Quick! Before Rudy completely makes my column obsolete with great new tools like the Hitter Planner, let’s get in another Lineup Maximizer. Sometimes there are players I want to highlight as pickups, but don’t have a game on Thursday, so they don’t fit the criteria for this article. Nate Freiman, the A’s regular at first when facing a lefty, is one such player. Over the past week, he’s been in Single-A Beloit because of arcane rules regarding MiLB playoffs and the September roster expansion. Despite that, Freiman is back with the big league club and will continue hitting the ball hard and being tall. Before the demotion, Freiman was 5 for his last 14, with three homers and five RBI. Alas, Freiman doesn’t play on Thursday so I can’t recommend him for the next stretch of games in when the A’s face three lefties in their next five. What a damn shame.

Anyhoo! Here’s who I can recommend for Thursdays games:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ‘em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As many of you know, Bruce Bochy has the biggest head in the major leagues. As a player, when he was traded, he would have to take his helmet with him to his new club because the new team wouldn’t have a helmet big enough for him. It made traveling easier, since everything he needed would fit inside the helmet. We all know the story about how when Giants rookie, Joe Panik, was called up, he forgot to make arrangements to stay somewhere in the San Fran area, so he draped a sheet over Bochy’s cap and slept in there. Lots of good has come of Bochy’s giant melon. Of course, the 27-pound bowling ball has its drawbacks. Like when he went to see Toy Story and blocked half the audience. Lots of angry parents that day. Or the time he was in South Dakota and people starting climbing up his side thinking he was Mount Rushmore. Sometimes what would take a person with a normal-sized head a week or two to figure out, thoughts bounce around in Bochy’s Metrodome much longer. So when Sergio Romo wasn’t good for the month of May, then again in June, it took longer for Bochy to realize a change was needed, but he finally figured it out. Bochy said Santiago Casilla would replace Romo, then he banged the side of his head for 15 minutes waiting for another thought, and finally it came out that Jeremy Affeldt would see some situational saves, as long as Gilbert Gottfried isn’t introducing Affeldt at games. Yesterday, Affeldt got hit, and Casilla looked solid as he has all year. I’d grab Casilla in all leagues if you’re SAGNOF’ing around for saves. Hopefully, even if Bochy thinks about putting Romo back in the role, it takes a few weeks for that thought to land in the right spot in his cavernous whale head. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know who’s happiest about Kolten Wong being called up? The Vatican. Finally, something non-Catholic related will show up in search results when you Google ‘Cardinal + Wong + 2nd base.’ Somewhere, Dan Brown is scribbling notes for a new thriller…the Catholic church took a page out of the playbook of the Native Americans, who having foreseen the Internet in a 1973 peyote-inspired dream, worked to make sure the practice of reselling tickets was known as scalping. So now you Google ‘Indians + scalping’ and the search results are just a way to get cheap seats in Progressive Field. Wong’s call-up crowds the Cardinals infield in the weirdest of ways. Wong can’t play shortstop. It says here. There. Where I just wrote here. He can’t play 3rd. Says there. Where I wrote it. Can’t play 1st. Says here. Next to where I wrote here. He plays 2nd, Carpenter goes to 3rd and Freese goes on ice. Sorta surprised by this because the Cardinals know that seriously reduces Freese’s trade value, but he was seriously reducing his trade value by playing. But, wait, why do we care? What can Wong do right? Here’s what Prospect Scott said just two days ago, “Wong has caught a heater at the right time, hitting .333/.429/.556 with 2 homers and 2 stolen bases through his last 10. Too bad Grey can’t catch a heater in his groin.” What? Why? On the year in the minors, Wong has a line of 10 HRs, 20 steals and a .303 average. That’s close to what I’d expect of him in the majors too. He has a great eye at the plate (60 Ks, 41 BBs) and nice speed. Maybe a handful of homers and steals in the last six weeks with a good average. In keepers, he’s a must have. In redrafts, I’d grab him in all leagues for upside. I’m excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So while helping Scott with his prospect and two-start pitcher questions over the weekend, I got a lot of questions for the best spot starter on Sunday.  I told everyone Hector Santiago followed closely by the debut of Jose Alvarez.  Score one for me!  I decided to write my pitcher profile on one of those guys, and since Alvarez only came up for one start (he’s already back in AAA), I went with Santiago.  Quick tangent – how unfair is that Tigers rotation?  Justin VerlanderAnibal SanchezMax ScherzerDoug FisterRick Porcello (who everyone needs to pick up – Ks are for real, looks like it’s all together now and he’s only 24), then Drew Smyly who should become a starter one day soon, and now Alvarez.  Yikes.

Anyway, Santiago has been yo-yoed in and out of the rotation, and after Jake Peavy fell to injury yet again, Santiago should remain in the starting staff for at least the next month if not longer.  He’s been better as a starter than out of the bullpen this year, and has over a K per 9 this season.  There’s a lot of things to like with Santiago, so I broke down his start yesterday afternoon against the Athletics to monitor his repertoire and what to expect while he’s in the White Sox rotation.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll be honest here, I had no idea that Shelley Duncan was still playing. Not only is he playing, he’s, um, well, I’m supposed to put something he’s doing well here to make the play of words work. But that’s not really possible. Oh, he does have two homeruns. Does that help? With a career slash of 230/306/427, I think I’ve actually found a worse outfielder than Don Kelly. What’s next, stigmata? While, if given regular at-bats, 260/330/480 represents the very high end, I could foresee 10 homers and 50 RBI’s if he play’s for 50% of the season’s games.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cardinals said Edward Mujica ‘could be tried as closer.’ That’s obviously after everyone else has been tried and found guilty of sucking. Matheny said, “I’d rather kill a possum in front of La Russa, than have a lead in the 9th inning with the crap we have.” Okay, that was me reading between the lines. He actually said, “See what happens next time we get there. Right now, Mujica’s making good pitches and getting the big outs when we need them.” He never referred to Mujica as the closer. Maybe because he was afraid of spooking him. How do you scare the beejesus out of a Cardinals reliever? Call them closer. *rim shot, triangle, kazoo* I don’t think Mujica is the de facto closer, but I don’t know what de facto means. Is that Spanish? Hernando De Facto was the first to cross the Mississippi, right? Yesterday, Boggs came into the 9th inning, but it was a 4-run lead and when he got into trouble the Cards started warming up Mujica. The writing is on the wall, and it says, “Mujica is next.” I’d grab Mujica and continue to hold Boggs (on my bench). It may just turn out that Edward is The Last of the Mujica’s in the Cards’ pen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?