On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.” I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV. It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend. Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways. After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news. I shut it off and turned to the internet. I’m still piecing together my thoughts. He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life. I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties. I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels. There’s a giant pit in my stomach. Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling. Not having fun. I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time. That exuberance came through in everything he did. I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile. How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons. “That was us. That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said. How baseball does that. How special that is. You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Rich Hill – Was skipped on Sunday due to his recurring blister. In related news, Jason Voorhees is being replaced in the next Friday the 13th by Rich Hill’s blister. Also, the Halloween costume “Rich Hill’s blister” should be hitting shelves soon.
Clayton Kershaw – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 1.65. The Cubs are either going to steamroll through the playoffs or Kershaw is going to win four games in every playoff series, even the ones with only five games. I’m sure there’s other possibilities, but I can’t fathom any. Which reminds me, Jacques Cousteau used to dress as Batman in scuba gear and say he was going to Fathom City. That’s just some trivia for you.
Corey Seager – 3-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 26th homer, hitting .313. JB and I are going to do the first few rounds of a 2017 mock draft on this week’s podcast, which will be posted on Tuesday. While JB’s debating between Kyle Davies and Keon Broxton, I might be looking at Seager.
Charlie Culberson – 3-for-5 and the division-winning home run for the Dodgers. And….would you believe….the last home run that Charlie Culberson hit would be 2014 against Cincinnati. We’ll miss you, Vin.
David Dahl – 1-for-4 and his 7th homer. You in 2017, “Whoa, Grey, um, Your Handsomeness, yeah, where’d this Dahl come from? Like, oh em gee.” Yeah, Dahl’s got gonna be a good one, as soon as next year.
Madison Bumgarner – 6 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 2.71. *counts last six years of Bumgarner’s innings* So, 1527 innings was his tipping point?
Hunter Renfroe – Hit his 1st home run on Saturday. No, no, no, Padres fans, you don’t have to adjust your TV. That’s just a metaphorical bright spot. Don’t worry, your organization will screw it up. Like not starting Renfroe on Sunday after he homered on Saturday.
Manuel Margot – 3-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI and his 1st steal. There’s more SAGNOF where that came, Mar-got this!
Adam Rosales – 1-for-3 and his 13th homer, and his 4th homer this week. Hot schmotato alert!
Dan Straily – 6 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 3.74. Straily has one more start left, and the Stream-o-Nator doesn’t like it, and I don’t like it, unless the Cardinals (his opponent) somehow clinch a playoff spot by then or are eliminated. Two scenarios that look unlikely at this point.
Maikel Franco – 0-for-3, but three straight days with homers up until Saturday (25 HRs overall). Gonna be hard for me to not rank Franco higher next year than he likely has any right to be ranked, because I believe in Franco like Mickey Rourke believes in a facelift.
Robert Gsellman – 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 2.56. Same situation as Straily. More has to do with where the Mets are when Gsellman takes his next start, then whether or not I like Gsellman in his next start. If the Mets have clinched, there’s no way Gsellman pitches, because he’s the one pitcher the Mets have without arm injuries. Yet. Hashtag still early.
Bryce Harper – Left yesterday’s game with a hand injury, but he returned to the field during a benches clearing brawl, so some speculated Harper’s fine. Well, his hand is fine, his shoulder still needs six months of rest.
Ben Revere – 3-for-6, 2 runs and two steals (13, 14), hitting .221. He was hitless for the last week (only 4 at-bats). Revere’s looking more and more like Greg Kinnear to Denard Span’s Matt Damon in their Stuck On You remake.
Ivan Nova – 4 IP, 3 ER, and now two starts in a row where he’s looked more like the 4+ ERA pitcher from the Yankees and less like the rejuvenated Pirates’ hurler. Damn, Nova, you are a Suck-ittarius! I might be mixing up astronomy and astrology.
Jung Ho Kang – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 20th homer. Earlier in the game, Kang’s fake tag of Harper caused Bryce to slide awkwardly and injure his hand. Kang might want to stop trying to touch people for unwarranted reasons.
Ken Giles – Gave up 6 runs in a third of an inning on Friday, then was hit on his wrist by a line drive on Saturday, carted off the field and sent for x-rays. On Sunday, he threw 1 IP, 0 ER and picked up the save. From zero to hero with a stop at the ER in between. Wordplay points!
Tyler White – 1-for-3 and his 8th homer. The guy who fell into a coma in April just woke, “Wow, Tyler White has been nonstop all year! Hey, did you guys put that Ted Cruz bumper sticker on my car for me? I wanna go Cruz’ing! Right? Guys?”
Evan Gattis – 1-for-3 and his 31st homer. When you see him homer, you’re not surprised he has 30+ homers, you’re more surprised he doesn’t homer every time he makes contact. Doode mollywhops.
Matt Boyd – 0 IP, 4 ER, ERA at 4.53. Sigh, oh, Boyd.
Victor Martinez – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 27th homer, a grand slam, hitting .293. There’s going to be a recap of every position in the offseason, and V-Mart will be ignored because he only has utility eligibility, but that’s a real shame. Or is it?! Look at you, Reversal Question! Due to an explosion of offense this year, on our Player Rater, V-Mart is ranked around 100th overall. Solid, indeed, but around that of Tyler Thornburg and Melvin Upton.
