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I told you two days ago to own Justin Smoak in his series in Texas.  Three straight games, three homers.  To paraphrase Young MC from We’re All In The Same Gang, “I try my best to set an example, talkin’ up hyped players over hip-hop samples.”  (BTW, the M’s lost yesterday when the catcher went to complete a strikeout by throwing the ball to first for the final out in the ninth but the ball sailed into right field and allowed the runner on first to score.  Ha-HA!)  Now the question is should you own Smoak the rest of the year… Sure, but that’s not the question.  Tricked you!  The question is about next year.  He hasn’t reached his potential yet, but he is only 23-years-old.  Some have compared him to Te(i)x.  He definitely slumped for half a season like him.  I think those ‘some’ were using that as a compliment though.  Next year, Smoak should have the starting job out of spring training and could provide 25 homers with a decent average.  In AL-Only keeper leagues and dynasty leagues, I’d make sure Smoak’s owned.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Chone Figgins – 4-for-4 as Chode tries to make his season numbers seem a whole lot better than they were.  Never trust a guy that spells Sean ‘Chone.’

David Murphy – Out with a strained groin.  Sounds like an injury that would sideline a porn actress.

Jeff Francoeur – 2-for-5 and hitting over .300 in the last week with 2 homers.  With the Rangers playing their B lineup and Hamilton and Murphy hurting, I grabbed Frenchy in a few arrondissements.

Josh Hamilton – Says his rehab went well and, assuming there’s no relapses, he’ll return on Friday.  What, bad choice of words?

P.J. Walters – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks.  He sounds like the star of an 80’s detective show where he solves all the cases in his pajamas.  P.J. Walters:  The Groggy Eye.  On yesterday’s episode, The Groggy Eye nabbed the cat burglar with nothing but his cunning and nightcap.  Afterwards, he put the Pirates to sleep.

Yovani Gallardo – 3 1/3 IP, 7 ER.  Now has an ERA of 3.84 and 1.37 WHIP on the year.  In the preseason when I announced I was avoiding YoGa, ironically, for fear of stress, I said, “We had a good run (in 2009), but it went on too long and wasn’t that pretty towards the end.  I could see my avoidance of Gallardo biting me in the ass because he is an extreme strikeout pitcher, which I like, but the innings jump from 2008 to 2009 raises too many questions for me.”  And that’s me quoting me!  I was right and wrong.  Right to avoid him, wrong saying it would bite me in the ass.

John Axford – Recorded his 23rd save yesterday.  Rudy and I were talking yesterday (we talk, ya’ll!) and he mentioned to me how Axford was one of the top free agent grabs this year.  Rudy’s got a point.  8 Wins, 2.53 ERA, 23 Saves, 74 Ks in only 57 IP.  That’s donkeycornlicious.

Javier Vazquez – 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER.  In the preseason, Vazquez was in a group of pitchers I said NOT to draft.  Along with Gallardo, Peavy, Hanson, Scherzer, Shields, Brandon Webb, Jurrjens, Edwin Jackson, Kazmir and Lackey.  You’re welcome.

John Buck – Now has two homers in the last three games and is playing every day.  Nothing fancy, but might be able to help.

Travis Snider – 2-for-5 with his third homer this week.  Seriously, pick him up right now.

Angel Pagan – 4-for-9 with two steals in the doubleheader.  Don’t forget to say thank you to Pagan on Sunday.  He gave you what you were hoping you’d get from Victorino.

Jonathon Niese – 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER.  Jonathon (no relation to Dickie Thon) ended the season with a 4.20 ERA and decent Ks.  I could see him being a fifth fantasy starter sleeper next year.

Lucas Duda – Hit his 3rd homer.  Zip-a-dee-Duda, zip-a-dee-ay.  My, oh my, what a Duda day.

Carlos Beltran – Shut down for the year.  Backdate this to May, 2009.

Ryan Raburn – 4-for-8 with a homer in the doubleheader.  I may not need the 2nd base eligibility to get excited about Raburn next year.  He may be one of my upside 5th outfielder picks.

Brooks Conrad – Three-run homer as he yelled, “Prado who?”  Then the choir answered, “Martin Prado.”

Matt Kemp – Wrapped up in a deuce, he hit two homers in two games, which isn’t too late for H2H leagues.

Hong-Chih Kuo – Of course Torre brought Kuo into a save situation in the 8th and gave the save to Belisario.  Of course he did!  Maybe Torre lost track of the inning because he was working on his next tell-all exposing Tommy Lasorda’s penchant for calling tomato sauce ‘gravy.’

Clayton Kershaw – The news confirmed he’s been shut down.  Then the news confirmed the last confirmation was wrong and he’s not being shut down.  Then the news reconfirmed the early confirmation and unconfirmed the latter confirmation.  Paddle through the verbiage and you’ll find Kershaw is getting shut down.

Jhoulys Chacin – 5 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 7 Ks and 5 unearned runs for the always ulcer-inducing ticker shock!

Matt Thornton – Recorded another save.  While Ozzie says Sale is the closer, Thornton’s obviously getting the saves.

