The year was 1996. The “Macarena” craze had just swept the nation, Independence Day was dominating the box office, Bill Clinton was about to win re-election, and 10 year-old Torres was already sporting a full-grown mustache (those damn Puerto Rican genes.) Even with the mustache, life was pretty good for me back then. It was made even better when the Yanks won the World Series that year, clinched on this catch by none other than the great Charlie Hayes.

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A few days ago, the Pirates made Chris Archer walk the plank. 

They paid lip service to bringing him back at a reduced rate, but keeping him around seems like inviting an ill wind. Every time a Pittsburgh fan sees him in uniform, a painting in an attic somewhere writhes itself into unimaginably hideous shapes.

It’s time to sail on, is all I’m saying. Or just flip the painting so we never have to look at it again. 

The team did well in the draft this year and has honestly my favorite system of the nine I’ve covered so far. I say “honestly” not because I’m mostly lying in this space but to convey my mild surprise at the realization of that thought. I think there’s a strong case to roster sixteen of these young bucs, so I’ve adapted the list a little this week.

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In 85 major league at-bats, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit five homers, stole a bag and hit .376. That roughly translates to 645 homers, and 129 steals while hitting .376 in an equally productive 20-year career. Hard to argue he’s not a 1st ballot Hall of Famer.

You, a wet-under-the-collar-with-scurvy Pirates fan, “He still wouldn’t be the best player to come out of Pittsburgh. Hello, Barry Bonds.”
Me, a world-weary-peg-leg-having Pirates fan, “Bonds wasn’t a 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The Man stopped that from happening.”

Hey, they’re The Man, I simply live in The Man’s World. “If everyone left a penny, but didn’t take a penny, the jar to hold the pennies would need to be the size of the Silverdome, and be renamed the Copper-Plated Zinc Pennydome.” Not now, Mr. Prorater. “Oh, so you can prorate out Ke’Bryan Hayes’s stats, but I can’t prorate out a very simply equation. Cool, cool.” Well, whether you want to believe me, Mr. Prorater or Ke’Bryan Hayes’s September debut–Actually, that last one did happen, but is it real and repeatable? That’s what we have to figure out. Is it sustainable like this salmon I’m eating out of my lap to avoid waste. Don’t worry, I’m wearing plastic pants. If you forgot, here are the four highest OPS for major league players’ debut months since 1901: Yasiel Puig (hey whatever happened to this guy?) with 1.180; Albert Pujols in 2001 with 1.171; Rhys Hoskins in 2017 with 1.149 and Ke’Bryan Hayes with 1.144. Not bad company, but not Bad Company by Bad Company. So, what can we expect from Ke’Bryan Hayes for 2021 fantasy baseball?

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When MLB shutdown on March 13th, we all assumed the season would start up again by April. It was just down for a few weeks, we figured. Baseball would continue, as it always would. Then we were boarded-up into our homes, and baseball wouldn’t return until…June, right? June would be fine, we thought. 100 games they could play, and we could all have some semblance of a season. A distraction during darker times. Then June 1st came and went and we were like, “They can still get 100 games in if they start on that magical day:  July 4th.” Of course, we thought, Rob Manfraud is secretly a genius and the season would start back on our nation’s greatest holiday. The day that saw the birth of George Washington, Ben Franklin, Rob Thomas, literally every great American’s birthday. July dot dot dot Fourth. Fireworks and baseball, and everyone would stand, one hand over their mouth, one hand outstretched so no one was within six feet, and baseball would rise from the ashes like Joaquin Phoenix. Then that passed, and it became clear MLB would start with no fans just to get in the bare minimum of a season as a precursor for their real moneymaker, the playoffs. Finally, when games began, there was a DH in the NL; 7-inning games; runners starting innings on 2nd, and teams shutting down for a week with protocol breaches. Ah, yes, wonderful, terrific protocol breaches. Yet, through all that, we preserved through the craziest fantasy baseball season on record. And on wax, if you’re old school. If you made it to this point, you deserve congratulations. Doesn’t matter if you won your league or not. You deserve kudos for just getting through this season (two months). Also, because I’m in an especially touchy-feely mood, I don’t thank all of you enough. Without you, it would just be me making stupid baseball jokes, snorting and–Well, it is all of that, but with you it makes it feel like we’re all in this together. My over-the-internet friends. Be well and safe all offseason. I’ll be here, churning out offseason content and hoping for a slightly more normal 2021. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Trevor Bauer (8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 1.73) is going to win the NL Cy Young. Sooner you come to terms with that, the better for your own mental well-being. You’ll be able to listen to relatives talk about how they saw Trevor Bauer on HBO’s Real Sports, and how Trevor Bauer invented ‘a ball spinning,’ and how he’s so old school with his notebook, but not a spiral notebook. No, no, no — a laptop that Bauer calls, “My Notebook.” You can hear about how Trevor Bauer’s best friend is his dad and how he can make any other pitcher better just by talking him through ‘The Process.’ You come to terms with all of this now, you’re gonna be happier later. Trevor Bauer does have two Cy Young-worthy years in the last three, so maybe there’s something to it. Not sure how that circle is squared with last year, which I still haven’t forgiven him for — 4.48 ERA in 213 IP absolutely killed me. For 2021, it’ll be hard for me to stay away, as it always is with Bauer. Hey, I’m a sucker for 12+ K/9 and the promise of a 2.5 BB/9 or lower. If Bauer can do that, he could have this level of success every season. Wonder if there will be people drafting him in the top five starters. Maybe if I’m in a league with Bryant Gumbel, or your uncle who watches him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Good Afternoon Baseball Fans, and welcome to my final article of the season. I wanted to start off by thanking those that reached out last week in response to my opening up about my personal story. Really meant a lot. I hope my story was able to help at least one person. Tonight’s six game slate is a doooooozy. We have good pitchers going against good lineups and bad pitchers going against bad lineups. I’m going to try my hardest with my write up today to attack the bad pitchers while also sprinkling in some hitters that while not in a great matchup, they’re just really good and should always be considered. My favorite pitcher today, and I hope you were able to decipher that by the title, is Lance McCullers Jr ($8,700). He’s a bit underpriced and will most likely be chalky.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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Rookie Alec Bohm continued his explosive September Friday night going two for three with a run and an RBI in game one and one for three with a run and his first career steal in the second game. Oh my, did he just steal a base! *swoons* Alec’s underwhelming power to start his career has made it hard on hilarious jokesters like myself who just want to pun all day and improv all night. No bombs for Bohm? What about a nice lip balm? Does that work? Fret not, Bohm-dot-com has picked it up lately with two Bohm-bombs in the past week. So maybe Alec is more of an opposite field contact guy than a  ding dong dinger guy? Or maybe it’s his first year in the league and once he adjusts he’ll be a monster and yes I’m absolutely going to draft him everywhere in 2021? Melikes the latter one most. His manager thinks he’s a future 40 home run hitter and Gabe Kapler seems to know exactly what’s up. *hard cough* But forget about the power for a sec, Alec has multi-hit games in nine of his last 20 starts, and has hit safely in all but two games this month. He’s slashing .359/.400/.551 with three Bohm bombs and 14 RBI in September and that’s no joke! I almost wrote this lede about another scrubby Red Sox prospect, but I didn’t (you’re welcome!) because I noticed Bohm was a BUY and was still criminally under owned at less than 35%! What gives? He should have been scooped up in August. Bohm could be the dot, dot, dot…spark your team needs to dot, dot, dot…explode in your final week of fantasy. I’m sorry, I have t,–and you have to pick up Bohm and win your final week. This kid’s gonna be a star–ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