Justin Upton – 3-for-5 and his 28th homer. Person who was in the H2H playoffs, facing off with an abandoned team that owned Upton, “The Fantasy Baseball Overlord has personally damned me.”
Cameron Maybin – 4-for-6, 4 runs, hitting near-.500 in the last week with a homer. Maybin…You’re gonna be the one that saves me… And after all, you are my “Wonder if he’ll hit the ball.”
Alex Gordon – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 17th homer, hitting .223. Usually a spendthrift organization, the Royals were had signing Gordon this past offseason. The Royals weren’t the only ones. FanGraphs said, “This (signing of Gordon) appears to be a tremendous deal for the team.” I’m admittedly more of a fantasy guy, but Gordon for $72 million for four years at the age of 32 years old strikes me as a good move if the Royals’ owner David Glass planned on also using Gordon as a Wal-Mart greeter. “First of all, Margaret, happy 62nd birthday. Now that I have you in here, your $11 per hour has become too much. It’s early retirement for you. Okay, Gordon, get in there and greet some people!” *Alex Gordon runs out in his jersey to greet customers*
Salvador Perez – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 22nd homer, and his 2nd homer in the last four games, hitting .249. I wonder if the amount of innings he’s Bumgarnered has finally caught up to him. Yes, I see what I did there.
Paulo Orlando – 3-for-5, 2 runs and two steals (13, 14), hitting near-.350 with a homer in the last week. Hey, it’s Flo Rida’s favorite player! Orlando could be a light schmotato and a beautiful travel destination for the whole family.
Raul Mondesi – 2-for-5, 2 RBIs and a slam (2) and legs (8). Wanna see a guy who most don’t know about now who will become overhyped by next April? Here ya go!
Nelson Cruz – 2-for-3 and two homers (40, 41) when he left with a sore wrist. If he didn’t have a sore wrist, he would’ve hit four homers in three at-bats.
Max Kepler – 1-for-3 and his 17th homer. This Kepler’s first hit since June 13th. Okay, no, but it feels that way.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 5 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks. Dayum. It’s like this, “Ed-Rod’s going to be good…He’s going to be so good…Oh my God, he’s going to be so good,” and he’s not good for a long time, then he explodes. It’s like some tantric pitching right here.
Rick Porcello – 6 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.11, as he moved his record to 22-4. Here’s you in 2025, “Did Porcello win a Cy Young one year or was that a dream I had? Damn, I wish North Korea didn’t take over our country and outlaw the internet.”
Marcus Stroman – 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 3 Walks, 5 Ks, ERA at 4.34. I kinda mentioned this in the Straily blurb, but if the Blue Jays have clinched a playoff spot, I have no faith in Stroman throwing another full game, or more than 4 innings. So, use the Stream-o-Nator at your own risk. This is a weird time, when whether a team is playoff-bound or eliminated matters almost as much as who’s actually pitching.
Jose Bautista – 2-for-2, 2 RBIs and his 21st homer, 3rd homer in the last four games. As long as you’re not going against a team with Bautista, this is an ideal situation because all people are gonna see next year is his final home run count, most won’t see that Bautista did it during fantasy garbage time. Or some might even justify him with, “He was great in the last two weeks and that’s going to carry over to 2017.” No, he’s going to get injured by May because he’s as old as those sweatpants you’re wearing.
Dellin Betances – 1 IP, 2 ER, ERA up to 3.00. Middle relievers or closers burn bright like a pyromaniac lightning bug, and flame out just as fast.
Carlos Rodon – 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.08. I was already going to like you next year, you didn’t need to announce yourself so loudly.
Colby Lewis – 1 1/3 IP, 7 ER. Don’t worry about him, Colby’s a survivor.
Ryon Healy – 3-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 12th homer. Hey, I told you to buy him on Friday, and Prospector Ralph just told you yesterday why you should be excited for Ryon Healy in 2017. I don’t know why you’re not pumped.
Sonny Gray – Will start on Wednesday. I’m sure this will end well. Or is that start well? Or is that, ‘Will this start go well?’ No. It won’t.
Jharel Cotton – 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 1.44. Not ready to label him the greatest thing since sliced bread with Nutella, but I’m getting more and more interested for next year. I’m intrigued, y’all!
Wade Miley – 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 5.40. It shows you that even a broken clock is right once a season.
Trey Mancini – Hit his 3rd home run on Saturday. Okay, I’m buying into this schmotato for the final week for some power. Play us a classy tune, Mancini!
Dylan Bundy – 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 4.02. I really hope the O’s learned something from the Mets and don’t overextend Bundy in the playoffs. Bundy shouldn’t even go to a count of five.
Robbie Ray – 3 2/3 IP, 4 ER, ERA at 4.77. I imagine a lot of people are going to be calling Ray a sleeper for next year. Those same people are the ones only looking at his underlying numbers and not those old school stats like “How often is he actually good?”
Paul Goldschmidt – 1-for-4, 1 RBI and his 28th steal. I love, love, lurrrrrve Au Shizz, but he should not have more steals than homers. He lost sight of the obvious at some point this year. Do the Mashed Potato not the Electric Slide.
A.J. Pollock – His return seems unlikely. How many Pollocks does it take to explain to A.J. there’s only a week left of the season? One Pollock to hold him, and five Pollocks to help his wheels turn.