As summer has come and gone and the weather starts the cool down in the Great White North, so have the Blue Jays. The Jays are still hanging on to a wild card spot, but have gone from first to third in the division. They have lost the last four divisional series, which hasn’t helped. There are 4 teams within 5 games back, all chomping at the heals of the Jays. Early in the season the pitching was a strong suit of the Jays, but now own a 4.46 xFIP so far in September. The Jays have migrated south to Anaheim and have found success. It seems all they needed was some California sunshine to get the back on the winning track. Tonight, Francisco Liriano will take the mound and look to continue the success he found in his last outing. His last outing came against the Rays, and consisted of 6.1 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk, while earning 6 strikeouts. While the Angels don’t strike out a lot (16.7% vs LHP), they lose a lot. Nolasco will be on the mound for the Angles, who is 1-6 since being traded. And with that I give you the rest of my Saturday DFS picks.
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In 1972, a young Polish man by the name of Stanley “Stash” Petrosky burst on the scene with the Pirates organization and stole 87 bases while pinch-running for the Single-A Long John Silvers. No matter how many times corrected, he continually held the bat backwards and never got past Single-A, but his speed was a delight to watch. Since then, Poles have been considered some of the sneakiest fast players in the game. Some social scientists have contended that this is due to the Polish ancestors standing in line for bread. Never wanting to be standing in line ever again, they instead run and steal. Some historians say the Poles have skis on their end of their names because thousands of years ago they would tie flat boards to their ankles rather than walking and they built up a taste for speed. Others say this is ethnic profiling and it should be stopped. Either way, one guy who can’t be stopped is Travis Jankowski. Janky, as he’s not known anywhere, has 25 steals in 184 ABs. Since 2000, Jankowski has the most steals in the fewest plate appearances besides Tony Campana (there’s a throwback name). The King of SAGNOF, Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Emilio Bonifacio, Dee Gordon and Jordan Schafer are a few of the guys that have been close in the last 16 years, but what Jankowski is doing is historic SAGNOF. Or as it’s known in some cultures SAGNOFski. Oh, and Jankowski is also hitting north of .450 in the last week. Grab him! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
One look at this week’s most added player list in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues causes me to reminisce about my younger days in the early-mid 2000s. I can vaguely remember the bar-hopping, insane amounts of alcohol consumption, and late nights that frequently occurred during that time period. One thing that I can clearly recall from those days is closing time at those various establishments when the ugly lights would come on and that Semisonic song would be blaring over the speakers, signaling that it was time to pack up and go. Stumbling out the door and finding a local diner to satiate my pork roll, egg, and cheese fix meant that it was a good night. When no diner was to be found, man was that an annoying song! Why’d you have to ruin a perfectly good evening, Semisonic? It’s all your fault. Drunken logic! But I digress. The point is that this week could easily be dubbed closing time in fantasy baseball, as there were serious changes in the late inning pecking order of several teams. Injuries to Wade Davis and Huston Street created opportunities for Kelvin Herrera (39.2% owned; +10.8% over the past week) and Cam Bedrosian (22.8%; +17.2%) in the 9th inning in Kansas City and LA respectively. The trade of Jeremy Jeffress to Texas opened the door for Tyler Thornburg (31.0%; +16.8%) to close games in Milwaukee. But the biggest gainers of the week were the new stoppers in Seattle and Houston, Edwin Diaz (57.9% owned; +44.7%) and Ken Giles (57.0% owned; +37.9%). Diaz