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?
Manny Ramirez is no stranger to controversy removing him from the field, which makes it even stranger that controversy may end up putting him back on the field. The Rangers, who have Manny playing in their minor leagues, have been insistent that they have no need for Ramirez on their major league squad. However, that could change with Nelson Cruz accepting his 50 game suspension. I want to address a larger point in that over-the-hill sluggers are sometimes worth the gamble, even when they seem unlikely to produce. Yes, I’d take the same approach with Alex Rodriguez (Steamer projects a decent .258/.340/.438 line for him). I know it tends to be unpopular because they aren’t as exciting as younger players, but, depending on the size of your league, they still have value. If you have any doubts about a player being productive at an unlikely age, I’ll give you my Exhibit A: David Ortiz, who is likely well into his seventies. If Manny gets another chance in the majors, I wouldn’t expect Ortiz-like production, but something similar to Steamer’s A-Rod projection seems reasonable. That would be helpful at removing some of the weight from losing any fantasy baseball players to a suspension. Anyway here are some less controversial players I’m following in OPS leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Bob Seger, Chevrolet’s poet laureate, once wrote, “Who wants to play those eights and aces/Who wants a raise/Who needs a stake/Who wants to take that long shot gamble?” The tune was “Fire Lake” and while not his best, (Give me “The Famous Final Scene”) or the best thing out of Detroit (give me The Stooges any day), I do like the line on taking a long shot. I’m a ramblin’ gamblin’ man. Recently we rolled the dice on Marlon Byrd and hit it like a hard ten/a woman’s best friend (For all our Mormon readers, that’s a good thing). Sometimes taking a chance pays off big and it’s Cristal and caviar, sometimes you’re busted and it’s Pabst and pork rinds. We have taken our chances this season, often throwing stats and logic aside. I got a feelin’! Oh, it’s just gas. Stupid pork rinds. Yes indeed, fellow Razzballer’s, we had jammer/crammers that we hit on like Raul Ibanez, Nick Franklin and Koji Uehara. Others left us bankrupt. Damn you Ike Davis! I’m crying real tears over my fake baseball team here. It’s time to take some risks and find us a longshot. Time to put on some Seger, don the Ray-Ban’s and slide across the living room floor in our underwear. It’s time to jam it or cram it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe I’m paranoid, but we have to be masters of reality and understand that he won’t be able to continue this wizard-like production. I’m not exactly trying to declare war on Yasiel Puig, but, like any new found glory, it’s all downhill from here. Don’t make me choose my friends over you, Yasiel! He’s truly been a fantasy baseball catalyst, but he has a very low walk rate and his strikeout rate is rising to worrisome levels. He will continue to be hit or miss, although I unfortunately see him missing much more often. Let’s address the giant Sandoval in the room: his .472 BABIP is preparing him for a head on collision. Another factor is that his hip injury has shown that he’s no iron man. I’ll temper expectations a bit by saying that a certain player had a comparable 1.105 OPS last June, only to fall to mediocrity afterwards. Shout out to whoever names that player first. I think Puig will be closer to Mark Trumbo going forward, which isn’t bad, but isn’t anywhere near what he’s been this year. On a different note, Terse and I will be doing a Reddit AMA tonight at 7pm EST. Y’all should stop by. Anyway, here are some other guys who are putting up somewhat surprising seasons:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jarred Cosart was fantastical last night in his season debut pitching 8.0 shutout innings, and surrendering just 2 hits and walking three. The rookie carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning before Ben Zobrist spoiled his fun with a 1-out single. The 23-year-old had the longest no-hit bid in a debut since 1972, and he was the first Astro to go eight scoreless in his major league debut. The Astros big get from Philly in their Hunter Pence trade, Cosart has a mid-90′s fastball and a sick curve he used to baffle the TB hitters last night as he shut down the scorching hot Rays who had won eight in a row. The fact that Cosart was facing off with Tampa’s ace David Price, makes his feat even more impressive. Brandon Barnes also impressed, making a circus catch in the outfield to preserve Jarred’s no-no in the sixth, but who cares, that won’t help your fantasy team. Jarred actually had a chance at the complete game shutout in this one and came out for the ninth, but was pulled for Jose Veras after walking the first batter. Naturally, after the game the Astro’s sent him down to AAA, but I imagine after this outing he should be back before the end of the month. If he were to get recalled after the All-Star break, he would likely face the Oakland A’s next week. Grey told you to BUY him yesterday, so obviously he foretold this start (he’s a wiiitch!), but Cosart is certainly worth stashing in deep mixed and all AL-Only leagues. With talented arms like Cosart, Appel, Lyles and Peacock, the Astro’s have assembled an impressive “future stars” pitching staff, and if games like this are any indication, we won’t be making fun of the Houston Lastros for much longer.
