Addison Russell was playing some some 2nd base in Triple-A yesterday, minding his own business, when the Cubs management heard something they didn’t like, five full minutes of non-Cubs prospect talk on sports radio. Four minutes is not cool, but five? Nuh-uh, they said, as they wagged their finger. So, the Cubs called him up, and plan to send down Arismendy Alcantara. This offseason I said, “So, the first thing we know about Russell is Billy Beane traded him away. This is obviously a strike against him. The last prospect Beane gave up on was Brett Wallace, and that was partly because Wallace looks like his face is constantly pressed against a window and that’s disconcerting. Right now, it appears Beane got the worst side of this Russell trade. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to get back to the gym to pump iron and waited to negotiate a better deal. It’s still early though, and prospects can flame out. Russell, however, doesn’t look headed in that direction. Russell looks like he could be better than Starlin Castro as early as next year. Second thing we know about Russell is he’s got power and speed. Yummers! Third thing we know about Russell is there is no third thing. Russell’s shown solid power in the minors (17 HRs in High-A in 2013 and 12 HRs in only 50 games in Double-A last year after the trade to the Cubs). His speed is a tad below that, which concerns me a bit because speed is the one thing we can always count on translating. He did steal 21 bags in High-A, but, well, that’s High-A. They call it that because everyone’s stoned. Last year in Double-A, he only had five steals all year, and two after the trade. It’s not great, and I think we’re seeing closer to his actual speed level in Double-A. Maybe he’ll reach 15-20 steals at some point, but he’s never going to be a 40-steal guy. He did hit .294 at Double-A after the trade, and I don’t see him hitting much below .280 without some bad luck.” And that’s me quoting me! While drinking Sanka with Lou Avery, I’ve decided Russell should be owned everywhere. Yes, even that league. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 61/12/44/.287/6 with upside from there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Kris Bryant – 3-for-4, 1 run, 3 RBIs. Not only do I not have Bryant on any team, but I have Caminero, who he doubled off of. Wait, it gets worst! I have a waiver claim to drop Caminero that won’t get processed until tomorrow. I’m like Mr. Magoo if he used to fall off the scaffolding.
Jorge Soler – 4-for-5, 2 runs, hitting .320. Here’s one to ponder for the next ten months: in 2016 drafts, who will be drafted first: Soler or Bryant?
Anthony Rizzo – 2-for-3, 1 run and a steal. He has one homer but three steals. SAGNOF!
Jake Arrieta – 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 1.74. He makes me giddy like a schoolgirl that had too much pop. Pop, as in soda. What the hell were you thinking of?
A.J. Burnett – 6 IP, 1 ER, 10 baserunners, 1 K, ERA at 2.00. When he announces his retirement more times in a game than he strikes out hitters, it’s not good.
Starling Marte – 1-for-4 and his 4th homer. It’s a Marte Party!
Alfredo Simon – 7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, (0 BBs), 7 Ks, ERA at 1.74. He scattered seven hits vs. the Yankees like he scatters people when he goes to the trunk of his SUV. “What? I just wanted to get my flip-flops from my trunk.” That’s Alfredo after people dive into bushes. Unfortch, his Ks haven’t been a thing of beauty (5.2 K/9 so far this year and 5.8 last year), even after striking out seven yesterday. Gun to my head, he should be owned in most leagues, but I wouldn’t drop anyone too valuable for him. ‘Gun to my head’ was an idiom, Alfredo, please.
Justin Verlander – About two weeks after he was sidelined, an MRI yesterday showed he has a triceps strain. This also comes about a week after he’s been trying to throw. Hey, I never got past freshman biology — not enough chicks — but, just an idea, when a guy is hurt and you’re paying him around $125 million, don’t you send him for an MRI immediately? Again, I’m no expert, just be-bopping ideas.
CC Sabathia – 8 IP, 2 ER, 10 baserunners, 5 Ks. Looking good this year, right? Yes, I’m baiting you, but go ahead and answer in the affirmative. Looking good…right? Yeah, he has a 4.35 ERA on the year. Lowercase yay.
Mark Teixeira – 1-for-4 and his 4th homer, hitting .190. There’s so many Zombinos on the Yankees it’s like The Walking Dead, a show I have never seen so I have no reference point. Is there gore? I don’t like gore. Grey’s fra-jee-lay!
Mitch Moreland – Could be out until Friday with elbow discomfort and will miss a three-game series in a National League park. At first, Fielder will replace Moreland and take up even more land.
Daniel Norris – Dealing with a dead arm. You and every zombie!
Nolan Arenado – Day-to-day with a sore wrist. He didn’t need to injure his wrist, I could’ve done that for him. Whatever it was.
Corey Dickerson – Left the game early with mild plantar fasciitis. Sounds like something that would sideline the Tree Man. In the last few years, plantar fasciitis has ruined seasons from Pujols, Gyorko and Longoria. This sounds awesome!
Odrisamer Despaigne -6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 5 Ks in Coors. Set your iCal for next year. If there’s a game in Colorado on 4/20, it’s okay to start the visiting pitcher.
