Friday, April 23, 2010


I asked the Psychic last week if I should offer another manager Chase Utley and Troy Tulowitzki for Hanley Ramirez and Zack Greinke.

Her response: "Not if you want to win."

While Hanley is clearly an upgrade over ANYBODY, even the #2 shortstop in the game, she didn't feel Utley for Greinke made up for the difference between Tulo and Hanley, even though my SP is hurting so far, with my high-risk guys like Peavy and Webb doing little or nothing for me, and perennial late starter Jon Lester not turning in anything useful until tonight.

As we drove into town last night, I grilled her on another potential scenario: I give up Utley and Justin Upton, and get Pujols and someone else -- maybe Ben Zobrist.

My wife LOVES Albert Pujols, and of course, most fantasy players drink his bathwater. But she also worries about him getting hurt, and look -- the best player in baseball did have offseason surgery, and his back was bothering him during Spring Training.

Plus, Zobrist, whom she correctly identified as wearing a white uniform and having dark hair, is not due for a repeat of 2009. "He'll be good this year," she said, "But not great."

So there you have it. Two trades that will not take place, cause the Psychic doesn't like what she sees in her crystal ball.

One trade I DID make today, however: Jose Valverde and Ryan Ludwick for Jacoby Ellsbury. Admittedly, I didn't consult the Psychic, as the trade came together very quickly and unexpectedly at a coffee shop when she was not in consulting range. And no, she's not psychic enough to hear me thinking about trades if we're not in the same room!

I like this trade because I can probably trade or scrounge for another closer at some point, and while I believe Ludwick will have a big year hitting in front of the best player in the game (the aforementioned Pujols), I did pick him up off the waiver wire last week, so he's kind of gravy.

Trading for injured players is always risky. But since my league uses playoffs, I'm thinking about September, not May. Even if Jacoby is out all month, I'll still be glad I have him when the playoffs come around.

Don't get me wrong; the deal is fair, and I might even have taken it if I were on the other end. My friend Jeff, the other manager, also has Rajai Davis, and he needed power more than the Punch-and-Judy that Jacoby was providing. Plus, a good closer IS hard to find, and I'm taking a gamble I'll be able to grab another one down the line. A lot of managers like the peace of mind of getting rid of injured players and sparing themselves the headache.

But I like to play all-out, and while it often doesn't work (I traded for Reyes last year and he didn't do anything for me; I ended up dropping him), acquiring injured or recently injured players can pay off big (as anyone who owned Chris Carpenter last year, myself included, can tell you).

It's fun to go all-out, and while the Psychic sometimes stops me from doing trades that hurt me in the long run, I'm hopeful I got away with one today that will help both parties. As always, time will tell.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I need some thunder in my lineup.

Having traded Carlos Pena away in a package for Justin Morneau, which will help my batting average but hurt my power a bit, I am a bit concerned about my HR's.

I dropped Gordon Beckham (I know I should be more patient, but it's a shallow league), and snagged Ryan Ludwick, who is hitting over .300, got his first jack last night, and makes his living in the best batting order spot in the major leagues: Just ahead of El Hombre, the best hitter on the planet.

But I still need more power.

I've been streaming various castoffs in my second utility spot, from Big Papi (0 for 3 today) to Todd Helton (0 for 4 yesterday). Cameron Maybin is available, and so is Juan Pierre, but I don't need speed as I already have Andrew McCutchen. What I need is POWAH. Where am I going to find it?

This is what I was asking myself today as I pretended to work on a slow Monday morning (I did do some actual work this morning as well, but had a moment between appointments, and for once had no voicemails or emails to respond to). I decided to take a little breather from pretending to work and checked the ESPN baseball site. And there, I thought, may just be the answer to my prayers for power.

Ike Davis, the heralded Mets first base prospect, was called up today, along with his 20+ homer potential. Finally, that waiver claim I've been saving which wasn't good enough to get The Cracken (Jason Heyward), or the Halos' new closer, Fernando Rodney (who keeps the job after Fuentes comes back, by the way), may finally come in handy.

But of course, before I put in the claim, I had to ask The Psychic.

I was watching the Dbacks duke it out with the Cardinals as she puttered in the kitchen, and called out, "Hey Psychic!"


"Whaddya think of Ike Davis?"

