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Is there anything better than baseball on a rainy Saturday afternoon? You can’t do any yard work, you know, because it’s pouring, so you settle into your favorite chair, crack a beer, and you’re whisked away to a place much warmer, and much sunnier. Here I sit, beer in hand, ready to watch this week’s test subject Royals righty Nate Karns vs the first place Baltimore Orioles. The journeymen starter is on his 4th organization in five seasons, and there’s two ways to look at this. Either Karns can’t keep a job, or he’s highly “in-demand” by multiple teams throughout the league. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, never good enough to lock-down a rotation spot, but also good enough to find opportunity year after year. So far Karns has been a good fit in Kansas City, making his 7th start today vs. a surprisingly mediocre Orioles offense, one that ranks in the bottom half of MLB in nearly every offensive category. So the home matchup vs. Baltimore is a good one, even if it’s a first place club he’s facing…. Here’s what I saw on Saturday.

Scouting Report: Unlike previous years Karns finds himself cemented into the middle of the Kansas City rotation. Across Karn’s first 6 starts the results have been solid, a 2-2 record, an 8.8 K/9, a 2.6 Bb/9, and a 3.63 ERA as a starter. His 4.58 ERA entering today’s game, was inflated by a 4 run relief performance in  2/3rds of an inning back on April 5th at Minnesota. A deeper look at the numbers shows that Karns has been very good. In fact, there’s been some really encouraging signs in Karns underlying peripherals, despite no real change in arsenal or approach. So far on the year Karn’s swinging strike rate is up to 12.5%, a 1.5% jump year over year, while his groundball rate has spiked by 15%, from 40.3% a year ago to an elite 56.8% in 2017. His arsenal is comprised of a mid-90’s four-seam fastball, a low-90’s sinker, a hard, mid-low 80’s curveball thrown with a knuckle curve grip, and a mid 80’s changup with a little break. The curve is far and away his best offering, and the results show this, with the break being more of the 1 to 7 variety, than the 12 to 6 it’s reported as. It works in on lefties, and away and off the plate on righties, generating whiffs over 25% of the time. Karns pitch usage has by and large remained the same in his three major league seasons. He throws fastballs about 50% of the time, with the vast majority being his four-seamer up and on the outside part of the plate. He uses the cheese to setup his hard-breaking curveball low and also on the outside part of the plate. His change up is used sparingly, about 12-15% of the time, and is thrown mostly in two strike counts, low and outside to both lefties, and righties. Though he will work middle in, and bury it under the hands of right-hand batters. The spike in swinging strikes and groundballs this season, seems to be generated from an uptick in usage of the curve, and change low and outside the zone.

  • I’m trying a different approach this week, listing each batter, with a full detail of each pitch, and outcome. 

Nate Karns vs Baltimore Orioles @ Kauffman Stadium Kansas City, Mo May 13th, 2017

First Inning

Seth Smith – Fastball low and inside, strike 1, fastball at 93 middle in, smith pops up to Lorenzo Cain.

Adam Jones – Curveball middle in, strike 1, Karns goes right back to the pitch, and buries the curve at the bottom of the zone, strike 2, Karns sits down Jones, as the curve is buried inside again to Jones for a swinging strike three, strikeout on 3 pitches. The bottom just drops out on this pitch.

Manny Machado – On the first pitch,a 93 MPH Fastball down the pike, Machado hits it right back up the middle for a single. Man on first, and here comes former MLB home run champ Chris Davis.

Chris Davis – Starts davis off with a fastball 93 low and outside, ball 1, a changeup low and inside for strike 1, curveball drops out of the zone, ball 2, fastball inside is fouled off, strike 2, high fastball at 95, fouled straight back, strike 2, count is even at 2 a piece, Karns goes back to the hook, as he buries the curveball in the dirt for ball 3, full count, a changeup to the outside is fouled off, then a 93 mph fastball is fouled off, before rings him up on a deadly curveball to the inside part of the plate.

Strong first inning for Karns, as he strikesout two, making only one mistake to Machado, as he grooved a 93 MPH sinker.

Second inning

Mark Trumbo – Karns starts off the 2nd frame with a fastball high and inside at 93, strike 1, right back to the fastball, high and inside, the pitch is slapped foul down the 3rd baseline, strike 2, a fastball high and outside is taken, ball 1, Karns then buries a curveball at 86 low and outside with hard 1 to 7 break getting a swinging strike three.

Jonathan Schoop – High fastball at 94, ball 1, change to the outside at 83, ball 2, fastball high and inside, ball 3, Karns finds himself behind in the count for the first time today. He goes at Schoop with a four-seam fastball at 93 down the pike, strike one, fastball high and inside for a swinging strike 2. With a full count, the righty buries the curve at 83 to the outside, and Karns gets another swinging strike for his 4th strikeout.

Trey Mancini – Curveball to the outside part of the plate, strike 1 looking, changeup at 88 low and outside, ball 1, curveball down the middle, as the bottom drops out for a swinging strike two, and a change at 85 and off the plate, freezes Mancini as he watches strike 3.

Nasty inning for Karns as he strikesout the side in the second. The curveball is a serious weapon.

Third inning

J.J. Hardy – 92 MPH sinker on the bottom of the zone for strike 1, a  curveball at 85 almost in the same spot as Hardy watches it go by for strike 2, Karns goes back to the curve again, this time at the bottom of the zone, and gets another swinging strike three. That’s six strikeouts, and five swinging strikes on the curve in just 2 1/3rd.

