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Fantasy baseball news: Oscar Taveras ready for big-league debut

Photo: Jeff Roberson/AP

Oscar Taveras' big-league debut has Cardinals fans and patient fantasy owners celebrating the arrival of the next great St. Louis slugger.

In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.

On Friday night, news broke that the Cardinals were going to call up Oscar Taveras for Saturday's game, and I immediately sprung into action. Why? Because in a very casual league that I'm in, Taveras was still available; the owners in this league had allowed this mega-prospect to go unowned until he was immediately relevant, and that time was now. And because I care, irrationally, about this casual league, I dropped everything I was doing and punched in my account password as quickly as possible in the hope that I could add him before anybody else.

I knew there would be some serious competition. I knew that upon the announcement of Taveras' call-up, I had minutes, maybe even seconds to make the add, because that's the type of announcement that compels every reasonable fantasy owner to rush to the nearest source of internet. I logged in, got to the player-search page and typed in Taveras' name, and was briefly relieved to see the green plus-sign next to his name, meaning he was still unowned. But I had to hurry.

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I clicked on the plus-sign, which brought me to the list of players on my team, one of which I needed to drop in order to accommodate Taveras' presence. I stared at my team for about five seconds and coldly rationalized which player was the most expendable: Sorry, Everth Cabrera. Then came the finalization page. "Are you sure you want to add Oscar Taveras, the top-five hitting prospect who's likely to be a beast with the St. Louis Cardinals? The player who has a lifetime .321 average in the minor leagues?" Yes, I clicked.

Except... Denied! Why? I had attached Everth Cabrera to a quixotic trade proposal, and because of that, I couldn't drop him.

Suddenly, I was terrified. I went back to my team page, cancelled the trade involving Cabrera as quickly as humanly possible and then went back to the player page to begin the the task of adding Taveras all over again. Again, Taveras was still available. Again, I set it up for him to replace Everth Cabrera. I got all the way to the final confirmation page and pressed the add button, and I did so with a sense of dread, because somewhere in the back of my mind, I had convinced myself that someone had already added him -- that the seconds of delay caused by a stupid trade proposal were going to keep me from owning this potential fantasy monster.

And then ... "Congratulations, you just added Oscar Taveras."

I sighed in relief, and then, once I realized the stupidity of my situation, I wanted to strangle myself. The moral of this story is that prospects like this shouldn't be sitting on the wire in the first place, especially now, when the Super Two deadline is at hand. Now that Taveras has been called up, there's a good chance that Gregory Polanco, this summer's other monster fantasy prospect, will be called up very soon. Don't put yourself in a spot where you'll need to rush to the computer to add him. Add Polanco now, at this exact moment, if you still can.

You'll save yourself an unbelievable amount of stress.

For Your Consideration

Photo: Tony Ding/Icon SMI

The Astros' winning ways boost the value of Chad Qualls as a viable fantasy closer.

● Chad Qualls came on in the eighth inning to record a four-out save, his second in as many days. A week ago, Qualls was not a very enticing closer, which is why he's still available in a whopping 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues. But circumstances have changed in the past seven days. George Springer has been on fire lately, and the once-horrid Astros have won seven consecutive games. As an unintended side effect of Springer's outburst, Qualls is suddenly being presented with regular save opportunities, and that boosts his value quite a bit. The Astros are still expected to be horrible, and Qualls hardly profiles as an amazing closer anyway, but now that the Astros aren't quite as awful as they were a week ago, there's no reason for him to be left on the waiver wire. Scoop him up if you're in one of the many leagues where he's not getting any love.

● With Joe Nathan resting, Joba Chamberlain allowed a walk and struck out two to net his second save of the season. It's been easy to forget about Chamberlain, the once-vaunted Yankees prospect whose varnish more or less wore off for good when he was practically eaten alive by gnats during a 2007 playoff game in Cleveland. And yet here he is, with a shiny 2.70 ERA. Nathan and his 5.23 ERA are teetering on the edge of disaster, and Chamberlain could very well be called upon as Nathan's replacement if the Tigers opt to give Nathan some time away from the ninth inning. He's merely a speculation add at this point, but Nathan owners should do themselves a favor and pluck Chamberlain from the wire, at least until Nathan settles down again.

● Jason Vargas got it done in Toronto, picking up a win by allowing only one run in six innings while striking out seven. Vargas has had an odd year, in that on three different occasions, he has absolutely been destroyed by the opposition. The White Sox, Tigers and (in April) the Blue Jays combined to light him up for a total of 19 runs in three scattered starts. However, Vargas has been awesome in his other nine starts, allowing no more than two runs in any of them. In fact, only five pitchers (Julio Teheran, Masahiro Tanaka, Johnny Cueto, Sonny Gray and Felix Hernandez) have produced more quality starts this year than Vargas' nine, even though Vargas' 3.39 ERA pales in comparison to all of theirs. Despite the depths of his bad outings, Vargas has been so good so frequently this season that he deserves to be owned in all standard leagues -- especially if you're in an avant garde fantasy league where quality starts are counted instead of wins.

● A.J. Pierzynski came through in the clutch, delivering a game-winning triple for the Red Sox and finishing 2-for-5 at the plate. Pierzynski doesn't score many runs or hit many home runs, but he's an above-average hitter who's in the lineup almost everyday. He currently has a nine-game hitting streak and his 26 RBI are the second-most among catchers in baseball (behind only Kurt Suzuki), so while he has very little upside, the veteran catcher makes for a dependable fantasy play. He's currently available in a majority of fantasy leagues.

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