Can I *itch about utter nonsense for a second? (Asterisk replacing a B there, but also works since I’m talking about the Houston Asterisks.) People who say it’s okay to draft top starters in February, due to how well they did the previous season, invariably ignore all the starters who were bumped down in rankings by the start of the season. No one next year will mention Chris Sale, Mike Clevinger, Luis Severino, Justin Verlander or Blake Snell were drafted in the top starters in 2020 up until March. People in October will be like, “Top starters were safe last year, only Scherzer, Cole and Flaherty missed time.” Yeah, only those three and five others! Contests which rank rankings always end the morning of Opening Day, when, ya know, 99.9% of leagues have drafted already! Am I saying this because I want some glory for telling to ignore top starters as early as January? YES, GODDAMN IT! Any hoo! Justin Verlander was shut down with a lat strain. Luckily, you didn’t draft any top starters, right? You did? Aw, shucks. Going onto eBay and put in a one cent bid on the world’s smallest violin, then adopt a baby and teach it how to play from a YouTube tutorial. Not sure how many times I have to say don’t draft a top pitcher, but I’m sure everyone this time next year will have forgotten I ever said it. A lat strain is better than an arm injury, or so I’m told. As in, I’m told that it’s a lat strain, but on Sunday it was triceps soreness. Sounds great! *insert giant thumbs up emoji* I told you not to draft Verlander before this, guess what this does for me? I’ve updated Verlander’s projections and moved him down in the top 20 starters and the top 500 for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, with Verlander’s latissimus dorsi more banged up than a dolphin at Sea World, I’ve added Josh James into the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2020 fantasy baseball:
Aaron Judge – Diagnosed with a stress fracture in his rib, which happened last September. The Yankees are going to give it two weeks of rest to see where Judge is at rather than opt for surgery. That’s right, something that didn’t heal in the last six months will be given two weeks more. The magical last two weeks of healing as Dr. Nick, the Yankees’ team doctor, describes it. “If rest doesn’t heal him, we will look at other options.” That’s Dr. Nick looking at a turtle that’s been dead for a month. I’m tempted to just remove Judge entirely from my rankings, since I wouldn’t draft him in any way, shape or humongoid form, but I left him in there. However, that will invariably lead to someone saying, “I see you have Judge around 200th overall, is that where you’d draft him?” Sure. I mean, no, I wouldn’t, but, sure, do what you want. I’m not drafting him. So, I’ve moved him into my top 80 outfielders. With the Yankees asking the Chinese to build a two-week hospital for their outfield, I’ve moved Tauchman up and increased his projections. He’s also in the top 80 outfielders, and Clint Frazier, yes, that Clint Frazier, was added to my top 100 outfielders.
Jordan Montgomery – Boone says Montgomery is a lock for the Yankees’ season-opening starting rotation. Yeah, no dur. They lost German, Paxton and Severino. Montgomery was already added to the top 100 starters. I’m curious who their 5th starter will be. My guess is an Opener, but I’ve heard rumblings on Schmidt, Nelson and King, who I believe created Sex and the City. Others have said Lasagna. Others have said Delvi. Others have said, “Huh? What are you saying?” Others have said, “Nothing, mind your business.” Whoever it is, you’d have to think they’re a placeholder until Paxton returns at the end of April.
Kyle Wright – Looks like the Braves’ 5th spot is going to come down to Wright and Newcomb with the 4th spot going to F-Her. Thought process: F-Her is useless out of the bullpen (might be useless in the rotation too), so that leaves one spot for Wright and Newcomb while Hamels is rehabbing. My guess is the Braves prefer Newcomb in the bullpen, and Wright slides into a temp position in the rotation. This is essentially the role Fried started the year out with in 2019 and ran with a rotation job all year, so Wright was added into my top 100 starters, and could be huge value (or useless by May). Right? Wright!
Griffin Canning – Given biological injections into his elbow. I’ve heard about biological injections in all kinds of places, but an elbow is some kinky shizz! You’d think a guy named Canning would be getting biological injections somewhere else! Hey now! Anyway, he’s out for a month, at least, and he was moved way down into a section of starters I wouldn’t draft in the top 100 starters.
Tyler Beede – Told reporters he doesn’t need surgery after revealing his UCL was only 75 percent attached. He will be getting a 2nd opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Or 75% Attrached, in this case. I’ve removed Beede from the top 100 starters.
