Player Page Matches

In case you can’t tell from my dull, unoriginal title, I really tried to find a way to open this column with Saberseminar 2017 in Boston.

Yesterday and today, the most analytically inclined minds in the baseball industry gathered in a college lecture hall on Boston University’s campus to mull over the most finite details in the game. Rick Hahn (White Sox GM) spoke candidly about his club’s rebuild and how he and his staff emotionally deal with “teardowns” – he even spilled some beans that Reynaldo Lopez might be called up for a start Friday (#LanceTheBeatWriter) – while Tom Tippett, Red Sox Senior Analyst, dove into all the details unaccounted for in dollar-per-WAR retrospective contract valuations. There was even a chemist by the name of Stephanie Springer – unrelated to George Springer – who closed her powerpoint with an ominous bullet-point implying players might have an advantage in PED screening (yowzas indeed). I plan on detailing my experience in a post for my brainchild BigThreeSports, but let’s get to the matter at hand.

We need to talk about Aaron Nola…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Chris Sale, P: $11,800 & Max Scherzer, P: $11,600 – I’m not going to even waste your time telling you how good they are. Play them.

Wait a second…I’m sure all you faithful readers out there are saying “But this is a FanDuel article, we only get one pitcher!”. You’re right. So, Sale or Scherzer? This comes down to matchups and ballparks. Scherzer is facing a very good Arizona lineup, in Arizona – and unless it’s confirmed that the humidor has begun being used, Chase Field is a top-3 non-Coors offensive ballpark. On the other hand, Chris Sale is facing the pathetic Angels offense, which is approaching 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers territory for lopsidedness. For those who don’t remember, that’s the Cavs team that made the finals with Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Sasha Pavlovic, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and a small forward that remains comically underappreciated and underrated throughout his entire career. The problem is, baseball isn’t basketball. One amazing hitter can’t carry an otherwise inept lineup. The 2002 San Francisco Giants demonstrated that absurdly lopsided offenses only work if you have the single greatest offensive player of all time and a second elite-level hitter (and have at least one or two other guys that aren’t complete embarrassments – that year it was Benito Santiago and David Bell). Trout’s trying his best to be Barry Bonds, and Andrelton Simmons, shockingly, isn’t a complete embarrassment, and neither is Luis Valbuena. But the lack of Jeff Kent means this offense isn’t going to give anyone trouble. Additionally, Angel Stadium is an offense-killer, although it does get credit for not selling its naming rights (although the Cubs played in Cubs Park, but then changed the name for the 1927 season to a gum company, which is now considered a non corporate name, so the lesson is, just last a long time). So while I couldn’t fault anyone for deciding that Scherzer’s their guy tonight, when you consider that Sale is facing a vastly inferior lineup and pitching in a far more pitcher-friendly ballpark, the choice (for cash) seems fairly straightforward. And yes, astute readers of mine should note that Scherzer’s GPP-value is through the roof as my hunch is that Sale’s ownership is far higher, and it’s entirely possible Scherzer outscores Sale as both are quite dominant and it may just come down to who gets 11 strikeouts as opposed to 8.

On to the picks as soon as Guaranteed Rate Field becomes a fun, cozy name…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was all set to open with Triston McKenzie’s 6 no hit innings, but then Rafael Devers collected his third hit of the night in his AAA debut. In the midst of writing this post while regretting my choice to spend my Saturday afternoon, and early evening, and night watching that Marathon Red Sox and Yankees affair, I had the alert pop up on my phone that Devers was about to make his 4th at bat of the night. So I turned away from McKenzie, turned away from Ronald Acuna (2 for 4, 2R, 1Bb, 1 RBI) and Ozzie Albies (1 for 5, 1R) vs Yoan Moncada (1 for 4, 1R, 2 SO’s) in the Charlotte vs. Gwinnett game, and tuned into the PawSox vs Syracuse affair to witness Devers 4th at bat of the contest. The Chiefs (Washington’s AAA affiliate) brought in veteran Neal Cotts of 10 years MLB experience to get the lefty on lefty matchup with Devers. Ahead of Cotts in a 2-1 count Devers hit a ball middle-up to right field for his first AAA homer.