You walk into the banquet hall where your cousin, Jared Walsh, is having his bar mitzvah, and the first thing that hits you is the macho-aggressive tones of Kenny Loggins. Kenny shouts at you a question, “Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?” Down by your side, you snap your fingers, and quietly answer, “Stand up and fight.” As if he’s talking directly to you, Kenny’s pulsating voice hits you with another command, “Make no mistake where you are,” and under your breath you quietly respond, “This is it.” Kenny, “Your back’s to the corner.” You slide your back against a wall and louder now, “This is it.” Kenny’s fighting you to be better, “Don’t be a fool anymore.” You, fighting back tears, “This is it.” Then your aunt comes over and asks you if you’re still dating that goy, sees tears streaming down your face and uncomfortably waits for you to compose yourself. Kenny’s back, “The waiting is over,” you run to the stage, but Kenny sings, “No, don’t you run.” Finally, you get to the stage where the deejay has his back to you. All you see is his Orioles’ jersey and his last name Stewart. When he turns to you, you see DJ Stewart, the epitome of cool, and not just because he’s in front of a wind machine. He leans down and says with the wisdom of a great sage, “I’m just a hot schmotato, you’re the real star.” He’s right, of course. That’s all you need for the final ten days. Jared Walsh looks like a Quad-A player, but he’s hitting in front of Mike Trout, and it doesn’t get any better. I’m grabbing Walsh, DJ Stewart and everyone from this bar mitzvah — even you, Aunt Marilyn! Also, everyone is expendable (except Aunt Marilyn, bless her heart). Play only hot hands. You need to play footloose and fancy free with your teams in this final stretch. “Did someone say Footloose?” That’s DJ Stewart readying up the next Kenny Loggins. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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“Keep on go on wondering why, I got out of bed at all,” which are the lyrics for Thank You by Dido, which was the chorus for Stan by Eminem, and I want to thank you, Kwang-Hyun Kim (7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 0.63) as he was activated from the IL after having kidney problems, and to misquote Eminem, “I Stan Kim.” Actually, here’s Eminem singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem.” Eminem is a big Golden Girls fan, obvi. Any hoo! What a year by Kim, whoa. He has 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed only one home run all year. Granted, he’s only thrown 28 2/3 IP all year, has allowed only two earned runs all year, and that’s less than a month of a regular season. But, wow, what a year! We’ll leave it at that. Will Eminem, or us for that matter, be singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem” in 2021? That seems less likely. His peripherals are not particularly inspiring, but for this year *genuflects* Stan Kim, Stan Kim, Stan Kim. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Aaaaaand just like that, the fantasy baseball playoffs are right around the corner for most of us. I don’t know about y’all, but 2020 has been the single longest decade of my entire life. Yet here we are, on the down slope of the baseball season, despite every week having COVID cases pop up here and there. Pretty ding dang surprised we still have baseball, to be fully honest with yinz. Buckle your seat belts, ladies n gents, cuz we gotta a whole lotta baseball coming up. Double-headers galore.

The latter part of a season is always a little cray cray. GMs get desperate, take some risks, snatch up some keepers for cheap, that sorta thing. With all these double-headers, there will be lots of bats and arms getting chances they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten. We’ve already seen quite a bit of that throughout the year, and it’s only gonna keep on keepin’ on.

Format is a little different this week. I like tinkering. Doing away with my “39% or less owned” rule, too, cuz I feel like it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?