For my annual Spring Training trip, Sky and JayWrong are joining me in Arizona. Road trip! I leave today and return on Sunday. Of course, JayWrong’s already committed us to a Padres game, and standing outside the stadium to get Padres autographs, and standing outside their hotel to help them with their luggage, and sneaking in to pretend to be chefs at their favorite hibachi restaurant so we can flip a shrimp tail at Kemp. Don’t pull your latissimus dorsi reaching for that crustacean! I believe that was how Flipper injured itself. Any hoo! Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring. They also share equally effusive PR people. Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches gained 15 pounds and was in the best shape of its life. Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Kolten Wong yet?! Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff. No one needs time to get warmed up. No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball. They are at the height of their game in March. Our former commissioner, Bud, once doffed his toupee and tried to have the World Series played in March. Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players stats so far:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jorge Soler arrived in the majors earlier this week like a gift from the fantasy baseball gods. Last night he went 3-for-3 with two more home runs and three more runs batted in. The 22-year-old from Cuba has come to the plate 12 times and already has seven hits, three homers, six RBIs, and a walk. Those are video game numbers and could carry a fantasy team through September. It hasn’t come out of nowhere either. Soler was always regarded as a good prospect even in the loaded Cubs system. Injuries and some makeup questions put a damper on his value earlier this year, but he quieted all that noise by raking for Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs are absolutely stacked with hitting and even if one or two of their prospects don’t reach their ceiling, they will still have more than enough firepower in that lineup. The scary part is that their players are all still so young. It’s a great time to be a Cubs fan, and a great day to be a Soler owner in fantasy. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go too bonkers in September so we can all still draft him on our teams for 2015. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy baseball…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I love when I tell you to pick up a player and he comes up days later. It makes me smile, and not one of those weird Japanese emoji smiles, but a full-faced grin. So, Andrew Heaney, you’re already okay in my book, even if that book is called, “Rookie Pitchers Will Fill You With Enthusiasm Until They Actually Pitch For Your Fantasy Team.” If you missed my Andrew Heaney fantasy with Friday’s Buy, where were you? Playing Patty Cake without your hands on the dance floor to Jason Derulo’s Wiggle song? Good story, brah. You should turn that into a novella. I’m giggling with excitement for Heaney like I’m Lisa Simpson, only instead of hehe I’m going HeHeaney. Pitching his home games in Crayola Canyon won’t hurt him, and the NL East is filled with a bunch of sad, sad hitting teams. Didja know the Marlins are the best NL East hitting team, and it’s not close? Fact! The Braves, Phillies, Nats and Mets could hold a two week round robin tournament and score less runs than goals scored in the World Cup. I went over the dangers of rookie pitchers in my Friday Buy, and what Heaney’s been doing this year in the minors. It’s all there. I will say now he should be owned in every league and is capable of winning the NL Rookie of the Year in only a little over a half a season. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Carlos Santana went 0-for-5 with 1 RBI. He could’ve hit six homers yesterday and still only had one RBI, because the guy in front of him said to the media, “By the power vested in me in the state of Cleveland — is this a state? — I now pronounce myself Lonnie Gonnie. I will now release an album that will be critically drubbed, but the masses will enjoy it called, ‘Lonnie Went Gonnie.’ Then the straight-to-DVD movies I star in will be reprisals of the Ernest movies, but with Lonnie in the title. For example, ‘Lonnie Goes To Africa’ or ‘Lonnie Goes to Jail.’ Is there any questions for Lonnie Gonnie? No? Good, because I got homers to hit and ribbies to eat and average to drive up the wazoo like I’m a wazoo driving machine.” Yesterday, Lonnie Chisenhall went H.A.M then damn, then come again, ma’am. Three homers (5, 6, 7), nine RBIs, and raised his average up to .385 while going 5-for-5. That’s a career .265 hitter. Zoinks! He’s probably going to remember who he really is at some point soon, but ride the lightning while Lonnie’s rocking out. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Gerrit Cole, one of the better young pitchers in the game, landed on the DL Sunday with “right shoulder fatigue”. What does this mean for the Pirates? Well, they have been playing much, much better of late, and this is gonna put a wrench in their chances of making a run at first place in the division. Yes, they are still eight games back, but with Gregory Polanco likely getting called up this week, if they had a push in them, now was the time they were going to have to make it. Instead, 2013 All-Star Jeff Locke, who was so bad post-break that he finished the year in the minors, will fill the void left by Cole and his 6-3 record.
