Brian, Fantasy Potpourri, Rumblings

Fantasy Potpourri: Let’s All Pass Some Judgement

[The following are mostly fantasy baseball notes with a sprinkling of pop-cultural snippets]

  • As if Giancarlo “Michael” Stanton wasn’t already having the season that dreams nightmares are made of (3 HR, .227 BA), Ed Guana of has reported that Stanton left Monday’s tilt with a hamstring injury. Hey, if he’s not getting at-bats, he can’t strikeout, right?
  • Super prospect Nolan Arenado made his major league debut on Sunday, going 0-3 with a BB. While he’s a must add in NL-only leagues, mixed leaguers should let him swim with the likes of Mike Moustakas and Pedro Alvarez in the free agent pool until he shows us something. A lot of oh-fers are in his future.
  • ESPN’s Chris Broussard came out of the closet Monday as a Bible thumping douche bag. The sports reporter/analyst/talking-head, when referring to Jason Collins announcement that he’s gay, stated that homosexuality is “an open rebellion to God.” So is getting a tattoo, wearing polyester, and, oh yeah, getting divorced. Maybe Broussard should come down on NBA players who augment their bodies, wear jerseys, and have hoes in different area codes. Continue reading
reality blog, Wooden

The Reality Blog: Anatomy of a Baseball Fight

He likes confrontation.

He likes confrontation.

The always quotable Earl Weaver once said: “I think there should be bad blood between all [baseball] clubs.”

If true, Weaver would certainly love to be in the heart of the latest saga in the on-again, off-again rivalry between the Los Angeles Dodgers and their kid brothers down south, the San Diego Padres. The blood between the two clubs is currently so bad that the medieval practice of using leaches to suck out the toxins is a viable option. It’s a rivalry with a growing dislike that at times has compared to some of the greatest rivalries we’ve seen: Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi; Mac vs. the PC;  Lakers vs. Celtics. David vs. Goliath.

Perhaps that last analogy is the one that suits this current edition of the Dodgers-Padres rivalry, for it certainly feels as though the free-spending Dodgers and their quarter billion dollar lineup qualify as Goliaths in their own right and the Padres, with their Dollar Tree pitching staff and their lineup full of “hopefuls” are the scrappy David. It’s telling that the scouting reports for both teams couldn’t be any more different. For the Dodgers most would use the ‘if everything goes wrong’ caveat in describing how their season could unfold, for it is almost a foregone conclusion that the season will go well. For the Padres, the only optimism lies in the ‘if everything goes right’ line, and there are a LOT of ifs for that to happen this season.

However, when these two teams show up on the same diamond to square off, wins and losses, payroll discrepancies, and star power are tossed aside. This is one of those rivalries where the intensity is always there, records aside (I still remember going to a Padres-Dodgers tilt a few years back when both teams were mediocre at best and the stadium had playoff-level intensity). It may not be quite what the Dodgers-Giants rivalry has been in recent years, but that’s more attributed to the fact that the Pads haven’t held up their end of the bargain by winning.

So, when Carlos Quentin went all Jerome-Bettis-at-the-goal-line on Donald Zachary Greinke (thank you for sourcing this awesome name discovery) last week, it seemed inevitable. A rule of thumb is if the fans of both teams are fighting in between beers in the parking lot before the game, the players on the field probably feel much the same. A broken collarbone and an eight-week DL stint for Greinke and an eight game suspension for Quentin has sparked controversy and dialogue. Is it fair for one team to lose a core player for two months while the other team only misses the guy who hurt that player for a couple weeks? Let’s examine.

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Brian, Circle of Trust, Closers, Relievers

Closer Circle of Trust: April 2013




Joel Hanrahan Greg Holland Shawn Camp Joaquin Benoit
Mitchell Boggs J.J. Putz Addison Reed Huston Street Grant Balfour
Casey Janssen
Ernesto Frieri Sergio Romo Craig Kimbrel Aroldis Chapman Joe Nathan Tom Wilhelmsen
Brandon League Jim Johnson Mariano Rivera Jonathan Papelbon Rafael Soriano
Jose Veras Fernando Rodney Chris Perez Rafael Betancourt
Jason Grilli Bobby Parnell
Steve Cishek Jim Henderson Glen Perkins  

Notes: The closer carousel begins. Hopefully you bought into the closers who are in blue or green in your draft. The outside looking in isn’t where you want to hang out. But let’s take a look at each color. Trusted pitchers are “set it and forget it” guys. Solid pitchers have a reasonable chance at recording 30 saves. Danger pitchers have a reasonable chance at having the door closed behind them, very soon.

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reality blog, Wooden

The Reality Blog: How One Country Cornered the MLB Market

The L.A. Guns were highly touted.

The L.A. Guns were highly touted.