The following inning he made a bare-handed play on the run, throwing out Pedro Severino.

The rumors are swirling regarding Todd Frazier to the Red Sox, with Ken Rosenthal deducing the trade was “almost inevitable”. I for one as a life-long Red Sox fan, and avid follower and fan of prospects, team-building, and organizational depth make this plea to one David Dombrowski. Sir, please don’t trade anything for Todd Frazier and his .210 batting average. Give Lin another week or two, let Devers shine in Pawtucket, and call the kid up around the trade deadline. It costs you nothing but a 40 man spot, why delay the inevitable for a rental? Xander Bogaerts came up late in 2013, and was better for his experience down the stretch and into the post-season. Much like Ronald Acuna has in the early stages of his AAA career, Devers may force the Red Sox hand, as he just looks so much better than anything they can acquire. Simple logic really, why give up assets when you don’t have to?… Anyway, here’s what else I saw in MiLB.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Braves rookie phenom/shortstop/TV dinner mogul Dansby Swanson was 2-for-2 last night with his fourth home run and two RBI. Daaaaaaamn, B! YES! Keep doing this. If you held onto Swanson this long (especially in a redraft leagues) you deserve what is happening to you right now. What is happening is Dansby is hitting .360 with 4 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI in the past week! When your draft day sleeper is finally making you look smart, but most people have already forgot. Sure, he’s still hitting just .201, but these are the kind of things you ignore when you have blind faith and are looking to ride the rookie train to some fantasy fame. I attribute some of this to the cleansing therapy we’ve been taking together. It’s pretty simple, bad vibes–bad, good vibes–good. Harness the good energy, block out the bad. Pretty easy, right? Also, let’s just meditate in this sweat lodge for 12 hours and have a “vision” about how not to strike out as much. After hitting just .156 in April, Dansby is hitting .286 in May. He’s also doubled his OBP, SLG% and has drawn twice as many walks as he did last month. Dan’s be good like that! He’s available in little over half of fantasy leagues right now and if Swanson happens to be out there on waivers in your league, this might be your last chance to grab him before the hype returns. Trust me, this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Houston’s 32-year old Cuban rookie Yulieski Gurriel was 2-for-4 with his first stolen base Friday night. Or is it Guerriel? Gourriel? Don’t worry about spelling his name correctly, the media sure doesn’t–what’s important is Friday’s two hit night capped off an impressive week for the third baseman where he hit .321 with four runs, two home runs and drove in five runs. Debuting at the end of August, Yulieski got off to a slow start after struggling with a mild hamstring injury, but that looks to be a thing of the past and he’s now hit safely in his last six games, and has homered in two of his last three games. Players like Yulieski require praise, they demand it. As soon as manager A.J. Hinch let him know he was a good Gurriel, and started rewarding him with treats (he really likes Combos) Yulieski turned it on. Atta Gurriel! Yes, you are! Who’s a good Gurriel? You arrrre! Yulieski was less than impressive during his short minors stint (.250/.262/.429 line with two home runs and 14 RBI in 15 games), but he bat .500 with 15 homers in 50 games in Cuba last year which is a about as good as it sounds, so there is little doubt our boy is major league ready. Did you read Grey’s Yulieski Gurriel fantasy? I read it while conducting a scientific tasting of all the different Combos flavors. Pepperoni pizza won in a landslide. Lord Byron Buxton will be the hot-shot rookie pick up of the week, and by all means, if he’s available grab him, but Gurriel could be a nice add if you lost the Buxton sweepstakes, and he’s still out there in over 80% of leagues. I’d own him in any league where wanted to win. Yulieski can do it!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

