The CIA’s plan to work out of a Petco concession stand because the stadium is so quiet is looking far less like a good plan to stay covert. “Did you just ask for two mustard packets with your hot pretzel because you have some information for us or because you simply want an extra mustard packet? If it’s the latter, one per customer.” Probably the worst call for a covert operation’s headquarters since the CIA opened an office in Vegas in the 1940’s. “It’s just a desert, no one’s coming here.” So, the Padres traded for Justin Upton because they are obviously intent on deflating outfielder stats everywhere. At least this outfielder has two hips that don’t resemble Abe Vigoda’s. (Still alive as of this writing, but may not be by the time you read this.) Maybe the Padres can trade Kemp for Pujols to create the Up-My-Pujols lineup. I came down hard on Matt Kemp in the non-sexual way when he went to San Diego, but that had as much to do with him being the first new bat they acquired (no one around him in the lineup yet), his health and his flakiness. As with the Myers trade, I’m less inclined to write off Upton simply due to Petco. Upton’s a guy in his prime that has hit everywhere when healthy. I don’t like to put too much weight on a player’s stats in their new stadium when they were still playing as a visiting player, but Upton has 10 HRs and a .291 average in 172 ABs in Petco in his career. That’s a HR every 17.2 ABs, which is better than his career rate (1 HR every 23 at-bats). Petco played like its usual “Are you sure the fences are out there? I can’t see them” self last year, but in 2013 it wasn’t as bad after they moved in the fences prior to that season, so I think last year’s putrid offense was more the Padres hitters streaming into a confluence of crap. (By the by, Confluence of Crap was my worst selling album, despite Rick Reuben producing it. I should’ve paid the extra money for the non-imposter, Rick Rubin.) Even in Petco, Upton feels like a 25-27 homer guy, which is what he was before. His steals are leaving his game quicker than a rhinoceros with plantar fasciitis, and he’s not a huge average guy, but writing him off due to Petco feels a bit too easy. He’ll be hitting in the middle of a lineup that is at least as good as the Braves last year and in a nearly neutral ballpark. For 2015, I’ll give him 81/27/95/.266/8. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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In many fantasy leagues, there’s a 20 games played requirement to retain eligibility at a position for the following year. With only 11 games played behind the dish in 2014, Carlos Santana will enter the 2015 season without catcher eligibility for the first time in his career. It’s a bummer for keeper league owners who were slotting him as a catcher, but he remains a solid keeper selection as a corner infielder too. Santana will be 29 to start the season. He already has strong power numbers under his belt – his 27 homers in 2014 matched a career high. He’s also a really nice piece in leagues that reward players for getting on base, leading the majors in walk percentage last year and consistently putting up good on-base percentages. Those walks help Santana’s overall offense, and it shows in Steamer’s 2015 wRC+ projection of 132 (24th overall). But there’s more than just walks to the story, and I think Santana is going to perform even better now that catching and the short-lived third base experiment are both in the rear view mirror.

