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Getting a 'handle' on the future

Senior Fantasy Writer
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One of the perks of being a Senior Fantasy Writer here at CBSSports.com is access to the CBS Wormhole.

It's the reason, I've come to learn, that we're based in Fort Lauderdale: proximity to the Wormhole. And the beach. In the interest of sharing, I copied and pasted the Twitter conversations I had with Wormhole-aided alternate future versions of myself from Thursday night. Hopefully, this glimpse into the future can help readers with your own burning Fantasy questions.

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@nandocbs: Hey buddy, what's happening there this fine September afternoon?
@futurenandocbs: Bryan LaHair's 30th home run this season makes it an even 15-15 split bw 1st base and OF.
@nandocbs: What? What's that mean?
@futurenandocbs: LaHair was pushed to the outfield when Anthony Rizzo came up in June to play first base. He had hit 15 home runs and was batting .281 at that point.
@futurenandocbs: ... we called him "Fantasy's most pleasant surprise" and worried that it was too good to be true.
@nandocbs: Really? My only reservation with him today is that his minor league power might have been inflated by playing in the PCL.
@futurenandocbs: We were fooled before.
@nandocbs: Yeah we were. Sean Rodriguez, Jeff Mathis, Brandon Wood. It was mainly Angels prospects, now that I think about it.
@futurenandocbs: Arencibia got it done, though. He hit 23 homers last year after flexing power in Vegas for two minor league seasons. That wasn't all PCL inflation.
@nandocbs: Yeah, that's true. How's he doing, by the way?
@futurenandocbs: Solid. The average is .251, which is about 30 points higher than last year, and he has 21 homers.
@nandocbs: Huzzah for him!
@futurenandocbs: Indeed. Anything else you'd like to know before this portal closes?
@nandocbs: Yeah. How's Lorenzo Cain doing?
@futurenandocbs: Ah man. He's been up and down. 12 home runs, but a .272 average. He's got 19 steals. He hasn't been bad, but… I think 2013 might be the year he breaks out. People may have jumped on him too soon.
@nandocbs: So it's kind of like Curtis Granderson's first full year? Or maybe Dustin Pedroia?
@futurenandocbs: Exactly. They can't all be Longoria from the get-go.
@nandocbs: How about Tim Lincecum? How's he doing?
@futurenandocbs: Why? Did something happen?
@nandocbs: He got blown out his first two starts!
@futurenandocbs: Holy crap, I totally forgot about that. Yeah, he's great. 2.72 ERA, Strikeout per inning. His hair goes down to the middle of his back now.
@nandodifino: Did Jason Bay ever make a comeback?
@bobmosesian: Hey @nandocbs @futurenandocbs Gamel or Shelley Duncan? 12 team H2H, really weird scoring.
@nandocbs: @futurenandocbs @bobmosesian Dude, later!
@nandocbs: @futurenandocbs @bobmosesian But I still say Shelly Duncan, even with the Johnny Damon signing.
@futurenandocbs: Oh man. That Damon thing ended up being a mess.
@nandocbs: What??
@nandocbs: Yo.
@nandocbs: You there?
@multiversenandocbs: Oh hey.
@nandocbs: What happened?
@multiversenandocbs: I'm assuming some rules of the universe prevented future you from revealing what happened with Johnny Damon to present-day you.
@nandocbs: I don't understand this at all.
@multiversenandocbs: Neither do I. But I can tell you what happens in the many Johnny Damon scenarios that play out across several universes, which exist simultaneously, but on different planes of
@multiversenandocbs: ... existence.
@nandocbs: Yes, please! I have no idea how this one's going to play out.
@multiversenandocbs: Well, in one universe, Damon plays left and just takes time away from Shelley Duncan, who is relegated to occasional starts and platoons, despite him starting the season with a .294 average and .900-plus OPS.
@multiversenandocbs: In another, Damon actually plays first base. Casey Kotchman's value drops. Shelley Duncan clubs 40 home runs on the season, and Grady Sizemore doesn't return until late July.
@multiversenandocbs: In a third universe, Damon suffers a hamstring injury while playing for the Columbus Clippers. He decides to hold off until 2013 to attempt another comeback.
@multiversenandocbs: In a fourth, Duncan hits a ton of home runs while Damon plays into shape in the minors, forcing Cleveland to keep Duncan in the lineup, moving him between the outfield, first base, and DH when Damon joins the team.
@multiversenandocbs: In yet another universe, Damon is beaned in a minor league game by a similarly-misguided comebacking Andy Pettitte. The pitch itself doesn't do damage, but Damon charges the mound and accidentally kills Pettitte. He's jailed for 16 months.
@multiversenandocbs: In a fifth universe, Damon plays left while Duncan takes over for an injured Travis Hafner at DH. When Hafner comes back, Damon moves to RF to take over for an injured Brantley, with Duncan in left.
@nandocbs: Wait. I'm already exhausted.
@multiversenandocbs: Imagine trying to keep all these scenarios straight. Is there one you liked best?
@nandocbs: Not especially. I like Duncan not having Damon messing with is playing time. Or his head. I had him pegged as a Carlos Quentin/Mike Morse just-needs-the-playing-time breakout.
@multiversenandocbs: There actually is one universe where Shelley Duncan literally becomes Carlos Quentin. But you ... don't want to hear about that one.
@nandocbs: Does this same thing play out with every player? Like Daniel Bard?
@multiversenandocbs: Actually, he's a starter all year long in every universe I've seen.
@nandocbs: Really?
@multiversenandocbs: Yeah, even the weird ones where the Rapture has already happened.
