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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
Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez blows first save in poor effort
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez has been a beacon of light in what has been a dark year for his team's pitching staff. But he descended to the level of his peers Saturday night against Cincinnati.

Rodriguez entered in the ninth with a 9-8 lead. He exited with a 12-9 deficit, courtesy of a two-run homer by Joey Votto, run-scoring passed ball and RBI single by Tucker Barnhart.

His first blown save of the season sent his ERA soaring from 2.01 to 2.58 and lowered his record to 0-3.


Reds closer Aroldis Chapman shuts door in style Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) There was a shortage of quality pitching in a shootout Saturday in Milwaukee. But Reds closer Aroldis Chapman gave more than a quality performance. He was lights-out.

Chapman's fastball was clocked as high as 102 mph in a dominant ninth inning that resulted in his 25th save. He fanned Elian Herrera and Jean Segura to end it.

The fine effort came at a good time for Chapman, who had been struggling a bit. He had given up nine hits and five walks over his previous eight innings.


Reds SP Keyvius Sampson clobbered in Milwaukee
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) When a team provides a pitcher eight runs in five innings, he's supposed to win. Reds starter Keyvius Sampson did not win Saturday night.

Sampson gave back all the runs he received back while he was in the game - which wasn't long. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked two and whiffed three.

He was doomed by run-scoring singles off the bats of Scooter Gennett, Ryan Braun and Adam Lind in the fourth.

Sampson has followed a good start to his major league career with monumental struggles. He has surrendered 14 runs over his last 11 innings pitched to raise his ERA to a gaudy 6.43.


Brewers SP Matt Garza mashed again Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:06 am ET) The consistency that had marked the career of Brewers starter Matt Garza has vanished in 2015. The right-hander who managed an ERA between 3.32 and 3.95 for eight consecutive seasons has been simply awful.

He was simply awful Saturday, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings in a lucky no-decision against Cincinnati. He walked one and struck out two.

Garza managed one shutout inning in the pounding. The big blow was a three-run homer by Jay Bruce in a four-run second.

His 5.56 ERA is the second-worst among qualifying National League starters this year. He has yielded a ridiculous 19 runs and 27 hits over his last 13 innings.


Cubs prospect Javier Baez expected to be promoted soon
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) Joe Maddon has declared that Cubs premier infield prospect Javier Baez is expected to be promoted at early at Tuesday.

"I would say he would be (here) sooner rather than later," Maddon told ESPN. "There's a lot of things he can do to help you win now."

Like, for instance, hit like he has at Triple-A Iowa. Baez is hitting .316 with 13 home runs and .380 on-base percentage at that level.


Angels SP Garrett Richards strikes out nine in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(8/29/2015) Angels starter Garrett Richards was impressive during his start against the Indians on Saturday.

Richards allowed just three runs on seven hits in seven innings. He showed crisp command as he struck out nine batters without allowing a walk in the no-decision.

Richards (12-10) now has a 3.80 ERA in 161 innings this season. 


Athletics RP Drew Pomeranz fans side in snagging Saturday save
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) If Athletics left-hander Drew Pomeranz was seeking to solidify what appears to be his hold on the closer role, he certainly stated one heck of a case with his arm Saturday night.

Pomeranz struck out the side in Arizona for his third save. He finished with a flourish, fanning Jarrod Saltalamacchia on three pitches.

He has thrown 4 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and whiffed seven in that stretch.


Athletics SP Aaron Brooks bounced back from dud to pitch well
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) Athletics right-hander Aaron Brooks was either motivated by his last start or didn't let it affect him at all Saturday in Arizona.

Brooks couldn't have forgotten the Aug. 12 outing in which he allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings in Toronto. He certainly rebounded in style by giving up only two runs on eight hits in six innings to keep his team in a game it eventually won. He finished with one walk and four strikeouts.

He blanked the Diamondbacks through four, but an A.J. Pollock single and double play ball resulted in the only two runs scored against him.

His ERA still stands at a rather disturbing 5.47.


Indians SP Corey Kluber strikes out six in no-decision
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(8/29/2015) Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber recorded six strikeouts during his start against the Angels on Saturday.

Kluber allowed three runs, two of them earned, on five hits in six innings. He gave up three walks and a pair of home runs in the no-decision.

Kluber (8-13) has a 3.41 ERA in 200 1/3 innings this season.


Diamondbacks SP Jhoulys Chacin impressive before demotion
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(8/29/2015) The Diamondbacks were trying to catch lightning in a bottle by signing retread starter Jhoulys Chacin and sticking him in their rotation.

Consider lightning caught - at least for now.

Chacin managed his second straight strong performance Saturday against Oakland despite being saddled with a no-decision. He yielded just two runs on five hits in seven innings with two walks and six strikeouts.

He was sent to the minors after the game, per AZCentral.com. But he has certainly made an impression.

Only a Stephen Vogt homer in the second inning prevented him from throwing shutout ball. He allowed only three hits the rest of the way.

Chacin has allowed just four earned runs in 13 1/3 innings since joining the starting staff.


 
 
 
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