Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh man, did the Crew need that win yesterday!  Even up 11-1, I thought K Rod might blow the lead.  The way things have gone…

But it’s not all about me and the Brewers!  At least, that’s what the girlfriend keeps telling me… Yesterday, Wily Peralta showed some exceptional stuff in easily the biggest game of 2014 for Milwaukee, but the day before, high-profile prospect Jimmy Nelson looked to make a statement as the newly entrenched starter.

Anddddddddd… It didn’t go so hot.

Sporting absolutely stupid numbers in the PCL (1.46 ERA 0.92 WHIP 114 K in 111 IP), Nelson also shined in his 2014 debut, a 5.2 inning spot start allowing no runs on 8 base runners with 6 Ks for a W.  But the mightily cold Brewers squared off against the red hot Redbirds to spoil his encore.  How much was his atrocious start impacted by wrong guy, wrong place syndrome?  Should you still be holding on if you picked him up?  I decided to take an uncomfortable (for me) walk down memory lane to really break down how Nelson looked pitch-by-pitch:

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I had a hard time trying to come up with a Creeper of the Week for a week that only has three games and no rotations announced. So in a moment of scotch fueled clarity, I decided to create my own All-Star team. I’m going to highlight some of my favorite Creepers of the “not a real half first half”. There is only one voter, myself, and like any list, there will be bias. Hey, it’s my list and the winners are very obvious. It’s not like if I was to rank some of my favorite movies or songs, then I’m sure we could really get into a discussion. Oooooooh that sounds fun! I’m going to throw some out for you. For my favorite movie, it’s Goodfellas and Apocalypse Now (both these clips are NSFW). The movie in third is a tie of about 20 flicks that all make a strong case. For music, I’m not going to make it easy on you. Here is my top three non-corporate underground independent soul songs of the last 5 years. 1) Lee Fields & The Expressions – You’re the Kind of Girl 2) Charles Bradley – The World (Is Going Up In Flames) 3) Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics – My Dear. Do you have any? Actually, the story of Charles Bradley is a really interesting tale of “it’s never too late”. They even made a documentary movie about him. I highly recommend clicking on that link. Have you done it yet? Okay, good, then let’s move on to my all star team… countdown style!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At least one of you is reading this with a bandaged thumb from a fireworks mishap. I had a Cousin Pete (Italian side of the family) who lost the tip of his thumb on the 4th, but rather than stop the festivities, he taped the tip of a hot dog on his thumb to act as a tourniquet for the rest of the 4th, so we could all go about our fun-having business. I suggested my Cugino make a PSA about hot dog tourniquets, but I was turned away by NBC Cares. Let us bow our heads and pray that if anyone loses a finger, may there be a proper-sized hot dog nearby. Robinson Cano hasn’t been bad. Let’s put that misconception behind our ears like the baby ounce of Drakkar you do every morning. Not bad. Low on homers? Yes. Not bad though. The perception is he’s struggling. Having a real hard time of it in Safeco. He’s on pace for better numbers than last year, except for power. So, where did all the power go? (I sang that like Paula Cole.) He’s insanely off for homers per fly ball, and down in the fly ball department, in general. Those aren’t great things, but — what are you gonna do with that big fat but? — his April/May are dragging down the homers per fly ball. He had four homers in June and looked relatively the same as he’s always looked. There’s no way he makes it to 25 homers on the year (he’s at 6), but four homers per month is doable and about what you always got from Cano. As already pointed out, he’s still doing everything else that made him a top 12 player in March, so if someone is down on Cano, in the non-sexual way, I’d look to see if I could buy him a little cheaper than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While you’re taking time from your family to read this on this beautiful Fourth of July, I just want to say a few quick thank yous. *intern whispers in my ear* I’m told Thanksgiving is the time for that thanking people crap and the 4th of July is for hot dogs, red, white and blue Jell-o shots and almost losing a finger when a fuse goes off prematurely — that’s what she said! Huh? You know what’s more apple pie (appley-er?) than the 4th of July? A guy that was once lost in the abyss of self-despair and Fruit Loops making good– Wait that’s the intro for Celebrity Fit Club. Okay, better than apple pie is a guy that looks like a stick figure and pitches like Adrian Adonis (in his heyday, obviously), and going into Coors and taming the mountain better than the Red Viper. Zack Greinke threw 8 IP, 1 ER, 11 baserunners and 8 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.66. His peripherals aren’t much worse either — 9.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 2.72 xFIP. He’s pretty much a top five pitcher. So, on today, when we celebrate flashes of color in the sky and a bunch of drunk white guys signing parchment 238 years ago, let’s raise our fruity, rum-filled concoction and toast Greinke. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wanna really mess with your brain? Think about how you could have the same thing as Guy Pearce in Memento and you would never know. Okay, don’t think about it too long, it’ll mess with your brain too much and then I’m gonna get sued by your loved ones. “Judge, Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it), told my darling boy, Josh, to think about how he could have a brain dysfunction and now I have to change his diaper and order in for Chinese food every fifteen minutes because he keeps forgetting he just ate.” That’s your momma in front of the judge, suing me. Steve Pearce is a thirty-one-year-old journeyman. That’s not a cartographer, that’s a guy who isn’t very good and just travels around offering his services for all-you-can-drink Gatorade. Yes, he hit two homers yesterday and has hit 9 homers in just two months while batting .336. This isn’t a matter of “Maybe he’s breaking out now.” No, there’s no breaking out for Steve Pearce. He doesn’t even sound right if you don’t say his full name. There’s no Steve and no Pearce. There’s only Steve Pearce and he’s the hottest schmotato in the land and is worth picking up while he’s swinging a hot bat, but I wouldn’t expect it to last that long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Frenemies and cohorts, it is that magical time of year where the player pool begins to grow.  Summer harvest begins to reap the treasures of the seeds sown by unheralded draft pundits of years passed.  The scout’s moment is now.  Having spent their lives adorned with holey New Balances, wholly unrefined frozen dinners of Salisbury steak and discount diner breakfasts, they get to pound an Old Milwaukee and puff a few Doral’s as they revel in the glory of their hatred of sabremetrics.  A life not fancied by us fantasy internet blogger moguls.  No sirs and madams, we require a much fancier life—a life infused with excitement brought on by WHIPs and FIPs and wOBAs and WARs!  The rest is mas o menos lo mismo— the same old shizz.  Other than our baseball lens, the only other difference is that we stuttering B-Ball Bloggers need to score!!!  Points…