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Matt Kemp is headed back to the DL. He needs Chris Brown to slap some health into him. Obviously, this a terrible sign for Kemp since it’s his shoulder that he had surgery on that is bothering him. Prior to last week, I stayed away from him all year. Teach me to waffle. Billy Butler, “Who’s making waffles?!” On the bright side, Andre Ethier (3-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday) should see everyday playing time. I’m not sure who that’s a bright side for outside of Ethier and his close relatives. Maybe in some leagues where you’re struggling to find a fifth outfielder, you give Ethier a bit of how’s your father. There’s no bright side for Kemp. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole or touch a ten-foot Pole named Stanislaw. He’s the Pole I’ve been seeing in my dreams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Over the past few months we have jammed and crammed our way through players that have added some pop (Adam Lind, Raul Ibanez), some saves (Koji Uehara, Jose Veras) and some steals (Juan Pierre, Peter Bourjos) to our fake baseball rosters. Let’s forget my mention of Jackie Bradley Jr in week one okay? Thanks. But I have not always been a Razzballin’ Guru. In a former life I spent my working hours spinning the radio hits. Think Backstreet Boys and other boy band classics. *BBLLAARRGGHH!!* Just threw up in my mouth a little. The music may have sucked, but the payola was great! i.e. See The Guru’s swimming pool/pool table courtesy of Tower Records. However, most of my time on the dial revolved around rock radio. Think AC/DC, Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses and some occasional Motorhead. The problem was my share of program directors never appreciated my love for Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking, live sheep in the studio, the lesbian dating game or UFO guitar solos. All things I was fired for doing. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, “radio is a shallow money trench where good men die like dogs.” But I’d still argue morning drinking builds character and one of the greatest guitar solos of all-time has to be the plank spanking in UFO’s “Rock Bottom” (check it out around the 3:30 mark). I’m sure Eddie Trunk would agree. This week let’s look at some jammer/crammers stuck to the underside of your waiver wire Chuck Taylor’s. They are the barely owned cast-offs, the red-headed step children, the “Lobster Boy-Alive” fantasy freaks of our baseball world. They will fit perfectly on my team. *cracks another Pabst* We have officially hit rock bottom. Time to jam it or cram it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let me see if I got this right about Brett Wallace (I’m admittedly drunk from an all-day 4th of July BBQ). He’s a post-hype-little-less-hype-some-hype-no-hype-hype-what?-hype sleeper. Did that add up? Sometimes I forget to carry the last hype and I was doing it in my head. Wallace arrives with so little hoopla he’s poopla. Hang up the decorations, prepare for your friends to come over for a potluck, then everyone shows up late with gluten-free snacks. That’s when you say, “What’s with all of the poopla?” If I wanted my glutens free, I would’ve freed them myself! Brett Wallace hit really well down in Triple-A (this last time; and every time really). 11 homers, .326 average and won Triple-A Player of the Month honors, which is like being the world’s tallest midget. There’s still not a whole lot of proof that Wallace can hit in the majors, but yesterday’s 3-for-5 with two homers was a nice step in the right direction. I could see grabbing him in deeper leagues for the chance that he finally figures out a way to transform his minor league success to the majors. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter, and it was the first time a player who looked identical to Christian Bale has thrown the last two no-hitters in the major leagues. Johnny Vander Meer’s family is currently drawing bat ears on old photos of Johnny to try and contest that record. Nolan Ryan was the last non-Balehead to throw the majors back-to-back no-hitters in 1974 and ’75, but the coincidences don’t end there! Back then the only live action Batman was Adam West, and Nolan was pitching as far West as you can go in California and Joe West called Ryan’s fifth no-hitter and Kanye West wasn’t born yet but Jesus was and that’s who Kanye thinks he is. It’s a small word after all, which is played at Disneyland and that’s in Anaheim where Nolan played. My brain is bugging out! Bailey seems like he’s a one-game-a-year pitcher, but he’s been terrific all year. He’s in the top ten for FIP and has the 4th best K-rate in that group. That’s not a 2nd or third fantasy starter; that’s an ace, over-the-internet friend. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This post comes to you by the power of Greyskull! I have the power! The power of Greyskull dropped Justin Masterson earlier in the year after one bad start. I have a power outage! Then the power of Greyskull watched as the power of Rudyskull picked him up and has been reaping the rewards ever since, but the power of Rudyskull benched Masterson yesterday, so the power of Greyskull let out a small, fleeting smile. Yesterday, Masterson threw a complete game shutout. He’s been great all year with a 9+ K-rate. Yadda, yadda eff me. Just above him on the K-rate chart is a who’s who of the pitchers you want: F-Her, Sale, Samardzija, Miller, Harvey, Yu, Scherzer, etc. etc. etc. He also has one of the worst walk rates in that group (not bad overall, just in that group), which will hold Masterson out of the top tier of pitchers this year, but will make him ownable in all leagues and why the power of Greyskull failed me. I wonder if Skeletor is hiring. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?