Francisco Pena – Karns starts out the number 9 hitter with a high fastball at 94 MPH, that the former Royal slaps back for a foul, strike 1, next a curveball that’s just off the plate, that Pena watches for ball 1, a curveball at 84 on the outside for strike 2, a changeup middle-middle is slapped down the third baseline foul, 1-2 count, curveball in the dirt way off the plate, ball two, and the first real mistake of the day for Karns as he hangs a curveball high in the zone and the Pena punishes it to leftfield for a homer, tied game.

Seth Smith – A fastball outside for ball 1, high fastball top of the zone, ball 2, fastball outside, that’s slapped the other way, strike 1, curveball buried low under the hands for a swinging strike 2, changeup at 87 to the outside part of the zone for ball 3, full count, curveball low and outside taken for ball four, Smith takes the first walk.

Adam Jones – Starts Jones off with a curveball at 84 middle in, that Jones takes for strike 1, fastball on the outside part of the plate at 93, slapped foul down the first base line, strike 2, curveball buried, at 84, that Jones beats into the ground, count 0-2 to Jones, high fastball at 92 down the middle, and Jones takes the pitch for strike three, 7 strikeouts through 2 2/3rds.

Manny Machado – 94 MPH fastball to the outside, ball 1, hanging curve middle in, Manny pulls it down the line foul, strike 1, fastball high and inside, taken for ball 2, fastball middle on the the outside part of the plate is popped up to right field for the final out of the inning.

By far Karns worst inning, but really outside of the hanging curve on the homer to Pena, he didn’t make too many mistakes.

Fourth Inning

Chris Davis – Lines Karns first offering, a 92 MPH middle-middle four-seamer, to second that the second baseman Escobar makes a stab on, and tosses to Hosmer for the first out of the fourth.

Mark Trumbo – Fastball low and outside taken for ball 1, curveball on the outside at 84 is hacked at badly for a swinging strike 1, 93 MPH down the middle taken for strike 2, curveball at 83 misses to the inside, ball 2, Karns comes right back and buries a curveball in the dirt and off the plate, Trumbo tries to hold up, but he broke the zone on the check, and is rung up for strike three. 8 strikeouts for Karns though 3 2/3rds.

Jonathan Schoop – Curveball on the inside taken for strike 1, fastball high and outside, ball 1, fastball high and on the outside part of the plate taken for strike 2, another fastball this one low and outside for ball 2, Karns drops the hammer on Schoop, and draws a swinging strike three on a 84 MPH curve down Main Street. 9 strikeouts and now 9 swinging strikes on the curve.

Three up and three down for Karns in the fourth, up to this point only three pitches have been well struck, Machado’s first inning single, Pena’s homer, and Davis’ hard line out to start the fourth.

Fifth Inning

Trey Mancini – Curveball bounces on the outside part of the zone and to the backstop, got away from Karns there for ball 1, curveball drops out of the zone and is taken for ball 2, 2-0 count, a fastball high and on the outside part of the plate is taken for strike 1, curveball low and in, and another swinging strike on the hook to even the count at 2-2, another curveball buried in the dirt way outside again for ball 3, full count, Karns runs a fastball on the outside part of the plate belt high, and Mancini watches strike three. Mancini has now watched two balls for strike three. 10 K’s for Karns through 4 1/3rd.

J.J. Hardy – Fastball high for ball one, fastball again, high and inside is slapped down the third base line foul, strike 1, curveball on the outside part of the plate at 84, and Hardy can’t hold up, strike 2, Karns goes back to his bread and butter, 84 MPH curveball that drops out of the zone for his 11th punchout, and 12th swinging strike on the pitch.

Francisco Pena – Karns throws a high fastball and Pena once again makes him pay killing the ball into the left field concourse. Damn Karns can’t get Pena out.

Seth Smith – Starts Smith off with a 94 MPH fastball to the outside, strike 1, changeup low and outside, taken for ball 1, Curve middle in, slapped down the first baseline for a foul, strike 2, 94 MPH fastball low and inside, ball 2, curveball at 86 to the outside part of the plate is cued off the end of the bat in play to shortstop, and Smith beats the throw for an infield single.

Adam Jones – Karns hangs a curve at 84 down the middle of the plate and Jones misses for strike 1, another curve, low and inside drops in for ball 1, third straight curveball to Jones on the outside part of the plate at 85 is whacked foul down the third baseline, strike 2, a fourth consecutive 84 MPH curve is slapped foul again, still 1-2, and yet another curveball, this at 85, is swung and foul tipped, Jones just got a piece of that one. A high fastball on the outside at 94, is fouled off again, still 1-2, 92 MPH fastball in the dirt way outside, ball 2, Karns then tosses a 93 MPH fastball off the plate, and Jones goes the other way for a line drive single.

Manny Machado – Curveball at 83 off the plate, that Manny swings through, strike 1, 82 MPH curveball off the plate slapped the other way foul, strike 2, he drops the hammer again! 84 off the plate and in the dirt as Manny Machado flails at the pitch for Karns 12th strikeout. 15 swinging strikes on the curveball today.


Final Line: 5 IP, 91 pitches, 61 strikes, 16 swinging strikes, 2 earned runs, 2 home runs, 12 K’s, 1 walk, 5 hits

Game Summary: That’s it for Karns as Seth Maness comes out for the top of the 6th. 91 pitches for Karns, 62 for strikes, including 16 swinging strikes, 15 of which came on Karns’ curve. I came away impressed, as Karns knows how to setup hitters for the strikeout, using his elite hard curve to generate swings and misses, mixing in the change to keep batters honest on the hook. The spike in SwStr, ground balls, and his K/9 is all generated off of his plus curve. One change in Karns’ approach this season has been the ability to bury the pitch off the plate, and to the first base side. An effective plan of attack to both right-handed, and left-handed hitters.

