Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Odrisamer Despaigne almost threw a no-hitter yesterday (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks) in his Padres camo fatigues, which had Fidel completely uncertain how to react. “I love to wear camo too, but now he’s doing it for the American Baseball Organization and representing their military? I am torn like Natalie Imbruglia.” Luckily, Fidel had someone who burped too loud to assassinate to take his mind off things. Odrisamer Despaigne, or Otis Spunkmeyer as I always want to call him, now has a 1.31 ERA on the year (34 1/3 IP) and a laughable K-rate (4.46). Speaking of communists, that’s even laughable for Correia. Maybe the Mets couldn’t see Spunkmeyer’s pitches because the Padres were also using their trademark camo-painted baseball? Oh, wait, this is the Mets we’re yakking up. How silly of me. Spunkmeyer is definitely worth riding when in home starts, and even favorable road matchups while throwing well, but I wouldn’t trust him long-term. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s deja vu all over again. It was almost a year ago that Tim Lincecum threw a no hitter vs. the Padres. Only thing better would be if they both came on 4/20. After the game, Lincecum said, “I felt unstoppable the whole game. Even if something was hit, I felt like there was a giant baseball mitt in the outfield,” then seeing the giant baseball mitt sculpture in AT&T Park’s outfield, Lincecum slowly looked around to see if anyone else saw what he did, then said, “Dude,” five or six times, then refused to answer any more questions. The Padres are a team that could be no-hit any time they step on the field, so, in some ways, they fulfilled their destiny yesterday. What’s the difference between the Padres bats and Tony Gwynn? I remember when Tony Gwynn was alive. “Dude, seriously, do you see that giant mitt?” Yes, Lincecum, leave us alone. In the game following Lincecum’s no-hitter last year, he threw three and two-thirds innings and gave up eight runs, so, while this was a nice game, I wouldn’t go thinking Lincecum is suddenly the pitcher he was in his Cy Young years. A paranoid Lincecum runs by, “There’s a giant mitt out there!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear that box score turning blue to alert people there’s something historic going on is the mother of all jinxes. Not to mention, all the people talking about the perfect game. Member when that was a jinx? Since we’re currently living in the Age of Opinion (which is not the Scorsese movie, though if it gets the green-light, Gary Oldman could play the lead), everyone talks about the perfect game while it’s going on. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitbook, PinkedIn. In my day, we never mentioned a perfect game on Friendster! And on my General Gist band page on Myspace? Nary a whisper! Well, Jake Arrieta still pitched outstanding yesterday — 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.05 — even if the bid for a perfect game came up short. Like Altuve short. Like Kershaw looks at Arrieta’s perfect game bid and giggles. Still, this is about where Arrieta’s been and where he can go. What I said the other day still remains true — his swings and misses are going up, his control is getting better and he’s using his cutter more — a pitch he can dominant with. I’d still look at him in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When Jaime Garcia was a kicker in high school for his Flick Football team, he lined up the paper football, just left of the finger uprights across from him, adjusting for the southwesterly wind coming from a student’s handheld fan. Like it was happening in slow motion, he flicked hard, the paper sailed through, poking the kid’s eye that was holding the finger uprights. Unfortunately, Garcia also pulled a finger tendon and had to watch from the sidelines the rest of the year as his team marched to the playoffs. Ever since then, he’s never been able to shake the injury bug, and yesterday he hit the DL with a shoulder injury. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord’s hunger for ruining pitchers’ arms didn’t stop at Garcia, and Michael Wacha is out with a shoulder injury too. Wacha, Wacha, f**ka! Wacha has a stress reaction on his shoulder, and the Cards are saying no surgery is required, but his fantasy owners may still want to make a Kenesaw Mountain Landis out of Doritos and pray to it. The good news, Carlos Martinez will now be in the rotation for at least another month. He went 5 IP, 3 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks yesterday, and I’d grab him in most leagues now that he’s staying in the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Carlos Santana went 0-for-5 with 1 RBI. He could’ve hit six homers yesterday and still only had one RBI, because the guy in front of him said to the media, “By the power vested in me in the state of Cleveland — is this a state? — I now pronounce myself Lonnie Gonnie. I will now release an album that will be critically drubbed, but the masses will enjoy it called, ‘Lonnie Went Gonnie.’ Then the straight-to-DVD movies I star in will be reprisals of the Ernest movies, but with Lonnie in the title. For example, ‘Lonnie Goes To Africa’ or ‘Lonnie Goes to Jail.’ Is there any questions for Lonnie Gonnie? No? Good, because I got homers to hit and ribbies to eat and average to drive up the wazoo like I’m a wazoo driving machine.” Yesterday, Lonnie Chisenhall went H.A.M then damn, then come again, ma’am. Three homers (5, 6, 7), nine RBIs, and raised his average up to .385 while going 5-for-5. That’s a career .265 hitter. Zoinks! He’s probably going to remember who he really is at some point soon, but ride the lightning while Lonnie’s rocking out. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Tuesday, the Gods befriended my plans, making the only effect of scattered thunderstorms in the New York area a simple hour rain delay in the Yanks-A’s game. After that, it was a beautiful night for baseball. What began as an unexciting, low-scoring affair, ended in a thrilling come-from-behind, extra-inning A’s victory. Before the game, I was most looking forward to groovin’ to Josh Reddick’s walkup song “Careless Whisper”, and embarrassingly, it wasn’t until I was sitting in my seat and saw the lineups posted on the scoreboard that I remembered he was on the DL. No slow-dancing  for me tonight.

I highly encourage everyone to watch the full MLB video I linked to above about, what was at that time, Reddick’s new walk-up jam. For those of you who need the quick fix, here’s the payoff of the video.

From the professionalism of his attire, you get the sense he’s really letting loose in the moment. And then as soon as the music stops, his demeanor flashes instantly back to his normal stodgy self. This is purely speculation on my part, a modern version of the people-watch-and-invent-stories-of-their-lives game that can make any trip to a metropolitan area more interesting.

Anyhoo! Let’s get down to business with regards to Monday’s games…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?