We’re about 50 games into the season now meaning things are starting to take shape.  I’m a firm believer that we should #killthewin but I can’t help but be impressed that Chris SaleJake Arrieta and Stephen Strasburg all have 9 wins already.  Arguably more impressive, Arrieta, Strasburg and Josh Tomlin all haven’t lost yet.  Tomlin is 7-0 with a WHIP under 1.  The K’s aren’t great but there’s a ton of value with how he’s pitching right now.  His ERA is sitting at 3.35 but it’s not a fluke.  Here’s what was posted throughout Week 8:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Saturday, our prayers were answered.  No, not the prayer about winning Powerball.  Or the prayer about sweatpants becoming the new formalwear.  Or the prayer about muttonchops being some magical aphrodisiac.  Or the prayer about your mom forgetting that time you accidentally sexted her.  Or that prayer about being as successful in real life as you are in fantasy.  No, not those.  The prayer about Yu Darvish returning and looking as dominant as ever.  On Saturday, he threw the fastest pitch of his major league career, throwing three pitches for more than 98 MPH.  The line of 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks was solid, but I imagine this will be the start of him reaffirming his place in the top 10 starter conversation.  Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department sang, “Yu, Yu got what I need…Yu say he just spends Yen…Yu say he just spends Yen…But baby Yuuuuuu,Yu got what I need!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I missed out on Julio Urias in all of my leagues.  Shame because I was just looking at his stats the other day — 9.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.10 ERA and I was like, “Those can’t be real,” and he winked at me.  An interminable wink.  And I was like, “Are you winking that those stats are real or are you winking at me that they’re not?”  He didn’t answer, he just kept winking.  So, I tried to pull a fast one on him and was like, “Wink once if I should wait to pick you up, wink twice if I should pick you up now or wink three times if you’re going to be called up to be a middle reliever.”  And he winked once.  Again.  Then, like I do at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, I climbed onto his head and blew into his eye to see if he was alive.  He wasn’t.  I mean, he is, but this was just a picture of him.  Don’t be like me, don’t worry about the wink test with Urias and just grab him in all leagues.  He could be a number one starter for the time he’s in the rotation.  That’s the catch, however.  (Or is it pitch?)  He’s filling in for Alex Wood, who has triceps tightness.  Wood could be out the rest of the season (not saying he is) and Urias would still not stay in the rotation.  The Dodgers have said they will limit Urias’s innings.  He could only pitch 60 more innings this year, which is about ten starts.  My guess is he’ll pitch a few starts in the rotation, then move to the bullpen and pitch an inning or three a week.  Sound about right to you, Urias?  Wink once for yes…. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ace who just last year produced the lowest ERA (1.66) in a single season among qualified starting pitchers since Greg Maddux in 1995 and the lowest WHIP (0.84) since Pedro Martinez in 2000 wasn’t supposed to struggle like this. But things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for Zack Greinke since signing a six-year, $208 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks this past offseason. His current 1.31 WHIP isn’t too far off from last year’s ERA and his current 4.59 ERA is almost triple that of last season’s mark. At this rate, Greinke and his fantasy owners are unlikely to remain friends forever. But what exactly has happened here? Is he going to turn things around, or was last season just a fluke?

Let’s take a look at Greinke’s profile to determine why he’s struggling and what can be expected from him moving forward. Here are a few observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Junior Guerra has a backstory that puts the odd in odyssey.  The Braves signed him as a 16-year-old catcher out of Venezuela.  In 2006, he had position reassignment surgery and became a pitcher.  As a herbathrowdite in Georgia, bathrooms and strike zones were hard to find, so he was released.  He found courage from the support group, “PAC IO,” which is Pitchers And Catchers Input/Output, and tried his hand at Independent leagues.  Eventually, he played in Mexico, Spain, and Italy.  In Italy, it was especially difficult to be a pitcher because every time a hitter came up to the plate a large, mustachioed woman umpire would say, “Guerra, you hafta throw the meatballs.  C’mon, the hitter’s starvin’ over here.”  And Guerra’s cheeks would constantly be pinched.  But, miraculously, Robin Ventura found him in Italy, while mistakenly thinking that’s where Jim Rome taped his show, and signed him.  Of course, the White Sox had no place for Guerra, and his journey took him to Milwaukee, allowing him to be the first person with an Italian stamp on his passport in Milwaukee since Arthur Fonzarelli.  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 11 Ks to move his record to 3-0.  He’s touched 99 MPH with his fastball, averaging around 92-95 and has a split-finger change that falls off the map like an explorer in the 1400’s.  Is he more than a streamer?  Hard to say at this point.  He will get strikeouts and faces the Braves next so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab him for that start.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello OPSers!  Hold up; we need a better name than that.  That sounds like we like to add lots of Post Scripts to our letters, but it’s a surprise or we work for UPS but there was a typo.  Someone think of something better, I implore you.

Anyway, I hope all your teams are dominating; I’m lucky enough to be doing really well in my home league; the rest, eh, not so much.  Still, I’m not deterred.  I’m looking at some trades but I don’t really like to assess the standings until the end of May.  Because by then we should have a month of good weather hitting (and pitching, though I don’t really talk about pitching here as there are better sources, like JB) and know if guys are who we thought they are(LINK).  Man, that never, will ever, get old.

