Yesterday, there was a pitching performance that truly captured the minds and hearts of the general public. You know, the general public — the people you smile at on the street and wonder how they got their shirt on because they look so dumb. Those people! This pitching performance wasn’t done by just any average pitcher. No, it was done by…an outfielder. Travis Snider struck out Joey Votto! Whaaaaaaat?! Oh, and Clayton Kershaw threw a no-hitter. It should’ve been a perfect game, but Hanley didn’t feel like it. It’s okay, Hanley, don’t beat yourself up over it too much. Let Dodger fans do it for you! Kershaw’s game wasn’t perfect in the strictly record book sense, but it was in the fantasy sense. 15 Ks, no hits, no walks — you now have the best pitching performance of this year, and it might be a top ten fantasy start of all-time. I wonder if you could buy him low. I keed! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Speaking generally, more than just to help you maximize your lineup’s potential, my plan for this column is also to use it to start discussions over whatever enters my mind about fantasy baseball. Things like the pros and cons of Yahoo vs Espn vs other fantasy service providers, developing a model to predict which relievers will pitch on a given day, or which players will benefit from upcoming interleague play like Corey Dickerson is right now. I got things on my mind is all I’m saying, but for now those will stay there since I’ve got an hour before a friends grad party and this has to be submitted. Down to business!

Last Time & Season Results

Last Article: 21 AB, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .333 AVG

Overall (per game): 0.3 R, 0.0 HR, 0.2 RBI, 0.0 SB, .270 AVG

Although my recs are still light on the counting stats, at least they picked up  plenty of hits, led by Oswaldo Arcia‘s 3-for-5 night. I can’t control whether people are on base, at least not yet! Hopefully a few of you gave Arcia the ol’ scoop in your leagues; he looks like he’ll be productive fruit going forward. Overall on the season my guys are batting a smooth .270, higher than most of your regular’s averages I’d presume.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

If someone had told me on Aug. 15, 2013 that Zack Wheeler would only be half-owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues at the start of June 2014 I would have quit fantasy baseball immediately and wailed the loudest Nicolas Cage wail I could muster. That day was the height of early Wheeler Mania: 6 IP and 12 Ks to just one walk in a no-decision at San Diego. At the time Wheeler was not only a member of the rookie pitcher crew that also included Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha and Sonny Gray, he was arguably the main attraction. If that group was New Kids On The Block, he was at best Jordan Knight, or at least Donnie Wahlberg, but he wasn’t no Danny Wood. Control problems kept him from being all that he could be, they said. Bad catchers (John Buck) can make good pitchers pitch badly, they said.

Well, here we are in the weeds of the 2014 season and Wheeler is on the verge of getting kicked out of the group. Cole, Wacha and Gray have been, for the most part, pitching like the budding studs they were supposed to be, and Wheeler has looked more like Nuke LaLoosh before Annie had him wearing garter belts and breathing through his eyelids. Wheeler might not have found his Crash Davis in Travis D’Arnaud, but something is clicking. He got bashed around pretty good in D.C. on May 18 but he finally found the plate, walking only two guys. May 24 against the Diamondbacks was even better, as he K’ed 7 to just one walk. You can blow this K/BB ratio thing out of proportion and go ga-ga over Wheeler’s last start, a win in which he blew away nine Phillies and walked none in 6-plus innings. It wasn’t what he did in that start, it’s how he looked doing it. Wheeler had the command that scouts and experts who know way more than me said he was missing. He looked like he was pitching downhill. His curveball was wicked and his fastball was popping. I know road starts in Wrigley and whatever they’re calling the Giants’ stadium now are not ideal, but I think this is the week Wheeler returns to his place next to the Coles and Wachas of the world.

