The day before our Independence Day, the Nationals exploded for six home runs, a fireworks display that would make the Grucci family jealous. The Grucci fireworks family has a fascinating history. Giuseppe Grucci in 1923 said to his momma, “I don’t want to be a two-bit gangster, cutting people's fingers off for debt payment, I want to blow up thousands of fingers all across this great nation.” Then his mother smacked him and told him to finish his lasagna. Yesterday, Bryce Harper (2-for-4) hit his 17th homer, Wilson Ramos (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 13th, Anthony Rendon (2-for-3, 2 runs) hit his 8th, but at the heart of the fireworks celebration was Danny Espinosa (4-for-5, 6 RBIs) with his 17th and 18th home run, and his 4th and 5th homers in the last four games. For those of you who think he’s a hot weekend bat, he hit .309 with nine homers in June. He’s only 29 years old, and he is a guy that has seasons of 20+ homers and 20 steals. So, yes, you should own him. Fun fact! Did you know what they call a fireworks display on July 3rd? A premature ejacu-elation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Joe Ross – 5 1/3 IP, 4 ER, and hit the DL with shoulder inflammation. Our very own, JB Gilpin, has moist shoulders from his tears. This is great news for Lucas Giolito, who will stay in the rotation. Now, can someone get JB a tissue, his shoulders are going to be a breeding ground for fungus.
Stephen Strasburg – 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners (4 BBs), 5 Ks, ERA at 2.71 as he was activated from the DL. It makes it easier to activate a guy you own in a weekly league when they’re activated on Monday, not at the last frickin’ minute on Sunday.
Michael Brantley – Will take batting practice this week. Once he feels healthy, he should return almost immediately. He won’t be the type to need a long rehab assignment. Of course, him getting healthy has been like trying to watch OITNB on a dial-up connection. Brantley’s been buffering.
Corey Kluber – 3 1/3 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 3.79. He seems to be in this game of Pong between the ERAs of 3.40 and 3.90. Getting close to 3.40…pong…rolls back towards 3.90. Gets close to 3.90…pong…rolls back towards 3.40.
Josh Donaldson – 4-for-4, 4 runs, 1 RBI, hitting .298 and hit two homers in his last four games. F5!
Russell Martin – 3-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs and his 7th homer. You can add him, but then he’ll stop hitting homers, so why not leave him alone for the rest of us?
Justin Smoak – 1-for-6, 2 RBIs and his 9th homer, and a 2nd home run this weekend. Where there’s Smoak getting hot, there’s…um…A fire schmotato?
Chris Archer – 5 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA down to 4.50. I just traded for him (sending DJ LeMahieu and K-Rod), so you’re likely thinking, “Wow, Grey got some good luck for once.” Yeah, that’s sweet of you to think, but to offset the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who waves over my team a “you’re-so-effed” wand, I needed to trade away Archer on Friday in another league (with Cishek), trading for David Price. So, sorry to all of you Price owners.
Blake Snell – 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 3.86. He’s actually pitching really good. Dot dot dot. For a rookie pitcher. I’m sure at some point in the future he’ll be all that and a bag of thinly-sliced potatoes that have been baked and/or fried, but for right now, I’d look at Snell as a streamer and use the Stream-o-Nator for him.
Ian Kinsler – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer, and 2nd homer in as many games. After the home run, Kid Dish and Ausmus practiced their new celebratory handshake which is the miming of spinning of a dreidel.
Rich Hill – 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 2.31, as he was activated from the DL. Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department voicemail says, “Due to commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which was not a declaration of independence for women, blacks, Asians, Native Americans or anyone but white men, I have today off. I would be partying like Ben Franklin if he knew Molly, the drug and not Molly Pitcher.”
Chad Kuhl – 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 2 Ks, ERA at 4.09. Kuhl’s not old enough to be a prospblock, but I still want Glasnow and I won’t take no for an answer! Unfortch, I’m not asking anyone of relevance to have Glasnow promoted, so my ‘no obstinance’ doesn’t matter.
Max Kepler – 1-for-3, 1 RBI and two homers on Saturday (4, 5). Has three homers this week, and it’s easy to dismiss everything the Twins touch as turning to Destiny’s Child post-Beyonce, but Kelly Rowland isn’t terrible, and Kepler could have some value.
Kevin Jepsen – Designated for assignment. To tell him he was designated, the Twins edited together Bill Paxton saying, “Today is our independence day from…” Then edited in Paul Molitor saying, “Kevin Jepsen.”
Cole Hamels – 4 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 2.93. This is a more general note. I had people asking if they should start Hamels his last time out in Yankee Stadium. If you only start your aces in good matchups, then you started Hamels vs. the Twins yesterday, where he didn’t pitch well and benched him in Yankee Stadium, where he did pitch well. Don’t pick and choose ace starts. I start my top starters everywhere unless there're some weird circumstances like a close H2H matchup, and you don’t need the start.
Shin-Soo Choo – 2-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 6th homer, and third homer in the last four games. Well, ain’t that a kick in the Shin-Soo’s!