Derek Norris – 3-for-5, 3 runs, 1 RBI, hitting .314. I had called him a poor man’s Lucroy. Only after Lucroy’s injury yesterday, Norris is going to be a rich man’s Lucroy, call him Luxcroy.
Ryan Flaherty – 2-for-3, RBI and has three straight games with multiple hits. Could be a very short-term hot schmotato, but let’s not Flaherty him and say he’s more.
Hanley Ramirez – Left yesterday’s game with a cold. He needs the Nighttime, Sniffling, Sneezing, Coughing, Aching, Stuffyhead, Fever, You’ve-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me-I-Just-Set-My-Weekly-Lineup-You-Better-Play-Today Medicine.
Justin Masterson – 5 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA down to 5.74. That may not sound good to you, but the starters’ cumulative ERA on the Sawx is 6.24. Okay, still doesn’t sound good.
Greg Holland – Should be back in 15 days, since it was confirmed he has a Grade 1 pectoral strain, which means it can tie its own shoes and only poops its pants when it’s real excited.
Kendrys Morales – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, hitting .358. Fluff and fold ’em, baby, Kendrys cleaning up! My Tout team isn’t off to the worst start, and I can confidently say Kendrys is one of my best hitters.
Trevor Plouffe – 2-for-4. Told you yesterday he was a hot schmotato. If you wait until he’s no longer hitting, it defeats the purpose, or porpoise if dolphins are reading.
Matt Shoemaker – 3 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 6.46. More like Shoomaker. As in shoo, get off my team.
Ben Zobrist – Sat out yesterday with continued soreness in his knee. His wife wrote him a song for his pain, it’s called, “God Doesn’t Have Knees, Just Really Long Legs, So Be Thankful.”
Jesse Hahn – Scratched from his start with a blister and Jesse Chavez will make a spot start. It’s gotta be awkward to have Rick Springfield standing in the A’s parking lot singing to the wives of Hahn and Chavez.
Kendall Graveman – 3 IP, 2 ER, ERA up to 6.94. But how about that spring training ERA?! Huh?!
Marcus Semien – 1-for-4 and his 2nd homer. Semien got that off Shoemaker. Hey, to each his own.
Stephen Vogt – 1-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 4th homer. Where did you draft Posey again?
Anthony DeSclafani – 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 0.86. Let’s look at what April Grey has said so far. After DeSclafani’s first start, “In my very deep leagues, I grabbed DeSclafani because he had a 9 K-rate last year in Triple-A and an under-4 xFIP for the Marlins while always maintaining solid control (1.4 BB/9 last year in Miami).” Then after his next start, I said, “Here’s one name that no one is talking about, likely because no one can pronounce it. It might be because I actually own him in two leagues, but I’m liking what I’ve seen so far.” Then in Friday’s Buy, I said, “The great thing about DeSclafani is he has solid control, so even if he gets bombed, it shouldn’t be that bad. Yes, March Grey is surprised that April Grey thinks there’s anything great about DeSclafani. Or that he even knows how to spell his name.” And that’s me quoting me quoting me quoting me! You should get your waiver wire finger checked if you still don’t pick him up.
Zack Cozart – 1-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .326, and this was his 2nd homer in the last three games. Sorry, Salieri, but Cozart is a hot schmotato. Try to compose yourself.
Ryan Braun – 1-for-4 and his 1st homer, hitting .238. He’s still got it!!! Too bad ‘it’ only shows up every tenth game.
Wily Peralta – 7 IP, 6 ER, 11 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA up to 5.68. If he’s on your team, then be better than Sea World and free Wily.
Jonathan Lucroy – Fractured left toe. He only has one toe on his left foot? That’s odd. I can’t say that I’m upset by this injury. In fact, I’m thrilled. Schadenfreude! I know no one that reads Razzball would draft a high ranked catcher, so you’re welcome! You did draft him? Aw, I’m not happy to see your misery (I am). The only downside to this schadenfreude ecstasy cartwheel I’m currently doing is, in most leagues, there’s a good five or six suitable catcher replacements, which only reenforces why I told you not to draft him in the first place. The Brewers called up Juan Centeno, who has three homers total in about seven minor league seasons, so you’re drinking Juan Cerveza if you think he’s someone to grab.
Colby Rasmus – 1-for-4 and his 2nd homer. My NFBC team hit two homers yesterday. Rasmus and Cozart, and both were on my bench. Ah, weekly leagues, you are the blood in my ulcer.
Luis Valbuena – 2-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 4th and 5th homers and 3rd in two games. Hot schmotato alert!
Hisashi Iwakuma – 5 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 5 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 6.61. I think it’s fair to say he’s not right. Maybe he’s battling an injury that he’s not revealing. If he weren’t getting the Twins next time out, I’d say bench him everywhere, but I think you need to give him one more chance.
Nelson Cruz – 2-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs, but no homers, hitting .358. What a bust!
Trevor Bauer – 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners (2 BBs), 7 Ks, ERA at 0.95. I could sit here and say his walk rate is still an ugly 5.2 BB/9, but I’m not sitting and I wish I owned him.
Cody Allen – 1/3 IP, 4 ER and his 1st blown save. Allen treated the Indian lead like my stomach treats Indian food — constant runs until there was nothing left to lose.