The accustomed pause was followed by, "Does he have big ears?"

This made me laugh out loud, for obvious reasons, all the moreso because he DOES have big ears.

"Yes, he does," I guffawed, trying not to snarf my tea.

"Big tall guy, kind of goofy looking?"

Still snickering, I managed to say, "Yes," as I Googled him and saw that Ike is, in fact, 6'4" and 215.

"I feel like he wants to be a pitcher, but he can't pitch."

I have no idea what Ike Davis' childhood aspirations were, but I know he doesn't pitch now, and told her so.

"Outfield?" Like she even knows what that means.

"Close, he did play some outfield in the Pan-Am games," I said confidently, like I was Ike's biographer, when really, I had just learned this ten minutes ago from Tim Kurkjian when I channel-surfed over to Baseball Tonight. Then I said, "Will he hit 20 homers this year?"

"I don't know," the Psychic said indignantly. "Is that good?"

I've been married to the Psychic for nearly six years, and she still doesn't know the answer to this question.

But yes, it is good, and with further probing, she revealed that she doesn't see many injuries with Ike. I asked if he would be overmatched, and once I explained what I meant by this, she said, "He's not a very intense person, so there's not going to be a crisis of confidence. He's very even. He's a good work ethic guy."

In short, she feels good about him, and I do too, so we are predicting 20-25 homers with decent average and no speed. The upside is always there for more, a la Ryan Howard as a rookie a few years back, so I'm putting in my waiver claim and crossing my fingers.

By the way, the Psychic also opined that Tony LaRussa should get a haircut. She caught a glimpse of him during the Cards - Dbacks game and said, "He's kind of going for that 'Jim on the Office' look. It's not really workin' out."

And one other random piece of comedy:

Adam LaRoche at bat.

The Psychic: "Who's that guy? He's interesting."

Me: "Adam LaRoche. Yeah, he can be good."

Her: "Did he ever play in Japan?"

Me: "No."

Her: "You're SURE he never played in Japan?"

Me: "No. Pittsburgh. I guess that's pretty close."

Her: Laughing.

Hope you are too.

Til next time,

The Champ

Thursday, April 15, 2010


...Stephen Strasburg is going to be really, really good.

Yup, you heard me. And the Psychic has confirmed it.

I was reading one of my many, many baseball magazines last night (yes, I am obsessed) and the Psychic's eye happened to fall on the Prospects page, where The Great Nationals Hope was pictured in his Phoenix Desert Dogs hat (yes, I have one of those, courtesy of now-A's first base coach Todd Steverson -- thanks Todd!). Anyway, she busts out with, "Who's THAT?"

"Stephen Strasburg," I say nonchalantly.

"He's SPECIAL!" she squeals.

I swear, I did NOT tip her off. She just knows this stuff.

"He's probably the best pitching prospect in the last ten years," I say.

"Well, YEAH," she says, doing her best "Clueless"-era Alicia Silverstone eye-roll. Like, DUH.

"You recommend him?" I ask.

"I want to marry him," she says. Unfortunately for her (and for Stephen, since the Psychic is the best wife ever), she's already married to me.

"How bout we just watch him pitch, when he comes up?"


Okay. You heard it here first. Well, not really. But the Psychic has confirmed it:

Stephen Strasburg is going to be really, really good, for a really, really long time.

I wish I could buy low, but in my league, the DirtySouthPlayaz have him rostered. Actually, "rostered" is a nice word for it. The Playaz have Strasburg in a death grip, and I think it would take Chase Utley, Justin Morneau, and Jon Lester to get him away.

But if you can get him on the cheap, now's the time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I tried not to worry too much about Ben Sheets' rough spring.

After all, even before he was hurt, he always had a brutal time rounding into form, and he always did find it once the lights went on Opening Day.

But this year is different. Sheets is the Great Unknown -- actually, one of several -- on my pitching staff.

And with a WHIP of 1.91 in two starts this year, I'm already he worth keeping?

I decided to consult the Psychic, who was in rare form as she began to envision Sheets the minute I brought his name up.

"I see yellow and white."

Yes, he pitches for the A's.

"And he's a blonde kind?"

Well, not a kid anymore -- at age 31, Sheets is no spring chicken -- but he IS blonde, that's true.

"He's messed up in the head."

