Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen and 2nd basemen are in the books. What a strange, glorious trip it’s been! Though not really. Today, the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball get to shine. Hmm… Actually, most of these won’t shine. They’re cloudy with a chance of crapballs. To be a bit more specific, the top ten shortstops were about equal with the 2nd basemen through the top 10, then they actually go a bit deeper than the 2nd basemen. Yes, shortstops are deeper. Barely. Mike Aviles was 18th overall for 2nd basemen, here he doesn’t even make the list coming in 22nd. Either way, it’s ugly. Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery. To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Jose Bautista left yesterday’s game as Jose hip got amiss and he hit the DL. In his place will be Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar, who’s good friends with Jason Paritek and Kevin Poukilis, but even Pillar can’t stand Jonathan Ppappelbon. Pillar said, “He’s a pancing fool!” In the minors this year, Pillar had nine homers and 23 steals while maintaining a .300+ average. He profiles as a fourth outfielder, but you never know when someone gets hot. He hasn’t yet though. Meanwhile, Gose is good if you have the need…the need for speed! Or so says Maverick. Gose stole 70+ bases some years in the minors. No, that’s not a misprint. Unfortch, he never heard that anonymous credo, you can’t steal first. Together, they’re interesting from a Jays’ perspective. Together, not so much from a fantasy one, unless one steals the job (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, duck, duck, Gose!). In AL-Only leagues, I’d grab the Pillar and wait until someone says, “Hey, you making sure the Parthenon doesn’t fall?” In deep mixed leagues, I’d grab Gose if you’re desperate for steals. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Despite not living in an MLB-market area, I have a great AAA team nearby.  I got to see Chris Archer pitch for the AAA Durham Bulls with his great velocity, luckily before his hit role in Coming To Tampa.  But after wanting to search for a career, he got promoted from Zamunda and went to Queens Tropicana Field in hopes of a complete game.  Well, when Houston is running out Carlos Pena at leadoff, as Kevin Garnett would exclaim, “Anything is possible!”

I’ve always liked Archer’s stuff, but the high WHIP was a big bugaboo.  Like Starship Troopers big.  But I liked him in spot starts, and all through comments on Grey’s articles last week, took Archer as my spot starter of choice against a lot of other fringe-streamers.  Score one for JB-O-Nator!  Ok, that sounds more like I’m an Austrian movie star in a political position.  Let’s take a look at how Archer did inning-by-inning, get to the Choppa Pitcher Profile!

