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Working a bit without a net on this sleeper post.  There’s a chance that Anthony Rizzo isn’t a sleeper due to how he’ll be ranked by others.  My guess (which is better than your guess, but not as good as your Uncle Rick’s guess — your Uncle Rick is a good guesser!) is Rizzo will outperform his draft ranking.  I can see him giving top 50 value and there’s no way I see him being ranked in the top 50, so that’s a sleeper, yah?  Yahtzee!  What’s keeping him from ranking in the top fifty already is the dreadful year he just had and, more specifically, his inability to hit lefties.  He says he sees every lefty pitcher like the little kid in his fourth grade class that had lefty scissors glued to his hand and ran at him screaming, “You wanna play?!”  Rizzo claims lefties scare him like Forest Whitaker’s droopy eyelid scares the average person.  Why’s it drooping?!  Rizzo’s got problems.  He’s young enough that he can overcome his issues (will only be 24 for the better part of 2014), but if he continues to struggle vs. lefties there’s not a chance he gives top fiddy value.  Not by swinging any magic stick.  So, what can we expect of Anthony Rizzo for 2014 fantasy baseball and what makes him sleeper?

He hit .189 vs. southpaws last year and .208 vs. lefties in 2012.  That’s an alarming trend.  For a second, let’s assume he’s going to hit lefties at least at a .250 clip.  If he did that, he’d hit .295 with 30+ homers and be on the verge of a top 20 pick in 2015.  That’s possible.  Highly unlikely.  But possible.  Then again, I’m really only saying that so by some miracle he does do it, I can quote myself back to you.  It’s like me saying, “Rizzo could also hit .195 and be out of baseball in five years.”  It’s not because I believe it but because I’m covering my bases (pun?) so in five years I can take that quote out of context and tell you I predicted it.  Rizzo did hit lefties in the minor leagues and he’s young enough to turn things around.  He hit a combined .305 vs. lefties in 2011 and 2012.  Maybe it takes him three years to adjust.  Wouldn’t be the first time a player took that long.  This year Rizzo will either break out in a big way or be seen as a Brandon Moss-type platoon player.  The Cubs could probably take that approach right now, but let’s hope they don’t because for most fantasy leagues a platoon player hurts counting stats too much.  More good news is his walk rate ballooned in 2013, and his BABIP was more than fifty points off his 2012 rate, so he was a tad unlucky.  Also, he plays every day, barring injuries.  Last year, he suited up for 160 games.  With all of that good news, we still have to assume he’s going to struggle to hit .220 vs. lefties.  Hope for more, pray it’s only that bad.  For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 82/28/92/.256/8.  As I said about 75 times in this post (maybe twice), there’s a chance here for huge upside here and I’ll definitely be looking at drafting him.

  1. claw dog says:
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    Just curious, out of the sleepers you have already posted, who do you think has the best chance of being a breakout player? or has that post not come yet since I assume you still have more sleeper posts coming in the near future?

    Personally I’m pretty excited about Arenado’s potential.

    Thanks Grey!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @claw dog: I’ve only posted about 4 of 20 sleeper posts… Too early to say… I’m excited about all of them…

      • claw dog says:
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        @Grey: haha okay fair enough. This is my first year being a dedicated reader for your site so I wasn’t sure how many you do. Sounds like I’ll be re-asking that question when all of them are complete.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yup

  2. TheNewGuy says:
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    Just had a tempting offer come in in (stutterer!) my keeper league.

    Get my pick of 2 prospects outta: Bogartes, W Myers, and Sano for Crush Davis.

    Davis has a great contract so can be locked up for several years for cheap (3 years for only $12), so im getting mega interest in him. But it is an intriguing offer.

    Still be mad to take it though right?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Sorry, misread… I’d want Davis…

  3. PublicEnemy#1 says:
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    What would the contracts for Bogaerts and WMyers look like?

    • TheNewGuy says:
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      @PublicEnemy#1: As per my above post.