Sunset Strip was hallowed ground in the 80’s. It was a cornucopia of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, along with healthy doses of Aquanet, leopard print, and androgyny. Hair metal was everything. Motley Crue, Poison, L.A. Guns (who would later birth Guns N Roses), Great White, Warrant, and nearly any other assembly of dudes with long hair, trashy attire, and a half ounce of talent were snatched up and given massive amounts of money, cocaine, and women by every big record label in America.

It was the scene. You were not going to succeed as a record label in reaching the youth demographic in America if you didn’t have a successful stable of hair bands on your imprint, and Sunset Strip was the place to find them all. You needn’t look very hard either. They were pouring out of all the iconic venues: the Whiskey, Roxy, Troubadour, and Rainbow Room. It was a classic win-win for bands and labels alike; the right place and the right time applied equally to both sides. If you were the average, run-of-the-mill hair band, you wanted to be on Sunset to be “discovered.” Likewise, if you were the average label “suit” wanting to move up the proverbial ladder, you also wanted to be on Sunset, because that’s where the scene was.

The G-N-R cheese ballad ‘ParadiseCity’ summed the Sunset scene up perfectly. In baseball circles, the song title could also serve as an appropriate nickname for the Dominican Republic, Major League’s equivalent to the Sunset Strip of the 80’s.

It's hard to find. Look hard.

It’s hard to find. Look closely.

The Dominican Republic championship at the recent World Baseball Classic was not the start of something new, rather it was the exclamation point on a phenomenon that has taken over the sport of baseball over the past decade. To borrow from another hair band classic: they rocked the world like a hurricane (a category five at that).

The D.R. has become the premier purveyor of Major League talent in the world. It’s surpassed all the traditional powerhouses [Japan, Cuba, and (yes) the U.S.], and it’s by no accident. This country literally creates ballplayers the way Mr. Miyagi creates karate masters; by raising and training young boys across the country as soon as they are able to throw and catch a ball.

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Brian, Debate, Players of the Week, Questions

In Memoriam Chris Shelton

Chris Shelton. Cousin of Alex Smith. Fan of home runs. R.I.P.

Here lies Chris Shelton’s fantasy career. Cousin of Alex Smith. Fan of home runs. R.I.P.

From the time the words “Play Ball!” are first belted out on Opening Day, until the first week comes to a close, there are always hundreds of storylines that nobody could have predicted. Wacky stories will often be accompanied with “You can’t make this s**t up.” It’s why some of the best movies, especially lately, are based on “true” stories. This world is filled with incredible, sometimes unbelievable, happenings.

One such story came about in the first month of the 2006 season. Detroit Tiger’s first baseman, Chris “Red Pop” Shelton, selected in the 2004 Rule 5 draft from the Pittsburg Pirates, devoured American League pitching for the first 13 games of the season. Shelton had nine home runs before playing in his 14th game, the fastest American League player to do so. Needless to say, Shelton was a sought after commodity in fantasy leagues. Managers salivated over the power potential he possessed. The second coming of Mark McGuire was in our midst.

Sadly, after that 13th game, Shelton’s monstrous power retreated as fast as it had materialized. He only had one more home run that month, and only six more before being demoted at the end of July. Since that demotion, “Red Pop” only played in 63 more games before leaving the game for good. His magical fairy tale was over, and he turned back into an orange pumpkin.

Even though fantasy managers shouldn’t be surprised by fluke success stories like Shelton, it is still very tempting to think that this guy might be the real deal. For every Shelton, there is a Jose Bautista. Let’s take a look at some hitters who have jumped the gun and are treating this marathon like a sprint, and we’ll try and determine who is going to make it to the finish line and who is going to flame out.

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Awards, Brian, Butler, Jared, Rankings, Shorty, Thaller, Wooden

Pre-Season Award Show 2013!

These awards have no correlation with fantasy.

Going back to look at last year, all of us were homers and picked Yonder Alonso to win the NL Rookie of the Year. How wrong we were. We were equally wrong when Matt Moore and Yoenis Cespedes were picked to win the AL ROY. We never said these predictions were any good. Predictions are like…well…let’s just say everyone has one and they stink. In fact, the only correct prediction made last year by our team was calling Miguel Cabrera the AL Most Valuable Player by Jared Cothren. Bravo, Jared. Bravo.

Here is this year’s list. Just don’t bet your life on it.

RotoBrian Jared Butler Shorty SD Wooden Thaller
NL ROY Jedd Gyorko Shelby Miller Oscar Taveras Julio Teheran Jedd Gyorko Shelby Miller
AL ROY Wil Myers Wil Myers Wil Myers Wil Myers Wil Myers Wil Myers
NL CY Cole Hamels Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kersahw Cole Hamels Stephen Strasburg
AL CY Justin Verlander Felix Hernandez Justin Verlander Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez Justin Verlander
NL MVP Ryan Braun Andrew McCutchen Joey Votto Joey Votto Justin Upton Matt Kemp
AL MVP Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout Evan Longoria Miguel Cabrera Prince Fielder