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Monday 11th Dec 2017

Well, to start, no, you are not hallucinating, or stuck in one of Stewie Griffin's time machines, but last week I did call "Week 5," and now we are at "Week 7." Since I start the season cycle essentially after the completion of the first week of play, I have always numbered as such, but the reality--per serious discussions between Lord Z and me--is that this is indeed the beginning of the seventh week of play. So, in an effort to mitigate as much confusion as permits, let it be "Week 7," and from there we move forward, henceforth and forever. Or, till the end of the season if I forget.

Last week, I started with the odd paths of Drew Stubbs and Colby Rasmus, noting the hitting anemic Braves must have felt pretty sure of themselves to drop Stubbs on May 2. Texas then signed the flychaser five days later, and five days after that, Stubbs hit a walk-off for the Rangers. Karma. It is a strange and scary thing, especially as related to baseball.

Which is not unlike Michael Bourn, released Monday by the Jays, then signed a couple of days later by Arizona, and now back in the Majors due to the injury to David Peralta. Not that I recommend either of these journeymen, save playing in the deepest of leagues to fill a space with something.

Which brings me to Matt Bush, where I linked to the Wikipedia bio on the former shortstop, felon, and Ranger (does Texas not care who plays for them?). I am not sure if the story merits saying much more than Bush doesn't seem like a stand-up guy--or wasn't in the past--but as a converted pitcher, the 5'9" right-hander has some serious gas. Over 88.6 innings, Bush has 131 strikeouts with just 71 hits allowed (1.174 WHIP). He won't start, and might be a closer some day, given Bush keeps a clean nose, but for now a story--though not sure if "feel good"--about a middle guy who can fill a gap with some whiffs should your team need it. By the way, Bush is already party to controversy, having hit Jose Bautista, which became the prelude to a scrum between Bautista and Rougned Odor.

There is an odd Bush connection in Brandon Guyer, a player I targeted for the week before Bush appeared on my radar. The Rays outfielder has been assembling a fine year, banging a pair of homers off Sonny Gray on Sunday, raising his season totals to .338-4-11 over 71 at-bats. A fifth-round pick of the Cubs in 2007, Guyer has a minor league line of .298-55-297 over 588 games, and .266-16-64 over 265 big league contests. Guyer is 30, so if you grab the outfielder, the relationship might be quick. And, when Guyer played at Durham in 2012, teammate Bush borrowed Guyer's SUV and was involved in an accident that led to 30 months in state prison.

A couple of top prospect hitters were promoted over the past week, starting with the Reds' Jose Peraza. Peraza, a 22-year-old Venezuelan, was originally signed by the Braves in 2010, and then was involved in not one, but two three-team swaps, starting with the complex Mat Latos and Alex Wood deadline deal of last year, then the Todd Frazier swap in December. Peraza was hitting .295-1-8 with six swipes at Louisville when called up, although the infielder/outfielder's tenure might be linked to Billy Hamilton's time on the bereavement list. The reality is the Reds would probably be better off letting Peraza play and develop at the Major League level as he has a much better set of skills than Hamilton, but don't really expect a full-time role for another year.

Similarly, the Yankees promoted catcher Gary Sanchez, another 22-year-old, signed in 2009 by the Pinstripes. A power-hitting backstop, Sanchez has minor league totals of .275-99-394 over 592 games with an .801 OPS. Sanchez had a great Fall League last year, hitting .295-7-21 over 22 games, and the catcher is the future behind the dish in the Bronx, meaning something needs to be done with respect to Brian McCann, signed through 2018 (with a 2019 option). If there is a way to grab either Peraza or Sanchez and hide them on your minor league roster, do so. 

Atlanta hurler Mike Foltynewicz has been up and down between the Braves and Gwinnett this year, with his most memorable start being May 2, against the Mets, when the New Yorkers clubbed three second inning homers off the 24-year-old right-hander. Foltynewicz was a first-round selection of the Astros in 2010, and went to the Braves as part of the Evan Gattis swap. If you are desperate for an arm in a deep format, Foltynewicz might make a good sleeper. Since the abuse at the hands of the Metropolitans, the 19th overall pick has gone 1-0, 1.20 over 15 innings with 12 whiffs and a miniscule 0.890 WHIP, holding the Royals and Diamondbacks in check over the past week. Based upon Foltynewicz' rugged 5-8, 5.23 line thus far in the bigs, most owners will be scared off. But, track a player who could even make a great cheap flier in DFS contests.

Back to Tampa, Matt Andriese twirled a two-hit shutout against the Athletics on Saturday, has made two starts thus far, and is 2-0, 0.56, with an 0.562 WHIP and eight strikeouts over 16 innings. The right-hander was a third-round selection of the Padres in 2011, and was then swapped to Tampa Bay as part of the 2014 Jesse Hahn deal, and he has a decent minor league mark of 41-29, 3.27, with 520 strikeouts over 584 innings. Andriese could be helpful in an AL-only format right now, and maybe more, meaning he is worth tracking.

Finally, the Giants are having issues with the bottom part of their rotation, and one of the team's top young arms, Clayton Blackburn, got the call to ATT. A 16th round pick of San Francisco in 2011, Blackburn is 34-24, 3.11 over 550.3 minor league frames, with 527 strikeouts and a 1.145 WHIP. The righty is 11-7, 3.43 over 154.6 minor league innings and has very little left to prove at Triple-A. However, I am not certain Blackburn is the tonic to the struggles of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. Add him accordingly.

Please feel free to comment below with epiphanies, as you see fit, and don't forget you can hit me up @lawrmichaels.

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