      Contracts would be prospect contracts, so Bogartes (possibly?) and Myers can be promoted as they aren’t rookie eligable anymore. Once promoted they start at $0 for the year, so pretty valuable, then can be locked up for longer.

      Let me know if it changes anything Grey.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Doesn’t change anything…

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @Grey: Cool. Just pointing it out.

  4. Sammyllenas says:
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    One interesting stat for Rizzo, he actually hit LHP quite good at home in 2013, but just inexplicably bad on the road. He hit 264/364/473 with a 15% K-rate against LHP at home, while only 121/202/222 with a k-rate of 24.8% on the road. I’ll let you draw up conclusions regarding this Grey, because I don’t have a clue what to make of it. It does show to me however that he sees the ball fine from lefties in Wrigley.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Sammyllenas: What I think it’s telling us is he can hit lefties, no matter where he is and he’s only 24 years old so he could break out in a big way…

  5. Dkohn says:
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    For your sake I hope the Cougs never realizes the power she’d have if she started using 30 home run potential scouting reports in the bedroom.

    “Maaaarge, I was just watching women’s volleyball on ESPNNN!”

  6. Chris says:
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    Grey-

    Have an Ottoneu SABR points trade offer that’s pretty good, but I don’t think I want it. My pitching is pretty stocked. But tell me what you think:

    I get:
    Mike Minor $8
    Zack Wheeler $11
    Nick Castellanos $5

    I give:
    Lance Lynn $13
    Oswaldo Arcia $3
    Miguel Sano $3

    I’m concerned about Sano’s arm, but he’s so coveted in my league that I’d rather save him for a deal I really need to make. This trade would be more about depth for me. What do you think?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Chris: I’d do it

      • Chris says:
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        @Grey: he added in Lindor and I had it in Cody Asche, so we did it that way. I think it worked out. I hope for his sake that Sano doesn’t have to have TJ. Thanks for the advice!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem!

  7. Yeshcheese says:
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    Bet Yelich comes even cheaper with the same issues! Though less power

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Yeshcheese: A lot less power… Yelich may not break 20 homers

  8. The Thumb says:
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    Yes this belongs on yesterday’s post, but I never got time to posting it. As someone who watches about half of the Yankees’ games (guess you could say ima x’pert), I really see Cano struggling up north unless the M’s get him more protection. Say what you want about how awful the Yankees were last year but even Cano occasionally had guys like Tex and Grandy back that garnered a little respect despite their struggles, hell even old man Alfonso supported Robbie down the stretch. Point being, once Cano starts feeling the total pressure of being “that guy” he uses his stroke of beauty chase and be over aggressive.

    Maybe I’m just an ornery Yankee fan, but I wouldn’t be surprised with low 20 homers and a sub .290 along with typical M’s counting stats.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @The Thumb: Yeah, could be…Will be his first real test of his career and he’s not that young…

  9. The Thumb says:
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    Also, Grey, how excited are you for Henry Urrutia next year? Could be .300/15 from a fourth outfielder…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @The Thumb: Not that excited right now…

  10. Ben says:
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    I have a keeper dilemma involving Rizzo. I can keep 7 players, here are my options with salaries (10 teams, $260 budget, 4 OF, 1 IF spot, 1 UTIL, 1 C, 10 P):

    Rizzo – $1
    Desmond – $1
    Encarnacion – $1
    Dom Brown – $1
    Iwakuma – $1
    Bailey – $1
    Wheeler – $1
    Cole – $1
    Scherzer – $25 (aces typically go for over $40 in this league).
    Sergio Romo – $1
    Pence – $12
    Gardner – $2
    Bogaerts – $1

    Desmond, Edwin (qualifies at 3B), Iwakuma, Bailey, and Romo seem like givens to me. Very torn on what to do from here (and yes, I know it’s early). Would you risk a slot on Rizzo?