Razzball Baseball

Updated Top 100 SP

(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)

1 Chris Sale, BOS
2 Clayton Kershaw, LAD
3 Max Scherzer, WAS
4 Yu Darvish, TEX
5 Jacob deGrom, NYM
6 Carlos Carrasco, CLE
7 Stephen Strasburg, WAS
8 Johnny Cueto, SF
9 Chris Archer, TB
10 Jake Arrieta, CHC
11 Lance McCullers, HOU
12 Zack Greinke, ARI
13 Dallas Keuchel, HOU
14 Gerrit Cole, PIT
15 Michael Pineda, NYY
16 Danny Salazar, CLE
17 Carlos Martinez, STL
18 Jon Lester, CHC
19 Michael Fulmer, DET
20 Kyle Hendricks, CHC
21 Corey Kluber, CLE
22 James Paxton, SEA
23 Danny Duffy, KC
24 Rick Porcello, BOS
25 Justin Verlander, DET
26 Ivan Nova, PIT
27 Julio Teheran, ATL 
28 Marco Estrada, TOR
29 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY
30 Dylan Bundy, BAL
31 Robbie Ray, ARI 
32 Jason Vargas, KC
33 Luis Severino, NYY
34 John Lackey, CHC
35 David Price, BOS
36 Marcus Stroman, TOR
37 Julio Urias, LAD
38 Jose Quintana, CHW
39 Charlie Morton, HOU
40 Madison Bumgarner, SF
41 Aaron Sanchez, TOR
42 Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS
43 Michael Wacha, STL
44 Noah Syndergaard, NYM
45 Sean Manaea, OAK
46 Taijuan Walker, ARI
47 Lance Lynn, STL 
48 Trevor Cahill, SD
49 Tanner Roark, WAS
50 Andrew Triggs, OAK
51 Brandon McCarthy, LAD
52 Jerad Eickhoff, PHI
53 Mike Foltynewicz, ATL
54 Jeff Samardzija, SF
55 Matt Shoemaker, LAA
56 Nathan Karns, TB 
57 Kenta Maeda, LAD
58 Jake Odorizzi, TB
59 Gio Gonzalez, WAS
60 Jesse Hahn, OAK
61 Jose Berrios, MIN
62 Jeremy Hellickson, PHI
63 Alex Wood, LAD
64 Aaron Nola, PHI
65 Felix Hernandez, SEA
66 Antonio Senzatela, COL
67 Daniel Norris, DET
68 Amir Garrett, CIN
69 Wade Miley, BAL 
70 Sonny Gray, OAK
71 Vincent Velasquez, PHI
72 Mike Leake, STL
73 Patrick Corbin, ARI
74 Kendall Graveman, OAK
75 Chase Anderson, MIL
76 Matt Andriese, TB
77 Ervin Santana, MIN
78 J.C. Ramirez, LAA
79 Derek Holland, CWS 
80 Drew Pomeranz, BOS
81 Alex Cobb, TB
82 Jimmy Nelson, MIL
83 Jaime Garcia, ATL
84 Matt Moore, SF
85 Trevor Bauer, CLE
86 Matt Harvey, NYM
87 Carlos Rodon, CHW
88 Dan Straily, MIA
89 Luis Perdomo, SD
90 Chad Kuhl, PIT
91 Kyle Freeland, COL
92 Scott Feldman, CIN
93 Jesse Chavez, LAA
94 Tyler Anderson, COL
95 Joe Musgrove, HOU
96 Adam Wainwright, STL
97 Matt Garza, MIL
98 Matt Boyd, DET
99 Zack Wheeler, NYM
100 Ricky Nolasco, LAA

Coming Up: Josh Hader, MIL, Jacob Faria, TB, Brandon Woodruff, MIL, Jose De Leon, TB, Erick Fedde, WAS, Sean Newcomb, ATL, Dinelson Lamet, SD.

Dropped off: Jameson Taillon, PIT, Blake Snell, TB, Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA, Jharel Cotton, OAK, Ariel Miranda, SEA

  • A couple of demotions knocked both Blake Snell and Jharel Cotton off the list this week. Hopefully each can find the strikeout upside that made them intriguing prospects entering 2016. It’s been an especially tough go for Snell who’s struggled to find the plate, best illustrated by his 5.36 BB/9.
  • There are exactly 11 pitchers with a 50%+ groundball rate, and 10%+ SwStr rate they are as follows, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Trevor Cahill, Andrew Triggs, Nate Karns, Jon Lester, Carlos Martinez, Michael Pineda, Charlie Morton, Gerrit Cole, and Luis Severino.
  • Lots of talk of Alex Wood, and it’s easy to see why, he’s been phenominal. Keep in mind these are rest of season rankings, and there’s still some question to whether or not Wood stays in the rotation for the rest of the year. Though if he keeps this up, he will.
  • What’s with the Indians? Starters Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, each have K/9’s in the double digits, but ERA’s over 5. In fact they’re the only pitchers with K/9 totals over 10 per, with ERA’s over 4.50.
  • It’s not a surprise that Dylan Bundy came out this week and silenced his critics somewhat, striking out 8 against Kansas City. I mentioned this a few times last week in the comments, but 3 of his first 7 starts were against a Red Sox team that just doesn’t strikeout. BTW there’s numbers that back this up, not a Boston Bias thing.

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST

  1. Sun Tzu says:

    This ranking of Alex Wood seems unconscionably low. Wood now ranks first in all of baseball in xFIP (minimum 35 innings) and his velocity is up a couple ticks from previous. I realize the sample size is still small, but I’d almost have to move him into the top 40 based upon what we’ve witnessed.

