It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light. Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy. So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship. That being Marcus Semien. I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals. Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube. So why now? Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year. Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats. (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.) So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10. I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference. Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230. The steals are what we want and that’s why we here. So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues). With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.
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Yesterday, J.D. Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, a package that has been described by me as a .280, 40-homer hitter for Okay, Who Cares and So What. My visions of Yasmany Tomas returning and helping my NL-Only team went from “Hello, what’s your name, Pamela Sue?” to “No, my name is Pamela and I’m suing you for sexual harassment.” The ol’ 180 in the pants. Well, I’ll save the rest of my moans and/or groans for my shrink, since this is great news for Just Dong. That should be a 90 degree turn in the pants for Just Dong owners. Has he ever hit in Chase Field? Doesn’t matter, he’s about to love it. Outside of Coors and Miller, there’s no place I’d rather my player move for hitting and between-inning dips in a hot tub. (The Coors and Miller hot tubs are gnarly, by the way. “Did you say swell?” “No, I said swill.”) For FAAB, I’d go aggressively after Just Dong like he was the last guy to move to the NL, even if he might not be. He’s a 35-homer guy in Comerica. In Chase, he could be the equivalent to a 45-homer guy over the final ten weeks. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Well, the All-Star break happened and now here I sit. Only three games of data to expunge my sort of genius onto the masses… that’s like the Gettysburg Address stopping at “four score and seven”. So with limited research, I gotta get creative with words. Like, have you checked out Fantasy Soccer, yeah… it’s that oddly shaped ball at the top of this page. Don’t play? Well you should. So onto the number seven with bacon. Also known as the KC stealer. Over the past 15 games that oddly enough dates back when we were still celebrating fireworks and stuff, Whit Merrifield leads the majors in steals with 7. Big deal, 7 whole steals! Well, the steals bandwagon has lost some steam this year with Billy not doing consistent Billy things and Trea doing game-ready stuff at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but strangely enough he still needs an adult with him. Curse you baby-faced guys! Whit isn’t just a dead stick as he has revitalized the Royals line-up, as they have an unbelievable record since his insertion into the leadoff spot. It’s not George Springer-type good, but for SAGNOF, we take what we can get. Currently owned in half of the ESPN leagues, which means that he is owned in every RCL league (basically), so kudos for all of us that are paying attention. But on the happenstance that he isn’t owned, go grab him, do it gently though, he pees when he gets nervous.
Hehe, I’m such a jerk. I finally dedicate a lede to Jason Vargas and it’s to point out how bad he was last night — 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA up to 3.06. Well, look at it this way. If he wasn’t good for so long, him being bad wouldn’t matter. For unstints, my friend texted me yesterday, “R. Kelly’s being accused of holding girls against their will in his cult.” I texted back, “That’s one cult where you really don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid.” It was the least surprising news yesterday. 2nd least surprising is the Vargas regression. What happens with regression, stays in Vargas. He’s not done regressing either, if his peripherals hold. He has a 6.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 4.87 xFIP, i.e., A lost Vargas is not just a Wynn, but one of those sure-cuts, sure-cuts. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
This is an excerpt of a phone call Razzball intercepted during Sunday’s afternoon games. Since every state involved is a two-party consent for recording, we cannot reveal who recorded the call, but it rhymes with Trudy Gramble. Here, let’s listen in: “Hello, this is the CEO of Super Ball, the world’s hardest, bounciest, craziest, shouldn’t-be-used-as-a-baseballiest ball. Who is this calling?” Our Commissioner Rob Manfred disguises his voice so he sounds raspy, “I’m Kathleen Turner. I was wondering if you would sell me 70,000 Super Balls to not be used for baseball purposes.” “Body Heat Kathleen Turner? Not to get all James Lipton, but I am a huge fan of your–” “Okay, toots…” Manfred lowers the phone receiver, to his secretary, “Toots?” Back into the phone, “Um, so don’t make me kill you and blame a different femme fatale. I need those Super Balls.” So, yesterday was bonkers for homers, yet again. I will now list the home runs by guys in just the Astros game: Yulieski Gurriel (2-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 11th; Jose Altuve (3-for-4, 4 runs, 3 RBIs, hitting .347) hit his 13th; Evan Gattis (2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 8th and Carlos Correa (4-for-5, 5 RBIs) and two homers, his 19th and 20th. Holy Salami Tom, there’s a crapton of home runs this year. I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind. Also, on a pitching front, if I can just maintain a 3.50 ERA, I could come in first for ERA. By the way, I hope we’re not sued by Our Commissioner Rob Manfred, but something must be done. Get the Super Balls out of baseball! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
I need to come clean about something. It’s embarrassing, and I hope once I tell you you don’t judge me. This is a bit of a trust fall for me. Okay, the truth is, whenever a player breaks out, I start singing Breakout by Swing Out Sister. I put down the convertible top on my canary yellow Sebring, flipping down my sunglasses, adjusting my spandex shorts, because they ride up all the time, and Tommy Pham, fist pump, BREAKOUT!