claimed the role for the Mariners after incumbent Steve Cishek hit the disabled list, and Giles took over for the Astros for a struggling Will Harris, and fantasy owners quickly pounced on the explosive duo. Over the last 30 days, Diaz and Giles have combined for 43 strikeouts against just 5 walks and have allowed just one earned run over that span. Their swinging strike rates are 24.1% and 25.4% respectively, and they’ve each averaged over 97.5 mph on their fastballs. There might not be more than five or six closers that I’d want more than these guys right now, so grab them if the other owners in your league have been asleep at the wheel.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Devon Travis hit two home runs Friday night including one to lead off the ballgame and a heroic, Olympic-sized tie-breaking shot in the ninth inning to give the Jays the lead. Clearly, Travis just wanted to get back to his hotel room so he could catch the Opening Ceremony in Rio. Speaking of which, that ceremony was really…something, wasn’t it? When you watch four hours of the Olympics and not a single event is played. Hmm, I think I might be burned out on the games already and the torch was just lit. At least Gisele was there. According to my sources, Tom Brady would have held the flag for the U.S.A. but he’s busy at training camp. Devon Travis, however, was busy leading off his third straight game for Toronto. The second year infielder is batting .313 over the past week with three homers, 4 runs, and 5 RBI, including that game-saving shot Friday night. It’s Devon Providence! Let’s call him Christ the Redeemer. Remember last April when he hit .325 with 6 home runs? I do. The dude can get hot in a hurry, and batting in this stacked Blue Jays line up could mean big things for your fantasy team. He is slashing .290/.332/.479 with nine homers in 217 at-bats to date, and Travis is currently available in about 70% of fantasy leagues and he’s feeling the Olympic spirit. I’d grab him if you need a middle infielder who plays for Canada but bleeds for the red, white and blue.
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:
Rather than list fifteen closers that all became available in the last week, I’m going to tell you a story. Ken you dig it? Ooh, Giles (Things Are Gonna Get Easier) was a song they played at my prom. This was going to be the best day of my life. My date, Susie, had just broken up with her boyfriend, Jake, and she looked radiant that night, Barretts lined her hair like a crime scene. Only not a bad crime scene like some gruesome murder, but instead like a yellow rose Tyler’d around another rose’s Thornburg like a noose. A rose murder, which is heartbreakingly beautiful. Also, in play on this great night was Prom King, I was going to Edwin it, right as I was Diaz’ing to the Macarena. Wait, maybe my dancing would help me win a Tony too, ya know, this wasn’t elementary school my dear, Watson. This felt like a scene out of an 80s movie with Charlie Sheen née Carlos Estevez. When the announcement came, I held Susie’s hand, it was hot — 373 on the Kelvin scale — and her palm was Herrera. Gadzooks, I exclaimed. Then Jim won, and I went home with my Johnson, but no Herrera palm. Oh well, guess I’ll have to take down my Cam I set up by my Bedrosian. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
Steve Cishek hit the DL with the same injury that sounds like it once affected Nadia Comaneci –a torn labrum. Grey’s got Olympics fever! Which this year sounds like it can be transmitted by a mosquito. “I’m not wearing my Brazilian national flag t-shirt to sit in the room all day! Actually, I feel a little woozy too.” That’s a family of four coming down with the Zika Virus at this year’s Olympics. With Cishek likely out for the year, grab Edwin Diaz in all leagues. On a related note, I’ll leave you with the Double Dutch Bus, a song that Missy Elliott later made famous on Gossip Folks. The chorus for Double Dutch Bus sounds like it’s just me trying to say the name Steve Cishek. Fast forward to 2:15 if you’re not feeling early 80s funk and just want the guy to say Steve Cishek repeatedly.
Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Stashed Orlando Arcia in a few of my deepest leagues back in March. What a waste. Well, 59 games left — guess that’s something. If he Lindors. No idea why he hadn’t been called up until now. Milwaukee’s 3rd base position has been bratwurst casings all year and Jonathan Villar plays shortstop like the guy who hacks the meat to fill those casings. Were the Brewers afraid Arcia would’ve been too confused by the fact Will Smith was white? Did they need to first move Jeffress due to language stipulations? “Wait until we trade Jeffress — he might hurt his tongue saying the R’s in Orlando Arcia’s name. Remember Higuera hit the DL when he yelled Robin Yount.” If the Brewers didn’t drag their heels worse than the kielbasa in the sausage race after he bet five-large on the chorizo, I would’ve had Arcia months ago! *takes deep breath* Okay, I’m good. So, what can we expect from Arcia? A little pop and solid speed — think Jean Segura or Villar over the course of the final two months. Yes, I’d grab him if I were hurting at shortstop. Speaking of hurting at shortstop (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!), Trevor Story hit the DL with a torn UCL in his thumb, and will be out for the season. Colorado already has DL forms with SS written in. Just have to cross out Tulo for Story. Save that piece of paper for rolling! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
The Twins’ lineup could generate power for any remote control, because they’re filled with Double-A batteries. High five me! C’mon! You don’t appreciate a good snap! I’m zinging over here! Fine, be that way. The Twins traded the 29-year-old Eduardo Nunez to the Giants, which makes him the youngest player the Giants have ever acquired and the cheapest player the Twins have ever traded away. A double first! Which sounds almost like how you picture your ex describing herself on Tinder. So, Eduardo Nunez goes from a neutral park to a pitching park and from a lineup that could be best described with their two-hole hitter, Grossman, to a lineup best described as “in the middle of a panic.” Or a Panik in the middle. This move likely doesn’t change his value much, but if anything it takes him down a notch. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Welcome back Y’all, I hope everyone enjoyed the All-Star break. I don’t know about you, but I dread the break, then it comes and I’m actually thankful for it. I feel revived and ready for the second half push, but part of me is still on break until today. So now it’s time to shake off that DK rust, take a deep whiff of some Nitro and get this biatch started. If you’re a little confused about the lead, let me help clear it up. The two L’s I’m referring to are Jon Lester, $9,400 vs the Mets and Mike Leake, $8,200 vs the Padres. Lester had a rough end to the first half pitching 6 of his last 7 games on the road and he got absolutely hammered for 8 ER at NYM two weeks ago, so why would I roll with him today? He’s a veteran who got some much needed rest over the break. Granted, he threw one inning at Petco last Tuesday but I think he’ll be extremely under owned across the board with J-Fer, Sale and Kluber all going tonight. Lester has been great at home this year with a 2.32 ERA while striking out 62 batters over 54 innings and the Mets are second to last in runs scored vs LHP. Wrigley Field is just what the doctor ordered for Lester’s recent road ails as he’s due to get back on track vs a depleted Mets lineup. Mike Leake turns into Mike Stopper when July 1st rolls around. There’s just something that happens to him when the calendar turns on June 30th as he goes lights out on the mound. It’s time to own him in daily and RCL, at least for the next 3 weeks. He went into the break on a high note striking out 10 in Milwaukee over 7 innings. He’s got a solid matchup at home tonight against the Padres who probably didn’t got into St. Louis at a cushy 4 AM Central this morning. I’m counting on Sneaky Leaky to put up a solid line of at least 8 K’s while he puts it to a weary San Diego team that’s still in vacation mode.
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The other day the Astros signed the coveted Cuban refugee, Yulieski Gourriel. One time! Yulieski is as apple pie as a Canadian tenor group making a political statement during the All-Star Game. He’s 32 years old. If he went by YuGo, that would make him the newest car in Cuba. “Bueno Model T, amigo! Now, tell me about this Ford Taurus I hear so much about.” You know who a 32-year-old Cuban immediately reminds me of? Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero. Sloppy comparison maybe. Hey, that gives me an idea. Whenever doing a sloppy comparison between players who just happen to be Cuban, we should call them Sloppy Jose’s. We need a similar term for when making a sloppy comparison between Japanese players; please suggest in the comments. As for Gourriel, yeah, I don’t see much here. I watched video of him, and he looks like a 15 HR, 6 SB, .260 hitter, which is Hector Olivera. I’m sorry, but those Sloppy Joses make sense sometimes. This Gourriel signing obviously delays Bregman’s arrival, so boo, you mothereffer, boo. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball: