Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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Origin Story Alert!  In the Roppongi district of Japan, which sits between Chichibunomiya and Akabanebashi, lives a puppeteer named Goshi.  For his entire life, Goshi worked in the medium of strings and miniature clothes.  Sometimes, due to all the opium he smokes, he’ll forget where he left off one day and start new the next day.  Due to a three-year process of forgetting and starting anew, he accidentally built a puppet that was 75-feet tall and named it Marcell Ozuna.  The puppet simply went by the name, OZUNA.  Elsewhere in Japan, on holiday, Giancarlo Stanton arrived with his family and me in his suitcase (how I’m able to relay the story).  Giancarlo was marveled at everywhere he went, due to sheer handsomeness and size.  One Japanese man said of Giancarlo, “You are like Mt. Fiji of GLOW.”  OZUNA and Giancarlo remained on separate paths for many moons, until one faithful day when an explosion at a nuclear plant caused a giant lizard to emerge from the ocean.  That lizard’s name was Allahzilla, because it originated in the Middle East, according to scientists.  Armed with merely bats, Giancarlo (3-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 22nd and 23rd homers) and OZUNA (2-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 23rd homer) beat back Allahzilla and the Cardinals while freeing all of humanity, and fantasy.  Thanks, heroes!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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Yankees called up their 3B prospect, Miguel Andujar (3-for-4, 4 RBIs, and a steal), to fill-in for DL’d Matt Holliday.  That reminds me of Joaquin Andujar, and now I’m sad.  Gone too soon.  RIP, Joaquin.  “I always thought you’d kill someone before life killed you.”  That’s my eulogy to him.  Any hoo!  I watched some game film on Andujar (while chewing on an unlit cigar, because that’s how scouts do it, right?), and he reminds me of so many Dominican players that take the Roberto Clemente/Vlad Guerrero approach.  Old adage goes:  You can’t walk your way off the island.  We should have a glossary term for these type of hitters.  Please suggest in the comments.  Any hoo, Part 2:  Still Hoo’ing, Andujar is raw, swings at a lot and makes contact, sometimes to his detriment.  He could DH or see time at 3B, but will need to hit to stick.  Could be a deep league power bat if he hits and Headley is benched indefinitely or Holliday stays out a while.  Maybe Andujar will be so lucky that Girardi gets one more wish filled this year and looks at Andujar, saying, “Now, you be the Judge.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the things I love most about baseball, but particularly covering prospects, is when a guy I totally missed on pops up, and exceeds expectations. Sure, I could become obsessed with my own reputation, and shoot down any suggestion that I missed on a player. But what fun is that? So, when it comes to Nick Pivetta, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t see this coming. Hell, I wrote up 15+ Phillies prospects, and name dropped another 7-8, and didn’t even mention Pivetta. Fangraphs covered 33 Phillies prospects, and Pivetta ranked in at 27! All this to say, that the “out of nowhere” label is somewhat appropriate when it comes to the Phil’s righthander. After an outstanding outing vs the Red Sox at home a few weeks ago, the strikeouts, and numbers in general seem to be trending in the right direction. So why not check him out, and see if we in fact have a breakout bubbling. Before we begin, big shouts to Oaktown Steve, who’s been hyping up Pivetta in the comments the past few weeks like a Sabermetrics Flavor Flav. Only he turned in his giant clock (read that fast), for an abacus, which I’ve heard can get a bit bulky when worn as a necklace. Anyway, let’s get into Pivetta’s last start vs the Cardinals at home, the second time he’s faced the Redbirds in four starts. He’s going today in Arizona, so maybe we’ll see if he’s worth rolling out… Actually no rookie pitcher with a heavy fly-ball approach should be started in Arizona, but that’s just common sense. On to the profile!

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I wish I knew more about Street Fighter so I could come up with better Ryu puns or references. My knowledge of SF (do people abbreviate it like that?) ends at knowing it was fighting video game I had growing up that wasn’t as good as Mortal Kombat (hot take alert). And for the record, yes, I know Hyun-Jin Ryu pronounces his name differently. Give me a break, and go with it.

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Washington rookie outfielder Brian Goodwin played the unsung hero Friday night on a team with many heroes going 3-for-4 and mashing two home runs, including a game-tying solo shot in the seventh inning. If there’s one thing Brian Goodwin’s good for it’s winning. Obvious and bad pun is obvious and bad.  Regardless, Brian also set the stage for the…good win, with a single in the 10th that moved a runner to third and let Bryce Harper do what he does. I’m trying to tell you this doode is clutch, and if he continues to be clutch batting second between Trea Turner and Bryce Harper, he should definitely be on your radar and in Dusty Baker’s daily lineup. Can you imagine being sandwiched between Trea and Bryce? Mmm. Oh, I’m all flustered now. I need a few minutes. Goodwin is slashing .265/.326/.578 with six homers and 15 RBI in 32 games this year, and has been stuck in a platoon for the majority of the season. With Jayson Werth hobbled, Goodwin has been given more opportunity lately to shine and he’s done that with a monster month, slashing .288/.358/.678 with three doubles, six homers and 12 RBI in June. Yes, please! That .678 SLG% is especially powerful. See what I did there? Do you want a nerdy stat–how about his .313 ISO. Does that blow your mind? Because considering the sample size it probably shouldn’t, but sure is fun to look at. The risk with Goodwin is he could be a batting average killer (he hit just .208 in May), but he certainly seems to be seeing the ball well lately hitting .289 with 5 homers in the past week. Goodwin is available everywhere, is batting second in one of the best line ups in baseball, and is one of the hottest little potatoes around. If you need an outfielder with some pop and some upside Brian could be a good add and a good win for your team.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?