    • Andrew A says:
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      @Ben:

      I would add Rizzo and Scherzer to your list. Depending on how valuable closers are and what the rules for keeping players are, I might keep Bogaerts over Romo

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Agree with Andrew too…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Ben: It’s early, Brown may be traded… Rizzo would be one of the guys though… Then between Cole, Scherzer, Brown, Bogaerts and Pence…

      • Ben says:
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        Thanks all! I should clarify, players can only be kept for 2 years before they go back to the free agent pool, which is why Bogaerts is maybe not as good a pick. It’s also an OBP league. Don’t know if that affects any of the decisions substantially.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          @Ben: Yeah, that would eliminate Bogaerts…Would bump up Scherzer, Pence and Brown…

  11. Andrew A says:
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    10 team 6×6 Roto (OPS, Holds)
    8 keepers
    Goldschmidt 5
    Segura 4
    Gomez 13
    Bruce 20

    4 of:
    Carpenter 6
    E. Cabrera 4
    Rizzo 4
    Adams 2
    Craig 6
    Heyward 11
    Stanton 25

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Andrew A: Rizzo, Carp, Heyward, Stanton

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    dynasty league question. even if you aren’t that familiar with the prospects you’d have an opinion on the MLB guys (and general idea) for sure.
    i know I can’t do this yet, before I trade away dempster for anything at least to free money (he’s 14 million) but is this deal any good? My
    Sale (.425 mil, could franchise and keep over whole deal, when he gets one)
    for his
    Ranaudo P BOS
    Goodwin OF WAS
    Hamels P PHI (15 mil)

    He also has
    Puello OF NYM
    Fulmer P NYM
    Carpenter MI/CI STL (.4 mil)

    I have Lowrie MI OAK (1.15 mil)
    1. is this deal good as is?
    2. if so are either of Puello and/or Fulmer better than Goodwin/Ranaudo?
    3. Do you agree Carpenter’s better than Lowrie? I think he’s a much better pure hitter and isn’t the crazy injury risk Lowrie is (and cheaper, and more positions). It’s possible I could throw in my Lowrie for his Carpenter.
    4. If Carpenter is worth more, would it be even if I added in one of
    A.Gumbs MI NYY
    C.Phelps MI BAL (this guy appears to be cuttable as soon as I get over my prospect max amount)
    D. Robertson MI OAK
    E.Salcedo MI ATL
    I have a lot of MI prospects, but pretty few OF or CI ones.
    So if this is true it would end up Sale/one of those crappy MI prospects/Lowrie for Carpenter/Hamels/goodwin or puello/ranaudo or fulmer.
    could just keep sale as piece of the future, of course. thanks.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @goodfold2: Deal’s not good…Carp is better than Lowrie…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ya know, Dave Days doesn’t get nearly as much recognition for this song… Dave Days is probably happy about that…

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        @Grey: I think a guy whose main claim to fame is being a parody musician who’s covered Miley Cyrus should just be happy to be recognized.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          And he has good hair…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            @Grey: I’ve never understood the tidal wave bangs on the forehead for guys. Nothing says ‘punch me, I’m emo’ than the tween-age comb-over.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              If Charles Manson did that, we never would’ve saw the pentagram…Maybe that’s what they’re hiding?

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                @Grey: I’d think it’s more likely just a dick drawn on their forehead after a heavy night of drinking.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Pentagram, dick, tomato-tomahto…

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    @Grey: Don’t get mad when you can’t make it into the mansion because of a dickagram on your forehead then. Or don’t drink with me and JFOH. Those are your two choices.

  13. Ralph Lifshitz

    Dad Boner says:
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    What is happening with my comments? Am I blocked or something?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Dad Boner says:
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      @Dad Boner: I’m really high on Rizzo this year after being somewhat lukewarm about him last. I figured he needed a full season of big league at bats before I could plug him in as my every day first baseman. Plus everyone was sleeping on Au Shizz (thanks again for the Goldy love last preseason
      )
      Upon further review of the numbers there is one very encouraging sign when looking at his lefty/righty splits. The difference in avg to obp is still about 100 points. This tells me though his contact against lefties is obviously sub par his approach is not. Once you factor in that his babip was around the Mendoza line, it tells me with a little luck his numbers against lefties could climb.

