If it seems like I just wrote a column two days ago relaying irrelevant and mindless information, it's probably because I did
As a matter of fact, I did it two days before that as well.
Despite the season being younger than a fortnight, my words have been popping up on MLB.com's Fantasy homepage with such frequency that I may as well be releasing my own self-promoting advertisements and run in the Democratic National Primary ... which
I've somehow covered as well.
What's going on here?
It's been drivel overdrive for me, and at this rate, I'll soon be more overexposed than:
A) Rachel Ray
B) The word, "organic"
C) An Eric Gagne "fastball"
D) The "pregnant" man from Oprah (Note: I spent a good 15 minutes debating which word deserved to be in quotes there)
E) All the above
The answer is E, of course. And you know what? I'm completely fine with that.
So without further ado, it's time for the 2008 debut of Wiretap. Which means more "Musts," more "Shoulds" and more "Coulds." Because when it's 3 a.m., your children are safe and asleep and you receive a phone call ... but you ignore it because you need to know whether or not to pick up Eric Hinske for your mixed-league squad, who better to turn to than someone with the experience, judgment and courage to give you what you need?
I'm Dave Feldman, and I approve this message.
Zack Greinke, SP, Royals
He might look younger than the kids in the "Charlie Bit Me" YouTube video, but Zack Greinke is good. Like really good. The 24-year-old phenom is already 2-0 on the year with a comically low 0.60 ERA after shutting down two of the most talented offenses in the American League in the Tigers and Yankees. Ironically, that last sentence could have just easily been written as, "The 24-year-old phenom is predictably 2-0 on the year, but has actually allowed an earned run over two starts against the 1-7 Tigers and 4-5 Yankees, the worst two offenses in the American League." Regardless of your perspective, Greinke should obviously be owned in your league and is just one prolific start away from receiving the Braun treatment and having his last name used as an adjective. And yes, that would be "Greinkeian" ... or maybe just "Greinke."
Carlos Quentin, OF, White Sox
It seems like a breakout season by Carlos Quentin makes just too much sense not to happen. In fact, he pretty much passes any criteria used to predict sleepers:
1) Fully healthy after playing hurt for most of the previous season.
2) Traded from the National League to the AL.
3) Traded to one of the best hitters' parks in baseball.
4) Traded from a team with which he was splitting time to a team with which he's assured a ton of at-bats.
5) Traded to an offense stacked with proven veterans who will help alleviate any pressure to perform.
Seriously, this list could go on forever. I'm almost positive that if he were only turning that supposedly "magical" age of 27 this season, Major League Baseball would just simulate the rest of his games like in "Sports Talk Baseball" for Sega Genesis and grant him a .300 season with 25 homers and 90 RBIs.
Anyway, Quentin is already off to a hot start, hitting .316 with a homer, seven RBIs and a bases-loaded triple off the April 13 winner of "Be a Tigers Relief Pitcher for a Day" contest, "Stormin'" Yorman Bazardo. So pick Quentin up before it's too late.
Manny Parra, SP, Brewers
If Manny Ramirez is "just Manny being Manny" anytime he hits a home run, drops a fly ball or stares aimlessly into the abyss, then Manny Parra is "just Manny being Manny" anytime he strikes someone out. Which is pretty often. The 25-year-old Parra went a combined 10-4 last season over two Minor League stints while posting a ridiculous 106/33 K/BB ratio in 106-plus innings. His Manny-ness has already translated into the Majors, as he flamed seven batters in just 5 1/3 innings in his season debut against the Giants. But come on, you can't really be surprised. It's just Manny being Manny.
Ryan Rowland-Smith, RP, Mariners
When Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings to close the door on the Rays and earn his first save of the season, two things happened:
1) He became the Mariners' top saves option with J.J. Putz on the disabled list battling costochondritis (what?).
2) He overtook Chin-lung Hu, Shin-shoo Choo, Hong-Chih Kuo and Jo-Jo Reyes to become the second-most relevant baseball player with a hyphen in his name, behind Chien-Ming Wang.
Add in the coolness factors -- Rowland-Smith is both Australian and left handed -- and there really is no excuse not to pick him up.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
In addition to momentarily making Spurs guard Tony Parker think his wife had suddenly moved to North Carolina, the Rays caused shockwaves last month when they announced that they were sending top prospect Evan Longoria down to Triple-A Durham. After the baseball-playing (and not basketball-watching) Longoria hit .307 with 21 long balls and 76 RBIs last year, it's safe to say he won't be staying down on the farm for very long. Expect the blue-chip prospect to get the call in early May, after the Rays save money and extend the life of his contract. In the meantime, owners with an extra spot on their rosters would be wise to stash this rising hot cornerman on their benches.
Angel Pagan, OF, Mets
Christmas came early this year for Moises Alou, who didn't have to waste any time making his annual pilgrimage to the disabled list. Instead of waiting to get injured during the regular season, Alou impressively conjured up a hernia in Spring Training. Filling in admirably for the 41-year-old outfielder has been former Cubs castaway, Angel Pagan. NL-only leaguers in search of a hot bat or some divine intervention might want to sacrifice a spot for this oxymoron, who is hitting an immaculate .318 with a heavenly eight RBIs and a celestial six runs scored on the short year.