Junior Guerra has a backstory that puts the odd in odyssey.  The Braves signed him as a 16-year-old catcher out of Venezuela.  In 2006, he had position reassignment surgery and became a pitcher.  As a herbathrowdite in Georgia, bathrooms and strike zones were hard to find, so he was released.  He found courage from the support group, “PAC IO,” which is Pitchers And Catchers Input/Output, and tried his hand at Independent leagues.  Eventually, he played in Mexico, Spain, and Italy.  In Italy, it was especially difficult to be a pitcher because every time a hitter came up to the plate a large, mustachioed woman umpire would say, “Guerra, you hafta throw the meatballs.  C’mon, the hitter’s starvin’ over here.”  And Guerra’s cheeks would constantly be pinched.  But, miraculously, Robin Ventura found him in Italy, while mistakenly thinking that’s where Jim Rome taped his show, and signed him.  Of course, the White Sox had no place for Guerra, and his journey took him to Milwaukee, allowing him to be the first person with an Italian stamp on his passport in Milwaukee since Arthur Fonzarelli.  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 11 Ks to move his record to 3-0.  He’s touched 99 MPH with his fastball, averaging around 92-95 and has a split-finger change that falls off the map like an explorer in the 1400’s.  Is he more than a streamer?  Hard to say at this point.  He will get strikeouts and faces the Braves next so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab him for that start.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called a fantasy baseball season.  I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if I recommend starting a hitter vs. Jake Arrieta and pray.  I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I am Bartolo Colon and you will never understand how I get on these pants.  1, 2, 1, 2, 3.  Yeah.  I was working part-time in a five-and-dime, my boss was Willie McGee.  U got the look.  Jesus, McGee, that look.  Twenty-three positions in a one night stand.  Twenty-three positions in a very deep league fantasy team.  Who’s my short-second-short-1st baseman?  Why do we scream at each other?  This is what it sounds like when David Price’s owners cry.  “Sorry to hear about Chyna,” said the ghost of Farrah Fawcett.  Arrieta, you got the batter’s fly balls all tied up!  Don’t make the outfielders chase you!  Even doves have pride.  Why do we scream at each other when we don’t own Jake Arrieta?  So, Arrieta threw a no-hitter yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 BBs, 6 Ks.  Rather economical pitch count too (119).  Member when we were able to own him last year by drafting him in the 8th round?  Alas, he’s a Sexy M.F. and I would die 4 U.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With the top 80 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball, we are so close to the end of the rankings I can almost taste it!  Wait, that’s not rankings I taste, I bit my lip and it’s blood.  I wonder if when Dracula bites his lip it’s like when Cougs goes out with her friends and I’m left at home while Emmanuelle is on Cinemax.  You might say to yourself, “Self, everyone is totally fooled by my toupee and do I really need to draft starters this deep in my friendly 12-team mixed league?”  You don’t, except you will own guys from this post this year either from the draft or from waivers or your leaguemates will own them and beat you.  Last year, in the tier of pitchers I liked in the top 80 starters was Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Heaney.  They had an ERA of 3.26 in 467 IP.  You put three guys like that together with, say, Kluber and Rodon and you have all the pitching you need.  Or team three starters like that with Hamels and Corbin or Ventura and Lester.  I’ll go over exactly how to draft starters in a few days, but there are so many ways to skin a cat we should have PETA breathing down our necks.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings are there.  My tiers and projections are noted.  Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Seattle’s farm produced two interesting players for the 2016 fantasy baseball season. I like Ketel Marte as a late-round flyer at a shallow middle infield position. He can hit and steal, and should be a good source of runs if he bats in front of Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz as he’s currently projected. Then there’s Carson Smith, who I imagine a lot of fantasy owners will be drafting as the closer in waiting if he hasn’t already taken the reins by opening day. The first thing I noticed when putting together this preview is the plethora of outfield prospects in the Mariners’ system, as well as the lack of impact talent from the 2015 draft (they didn’t pick in the first round). It’s a bit dicey gambling on hitters that may call Seattle their home one day, so this has never been my go-to system for fantasy prospects. Of course the flip side of that is that their pitching prospects have a little more room to breathe.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, the Twins traded Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for serial-killer-in-name-only, John Ryan Murphy.  Here’s what I said earlier this year, “When Hicks first came up, people thought he was going to be better than that Pollock fella.  