What is getting a little old to me?  The Cubs and their zany road threads.  Joe Maddon might be too loose.  Every time I watch the Cubs they show them getting off the bus in their crazy threads (check them out!).  It’s definitely hilarious but as a longtime cursed Cubs fan I worry.  It’s like they are all rookies when I don’t think any of them are (correct me if I’m wrong, wait, don’t make me look bad, keep it to yourself).

I figure this week we’ll look at the some of the top OPS hitters by position and some slumping guys to acquire.  Note: all stats through May 3rd.  Let’s dive in!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jose Altuve is on pace for 60 homers.  He can’t even reach the cereal in the morning!  If an opposing manager were to ask to see Altuve’s bat, they would crack it open to reveal gumballs because he’s the leader of the lollipop guild.  If the major leagues were to institute a Daffy Duck ‘You Have To Be This Tall’ sign before getting to the batter’s box, Altuve would need his mother to escort him into the batter’s box every time.  That’s assuming she’s tall enough!  If she’s not, who does he get?  His uncle?  Erik Kratz?  If might were height, Jose Altuve would be a giant.  That much is true.  I love that lil’ bugger!  I want a Teddy Ruxpin in the shape of Altuve to cuddle at night.  Last night, he went 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th homer, hitting .330.  So, the question is, can he keep it up?  Up is not a word I associate with Altuve, and, no, he can’t keep it up.  No one could keep up this pace.  Of course, he’s still a .315 hitter with an easy 110 runs, 35 steals and 70 RBIs, i.e., a top ten bat.  So, keep it up?  No, not without four phonebooks under him.  Do enough to make you glad you didn’t sell high?  As a French dwarf would say, “Wee!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Adam Conley threw 7 2/3 innings, of “exciting” no-hit baseball Friday night, striking out seven Brewers en route to his first win of the season. Manager Don Mattingly pulled Conley after 116 pitches and left it up to Miami’s bullpen to blow Conley’s no-hitter. Sigh, the Miami fan(s) need someone to cheer for now that their star player Dee “I Didn’t Know We Couldn’t Do That” Gordon betrayed them. And I won’t even mention that other power-hitter outfielder (a complicated restraining order actually prevents me from mentioning his full name, let’s just call him G. Stanton–or better, Giancarlo S.) Adam ain’t worried about it. YOLO. Speaking of YOLOing, how about that new Drake album? Uh, singasongmuch? Please stop. I get the whole calypso/R&B/I’mdoingthistobangRihanna vibe the album has and I’m not feeling it. Meanwhile, Mr. Drake, you are depriving fans of some of the best Canadian rap the world has to offer. Oh, hey tangent, we were talking about Adam Conley! The lefty now possesses a 3.67 ERA and 1.22 WHIP through four starts with a 28/12 K/BB rate (9.33 K/9). Mmm, strikeouts. Adam’s 72.2% swinging strike percentage (including 14 in last night’s game) suggest that the strikeouts are for real. That could help your fantasy team. Like Drizzy’s new album, he’s been a bit inconsistent, but Conley gets Arizona next week, he’s available in over 80% of fantasy leagues and he could be worth a pick up in deeper mixed and NL-Only leagues. Why not take a flier–you only YOLO once!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“‘I need a bouncy C.  Not a bouncy castle!’  Billy Beane screams into his headset, when an intern interrupts him and his daughter, practicing her guitar, while they are both on a treadmill.  The intern tells Beane that Jesse Hahn has a blister.  The intern turns and it’s Jonah Hill.  Fat Jonah, not “He doesn’t look right skinny” Jonah.   Beane then looks at the camera to establish empathy and says, “Get me Sean Manaea.”  Only he adds three extra syllables to Manaea’s naeame.   And…scene!”  The producer smiles, “That’s a great pitch.  If only Manaea looks that good.  High-five!”  So, Manaea has been called up to start on Friday.  He’s looked downright fantastic thus far.  Upleft fantastic too.  He’s a six-five Samoan, but he doesn’t weight 475 pounds.  He could be the Rookie of the Year; his stuff is that TNT with SVU reruns.  I also think there’s more downside here than, say, Berrios.  He’s had moments where his command leaves him, and he becomes a 5+ IP, 4 ER guy.  His delivery looks to me like he could get wild very easily.  Wide range of possibility here, could be a #1 or could be a #4-5 that you only own in AL-Only leagues.  Of course, I’m taking the flyer in all leagues for the chance he comes up and wows upsides our fantasy heads.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re now about three weeks into the season, obviously still a very small sample to work with but it’s worth taking a look at current trends around the league.  Some young guys around the league are having a great start helping their long term value while others are on the opposite side of the spectrum.  On the other side of things, there are some older players who are showing signs of decline that you’ll need to make a decision on.  In this article, I’m going to look at these players and talk about their current stock and what I’d do from here.  Let’s get right to it:

Please, blog, may I have some more?