Whoa. Suddenly I hope Sheets and his family never read this blog. That's kind of harsh, so I ask for clarification.

"He lacks confidence. That's what I mean. Is he hurt? Does he get hurt a lot?"

Ummm, yeah. He didn't throw a pitch last year. And prior to that, he didn't have much of a positive track record regarding his health.

"He's worried he'll get hurt again. He's no good. I can't see the future, just the present. He could get good, but he's not good right now. You should cut him."

There you go. I may hang on to him for one more start, just to make sure (I'll bench him for that one). But it looks like my pitching may need its first cut of the year.

There are only 10 teams in my current mixed league. That means there are the likes of Ted Lily, Chris Young, Dice-K, and Gavin Floyd sitting around on the waiver wire.

I took hitters early in the draft, anchored my staff with Jon Lester and Brett Anderson, and then took a bunch of high-risk, high-reward pitchers. Then I traded for Webb, which put me all-in on that strategy. I knew the Floyds and Youngs would be out there, and figured I could get three aces and have to make a couple cuts amongst Sheets, Webb, Eric Bedard, Francisco Liriano, and Jake Peavy.

Looks like Sheets may be the first to go. He doesn't look good, he doesn't look confident, and one strikeout with two baserunners per inning would have blown my ratios last night, if they hadn't been blown already for the week (see previous post).

Neither I nor the Psychic are saying Sheets won't be good this year. But I can't bear having him sit around on my bench, or blow my ratios for a month, when I can get a Gavin Floyd or even a Ted Lily (who's coming off the DL, and who the Psychic loves) for the whole season.

I've always been quick with the trigger, and sometimes it burns me (see Pablo Sandoval last year). But that strategy also lets me pick up hot commodities (see Justin Upton last year). So I'll figure out the hottest hands at pitcher this week, take some gambles, and yes, Mr. Sheets, it's probably time for you to leave the island.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rolling the Dice with Wake

Four days into the new fantasy season, my head-to-head matchup is a dead heat.

My opponent is smoking me in ERA and WHIP due to strong starts from his co-aces, Tim Lincecum and Johan Santana. Meanwhile, one of my gambles (Ben Sheets) and one of my aces (Jon Lester) both got smoked in their first starts. So I'm well behind in ERA and WHIP and ready to punt those categories for the week.

However, I'm tied for strikeouts and only down one win, so it's time to go fishin' in the stream -- streaming pitchers, that is. I'm not usually one to stream, but with Webb, Bedard, and Lidge all on the DL, I don't have enough working pitcher spots at the moment to avoid going fishing. For catfish. Because tomorrow is fifth-starter day, and the pitchers going tomorrow (almost all of them available on the free-agent wire) are all bottom-feeders.

I asked the Psychic who she preferred amongst the available catfish, but I didn't bother asking her about the fellas who are going against good teams, or the ones with god-awful numbers last year.

I had pretty much narrowed it down to Rodrigo Lopez, who had an unexpectedly good spring training and goes tomorrow against the lowly (but currently overperforming) Pirates...

Or Tim Wakefield, a homer for me (I do love my Red Sox) who is hurling against the crappy Royals (sorry, Trey Hillman, I love you -- you are a true gentleman, the classiest gut in baseball -- but your team is full of quad-A players who shouldn't really be in the majors, Willie Bloomquist and Cy Young Greinke excepted).

I asked the Psychic, moments before she fell asleep on Snuggle Couch while watching an old episode of The Office, who she thought I should go with. She liked Lopez all right, but was definitely more keen on Wakefield. Maybe it's because it'll be windy in KC tomorrow, and Wake's knuckle ball will be dancing. Maybe it's because the Red Sox have that sick new defense, and barring a slugfest he's likely to keep the baserunners down. Maybe it's because the Royals haven't yet fixed all those pesky holes in their bats.

I will never know.

I will never know, because when I asked the Psychic WHY she preferred Wakefield to Lopez, she wrinkled her nose, gave me a look bordering on disgust, and reminded me that it doesn't work that way. SHE doesn't know why she prefers Wake, so how is she supposed to tell ME? She prefers Wake because she prefers Wake. It's very Zen.

So I just have to go with it, and Wake it is for probably the one and only start he will make this year. I'm certainly not keeping him after tomorrow, not with the likes of Chris Young available on the waiver wire (with any luck, Young will make a start for me this weekend).