    • Fogimon says:

      @Sun Tzu: Agreed on Wood, he’s been spectacular. Assuming this rank has more to do with the Dodgers roulette wheel of a rotation, with Ryu & McCarthy seeming to create a 6-man.
      What I see confusing here is how highly ranked A.Sanchez is just coming off his weird blister/fingernail issues, and with not so great numbers before the issues even started.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:

        @Fogimon: Yeah you have to think he wasn’t ranked a week ago because there was confusion about whether he was sticking in the rotation or not. So he was added this week, I think entering the list at 60 when you weren’t ranked and there’s some role and injury questions attached to your rest of season outlook it’s not to bad. I agree that it’s a conservative ranking, and he could be a major mover in the next couple.

        I like Sanchez, we’re talking about a kid at 24 year’s old that 15-3 with a 3.00 ERA dating back to last April. I don’t have any reason to not view him as a top 50 starter from here on out.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:

            @Fogimon: Until Nola comes back and look himself again yes. I don’t think they’re that far apart taking an objective view of ROS value. I’d probably move Nola up to 45 or so if he comes back and is looking like a high 3’s ERA guy with a 9ish K per. I mean Sanchez has better numbers all-time and is a year older. Lots of injury risk with Nola.

            Notice I bumped up Manaea quite a bit now that he’s returning. I dropped Nola a week ago after the re-injury.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Sun Tzu: You guarantee me a rotation spot, and I’ll have him in the top 40.

      • Fogimon says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Guarantee Wood a rotation spot, and I’m crowning him my best waiver pickup of the year.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Fogimon: Unless you grabbed Thames off the waiver after someone dropped him early then I’d say yes. Permitted he keeps this up.

  2. Steven Ambrose Pearce says:

    Thanks Ralph!

    I missed you yesterday so let me ask…McKenzie or Giolito going forward in dynasty?

    Great write up! Bold placement of Berrios but I concur – he looked great.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Steven Ambrose Pearce: Mckenzie, he’s got three plus pitches, the groundball rate, and all the buzz. Giolito is getting worse, his start Saturday was the bright spot of his 2017, and that’s not saying much he was just okay.

  3. Andrew Edenbaum says:

    Sorry, closer question. Knebel v. Wilson ? Coinflip ? Or is Det. more likely to try and give it back to KRod ?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Andrew Edenbaum: I like Knebel, think he’s more likely to stick.

      • Andrew Edenbaum says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Agree, but Wilson has really been a witch and KRod looks done.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Andrew Edenbaum: Numbers are a little better, and K-Rod does look done. Less options in Detroit too, but my gut tells me Knebel. It is very close.

          • LightBlack says:

            @Ralph Lifshitz:

            Sad thing is the Tigers Traded Knebel to get KRod. Facepalm.

  4. lyricist says:

    Jose Berrios says deal with it :)

    I’ve always liked Wood as a pitcher and human. Maybe this can be his magic season and it would be of great benefit if someone would step up pull the Jagr to CKs Lemieux this season. I’m a Cards fan, but I think the Dodgers have a solid chance at 1988 this year. And their fans deserve it.

    Shout out to PR for the Karns scouting report… damn I love reading those

    • lyricist says:

      @lyricist: apologies… that was supposed to be a remark on SunTzu’s initial post

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @lyricist: No worries, Wood has looked great, but I don’t want to just throw him in the top 50 yet.

  5. dustyfingers says:

    Is Nola where he is, because he has to prove effectiveness after coming of the DL? Guys like Karns and Shoemaker are FAs in my league.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @dustyfingers: Yes, he could move up but he’s aggravated the back when coming back before. I need to know he’s going to return and it won’t be bothering him.

  6. Rice says:

    I have too many good 1Bs. What range on this list do you think I should be targeting in exchange for Hanley?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Rice: 40 and up.

  7. Nelson says:

    Would you trade an mid-priced Kluber and a very cheap Dahl to get a non-keepable scherzer in a Keeper league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Nelson: Only if I was a pitcher away from taking the crown.

  8. My Seven Rizzos says:

    In a 12 team h2h points keeper league. Do you think AJ Griffin is a decent trade target, or someone like Karns who is on the WW is a better option ROS?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:

        @lyricist: Karns, he’s really been pretty damn good.

      • lyricist says:

        @lyricist: Go for the gold now, the meh shall always be found in differing streams

  9. Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

    16 team h2h with QS/holds/hits/OPS added and only 2 DL spots. keep any 6 per year, no escalations, just binary keep or not.
    C flowers
    1B goldy (K)
    2B odor (K, was a keeper anyway)
    SS segura (K)
    3B arenado (K)
    OF (3) pollock/pillar/schebler
    util (2) trumbo/puig
    BN to-jo
    NA meadows
    sounds like pollock is gonna hit DL
    SP wood/lackey/chavez/andriese/shoemaker/hahn/ryu
    RP norris/glover/betances/familia/bearclaw/bradley/rivero
    DL thor/rodon
    probably gonna have to either hold rodon in active slot or drop him when pollock hits DL.
    either way drop familia for either a SP or a RP. only 4 moves per week so can’t stream much, plus choices are terrible. i originally obtained bradley thinking he’d get SP by now, but godley has been probably too good enough for that. only held him from him being good and possible saves chance.
    SP: cashner/perdomo/norris/miranda/peacock/
    RP: farq/koji/j.smith/siegrist/rogers/dunn/kela/blevins

    2. 20 team dynasty h2h with 7 RP slots. holds/k per 9/ relief appearances/relief wins:
    which 2 out of grilli/hembree/fields/nicasio. fields has worst role currently but best skills, BOS’s pen usage is quite weird lately, hard to read. grilli has been awful and no holds in a while (while other TOR guys are getting them). nicascio up to at least 7th inning lately and rivero maybe hurt now.