Erick Aybar – 1-for-4 with his 21st steal.  He’s hitting .253 with 68 Runs and 29 RBIs, which are soul-crushing numbers.  In the preseason, I said, “I get a utility man vibe from Aybar.  If you draft him, there’s a 95% chance of you dropping him before May.”  I hope you did just that if you drafted him.

Joe Mauer – Will return and DH today.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sit another day or two in the final four days.

Kila Ka’aihue – Hit his 4th homer in the last week and third in two days.  If you want to read my Ka’aihue fantasy, it’s under that clickie-link thingamabob.

James McDonald – 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks.  Deserved a better fate than a loss against a Cards team that was featuring Mark Hamilton at first.  Don’t worry, McDonald, January Grey won’t forget you.  January Grey, “That’s more on February Grey.  Oh, and could you wire me some money?  Turns out asking a female if she needs a ride is ‘solicitation.’  Who knew?”

  1. Joe says:

    Hey grey you da man! I need two catchers or atleast one tahts playing lately and has a good chance to hit some homers thanks man

  2. Mike says:

    I started this season (my first ever fantasy baseball experience, and the first time I paid attention to the game since they separated my boys the Bash Brothers. How have Canseco and McGuire’s careers gone, by the way?) with only Soria and a DL’d street, and was last place in saves by a wide margin. Since then I’ve gotten saves from Frank Francisco, Alfredo Simon, Carlos Villanueva, John Axford, Brandon League, Luke Gregerson, JJ Putz, Joel Hanrahan (ad infinitum), Michael Wuertz, Brandon Lyon, and Clay Hensley off the wire, and got first place in the cat. So thank you Grey. Thank you for helping me learn the way of the saves vulture. That and the combination of getting Konerko off of waivers and making that Konerko/redtube comment pretty much made my season.

    (Oh, and I also ran across this draft pairings article that led me and my 2nd overall pick of Hanley to take some dudes named Votto and Zimmerman at the 2/3 turn. So there’s that too.)

  3. Lob Ball says:


    I need to stream a starter (or maybe 2 starters) on Friday.
    Looking only for a W. All other categories are secondary.

    Here are the choices:
    Cahill vs. SEA
    Wood vs. MIL
    Beachy vs. Phil
    Porcello vs. BAL
    Zito vs. SDG


  4. Tony says:

    i love dropping kemp on tuesday for him to go off a day later.

    what a frikkin bum.

  5. ThE sHiT says:

    @ Grey: Please rank these starts:
    Liriano vs. TOR
    Garza @ KC
    Bills vs. ARI
    Anderson @ SEA
    Volquez vs. MIL
    Stauffer @ SF
    Lewis vs. LAA

    I saw that my opponent has 4 more starters left. He hasn’t changed his lineup the whole week (still has Mauer and Prado starting, benched Hanson for his start). Pitching cats look like this:
    ME: 73.2 IP, 4 W, 3 L, 3 SV, 30 ER, 4 HR, 17 BB, 72 K, 3.67 ERA
    HIM: 55.1 IP, 2 W, 5 L, 3 SV, 21 ER, 5 HR, 31 BB, 60 K, 3.42 ERA

    Overall, I’m up 16-5. What do you suggest I do in terms of starting pitchers? He hasn’t made any moves in a week. He has 6 moves left, I have 3. I’m saving those to pick up weekend streamers to block him if I see him starting to stream. The SP’s above are on my team, except for Stauffer and Lewis, I would have to pick them up. So, it looks like he gave up overall, but we both know that anything can happen this weekend and I’m just trying to avoid losing the pitching cats. Your thoughts? Thank you kindly, and Good Morning!

  6. Todd says:

    In my H2H league finals the past two weeks and i’m feeling like I’m about to get screwed by certain teams already clinching a playoff spot. Is it worth it to drop key players ( namely howard and utley) because they might only play 1 more game over the weekend?

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Joe: Is that a question?

    @Mike: Well done, glad it’s worked out.

    @Lob Ball: Cahill

    @Tony: Ouch

    @ThE sHiT: Morning! Drop Volquez for Stauffer. Drop Liriano for Lewis. I wouldn’t start Liriano and Garza. Then reevaluate tomorrow again.

    @Todd: Go for it.

  8. Grey

    Grey says:

    @royce!: I love fun graphs.

  9. tHe sHiT says:

    @Grey: Thanks! That was my guess but I wanted your blessing. My situation is a bit of a head-scratcher. Do you like Sanabia instead of Lewis for the weekend start? BTW, im on the LAX Flyaway bus from Union Station headed to work and this guy has a cool handlebar mustache. Those always make me laugh.

  10. Tom Thumb says:

    Good stuff, as always. Trying to stream today. Need to pick two:

    G. Gonzalez @ Sea
    Bumgarner vs. Ari
    Garland vs. ChC
    Greinke vs. TB

    Yes, Greinke was a pickup. He was dropped last week

  11. tHe sHiT says:

    @Grey: Thanks, Ill make those moves when I get a chance. Do you post anything in regards to some kind of reflection on the season, good calls and bad calls on your part, etc…?

  12. Buzzsaw says:

    Haren @ TEX or Dempster @ HOU?

  13. Grey

    Grey says:

    @tHe sHiT: Starting next Monday until November, then I begin to look at 2011.

    @Buzzsaw: Haren

  14. tHe sHiT says:

    @Grey: Sweet! Ill be looking forward to those posts. I dont want to go into withdrawal because I dont have my fantasy baseball razzball fix. No offense to Adam on the basketball side, but you are a unique writer, in a good way, of course.

  15. Matt says:

    Start Greinke tonight vs. Tampa Bay?

  16. DonCoburleone says:

    Grey, RCL Standings update tomorrow right? It’s been a few weeks…

  17. Eddy says:

    “Starting next Monday until November, then I begin to look at 2011”

    ^most beautiful sentence I’ve read in days

  18. Grey

    Grey says:

    @tHe sHiT: Thanks!

    @Matt: Depends on your situation, I dropped him in one league last week.

    @DonCoburleone: I think at this point I’ll update them next week when I round up all the final standings.

    @Eddy: Hehe

  19. Grey — Any value in picking up Tommy Hunter tomorrow vs. LAA? I’ve already got Weaver in that game, though I am unsure about starting him in Arlington. It’s for a 20-team roto league.

    I need a W more than anything. I could start either of them or both. What do you suggest?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Enrique: Start both if your ERA and WHIP are okay, but Hunter will probably only go 5 IP at most. In most leagues, I wouldn’t start him.

  21. Eddy says:

    Whichever group of guys are in charge of writing the notes for Yahoo players have a vendetta against the Mariners.

    This was Smoak’s on Monday:

    Smoak had two hits Sunday in a 6-2 win at Tampa Bay.
    Advice: Smoak finally raised his average to .200, although it probably won’t be long until it drops back down since he is not a very good hitter.

    Ichiro on same day:

    Suzuki had two hits Sunday in a 6-2 win at Tampa Bay.
    Advice: Suzuki is hitting .356 in September and continues to pile up the numbers despite playing for a dismal franchise.

    Looks like Milton Bradley flicked off the wrong guy at some point.

  22. brad says:

    @royce!: Teams above the line have had consistency in the front office. . . chicken or egg?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Eddy: Ha… Yeah, I guess I can see what they’re saying for this year, but Smoak’s not a bad hitter in the big picture.

  24. brad says:

    looking for sub 1.27 WHIP would you start Bum-G vs. Ari, and/or Liriano vs. Toronto?

  25. Grey

    Grey says:

    @brad: Bumgarner

  26. Wilsonian says:

    My opponent just dropped Greinke (he is a Razzball reader, afterall), but it’s an 8 Team H2H Keeper where we keep 5, no draft penalties or anything, it’s just the first 5 rounds. I wouldn’t be keeping him, but we do off season trades. Should I drop someone and make a waiver claim on him? I guess I’m wanting to know what you think he’s got in the tank for ’11?

  27. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Wilsonian: He’s not a keeper in the first 5 rounds. Unless you package him with someone who is a keeper, he doesn’t have trade value.

  28. Back to Minors says:

    I see you’re not a fan of Garza or Liriano tonight…this is going to make me over-think!

  29. Back to Minors says:

    these will be tune up starts for Garza and Liriano…just flirting with disaster? neither will probably go more than 5inn?

  30. Wilsonian says:

    @Grey: yeah, that’s kind of what I was thinking, packaging him with someone else for a better keeper. But I’m not sure it would even really help me out. We don’t really have the first 5 rounds, the draft basically just starts in round 6 as round 1.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Back to Minors: Won’t go more than 5 IP or 100 pitches. Rays and Twins aren’t playing for anything really and the Kays and Royals are surprisingly dangerous. Kays vs. lefties is a good matchup though, so Liriano’s not as worrisome, on one hand. Other hand, he hasn’t been good lately.

    @Wilsonian: Not sure why someone would want a package of a guy who isn’t keepable.

  32. Back to Minors says:

    @Grey: Royals already hurt me once with Slowey!
    thanks…no on to more thinking….

  33. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Back to Minors: No problem.


  34. Wilsonian says:

    @Grey: exactly, which is why I’m not picking him up. I’ll let someone else fall on that sword.

  35. Feeding the Abscess

    Travis says:

    Gallardo could be a sleeper next season. Why? His 3.83 ERA. Here’s why I say he could be a sleeper.

    2010 FIP leaders, MLB (includes yesterday’s games):

    Josh Johnson – 2.42
    Francisco Liriano – 2.49
    Cliff Lee – 2.65
    Adam Wainwright – 2.87
    Jered Weaver – 2.97
    Justin Verlander – 2.98
    Jon Lester – 2.99
    Roy Halladay – 3.02
    Yovani Gallardo – 3.03
    Felix Hernandez – 3.05
    Mat Latos – 3.05
    Clayton Kershaw – 3.13
    Chad Billingsley – 3.15
    Tim Lincecum – 3.16
    Ubaldo Jimenez – 3.16

    Gallardo’s BABIP was .340 and his LOB% 69.8. xFIP of 3.43… he might go low 3 to very high 2 ERA next year.

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