I’ll be honest, picking a creeper early in the year is not an easy task. We have small sample sizes to work with, players under performing and pitchers very hard to predict. I ask myself every week as I prepare these: what angle can I find to make a call? What is a constant that doesn’t change? Where are my pants? Well, the third question is nearly impossible to answer because it’s like trying to figure out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. The other two are things we always look for, regardless of what point of the season we are at, are park factors, lefty/righty match-ups, Schmotatoness, and batter vs. pitcher history. For example, this week, Brad Miller plays six games and for five of them, he faces right-handers. On the year, he bats .348 against RHP (good thing), but among the five he faces this week, he bats .191 against (not so good), and Hitter-Tron (-$2.5) says he won’t be any good. I’ll pass too. That’s a little snapshot into my process.  This week, I’m going for Schomtatoness and park factors to make my call. Would you like to hear more? Oh c’mon, I’ll give you some Arby’s coupons? Dairy Queen? Fine, then skip to the top 100 and we can fight about that in the comments instead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Call the Sons of Sam Horn! Get Matt Damon on the line! Someone tweet @RemDawg! Unfreeze Ted the Head! Avengers Assemble! The Red Sox are set to promote their next top super-prospect, Blake Swihart, today to serve as the primary catcher while Ryan Hanigan is on the shelf. If the legends spoke of in ancient Fenway lore are true, he could be the one who will bring balance back to a Red Sox pitching staff that has looked somewhat questionable in the early going. A late first round pick in 2011, Swihart gathered a lot of buzz in spring training this year after slashing .333/.375/.533 with a HR and 8 RBI. In 18 games with AAA Pawtucket this year he’s hit .338/.392/.382 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. With just 22 home runs in five minor league seasons I wouldn’t expect much power from Swihart, but as a spray hitter the bat certainly seems to be major league ready. Initially, Boston felt Swihart’s defense needed a bit more seasoning in the minors, but there is unquestionably some offensive upside, especially in Boston’s heavy hitting, run scoring line up. Here’s what Razzball’s prospector Mike said last week about Swihart, who was ranked #11 in his Prospect Power Rankings, “With the injuries and such at the catching position right now, folks will be chomping at the bit to add Swihart to their teams when he arrives.” He’s so right, you guyz, if your fantasy catcher situation is anything like mine, you’re cycling out a cast of characters the likes of Nick Hundley, Tucker Barnhart, Crash Davis and Caleb Joseph, some of whom do more harm than good. I’d take a chance on Blake Swihart if you need a catcher, he’s owned in less than 5% of ESPN leagues but as soon as Brandi-Lynn from Southie finds out everyone will know so act quickly. There is potential runs and average here, and like every Sawx prospect, there is all that sweet, sweet upside, so here’s hoping Blake can rake.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Masahiro Tanaka hit the DL with a strained forearm. It’s not related to his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. So, here’s my question? Why not just play through the forearm strain too? That’s where he draws the line? It’s like, “I was fine sleeping with my wife’s sister, and having a baby with her that no one knows about, and plotting to kill my wife on a weekend jaunt to Mexico, but I will not jaywalk. Those people in New York are crazy!” You have nothing to lose, Tanaka, get in there and shank someone in the yard and Hacky Sack the ball to the plate! The Yankees haven’t announced how long Tanaka will be out, but maybe they’ll try to sneak in Tommy John surgery while he’s sleeping. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back my friends and opponents to the best RCL coverage on the net… hey, wait, didn’t I say that last week? Get some new tricks J-FOH! Oh hi there Sky, how did you get into my post? I don’t appreciate you telling everyone that I’ll be jumping out of a cake. You know I hate cake and consider myself a pie guy. Sorry, but I thought the pie trick would be messy. Would you prefer if I have you jump out of an over-sized keg? Perfect, as long as it’s half full, now carry on. [Jay’s Note: I’m pretty sure he would demand that it be a fad microbrew instead…] Thanks for coming in Sky. Okay, now back to where I talk about you readers. It’s still early and it looks like some of you are going into panic mode and that’s one reason why I’ll be highlighting some trades that have gone down this past week that show how hard people are reaching… (these views and opinions do not reflect Grey Albright Inc./Razzball and any affiliates and/or subsidiaries). Not all of them are reaches, but I wouldn’t make some of these trades. I hope some of the traders read this and come in and talk about those deals. As usual, we have the leaders of the week, the leaders of the pack (the top-10) and a new twist on an old staple where I highlight a random league for the whole world to see. You better put your pants because you never know when I will be popping in to take a snap shot. Oh, who am I kidding, who wears pants when they play fantasy baseball? I literally wear the same basketball shorts and sleeveless shirt all season. I wash it during the all-star break.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Addison Russell was playing some some 2nd base in Triple-A yesterday, minding his own business, when the Cubs management heard something they didn’t like, five full minutes of non-Cubs prospect talk on sports radio. Four minutes is not cool, but five? Nuh-uh, they said, as they wagged their finger. So, the Cubs called him up, and plan to send down Arismendy Alcantara. This offseason I said, “So, the first thing we know about Russell is Billy Beane traded him away. This is obviously a strike against him. The last prospect Beane gave up on was Brett Wallace, and that was partly because Wallace looks like his face is constantly pressed against a window and that’s disconcerting. Right now, it appears Beane got the worst side of this Russell trade. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to get back to the gym to pump iron and waited to negotiate a better deal. It’s still early though, and prospects can flame out. Russell, however, doesn’t look headed in that direction. Russell looks like he could be better than Starlin Castro as early as next year. Second thing we know about Russell is he’s got power and speed. Yummers! Third thing we know about Russell is there is no third thing. Russell’s shown solid power in the minors (17 HRs in High-A in 2013 and 12 HRs in only 50 games in Double-A last year after the trade to the Cubs). His speed is a tad below that, which concerns me a bit because speed is the one thing we can always count on translating. He did steal 21 bags in High-A, but, well, that’s High-A. They call it that because everyone’s stoned. Last year in Double-A, he only had five steals all year, and two after the trade. It’s not great, and I think we’re seeing closer to his actual speed level in Double-A. Maybe he’ll reach 15-20 steals at some point, but he’s never going to be a 40-steal guy. He did hit .294 at Double-A after the trade, and I don’t see him hitting much below .280 without some bad luck.” And that’s me quoting me! While drinking Sanka with Lou Avery, I’ve decided Russell should be owned everywhere. Yes, even that league. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 61/12/44/.287/6 with upside from there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week I’m making a little one-week tweak to the Creeper of the Week and going with Creepers because we have something that doesn’t always happen. What is that Big J? Well eager reader, it’s a seven-game Monday-through-Sunday home series for the Rockies. By my count, this will only happen three times this season. The hard part was finding an under-owned player not taken on the Rockies playing everyday, and it’s so barren right now that even the French DJ is over-owned to qualify for this post. Hey there French DJ can you drop me a cut for this creeper post? Very nice, old school, but isn’t that a little too obvious? I get it, you are on the 1’s and 2’s, so the choice is yours. Can I at least get one cut with a baseball name in the title? What’s that? You don’t do requests? Sheesh, that Charlie Blackmon ego is rubbing off on your euro sensibilities. Forget about it, let’s move on to the reason we are here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the first time, there’s Reasonable Doubt for you, the Jay Z owner. Asking yourself, on Growing Pains, am I, Boner? You’re supposed to put up goose eggs, and be all zen. Now the Black Album is scrambled, got funky albumen. Grey told me don’t draft a top starter, but I got Jordan Zimmermann not Shawn Carter. Jigga what…is with all the runs? His starts make me want to curse, hide your nuns. Pardon my question, but my H2H is on tilt and I need streamers from the SON, see. This is fantasy, where’s my funzies!? Yesterday, Zimmermann went 2 1/3 IP and gave up seven, but at least I have Kershaw, Strasburg and Samardzija. Wait, then why is my team’s ERA pushing five and I don’t have anything that rhymes with Samardzija!? As for Zimmermann, he looks like he’s hiding an injury so far this year. Velocity’s down, Ks are down, pitches are up. I wouldn’t panic trade him, but I wonder if something might be wrong and I would explore trade possibilities. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the Greek myth goes, the Yellin’ of LaTroy is the closer that launched thousands of fantasy baseballers to the waiver wire to pick up his set-up man, Adam Ottavino. There’s something to that great myth. There’s also the Greek myth about the LaTrojan Horse. In that one, the Greeks sent a closer that seemed like a workhorse onto the field, but once the battle began the LaTrojan Horse opened up and inside was marshmallows and the opposing team made a campfire, lit up the LaTrojan Horse and ate Smores. There’s also the Greek myth of Mike Mostsuckass, but that isn’t appropriate for right now. LaTroy Hawkins was spotted one out in the ninth inning and still gave up three earned runs, allowing a homer to the 135-pound power slugger, Dexter Fowler (who had a slam and legs and went 2-for-5, 2 RBIs). Whether the Rockies come out and say Hawkins is finished or on thin ice, I’d still stash Ottavino. He’s about to become a 35-save guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Drew Pomeranz notched his first win of 2015 last night pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and punching out six Mariners. You my boy, Drew! Not too long ago, Pomeranz was once a highly touted prospect with Colorado, children. Yes, believe it or not, the Rockies have pitching prospects just like every other team. It’s funny how an Oakland A uniform changes things. OakTown is the place to be if you’re a highly touted pitching prospect. In the club house, they feed you coconut water, fancy cheeses and all the extra foodie overflow from the SanFran yelpers. Also, warm towels and artisan breads. Pomeranz put up a more than respectable 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 64 Ks in 69.0 IP (10 GS) in 2014. Yes, more please. How about that .244 BABIP last year? See where I’m going with this? Did I mention how he was a highly touted prospect? Why is he available in over 90% of leagues? If I were you, I’d live your life, watch then delete everything in your DVR, eat your favorite foods in your fridge and probably sleep with your girlfriend several times. I would also pick up Drew Pomeranz so when you return to your body you wouldn’t have missed your opportunity. DP gets the Astros next week and something tells me Pomeranz come up big this year. The A’s always have that one break out starting pitcher, right? Why not Drew? He was highly touted, people! So grab him before someone else does.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night (*Opening Week Edition*):

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Grey say, “Devon Travis my boo-boo.” Obama say, “What it do?” The Buy/Sell Column say, “Did you miss me?!” During the offseason, while you were diddling and thinking about how your middle school nickname was Skidmark, I, The Buy/Sell Column was re-reenacting scenes from The Act of Killing with puppets in a staged production on the western tip of Alaska because I’M HARDCORE! You want some Rip Taylor-wannabe, throwing confetti at your feet or you want a Buy/Sell Column that be cutting puppets’ necks with chicken wire while bundled up because it was frickin’ cold in Alaska during the winter!? Mental midgets, you want the latter! I’m eating puppet stuffing like I’m George “The Animal” Steele just to prove how crazy I am! Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery, I love Devon Travis like his momma. Let’s throw out what he’s done this year so far for small sample size reasons — that’s what she said! Huh? — and simply look at Travis’s minor league stats. In Single-A, he hit .352 with 6 homers and 14 steals in 77 games. That’s a young man’s professional ball level, let’s move up higher. In Double-A last year in 100 games, he had 10 homers, 16 steals and a .298 average. He didn’t strike out a lot. He wasn’t getting by on his good looks and high BABIP (for him). If you take me out of the equation, ZiPS gives him 13 HRs, 11 SBs in only 116 games. Unless he gets hurt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at least 140 games, so that makes him a 17 HR, 15 SBs guy. Oh. Wait a minute, that’s glorious. Also, I think the Jays are gonna move him to the top of the order by May 1st. Let’s just pray that the Jays don’t do something stupid when Izturis is healthy again. Because…They say with Devon love comes first! We’ll make Devon a place on earth! Sing it, Belinda Carlisle! (By the by, Belinda Carlisle? Hot Cougar Alert! She could be 85 years old and sexy as all get out!) If you’re hurting at MI, I’d grab him, because I’m randy for Travis. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?