    • Eli Man Penguin Boy says:

      @Eli Man Penguin Boy: rankings of course say norris/perdomo/rodon but if rodon’s longer term value trumps this and pollock goes DL i’d be wise to save one of my remaining 3 moves to grab a hitter.

  10. Ralf says:

    Would you give up Benintendi for Darvish in a keep 4 forever league?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Ralf: I’m on the fence about it, as I love Darvish, but you’d be fool-hearty to think Darvish is good and healthy for the next three seasons.

  11. asdfasdf says:

    Is Maeda pitching this week? I also have Ryu and I am not sure which one to start. Thanks

    • Chucky says:

      I have Ryu too, and unless your name is Kershaw, I think we can expect to see that 7 man rotation used around that 10 day DL to supplement that staff

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:

        @asdfasdf: @Chucky: Yeah it looks like they’re playing a shell game with their DL spot. With Ryu skipped he’s almost pitching every 10 days. It’s kind of crazy, I left him off for that reason, otherwise he’s somewhere in the 50’s-60’s.

  12. Wacha Wacha says:

    Will rich hill be climbing the ranks if/when he starts? Or too many concerns about injury and rotation spot? Would you rather own Hill or Wood going forward?


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Wacha Wacha: I’d rather own Wood, the current 7 man rotation has me going crazy. I have no idea where to rank these guys!

  13. Eric says:

    Hey Ralph, love your work. How wold you rank these rps ros:

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Eric: Brach, Knebel, Wilson, Reed

  14. Chucky says:

    Whats your feelings on 2 KC LHPs Duffy and vargas, this week v Yankees?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chucky: I’m not real enthusiastic about either turn. In fact I’m even less excited about their trip to the Bronx early next week, that’s one I’d sit for both. The home ones, I might gamble with.

  15. nick the smooth dick says:

    Good stuff smooth buddy, dig the every batter aspect. Only qualm is I have a big problem with your way too low ranking of All Eyez On Me

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @nick the smooth dick: Makaveli the don, killuminati all through ya body, blow like a 12 gauge shotty. lol

      • nick the smooth dick says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: I mean if that’s how you want it, if that’s how you feel. Coming up as a writer in the ‘spect game, livin’ in Razz lane ahhh for real.
        Yet and still, I love the way you activate your ranks and push advice out. Got a smoothie wanting it so bad, my wife just passed out…

          • nick the smooth dick says:

            @Ralph Lifshitz: *Reggie voice* Women be sleepin babyyy, women be sleepin! You can’t STOP a woman from sleepin!

            • Ralph Lifshitz

              Ralph Lifshitz says:

              @nick the smooth dick: Seeeeeeen Who-whoooooooooaaaaaaaaoooo-skilllllidie-bidilly-skiddily-whoooooooooooaaaa SEEEN!

  16. Robert says:

    Stanton, Duffy and Herrera for Freeman and Quintana : fair deal?

    • Chucky says:

      Which Herrara?

      • Robert says:

        @Chucky: Kelvin Herrera

        • Chucky says:

          Freeman is the best layer in the deal fwiw. i know thats important to some ppl.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Robert: It’s pretty fair to me, have been going back and forth as to the stronger side. I think I prefer the Stanton side in RCL, but the Freeman side in points or a saves+holds format.

      • Robert says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: 10 team h2h, some others in league might veto because am dealing from strength (pitching)

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Robert: Doesn’t seem that slanted.

  17. Sano Chance in Hell says:

    Trade Duffy for Odor?

  18. Count de Monetball says:

    Great list Ralph, of course that may be because I have 4 of the top 14; The one that sticks out to me is Surly Duffman; I dropped him in a 5×5 10-team roto league a few weeks ago and he hasn’t been picked up. He did play well in the last two outings against Cleveland and Baltimore; is his velo picking up or do you see something i’m missing…

    • Chucky says:

      Aside from those 2 beatings he took v CHW, his other starts aren’t bad at all. Duffy that is…amid all the sell now noise.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chucky: @Count de Monetball: Gotta agree with Chuck, he’s definitely owned in all formats for me. He’s been getting a lot more groundball contact, and had been a definite flyball guy before. What I like is his SwStr is still good at 12% while getting weaker groundball contact. He was a little homer prone last season despite the breakout.

  19. Chris says:

    Give up yelich for kluber and castellanos. Dynasty

    • Chucky says:

      Id do that…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chris: How deep? Anything under 16 I’d want Yelich.

  20. Bosox says:

    You like biagini?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Bosox: Yeah, he’s interesting for sure, most certainly on my deep league radar.

  21. Swfcdan says:

    Stealing JB’s job now! Who next?

    Nate still not cracked the top 100 though? And what you make of Berrios first start, going by your ranking you must be impressed!

    • nick the smooth dick says:

      @Swfcdan: He’s number 56

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Swfcdan: Ha! Yes, I was dying to write another 2500 words every Monday. I’m going after Grey next!

      Missed Nasty Nate at 56 my good man, up from last week’s 71.

      • Swfcdan says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: Ha give Grey a break, how about Smokey’s job next.

        Nice, not a bad pickup in deeper leagues there Nate the great! Got mega wood for Wood too the way he’s been pitching, gotta love all these phantom dodger DL’s to keep him in there. Roberts must have him on his fantasy team.

        Never saw the change at the summit until now. Big bad brave call there!

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:

          @Swfcdan: Hahaha I hate bullpens! Smokey can keep it, maybe the RCL bots are interested.

