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Friday 23rd Feb 2018

What a crazy Father's Day we had, getting up early to watch our niece Lindsay graduate from UC Davis, then beating it back to the Bay Area and San Francisco where Diane and I hit a 3:00 PM flight to NYC where tonight I draft in the FSTA Expert Football "B League."

I have to say it was a haul, driving up back and forth, rushing to catch our plane, which spent an untimely six hours in the air, allowing us to plop down on our hotel bed around 2:30 AM. Hence, the delay in getting today's Hotpage posted.

But, here we are with a fun week ahead. In fact, I will review my draft next Saturday on Bed Goes Up.

As for now, we have baseball and we can start with Matt Chapman, the new Athletics third sacker. I distinctly remember at Spring Training in 2015, Ron Washington told me "Chapman is the future at third." Well, the future is indeed here and Chapman is the man. having banged out 80 homers while driving in 203 since being a first-round pick in 2014. The A's have some fun stuff going on among Chapman, Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto, Ryon Healy and Marcus Semien when he returns. Watch them.

In the meantime, the Athletics turned former third sacker Trevor Plouffe into a player to be named later, sending him off to Tampa where the best guess is Plouffe spells Evan Longoria while platooning at first against lefties, against whom Plouffe is hitting .294.

Trey Mancini was hot to start the season, but the return of Chris Davis pushed the Orioles utilityman to the back burner, but with the Davis injury, Mancini is again shining. He has hit .354-5-14 over the past couple of weeks, and surely has made a case for full-time consideration having a season line of .310-12-28. Mancini is exactly the kind of guy I would think about for 2018 as a potential bargain, by the way.

The Mets are certainly as broken up as any DL'd team this year, but a couple of bright spots are the opportunites given to Wilmer Flores, and now T.J. Rivera. Rivera has indeed been hot, hitting .400-1-4 over the past couple of cycles, banging ten hits over 25 at-bats, bringing his season line to .289-2-14 and even posting a .338 OBP, which these days is pretty good.

Since I am in New York, let's look at one other Metropolitan in Gavin Cecchini, a first-round prep pick of the Mets in 2012. Cecchini has been pretty solid as a minor leaguer, hitting .282-27-215 with 27 swipes and a solid .348 OBP. Cecchini has 201 walks to 303 whiffs, and the 23-year-old and Flores are likely the future middle at Citi Field.

The Rangers have been having major bullpen issues, as have so many teams this year, and the team's latest call-up, Ernesto Frieri, at least has a closer track record with 73 career saves. Frieri struggled the last few years, even relegating himself to Mexico for a bit last year, but he was 2-0, 2.86 with seven saves over 20.3 innings, and could be the next in line for conversions.

If you are just looking for a reliever to fill a hole in a mixed format, a nice conservative choice is the Bucs' Felipe Rivero. Rivero has thrown 37.3 innings and leads the circuit in appearances with 36, while whiffing 41 and posting three saves. Oh yeah, his ERA is 0.72, which is also Rivero's WHIP, meaning the hurler probably won't hurt you much no matter what happens, and he could help with some whiffs and wins and maybe even a couple of conversions.

Finally, the Padres' Dinelson Lamet had a good start, whiffing 12 Brewers over six innings on Saturday. With a line of 2-2, 7.50, I cannot really recommend Lamet, but the 24-year-old is certainly worth tracking. In fact, his 1.33 WHIP is pretty good considering Lamet's other numbers.

Bewitch, bother, or bewilder me @lawrmichaels.



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