@nandocbs: Is he any good?
@multiversenandocbs: Bard? 3.53 ERA, lots of strikeouts, 14 wins. Every universe. I'm not sure why everyone is questioning Boston's decision here. It's pretty hard to find a starter of his caliber.
@nandocbs: Speaking of that, is he better than Chris Sale?
@nandocbs: Hello?
@nandocbs: Dude?!!
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Hey man. You must've done something with that Sale/Bard question.
@nandocbs: Who are you?
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: I'm you. Or am I?
@nandocbs: Do you know anything about Sale and Bard?
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Yeah, they could both have really good years. But who knows how they'll adjust to starting roles, what that might do to their arms, if they'll run out of steam later.
@nandocbs: So I shouldn't start either of them?
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: You know, they could both be great. I can see both sides here.
@nandocbs: Great. How about Luke Hochevar?
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Ah, that guy. He was a first round draft pick two times! He has some talent. 3.52 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in the second half last year. He held batters to a .222 average.
@nandocbs: Maybe I'll grab him.
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Yeah, but who knows if he can put it together this year. The man has a career 5.26 ERA in 592 innings pitched.
@nandocbs: Is there anything you're sure about?
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Aroldis Chapman is nasty. He has value no matter where you put him. He has as many strikeouts as Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum (10), he's tied for the MLB lead in wins (2). And he's pitched just five innings.
@nandocbs: I've got him in pretty much every one of my leagues.
@vaguelyguessingnandocbs: Yeah. He might start later this year if Bray or Masset are ready. I could totally see him closing, too, though.
@nandocbs: I hate you.
@alittletoointensenandocbs: I hate him too.
@nandocbs: Who are you?
@alittletoointensenandocbs: Does it matter? How about you get off Twitter and go pick up Adam Dunn right now? I'll wait.
@nandocbs: Why?
@alittletoointensenandocbs: How many 40-plus homer seasons did he have in a row before last year? You know how hard it is to go from playing in the field to just DH?
@nandocbs: Hard?
@alittletoointensenandocbs: You just sit there and get cold on the bench while everyone else runs around and stays active and engaged. It's weird. It takes time to adjust. Maybe not a whole season, but ...
@alittletoointensenandocbs: ...now he's got that season and experience under his belt. He knows how to approach it in 2012.
@nandocbs: Alright. I'll see if he's a free agent. Anyone else?
@alittletoointensenandocbs: IMMEDIATELY pick up Erik Bedard. He gets a low WHIP and lots of strikeouts. And I'm shouting WHIP, not just capitalizing it.
@nandocbs: But he gets hurt a lot ...
@alittletoointensenandocbs: So what?!! Is he hurt now? No. Will he be hurt in the next two months while he pitches brilliantly in the National League with a pitching coach who brought the Pirates' ERA down a run from 2010 to 2011? No. You want to keep arguing, or just want to pick him up?
@nandocbs: Okay. I'll see what I can do.
@alittletoointensenandocbs: Yeah you will.
@nandocbs: Anyone else want to offer some advice before I sign off?
@obsessedwithtommyhunternandocbs: I know he was mentioned in Tuesday's column, but Tommy Hunter could be a strong starter this year with Baltimore. Sub-4.00 ERA over the last three years. Great control!
@conspiracytheoristnandocbs: Don't trust Jorge Sedano.
@bandwagonjumpingbuthopingyouwontnoticenandocbs: I'm pretty sure I told you to look out for Josh Willingham a couple weeks ago, right? Remember I told you he had some power potential?
@angrycommenternandocbs: Everything you do sucks. I can do this for cheaper than you. Prince Fielder will hit 17 homers this year.
@thinksheknowsasecretbutreallydoesntnandocbs: Josh Donaldson has catcher eligibility but is starting at third for the A's. Could be a sly add.
@insultsreadersintelligencenandocbs: Mixed leaguers might want to consider this Toronto youngster named Brett Lawrie as a buy-low target. He reminds me of Ryan Braun!
@intentionallythrowingoffcompetitorsnandocbs: I think Alex Presley can hit 30 homers this year.
@bethisfriendhecouldmentionhiminacolumnnandocbs: Good luck getting married this weekend, Mike Cummings!
@moreinterestedinfantasyfootballnandocbs: Fantasy baseball requires way too much effort dude.
@rewardspeopleforreadingthisfarnandocbs: Drew Smyly threw 90 pitches in four innings. He's got two starts next week, and I bet he pitches a lot more efficiently. He's definitely worth AL-only consideration. Watch him in mixed leagues. Only owned in 14 percent of leagues.
@lovespredictingclosersnandocbs: Kevin Gregg and Jon Rauch always seem to find their way into saves every year. It's just something to consider if you're fruitlessly speculating on closers in deeper leagues.
@futurenandocbs: I totally forgot to tell you. Buddy Roemer wins the presidential election.
@nandocbs: OK, enough! I'm signing off for the night. But Bryan LaHair... Nice.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Diamondbacks' David Peralta hits key two-run triple on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:03 am ET) Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta had a big hit on Thursday, as he hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning of Thursday's 8-1 win over the Rockies. Peralta's three-bagger came with the score tied 1-1, giving his club a lead they would not relinquish.

