First, happy Labo(u)r (the “u” is for us Canadians) Day weekend! Second, let me join the chorus of bewilderment around me: how in the actual F (and I don’t mean Jef with 1 F) is it September? Mind you, I’m happy it is. The heat can go to hell. Seriously, I used to live in southern Africa and was never as hot as I am here, living in the eastern bit of North America. Bah humbug. Close the door: you’re letting the cold out. Get off my lawn. Etc. But back to baseball! We’re staring down the home stretch now, and whether you’re happy (Dodgers fans!) or you’re not (Jays fans. … sigh), there’s a little flurry of excitement at this time of year, what with the shiny (or not so shiny) new September call-ups, and the fact that FanDuel may not notice, so these players’ prices may be low, and you may (this is a lot of “may”s, I know. It’s a may-September romance) be able to slip some bargains into your lineups today while saving cash for big Coors bats and good pitching. (Finally! Good pitching options on a Saturday! Kluber! Scherzer! Archer! Lester! I hardly knew her!)

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

A few weeks ago, Grey listed Billy Hamilton in both the Buy and the Sell sections of the same column. It was a great reminder of how much player values change as the season progresses, and particularly how much a single player’s value can differ from one fantasy baseball team to another. By this time of the season, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your team could use to gain some precious points in the standings, and what would just be excess that does you no good at all.  Hamilton could be serious difference-maker on one team, and unnecessary waiver-wire fodder in another.

Obviously things are vastly different in NL-only, AL-only, and other particularly deep leagues — guys like Billy Hamilton aren’t just sitting around on waivers. It’s still important to remember how different a player’s value can be from one team to another though, especially when it comes to trades. I have a few leagues where there’s still a week or two left before our trade deadline, and it amazes me how many offers I’m still getting that would be of no help to me whatsoever — and, even more ridiculously, wouldn’t be of much help to the owner offering the trade either. Sometimes owners are so worried about getting the “best” or most owned player in a deal, that they forget to pay attention to whether or not those players could actually help their team rise in the standings. And even when going through the slim pickings of a deep-league waiver wire, don’t forget what you’re shopping needs are. Unless you’re playing defensively or have a trade in mind, there’s probably no reason to pick up a bad reliever just because he might close, or a horrible hitter with a little speed, if you already have more saves or steals than you know what to do with.

Speaking of players like bad relievers that may close, time to look at some guys who might be available in NL or AL only leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Baseball’s parity is better than any other sport.  You can go into the season like, say, the Rockies.  No chance at all of the playoffs with no closer, no pitching, an injured offseason acquisition and be a favorite for the playoffs in July, without that offseason acquisition doing anything, not getting anything from your returning superstar shortstop and defying gravity with a pitching staff keeping a team above water even at one mile high.  Then, on July 31st, parity goes out the window and all teams doing well get much better and teams struggling sell off everything.  Speaking of “I’m rich bitch,” the Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish.  The deadline was mostly, “Well, there goes a middle reliever,” and, “Another middle reliever?  Snooze,” then, at the last moment, the Dodgers swooped in and grabbed Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, two more middle relievers.  Just like LA to want two Tonys, like  Oscars aren’t enough.  Oh well, nothing big this year.  When, thirty-five minutes after the trading deadline, the Dodgers announced, “Psyche, fake-out, we got Darvish too.”  Los Angeles is about the best landing spot a fantasy owner could hope for Darvish.  He has a 9.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 3.81 xFIP, but was pitching in the 5th best offensive park.  Hello, NL West, Dodger Stadium and facing the Giants and Padres.  Now you see LA brewin?  Yu sexy, get me some Trojans.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was craving sashimi last night, so I sauntered to my local sushi joint. When I walked through the door, I heard the familiar, “Irrashaimase maido,” from the chefs behind the counter. As I nodded my head down reverently, I realized there was a new member of the crew. I like to live dangerously, so I sat down at the bar in front of him. I usually ask the chef, “What’s good today?” but last night it was just, “Prepare what you think is best.” Like I said, I like to live dangerously. If I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I would’ve knocked my chair backwards and banged my head on the floor from the show I was presented. It was all so un-Benihana-esque. The skill. The grace. As he wiped the sweat from his forehead after slicing and dicing the manta rays placed before him, I asked him one simple question. “Who are you?” He looked me in the eye and responded, “I am Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees.” Tanaka was perfect for five innings Friday night. He ended up allowing two hits, one earned run, did not walk a batter, and struck out 14 in eight innings. 77-of-109 pitches were thrown for strikes. That’s how you earn a big tip! Now, keep in mind that Tampa Bay strikes out the fourth-most frequently against RHP and the huge night knocked down his ERA to 5.09 for the year. He did give up four, three, and five earned runs in his prior three starts and got pummeled in his two previous starts against TB. As Friday night showed, though, Tanaka does have the ability to absolutely dominate. When I eat raw fish, I know there’s always the risk that I could be eating some three-eyed monster from Fukushima. That’s how I feel about starting Tanaka. As I said before, I like to live dangerously.