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Let me see if I got this right about Brett Wallace (I’m admittedly drunk from an all-day 4th of July BBQ). He’s a post-hype-little-less-hype-some-hype-no-hype-hype-what?-hype sleeper. Did that add up? Sometimes I forget to carry the last hype and I was doing it in my head. Wallace arrives with so little hoopla he’s poopla. Hang up the decorations, prepare for your friends to come over for a potluck, then everyone shows up late with gluten-free snacks. That’s when you say, “What’s with all of the poopla?” If I wanted my glutens free, I would’ve freed them myself! Brett Wallace hit really well down in Triple-A (this last time; and every time really). 11 homers, .326 average and won Triple-A Player of the Month honors, which is like being the world’s tallest midget. There’s still not a whole lot of proof that Wallace can hit in the majors, but yesterday’s 3-for-5 with two homers was a nice step in the right direction. I could see grabbing him in deeper leagues for the chance that he finally figures out a way to transform his minor league success to the majors. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yasiel Puig‘s been lighting up the mainframe on the giant computer out of a bad 1950’s sci-fi movie, but he’s not the only Cuban. Leonys Martin also hails from our neighbor to the south that took up residence in Miami. Last night, he hit two homers, is hitting .417 in the last week and has a hit in each of his last ten games with 4 steals during that time. It’s the year of the Cubans, y’all! In all of their pressed hammy, mustardy, cheesy, pickley goodness. Side note: Do pickles seem like something Cubans would put in their food? Maybe Hyman Roth, but he’s not really Cuban or real, for that matter. Somewhere, ex-Cuban pitcher, El Duque, has a little extra hop in his exaggerated leg-kick that he still does, only now he does it before he cleans up tables at Chipotle. “You’re not going to finish your guac?” *leg kick* Leonys Martin should be owned in all leagues while he’s going well, and is the type of player that could have value all year if you’re patient since he could hit 12-15 homers and get 25-ish steals. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When I told you to pick up Joaquin Benoit yesterday, I was 85% sure he would close games until the Tigers traded for Papelbon, who will be known in Detroit as a Papelbonneville. Then, because Leyland reads Razzball between smokes, he named Benoit closer by not naming him the closer. He said, “I’m not naming anybody closer. I’m just saying if Benoit was available right now, I would try to close with him.” Thanks for clarifying! Managers deciding on a closer is like debating euthanasia. Valverde’s done, pull the plug! The Yelp reviews for Benoit are through the roof, but there’s a lot of five star reviews from fantasy baseballers with only one other closer. I’d grab Benoit in all leagues and hope he can hold the job and make the thought of trading for Papelbonneville absurd. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Carl Crawford hurt his hammy on Saturday, which opened the door for the Dodgers to make memories. Every Dodger fan is on their portable mobile cellular device texting someone their excitement. Of course, their excitement is about how well Fast & Furious is doing at the box office or how it only took them twenty minutes from downtown to the beach. The 10 was a breeze! But amongst the Angeleno texts I intercepted, there was one about how the Dodgers called up the latest Cuban raftee, Yasiel Puig. You can imagine how excited Dodger fans will be once they realize how good he is and that they’ll be able to see him even if they leave the game by the 7th inning. There will be a chance for Puig to show his tools like Siamese Twins in an adult theater. In Triple-A, he hit 8 homers, stole 13 bases and hit .313 in only 40 games. If he does that in the next 40 games for the Dodgers, he will be the number one call-up for fantasy and there will be no way the Dodgers can send him down. The big question for me is what happens when Crawford and Kemp return. I think there’s a good chance Puig hits a few homers, steals a couple of bases in the next few weeks, then gets sent right back down. Obviously, you have to take a flyer on him in all leagues to see if he sticks. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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So, I hadn’t realized this, but its been a while since I’ve focused my Bear or Bull spotlight on a pitcher. Maybe it’s because some of my pitcher posts haven’t looked too zesty. And when I say zesty, I’m thinking of you, R.A. Dickey. But I’m still sticking with him, because, well, c’mon man. He does Dickeyface. At least Matt Harvey is still living up to what I said, so there is that. So, I’m going to dabble back towards baseball players who throw off the mound for a living today. Furthermore, the pitcher we’ll be taking an intimate look at will be, non-other-than, the Walrus. You may also know him as Carsten Charles. And, you may also know him as a Tomato. Well, that’s more mine than anyone else’s. Anyhow, last, but not least, you may also know him as CC Sabathia. Not only do we know him by all these various names, we also know him as a stable force in our fantasy rotations, giving us quality production year after year. But times are a changing, and now two months into the season, we are not receiving what was expected. Is this going to continue? Is all hope lost? AM I FREAKING OUT HERE? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s get through this together.

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On a scale of one to ten for most surprising starters, Patrick Corbin is a one. One being the best. When you beat your high score in Mario Kart you never scream out, “I’m number ten,” do you? Okay, so don’t question my numbering. On a scale of one to ten for how likely it is Corbin keeps this up, it’s around a 5, the number made famous by Short Circuit. Didja know before Short Circuit people would count 1, 2, 3, 4, 6? It’s also why Marilyn Monroe left Joe DiMaggio. Corbin’s not a 1.44 ERA pitcher, but he’s not what he seemed like coming into the year either. His fastball has jumped in velocity, which has helped all of his pitches. I don’t own him, which butters my grr’s. I know most of you must’ve benched him in Coors yesterday for his 10 K, 9-inning, three-hitter gizzem, so I’ll say it for you, sonavabench! Luckily, you own him for the whole season and he looks like he can be a mid-3 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7 K-rate guy, i.e., a fantasy two to three. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Kazmir’s career sunk like a lead zeppelin, but get ten Ks against anyone and I sit up and take notice and I’m not just talking above my waist. Hey now! Yesterday, Scott Kazmir‘s line was 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners with 10 Ks. Okay, I have to be a cyclops with a monocle for this guy. To refresh everyone, a cyclops only has one eye so it’s particularly sharp. Like how a blind person’s hearing is enhanced. So you put a monocle on a cyclops and you have creature that sees everything. That’ll be me. Let’s see, his fastball speed has returned to his 2008 levels. The last time he was good. His walk rate went to atrocious after that year, but that too has returned and he has a 25:6 K:BB ratio. The only start where he was hit was his first. Maybe that was nerves — or noive if you’re in Brooklyn. Everything else from Kazmir has been like butter, so he’s no longer toast? That’s what I’m seeing. Okay, now for whether or not you should pick him. He gets the Yankees, Mariners and Red Sox next. Two out of three isn’t good. Sorry, Meatloaf. I wanted to pick him up so badly, I counted each start of his for the next two months. It doesn’t get better. He gets the Reds, Yanks again, Tigers then Nats. I like him more than I have in five years, but I’m still not picking him up. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?