This Frankencatcher Report was a tough one to write. It began as a piece hailing the return of Evan Gattis and mentioning Blake Swihart as a potential roll-of-the-dice pickup. The Red Sox called Swihart up to get a look in left field when Brock Holt hit the disabled list with what appears to be a pretty serious concussion, as he has now been on the DL for about a month.

But then Swihart ran into a wall.

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Jonathan Papelbon hit the DL and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.  Though, I’m using the archaic definition of nicer.  An adjective which was once described a jerk off who went to Nice, France and hurled insults.  Example, A nicer man would stand on the curb as Gerard Depardieu passed on his bicycle, screaming, “You are the fattest frog I’ve ever seen and I once force fed a frog to make frog foie gras.”  Filling in for Papelbon will be Shawn Kelley and Felipe Rivero.  Rivero is a lefty, so his best hope for saves is a 9th inning that is lefty heavy like my Facebook feed from my Bernie Sanders-supporting friends.  Of course, Dusty said he wouldn’t commit to any one replacement because Dusty’s gonna Dusty.  He cited other possible candidates to close like Blake Treinen and Sammy Solis.  I wonder if Dusty knows that’s not the slugger he once managed in Chicago.  “Sammy Solis, you came up short with McGwire, but I need you to close out this game.  By the way, go easier on the skin whitening.”  That’s Dusty while juggling the toothpick in his mouth.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Ree,” opens the front door, walks down the driveway, says hello to my Polish neighbor, Stash, walks to the DQ, gets a Blizzard, eats said Blizzard, walks home, opens the door, says “Dick,” hits the head, not like that, comes back feeling a Blizzard lighter, does some Netflix and chill, shuts it off, says, “You,” brushes teeth, gets into bed, moves arm over Cougs, hears about her splitting headache, rolls over and says, “Lus.”  That’s right, in honor of Mookie Betts, I just did the most ridiculous ridiculous call ever.  You earned that shizz, you madman!  I’d count the ways I love this man, but like a savant Blackjack dealer I can only count up to 21.  After his three-homer game yesterday, Betts (3-for-5, 5 RBIs, 10th, 11th, 12th homers) now has those twelve homers to go with eight steals, a .283 average and is on pace for 115 runs and 85 RBIs.  Don’t make me do another ridiculous ridiculous call, cause if you want me to, I will.  Oh, and with what he’s doing, it’s not even inconceivable that he keeps up this pace.  His BABIP (.290) is actually below his career average (he’s getting unlucky!), his fly ball percentage is down (he could be hitting more homers!) and he hasn’t been caught stealing once (so steal more!).  You are witnessing the emergence of a perennial first rounder.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Chris Young went 2 2/3 IP, 5 ER as he allowed five solo home runs, which tied a franchise record, and was only the 7th starting pitcher to give up five home runs in less than three innings.  He was then followed by Dillion Gee.  Too bad Gee wasn’t followed by Aaron Laffey, then the box score would’ve read Chris Young, Gee, Laffey, which, as everyone knows, is an Asian giraffe, which is where these pitchers should be pitching:  Asia.  I didn’t know the Mets had an exchange program going with the Royals.  Oh, and the Mets’ AARP affiliate was on the Yanks too with Carlos Beltran (2-for-4) hitting two homers.  Member the days when the Mets got the Yanks’ also-rans — Willie Randolph, Orlando Hernandez, Rick Cerone?  Now the Yanks are taking sloppy seconds.  The Yankees are Ben Affleck and the Mets are Joey Lauren Adams and the Yanks are listening to the Mets in the bar in Chasing Amy.  Watch out for the gear shift, Yankees!  Also, in this game, Brian McCann (1-for-4) mick-can-can with his 4th homer, Brett Gardner (1-for-4) said, “Same,” and hit his 4th and Aaron Hicks (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) blasted his 2nd.  With Ellsbury out for a few, I grabbed Hicks in one league, and this is now his 2nd homer in the past four games.  As for Christall Young, he’ll likely be replaced in the rotation by Gee.  Though, I vote for Gee with Laffey on his shoulders for the Asian giraffe.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’d like to dedicate this post to all the mothers out there, and to the most important mother in most of our lives, Manny Machado.  The Oxford Dictionary defines mother, “something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind especially in terms of scale.”  So, one can say that Manny Machado is the mother of all shortstops and 3rd basemen.  Yesterday, on Machado’s Day, a true mother in the most arcane sense, he went 2-for-4, 6 RBIs with two homers (8, 9).  He’s gaining shortstop eligibility for next year because Hardy hurt himself and the Orioles realized that necessity is the Machado of invention.  So, next year, is there any way he’s not in the top three overall for all of fantasy?  I guess if he gets hurt.  Did I just jinx him?  What a Machado f**ker!  Whatever the case, there’s no way I can pay you back, but the plan is to show you that I understand; you are appreciated.  Sweet Manny, don’tcha know, I love ya (Dear Machado).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s 2016, and that means that most of us will have to make some moves throughout the year to address the catcher position. Long gone are the glory days of 2004 when the top 10 catchers could all be counted on for double digit home runs and an average above .280. In 2004, an already aging Mike Piazza rated as the 10th best catcher with 20 home runs and a .266 average (See: Doping in Baseball). This year, in this sad world that we live in, Travis d’Arnaud was the second catcher taken in many leagues because it was thought that he had the POTENTIAL for 20+ long balls and a .240 average.

