Jorge Soler is likely done for the year with a strained oblique.  This is one of those injuries that comes with a sigh of relief.  Yay, I don’t have to keep running Soler out there and being disappointed.  Disappointment, you are the mistress of expectation, aren’t you?  Soler fascinates me in a car crash that you rubber neck while you pass sorta way.  Here’s a preseason tweet from Peter Gammons, “John Mallee (Cubs hitting coach) says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring.  Scary good.  May be best of Cubs lot right now.”  Cubs committed to playing him, and, by the end of the year, you had to wonder if they should’ve just been committed.  If his year is over, he ends with 7 HRs, 3 SBs and a .265 average in 278 plate appearances.  Worse (yeah, it can get worse), his strikeout rate zoomed, and not in the fun way like Aretha Franklin’s zooming.  On our Player Rater, he was about as valuable as Will Venable, Brandon Moss and Jeff Francoeur.  Or make that, as craptastic as those guys.  In 2016, Soler will be one of those guys that goes in the 150 range that could be as valuable as Pollock this year, or as valuable as the Pollock that parked so close to your car you couldn’t get in your door and needed to climb through the trunk, knock down the backseat and crawl through to the steering wheel.  Time, not the magazine, will tell.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After the first two homer-game, I was like, “Yo, Grey, stop twirling your mustache and trying to squeeze into your Z. Cavariccis from high school and check out Travis Shaw.”  And I did.  Only, I wasn’t that impressed.  He had five homers in 77 games in Triple-A.  Then, a week or so later, he had his 2nd two-homer game and I was like, “Yo, Sir Hairlip-A-Lot, those Zubaz look awful on you, and maybe you look at Shaw’s numbers again.”  And I did.  His ‘big’ year in Double-A saw him hit 16 homers with a .221 average and again I came away yawnstipated; must be he’s showing some Maas appeal.  Then, yesterday, he went 4-for-4 with two runs and is hitting .371 in 22 games, and I was like, “Yo, Fantasy Master Lothario, just let Cougs clean out your closet for you and really delve into Shaw’s numbers!”  No, I don’t know what delve means but it sounds smart when I’m talking to myself.  I’ve said it before, but Shaw feels exactly like a Maas appeal-type player.  I bet after September he never even plays regularly on the Sawx again.  But now suddenly you’re worried about the future?  You weren’t when you were writing to the National Institute of Health about having nacho cheese classified as a vegetable.  Get a 401K and grab Shaw until he stops hitting.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hishashi my dashi — slurp SLURP! Yesterday, Hisashi Iwakuma threw the AL’s first no-hitter since 2012, a span of three years (nice math skills, Grey stache!) This wasn’t an easy, rollover and let me scratch your belly, Padres club he was no-hitting either. This was no “Get out your Slinky and drop it from the top of the stairs and it’ll go all the way to the bottom,” this was more of a “Drop your Slinky and watch it get two stairs down, and then Chris Davis comes up and flattens one into the Pike’s Market concourse, and then one of the fish guys throws it back and then Machado comes up orders a Flat White with almond milk and he hits one over one of the 16,000 Starbucks* in the greater Seattle area.” Wow, I got totally lost in that analogy. Iwakuma’s ERAs are all over the place in his time in the states, but I’ll say this, everything else is nearly identical. His K/9 is always within point five, his xFIP is 3.29 now and it was 3.28 in his 2nd major league season, his fastball velocity was 88.9 last year; it’s 88.9 now, his walk rate is 1.5, it was 1.1 last year. This year, he’s given up more homers, that’s been the difference. You’d have to assume in Safeco homers would come down and Iwakuma would go back to being a mid to low-3 ERA pitcher. *I did the Segway Seattle tour during the All-Star break counting them. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*Grey adjusts his chiseled body, places himself on a seat, props his chin up with his hand, makes sure that he’s not covering his mustache.* “Welcome to today’s symposium on the intersection of art, science and fantasy baseball. Thank you for joining me at the New Brunswick Holiday Inn. For those arriving late, please fill in the front seats. Don’t groan, my handsome will distract you from wherever you’re sitting if you allow it. Carlos Rodon showed yesterday what he’s capable of — 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks — but his 4.61 ERA shows everything else. Yes, he will be a 2016 sleeper; his stuff is just so nasty. He has a 10 K/9 in 91 2/3 IP this year (good for sixth best in the majors if he qualified). Yo, Prince, what you say to that? He’s a sexy M.F. Unfortunately, his walk rate is 5, which is as awful as his K-rate is good (would be the worst qualified starter’s BB/9). You know who that reminds me of? Just about every hard thrower when they first came up: Scherzer, Randy Johnson, Sale, Carrasco…. Even Kershaw’s first full year’s BB/9 was 4.79. I’m not saying Rodon will be that good next year, but he’s 22 years old and by the age of 24 he could be a top ten starter. Okay, that should be enough for you to digest for now. For the five ladies joining us, I will continue this in the hotel bar, The Cheeky Monkey, for refreshments and chicken fingers.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Red Sox season is like the guy that knocks over the Jenga structure with the first block pulled, then manages to somehow knock every single block off the table, even the ones on the very bottom. Koji Uehara hit the DL with a fractured wrist, and is done for the season, as originally speculated here after reading between the lines at other sites. I also read between the lines that aliens constructed Tikal in Guatemala. And I thought Tikal was constructed by Method Man. Also, I have a bone to pick with read, why is the past tense still spelled read? Siri can’t even figure that shizz out to speak. You messed up, English language! Any the hoo! With Uehara out, this opens a hole for Jean Machi or Junichi Tazawa to walk through. Tazawa is Asian, though I’m not sure that’s a requirement, Machi is ugly. Again, may not matter. Either way, I’d go Machi first since Sawx manager, John Farrell, indicated that Machi would fill-in as the closer, adding, “And Sandoval is still fat.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holy smokes! If you’re a prospect hound, this has been a great year. The Twins got in on the action by promoting top prospect Byron Buxton while the Indians are expected to call up Francisco Lindor today as well. Buxton ranked #1 overall on my offseason Top 50 Prospects list and of course topped the Twins Top 10 list. Lindor ranked #17 overall and first on the Indians Top 10. Both have been floating around the top five in the prospect power rankings, so hopefully they are names that you’ve had tucked away in your reserves. Let’s celebrate with a post on what they both bring to the table for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, name a starting pitcher and there’s a 50% chance he’s hurt!

