After Jada Pinkett Smith started the #closerssowhite controversy, boycotting SAGNOF until there were more black closers, because her husband, Will Smith, wasn’t immediately anointed closer of the Brewers, the entire MLB began a well-needed discussion about race. Our Commissioner Manfred said, “I thought about this for a brief second, then I realized the entire league is Dominican. I mean, before I was chosen as commissioner I had to vacation in Punta Cana for a long weekend just to ‘feel the vibe’ as Selig said.” Jada Pinkett Smith said she will not sleep until her husband gets saves or Torii Hunter comes out of retirement and is made closer of one of those real white teams, “Maybe Minnesota.” Closers So White lives on. Will Smith’s closer season, however, looks about as promising as an After Earth sequel. On Saturday, it was reported he tore his LCL. He tore his 150? That’s like when Pablo Sandoval’s dyslexic cousin saw Pablo tore his 501’s. My money’s on Jeremy Jeffress getting the most saves in Milwaukee this year. My money also has Alfred E. Neuman on it. Jeffress is the top guy from the Brewers pen in my top 500 with Corey Knebel up next. The fantasy baseball war room has been updated, as well. (By the way, some rejected titles for this post were Collateral Ligaments of the World Ain’t Nothing But Trouble and Will Smith Gettin’ Limpy With It.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:
Ryan Braun – Already suffering from a stiff back after having back surgery this offseason. I have the feeling Braun is going to have a 18-homer season while struggling to stay on the field. I’m not moving him down in my rankings, but I’m also not excited about drafting him. Steamer hitter projections has him down for 24 HRs and 17 SBs in 141 games, and that feels generous at this point. Maybe 18/12 is more realistic? I don’t know, but I will say 24/17 feels like the ceiling rather than the floor while the basement is being remodeled by the Property Brothers for Braun to move into.
Jon Gray – Diagnosed with a strained abdomen and will miss a week of the season. Prior to this, he was diagnosed with a “Pitches at Coors,” so he was an avoid anyway. If you’re a fan of the director of Straight Outta Compton, that’s F. Jon Gray.
Troy Tulowitzki – X-rays on his knuckles came back negative after he was hit by a pitch on the hand. You could tweet “Tulo is hurt” and pin it for the whole season.
Will Venable – Released by the Indians like a smoke signal or Wayne Newton from a casino contract. As previously reported, I added Tyler Naquin into the top 100 outfielders. If the Indians couldn’t have an Al Naquin, at least they have a Tyler.
Michael Brantley – Unlikely to be ready for OD. No one is, man. I was watching the Amy documentary and– *intern whispers in my ear* I’m told OD is Opening Day.
Jake Arrieta – Has a blister on his thumb. Don’t worry, his Opening Day start isn’t in Dire Straits.
Kris Medlen – Will be the Royals 5th starter. True or false, I have him ranked in my top 100 starters. True and false. He’s ranked in the top 100, but outside of the top 100. Oh, Grey, you are a puzzle brain.
Tyler Moore – Acquired by the Braves for Nate Freiman. This reminds me of the trade I made in middle school of a Milli Vanilli CD for a Gregg Jefferies rookie card. At least the Gregg Jefferies rookie card took up less space.
A.J. Pollock – “Mint” Chip Hale is not ruling out a DL stint for Pollock to begin the year. This doesn’t sound like a big deal at all. Just some elbow thing. I’d continue to draft him aggressively. *opens up A.J. Pollock schmohawk post and laughs maniacally* Cougs, I will take out the garbage in a minute, I’m laughing maniacally right now! Geez, woman!
Steven Wright – Will be the fifth starter until Eduardo Rodriguez returns at the end of April. Steven Wright drolly said, “I hope I don’t let anyone down. But no promises if I have to carry David Ortiz.”
Brock Holt – Could usurp Rusney Castillo for the left field job. Usurp is also what I want to name my ramen shop, except spelled U•Surp. It wouldn’t shock me if Holt takes the job and Rusney becomes a 4th outfielder. Brucely, they’re both 4th outfielders. I drafted Holt in one league for his Swiss Army knife-ness of eligibility. With him, anything’s POSsible.
Daniel Norris – Has non-displaced fractures in his back. Brad Ausmus said the injury sounds worse than it is. Ausmus is the first Jew ever to play down an injury. Tigers say Norris’s timetable doesn’t change (missing just a few starts), which sounds completely unlikely.
Victor Martinez – On track to play Tuesday. Brad Ausmus said, “(V-Mart) said he felt absolutely nothing. He really hasn’t felt anything for about five days,” when asked if V-Mart still had a pulse, Ausmus slowly walked out of the room. Situation developing!
Scott Kazmir – Left Saturday’s game with an abdominal injury, which comes a week after he was dealing with decreased velocity. Was almost one full preseason roundup without a Dodgers injury. Ya know, I’m not sure how I feel about the Dodgers remaking M.A.S.H. It was such an iconic TV show/movie of its time. In related news, a little red man with horns was seen driving around with a Trump bumper sticker, asking where the Dodgers train in the preseason so he could collect a soul. Seems like Kazmir’s full season last year had some stipulations.
Yasmani Grandal – Dave Roberts hopes to have Grandal for Opening Day. Yeah, someone’s gotta catch, pitch and play left field for the Dodgers.
Evan Gattis – Will start the year on the DL. No surprise, he was always pegged to miss a week or two in April. Or he was always April’d to miss a week or two in Peg, if you have female name dyslexia.
Tyler White – When the promise of spring couldn’t be more pulchritudinous, Prince Fielder hit the veggie buffet and went heavy on the kale. Oh, sorry, didn’t hear you come in. I was just updating Casey at the Bat. Sure glad I don’t need to say pulchritudinous for my book on tape; I’ll leave that to George Will! So, Tyler White is now in the lead for the 1st base job in Houston until A.J. Reed emerges. So what’s that, a two month audition? Sounds like he’s auditioning for Kubrick. Will only play two months? Nothing here! Dot dot dot. Or is there?! White could take over or platoon with Valbuena when Reed comes up. White doesn’t K and walks a lot. That get your juices flowing? Meh, a little for me, but not much. He has Loney-ish power, which is to say droppers between the 2nd baseman and right fielder. I added him in the top 20 1st basemen, and gave him the projections of 47/9/52/.274/1.
Matt Wieters – Played catch from 120 feet. Too bad he didn’t play catch with 120 feet. That would be cool. Like a flash mob of Hacky Sackers.
Justin Masterson – Will hold a showcase on Monday. Right now, he’s writing on a sign in magic marker “Ray Searage” and affixing it to a folding chair, which will be his last production design touch for his updated Waiting for Godot.
Dae-Ho Lee – Made the Mariners team to face lefties at first base and maybe DH. Lee hopes his addition will be more than just as a modification on adjectives, verbs and other adverbs. Fangraphs, which has never said a negative word about any Mariner ever, managed to say some nice things about Lee, but only barely. They said he was better than Chris Carter and Pedro Alvarez, which is the usual Mariner homerism. I’d bet anyone that Lee won’t approach those guys in value. Lee is going to be 34 years old this year, looks like Billy Butler ate Godzilla and might get 250 ABs. Nothing to see here for fantasy unless he breaks out.
Jesus Montero – Designated for assignment. Hopefully, Jesus will emerge again next Easter.
Jacoby Ellsbury – Still feels discomfort in his wrist. You’d have to pay me to draft Ellsbury. Not much. Hey, I’m a cheap date. But I still wouldn’t draft him without some form of compensation.
Alex Rodriguez – Could retire after the 2017 season. Will give him more time to hang out with his best friend, a mirror.