If you’re one of the seventy percent of ESPN fantasy owners who haven’t jumped on board the A.J. Pollock train, let’s fix that for the weekend. The Diamondbacks’ 26-year-old outfielder has hits in 9 of his 13 games since returning from the disabled list and also has four steals. He’ll get a four-game set in Colorado heading into the weekend which is great for any hitter, but especially good from a steals perspective. Colorado owns baseball’s worst caught stealing percentage at 17%. The league average mark on the year is 27%. With Pollock currently owned in just 30% of ESPN leagues, he should be available to pick up. If he happens to be gone in your league, here are some other good steals matchups for this week in fantasy baseball…

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Recently, Matt Adams and his melon-ball shape has either been dreadful or benched for Daniel Descalso. The only time Descalso should be in front of Adams is in pictures, so the photographer can see him. It’s odd to think Fatt Adams isn’t getting it done at the plate. I do have a useful suggestion for everyone in Missouri. Send a topless Adams into Ferguson. That would lighten the mood for everyone involved. “I hate your guts!” “Speaking of guts…” And everyone smiles and laughs at the naked fat man. Peace brought to you by the ingestion of copious amounts of lard. Now, instead of Descalso, the Cardinals have a real option to move over moobs, Xavier Scruggs. What? No Crockett? How can the Cardinals go with a platoon of Scruggs and Tubbs? It’s crazy talk! Scruggs is A) Old to never be in the majors yet. B) Legit power threat that could hit .190. C) There’s no C. He has Quad-A player written all over him, but sometimes Quad-A players are exactly the kind of hitters that excel in September when they’re facing a bunch of Quad-A pitchers. Too early outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues to worry about Scruggs, but this does put the kibosh on any value Tubbs had, not to mention now he’s phantomed-up an oblique injury. Like anyone could even find his oblique! In all but very deep leagues, I’d drop Adams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Richards is talking to trainers but remains on back. Injury appears to be serious.” That’s how the news was tweeted out yesterday by the Angels beat writer. If Agatha Christie were around today, she’d adapt that tweet and name the novel, 140 Characters On A Train Wreck. Then it would be re-released after a train disaster with its new title, The Pitcher’s Trap. No matter the title, there was and will only be one antagonist, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who gets his jollies from the misery of fantasy baseballers. You sit on his lap; he says, “What do you want this season?” “A healthy pitcher.” “Ho, ho, ho, no.” Arm injury, oblique, hip impingement, parallel parking impingement because of a stupid cone, broken toe, Tommy John surgery, Tomas Juan surgery in Mexico, forearm strain and now a knee. The Angels best options are Wade “Joey” LeBlanc, Randy “Team Jacob” Wolf and Chris “Lord” Volstad. They are all horror shows. Mean’s while, it sounds like Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, but hopefully will be fine for next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Coco Crisp‘s recent neck injury opens the door for Craig Gentry over the next few days. He’ll likely take over in center and bat at the bottom of the A’s lineup while Crisp practices turning his head in both directions. Hopefully he didn’t promise his bike to anyone who could fix him. You were supposed to sleep on a board, Coco! Gentry makes an interesting play for steals, and he appeared in this very column last week. In 2013, Gentry had 24 stolen bases in just 287 plate appearances, so he’s got some wheels. He’s already got six steals in limited playing time this year. On the schedule this week are the White Sox and the Indians. Both teams are tied for the 10th most steals allowed in the majors (25) so it’s not a bad match-up play. Crisp isn’t on the disabled list, he’s just day-to-day, so it could just be the White Sox series that Gentry gets all of the starts.

Take a peek at the new SB Rates vs. SP tool that Rudy has conjured up. Using all of last year’s data, it lets us know which pitchers to deploy our SAGNOF specialists against (based on their steals per innings pitched rates). I used it yesterday in DFS when I saw Eric Young was going to start against Cole Hamels, who’s pretty easy to run against. I swapped him into my lineup and it paid off with two steals from EY2 in the game. Here are some other SAGNOF picks for this week…

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The hits just keep comin’ for major league baseball players and their fantasy owners.

We’re just a month into the season, and it’s unlikely there are many owners out there who have not been dealt a significant injury to at least one of their players.  Oh, you’re raising your hand?  Here are two recommendations: 1) stop playing in 8-team leagues, 2) there are healthier forms of self-indulgence than a four-leaf clover enema.

In 2014, we’ve seen more pains, pricks, breaks, strains, pulls and tears in baseball than the amount of times Drake has changed his NCAA/NBA team allegiances.

Being in the know when it comes to a player’s health will always keep you one step ahead of your competition.  Here are some ailing hitters (and their possible replacements) to pay attention to in the coming weeks:

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Jace Peterson continues to see regular playing time with Chase Headley on the disabled list. Headley is expected to return around May 10th, so we should get another week of SAGNOF from Peterson. The 23-year-old has tallied two steals in 21 plate appearances for the Padres and he has seven home games on the schedule this week against the Royals and Marlins. The Royals have been stingy in allowing stolen bases, but the Marlins haven’t. The fish have given up the fourth most stolen bases in baseball entering Sunday’s games. Peterson had 39, 51, and 42 stolen bases over his last three minor league seasons. He is more of a deep league pickup, or a stop gap in your lineup given Headley’s imminent return, but the speed is real and he’s available (0% owned ESPN). A quick reminder to utilize the new SB Rates vs. SP tool here at Razzball. It’s a quick and easy way to find pitchers who are good targets to run against, and comes in handy for DFS and daily roto leagues. Here are some other steals picks for fantasy baseball this week…

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Kolten Wong has received the Grey seal of approval from the BUY column, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about his wheels, considering he’s owned in less than 20 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s hitting higher in the batting order for the Cardinals now, and has stolen three bases in the past week. He’s also hot, riding a six-game hit streak entering today. Wong stole 26 and 23 bases in the last two years respectively, so 20 steals is a safe bet, especially if he can gain some more at-bats from hitting towards the top of the lineup. Last year at Triple-A Memphis, Wong stole 20 bags and was only caught once. He’ll draw the Brewers and Nationals this week. Both have been stingy in allowing stolen bases so far this season, so Wong might not have an easy go of it. Over the Wong haul, though, I like him for 20 steals the rest of the way. Here’s some of this week’s steals plays…

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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When I told Grey and JayWrong that I was going to do a deep league sleeper post on Dustin Ackley, the first thing they said was ‘Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!’. It’s true, Dustin is a bit of a sloppy seconds here on the site for me as Jay already waxed both poetically and his taint when he wrote his own Dustin Ackley Sleeper post back in 2013. And what did we learn from this post? Well, one don’t get overly excited about Ackley and two, don’t wax your taint. It’s painful and no one goes down there enough to care what it looks like. Yeah, make all the excuses you want. You’re reading a fantasy baseball site, you ain’t getting busy any time soon, nerd. But where was I? Yeah, Ackley…ooph, this is gonna be a hard sell. It’s not a sexy call but then again, we’re talking about getting to Second Base. Trust me when I say, there’s very little heavy-petting available there in 2014. To put it kindly, 2B is a rancid cesspool of disease-riddled zombie maggot death. In fact, if the question is 2B or not 2B, I’ll take the latter. But to put this 2B angle of my fantasy dangle in perspective, we’re gonna need a new paragraph. So let’s find out why I think Ackley is a good get at second base for deep leagues for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…

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