“Richards is talking to trainers but remains on back. Injury appears to be serious.” That’s how the news was tweeted out yesterday by the Angels beat writer. If Agatha Christie were around today, she’d adapt that tweet and name the novel, 140 Characters On A Train Wreck. Then it would be re-released after a train disaster with its new title, The Pitcher’s Trap. No matter the title, there was and will only be one antagonist, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who gets his jollies from the misery of fantasy baseballers. You sit on his lap; he says, “What do you want this season?” “A healthy pitcher.” “Ho, ho, ho, no.” Arm injury, oblique, hip impingement, parallel parking impingement because of a stupid cone, broken toe, Tommy John surgery, Tomas Juan surgery in Mexico, forearm strain and now a knee. The Angels best options are Wade “Joey” LeBlanc, Randy “Team Jacob” Wolf and Chris “Lord” Volstad. They are all horror shows. Mean’s while, it sounds like Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, but hopefully will be fine for next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yeah, last week I told you to buy Kris Bryant. This week it’s Jorge Soler. Next week, it’ll probably be Jody Davis Jr. After that, we’re all going to move to the north side of Chicago, get one of those beef sandwiches they say are Italian that don’t look like anything any Italian I know would eat, then we’ll chow down on some pizza that could double as mattress padding and we’ll say da instead of the. Chicago’s my kind of fantasy prospect town. The only reason why I’m talking about these Cubs prospects — well, not the only reason, but a good reason — it’s late in the year and prospects are called up on September 1st. Specificlly talking about Cubs prospects, because I want to get in a Hot Tub Time Machine with them and go back one minute every other minute so I can stretch out my time with them. Like a real romantic! So, on Jorge Soler. He’s hot butter on Oprah’s thigh with Stedman moving in. Sexy and weirdly erotic. Soler, Bryant and Baez are like 1A, 1B, there’s no 1C and 1D. Soler missed a month earlier in the year with a hamstring injury, but he’s been fine for a while now. Shoot, I’d even say F-I-N-E, fine. He has some slight speed, 30-homer power and a .280 average. Basically, every All-Star outfielder of the last ten years. Unlike Bryant, Theo hasn’t said Soler won’t come up. Soler almost definitely will. Grabbing a guy with something to prove with this much talent, this is what H2H leagues are won with! Or any leagues, for that matter. Look at Baez, he’s on a 70-homer pace. What, you don’t want 70 homers? I’d stash Soler now. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ughhhhh, is it the playoffs yet? Why does this year seem to be taking longer than ever before? Maybe it’s because I’m in only free leagues this year and I feel like I’m having my back blown out by my boy, Mandingo (google him, NSFW), in each and every one of them. I was graciously offered the opportunity to relinquish my fantasy baseball posts in order to give 100 percent of my focus on the football side of things as we are ramping up for America’s new favorite pastime. I thought to myself, “Beddict, you have a life; chickens to feed, male thong ads to shoot, and an endless supply of women to satisfy, therefore none could truly blame you for focusing all your efforts into football. It’s not your fault Bryce Harper is a tool and Ryne Sandberg is the worst manager in baseball. MOST of your other advice has worked out splendidly. You’ve done enough…..” FEAR NOT, my friends, for the day I walk away from writing for baseball is the day Grey and Rudy show up at my immaculate abode, Chinese finger trap my bottom b*tch, film it, stomp me out afterward, and take back my framed Razzball certificate of employment. I know for a fact that I have at least TWO readers who enjoy these posts and I absolutely refuse to let them down as Nicolas Cage has his fans with his seemingly endless supply of duds. Yes, these next few weeks shall be permeated with more Beddict than ever before, covering both baseball and football, and that, my friends, is what’s known as a “Tehol Twofer.” That term is ordinarily reserved for when I sexually pulverize two women, back to back, but I believe this was newsworthy enough to borrow the term, though I’m borrowing it from myself, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. ANYWAY, let’s hop right in. I missed some action due to the fact I was reeling in Tyee’s up in Canada, but per usual, I’ll be giving it 110 percent. This is, Disgrace/Delight.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Uh-oh, I feel a rhyme coming on. Chris Carter‘s schmotato was born on August 4th wearing the Astros hat, 40 ounces he doesn’t pour forth cause that forty-oh is his bat. If you can’t respect that your whole perspective is wack, maybe you’ll love him when he goes by Charlie Really Black. Man, he was conceived as Hurry K’d Carter, but that was just for fun, big hands, I know you’re the one. What’s this a Violent Femmes mash-up, must be the Grey album. Eggs over easy, Carter’s going swat! What’s that albumen? No, it’s snot! So, Carter now has 7 homers in the last ten games. If he could only hit .260, he’d an exact clone of a young Ryan Howard. We want mo’ Howard! Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck! Instead, we’ll take what Carter’s giving now, which is crazy power and Ks. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I read a press release that Universal had greenlit the new buddy cop movie, Ham and Moobs, but I thought it was the usual PR stunt. When I heard they cast Kirsten Dunst as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who would be helping take Josh Willingham from loner without a job in Minnesota to new heights in Kansas City, where she would be sneaking him onto a plane to go — surprise! — parachuting and slipping him into a cage of alligators to get over his fear of being eaten alive, I was hooked! That Dunst girl will annoy the pants off you! So, The Other White Meat moves to KC, and I hear the Royals made the trade simply by pressing this button. This doesn’t hurt Wilingham’s value, but it doesn’t necessarily help it either. He’ll be the majority shareholder of the Royals DH slot and could be good for a little pop here and there, but not worth owning in most mixed leagues unless he’s hot. This does open the way for Kennys Vargas to remain the Twins DH and I’m a big fan of his. Both of his. All the Kennys you got. Every one of them. Okay then. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before I get into today’s post, I have some news. The Guru vanished. No idea where he went. One moment he was on the Razzball tour, next moment he was talking to a group of bears dressed as swimsuit models luring him into their car. You also catch more Gurus with honey, apparently. I await the A. A. Milne book with Guru in the Pooh gang. Any the hoo! The Football RCL signups are still underway, but if you joined one of Guru’s leagues, you need to sign up for a new football league. Repeat, there will be no Guru leagues; he got in a Hyundai filled with masquerading bears. Anyway II, the roundup:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m just curious: Do Colorado pitchers stink because half of their games are played in the equivalent of the Space Stadium in “Triple Play 2001”, or do they stink because no one wants to pitch there, so the Rockies just end up with the garbage juice at the bottom of the pitching scrap heap? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, the poor, battered Rockies pitchers will get out of Coors next week and into some fun in the sun in San Diego for a series that is the definitive fantasy baseball crossing of the streams: [Jay's Note: Don't cross the streams.] Offensive-minded team with horrendous pitchers that play in a batter’s park visit a pitching-minded team with absolutely zero offense in their pitcher’s park.

So what does this mean for fantasy purposes, and specifically Two-Startapalooza purposes?

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When I was growing up, we had a hutch. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what piece of furniture it was that my grandparents used to call a hutch. So, like a child of the naughts, I Googled it. On Wikipedia, it says a hutch is where one prepares an evening tipple. Let me just say, I don’t remember anyone in Jersey ever preparing an evening tipple. An evening Sloppy Joe? Sure. An evening ‘bang on the side of the TV so the picture would come in?’ Yup. An evening ‘curse at the neighbors?’ Definitely! An evening tipple? Not in my Jersey. But, for the sake of argument, let’s all pour ourselves an evening tipple for Drew Hutchison. Last night, he went 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk and 8 Ks. See, nothing to it. The only mistake yesterday was a long ball surrendered to Chris Davis (now has back-to-back games with ding-shots). As I said when Hutchison was called up, he could be as great as any pitcher to come up this year. Sadly, it may not be this year that he is great. It’s the pickle that is young pitchers. I would own him, shoot, I’d even have a tipple with him, but I wouldn’t fully trust him until he has a longer track record. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tommy Medica had the game of his life last night, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (5 & 6), 4 runs and 4 RBI. Somebody call a doctor, because Tommy Medica is so sick! Now wait just a minute, hold onto your coffee, and don’t drop anything or anyone just yet, (especially not your coffee because that may burn and I can’t afford a lawsuit). Medica, who generally sits against righties, has been filling in for Yonder Alonso the past month or so while he’s on the shelf. He has squandered the opportunity, batting just .217 with zero homers and 4 RBI in 46 at-bats in July. Even for the Padres, that’s barely a major league starter. I guess his hitting coach has been advising him to study Jedd Gyorko early season game tape. More likely than not, Medica will be headed back to the platoon role once Yonder Alonso returns, but the trade of Chris Denorfia could potentially open up some more playing time. Either way, what a game Tommy Boy! Holy schnikes! I added Medica in a few places on the off-chance this performance buys him some more playing time, but I’d keep the expectations low outside NL-Only and deep mixed leagues. For the time being, Tommy Medica is batting 1.000 and slugging 2.200 in August and certainly a name worth monitoring over the weekend.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?