Fantasy baseball owners are also going to be affected by this. The Pirates hope Cole will only miss one start, but this sounds like it could develop into a multi-week recovery. Concern arose when Cole, who normally throws in the 95-98 MPH range, was showing decreased velocity in the mid- to-late innings of games. Assuming the Bucs fall further out of contention, the team will be in no rush to bring back their 23-year-old stud. For what it’s worth, the Reds’ Tony Cingrani landed on the DL in May for the same reason (left shoulder fatigue) and missed just the minimum time, but he hasn’t been good at all in the weeks since. For now, fantasy owners will just have to stash Cole on their DL and hope for a speedy recovery.Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Tuesday, the Gods befriended my plans, making the only effect of scattered thunderstorms in the New York area a simple hour rain delay in the Yanks-A’s game. After that, it was a beautiful night for baseball. What began as an unexciting, low-scoring affair, ended in a thrilling come-from-behind, extra-inning A’s victory. Before the game, I was most looking forward to groovin’ to Josh Reddick’s walkup song “Careless Whisper”, and embarrassingly, it wasn’t until I was sitting in my seat and saw the lineups posted on the scoreboard that I remembered he was on the DL. No slow-dancing for me tonight.
I highly encourage everyone to watch the full MLB video I linked to above about, what was at that time, Reddick’s new walk-up jam. For those of you who need the quick fix, here’s the payoff of the video.
From the professionalism of his attire, you get the sense he’s really letting loose in the moment. And then as soon as the music stops, his demeanor flashes instantly back to his normal stodgy self. This is purely speculation on my part, a modern version of the people-watch-and-invent-stories-of-their-lives game that can make any trip to a metropolitan area more interesting.
Anyhoo! Let’s get down to business with regards to Monday’s games…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Cause you got a build up of wax in your eyes and haven’t been digesting the non-verbal medicine I’ve been doling out about Khris Davis, he’s getting a lede. This is coming to you from a tough love perspective, so whatever I say I don’t wish to offend or denigrate. Y’all seem like good people. Some of you I would even consider friends. Friends that I’ve never met and friends that when you called me to make plans I’d lie about other plans I didn’t have to avoid you, but friends nevertheless. You all have good souls. Each and other one of you. Now, it’s time to unload on you. Damn, in the middle of softening the blow, I forgot what the blow was. Well, you should own Khris Davis. I know that was part of it. He’s been out-homering Chris Davis. Everyone knows there’s only one way to spell Khris Davis. Spelling it with a C is for cream puffs. Even that should be khream! Is Khris the answer to your season? Prolly not, but he is capable of 30 homers and he has 10 as of right now. Plus-minus that shizz and you have a bunch more homers in his bat. Oh, and four of those homers came in the last eight games. He is only 26 years old so there might even be a chance here for huge upside. I.e., his ceiling is unknown. All that is known is that he’s hit for power everywhere he’s played. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I said in my last post I wanted to start off my articles with small discussions about this common game we play that bonds us. The people demanded, I deliver. Today, I want to talk about awareness. Being an aware fantasy manager. This means having some sense of what’s going on in your league, how the other managers are operating and how your general strategy compares.
Some of you, I’d bet, run your team like a horse wearing blinders during a race. While not always bad in horseracing, I would say this is decidedly a bad thing for a fantasy baseballer with title aspirations. This is because how you should optimally run your team is directly affected by how others are running theirs.
Right now, right this very instant, I encourage you to check out every roster in your league if you haven’t recently. At least the competitive ones. Indulge in a passing glance. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you will find interesting and in some way help you make better lineup decisions.Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Saturday, Jon Lester threw a gem: 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 15 Ks. Such a gem that if that were a blood diamond, diplomats from Monrovia would be lined up in the streets of Liberia for a taste of that. If that were an emerald, friends of Dorothy would stand outside of Ricky Martin’s hotel for weeks just for the chance he forgoes the hotel buffet and wants to eat out. If that were a ruby, it would stand outside a Dallas police station to cover any possible conspiracies and add fuel to other conspiracies. Lester has pitched spectacularly so far, and it’s not a product of luck. His 10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are elite. Those are fantasy ace numbers. His fastball doesn’t have renewed life, if anything he’s lost something on it. What appears to be the biggest difference is he’s almost completely abandoned his changeup and throwing his cutter a bit more. Since he’s always been good for 200 innings and has had huge success before, I’m willing to say he will hold the improvements to his rates and be an extremely reliable starter. Likely in the top 15 for the year. Yeah, he looks damn good. I want some, purdy puhlease. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (3) | 2012 (2) | 2011 (15) | 2010 (2) | 2009 (1)
2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [91-72] AL West
AAA: [73-71] Pacific Coast League – Round Rock
AA: [70-70] Texas League – Frisco
A+: [77-62] Carolina League – Myrtle Beach
A: [76-63] South Atlantic League – Hickory
A(ss): [38-38] Northwest League — Spokane
Leonys Martin (OF); Jurickson Profar (INF); Martin Perez (LHP); Nick Tepesch (RHP); Tanner Scheppers (RHP)
The Run Down
The fact that the Rangers can graduate Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin, and Martin Perez all in the same summer, and return the next spring with a farm system that continues to rank among the best in baseball should speak volumes about the savvy of the organization’s procurement and development systems. Texas is heavily involved of all aspects of baseball development, and the top ten I’ve listed here features prospects who were drafted, signed out of Latin America, or acquired via trade. The mix of talent as a whole is oozing with high-impact potential, and while this group brings perhaps a smidge more risk than other orgs near the top of the league, it still needs to be considered among the top tier of fantasy farms.