No, this is not a cheerleading move that requires an upside down split at the top of a human pyramid or some new fangled dessert menu item. Instead, it is a much less exciting and tasty occurrence with the pitchers throwing in Coors tonight. Typically, the intro paragraph is a great place to layout the best value of the day. Specifically, the best value pitcher of the day. Today however, it’s going to be used as a blanket statement to avoid stuffing my picks below with a ton of Yankees and Rockies hitters. Thanks to continuous interleague play (which I really can’t stand) we get a fun, little two game home and home between the Rox and the Yanks. Tonight will be game two of the Coors field showdown, which means all your Yankee starters should be good and used to the elevation and ready to drop a ton of fantasy points on poor Chad Bettis. At first glance you might think to load up on all the lefty bats the Yankees have. If you dig into Bettis’ stats a bit, though, you’ll notice that for his career (and this season) righties have actually hit him for a better average and a higher slugging percentage (.110 points higher to be exact). Some sneaky, against the grain plays might be Rob Refsnyder and Starlin Castro in the middle infield. On the other side of the rubber will be Ivan Nova who, believe it or not, also has some reverse splits going on. For his career, his platoon splits are about even, with an ever so slight nod to the righties. If you just take a look at this year so far you’ll see a .100 point uptick in OPS for righties vs. lefties. This is very rare for a right handed hurler and it’s worth noting. Most DFS players will blindly follow left/right match-ups when making a lineup decision. While it may not matter it what could be a typical Oprah-style showdown at Coors (“You get a homer, you get a homer, you get a homer…) it could also be a nice little edge for those keen enough to do some digging. Mark Reynolds and Nick Hundley may be avoided by many and could turn a nice profit tonight. Let’s see what else is cooking with today’s picks:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 20th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, it finally happened, the long wait is over. Wait a minute, this isn’t right at all. It’s only been three years since the Dodgers signed, a then 16 year old, Julio Urias and we haven’t stopped hearing about him since. The comparisons to fellow Mexican Dodgers hurler, Fernando Valenzuela, might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves. Will there be Juliomania? Perhaps, but there will also be innings limits, pitch counts and who knows what else. What we do know is that at $7,600, Julio is going to be an extremely popular option on DraftKings tomorrow night. There’s a strange phenomenon that people enjoy picking players based on games they plan on watching. During the football season you’ll find slight ownership bumps from SNF and MNF players for this very reason. It makes sense, people want to see their players perform. I imagine there will be many eyeballs on the Dodgers @ Mets game tonight and a heavy dose of Urias as a result. Knowing this will be the case, the prudent move would be to fade Urias all together. The Mets are favored with deGrom taking the hill at home after all. Can you really resist the temptation to have a piece of what might be a magical debut? It’s OK, I probably can’t either, I’ve got at least have small share of the 19 year old lefty. Let’s see who else there is to choose from tonight:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday May 30th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Where do you hide your stash? Over the years I have used such hiding places as my original Nintendo Entertainment System (where you put the cartridge in), inside one of my Bauer ice hockey gloves (masks any odors) and in the back pocket of the pants of my homemade Cobra Kai outfit. However, the most important part about hiding your stash isn’t necessarily where you actually hide it, but instead, actually remembering where you hid it. And the key to remembering is based on your “state of mind” when you hid it. I’m pretty sure I just blew through my allotment of commas. If you’ve never spent hours searching for a stash, or stumbled upon a stash weeks later, you’re a better man than I. As for Grey, he hides his stache in plain sight, right on his face. That’s how cool he is!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I can imagine what Juan Nicasio season long owners are feeling right now. First week was straight gravy with some poutine hiding underneath. Next week? Heart attack with a cliffhanger heading into week 3. This shizz is like Knots Landing and I don’t even know what that show is! Either way, drama central is going on and we out here in DFS land be like okay, okay, Childish Gambino style. That’s the beauty of the Daily Fantasy life: No Ragrets. Or better put, no memory. I don’t care that Juan was terrible in his last start. It happened in Detroit against a stacked Tigers lineup. Back at home in the NL against a good but shaky Brew Crew lineup, I’m willing to take a gamble on Juan at his low end price of $6,100. Why? Pitchers that Ray Searage has salvaged include but are not limited to: AJ Burnett, Francisco Liriano, and JA Happ. So you can write the other two off as bouncebacks but Happ? That’s straight voodoo magic, brosephs, and I’m not about to start a Salem witch trial against this good man. So step into my humble abode as we put Juan in our SP2 spot and forget about it for the day. But what should we do with our SP1 spot, you ask? Well read on. Here’s my telenovela hot taeks for this Sunday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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