A.J. Reed – 0-for-4, but hit his first major league homer on Saturday. Too bad it was as a pinch hitter. I’ll say it for you, sonavabench!
Doug Fister – 4 2/3 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 3.66 vs. Chris Sale – 7 IP, 4 ER, 7 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.93, moving his record to 14-2. This matchup was billed as a special for the Navy attendees, where they got to choose, “Sale or Fister, get the peg boy!” Speaking of Fister and doing some adulting, who’s more excited than me to get Antiques Roadshow tickets?!
Jose Quintana – 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 3.06. After having a June ERA of 5.51, it’s good to see him right the ship. I don’t own him, so I don’t give a ship.
Mike Zunino – Two homers on Saturday. Who’s Zunino’ing who?! Those were his first two homers of the season because that was his first game of the season. See how that works? I don’t have much love for Zunino, but as a flyer for power upside? Don’t think it’s hurting anyone. Unless, of course, you’re sitting next to Nick Hundley on a plane and you tell him what a piece of crap he is and that you’re grabbing Zunino instead, then it might hurt someone.
Seth Smith – 1-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 10th homer, and has home runs in four straight games. The Lisper’s Nightmare ith one of the hotteth thomatoeth in the land right now.
Mark Trumbo – 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 24th homer. I’m not rooting for him to get hurt in the All-Star game. And, no, I’m not saying this now as some way to try to jinx him. How low do you think I’d stoop?
Lucas Harrell – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 5 Ks in his first start of the year. Damn, there’s a name from the past. Y’all remember Lucas Harrell? I last talked about him in 2013, after he came up in 2012. He’s now 31 and hasn’t pitched in the majors in two years. Way back in 2012, I said, “Anyone with a rotation spot, you own in NL- or AL-Only leagues, so I grabbed Harrell in an NL-Only league. Never looked at his stats. Just grabbed him. Then he pitched well yesterday for the second time in three starts, and I was like, “Hey, this guy’s awesome! I wanna see his minor league stats.” So I Googled his name to see his minor league stats, and Googled asked me, “Are you sure you want to see his minor league stats?” Yes, Google! Give ’em to me! “Oh.” That was my reaction after seeing his stats. Um, yeah, I wouldn’t touch him in mixed leagues.” And that’s me quoting me! By the way, he played for the Astros when I wrote that. The Astros of the NL. Damn, Father Time is a speedy, little Puerto Rican in a tracksuit and stopwatch that runs real fast on the treadmill, am I right?
Zack Greinke – Hit the DL with an oblique strain. It’s funny (not funny) how oblique means ‘obscure, unclear meaning’ and, without fail, every time someone has an oblique strain they don’t understand the meaning, i.e., that they need to go immediately to the DL.
Paul Goldschmidt – 1-for-5, 2 runs and a slam (15) and legs (11), hitting .294. Au Shizz!
Jake Lamb – 1-for-5, 2 RBIs and his 19th homer. Baaaaah, baaaaah badass Lamb! Does Goldy and Lamb homer together all the time or what? Not to answer (because they don’t), but to ponder quietly.
Albert Suarez – 6 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA at 3.72. He’s a 26-year-old with no pedigree and a 6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9-type profile. In other words, I just spilled my cup of yawns reaching for the snooze button.
Scott Kazmir – 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 4.37. He was Shizzmir for the last month, but the Rockies on the road and the Padres in his next start can be all the help he needs. By the by, a Shizzmir is also what American astronauts called Russian space stations. “What vodka were they drinking when they used masking tape to hold this thing together?”
Brandon McCarthy – 5 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 8 Ks as he was activated from the DL. He’s available in multiple leagues of yours truly, the Holy See-My Stache, Grey “Fantasy Master Lothario” Albright, and I didn’t grab him anywhere. If all things were equal, then Cougs would look like Selena Gomez, but since all things aren’t equal, McCarthy is a 4.30 ERA pitcher, and someone to use the Stream-o-Nator on.
Yasmani Grandal – 1-for-2 and his 8th homer, hitting .185. That was his third homer in the past seven games, though that dates back about fifteen days. OBPwulf has been anything but a monster thus far, but he’s overdue like that Freddy Got Fingered Blockbuster rental.
Trayce Thompson – 1-for-3 and his 13th homer. Trayce or Puig? Is it close? Remind me again what’s great about Puig? Aside from the first two months of his career three years ago. Puig hit 11 homers last year; he’s on pace for 12 this year. I doubt he gets there because he’s always injured. Seriously, Puig is good because _____? He has a good arm?
Jake McGee – Was activated from the DL and pitched in the 7th inning of a losing game on Saturday. Now, it was possible Walt Weiss forgot where the scoreboard was and thought it was the ninth inning of a winning game, but it seems like he didn’t and said Carlos Estevez would remain the closer. There is probably an argument made to build up McGee’s trade value as the closer, and move him late this month, but making an argument to Walt Weiss is like making an argument to a head of cabbage.
