Welcome to The Port-o-Potty, a place where I can dump all the excessive baseball knowledge that is clogging my brain onto you, the unsuspecting reader. So open the door, plug your nose, and take a look at the sloppy mess I’ve left for you this week.
I LOVE...David Wright
When I heard the rumor that Jennifer Aniston might be interested in getting physical with “Mr. Metro” himself, I actually got excited. Not in my pants. In my heart. I honestly felt as proud as a father whose son was just caught boinking the Prom Queen in the auditorium. And before you ask, no, I'm not a Mets fan.
I have, however, owned Wright for his entire professional career and I wear a shirtsy with his name on the back at least twice a week. I also have a mousepad with his likeness on it. And sometimes I have dreams about him asking me to be his roommate.
You know, the more I talk about it, the more I'm starting to think that I should pull a Champ Kind and sit the next one out. Maybe stop talking for awhile...
I HATE...Paul Konerko and Pat Burrell
I had a leaguemate call me up the other night to inform me that he just traded Ryan Dempster for David Ortiz. We bullshitted for awhile, debated the possibility of Dempster repeating his '08 line (so far, so good) and basically talked giddily about the baseball season finally arriving.
As the conversation was wrapping up, he revealed his true reason for the call;
"Oh, I forgot...just wanted to let you that both Konerko and Burrell are officially on the trading block."
He paused for effect, as if he had just dropped the fantasy equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb on my brain. And in essence, I guess he had because the laughter/convulsions that I immediately went into had to resemble someone who’s been exposed to extremely high levels of radiation. All I could muster between giggles was a sarcastic,
"Ahhhhh, not interested...good luck with that though, buddy."
The only person less appealing in trade talks than Pat Burrell is Paul Konerko. That's a fact, my friends.
I ENJOY STORIES INVOLVING BOOZE...
After drunken fans littered the field with baseballs and paper airplanes on Opening Day, the Gaming Commission of Ontario banned all alcohol sales in Toronto's Rogers Centre for three upcoming games because of past transgressions (one in which there was a near riot in the upper deck that resulted in over 100 fan ejections).
The incidents have coincidentally coincided with a promotion called "Messin' With Recession" where upper deck seats are slashed to $4 a pop. Signs posted at the stadium listed five reasons for the suspended alcohol license:
-Permitting the use of narcotics
-Selling and serving to apparent minors
-Failure to request approved identification
-Permitting illegal liquor on the premises
So let me get this straight, for $4 I could not only watch a Major League baseball game, but I could do it surrounded by a bunch lewd druggies and wasted teenagers? I'm not joking when I say...that sounds f***ing awesome.
I always assumed that the only reason I'd ever go to Canada would be to hit up the strip clubs in Windsor or to escape a felony conviction, but attending a Jays game is quickly forcing its way into my plans.
On a side note: What does the Gaming Commission of Ontario think is going to happen on those dates that they've prohibited beer sales? I'll tell you what'll happen, smuggled in flasks of whiskey, that's what. And I think we all know that a Canuck happily filled with 12 Molson's is a much tamer animal than one with two pints of 100 proof Canadian Club filtering through his veins.
This could turn out to be one of the biggest back-fire plans of all-time...
While we're on the subject, here's the Top Five most inappropriate places I've smuggled liquor into (in no particular order):
1. Buffalo Wild Wings
2. A Super Bowl party in a hotel banquet room (and when I say “smuggled” I mean I carried a dripping cardboard box filled with beer and ice through the front doors. I think I made it about three minutes before being escorted out).
3. World History class
4. An 18 and over strip club with bottomless dancers (not necessarily inappropriate, but highly illegal...and extremely necessary)
5. A little league baseball game at which I had no connection to anyone involved.
PEOPLE WITH ODDLY SHAPED BODY PARTS MAKE ME LAUGH...
If there's one player that you need to see in action this season, it's Brewers backup first baseman Brad Nelson. At first glance, I thought I was looking at the white Prince Fielder, but upon further examination, he's not nearly as dumpy as I originally pegged him to be.
His face though...man. Calling it plump would be like saying that I look semi-athletic when I run. Seriously, it's beyond beefy. Seeing his batting helmet squished halfway down his ginormous head is baseball's version of "fat guy in a little coat."
I was already planning a trip up to Brewtown for a game this summer (with a mandatory stop at the Leinie Lodge of course), but the Farley-faced first baseman solidified it.
For those of you outside the know, Nelson's meaty mug was once a highly touted commodity, and he's shown good power numbers down on the farm (and actually stole 13 bases last season in AAA despite weighing in at 260lbs).
If something were to ever happen to Fielder, Nelson would be a must-add...and not just for comedy's sake either.
And now onto some actual fantasy insight. Let's take a look around the diamond at some position players that had me googling like a crazed porn addict after their first week of action (stats up-to-date as of Apr. 13)...
Victor Martinez...is back. Bitches. (.320 avg/5 runs/2 HR/3 RBI)
Not much to this analysis. "V-Mart" has two homers in 18 at-bats thus far. Last year it took him 266 trips to the dish to accumulate two dongs (and by dongs, I don't mean genitalia. That would be weird).