Chris Taylor – Setback with his shoulder. I haven’t drafted Taylor yet, and might have him ranked too high, so be careful. The next step will be me removing him from my top 500, i.e., Taylor damn, GTFO with your pork roll!
Chris Sale – Not expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. Dot dot dot. Yet. This is actually worse news for him and his owners. Now, because you’ve invested in him, you’re gonna feel compelled to start him when he does return in…May?…and you go ahead and ask his owners from last year how well starting him went. Also, it means when he does finally have surgery, it’s going to be even more delayed. Chris Sale is basically derailing his entire career. Not, ya know, to be dramatic. Oh, by the by, I’ve seen some ‘perts say this is good news about how Sale won’t need Tommy John. If anyone is saying this, you should question literally everything else that comes out of their mouths. They’re lacking some sorta, how do I say, common sense. He’s still in the top 40 starters, but you’re crazy if you think I’m drafting him.
Oscar Mercado – Slid for a fly ball on Thursday and sprained his wrist. Thursday was also the day I received my newest ulcer. Why are you trying to make a sliding catch in spring training? Who are you trying to impress? Jordan Luplow?! I’m standing outside my Super Mercado screaming at the sign, “Stop being sarcastic! It’s not effin’ super!” Wait a second, our prayer hexagon paid off for the first time maybe ever. Everything is coming up Millhouse! Tests showed Mercado has merely a strain and is day-to-day. Get rid of the S.O.S. spelled out in the sand, we’re saved!
Carlos Carrasco – Dealing with elbow inflammation. As Mrs. Fields used to say, “An inflamed cookie usually means too much baking soda.” Mrs. Fields was an A+ baker; absolute terrible fantasy analyst. I had Carrasco down for 123 IP in my top 40 starters, where I said don’t draft him, so, if you have, that’s on you.
Michael Conforto – Tweaked his side, which is code for Conforto is feeling unconfortable, and will likely miss up to three to four weeks. Hmm, wonder if Conforto’s phone number is 3-2-4-Weeks. Solid contact info, if it is. I’ve docked him three weeks of the season from his projections and lowered him in the top 60 outfielders.
Trey Mancini – Undergoing a procedure that the O’s said is “non-baseball related,” but “too sensitive to specifically mention,” and that he would be “out some time.” Each one of those quoted phrases are not what you want to hear. Hopefully, the vagueness isn’t as scary as it sounds. Don’t think you can draft him until we hear more. I’ve lowered him way down in my top 20 1st basemen.
Willie Calhoun – Hit on the mouth by a fastball and was carted off the field. Took them a bit longer than usual for the cart because they had to sterilize it prior to using. Hashtag coronavirus, hashtag know your disease. Without bad luck, Calhoun would have no luck at all. He finally gets a real chance to play and he gets his jaw broke. Hopefully, he returns with one of those Bill Laimbeer-Hannibal Lecter masks and chews up all (fava) beanballs, but I’ve deducted 100 ABs from his line, and moved him down into the top 60 outfielders. In the top 20 2nd basemen, I moved Nick Solak up and upped his projections. No matter who the Rangers lose, there’s a sexy guy stepping in to fill the space. *sees Todd Frazier penciled into cleanup* Don’t even think about it, Rangers! Calhoun didn’t need to have his jaw wired shut. No jaw wired shut is good news for his recovery. The bad news is his karaoke’ing of early-Kanye will suffer.
Brendan Rodgers – Made his spring training debut last Thursday, and could return as soon as April. Bud Black said, “Quicker he gets back, the quicker the bats on the ground of the dugout get put away–Wait, he’s a player for the team? Are you sure?”
Ryan Helsley – Since there’s a chance Helsley could close, work middle relief, be in the rotation — How’s his swing? Cards could use a righty platoon bat with Carpenter. — I’ve added Helsley into my top 500. If I told you I knew what role Helsley would be in, I’d be lying, and my lie-down desk hasn’t arrived yet.
Dylan Carlson – Moved him way up into my top 80 outfielders as he starts to feel inevitable to break camp and push Bader to the bench, or worse, Bader becomes the guy who relays managing decisions from La Russa on the phone to Shildt. “What’s that? Yes, your hair is feathered fantastically! Shildt needs to know where to position his infielders. What? Yes, we promise not to harm any marsupials. God damn it, Tony!” That’s Bader running manager relay. While my projections needed updating in the Dylan Carlson outlook and some of the stuff about offseason acquisitions (since it’s from November), but as I say there, Carlson does appear to be better than Bader, and I’m leaning into that now.