      It also should be mentioned that the Cubs front office obviously have a great deal of faith in Rizzo. Epstein and Hoyer drafted him in Boston, Hoyer took him to San Diego, and Theo then brought Hoyer and Rizzo to Chicago. When you consider this coupled with the fact that Rizzo showed above average ability in the field he should be in line for another 600+ AB’s.

      So I’m thinking he can be had some where in the 68-75 overall range. Is that too low? Should expect to draft him before the late 6th-early 7th in 12 team mixed?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        68-75 sounds about right…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Maybe it’s the username, not sure

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Dad Boner says:
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        @Grey: Strange been using for awhile. Any the who, thoughts?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I put my thoughts above… 68-75 sounds about right…

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Dad Boner says:
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            @Grey: haha sorry missed it

  14. Ralph Lifshitz

    Dad Boner says:
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    I’m really high on Rizzo this year after being somewhat lukewarm about him last. I figured he needed a full season of big league at bats before I could plug him in as my every day first baseman. Plus everyone was sleeping on Au Shizz (thanks again for the Goldy love last preseason
    )
    Upon further review of the numbers there is one very encouraging sign when looking at his lefty/righty splits. The difference in avg to obp is still about 100 points. This tells me though his contact against lefties is obviously sub par his approach is not. Once you factor in that his babip was around the Mendoza line, it tells me with a little luck his numbers against lefties could climb.

    It also should be mentioned that the Cubs front office obviously have a great deal of faith in Rizzo. Epstein and Hoyer drafted him in Boston, Hoyer took him to San Diego, and Theo then brought Hoyer and Rizzo to Chicago. When you consider this coupled with the fact that Rizzo showed above average ability in the field he should be in line for another 600+ AB’s.

    So I’m thinking he can be had some where in the 68-75 overall range. Is that too low? Should expect to draft him before the late 6th-early 7th in 12 team mixed?

  15. OaktownSteve says:
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    Ye olde player A player B
    Player A
    32/66/90/.227
    24.1% K rate
    10.4% BB rate
    .560 ops vs lhp
    40% FB rate
    21.1% HR/FB
    30.7% out of zone swing

    Player B
    23/71/80/.233
    18.4% K rate
    11.8% bb rate
    .625 ops vs LHP
    37.9% fb rate
    12.6% HR/FB
    30% out of zone swing rate

    A is Ike Davis 2012 which led to him being a 2013 sleeper. B is Rizzo last year. There are an awful lot of similarities in there with the emphasis on awful. The two things are Rizzo’s K rate is better and the BB rate is slightly better and showing improvement where Davis’ has been relatively stable, showing a very slight decline.

    As far as the K rate goes though, Rizzo hit about 1/3 of his homers for the year (8) in April alone, a month in which his K rate was 24.3%. If you look at the monthly splits you can kind of get a picture of a guy tinkering to find the right mix of contact versus power.

    The guys at Fangraphs did a nice breakdown on reasons for optimism with Rizzo as you have here. Maybe it’s unfair to paint him and Ike with the same brush, but the similarity of the numbers in those two year worries me. Probably just PTSD from having owned Davis in a $ league last year.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Are those numbers that close? Rizzo’s beating him in 1) K-rate, 2) walk rate and 3) OPS vs. LHP, the first and third by a lot…

      • OaktownSteve says:
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        @Grey:

        Couple things. While the K% is different I do kind of come back to the correlation between Rizzo’s home runs in April and K rate worse for that month than Davis’ 2012 season. Maybe it’s just stat noise, but it interests me.

        Davis had the worse OPS vs LHP but better OPS overall (.771 to .742)

        There’s also the difference between the HR/FB percentages. In 2012, Davis’ average fly ball went 300.32, best for 21st in MLB. Last year Rizzo’s average fly ball traveled 287.36, 93rd best.

