You know when it's time to start writing an end-of-the-season column?
When (Sept. 12) you see a no-name National League starter (Kevin Correia) dominate a pretty good team (Diamondbacks), hear that he has been on a roll (3-0, 2.35 ERA in last 4 starts) and pencil him in for the next day's Wiretap as a "Should," only to have your editor remind (lambaste) you that you already wrote about him ... last week ... as "Could."
So it's time to revisit my second-half picks and find out just how huge of a harlequin I am. And since I already had my Ron Burgundy moment and proved myself somewhat worthy in my midseason piece, you already know that my columns are like a formidable scent ... they sting the nostrils. In a good way.
So for one last time, I wanna say something. I'm gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back.
Best of the Musts
So what if I lucked out and really picked Chris B. Young just to incorporate the whole same-name conspiracy angle. And so what if Justin V. from Brighton, Mich., (see, I do have fans) is probably right on the money when he says that the whole conspiracy will "go right out the window next year when Chris Young (the pitcher) has his regular superb season .... and Chris B. Young gets his AVG up to .270 and throws down a 35-40 season."
By scratching the surface with Young, I dug deeper and found that my hypothesis holds true for the Ryan Brauns and Brian Hunters of the world.
At least for a moment, I joined the ranks of such geniuses as Albert Einstein (Theory of Relativity), Sigmeund Freud (Oedipus Complex Theory) and George Costanza (Worlds Collide Theory) in creating a somewhat viable theory: the "Same Name Theory."
Unfortunately, with Young just five steals away from a 30-30 season, it appears that my run as a genius will be about as short-lived as the "Maybe Britney is Going Crazy in an Attempt to Make a Huge Comeback at the VMAs and Sell a Bajillion Records Afterward Theory."
Other top Must picks ...
Manny Corpas, RP, Rockies: Could just as easily have won the award if only I had something more interesting to say than "he has been awesome since taking over for Brian Fuentes."
Joakim Soria, RP, Royals: The Rule 5 pick has proved to be a steady fireman for the Royals, converting 14 of 18 save attempts to go with his 2.63 ERA. Should be in the mix for closing duties in KC next year. Easily takes the cake as my favorite Joakim, about 400,000 times more likeable than Joakim Noah.
Howie Kendrick, 2B, Angels: His .317 clip shows why many view him as a future batting champ. Would have made more noise this year if he hadn't missed about half the season with various injuries. Why do I feel like I'll be reading that exact same sentence in about five months regarding Greg Oden?
Best of the Shoulds
This is the portion of the column where I start to dust off my résumé and reconsider my career path. If you look at the list of second-half "Shoulds," you'll find such star-studded names as Jamie Walker, Yorvit Torrealba, Tadahito Iguchi, Alexi Casilla, Ryan Raburn and Kerry Wood.
Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?
How I continued to churn out underwhelming picks for my "Shoulds" is completely beyond me. One way to look at is to say that I was simply in "the zone," and it was actually an accomplishment for someone to mess up a fantasy advice column on such a consistent basis. Something along the lines of Bergundy's "I'm not even mad; that's amazing!" moment.
My best explanation? I'm thinking maybe Bill Belichick has a competing waiver-wire column, wanted to make sure that he had as much of an edge as possible in the hits department and had someone videotape my inner thoughts. He then proceeded to somehow take control of my computer and have me do ridiculous things like advocating Paul Shuey, referencing Sheryl Crow and comparing Wood to Pearl Jam. That's pretty much the best I got.
Oh, I almost forgot. Congrats, Wily Mo Pena. You are the best of the worst.
Other top Should picks ...
Lastings Milledge, OF, Mets: Hasn't exactly lit the world on fire with a .288-5-25 line in 50 games. Maybe next year he'll leave a Lastings impression. Did I really just write that? Bill? Is that you???
Garret Anderson, OF, Angels: With a .372 average to go with five homers and 19 RBIs for September, the dogged veteran has been nothing short of an Angel in the outfield. OK, this is getting ridiculous.
Best of the Coulds
Let's break this one down, "Chris Farley Show" style:
Chris Farley: Um, hi. Welcome to "The Chris Farley Show." I'm ... Chris Farley ... and, my guest tonight is ... one of the ... newest columnists ... uh, MLB.com columnists. I guess, writers. That sounds stupid! I'm an idiot! I never know how to start these things!
Dave Feldman: No, you're doing fine Chris. Thanks for having me on.
Farley: Really? Awesome! You rock. Anyway, 'member the time, you wrote about ... how, um, Joba Chamberlain was gonna rock like two weeks before ... he was even called up? And then he got called up ... and, uh, was amazing?
Feldman: Uhhh, yeah. I remember most of the things I write about. So yeah, I remember that.
Farley: That was awesome!
Feldman: Yeah, incredibly, I somehow do manage to pick some decent players once in a while. But I assure you that they are few and far between. I mean, you saw the whole Shuey thing, right?
Farley (oblivious to what Feldman just said): 'Member the time, when Joba pitched, and, um, his father was in the crowd, and, um, they kept mentioning on the YES Network how Joba's father ... had never, um, seen ... him pitch before?
Feldman: Yeah, I remember that. It's almost impossible to live in New York and not have seen that.
Farley: I KNEW IT! I'm so STUPID! I knew that was a dumb question!
Yeah, I bet you guys didn't see that one coming. Just like you didn't see Joba coming, either.
Other top Could picks ...
Brian Bannister, SP, Royals: Get as excited as you want about this Royals rookie being 7-2 with a 2.94 ERA over his last 10 starts. I'm still trying to buy the rights for his future reality show, "Broken by Bannister."
Ian Kennedy, SP, Yankees: Has done an admirable job as a fill-in for the Yanks, with a 2.25 ERA to go with one win in his two outings. Should be targeted in late rounds in 2008 drafts.
Kevin Correia, SP, Giants: Uh oh, not this guy again ...