Stephen Piscotty – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 10th homer. Also, in this game, Aledmys Diaz (1-for-3, 1 run, 1 RBI) hit his 11th homer. How does Aledmys have more homers than Piscotty? Grey doesn’t know! Grey doesn’t know!
Michael Wacha – 5 IP, 2 ER, 10 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 4.38. Now has five straight kinda, decent-enough starts that aren't moving my needle a ton, and, yes, that’s my needle.
Brandon Maurer – The Padres named him their closer because they heard people were talking about adding Ryan Buchter in fantasy leagues and the number one rule of the Padres is “No one talks about the Padres,” and when they heard people talking about the Padres, they got mad. Plus, Buchter is a lefty and Maurer is a righty so that prolly played into it.
Yangervis Solarte – 4-for-4 and his 5th homer, hitting .296. In his last ten games, he’s raised his average almost forty points, so, yeah, hot schmotato alert!
Mark Teixeira – 2-for-5, 3 RBIs and two home runs (6, 7), and four homers in the past week. I told you he was hot last week, and this week he’s still not injury, and apparently still hot.
Chad Green – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 8 Ks, 11.5 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, 2.26, throws 94 MPH and had a 1.54 ERA in Triple-A with a 9 K/9, so obviously I’m a hardcore cyclops with a monocle on this guy, but he could get sent back down or to the bullpen.
Kendrys Morales – 0-for-3, but two home runs (13, 14) on Saturday. I’ve been telling you to pick him up for the last three weeks. The Morales of this story is stop smoking weed it’s slowing your reaction time down.
Danny Duffy – 8 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 3.11. Racist! Besides, Danny Duffy should be more like 24. Or 214. Or 26. Or even 225. Right now, there is a good 99% of the people reading thinking, “What the eff is Grey talking about?” 311 is the call sign for–You know what? This tangent’s bored me. I’ve told people to grab Duffy for the last six weeks. Lay off the herbal medicine, doode!
Yordano Ventura – 2 2/3 IP, 4 ER and left with an ankle injury. His ERA is 5.26, and he hasn’t pitched well since 2014, so, of course, he’s owned in more than 50% of ESPN leagues. Maybe some of those leagues have a Fight category.
Aaron Nola – 5 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 4.69. After his last start, I said I wouldn’t start him anywhere until I saw a good start, but that I would also hold onto him. Ya know what? We’re not here to own cuddle buddies. I still wouldn’t start him, but I could see not holding him too.
Cameron Rupp – 2-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 8th homer. In a two-catcher league, you would’ve been better off drafting Rupp and Tyler Flowers than Devin Mesoraco and Travis d’Arnaud. Yep yep yep, said a la Al from Happy Days.
Vince Velasquez – 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.34. Phils got out to a quick lead, so it’s appropriate that VV cruised to the W.
Cody Asche – 1-for-4 and his 3rd home run. I keep talking about Asche being hot, but it makes sense that his name is Asche, because enthusiasm for him is done fired up and spent. Call him C. Asche’d, because no one cares to take another hit.
Maikel Franco – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 14th homer, hitting .258. He’s on pace for 28 homers. Damn, I love the math at the exact midpoint of the season.
C.J. Cron – 0-for-4 but, on Saturday, he went 6-for-6, 5 runs, 5 RBIs and two homers (8, 9). Curtis Jackson Cron with the Magic Stick!
Carlos Perez – 5-for-6, 2 runs, 6 RBIs and his 4th homer on Saturday. Better late than never by CP’s time.
Andrelton Simmons – 3-for-4, 2 runs and his 2nd steal, hitting near-.350 in the last week. That’s out of this world! That’s me looking at Andrelton’s face.
Matt Shoemaker – 4 2/3 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 4.40. Okay, two steps forward, one timmmmmmmmmber fall backwards, but this start was in Fenway and wasn’t advisable anyway.
Sandy Leon – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, hitting .457. “Go to a 4th of July BBQ or ask Grey a catcher question.” That’s you weighing your options.
Wilmer Flores – 6-for-6, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and two home runs (4, 5). After the game, Flores said, “No, no, these are tears of joy.” He had only two hits in the last week, but two homers in a game goes a long way to being a hot schmotato.
Noah Syndergaard – 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 2.41. The score is now Elbow Spurs 1, Syndergaard 1, and we’re going to extra innings.
Curtis Granderson – 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 14th homer as he was a late addition to the lineup. Must’ve been a Curtis-y flush with excitement.
Jake Arrieta – 5 1/3 IP, 4 ER, ten baserunners, 4 Ks. You know, when he threw his no-hitter and everyone was giving him a reach around, I was the lone dissenting voice that said for about a month straight that he’s just not pitching as well as last year. And he’s not. The underlying numbers aren’t, oddly enough, lying.
Jon Lester – 1 1/3 IP, 8 ER. The Regression Fairies were in Queens for Independence Day, protesting that the borough changes its name to Homosexuals with the only train lines that pass through being the L, G, B, and T.