I wonder if Jake Smolinski had a sister that put out in high school. I could’ve swore I hooked up with an Eva Smolinski after her friend Dawn rejected me. Were my Cavariccis cuffed a little too high for you, Dawn? My B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt too faded? I still hate you! Well, enough about me! *smacks self* Get a grip, man! Smolinski is hitting .408, and crushing pink cookies in a plastic bag since his call up, going 4-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday. The Rangers are like a prisoner with a life sentence (no offense to some of our readers; I believe you’re innocent!). Rangers have nothing but time on their hands to play their guys. Is Smolinski anything but a hot schmotato? God, no, but no one is this late in the year. I’d grab him if you need a hot bat, and who doesn’t? Dawn apparently! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After speculating who might get the call this September, we now know which prospects are getting their feet wet in the majors. More importantly, we can decide which ones may provide some fantasy value. Unlike hitter call-ups, pitchers sometimes change roles completely when they first break in. So an arm like Taijuan Walker – whom we all know is destined to be a starter – finds himself pitching out of the pen to help the Mariners in their playoff hunt. It’s not exactly Earth-shattering and it happens often, but it means we’re not going to be streaming a start from the likes of Walker or Andrew Heaney over these last two weeks, making them all but irrelevant in anything but the deepest of redraft leagues. Here – in no particular order – are the September pitcher call-ups with varying degrees of fantasy relevance for the rest of this season…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

September call-ups are almost upon us. Despite monster minor league numbers, it appears the Cubs are not going to add Kris Bryant to the roster. Bryant dominated in 2014, hitting an obscene .328/.438/.674 with 43 home runs, 114 runs, 102 RBIs and even 15 steals across two levels of the minors. I couldn’t hit that in Bases Loaded on my Nintendo. While the Cubs did promote Javier Baez and Jorge Soler to get their feet wet, they seem content to leave Bryant where he is whcih in turn makes him worthless to the prospect hounds in redraft fantasy leagues.

There are two sides to the situation. On one hand Bryant could be added to the roster which gives him some major league at bats and makes all of us fantasy owners very happy. On the other hand, the Cubs could give him the full year in the minors without having to drop anybody from their 40-man roster or start his clock. That clock is important, as Bryant being called up a month or two into next seeason could buy the Cubs another year of his services should he decide to become free agent when eligible. Bryant will be worth the wait, but that’s what we’ll have to do – wait. That leaves us to figure out who is worth a look this September. Assuming that the following players will all be called up, here are some of the names (along with their 2014 MiLB stats) that I think could help fantasy owners in redraft leagues this September…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rosters expand on Monday to allow for the big league clubs to take a look at 15 more players during the last month of the season.  All the mainstream experts say to pick up the top prospects who will get to see playing time for the last month to boost your roster.   But I’m so bitter today that I can’t recommend doing anything like that if you’re in a points league.  You see, I woke up early and picked out just the perfect outfit, but not one person has mistaken me for homeless.  I hate people.  And I hate prospect call ups (for points leagues).  They’re so new and trendy and just not sustainable enough for me.  In fact, even my moustache hates them.  I’m so heated over the matter that all 12 handlebars I waxed into it are now pointing down.  I used Burt’s Bees and now I can breathe like Brian Wilson on the mound.  Sinuses are so clear!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prospects, prospects, and MORE PROSPECTS!!! Plenty of youngsters making noise as their seasons wind down and players scramble for the chance to get their feet wet when organizations call players up at the end of the month to get a taste of “The Show”.  That signals time for Razzball’s Sunday morning look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game – prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 21 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wednesday again already??? Time flies when you’re having fun (or the Braves are playing terrible baseball) it seems. That signals time for our Razzball midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits. Our prospect coverage will always be a work in progress as we try to provide pertinent information that will help owners that participate in deeper leagues as well, and features will be adjusted and added in our effort to be able to help fantasy GMs as much as possible regardless of the depth of league you compete in.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Something many of you don’t realize, but one of the first people to talk to a player that was just traded is his new team’s tailor. The Yankees tailor got on the phone with Chase Headley to find out what size jersey he wears, and Headley looked down, beaming to be out of Petco, and said, “Giuseppe, you might want to take out my inseam too.” I wonder if the flowers smelled a little better as Headley stepped into Yankee Stadium for the first time. Sure, in contrast to his hour long ride through the Bronx, getting lost in Hunts Point, anything would smell better, but it can’t be worse, can it? His career in away games prorated over a 162 game season is: 79/19/79/.286/14. Doode’s David Wright! Well, almost. Which is sad for Headley and Wright. More sad for Wright. What a guy does in only half a season can be anywhere from bupkis to I-want-to-bump-grind-and-kiss. Will Headley suddenly be mixed league worthy? Yeah, for at least a flyer, if nothing else. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Two-Startapalooza’s back, beoches!

Man, I gotta tell yunz, I had a superly-dooperly extended break, and all ya’ll who know me know that there is not one hint of sarcasm in that statement. There were some lessons learned, particularly on the baseball front, although almost none of those items involved fantasy baseball since there was no fantasy baseball. We learned that Major League players love Derek Jeter so much that they’re willing to sully their good name by not only grooving him pitches in the All-Star Game and but also admitting it and then awkwardly and unsuccessfully backtracking. We learned that the Guru had a Derek Jeter Retirement Barf Bag – I bought five, by the way. Thanks Guru! We learned that another Derek, Derek Holland, is the grand Puba of not one but two fart games played in the Rangers bullpen, Pink Eye and Fart Bottle Roulette (nevermind the fact that Holland has been injured all year). We learned that baseball doesn’t give a crap about one Anthony Keith Gwynn Sr.

I for one learned that Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom gets recognized around New York for his fantastic early 1990s mullet and that he is not one bit ashamed of it. I discovered this in a great New York Times piece on deGrom that I read when trying to decide if I should stream him or hang onto him. Well, the fact that deGrom is a proud business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back kind of guy was just enough to make me sacrifice to keep him. That and the fact that he was mowing down dudes heading into the All-Star break. Over his last three games, he whiffed 27 and only walked four. Two of those were fairly dominant performances. If there was ever a time to scoop up Zane Smith’s more attractive clone (this is not saying much, as old-schoolers well know), it’s right now. deGrom is slated for a two-start week, including one in Safeco.

Here’s some more two-start guys for next week. Oh and tip of the cap to Sky, who did an amazing job filling in at Two-Startapalooza. During his stay he introduced some cool new ideas I might run with but also left behind a whole lot of some kind of sticky substance. Thanks Sky! I think?

Please, blog, may I have some more?