No, not a stereotypical dumb person, but as in A.J. Pollock.  In Double-A, Hicks had 12 homers, 32 steals and a .285 average.  Then strikeouts enveloped his game in the majors and he hit .192 with a 27% K-rate in 2013, and hit .215 with a 25% K-rate in 2014, but this year, .277 and a 17% K-rate!  That’s a huge improvement.  That’s what she said!  What?” And that’s me quoting me!  On a side note, am I the only that sees K-rate and then tries to chop in half a wooden block while screaming hi-ya?  “Today, Daniel-san, we will talk about K-rate.”  No?  Okay, maybe it’s just me.  *Grey does a flying crane kick*  “Oh, he’s been practicing his K-rate.”  Still nothing?  Okay, I’m moving on.  One more Pollock comparison that is likely coincidental but I’m gonna throw it out there.  Pollock didn’t break out until his age-27 season and Hicks is only 26.  Okay, one more Pollock comparison, Pollock never stole 39 bases in the minors leagues, but just did it in the majors.  Hicks never stole more than the aforementioned 32 bases, but that means nothing.  Okay, fine, one more Pollock comparison!  Pollock never hit more than ten homers in the minors and he just hit 20 homers in the majors.  So who cares Hicks never hit more than 13 homers in the minors.  That’s still above anything Pollock did.  Okay, and I really mean it this time, one more comparison to Pollock.  The excitement I had last year for A.J. Pollock when I called him a sleeper is nearly identical to the excitement I have right now for Hicks.  Okay, okay, one final thing on Pollock!  The mistake I made last year when I didn’t draft him after flagging him as a breakout won’t be repeated with Hicks.  Let’s go over quickly what Hicks did last year, he hit 11 homers with a 11% home run to fly ball ratio, which is completely repeatable, so last year in 155 games he would’ve had 18 homers.  He also had 13 steals and four steals in September.  If he stole 4 bags every month, he’d have 24 steals.  Last year, he had a .256 batting average with a .285 BABIP, which is low for him.  He’s got some speed and a .310 BABIP isn’t out of the question (he had years of a .340+ BABIP in the minors).  If he gets to a .310 BABIP, he’s going to hit .270.  Really, that’s not a stretch, which is also a nickname no one ever called Altuve.  18 HRs, 24 steals with a .270 average on the year?  If he would’ve done that, I’m not sure we’d even be talking about Hicks as a sleeper, but rather as a top 20 outfielder.  And this isn’t me fighting hard to get him to these numbers.  Like a migrant worker, I’m cherrypicking a little with the steals by saying he’s going to get four a month because he did that in September, except (!) he’s likely closer to a guy that could take six bags per month.  When Steamer projects Hicks for 10 HRs and 11 steals with a .256 in 2016, it doesn’t worry me.  It actually makes me more excited because that means most people aren’t going to be excited about him.  Steamer is very conservative and doesn’t flag breakouts; that’s my job.  For 2016, I’ll give Hicks the projections of 82/15/52/.274/26, assuming the Yankees find a way to get him a starting job this offseason, which seems all but assured.  So, my question for you is, who’s the Pollock now?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It feels like only yesterday when everything was right in the world.  An animated blue bird landed on my window ledge and sung to me about boobies and other things the republicans want to make illegal, then another animated bird joined him and sung to me about foie gras and other things the democrats want to make illegal, then a centrist animated bird landed and said a lot of nothing that could neither be refuted nor approved.  Why do I have all of these damn cartoon birds but no Carlos Carrasco?!  Yesterday, Carrasco hit the DL with a sore shoulder.  This sounds to me like an early shutdown is not too far off.  “Hello, shopping mall ear piercer, can you put a diamond stud in the hole in my heart that Carrasco left?”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So you’re telling me if the Mets played in Coors field every night, they’d be the highest scoring team in baseball instead of bottom 5, where they were pre-Coors? Huh, 33 runs in 3 games ain’t too shabby and I hope you benefited from Yoenis Cespedes’ onslaught Friday night. I managed to somehow cash without him, but I couldn’t touch the top spots. The Mets have clearly sacrificed some chickens to Jobu over the past month. The good fortune continues as they go from beating up on Rockies pitchers in Coors to now getting to feast on Philly pitching in Citizens Bank Park. Here’s some fun with numbers: in the month of August, the Mets are 5th in Runs, 1st in doubles, 4th in HRs and 3rd in team OPS, one of my favorite stats to look at. As I write this, I just watched Daniel Murphy hit the 7th HR of the the game for the Mets, tying a franchise record. So, how much of this new found offense is Cespedes induced? Well, he hasn’t exactly been cold, his slash line since joining the Mets: Tonight the human Cespedes gets to dine on the shizz that is Jerome Williams’ right arm. Sky, in his recent roundup, mentioned Jerome’s reverse splits this season. Much like the hips, Sky don’t lie. The numbers this year vs. RHB: .336/.363/.597 and vs. LHB: .315/.379/.399 tell you all you need to know. Of course as you can see, everyone is hitting for a hall of fame average off the guy, so you really can’t go wrong when throwing anyone and everyone out there at him, but righties are especially brutalizing him. Reverse splits are fairly screwy, I tend to think they normalize over time, but there are exceptions, like in everything. For his career, Williams’ marks are generous to both handed hitters. Lefties enjoy a better batting average and OBP while righties have a higher slugging percentage. That’s over a 12 year career of course and things change with age. For example, a bag of garbage left in a black trash can in the middle of summer gets much worse with age. Jerome is said bag of garbage and the hot summer months aren’t being kind to him. With any luck, people will take a quick glance as guys like Curtis Granderson (L) and Michael Conforto (L) are highly owned and Cespedes sneaks under the radar. I need you tonight, Yoenis, don’t let me down. Here are some more picks for tonight’s slate:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Guess who’s back?  Back again!  No, that’s not The Greek God of Walks, Kevin Youkilis, sufferer of chronic back pain, singing.  Besides, it’s “who’s back,” not “whose back.”  We’re not trying to identify a back!  Byron Buxton‘s back, baby, yeah.  With every positive reaction, there’s an equal opposite negative reaction, or so said Einstein when he was fiddling with refrigerator magnets.   And the negative reaction to Buxton coming back is Aaron Hicks hit the DL.  Too bad, so sad.  Buxton didn’t do much in his first stint in the majors, but he could be easily as good as Schwarber, Sano or any other rookie nookie that’s got your cookie all melty.  I would grab Buxton in every league.  I’m excited.  Uppercase yay!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Brandon Crawford went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with two homers (17, 18). Crawford has a big flashing sign over his head that reads, “Career Year.” Under said sign, he has a smaller sign that reads, “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” Under that sign, there’s yet another sign that reads, “There is no third sign.” Then under that there’s a smaller sign that reads, “Is that meta? Why even go through the trouble of hanging a third sign?” Then there’s yet another smaller sign that reads…Ugh, I can’t even read it, the font is too small. Let’s stick with the signs we can read and that make sense, “Career year” and “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” His previous career high was 10 homers in 153 games last year, and prior to that he had never homered ten times in any professional league. In four full years with the Giants, he only had 26 homers coming into this season. That was in over 1800 plate appearances. His previous career high in HR/FB% was 7%. This year it’s over 17%. He’s in the top 30 in the league for homers per fly balls. For the most part, a guy who hits a lot of homers per fly balls are, as you can imagine, not guys that had a previous high of ten homers in over 1800 plate appearances. They’re guys like Just Dong, Braun, Te(i)x, Miggy, etc. etc. etc. The homers will disappear, but I wouldn’t mind so much if Crawford was more than a .255 hitter. The most obvious comp is a young J.J. Hardy, if he was an actual comp, but he’s not. Hardy hit 26 homers in his 2nd full season, Crawford never came close to this before, and I don’t think he ever will again. So…*picks up megaphone* All right, guys, let’s lose all the signs, except the first one. And get back to work! Ugh, teamsters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Late last night, Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays. Both hammys, his quads, his obliques, his elbow tendons, both groins. Why does he have two groins again? Maybe we don’t need to know. The Rockies getting rid of Tulo makes me think of when a kid is dropped off at the airport to fly alone. A flight attendant walks with the kid, trying to make conversation, waits with them at the gate, helps them into their seat, watches after them on the flight, escorts them off the plane and walks them to their uncle. Once the Rockies representative handed Tulo off to his uncle, Alex Anthopoulos, the Rockies representative went into the bathroom, did a line of blow and dialed the Rockies, “We got rid of him!!!” The Blue Jays longed to have a shortstop with two good legs. Sadly, they traded Jose Reyes to the Rockies, so now they still have a shortstop with one good leg, unless the deal includes Reyes leaving behind a hammy. Obviously, leaving Coors isn’t going to help anyone, but Tulo’s big problem has always been his health. If he stays healthy, the Blue Jays aren’t exactly the Kalamazoo Fightin’ Zebras playing in Petco. The lineup around him will be better, and he’ll get to face a junkload of terrible pitchers in the AL East. As for Reyes, he might not be long in Colorado, and if he is, then he gets a boost in value, until the Mile High air creeps into his hammys and does its worst. Reyes could now get back those extra five homers that seem to have disappeared from his usual batting line. Also, in this deal, LaTroy Hawkins went to the Jays. He was the flight attendant in the above scenario. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?