Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Trevor Plouffe – Fractured his forearm and is done for the year. Plouffe goes his career as an arm wrestler!
Danny Santana – 3-for-4, 1 run, hitting .319. Dannys Antana has 7 homers and 19 steals in only 97 games. Wrap your bacon around that scallop, stick a toothpick through it and call it delicious!
Ender Inciarte – 1-for-4 and two steals (18, 19). The hottest schmotato in the Land of a 1000 Schmotatoes? If I had to Pickett, I’d go Ender.
Clayton Kershaw – 8 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 1.77. As with any pitchers who have pitched their last game of the regular season, you can drop Kershaw in redraft leagues and just go off of the Stream-o-Nator for the final starts of the year. I know it probably feels weird dropping him. Take a screenshot of your team with him on there, so when you go to have a fantasy team jersey made up with all your guys’ last names, you have it. Real quick, people will think you have a Gaylord Perry jersey with all the teams he pitched for.
Yasiel Puig – 1-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer. Seriously, where was this for the last three months?
Chris Sale – 6 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA ends the year at 2.17. That’s assuming Robin Ventura doesn’t get any bright ideas and throw Sale on Sunday for 120 pitches just to stretch out his arm for the long winter. “What? He has two elbows.” That’s Robin Ventura.
Justin Verlander – 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 6 Ks, ending his ERA at 4.54. This final start should help propel all the people that held him all year from 11th to 10th overall in their standings. Prepare yourself for a 45 IP scoreless postseason streak by Verlander with incessant Joe Buck mentions of how ‘Verlander looks as good as he’s ever seen him’ and your buddy watching the game with you saying each time, “He must not have seen the selfies with Kate Upton.’
J.D. Martinez – 3-for-4, 1 run, hitting .320. Gonna come down to the final weekend for the race of “Who’s Better Between Miggy and J.D.?” Right now, they’re tied at 23 homers, but Miggy’s only hitting .312. Won’t be the first time Miggy’s chasing a J.D.
Mike Trout – 1-for-2, 1 run and his 16th steal. Left yesterday’s game with a stomach illness. Might’ve been the fish he ate. Cannibal!
Howie Kendrick – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs, hitting .292. The fact that The Sciosciapath isn’t benching any of his regulars, and sticking it to the A’s, feels like a deleted scene from a teen comedy where the geek has beat the bully, then backs up his car over the bully’s pet, mugs his mother and calls the sister fat. It’s enough already. You beat the bully, leave the A’s alone!
Jon Lester – 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 7 Ks, ending with a 2.46 ERA. To show their appreciation for the fine season he just had, the Yankees bought Lester the state of Kentucky. If he signs with them in the offseason, they’ll throw in the fried chicken.
Lisalverto Bonilla – 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 7 Ks. Some will say Lisalverto is merely traveling down a road that Anibal paved for men with girl names, but GLAAD and the work they’ve done for gender-confused names really started the movement.
Luis Sardinas – 1-for-3 and two steals (4, 5). Hasn’t shown much of anything, but maybe in the final days he wants to show the Rangers that his speed plays. I’d gamble on him if I were desperate for SAGNOF.
Ryan Rua – 1-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer in the last four games. As I’ve been saying the last few days, the Rangers are actually playing now. No idea why, maybe someone guilted them. That’s how Cougs motivates me. Either way, I grabbed Rua in one league.
Jonathan Villar – 1-for-3 and his 7th homer. Villar’s another guy I grabbed a few days ago. He’s hitting around .350 in the last week and has speed to burn. It takes a village to win, it takes a Villar to get steals.
Yunel Escobar – Done for the season. He’ll be back next year; no need for Gatorade to produce a 30-second in memoriam commercial.
Jake Odorizzi – 3 IP, 5 ER, ERA ends at 4.18. You know how Hunter Pence has a tattoo that says, Gangly Manbird? Odorizzi should have one that says, On The Road Shitbird. Doode’s a flippin’ mess outside of Tampa. So he feels like he’s back in Tampa, the Rays should have Hooters cater the clubhouse meals in away starts. Or Outback. Or TGIF’s. Or whatever chain he eats at in Tampa. And it has to be a chain. There’s nothing else there.
Xander Bogaerts – 2-for-4, 1 run, 3 RBIs. Since he didn’t play on Tuesday, and I didn’t know if he would play the rest of the year…Oh, we know where this is going. I dropped him. Dah! I want him back!
Bryce Brentz – 2-for-5, 2 runs. If this baseball thing doesn’t work out, Brentz has the name for a luxury rent-a-car operation.
Russell Martin – Left yesterday’s game with hamstring tightness. With the Pirates in the playoffs already (okay, that’s weird), Martin might sit until the end of days. Different team, but maybe available: a little birdie told me Evan Gattis should return today. Little Birdie said, “Chirp, chirp.” What, you don’t speak little birdie?
Julio Teheran – 5 IP, 2 ER, 9 baserunners, 6 Ks, ending the year with a 2.89 ERA. I was floored when I saw he gave up two runs and got a win. Braves, you are too kind! Oh, wait, Teheran drove in two runs himself. Yeah, that explains how he locked down the win. I’ve said plenty of times how I nailed Teheran’s projections and rankings in the preseason, so I want belabor it. I’ll save it for my October recaps!