A couple other random nuggets: The Psychic did envision Lopez in purple and gray (accurate, since he used to play for the Rockies and his picture on Yahoo Sports still shows him in a Rockies hat), and she sees Wakefield in green and yellow (odd, but maybe he'll sign on with the A's when the Sox are finally done with him. I kind of doubt it, but you never know).

I'm hoping for a 4.00 ERA and 1.5 WHIP from Wake tomorrow, but I don't really care since Sheets and Lester already ruined those categories for me this week. If he strikes out 5 Omaha batters (sorry, I meant Kansas City batters), and grabs the W (you should never chase wins, but I'm doing just that), I'll be happy.

Hey Wake, it's my birthday about an early gift for a loyal Red Sox fan? You'll always be a favorite, even when you fade from fantasy relevance when Dice-K comes off the DL. C'mon, Wake, do me a solid. And prove the Psychic right yet again.


Monday, April 5, 2010


Post-Script from last night's Red Sox - Yanks game:

The Psychic wanders in for a little yogurt and apple before bed. Her first question:

"Who's THAT weirdo?"

She is referring, alas, to Joba Chamberlain. I tell her so, then ask, "Will he do well this year?"

She guffaws, and replies, "Yeah, if he's pumping gas."

She doesn't understand the analogy, of course, and is being literal. She means he will do well if he quits baseball to pump gas, not if he throws 100 mph fastballs all year.

"He's had a lot of issues," I say.

"He needs to lay off the booze," she responds.

I say, "See, this is why you're the Psychic! He just had a DUI recently!"

She goes on to say he is "troubled," and she doubts he can harness his talent in 2010.

So...bold prediction #2 for the year:


(for those of you who haven't seen "Return of the Jedi" 114 times like I have, this is Huttese for "Don't bother with Joba this year").

You heard it here first :-)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

FANTASY BASEBALL PSYCHIC Maiden Voyage -- Webb or Franklin?

Hello boys and girls and welcome to Opening Day 2010!

While watching the Yanks - Red Sox game I am finally biting the bullet and publishing our first blog -- something the Psychic and I have been talking about for some time.

The Psychic is a real psychic -- and my better half -- and I am a multiple fantasy baseball championship winner (both points and head to head).

I can only hope our advice will help and entertain. By the way, if you are a member of the NYNY Fantasy League, please stop reading NOW...because you'll get all my secrets and that will make it harder for me to trounce you.

Topic #1: The health of Brandon Webb

The psychic says, "I see him in a purple uniform."

I say, "Yes, dear. The Diamondbacks uniforms used to be purple."

"And now he"


"He's got shoulder problems."

She's right there. He just got a cortisone shot the other day as he recovers from shoulder problem (he had a cleanup six months ago) that has kept him on the DL for a full year now.

I should know; I drafted him in Round Three last year, and he got shelled on Opening Day and then he and his 13.50 ERA went on the DL for the rest of the year.

"Do you think he'll recover?" I ask.

She furrows her brow and closes her eyes. This is a common expression when she is giving me fantasy advice from the great beyond.

"Yes," she says. "He'll always have issues, but he'll be back this year and he'll be good."

"Should I trade Ryan Franklin for him?" That's the overachieving Cardinals closer, whom I think is a good sell-high candidate.

She looks like she's bitten into a sour citrus fruit. "Ooh, yes. I don't like Ryan Franklin at all."

"He's not going to be great this year, is he?"


So I do it. I had been offered Max Scherzer, whom I like, for Franklin, but felt like I wanted more upside. Webb could do nothing, or he could give me half a year to three quarters of a year of Cy Young-caliber performance.

I relieve Webb's panicked owner of his burden and say goodbye to Franklin and his 38 saves, hoping my balls-to-the-wall strategy will work again this year, hoping the Psychic is right (as she usually is, about 70% of the time I've noticed).

So here is our first BOLD PREDICTION of 2010:

WEBB GOOD (eventually)

FRANKLIN BAD (also eventually; his ratios indicate he can't keep up what he did last year).

You heard it here first...and I put my money where my Psychic is, making my second trade of the year before the season even started (the first one was Mark Reynolds for Tulo, since I know you're dying to know).

Thanks for reading. See you later this week on...