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When Kennys Vargas first arrived on the major league baseball scene, people were like, “Is he a switch hitter or are there two of them?” Then when it turned out there were multiple Kennys, people started gossiping like they were in a sewing circle, “Is it fair if there’s more than one Kenny in the batter’s box at once?” To those people I submit, it could be worse, they could’ve stayed Siamese twins. Did you know both Kennys got in a fight when a reporter asked them if they’d seen their slash line lately? They pointed to their Siamese twins separation scar and said they see it every day. (I’m just going by what I saw on the latest Ken Burns documentary. If Kennys is one person and was never a Siamese twin, I sincerely apologize. By the by, never trust anyone who says they sincerely apologize. They’re trying too hard to be believable. I saw that on another documentary. Netflix’s motto, “We Prove People Will Watch Documentaries.”) Last year, Kenny/Kenny hit 9 homers and .274 in 53 games. Crown Kenny-slash-Kenny the new Babe Ruth and name multiple candy bars after them. “I’m Heath and I’m Skor, and we’re the same but separate.” That’s the Kennys in a commercial. Okay, so 9 homers in 53 games isn’t exactly the meow’s cat, until… Oh, no, here comes The Prorater! Run, it’s The Prorater! Four women and children first! The Prorater tells me that Kennys would’ve had 27 homers in a full season, and that would’ve just about led the league. Damn, that last part didn’t sound like The Prorater but more like Hyperbole Man. So, what can we expect of Kennys Vargas for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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It’s beginning to feel like it’s not an offseason without a trade of Wil Myers. In three short years, he’s gone from the Royals to the Rays and now on to the Padres. Only place he can go from the Padres is the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. They would hope Myers could carry them against their most hated rivals, the Yakuza Spits. The Miller Lite-inspired commercials between the Spits and Swallows in Japan are a real crack up. Tastes great!…Spit it out!…Tastes great!…Spit it out! Before Myers is pushing daisies in the NPB, he’ll bide his time in San Diego and try to right this rapidly sinking prospect boat. “Ice-cold sophomore year right ahead!” In all for realliness, I was planning on jumping back in the Myers sinking ship prior to this trade, and I don’t think it kills his value. Would I prefer he went to Coors? Yeah, well, dur. I also don’t think a 24-year-old former top prospect is washed up just because he had one bad year after fracturing his wrist. Takes time to bounce back from that type of injury and one thing we have is time. Well, you with the oxygen mask and cigarette might have less time. In a few years, we’re going to look back at Myers’s 2014 as it should be viewed now, a blip. I’m about as sure of that as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. Or as sure of it that I’m listening to too much Toto’s Africa. Sure, Petco won’t do him any favors, but if his wrist is at hundred percent there shouldn’t be any problems getting at least 20 homers. Shoot, he could hit 10 homers in just his road games in Coors and Arizona. For 2015, I’ll give him 61/20/72/.277/8. Definitely sleeper material here. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (21) | 2013 (25) | 2012 (26) | 2011 (28) | 2010 (12)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] AL West
AAA: [79-65] Pacific Coast League – Sacramento (2015: Nashville)
AA: [77-63] Texas League – Midland
A+: [85-55] California League – Stockton
A: [55-84] Midwest League – Beloit
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League – Vermont

Graduated Prospects
Marcus Semien, INF (from CWS)

The Gist
The Athletics were in win-now mode in 2014, which prompted them to trade their prized prospect Addison Russell (and to a lesser extent Billy McKinney) to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. That left this already light system even lighter, but recent offseason moves have restocked the farm moving forward. By trading Samardzija to the White Sox and Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays, the A’s acquired four of the ten prospects listed below as well as recently graduated middle infield prospect Marcus Semien. There may not be any “elite” fantasy prospects in this top ten now that Russell is gone, but there are still several players that could be useful fantasy options in the near future. High-A Stockton was loaded with talent and three of the top four on this list played their 2014 seasons on that team.

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It always concerns me when I put too much faith in The Sciosciapath playing a guy that is under 25 years old. A bigger concern is one that is currently penciled in at DH. If Josh Hamilton gets a nagging injury, then he’s going to DH and C.J. Cron will be benched. Same, really, with any Angels player. The only one we don’t have to worry about is Pujols. Not because Pujols is guaranteed to stay healthy, but if Pujols gets gimpy, he’ll DH and Cron will play 1st base. At one point last year, The Sciosciapath benched Cron vs. righties. And he’s better vs. righties! Much of the brain’s complex advancements in evolution happened in the neocortex. The Sciosciapath benches his neocortex for what he sees with his eyes. “You can’t second guess what you see, otherwise you may as well wear tanning bed goggles and get led around by a seeing-eye dog that can read sabermetrics.” That’s Scioscia addressing the media. Anyway, what can we expect of C.J. Cron for 2015 fantasy baseball and why is he a sleeper?