It’s been a brutal Spring – Tommy J’s, ACLs, dead arms, demotions, sports betting on Twitter…  It never ends!  It feels like we’re just another few injury-plagued Springs away from having pitching machines on the mound.  Would spell a devastating end to Krispie Young, that’s for sure!

So as we’ll update every Monday through the season, below is an update to my first edition of the Top 100 SP Ranks, which you can find through the magic of clickity-click.  Standard in-season-esque green for risers, red for fallers, additional notes at the end, and my principle is usually to not rank pitchers in the bullpen unless it’s highly anticipated they will join the rotation in the immediate future.  So Sayonara Cingrani!  Sounds like an episode title of The Sopranos…  Here’s my updated Top 100 SP:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re almost there. Opening Day is just 11 days away (10 if you’re counting down to the Cubs/Cards game on Sunday night), which means that fantasy draft season is in full swing. For those of you who are veterans of the FBB world, you know that draft day can be quite unpredictable. Average draft positions can mean next to nothing at times, particularly in competitive leagues. What should you do if Kershaw falls into your lap unexpectedly at the turn? How about if pitching is flying off the board and productive hitters start dropping an extra round or two below ADP (or more importantly, your own personal rankings)?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marcus Stroman tore his ACL and is out for the year. Remember me?” says the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Then the opening to Seven Nation Army kicks in and FBO does a little dance. His dance partner isn’t a person, but rather a pitcher’s limb. It’s very disturbing to watch. Oh, my God, he’s taking a picture with the limb with a seven-foot-long selfie stick. Oh, this is just awful. No one over the age of 14 should ever have a selfie stick. Why do you hate such wonderful, Fantasy Baseball Overlord? Why?! “I wasn’t loved as a child.” So, Stroman is out for the year and now the Blue Jays have moved one step closer to being the 2014 Texas Rangers. All they need is Edwin to gain 200 pounds and have a boo-boo on his neck. I’m guessing that filling in for Stroman will be Marco Estrada, but I have Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris projected in my top 400 and think they both will see some starts and have value. It’s still too early to call on Sanchez vs. Norris, but I’d draft Sanchez first since he’ll either see starts or Brett Cecil will be nodus modus operandi. As for Stroman, well, I’ll make sure to write a 2016 sleeper post for you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Keeper league rankings are here (the 2014 Rankings can be found here), and I am going to absolutely shock the world with my number one. This is all about zagging when others zig. You gotta get out in front of the pack with advanced statistics and clever strategory. Sometimes you have to be bold and go against the grain to get that competitive edg…what’s that? Everybody else has Mike Trout number one too? It’s common sense? Well…crap. These are my personal rankings and take into account the 2015-2019 seasons. Don’t start flipping through your calendar – that’s 5 years. It means the senior citizen players are really going have to provide some nice statistics in the first year or two to rank highly. It also means players who are in or, better yet, just entering their prime get a bump. It’s not a hybrid list, so no prospects or Cuban rookies…sorry. It’s also not set for any specific pricing or league settings so assume a standard 5×5 roto format with no penalties to keep a player. Basically it’s a ranking of what I think these players will be worth over the next 5 years as a whole. It’s that simple. Here are my top 100 keepers for 2015 and beyond…

Please, blog, may I have some more?