So, the chances are that unless you drafted Buster Posey early or were able to keep Posey in a keeper league, you’ll be at least flirting with the waiver wire catchers at some point this year. Perhaps you drafted d’Arnaud and now have his .196 AVG and zero home runs on your DL. Maybe you’re in my league and you traded for Kyle Schwarber on draft day and are now ready to kill yourself. It’s even possible that you drooled over his 2014 stats (25 HR, .273 AVG) and  drafted Devin Mesoraco, but now his .152 AVG and frequent days off have you ready to move on.

The bad news is that catchers in fantasy baseball have become crapshoots, and many owners choose to chase categories instead of trying to find balance. The good news is that you’ll get to pick a new catcher and feel hopeful every few weeks!

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Two weeks ago I said that 2016 was not the year to own Byron Buxton and that in non-dynasty formats he was droppable. Some of you applauded my position, while others second guessed their decision to even read my post. One reader went as far as sending me an email letting me know that I was an idiot and that he wished I was in his league because his league could use more bad players. I accepted his invitation, but have yet to hear back. On Monday Buxton was optioned to Class AAA Rochester. Game. Set. Match. Fantasy tennis anyone?

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“Hi, I work in the front office for the Twins and I’m ordering lunch.  I was wondering what you have that’s old that you can give us a discount on.  Can you eat old pork?  Hmm, let’s try it with extra sauce.  John Ryan Murphy briefly converted to Judaism, or so he wrote in 6-point font inside his lined notebook where he talked about murder, but he’s back to the gentile side of things.  I’d also like to know if any of your very old or very young employees want to join our pitching staff.  We can’t pay them in money, but Byung ho Park and Kurt Suzuki often wrestle together, reenacting Foxcatcher, and it’s just fun to be around when that happens.  Gotcha, okay, just send the old pork then!”  Incredibly, the Twins reached into their oh-so-deep pockets, pulled out some lint and decided to call up their top pitching prospect, Jose Berrios.  He’s only been ready for about three years now; crazy to start his clock now when they could’ve held him down in Triple-A for another five years.  Never underestimate the Twins’ frugality.  It’s FRU-JOUL-LAY, it’s Italian!  Here’s what I said previously about him, “A team like the Tigers would’ve promoted Berrios about two years ago.  No fear, John Deere, Berrios is still only 21 years old.  I’ve seen people peg Berrios as having #3 fantasy starter upside, but I see him landing eventually with a barely-2 BB/9 and 9 K/9 from his mid-90s MPH fastball and plus-curve.  That makes him a borderline fantasy ace in the making.  Of course, as a rookie, there will be stretches where he doesn’t look like that, but want a guy that could come on and give you a Shelby Miller in 2015-type year?  Berrios has that potential.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Yes, I’d grab him, yes, in your league too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted, “Kevin Gausman is pitching tonight probably exactly the way the Orioles hoped on the day they drafted him.  Dominant stuff.”  Putting aside the unnecessary “probably” — you’ll never win a Twitter Pulitzer with needless hooha! —  is this what the Orioles hoped for?  Because it’s felt at times like the Orioles were waiting for Gausman to say some sort of secret oath to let him into the rotation and, without Podrick to prompt him, he didn’t know said oath.  By the by, I can’t look at Brienne of Tarth and not see Conan O’Brien.  Perhaps, it’s me (it’s not).  If the Orioles wanted Gausman to pitch probably exactly like this, wouldn’t they have put him in the rotation and left him alone for the last *covers mouth* years?  Not to answer, but to knowingly nod while you undress your computer with your eyes.  Since I have shares in that facacta noodle-hanger Archer, I watched the better part of Gausman’s start, and he looked better than what the boxscore says, and the boxscore says, “Yum, choco-latte.”  It also says 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks in his first start back.  Gausman has the stuff to be a number one, but at worse a number two.  Not saying he will be this year; that’s just his stuff.  He probably exactly should be already, but probably exactly hasn’t been.  Still, I would grab him in any leagues where I needed upside.  A 8+ K/9, 2.7+ BB/9, 3.75 ERA starter is probably exactly what you’ll get.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Sorry I missed you guys… and girls last week. I was having computer issues, and when you couple that with all my other issues, well then, you got a lot of issues. This week I’m going to keep focusing on steals after last week’s… I mean two weeks ago post where I went over the top pitchers and teams to steal against. You can read that here. It’s really exciting stuff. Speaking of exciting stuff, did any of you get a chance to stream Blake Snell? I didn’t see him getting called up this early, but as always, we get crushed when he gets sent down and now we have to wait for his next arrival. Stupid friggin’ Rays. I’m just glad he wasn’t Ian Snell out there.

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