Here’s what else I saw from Friday night’s action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Between trade deadline deals and prospect call-ups, I am so super jacked right now, I could jackhammer a road with my excitement!  Is it weird that I’m picturing a mural of Giancarlo on the ground while I jackhammer said road with my excitement?  “Hey, move that traffic cone!  Giancarlo’s birthmark is further down and to the right!”  That’s me directing city workers as they put my Giancarlo mural on my block.  So, with Dexter Fowler hitting the DL with a forearm strain, the Card called up Harrison Bader.  I’m kicking myself for going Willie Calhoun over Harrison Bader two weeks ago in NL-Only FAAB.  Real bad call by me.  Now, I got Willie Calhoun, who sounds like someone in Alcatraz, and I’m kicking rocks.  Why do we care?  Bader has 19 HRs, 9 SBs and a .297 average in Triple-A, and Prospector Ralph put him 36th overall on his top 100 fantasy baseball prospect list.  I attempted to add him everywhere, even in ESPN leagues where he’s not in their system yet.  Oops, guess they didn’t see him coming.  Apparently, they don’t put the ESP in ESPN.  Bader’s overall profile looks to be a 20-ish homers, 12ish steals, .275-ish average.  His -ish looks Fowler-ish, and I’m chicken-lickin’.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Yankees called up Clint Frazier on Saturday.  The Yankees are like you at a concert after your first bathroom break.  “I had sixteen beers and I really gotta whizz.”  *goes to the bathroom, then sips your seventeen beer*  “Damn, I just took a whizz, and now I have to go again.”  The childproof seal has been broken.  The Yankees waited about five years too long to promote some of their rookies, and now they’re taking a whizz every third day.  (I’m mixing metaphors, aren’t I?)  I wonder if the Yankees are aggressively promoting rookies now because of how well Judge is doing.  It’s confirmation bias, or some Psych 1010 term.  In the minors, Frazier went 12 HRs, 9 SBs and .257 in 73 games.  His strikeouts weren’t terrible, and that line looks like it could hold in the majors, i.e, 20/15/.250 in 162 games.  That’s if he has playing time the rest of the year, which is, of course, no guarantee with Holliday, Hicks, Gardner, Ellsbury, though if they were candy, they’d all be brittle.  I’d grab Frazier in all leagues to see what he can do.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the old expression goes, you can count on three things in life, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers ruining your week/month/season with an injury of some sort. This is a slight update on the late 80’s iteration of this expression, death, taxes, and Mets pitchers at a snowstorm. If you’re a Noah Syndergaard owner you might want to hit up Doc’s medicine man, because the mighty righty was skipped in the rotation due to a sore bicep. Apparently curls are for the girls, and the DL too. Seriously how does Bartolo stay healthy eating like Kristie Alley on a bender, while Thor spends his free time living like Schwarzenegger in the beginning of Twins? Nothing makes sense, I’m writing the Notes! Riddle me this, Does that mean Colon was birthed from his poop? Or is it the other way around. Yes, I was an odd child. As for Thor, and his right arm, he’s headed for an MRI today. After first experiencing pain between bullpen sessions, and playing catch. He said he “felt great” playing catch, two things, “who doesn’t feel great playing catch?” and as far as I know “felt great” doesn’t mean I couldn’t lift my arm above my shoulder. But Syndergaard is from Texas and a Viking, so he may speak a different language. Oh, yeah, that’s not a joke. He actually said I “felt great playing catch”, but his bicep “stiffens up when it gets cold”. Funny, mine does the opposite when it gets cold. The worst part is that gem of a comment was followed with “I couldn’t really lift my arm above my shoulder at that point”. However, the Mets and Terry Collins assure us that Thor isn’t hurt. In fact, he showed up to the park ready to pitch! But old cautious Terry pulled the plug, because as he so eloquently put it, “when you are talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen.” Damn, the man has the vocabulary of Sling Blade! Not going to lie, I’m intrigued about these “other things” happening in Syndergaard’s bicep. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know one of those posters where they feature celebrities from different eras that may or may not have ever been together in the same room?  Like James Dean, Mickey Mouse and Lenny Bruce standing at a bar, smoking cigarettes.  Okay, I’m pretty sure those three never hung out.  In 75 years, when we’re all dead and buried, except for maybe some of my preteen readers — YASSSSSS I never forget you! — they will decide to make a poster featuring some standouts from this year:  Trump, Hillary, Nadiya from The Great British Bake Off.  Also, on that poster will be one player from the 2016 World Champion Cubs team, the last Cubs team to win the World Series in 75 years.  Which player will be on that poster made from the last remaining tree?  I don’t think it’ll be David Ross, prolly not Arrieta, not for this year, maybe Bryant, maybe Rizzo, maybe Hendricks and maybe Jon Lester.  Yesterday, pushed forward Lester’s agenda to get on the “last tree poster” — 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 8 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.40, moving his record to 17-4, and, since the All-Star break, it’s a 1.47 ERA in 73 1/3 IP.  His ERAs over the last four years:  3.75, 2.46, 3.34 and 2.40.  And you thought Saberhagenmetrics were some contrived statistical model.  Look in the mirror, and pfft yourself.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