In Triple-A, Pham had 10 homers and 20 steals in 2014, but, like some many young hitters with the Cardinals (really, only hitters; pitchers they have no problem promoting and playing), they’ll play someone like The Federalist and never give a prospect hitter an opportunity. Now that Pham’s about to turn 30 (in nine months), the Cards have finally given him playing time. There’s nothing here long-term, but he does have power, speed and, finally, the playing time, so, Swing Out Sister and BREAKOUT! And, y’all who think I don’t keep it real, Tupac would date Swing Out Sister, then send her a letter from prison, breaking it off, only to realize halfway through the letter, he shouldn’t break it off, he should BREAKOUT!
Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
The fastest answer to the title is that no, you can not just fix what Trea Turner was giving you and the lack thereof for the next few weeks. Dude was a man among spatulas. Twenty two steals in the month of June alone was more then four teams in the entire majors. For fantasy, he was the only person over 20 in the last 30 games, only person in double digits in the last 15, and now he will get you zero for the next, presumably, six weeks… So where do you turn? The answer is: I wish I knew, because the waiver wire is not going to give you that type of production. Trade? Sure, if you have the assets, or you can just plain ignore the stat. Interestingly enough is that if he is gone from the league, it kind of evens the playing field for steals across the board. Billy hasn’t been Billy in some time, Dee is probably the most prestigious thief left right now is universally owned, and the waiver wire is littered with 2-3 steal guys every 10-game types. I am not saying that losing Trea Turner is a good thing… it is an excellent thing for everyone that doesn’t own him. If you are the sad owner of him, replacing Turner is not the biggest need. In reality, you just need to maintain the fort ion the steals department. That’s where me and this column come in. SAGNOF to your wildest content. The waivers are now your oyster at the SS, OF, or wherever you had TT employed. Moves a plenty should be made and don’t be afraid to play match-ups versus catchers or pitchers or both. Luckily for you, I have supplied one after the bump. Happy post-Independence day. Cheers!
Someone, somewhere out there has to give me the 411 on where ‘gravy train’ came from and why it’s an idiom for a lucrative endeavor that requires minimal effort. Was there ever a time where gravy was, in fact, a product hauled by train in a shipping container, perchance? Now that I think about it, we also have a gravy boat…how many possible vehicle mentions should a meat juice-based sauce be given? Where’s my gravy helicopter, yo! But I digress…Jon Gray. He’s only $6,400 today. Yes, he’s $6,400 because he’s pitching in Coors, but so what? Gray pitched in Coors for 83.2 IP last year and came away with a 21.9% K-BB ratio to go with a 3.07 xFIP. Remember the year Ubadlo Jimenez had way back in 2010 for the Rockies? Yes, it was a dandy but Gray’s stuff could be considered even better as his control is just as impressive as his whiffs. His first start off the DL was in Arizona and all he did at Chase Field – a place deemed ‘Coors lite’ by many – was go 6 while striking out 10 and only walking 1. That’s called ‘impressive’. So back to that there train…hop on today and enjoy the strange idiomatic ride. But enough of that, let’s talk about this. Here’s my gravy trains, planes, and automobiles taeks for this Wednesday FD slate…
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Thankfully, I no longer do 4th of July like I used to, because when you have a holiday weekend that lasts five days, you will get alcohol poisoning if you go too hard, and the 4th is especially dangerous because: day drinking. At least with New Year’s Eve, it’s at night. The Fourth is lying on a discarded sofa on the side of a highway at 3 PM and being like, “The hum of 75 MPH cars is so peaceful, I go to sleep now,” and waking up with a flashlight you mistake for a fleshlight and now you’re a registered sex offender. Hopefully, none of that happened to any of you, well, maybe the fleshlight part, and you all had a safe holiday. Any hoo! Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 and his 15th and 16th homers as he hits .288. He found the Fountain of Youth sometime in May and has been a Zombino eating brain custard ever since. I’m still half expecting — cting? — McCutchen will resort to blah in the 2nd half, but it looks like I wrote off McCutchen before his sell-by date. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Kyle Schwarber was demoted to Triple-A to clear his head. But Joe Buck would’ve cleared it for him! Guess Schwarber is just one less thing for Joe Buck to plug. Joe Buck is now the new Crying Jordan meme. Also, yesterday, Jason Heyward was DL’d. Right now, Joe Maddon is like, “All I need is Ian Happ. And this chair. All I need is Ian Happ, this chair and this remote control. And Tommy La Stella. All I need is Ian Happ, this chair, this remote control and Tommy La Stella. And these Buddy Holly glasses. Happ, chair, remote, La Stella and these glasses! That’s all I need!” I’m sure Schwarber will be back at some point, but, in most mixed leagues, you can move on. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: