If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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So, here we are again. You could say it’s been a long time. Or, you could be like me, and say it hasn’t been long enough. This series obviously is not one that touches on hot button issues. There are no Mike Trout or Matt Harvey sightings. Simply put, this series is more a labor of love than anything. I get tired of reading pieces that are supposed to be on deep leagues, and they spend time talking about Lucas Duda. NOT DEEP ENOUGH. And while I moan and groan about discussing the likes of Luke Montz or Chris Rusin, I want to make sure that someone does. Because, first of all, Luke Montz and Chris Rusin deserve to be known by somebody… anybody. Not just their mothers. And second of all, well, simply put, you deep leaguers understand what’s going on here. And if you don’t understand, imagine if your starting lineup consists of names like Nick Punto and Brendan Ryan and Joe Thatcher… then you will know what it is like to be us. And you will wonder why we do what we do. Which, to be perfectly honest, is what we wonder about too. So, with all the time off from this series, I’m sure there is plenty to talk about. [Looks at player list] UGHHHHH.

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If you’re squeamish, don’t watch the video of Tim Hudson getting hurt. That’s what they say. This is like saying, “Your Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus) presents are under the tree (Star of David, Star Jones, pole) and they’re unwrapped, but don’t look at them.” Is there anyone in the history of mankind who’s ever heard the phrase “don’t watch this because it’s too gruesome” and has actually stopped watching it. That sentence is brain crack! It’s like your brain neurons suddenly start moving around like a Roomba in a closet, bumping into the sides, trying to get out. So, with that said, I wouldn’t watch it. Hudson will need surgery and is out for the year. Well, if Eric Young was gonna step on his foot like THAT I wouldn’t have been speculating for two months who was going to get bumped for Brandon Beachy. I’ve been saying for the last two months that I don’t own Beachy. I think he’s going to give a lot less than what you’re expecting. Tommy John surgery causes most pitchers to lose control when they first return, and Beachy has a 5+ BB/9 in the minors. That would be near the worst in the major leagues. Edinson Volquez looks at that walk rate and says, “Whoa, pardner.” You know the guy from Shadesville at the horse track who goes around picking up discarded race tickets hoping to find a winner, if you pick up Beachy, you might resemble that guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The night was humid in San Diego. Some fans in the front row brought their own Chardonnay, a mix of floral and fruity notes, which could’ve also described the crowd’s apparel. Tommy Bahama as far as the eye could see. One Padre fan stood up, three glasses of wine in, screaming to let Templeton play. Most of the fans that night were there for a picnic that was billed as ‘the best picnic mom’s ever packed.’ One thing these picnickers never expected was to become a part of history. Whispers amongst the Padre fans began in the 1st inning. “It was going to be a long night.” Not because of Tim Lincecum, who began his quest to throw the 700th-something no-hitter in the last ten years. Tonight would drag for these Padre fans because the picnic brie was forgotten at home. Tonight these Padre fans groaned in the first inning because when Lincecum took the mound they thought the game was being preempted for a k.d. lang concert. So, Lincecum wasn’t economical in his 148-pitch no-hitter, walking 4 guys and K’ing 13. He’s the first pitcher to throw more pitches in a no-hitter than he weighs. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Lincecum doesn’t look bad in his peripherals this year. His K-rate and walk rate are pretty close to the numbers he put up when he had a 2.74 ERA in 2011. He didn’t make the top 100 for the 2nd half that is coming tomorrow, but I considered it for a long time (about 25 seconds). The unknown right now is whether or not the 148 pitches is going to tire his arm. Obviously, he’ll have the All-Star break to rest and I wouldn’t be against giving Lincecum a chance on my fantasy team. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It just so happens that every player that I’ve covered so far, Edwin Encarnacion, RA Dickey, and Josh Hamilton all have nicknames. Well, Robert-Allen Dickey doesn’t, but he has Dickeyface (look at this one too!), which is just as good. But Encarnacion has E5, Hamilton has Hambone, and even I have JW1. Now, the streak has been broken with the Bear/Bull spotlight directed upon Matt Harvey. With the way he’s pitched so far, his nick status needs a change. I’ve heard of several that really don’t do him justice, but should be put out there for community research. There’s Matt ‘Hardcore’ Harvey, which is simple and rolls off the tongue pretty easily. But it also brings up images that can be described with words that end in ‘ingus’ and ‘lation’. Not exactly what you want. Well, *you* might want that, but this is about Matt Harvey. There’s Mattastic, which is just corny. If we are just squishing his name together with other words, why not go with Mattpocolypse or Mattmageddon? Even Matt-howyoulikemenow! has a certain synergy to it. I’ve also seen Heatflame Harv, which just sounds like my dating life… desperate. My choice, I feel, has the upper hand at the moment. Borrowed from the DC Universe, Harvey Two-Face, was recently played by Aaron Eckhart in Nolan’s Prestige, Inception, Batman movies. The association only adds to the flair, and the name has a good ring to it. It’s not like I was going to go with Rocket Racoon, amiright? He’s about as useful as Hawkeye, I mean, at least Black Widow is a good vehicle for bewbs. I mean, seriously… a big green Hulk, an all-powerful mechanized armor suit with gunz flown by a guy with charming sass and sarcasm, the son of Odin, a super soldier, and a dude who shoots arrows… yeah, tell me who doesn’t belong in that sentence. Anyhow, I’m going to go out on a limb and take credit for Harvey’s new nick. So it was said, so it shall be done.

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Yost would tell you that Holland is still the closer, but Kelvin Herrera should be the closer in KC. No, there’s no official closer change, but it’s obvious. You really only had to watch the last two games for confirmation, and Malcolm Gladwell would tell you to Blink. In his last game, Holland took the save to the very brink. Herrera had opposing hitters’ bats in the clink. In my daily diet, I eat mutton, it’s high in zinc. I call my therapist, Saran, and this is my shrink…rap! Sorry, I just mentally transported back to my days of Bum wine and roses when I thought I was black and I’d start freestyling. Every teenager who thinks they’re cool right now, so did I and now I’m a fantasy baseball blogger. Muahahahahaha… So, what I began saying was Yost can say whatever he wants on the Royals closer situation, but Herrera is the better pitcher right now, and he could be a Donkeycorn by the middle of May. I would continue to hold Holland, but Kelvin should be owned, as well. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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