t ask me if this is for next year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Let’s break this down like Murray Chass would want it. Felix Hernandez has the 2nd best ERA in the AL, fourth most Ks, and 14 wins. When his team needed a win more than anything, so Grey (me) could possibly collect on a preseason bet he foolishly made for the Mariners to win the World Series, Felix choked up 8 ER in 4 2/3 IP, raising his ERA to 2.34. Felix has the 2nd best xFIP, 3rd best WAR for a pitcher and 8th best K-rate, but since we’re doing this as Murray would’ve wanted it, “What the flip is xFIP and I fought in Dubya Dubya Two and F-Her doesn’t know anything about WAR! Now stop with the Pollyanna chicken crap!” Did F-Her just lose the Cy Young award? He did if all the voters are subjected to a fifteen minute wait in a post office line with Mr. Chass. “Mr. Chass, did you print out an email to snail mail it?” “I don’t trust the internet!” Did the Mariners just lose all hope at the playoffs? F-Her, you effed me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So here we are, the last week of the season. If you’re playing now, you’re in the money game of your head-to-head league, or you’re in a dog fight to pull ahead in the roto standings. I’ve said this for the last three weeks but, congratulations! You did something right. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there are a few things you definitely didn’t do, you didn’t draft Justin Verlander, you didn’t draft Buster Posey or Joe Mauer anywhere near the first 5 rounds, you didn’t invest in one of the top 3 closers, and you probably didn’t draft Dominic Brown (Sorry Tehol). They say fantasy championships are made after the draft. Whoever they are? Seriously do you know? I’m just going to guess that if there is a they that writes these cliches, then they know Nick Capozzi. Mostly because he knows everybody in the fantasy industry. I’m also going to assume it’s a secret club that I’m not privy to. You know, like Skull and Bones.  Wow that escalated quickly! Where was I? Oh yeah winning fantasy championships. Well my belief is that the secret to winning in the final week is pitching, and how you use your streams. If you’re in a H2H league with a limited move number than be careful. One must choose wisely. With this in mind I have created a new format for these posts. As I mentioned last week I had the vision of putting my rankings in spreadsheet form and providing a couple of key metrics I felt gave you the readers full transparency into my thought process. Well my vision is reality behold the new and improved two startapalooza. You’ll see that in addition to the Pitcher’s name and opponent, I’ve also provided the pitcher’s handedness, the pitcher’s Home/Road ERA, the opponent’s Home/Road wOBA, and the opponent’s Right/Left wOBA split. These are the numbers I look at most closely when creating my rankings for the week. So why not share them with you? Enjoy, I put some time into this and I believe you’ll find it extra helpful. I hope it also sparks more debate in the comments and gives you guys all the more reason to challenge my tiers. I’ve also made sure that I based my Two-Start roster off of Rudy’s new two start pitcher SON/tool. This way all the information mirrors each other and gives some continuity to the post. Thanks again for reading and I’m looking forward to bringing this format back next season. Go Get’Em!

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Here’s an example from your own life. You walked into a bar and negged the first girl you saw. Told her she had nice hair, then immediately asked her how often she dyes it. Never worked before. This girl laughed and talked to your dopey ass. She even thought it was charming when you told her to pay the bar tab. Went home, had great sex and the next morning she’s moving some of her shirts out of her dresser, so you have room to bring a few of your things over. You tell her that’s not necessary and she shrugs, goes into the bathroom, calls her mother and starts crying loudly. Seemed awesome, turned out psycho. Now imagine she didn’t reveal she was psycho for three months. That’s Steve Pearce. At some point in 2015, he will start moving his shirts out of his dresser and you’re gonna feel real awkward. Right now, he’s insane. Yesterday, was part of that insanity as he hit two homers, bringing his season total to 20. No longer is the fortune cookie’s ending ‘in bed,’ it’s now ‘with Steve Pearce.’ There’s some noise about him changing his stance and that’s led to him having a breakout season. Yeah, don’t buy it. He’s 31 years old. Not the death knell for anyone, but when you’re barely rosterable as a utility man for a major league team for almost seven years, you don’t suddenly change your stance and everything’s great. He’s a 10-homer utility man, disguised as Jesus. It will end at some point in 2015, but for now Pearce your genitals, make the devil horns and ride the lightning! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m going to look right in your eye and say, “I don’t know where Jacob deGrom‘s coming from.” Don’t turn away from me. *turns your face by chin* Look at me. I don’t know everything. I’m sorry. I know that upsets you like finding out that Santa Claus is really just a drunk man in a costume. I apologize profusely if you didn’t know that about Santa too. It hurts me to ruin your naivete more than anything. Your child-like innocence is what originally drew me to you. Alas, we’ll find something else. Like deGrom, for instance, we can discover him together. In Triple-A, deGrom had a 6.8 K/9 this year, and 7.5 last year. Always had nice control, but he has a 9 K/9 in the majors. You don’t see guys often jump up a pedigree when they go from the minors to the majors. He’s always featured nice command, which is the key here. When a guy can command his pitches and then learns how to throw a new pitch that is special, he can use it effectively. So, what did he learn? Supposedly, Johan Santana gave him the secret sauce recipe for The Change. Another key is his velocity. This isn’t a guy who is adding a new pitch with 89 MPH velocity. He throws his fastball in the mid-90’s. Throw one pitch in the mid-90’s and another dropped in around 84 and you have a recipe for Ks. As was the case yesterday — 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 13 Ks — when the Marlins were like Farmer Ted striking out at deGrom. Still think he’s closer to a high-7/low-8 K-rate guy with a mid-3 ERA, but it’s still a lot better than I thought he was when he came up. Now let’s move past this lapse of judgment by me and try to enjoy ourselves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In 1778, Benjamin Franklin pulled the first American flag from Betsy Ross’s, uh, clutches and proclaimed a holiday to be called Labor Day in the then-resort city of Philadelphia. Since then there’s been a long history of great Philly pitchers: Steve “Lefty” Carlton, Jackie “Kid” Gleason, Robin “ESPN anchor” Roberts, Curt Schilling, who later went on to be known for saucing his French fries with ketchup out of his sock, Jim “Beds Are” Bunning and Brett “I’ll Show You Slap Hits” Myers. Philly’s not the same town now as it was in Ben’s day, as the battle for best cheesesteak tore up most of the city. “Geno’s? How about I give you a jihad wit wiz?!” It’s ugly, without much joy in the City of Brotherly Love, a nickname adopted due to the popularity of a WWF manager in the early 90’s. Yesterday, for a moment, all of that sorrow was told to go to ‘morrow, as Cole Hamels and Jacob Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a no hitter. Hamels only made it through six innings, because he took Labor Day literally and struggled with five walks. If I had to give an award out because I had an award and didn’t know what to do with it, I’d ask someone next year if Jacob Diekman ever threw a no-hitter, and would reward them with that unwanted trophy if they said yes. A great day for Philly fans everywhere (except for the fans that came to the game with D batteries hoping for a reason to throw them at a player). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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