The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates.  I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time.  Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened.  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.

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There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.”  Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings.  To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role.  Is it fair? Probably.  Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds.  That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering.  But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever.  Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.

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For the 2nd time in two months, Yu Darvish has woken with a stiffy. A stiff neck, that is. Perhaps he should swallow the Viagra pill rather than letting it dissolve in his mouth before bedtime. On the fo’serious, what’s the problem with Texas and necks? I blame the NRA. They insert themselves in national debate, always pointing their finger at people and away from themselves. That’s the Neck Rehab Association. That was clear, right? What does Yu’s bed and pillow arrangement look like? Did he have his favorite Japanese architect of those tiny little cot-beds that are in hotels in Tokyo design his house? Maybe the Hello Kitty pillow is meant more for adornment rather than comfort. Can I have answers, I insist on truthiness. If I were the Rangers, I’d probably take a look at how he’s sleeping, that’s all I’m sayin’. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950’s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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King Salomon Brothers, the overseer of the Iron Bank, was mortgaging castles that he shouldn’t have been and fighting to get repaid, so he decided to sell his crown that was bespeckled in quinoa and Boca Burgers. The crown itself was worth more than all castles together. The world could be saved of economic ruin if the crown could get safely to the world’s largest pawn broker, Wei-Yin Chains. Unable to leave the kingdom himself, King Salomon Brothers gave Prince Fielder the crown, entrusting it to his overweight son, knowing if there was one person not interested in the healthy adornments on the crown it would be he. Unfortunately, heavy is the neck that wears Prince’s crown, and he gobbled up the crown like he gobbled up all the fantasy trust I put in him when I drafted this man the size of four horses. Goddammit! Dubya tee eff, doode! You can’t put on a neck brace and get up to bat? Shoot some cortisone is your cellulite! DAH!!! The only positive in this travesty that has befallen the fattest POS in the seven kingdoms? You’ll get to drop him! Fielder exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark, I hate you. Sincerely, Your Drafter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If I may take you back to February of fourteen after twenty when Pablo Sandoval showed up to camp straight from a winter in Milan where he learned how to diet, smoke cigarettes, and eat nothing but greens, and this wasn’t greens like lime-flavored Popsicles and moldy cheese. This was healthy greens. On that blessed day, he was wearing a mankini and when he walked into the clubhouse, Bruce Bochy whistled, thinking he was making a catcall at some fine Dominican honey. That was fine Dominican honey, but only in fantasy baseballers’ minds who thought a contract year and 180 pounds dropped in a sauna was a sign of great things to come. Sure, Sandoval could now twerk without needing an oxygen mask, but what had changed? Well, apparently not a whole lot. Right now, he’s hitting around .200 with two homers. Burp. The good news is he’s been incredibly unlucky with his BABIP, his line drive rate is right about his career norm and he’s due to hit more homers. There’s some bad news, his K-rate is up and he’s hitting more ground balls. Even at 133 pounds, he’s not a great threat to beat out infield hits, so ground balls aren’t good, and for a guy that swings at everything, a K-rate is a bit scary. This all goes back to he’s not this bad — this terrible that he’s been. He will get better and can be either picked up in leagues or traded for for (stutterer!) very cheaply. I mean, I wouldn’t even give someone a Donkeycorn for him right now, but a Brain Freeze or a fourth outfielder sounds about right if you’re trying to acquire him. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For all of today’s news and lineup notes, all with a Canadian/Arizonian accent (if that’s such a thing, I’m assuming it is unless they already deported it) here’s Nick the Podcast Radio Host with today’s HotSheet!

To be fair, Johnny Cueto is good, but that’s not the name of the song. Pitching a complete game, three hit shut-out with eight strikeouts is quite an impressive start, until you realize it was against the Padres. You gave up three hits against them? What is this? Kevin Correia hour? Even though those nine innings struck me as quite pedestrian, his last 63.0 IP have been quite impressive. And seeing as how he’s one of the eighteen pitchers who has survived so far without a tendon exploding, he could be well on his way for a Cy Young caliber year. And while the red flags are few and far between, I would be remiss not to mention them. First, his LOB% is insane at 99.5%. Yes, he’s really great at holding runners, but the league average is 72.8% and his career average 76.6%. Second, his BB% is unchanged, but his K/9 is 9.71, compared to a career number of 7.19, and there’s really no reason why. The velocity has remained the same. There’s been an uptick of two-seamers with less sliders and change-ups… but if it was sequencing, we’d need a bigger sample. If it’s a case of getting called third strikes at a higher rate, that would demand regression. And, of course, there’s always injury-risk. But in the year of the Tommy John, I’ll feel relieved if someone’s arm doesn’t literally just fall off during a game this season. But hey, pitchers have career years. And when good pitchers have career years, well, ahem, they have career years? Uhh… I was in trouble like six words in…

Here’s what else I saw on Thursday (besides yo momma):

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Hey, hey,  hey, talking relievers on Thursday.  What could be better? Well, maybe ice cream covered in Kate Upton.  Actually strike that and flip it.  That sounds better.  OR exactly the same.  Regardless, the top ‘pens are starting to take shape as we reach the 1/5 part of the season.  The who’s are the who’s and the what the eff’s are, well, what the eff’s.  The MLB average for bullpen ERA is 3.92.  Now, that isn’t exactly something that makes you have confidence in any teams collective bullpens.   That’s why you get to be selective… take who you want and disregard the rest.  It’s like the Chinese buffet down the street– not everything looks edible, and yeah, you will probably get sick from most of it, but there’s some value savings.  Always go with the soup, excellent starter, can’t go wrong with that option.  So, take a look at bullpen arms that are doing these three things: Save situations, games with the lead, and total batters faced (and the percentage of K’s from that).  You have those three things, you have a stout middle reliever.  Yeah, I hear ya dude in the corner with his hand raised, there are other stats that we should look at.  Everyone looks at them, every site pounds you on the simple stats.  Dig deeper, look past the first page of stats and do something different.  Sorry… I was yelling. I get mad when I am hungry.  Food for me, continue reading and comments for you.

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Two-start hoarders, welcome back. First things first: I’m vacationing in Mexico with what, by now, is a potentially-fatal sunburn. Not to worry, though, because the cervezas at this joint are unlimited, and I’m feelin’ no pain. Zero. I just arrived here yesterday, and I’ll be here through next Friday. That means my esteemed Razzball colleagues will be filling in for me in the comments for my next few posts. In any case, we’ve got a deep list of two-start options, and plenty of good streamers this week. The usual tiered rankings are below.

NOTE: I looked ahead at the two-start landscape a few days earlier than usual this week, so this group of probable pitchers is especially subject to change. Apologies in advanced for anything I may have missed. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?