There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.”  Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings.  To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role.  Is it fair? Probably.  Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds.  That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering.  But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever.  Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.

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The Braves called Tommy La Stella up to replace Fuggla. Here’s what I said about a month ago, “Incredibly, we already had a Tommy La Stella fantasy post. Don’t you people sleep?! There, Dano compared him to Pedroia and not because he needs his tippy toes to get on a roller coaster. I think that comparison might be a tad bizzonkers. Or as the gentle fantasy writers of our day would say, “That’s a bit more bullish than I’d say.” Has any group of people said the word bullish more? This word feels like it’s dominating all fantasy conversations. It’s a polite way to say, someone is smoking more crack than another person. Of course, in a world of small sample sizes, anything could happen, but La Stellllllllllla looks like an NL-Only play with a chance for 5 homers, 7 steals and a decent average if he were called up in June.” And that’s me quoting me! Now that he’s been called up, I’d add him in deeper mixed leagues (think 15+), but I still don’t have high hopes for him outside of maybe a decent average. He’s basically a forty-twenty. If Fredi Gonzalez had any brains in that squishy melon on his shoulders, he’d bat La Stella leadoff and move Heyward down the order. Smarts and managing baseball teams don’t always go hand-in-hand though. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950’s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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King Salomon Brothers, the overseer of the Iron Bank, was mortgaging castles that he shouldn’t have been and fighting to get repaid, so he decided to sell his crown that was bespeckled in quinoa and Boca Burgers. The crown itself was worth more than all castles together. The world could be saved of economic ruin if the crown could get safely to the world’s largest pawn broker, Wei-Yin Chains. Unable to leave the kingdom himself, King Salomon Brothers gave Prince Fielder the crown, entrusting it to his overweight son, knowing if there was one person not interested in the healthy adornments on the crown it would be he. Unfortunately, heavy is the neck that wears Prince’s crown, and he gobbled up the crown like he gobbled up all the fantasy trust I put in him when I drafted this man the size of four horses. Goddammit! Dubya tee eff, doode! You can’t put on a neck brace and get up to bat? Shoot some cortisone is your cellulite! DAH!!! The only positive in this travesty that has befallen the fattest POS in the seven kingdoms? You’ll get to drop him! Fielder exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark, I hate you. Sincerely, Your Drafter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Lots of haps going on in the end-game of fake baseball this week. Matt Lindstrom fell down and sprained his crown. Surgery has already happened, so if you’re stuck in traffic, or your league has weekly adds instead of daily, Ronald Belisario looks like the dude. In case your looking for alterior adds, Daniel Webb looks like he will get some looks, as Belisario isn’t a spring chicken, nor proven commodity. So add willingly if space allows. Also in Oakland, where nothing ever survives, or lives there permanently, according to Jay(Wrong) [Ed. Note-- I was wrong. Bail Bondsman flourish there...], they finally got smart, used their shoe phone, and called in the option that may have been the right choice all along. Sean Doolittle is the shiny new toy, until the new shiny toy comes around or he breaks. I love me some Doolittle. If there was a wagon that hosted bands on it, I would be a groupie I guess. He has the K rate, the arsenal, but gets the whole “he is a lefty” shenanigans. So look past his Loogyness and just dig on the beard and 12-plus K rate, or if that doesn’t do it for ya, the 30/1 K/BB ratio.  Or if that doesn’t get ya… well, err… that was my last detail, sorry. Enjoy the tidbits of straight sizzurp laced knowledge that Stephen Hawking would even Ctl+Alt+Esc.

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If any good can come from Joey Votto going to the DL with a strained quad, at least he didn’t try to play this weekend and have a set back. Well, there’s other good that can come of it. We can be thankful for our own health. Actually, that’s BS, I’d give my quad to have a healthy Votto. I don’t need my quad to type up my fantasy baseball ‘pertness. I got acumen for days! You know what a smart Indian chef uses? Acumen. Take it, Highlights magazine, it’s yours! Fortch, Votto sounds like he should be back in the minimum fifteen days. Here’s hoping, I got hard-hit singles I need hit! In tangentially related news, Reds manager, Bryan Price, said Jay Bruce would return “very, very soon,” then he was activated from the DL. I’d go as far as saying that was very, very, very soon. Bryan Price added “Very, very soon,” I will buy a thesaurus. That’s a very, very good idea! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Four teams were showing interest in Stephen Drew. No official word on which four teams, but I’m guessing the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox and whoever didn’t want the Yankees, Tigers or Red Sox to get him. Probably the Giants. That Sabean is a real party pooper! “Stephen Drew is under 40 years old, but he comes across as a guy that is aging twice the speed of the average human.” That’s Sabean weighing Drew’s pros and cons. Well, tough noogs, Sabean, the Red Sox secured their long-coveted, barely above replacement level shortstop. In a news conference, the Red Sox said they hadn’t had a news conference in a while and felt like now was as good a time as any. “We were gonna hold a presser to say Jerry Remy was down to a pack and a half of smokes a day, but this is so much better!” Drew hasn’t been worth owning in fantasy in about six years, so I wouldn’t expect you picking him up will work as a Viagra substitute. He’s around that of a 12-homer, 5-steal, .250 hitter. Lowercase yay. This will move Xander Bogaerts to third base and Will Middlebrooks to an outside chance of being a deep league sleeper in 2015, if he gets a few good at-bats off the bench when he returns because he’s now out of a job. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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CC Sabathia is out until at least July. ESPN said, “The Yankees clearly want to save their ace for a late-season run, so will exercise caution, making sure to not rush a return.” Seriously, is ESPN purposely five years behind everyone else or do they try to anticipate what other people think and just feed off of that? Are they under the assumption that casual (read: lazy) fans think Sabathia is the Yankees ace, so they just go with that? Are they ignoring Tanaka? Are they afraid of upsetting Yankee fans? Do they think Yankee fans are stupid? I have questions, y’all! Sabathia hasn’t been an ace in two years and I see no return to that any time soon. Even if he loses another 75 pounds and grows back his belly, only now it’s from being malnourished, and he shows up at the ballpark with flies buzzing around his head. Chase Whitley will remain in the rotation now and he had a 10+ K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in Triple-A, but he wasn’t even a starter prior to this year and the Yanks are throwing crap against their dresser hoping it forms a pretty, flower-doily design. I wouldn’t mess with him outside of AL-Only leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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