Last season at this time, Martinez had already suffered a hamstring injury and owners were cursing themselves for selecting him as the top catcher in fantasy.
Now, owners are cursing themselves for NOT taking him as the first overall backstop. With Kelly Shoppach's presence, he's basically a first baseman moonlighting as a catcher, which’ll keep him fresher and stronger later into the season.
Hell, I'll even go so far as to say that he betters the 25 homer, 114 RBI campaign he put together in '07.
Kendry Morales...can hit the piss out of a baseball (.304 avg/2 runs/1 RBI)
-Morales—a career .332 hitter in the minors—crushed pitching to the tune of a .400 average during spring training, and then started off his reign as the everyday first baseman for the Angels by hitting .304 during the first week.
His power is still a work in progress, and expecting anything more than 15 bombs would be unwise, but Morales' professional bat would be a welcome addition to corner infield spots everywhere.
If you're looking for a guide, take a look at what James Loney did last year, subtract 10 RBI, add 20 batting average points, and voila! You get Kendry Morales circa 2009.
Aaron Hill...is no longer concussed (.300 avg/5 runs/2 HR/8 RBI)
-Talk about a lost year. Hill entered '08 with high expectations, struggled out of the gate and then suffered a season-ending concussion in a violent collision with David Eckstein in mid-May.
I implore you to forget all about last season (after all, Hill certainly has), and instead think back to the year before—Hill's second full season—when he hit .291 with 17 jacks and ended up as the ninth ranked second baseman according to Yahoo! rankings.
Now that he's entering his age 27 season (read: his prime), and is slotted second in a suddenly potent Blue Jays offense, Hill could prove to be this year's version of a less flexible Mark DeRosa.
Yunel Escobar...is a badass in the making (.400 avg/5 runs/1 HR/5 RBI)
The fiery Cuban is a career .304 hitter in over 850 at-bats, walks nearly as much as he strikes out and displayed double-digit home run power in his first full season. So why in the hell is he currently owned by less than half of all Yahoo! gamers? I have no idea. And I'm not even going to try and figure out where the grudge lies, I'll just keep on plugging and playing the blossoming defector and reaping the benefits that his elite talent provides. Do the same and you could earn an invite to my highfalutin "Esco-party" that I have no intention of actually holding, but will definitely make up some killer t-shirts for.
Chone Figgins...is still Chone Figgins (.263 avg/7 runs/1 RBI/5 steals)
Once a prominent multi-positional stolen base prodigy, Figgins suffered through two consecutive injury limiting seasons and was basically an afterthought come draft day. Amazing what a healthy set of hammy's will do for your production.
Although he's not gonna hit over .300 as he did in '07, .290 is well within his wheelhouse, and if the man with the most erroneously spelled name in the majors can stay healthy, "Figgy" owners are looking at 600 plus at-bats, 50 swipes, and at least 100 runs. Believe me when I say, you should get you some of that.
Randy Winn...is the new Raul Ibanez (.375 avg/5 runs/1 HR/4 RBI/3 steals)
For some reason, certain players elicit a negative attitude out of fantasy owners based on name factor alone. Raul Ibanez , for instance, could always be found floating in free agency despite the fact that he was a perennial .290 average, 20 homer, 100 RBI performer.
Whether it was the awful teams that he played for, the absence of excellence in any one category, or simply a personality deficiency, there was something about him that repelled fantasy owners from latching onto his productive musk. Now that Ibanez is in Philly, that seems to have changed. And the torch has been passed to Randy Winn.
What I want to do here is implore you discriminating bastards to forget the actual player and just look at the damn stats. He's hit over .300 four out of the last five years, and has registered at least 573 at-bats every season since 2002.
The guy jacked 25 bags (in 27 attempts) in '08, and that came while being slotted in the three-hole the majority of the time. Now that he's hitting leadoff, Winn’s been given the green light to steal at will from manager Bruce Bochey.
I won't be the least bit surprised to see him put up double-digit homers, 30 stolen bases, 90 plus runs and a .300 average. In fact, I'm so pumped up about Winn that I just went and picked him up. Right now. It just happened.
Nyjer Morgan...should be owned (.423 avg/5 runs/5 RBI/3 steals)
Morgan has the full-time left field gig on lockdown and the Pirates trust him enough to trot him out as their leadoff hitter on an everyday basis.
He's had a taste of big league action, and like a glass of milk spiked with a shot of Bailey's, it seems to agree with him (.297 average with 16 steals in 286 at-bats). He pilfered 44 bags in 86 AAA games in '08, and has a career .362 OBP in the minors.
So to sum up: steady playing time, solidified in the leadoff role, capable major league hitter, knows how to take a walk, and he’s quicker than a virgin at a whorehouse. Plus, he wears his flat-billed cap cocked to the side, so you know he's a gangsta on the diamond.
Wait, I just described Juan Pierre in his prime, didn't I?
For all your fantasy baseball needs, including more "insight" from The Rex, check out RotoExperts.com . Or email him at email@example.com.
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