Peralta, who went 2 for 4 on Thursday, is batting .371 with a double, two triples and one home run over his last 10 games.


Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki extends hit streak to 15 games
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:00 am ET) Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a ninth-inning single on Thursday.

The former All-Star is batting .373 with a homer and nine RBI over the 15-game streak. He has now reached base safely in 30 straight games, which also a career-best.


Mariners sign C Erik Kratz to minors deal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:56 am ET) The Mariners have signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a minor league deal, according to the Tacoma News Tribune. Kratz became a free agent on Monday after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox on June 25. 

Kratz will provide catching depth to a team that already has Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre on the big-league roster. 


Diamondbacks' A.J. Pollock slugs 10th home run in win Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:53 am ET) Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock went 2 for 5 with his 10th home run of the year in Thursday's 8-1 win over the Rockies. Pollock, who also singled and scored later in the game, tied the score at 1-1 with his sixth-run solo blast.

Pollock cooled off a bit after a torrid three-week period. But he's starting to pick it back up again at the plate, as he is batting .282 with two longballs over his last 10 games.


Rockies SP Chris Rusin pitches well in loss on Thursday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:49 am ET) Rockies left-hander Chris Rusin was the victim of a pair of errors on Thursday night, leading to the Diamondbacks 8-1 victory. Rusin pitched six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out six, as he lowered his ERA to 4.27.

Rusin (3-3) gave himself an early 1-0 lead when he drove home a run with a single in the fifth. But then he surrendered a solo home run to A.J. Pollock to leadoff the sixth inning.

Rusin then got the next two batters out, but walked Welington Castillo. Aaron Hill reached on an uncharacteristic error by Nolan Arenado. Then David Peralta cashed in with a two-run triple, accounting for the damage done to Rusin on the night. 

Still, this makes three consecutive starts of three earned runs or less for Rusin.


Athletics C Josh Phegley records double, two RBI in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:45 am ET) Athletics catcher Josh Phegley went 1 for 4 with a double and two RBI in Thurday's win over the Mariners.

Phegley got the scoring started on Thursday with a double in the bottom of the first inning that brought teammates Ben Zobrist and Billy Butler around to score.

Phegley is hitting .280 with five home runs and 17 RBI in 107 at-bats this season.


Diamondbacks' Jeremy Hellickson goes seven strong in victory
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(12:43 am ET) Diamondbacks right-hander Jeremy Hellickson pitched a season-high seven innings on Thursday, as Arizona defeated the Rockies 8-1. Hellickson allowed one run on three hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter, as he had only four three-ball counts all evening.

The only run Hellickson allowed on Thursday came on an RBI single by the opposing pitcher. 

Hellickson (6-5, 5.06 ERA) needed only 87 pitches to get through his seven innings, and this was his seventh quality start in his last nine outings.


Athletics SS Marcus Semien slams seventh home run of year
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(12:41 am ET) Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien hit his seventh home run of the season against the Mariners on Thursday.

Semien hit a solo blast off Mariners starter Roenis Elias in the fifth inning to put his team up 3-0. He finished the game 1 for 3 with a RBI.

The home run was Semien's first in 158 at-bats.


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(12:37 am ET) Mariners starting pitcher Roenis Elias didn't have enough to pick up a win on Thursday against the Athletics, despite a very solid outing.

Elias allowed three runs on just three hits, but was outduled by A's starter Scott Kazmir, who threw eight scoreless inning. Elias struck out seven batters, but picked up his sixth loss of the season.

Elias (4-6) has a 4.27 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks in 78 innings this season.


Twins' Miguel Sano gets first career hit in debut on Thursday
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(12:35 am ET) Twins rookie Miguel Sano recorded his first big-league hit in his Major League debut on Thursday. Sano went 1 for 4 on the evening, and his lone hit came in his final at-bat in the ninth inning. It was a slow tapper to third base that he beat out for an infield single. The Twins went on to beat the Royals 2-0.

"I feel really happy, not for the single, but for my team winning tonight," Sano said, per MLB.com. "It's my goal to try to win a lot of games this year."


 
 
 
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