True or false:  A) Dansby Swanson is famous for being Ted Knight’s caddy in Caddyshack. B) Starting a meme at his frat house in Arizona where he’d put his checkered pants on a cactus with the caption, “I’m thirsty, yo.”  C) There’s no C.  D) All the above.  E) Was drafted a second ago by the Diamondbacks 1st overall, then traded to the Braves for the fellow WASP, Shelby Miller, and all-around terrible pitcher.  If you answered D) All the above, how did you know what all the above was before reading E?  Also, it was a true or false quiz, what the hell is all of the above?!  So, Dansby Swanson is being called up by the Braves just in time, no lie, for their series against the Diamondbacks.  Dayum.  Hello, wounds, here’s your salt.  In Prospector Ralph’s midseason top 100 prospects, Dansby was 22nd overall, right by Willie Calhoun, who totally tanked Mike Dukakis’ campaign.  Swanson is a 22-year-old that was a’ight in Double-A (8 HRs, 6 SBs, .261 in 84 games).  That’s neither here nor there, he’s young; he should be owned in most mixed leagues; you’re not going to find his talent level on waivers in many leagues; semicolons; fun.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you paid attention to Major League Baseball on Monday night, you know that the Tigers beat the Twins 1-0. BORING. The over/under for Monday’s game was set at 10 1/2. I hope at least one reader put a couple of bucks on the under. Tonight will be different. I will put my guarantee down that more than one run will be scored by the Twins and Tigers on Tuesday night. In fact, it will be a completely different game. So, who is going to set the table for a high-scoring affair? Easy. Ian Kinsler! He will set the table for Detroit’s offense, which works out well considering he’s 5-for-10 lifetime against Tommy Milone. Monday night may not have worked out as planned, but I am doubling down and putting all of my money on Kinsler and the Tigers. You should do the same!

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Please, blog, may I have some more?