Justin Upton – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and a slam (28) and legs (8). Rudy and I were just on the phone yesterday talking — we talk, y’all! — about how Upton is no longer a stealing threat. He used to steal 20 bases on the reg, now he’s lucky to get 8. Solid year, but not what he once was, and that’s only at 27 years old.
Chris Johnson – Left yesterday’s game with a lower back strain. You’d think Johnson would have a lower front strain.
Jake Arrieta – 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA ending at 2.53. As previously mentioned, I’m going to Colombia in November for a week. While there, I plan on doing a handful of coke and spreading the gospel of Arrieta to anyone that will listen to my broken Spanish. If I could mule Arrieta there in my anal cavity, so he could tell them himself, I would.
Mark Buehrle – 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks. The good news is if there ever was supposed to be an apocalypse, Buehrle having a 3.39 ERA through a whole season is a pretty good sign of it. Yet, here we are. Unless the Mayans owned Buehrle in their league, and are just waiting to collect league winnings before blowing up this little marble. Crap.
Aaron Sanchez – 1 IP, 0 ER and his 3rd save. I’m guessing John Gibbons went with Sanchez for the save because he forgot he went back to Janssen after saying he would go to Sanchez. Hard to keep all this straight when you’re running a major league club. Gibbons needs a Craigslist intern!
Taijuan Walker – 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 6 Ks. Did Taijuan just neg me all season to turn in one final gem so I’d be all over his jock again next year? He did, didn’t he? Dammit!
Kyle Kendrick – 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 2 Ks vs. Brad Hand (7 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 2 Ks). Exhibit A why I like to stream at the end of the season. Hitters either pull a Koufax and take all the September Jewish holidays off, or guys like Justin Bour are hitting cleanup. Only reason Bour’s even hitting cleanup is because Giancarlo is out and the Marlins are Bour’ing some out for the brother who ain’t here.
Billy Hamilton – Left the game with a mild concussion. Oh, just one of those! Have Nia Vardalos spray some Windex on his head and he’ll be good as new. So, that sounds like the end of Billy Hamilton’s season. This should mean an uptick of Chris Heisey for the final days of the season, but more Chris Heisey really only excites Brooke Shields.
Kyle Lohse – 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 6 Ks, ending the year with a 3.54 ERA. Hitters seriously stopped coming to games last Sunday.
Jean Segura – 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs. Then there’s hitters who stopped coming to games in April and re-emerged in the last week. The worst Segura can do right now is have an insane final weekend. Don’t alert people. I will remember you next year. You have my word.
Tommy Medica – 2-for-3, 3 RBIs and a slam (9) and legs (6). Does nine homers lead the Padres? No. You had to think about it though, didn’t you? If the Padres moved their fences in 75 feet all around, I’m still not sure if anyone would hit 25 homers besides Gyorko. I’m being serious.
Charlie Blackmon – 1-for-4 and his 19th homer. Blackmon had his family in attendance at Petco yesterday, which resulted in the most cheers in San Diego for a Blackmon since Tony Gwynn retired.
Yan Gomes – 1-for-3, 3 RBIs and his 21st homer. Yesterday, the Indians actually rested Everyday Yan Gomes. From catching. He still DH’d. You didn’t think they’d actually let him rest a full game, did you? One day next year, Gomes is going to squat down and like a Pez dispenser his knee is going to open up and spit out cartilage.
Michael Brantley – 3-for-4, 1 run, hitting .329. Who told you to draft Brantley? Doesn’t rhyme with Snafu Larry. It isn’t a world of roto. It’s the Fantasy Master Lothario.
Billy Butler – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs. Should sleep well tonight. Anything less than 3 ribbies and he’s up at 2 AM, snacking.
Shane Greene – 3 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA up to 3.78. Fuggedaboutit! That’s a fickin’ disgusting display on Captain Jetes’s next-to-last home game! Oh, wait, maybe Greene pitched poorly so not to upstage Jetes, who went 0-for-4. Hmm, in that case, ya done good, kid!
Mark Teixeira – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 22nd homer, hitting .219 on the year. In the Noo Yawk accent, his name sounds like Mawkish-Share-A. Dictionary.com defines mawkish as sentimental in a feeble or sickly way. The only ones that still care about Te(i)x do so for sentimental reasons from what he did in other years, and he’s been feeble and/or sickly for most of his past two years. Coincidence? No, I don’t think so.
Chase Headley – 3-for-4, 3 runs and his 6th homer on the Yanks and 13th overall, as he hit third in the lineup yesterday. The only teams Headley’s a number three hitter? The Padres or the Yankees. Ouch. Okay, maybe the Marlins, Rangers, Rays, Astros and Reds, but I was making a point. A better point until I added those other names, granted.
Stephen Drew – 1-for-2 and his 7th homer, hitting .165 on the year. He should be doing a victory lap with Jeter too, because he should not be in the league again after 2014.
Bud Norris – 6 IP, 3 ER, 6 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.65, and ended the year with 15 wins. Is he pitching in the playoffs for the O’s? The Orioles should actually ask if they can use a different team’s staff for the playoffs. Chris Tillman matching up with Kershaw? Um, yeah, okay. That’s gonna work out great. On an unrelated note, my iPhone is anti-Semitic. It autocorrected Rosh Hashanah to Rosh HAHAHAHAHA. What the eff, Siri?