          Yeah, it will be interesting how this rotation shakes out with the 7 arms.

          Did that from the jump, he’s been better than Kershaw, he really has. All the numbers back it, and while Kershaw is still the man, there are somethings trending the wrong way.

  22. Chud says:

    I see you still believe in Jake the snake…..

    Full keeper league trade offer:

    Arrietta for Encarnacion.

    Who wins?


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chud: Wow that’s a tough one, I always go hitter but E5 looks bad too. Jake is down 5 spots. I probably go Arrieta still.

  23. Fister Furbush says:

    Salazar at 16, ballzy…but I like it.
    He’s on the wire in my league and I’m thinking about picking up him and dropping Hanniger. I need pitching and my OF is loaded.

    Seems legit, right? Or I could drop Kemp/Story/Desmond instead…

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Fister Furbush: I really want to tell you Story, but I understand Haniger and probably would myself.

      Yeah he leads MLB in K per among starters, so he’s on that group where there’s some concern of regression, or some regression the other way on the ERA. If Salazar is bad this time he may drop out of the Top 20-25.

  24. King Bob says:

    Karns, Lackey or Morton pick for ROS?

  25. Niceguybilly says:

    Hey Ralph, great write up as usual.
    Off topic but I need some advice, sit one this week;
    JD, Desmond, Avasail, Edwin, Benintendi, Votto.
    Obvious answer is Ava but Edwin’s been stinking it up

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Niceguybilly: If your guy says Edwin then do it

  26. Gregg says:


    H2H pts weekly lock league.

    Which pitcher is the better stream this week for their two starts?

    Chase Anderson (first start is at SD & vs Perdoma. 2nd Start is at Chicago & Jake Arrieta.)

    Jesse Chavez (vs White Sox & mike pelfrey, 2nd Start is @ Mets & zach wheeler.)

    Matt Cain (vs Dodgers & Brandon McCarthy, then 2nd start at STL & wainwright.)

    Question two is would you drop lance lynn for either alex wood or Jose berrios? Thanks!!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Gregg: No I’d hold on Lynn, and I’m actually going to say go Chavez

  27. Curious George Springer says:

    Tanaka is an obvious riser after his performance this week. 1.2 IP and 4 homers screams top 30 SP for sure!

      • J-FOH says:

        @Curious George Springer: @Eli Man Penguin Boy: Does one or two starts make a season? Why don’t you two post your top 100 in the comments and lets see the brilliance of your pea. At the end of the year are you really going to look back and say he did a poor job because he didn’t move players around like a cracked out blind monkey?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Curious George Springer: Unfortunately I did my ranks prior to last night, the worst start of his career. Outside of his first start and last start he’s a low 3 ERA guy on a very good team. He’s up a few spaces and Maeda was put on the DL.

  28. braves uk says:

    A great read as always!

    15 team 5×5 roto.

    I”m loving what i’ve got from Dylan Bundy so far. But how many innings is realistic this season…?

    If I can get Ian Desmond for Bundy + Mazara, is that valuing Bundy too lightly, fair deal or a steal for me?


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @braves uk: Is it re-draft? If I’m set at pitcher sure.

  29. Jurickson BROfar says:

    Prospect Overlord,

    Is Andrew Benintendi a top 30 keeper in a keep 3 Ten Team League? I currently own Goldy, Bryant, Rizzo, Correa, Benny and Springer.

    I have been offered Myers, Sano, Murphy, Thames, McCullers, Degrom, his 1st and 2nd picks next year for my Bryamt, Rizzo and 10th and 11th picks.

    Third world problems… I know, but if I move Rizzo and Bryant, would I keep Goldy, Correa and Benintendi? Springer? Myers? Sano?

    Thanks for digging deep. Is it time to stash Devers?

  30. Sport says:

    As a Royal’s fan, I have to say Dayton Moore won this trade (Karns for Dustin), at least so far! And Karns is controllable through 2020. I sure hope he keeps it up!

    15 team keeper league, we have to keep 2 pitchers. My best two options to keep for 2018 right now are Kluber and McCullers. Would you be happy with that? Would Hader, Glasnow, or Jon Gray be viable options?

    Thank you

    • Sport says:

      @Sport: @Sport:

      Sorry about the auto correct. That was Karns for Jarrod Dyson.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Sport: I’d stick with your keepers.

      Yeah, the curve is legit.

  31. Hugman says:

    JB will always occupy a place in my heart, but I’m enjoying your rankings and posts as well. They are helping me stay the course when I have guys like C-Mart and Salazar bloating my whip and era (especially because all 7 of my starters are at #42 or better).

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Hugman: Pitching has been crazy, things will stabilize.

  32. C-TPO says:

    Any idea if/where Junior Guerra would rank once he comes back?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @C-TPO: I think around 65-80. Rehab start did not go great, 4 innings, 5 runs, 2 earned, 6 hits, 3 walks, 2 K’s, and 2 homers. Rough…. On another note Acuna had two hits off him.

  33. StevenDeGafney says:

    Arietta ahead of Greinke? You trippin bro!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @StevenDeGafney: Yeah They’re moving in opposite directions. So many top pitchers are slumping or bad or hurt. Trying to balance the long term and big picture with recency bias.

  34. Adam says:

    Have to put Pollock on DL
    Only have 1 spot open
    Do I drop Paxton or Haniger??

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Adam: Haniger

  35. mrbaseball says:

    Who would you say would be the top 3 prospects that will come up from now to end of the season

    Moncada was added last year in league – The prospects setup is as Yahoo adds so most of them are not on rosters as of yet

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @mrbaseball: Brinson, Derek Fisher, and Amed Rosario. I’d throw in Franklin Barreto too

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz:@Ralph Lifshitz: this nicely approximates my “who’s best this year stash in AL only” below, unless my specific roster below influences that.