Here’s some more two-starters for Week 10:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Braves called Tommy La Stella up to replace Fuggla. Here’s what I said about a month ago, “Incredibly, we already had a Tommy La Stella fantasy post. Don’t you people sleep?! There, Dano compared him to Pedroia and not because he needs his tippy toes to get on a roller coaster. I think that comparison might be a tad bizzonkers. Or as the gentle fantasy writers of our day would say, “That’s a bit more bullish than I’d say.” Has any group of people said the word bullish more? This word feels like it’s dominating all fantasy conversations. It’s a polite way to say, someone is smoking more crack than another person. Of course, in a world of small sample sizes, anything could happen, but La Stellllllllllla looks like an NL-Only play with a chance for 5 homers, 7 steals and a decent average if he were called up in June.” And that’s me quoting me! Now that he’s been called up, I’d add him in deeper mixed leagues (think 15+), but I still don’t have high hopes for him outside of maybe a decent average. He’s basically a forty-twenty. If Fredi Gonzalez had any brains in that squishy melon on his shoulders, he’d bat La Stella leadoff and move Heyward down the order. Smarts and managing baseball teams don’t always go hand-in-hand though. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Bauer is back. You have 24 hours to pick him up before someone else does and the terrorists win. Cleveland Indians pitcher/rapper/counter-terrorist Trevor Bauer will be called up to start Tuesday versus the Tigers and likely take over Danny Salazar‘s spot in the rotation. The third overall pick in 2011, Bauer has filthy stuff, with numerous pitches at his disposal, including that sweet 95-97 mph fastball. He has struggled with control during his brief stints in the majors (7.1 BB/9 in nine major league starts), which has ultimately kept him from finding success in the big leagues. However, in a spot start in early April (6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 8 K), it seemed like Bauer’s command issues were a thing of the past.  Granted, that start was against the Padres, but he impressed nonetheless. Although he labored through his latest minors start (5.2 IP, 12 base runners, 6 ER, 4 home runs), the Indians obviously think Bauer is ready to show his stuff, and I don’t mean his free-styling ability. Yeah, he raps. Does that make you like him more or less? Not so sure? Maybe you should listen and judge for yourself. He’s still not as bad as P. Diddy. Whether you believe T-Bau’s a gifted lyricist or not, his 4-1 record, 2.15 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a 44/14 K/BB ratio in 46.0 IP at Triple-A this season could certainly help out your fantasy pitching staff. If he can pitch twice as good as he can rhyme, Lil’ Trev could be headed from the “Gutter to the Grail” like his song. He raps,  “From gutter to grail, we rise up to win it/Wahoos on first with his eyes on the pennant.” So Trevor Bauer can spit hot fire, let’s see him throw some hot fire next week versus Detroit. Based on his upside, he’s worth the add in all leagues. To quote the the Notorious T.R.E.V., “Getting filthy with the pitch…getting stupid throwing cheddar,” pick up Bauer in your league, cause buying Bauer makes you better.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .408. I’m not even joking. Member those days when you’d open up the paper and look at the league leaders? You’d then rub your face with your ink-stained fingers and you’d look like Bucky Dent with the eye black, then you’d overdo it and you’d look like Al Jolson and you’d get your family in a race war with your neighbors. Do you even know league leaders now without the newspaper? I don’t. I mean, I know guys that are doing well, but actual league leaders? It is irrelevant to a certain extent. If a guy is tied for 2nd most wins in the AL (Martin Perez) and he goes out and gets bombed yesterday (5 IP, 5 ER), does it matter? I guess it does matter with Tulo since he’s hitting four hundred and eight preceded by a decimal. That’s kinda beautiful. I own him for the first time in my life, and, due to that, he’s going to stay healthy all year. What, it’s putting it out in the universe. Yeah, unlikely, but hot dizzamn he’s good when going well. Yesterday, he hit two homers and in the last week he’s hitting over .600. As lyrics say in the lone single to go platinum off my Rod Stewart/MC Hammer mash-up album, “Stay forever young, Tulo legit, to quit.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

When did pitchers become such complete morons?

Michael Pineda’s pine tar party is way old news now, but let’s just go back and revisit what was truly dumb about it: It’s not that he tried to use pine tar, it’s that he tried to hide it on his neck!

Last week’s dummy was Matt Cain. Apparently, he read some of the scouting reports that said his 2013 was a tale of two-halves, which might have given him the idea to make a sandwich in the Giants’ clubhouse before the team’s game last Tuesday against the Padres. Whoops! Cain sliced his index finger instead of a tomato, or whatever, and had to be scratched. It’s not dumb that Cain wanted to have a sandwich on game day. It’s idiotic that he had to make one himself. Don’t they bring in catering before the game? Why are they making their own sandwiches? Aren’t these guys pampered millionaires?

There is an actual fantasy point here. What made Cain’s first half of 2013 so rough is that he was giving up dongs despite his ability to keep the ball in the yard throughout his career. This year he’s yielded five homers, which is up among the league leaders, but not horrid. The sandwich debacle hurts because Cain needed to bounce back strong after a poop-fest in Colorado that followed two quality starts in losses.

The good news is he has two starts in pitcher friendly parks this week (PNC Park and Dodger Stadium). The bad news is that damn cut kept opening up last week when Cain tried to throw. What if it flies open in Pittsburgh and someone mistakes the blood for ketchup and slathers it on their Primanti Bros. sandwich?

Dumber things have happened. Like, say, messing around with a knife before you start a major league game …

… and some of these two-start pitcher rankings. Enjoy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

For some reason, I’m cool with the cat-and-mouse game of pitchers hiding sandpaper and pine tar, and I kind of like umpire errors. They’re quirks that are part of the DNA of the game, like grabbing your balls and lighting your teammate’s feet on fire. Do we need new rules for ball grabbing and pyromaniacs with foot fetishes? I didn’t think so.

And while I love home plate collisions as much as the next tobacco-spewing, pot-bellied third base coach, baseball done good by following in the footsteps of the NFL and NBA and addressing concussions.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This should go down easier than Danny Salazar‘s last start, but it’s still not going to be that easy to digest. You have a Tums handy? Good, take like seven of them. Don’t worry, if they give you kidney stones, it will take your mind off of K-Zar. Something is wrong. I hypothesized that he was tipping his pitches last time. It didn’t make sense that he would strikeout more guys in four innings than anyone has ever while still getting rocked. Maybe he is, I still have no idea. I don’t have my degree from the University of Pitch Scouting, which is still in a heated lawsuit with the United Parcel Service. You should sign the online petition for the United Parcel Service to change to the acronym NBU for Nice Brown Uniforms. If an online petition can’t get something changed, what can? Member when people actually protested things and not just clicked a box on an online petition site? Those in-person protestors were silly! Any the hoo! A larger problem with K-Zar is his velocity is down. Still decent for most mortals, but he could be hiding a larger issue with his arm. The other day when he K’d ten guys in four innings, it might’ve masked a bigger problem. Yesterday’s start was a real eye-opener — 4 2/3 IP, 5 ER and only 3 Ks — is terrible. That’s not tipping pitches, that’s something is wrong. The final ruling on K-Zar is you should hold him if you can, but I don’t think the short-term is going to be pretty. Obviously, you can’t start him next time out or until he throws a decent start. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?