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Okay, it depends on your definition of a sleeper. If you define a sleeper as “a player I want on all of my teams and am much higher on than anyone else and I sometimes dream of me and this player on a tropical island sitting under a coconut tree that grows mistletoe during Baby Jesus’s Birthday Season,” then Kolten Wong is a sleeper. If you define a sleeper as “player that won’t be drafted until the last rounds but will give more value than that,” then Kolten Wong is not a sleeper. With sleepers, I go both ways like your mom in college. Hey, she was experimenting, s’cool! Right now, Kolten Wong (no, his name doesn’t sound right if you just say his last name, i.e., it sounds Wong) is likely being drafted sometime after 100 overall. Since this is about 70 spots past where I think his fantasy value will end up — yes, I think he’s going to end up as a top 30 fantasy player — Kolten Wong is a huge sleeper. Am I putting the kavorka before the horse on Kolten Wong by saying I’m going to be much higher on him than anyone else, like I did with Brad Miller, Jedd Gyorko and Josh Rutledge in the past two years? To that, I say, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Was I higher on those guys? I don’t remember. *looks right, looks left, slowly walks out of the room* Anyway, what can we expect of Kolten Wong for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Keeper and dynasty league owners have to approach drafts a little differently. The pool of players is smaller after a large chunk of players are protected. Prospects are in the mix even if they are years away. In many long term keeper leagues it’s against the rules to pick up players who weren’t signed by an MLB team at the start of the season. This means that each spring a new crop of international signings enters the pool along with players from the previous year’s amateur draft. Two such players for the upcoming 2015 season are Rusney Castillo and Yasmany Tomas. Both are outfielders from Cuba. Both created a great deal of buzz and signed with their respective clubs for multi-million dollar contracts. Both are major league ready and could make an impact in the fantasy game immediately. And yet both are relatively unknown and have question marks just as Jose Abreu did last year. Which one should we take in our first year player drafts in fantasy? That’s a question which has appeared more than a few times in the comments and is worth looking into.

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In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp played for one of the most popular sports franchises in the world in the 2nd largest city in the country. In San Diego, the Padre fans pride themselves not on wins and losses, but how well the Chablis goes with the brie while they watch the game from the picnic area. In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp went to all the hottest nightclubs. In San Diego, he’ll be frequenting places that look like the bar where Jodie Foster was in The Accused. In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp hung out with the hottest celebrities. In San Diego, “Hey, is that Natalie from The Facts of Life?” In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp dated Rihanna. In San Diego, Kemp’s dating Natalie. It’s only a mere two and half hour drive, but the culture shock is going to hit Kemp as soon as he arrives because he’s going to have to surrender his Lamborghini, there’s a town ordinance that everyone must drive a Jeep with no doors that they put plastic bags over when it rains once a year. On the backside of the site, I’m currently churning through rankings that will be coming in January. I nearly ranked Kemp higher than I want to admit to now. I was believing the 150 games played, 25 HR, 8 SB, .287 season he had last year. Whether I believe it or not, going to San Diego is going to hurt his value. From hitting in the middle of an All-Star lineup to hitting in the middle of Yellowstone. Kemp said on his first day in Petco, “It took some time to get my bearings. In other parks, you can set yourself in the batter’s box by using the outfield fences as a guide. Here, you have to assume the outfield fences are out there somewhere.” Kemp has money coming to him either way, so if he became a 20 HR, 5 SB, .270 guy for a few years, it wouldn’t surprise me. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 72/22/81/.276/8. Oh, and, yes, I’m cautiously optimistic this means Joc Pederson will now be the starting center fielder in LA. For more, I already went over my Joc Pederson fantasy. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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“Hey, Intern, let’s get the Mayans on hold just in case we need them in a hurry. What? Who the hell is Ralph Mayan of the Mayan Empire and Grille in Norwalk? Your blank stare tells me nothing. Go buff out my El Dorado while I write this post!” So, I’ve seen The Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife. It touches briefly on his theorems and the universe’s push and pull. Imagine the universe breathes in and out. The in is gravity and the out is energy generated by particles. However, the Cubs would breathe in, but when they exhaled it sounded like a wheeze. For over a hundred years, people thought it was dying. That constant wheeze of death. Then, Theo Epstein came along, kicked the Cubs in the ass and realized it wasn’t a wheeze but there was something stuck in its throat. The Cubs won’t breathe easy until they win a championship again, but the signing of Jon Lester should help. Last year, Lester had a 9 K/9 and a 2 BB/9. I just touched on this with the signing of Samardzija the other day, but a difference of 7 between K/9 and BB/9 is about the most beautifulest thing in the world, Keith Murray. For K-BB, Lester was 11th in the majors last year. Top ten is a who’s who that’s more glamorous than your Who’s Who of American High School Students Who Paid $75 To Be In That Who’s Who Book. I’ll give you a little hint: if you were to just draft based on K-BB, you’d win your league. Why is K-BB so important? It’s so basically basic basically basic it’s silly. If you strikeout hitters and don’t walk them, good things will happen. For 2015, I’ll give Lester the projections of 15-9/2.92/1.08/206, which is number one fantasy SP numbers. Yup, he’s going to be solid once again. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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