  36. Jerry says:

    Hey, Ralph. Nunez or Galvis? Thanks!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Jerry: Prolly Galvis

  37. Chris says:

    Would you trade Freeman/Ozuna/Urias to get Trout?

    Getting Beltre back for another Corner.


    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chris: Are you any better?

  38. Chris says:

    Current Roster is:

    C: Yadi
    1B: Freeman
    2B: Altuve
    SS: Andrus
    3B: Shaw
    MI: Villar
    CI: Arenado
    OF: Polanco
    OF: Josh Bell
    OF: Ozuna
    OF: Domingo Santana
    Util: Hosmer
    Util C. Santana

    DL: Braun, Beltre

    I’m a little down at OF, really depends on Braun’s health. Have a lot of corner’s right now.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Chris: Yeah you need to upgrade your OF

  39. Slimcompoop says:

    Ralph…you’re the shizz. Between your rookie-nookie write-ups, and now, the Top-100 pitchers, can give you enough kudos. It’s probably been asked before, but what happened to JB?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Slimcompoop: JB had some more pressing things to attend to.

    • The Harrow says:

      @Slimcompoop: we never get to hear the real stories, except guru, who i heard about from nick and sky on their what i think will be 3 years ago this summer van tour round the country. there’s no way JB’s story is that sensational (don’t intend to mean it is) but for a less cryptic answer see JB’s last few posts (including basketball). i’m not messing with ralph here, it shouldn’t be his business to go into details i would think.

  40. John says:


    My hitting is absolutely atrocious. One of the better team owners is sitting in last place due to injury bug with the pitching staff and some bad MI. Is Xander Bogaerts/Odor and Dylan Bundy for Kris Bryant that laughable of an offer? I have McCullers, Darvish, And Archer anchoring the rotation.

    XB has O HRS and Odor’s average is terrible. Not sure which one paired with Bundy would be more enticing. Also for what it’s worth I could always throw in Carlos Santana or a closer (Neris or Bush) to juice the offer up a bit.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @John: I think that’s a solid offer, I don’t expect Odor to remain down all year. I wouldn’t throw in too many players.

  41. b the esq. says:

    Desmond for Morton straight up. Thoughts?

    Relatively shallow keeper (Keep 10) league. Im relatively strong in OF/UTIL and do not like having too many bench offensive players.

  42. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:

    with zimmer up who’s best this year stash in AL only
    c.gillaspie, alford, r.guzman, vogelbach, olson, chapman, n.gordon, bung hole park, thaiss, aj reed, fisher, hicks, moya, bradley, travis, devers (although i thought you said not this year)
    didn’t list pitchers as i’m betting one of these is best rest of roster
    C mccann (DET)
    1B miggy
    2B segura
    SS correa
    3B mostsuckass
    OF (4) rajai/delino/trumbo/k.davis
    util mancini
    BN zimmer
    DL gomez (when they get around to it)

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:

        @Ralph Lifshitz: oh hells yeah. think during draft only maybe 4 guys grabbed moncada/barreto/ my zimmer and 1 or 2 others, 1 NA slot league. o’neill by a SEA fan was one of them.

  43. crenshaw07 says:

    Rough return from dl for McCarthy… does that cause any concern? Would you go Karns over McCarthy?

  44. Kevin says:

    when do you think Brinson gets the call up?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Kevin: June 5-15th

  45. Crabman says:

    No mention of Jordan Montgomery. Are you low on him or more wait and see?

    • Mantis Toboggan MD says:

      @Crabman: he’s been discussed in podcast and probably elsewhere, junkballer. no big thing, don’t let that NY media influence.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Crabman: The home run is going to catchup with him IMO. He’s a flyball guy with a sub 10% HR/FB

  46. Toast says:

    Was Jon Gray overlooked or do you not see him as a Top 100 pitcher? Are you expecting him to be out longer than a couple more weeks?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:

      @Toast: I’m not ranking him until I know he’s coming back. Same with Steven Matz, who could enter next week.

  47. Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season says:

    this was a 7 round draft (slow on message board, average time per pick round 2.3 hours, and this includes the night hours, as i only have played in leagues with about 3 of these guys before this i consider a big success, i’m comish of it, i’m the one sending out emails after nearly every damn pick) that started march 6. OPS,holds, QS, total bases, bunch of stats, K/9, K/BB etc. 16 team dynasty we drafted the prospects first (7 man protected list that cannot be added to during season, do have to call up at 150/30 limits during season, can trade for other prospects midseason, in yahoo BUT you could’ve drafted guys not in yahoo). don’t need to delve through whole thing, just seeing how i did (mine in caps).i said this at the time and noticed fisher is VERY low on a LOT of standard prospect lists back in march

    round 1:
    1.1 -glasnow SP PIT
    1.2 – moncada 3B (probably 2B soon too) WSOX
    1.3 – giolito SP WSOX
    1.4 – benintendi LF BOS
    1.5 – y.alvarez SP LAD
    1.6 – g.torres SS NYY
    1.7 – swanson SS ATL
    1.8 -c.frazier CF NYY
    1.9 – albies SS ATL
    1.10 – – a.rosario SS NYM
    1.11 — barreto SS OAK
    1.12 – MEADOWS CF PIT
    1.13 -bellinger 1B LAD
    1.14 – devers 3B BOS
    1.15 – robles CF ATL
    1.16 – – e.jimenez LF CUBS