        So by many measures, including fantasy number, Davis’ season was more promising than Rizzo’s, though some of the peripherals were also comparable.

        I haven’t really pieced it all together, maybe it’s bit of Gladwell-ian intuition. But when I read this mornings post I immediately flashed to Ike Davis. Be interesting to pull out last years Ike Davis sleeper post. I’m not saying I’m even buying my own analysis here. I’m just saying I feel a little cautious.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, all interesting points…What it comes back to me is how many guys can hit 30+ homers? Not a whole lot… Guys that are under 25 and are coming off a season when they underperformed? Even fewer…

          • oaktownsteve says:
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            @Grey:

            I think I figured out why the Rizzo thing vis a vis Ike is bothering me. The upside story is still there, but there is also an equally strong counterbalancing downside story. And it’s a big downside. I can imagine him being horrible. I’m imagining I’ll be trying to lock up more dependable production in the 6th round.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, there’s some fleas on him… Dependable isn’t easy though…

  16. FMFBL says:
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    it’ll be my 3rd year in a row owning this guy. what do they say about the 3rd time?
    anal, right?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha!

  17. Sammyllenas says:
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    Grey, I have a debate in my fantasy keeper league. Can you rank in order the following players: Harper, Freeman, Stanton and Beltre.

    The format is head 2 head, stats are standard 5×5 + OPS, BB and Total Bases. There are no auction values on the players, it’s based on a standard draft and they are keepers for life.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      My rankings will be coming out in January… Stanton, Beltre, Harper looks about right…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Oh, wait, it’s for a keeper? Stanton, Harper, Freeman then…

  18. Elijah says:
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    Dbacks get Trumbo for Skaggs and Eaton. Word in AZ is both prospects stocks are down, especially Skaggs who has lost his fastball.

    • SteveNZ says:
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      @Elijah: And Eaton goes to the White Sox for Hector Santiago, who also ended up with the Angels…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      That’s the word everywhere…

  19. Big Magoo says:
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    The rumored Diamondbacks/Angels/White Sox trade appears to have been agreed to. D-Backs get Trumbo, Angels get Skaggs and Santiago, and White Sox get Eaton. Dipoto got a nice pitching haul here. Trumbo should see an uptick in fantasy value in the desert. The White Sox? I’m never quite sure what they’re doing. Must’ve soured on Santiago for some reason. Interesting deal.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Eh, they took the bat instead of the arm, isn’t completely crazy…

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: Sox signed Felipe Paulino the other day, so Santiago was expendable.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yup, pretty much one in the same…

        • Big Magoo says:
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          @SteveNZ: @Grey: Comparing Paulino to Santiago is like apples to oranges though. One’s a right-handed middle reliever with health concerns and the other is a young left-handed starter with upside.

          • Big Magoo says:
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            @Big Magoo: And I should mention that Paulino is much better suited to relieve, as he’s never been an effective or consistent starter. Not sure how the Sox plan on using him though.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              They both have above average stuff that they struggle to control…

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Dad Boner says:
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        @Grey: I like the deal for the White Sox, grabbed a bat and I’m not crazy about Hector…Does Eaton gain, lose, or hold in Chicago?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Hold

  20. Elijah says:
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    I’m not a big Trumbo fan, but the Dbacks sorely needed someone other than Goldy who can hit 30 HR’s and those guys aren’t very common these days. Now if we can just ditch Cody Ross…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, I hear ya

      • Carnac says:
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        AZ should also benefit from a full season of Aaron Hill. Talk about undervalued players, ESPN’s early ranking has him at 194. Cust kayin’…

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Wow, that’s really low…

          • Carnac says:
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            I know, right? Unless the freak 2013 HBP/broken hand injury was amputated this offseason.

            • Elijah says:
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              @Carnac:

              I think he’s gonna be on a lotta my teams next year…

              • Carnac says:
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                Same.