Points is why we’re here, and June presents a unique opportunity where the player pool expands with talent that is usable and keepable.  September offers a smorgasbord of young talent, but mostly it’s too late and the infusion of players nourish your team like an energy drink shooter with cinnamon whiskey.  The hangover is awful and often begins before the luster of the buzz has worn off.  The June callups are the cognacs, ladies men.  Let’s take a look at these beauties.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

A lot of talk has been made about the Fantasy Baseball Overlord causing all of these injuries this year. What people haven’t mentioned as much is the why. FBO was born in a small Jamaican village outside of Kingston. His family was wealthy from manufacturing fertilizer, though this came with a severe downside — the smell of manure. Knowing how cruel kids can be, it’s no surprise they would pick on FBO. The school jocks, specifically the baseball players were the worst. Constantly mocking his ever-present stench, they nicknamed him Fecal Body Odor, or FBO for short. It got so bad that teachers and adults started calling him FBO. Eventually, people called him FBO without even knowing what it stood for. Rather than trying to shake the nickname, FBO decided to have it empower him. First, he tried to get into banking, thinking he could convince people it stood for Fixed Buyout. Then he got an internship with the Field Botanists of Ontario. Neither worked for him, but he did have some knowledge of voodoo from his Jamaican aunt and always harbored hate for baseball players, so Fantasy Baseball Overlord – or FBO, for short, was born. With that said, Adam Wainwright went for an MRI on his elbow and the FBO said, “Eat it, Wainwright!” The Cards are saying his UCL is fine and it’s just tennis elbow. Hopefully this isn’t game, set, match for him. He received a cortisone shot, and there’s no word yet on a DL stint. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

My favorite move clubs make is the manager says so-and-so is the closer, but then use someone else and that other player becomes the closer. A close second is when they say so-and-so pitcher just didn’t have his best stuff, then roll him out there one more time, watch him get rocked and then say he has a broken elbow. But my third favorite club move is when they hold a rookie back for some arbitrary arbitration day. Everyone knows it’s arbitrary, but it’s done because clubs are cheap and want to hold the rights. Super Two, stupid two. Amiright? But there’s one move clubs do that you don’t see that often that might be crazier. Calling up a prospect — Oscar Taveras — right before his Super Two status changes. That’s crazy like a fox! Three weeks ago, Cards GM said, “I know a lot’s being made out of Oscar … coming to St. Louis, but right now I don’t even think it’s a logical thing to do.” I get that Fatt Adams just hit the DL, but wouldn’t you wait just a few more days at this point? Bizzonkers, but it’s the kind of crazy I can get behind because it brings with it one of the best — if not the best — prospect in the majors. Here’s what I’ve said previously about him, “From what I’ve heard (read), Taveras’s biggest strike against him is he doesn’t see any strikes — turn of a phrase point! He’s being compared to Vladimir Guerrero without having knees like Mama from Mama’s Family. Taveras swings and hits everything. Also, like Vlad, his swing is long, unwieldy and it looks like he could swing at pitches above his head and in the dirt on two consecutive pitches. (Google video of Oscar Taveras if you don’t believe me; what, you don’t believe me? My feelings are hurt.) What wasn’t mentioned, his stats also look like a young Vlad. I will call you, Vladimir Guerrerito. He can hit for power and steal bases. At twenty years old, he hit 23 homers in 477 ABs with 11 steals in Double-A in 2012, his last full year of minor league ball.” And that’s me quoting me! Later on in my Oscar Taveras article from November, I gave him this line 42/10/32/.288/8 for this year if he were to be called up in June. Still sounds about right. Basically, A.J. Pollock, but there’s a chance here for huge upside, so he’s ownable in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve said before Homer Bailey is someone you should acquire in a trade. SAME! I’ve said Homer and homers are synonymous. SAME! Those homers should come down, literally. SAME! I…went…scuba…diving…while…eating…Captain…Crunch…SAME! His K-rate is down from last year and his walks are up…NOT SAME! I’ve also said his BABIP is absurdly high, which means he’s getting unlucky. SAME! I’ve said before the difference between his xFIP and his ERA are huge, but after his last start his ERA is starting to come down. Um, SAME but different? He’s not the same pitcher as he was last year. SAME NOT SAME! His Ks are a bit off. NOT SAME! It’s more likely he has a low-3 ERA the rest of the way than the plus-5 ERA he has right now. Um…Well…Dah, the Gobstopper! I wouldn’t trade anyone too huge to acquire Bailey, but the beauty of this is you don’t have to. He’s got a 5+ ERA, so trade for him your Never Nude jorts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?