    2.1 – rodgers SS COL
    2.2 senzel 3B CIN
    2.3 vlad guerrero jr 3B TOR
    2.4 groome SP BOS
    2.5 A.REYES SP STL
    2.6 renfroe RF SD
    2.7- bell 1B/RF PIT
    2.8 – brinson CF MIL
    2.9- judge RF NYY
    2.10 – crawford SS PHI
    2.11 -moniak CF PHI
    2.12 happ 2B/OF CUBS
    2.13 maitan SS ATL
    2.14 tapia CF COL
    2.15 honeywell SP TB
    2.16 kopech SP WSOX

    3.1 adames SS TB
    3.2 a.espinoza SP SD
    3.3 de leon SP TB
    3.6 zimmer CF CLE
    3.7 margot CF SD
    3.8 mateo SS NYY
    3.9 tucker RF HOU
    3.10 hader SP MIL
    3.11 kelly C STL
    3.12 K.LEWIS RF SEA
    3.13 mejia C CLE
    3.14 mckenzie SP CLE
    3.15 calhoun 2B (probably not by the time he’s up) LAD
    3.16 martes SP/RP HOU

    4.1 c.ray CF MIL
    4.2 keller SP PIT
    4.3 f.whitley SP HOU
    4.4 haniger LF/CF SEA
    4.5 I.DIAZ SS/2B MIL
    4.6 kaprielian SP NYY
    4.7 t.o’neill LF SEA
    4.8 weaver SP STL
    4.9 t.murphy C COL
    4.10 garrett SP CIN
    4.11reid-foley SP TOR
    4.12 cisco C BAL
    4.13 acuna CF ATL
    4.14 hudson SP/RP STL
    4.15 b.garrett SP MIA
    4.16 dom smith 1B NYM

    5.1 bauers 1B/OF TB
    5.2 allard SP ATL
    5.3 -chang SS CLE
    5.4 gsellman SP NYM
    5.5 manning SP DET
    5.6 alford CF TOR
    5.7 alfaro C PHI
    5.8 sheffield SP NYY
    5.9 pint SP COL
    5.10 verdugo RF LAD
    5.11 d.brito 2B PHI
    5.13 dejong SS/3B STL
    5.14 morejon SP SD
    5.15 puk SP/RP OAK
    5.16 r.lopez SP WSOX

    6.1 n.gordon SS MIN
    6.2 soto RF WAS
    6.3 tatis jr SS SD
    6.4 glover RP WAS
    6.5 FEDDE SP WAS
    6.6 chapman 3B OAK
    6.7 bradley 1B CLE
    6.8 cotton SP OAK
    6.9 gonsalves SP/RP MIN
    6.10 winker LF
    6.11 tellez 1B TOR
    6.12 -i.anderson SP ATL
    6.13 quantrill SP SD
    6.14 asuaja 2B SD
    6.15 lazarito (i.e. l.armentaros) LF OAK
    6.16 fulmer SP/RP WSOX

    7.1 c.gillaspie 1B TB
    7.2 beede SP SF
    7.4. d.perez SS STL
    7.5 newman SS PIT
    7.6 l.gurriel 2B/SS TOR
    7.7 hoskins 1B PHI
    7.8 d.fowler OF NYY
    7.9 cozens RF PHI
    7.10 buehler -SP LAD
    7.11 SP NYY
    7.12 y.gurriel 1B/3B HOU
    7.13 c.adams SP NYY
    7.14 c.greene SP TOR
    7.15 toles LF/RF LAD
    7.16 tebow NYM (if he’s attempting a position i believe it’s OF)
    other than no 1B i think i did pretty well. active rosters have 2 NA and 5 DL (and will max those out more next year, i’m completely against anybody in a dynasty league having to either drop or get less competitive), so i stashed aj reed during regular draft (and kang)

  48. Blind Umps Have Rights Too (seriously their union is that strong) says:

    12 team dynasty where i have to drop somebody to activate zimmer so i can rid myself of my clever idea of getting some 3 day holds likelyness from d.hernandez LAA who was so damn awesome all year till right when i grabbed him. h2h with QS/holds/OPS and long ass benches.
    C sanchez
    2B E5
    2B pedroia
    SS villar
    3B franco
    LF k.davis
    CF cain sugar
    RF upton
    util thames
    BN swanson/rupp/brocktune
    NA fisher/acuna/calhoun/zimmer
    SP carmart/carrasco/mccarthy/karns/andriese/corbin/hendricks/arrieta/morton
    RP bush/osuna/knebel/iglesias/hernandez (stream holds guy)
    DL kluber/reyes/richards/skaggs

    could be rupp but backup catchers aren’t terrible to have and these pitchers, are in general better than FA guys, and i’m having to drop at least one of them for kluber coming up anyway. it’s daily-tomorrow yahoo so it’s not as if i can daily grab a catcher for sanchez off days, if i could i would not carry a 2nd catcher. zimmer also might be ugly enough owning to trade/drop shortly as well.

  49. longbeachyo says:

    I like the new format! Thank you for the effort you put into this!

    • Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season says:

      @longbeachyo: i do like the improvements and they really do stand out as this was what only the 3rd of these since he took over? great stuff. hard to drop karns now even in instances where SON might marginally like somebody else more

  50. Benton says:

    I have Sean Manaea on my roster and both Salazar and Wacha both just got dropped. Would you drop Manaea for Salazar or Wacha? If Salazar gets claimed as he’s the one I’m leaning toward would you drop him for Wacha or just keep Manaea?

  51. Alex says:

    Should I trade Keyshaw for degrom and porcello in a 16 team 4 keeper league where you can keep them forever if you want? In second place and have a chance to win it all this year

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