                *Fantasy community collectively wrings hands about how much Cano’s stats will be depressed in Seattle* “Is he still a top 10 pick?” asks Karabell. “Top 20…” posits AJ Mass.

                *Carnac sneaks in the back of the room and grabs Hill’s comparable stats (+SB) while no one’s looking*

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  I don’t think I can even imagine AJ Mass positing…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              That would drop him down even lower, probably

              • Carnac says:
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                “Mr. Towers, Jerry Dipoto is on the phone, inquiring about the availability of Aaron Hill’s severed arm.” [muffled crosstalk] “Yessir, just the arm.”

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Haha… Please, Towers only trades away players with above-average arms…

                  • Carnac says:
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                    ha!

  21. SteveNZ says:
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    Rosenthal saying A’s sending Anderson to Coors for Pomeranz and some geezer called Chris Jensen.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Nice… BTW, Lorde is huge here now… As you probably know by now…

      • SteveNZ says:
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        @Grey: Yeah, it’s scarcely believable. She’s 16!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          So insane… I will say she doesn’t sound 16 at all… Was she insanely popular in NZ a while ago? Did it take a long time for it to make it here?

          • SteveNZ says:
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            @Grey: Well, Royals really only came out here In March (went straight to No.1 – as have her subsequent singles), and a 5-song EP in May so it hasn’t been a real long time that she’s been on the scene, as it were.

            Royals came out in the US in June…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Ah… Yeah, I searched your old comments and you were saying in September about her and I’m real slow on the uptake and didn’t know her… The whole album is solid, have been listening to it…

  22. The Vaporizers says:
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    Hello Grey, quick keeper league trade question. Here is the gist… 12 teams. We keep 8. My OF is stacked with Trout, Harper, Braun and Rios. I kept Butler as my 1B last season but he no longer has eligibility. The 1B that will be available will be disastrous. Like, we are talking Brandon Belt best available bad here….

    Knowing that, would you trade Braun for Freddie Freeman???

    And what kind of HR and AVG you seeing for Freddie next year? Could he be a 28 HR .300 player???

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Could hit 28 homers, not out of the question… I’d want Braun, trade’s fair though if you’re stacked at OF

  23. TheNewGuy says:
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    Man I keep seeing that hot redhead girl on here in the ads, anyone else keep getting tempted to cut those bra straps too?

    *cue Grey saying I’ve no idea what advert you’re talking about* lol

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha

  24. Diego says:
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    Sorry for off topic but who do you like as better keeper NL only Roto.
    A Simmons at $10 or Matt Adams at $12?
    Thanks and enjoy all the delicious hot stove servings being cooked up this week. I think Buster Olney was tweeting today at about 6 tweets per hour(TPH). Not sure what the TPH number is after adjusted for his home office though.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Adams… Ha…

  25. Bojangles013 says:
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    I’m in a 16 team 5 keeper league. Avg. OPS. HR. RBI. R. SB.
    Trying to decide on my 5th keeper after Kershaw, Stanton, Bumgarner and Sale.
    Rizzo
    C. Gomez
    Carpenter
    D. Brown

    Thoughts?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Rizzo

  26. Todd says:
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    Who do you like in a keeper league, Rizzo or Freeman (same cost).

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Freeman

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Grey: wow, even with the more guaranteed homers of riz freeman is taken as better. interesting.

  27. Peter says:
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    Keeper league…can only keep 5 of these:

    Goldschmidt
    Stanton
    Reyes
    Scherzer
    Wainwright
    Gomez
    Puig
    J. Upton

    Thanks!!

    • goodfold2 says:
      (link)

      @Peter: au shizz/stanton/scherzer/puig/upton

  28. PublicEnemy#1 says:
    (link)

    Seems like Pollock gets a nice bump in value in the fallout from the Trumbo trade. He should be hitting at the top of a nice looking DBacks lineup. Do I smell a sleeper post?

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