It’s time for everyone’s favorite game that no one knew was their favorite game, Fun With Numbers! As a contestant of this wildly popular game that you didn’t know existed, I’m going to give you the numbers of two pitchers. You won’t know either pitcher until I dramatically reveal their names, but you’ll probably guess Taijuan Walker is going to be one. Okay, the suspense is killing me, so here goes! The first pitcher had 174 Ks and 56 BBs in 195 IP (8.03 K/9, 2.58 BB/9), compiling a 4.43 ERA. Then, the 2nd pitcher had 157 Ks and 40 walks in 169 2/3 IP (8.33 K/9, 2.12 BB/9) with a 4.56 ERA. The 2nd pitcher is Taijuan Walker (how’d you guess?!). The first pitcher is… Here it comes…Shoot, I left the name in my car. One second. Okay, I’m back! The 2nd pitcher is…Max Scherzer in 2011! In 2011, Scherzer was 27 years old and looked headed to the “Great Stuff, Unsure If He Can Put It Together” bin with some other hard throwers. Then, obviously, everything clicked and he was completely dominant for the next four years. In 2015, Taijuan was only 22 years old for most of the season, and now he’s 23. So, is Taijuan also a hard thrower that can’t put it together or is he on the verge of greatness? I think you know what camp I fall into. One more Fun With Numbers, because the nonexistent audience insists! In 2013, this pitcher threw 147 1/3 IP with 136 Ks and 33 walks (8.31 K/9, 2.02 BB/9). That pitcher was Corey Kluber at the age of 27 before he went on to win the Cy Young the next year. It’s not hard to recognize what these pitchers have in common. It’s what I seek most of all, besides One-Eyed Willie’s treasure. If a guy strikes out a lot of hitters while walking few, they need to get really unlucky to not be usable. Taijuan’s walk rate in 2014: 4.26. His walk rate in 2015: 2.12. I.e., Walker’s no longer a walker. Taijuan Walker averaged a 94.3 MPH fastball, tied for the 13th best in baseball, right behind Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco. Walker, velocitease or “Here comes the velocity-rapture?” Again, you know where I stand (sit). Taijuanna know more? I bet you do. Anyway, what can we expect from Taijuan Walker for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
I wrote this Daniel Norris sleeper post at the same time I wrote my Carlos Rodon sleeper, because they’re similar, and not because they were born within a year of each other about 22 years ago. Geez, 22 years ago, I could be Norris’s absentee daddy. *checks Norris’s player profile picture for a mustache* Nope, he ain’t mine! Rodon touches 98 MPH while Norris touches 95. Rodon has three pitches, while Norris has four pitches. Rodon lives in a house, Norris lives in a VW van parked in a Target parking lot. Hold on one second, what again were their similarities? Oh, yeah, they can’t command their pitches. Well, couldn’t up until last year. In Triple-A last year, Norris threw 90 2/3 IP with a 4.1 BB/9. In the majors thru 60 IP, he had a 2.9 BB/9. Another thing that’s similar is both guys should reach around (not that kind of reach around) 180 innings this year and both could go over 9 K/9. Now, whether it’s due to Rodon playing in college while Norris went straight to the minors out of high school, Rodon feels more polished. That’s not to say he’s more like A.J. Pollock; wrong polished. That polished is with cabbage. As in, my babcha would Polish our forks with cabbage. Now, Norris still makes the nethers attentive on a pure upside scale, so don’t let the “He’s not as good as Rodon” get you down. He’s in Motown. When a prostitute trips, a pimp yells hoedown. And now I’ve painted myself into a limerick corner. Anyway, what can we expect from Daniel Norris for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m gonna give this sleeper post for Carlos Rodon in the simplest of manners like I’m trying to explain it to a Kardashian. In August, the 22-year-old Rodon pitched in his third full month of major league starts and recorded a 2.48 ERA. In his 4th month of his rookie year, he had a 2.03 ERA. In those two months, he had 59 1/3 IP with a 2.28 ERA. Let’s call that 60 IP for ease of basic math, because if there’s one thing that basic math should be is basic. It should also be math, but we’re getting off the subject. Streamline, Grey, streamline! Rodon will throw 180 IP next year, barring injury, that’s 60 innings times three. Show of hands for those that are lost? Okay, just blink, guy from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. August and September is two months (this is more basic than computer science class in 1988) and the season is six months long, thus August and September times three equals a season. If Rodon’s August and September times three equals a season, then he won’t just be a breakout, he will be a top thirty starter divided by ten for all of baseball. To tag onto that August/September math, there has to be some consideration given that he’s only 22 and must’ve been tiring towards the end. So, if he was tired in August/September, he could be even better this April-July, right? So, if you times April-July, even though that looks like you’re subtracting July from April, you have the best pitcher in baseball. Okay, my basic math went Willy wonky there. Anyway, what can we expect from Carlos Rodon for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
I went looking around The Google Machine for Nick Castellanos articles and they go like this starting in 2013 to present (I’m paraphrasing): “Is High-Flying Prospect, Castellanos, The Next George Brett?” “Can Castellanos Be Better Than Miggy?” “Castellanos Hopes To Bounce Back After His Lackluster Rookie Season?” “One Bad Year Behind Him, But He’s Still Young.” “Castellanos Puts Second Poor Year To Bed, Will His Bat Ever Awaken?” “Castellanos Is A Platoon Player, Face It.” “Castellanos Shows Bat Is Ready For Prime Time….Prime Time In India Where CSI: Mumbai Is A Ratings Disaster.” “Castellanos Is Greek For Can’t Stand Yous.” “Castellanos Finally Shows Glimmer, Is It Too Late?” “Castellanos Surprisingly Not Related To Nia Vardalos, Still Ugly If You Look At Him Too Long.” There ya go, that pretty much tracks the career of Castellanos up until now through article titles. In Triple-A in 2012, Castellanos had all the makings of a hot prospect at the age of 21. Now, he’s 23 and it feels like that’s in dog years. So, where’s the optimism, is it that I can’t let a top prospect go? No, and I take offense to that. I let Jay Bruce go…after six seasons. Anyway, what can we expect from Nick Castellanos for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
*pushes aside the Lost Ark, pulls out a blankie labeled Shroud of Turin, tosses it aside, unearths a stack of old sleeper posts, flips through them, comes across one, blows dust off, sees the name Jedd and quickly moves on, blows dust off next one, smiles then sneezes* Ugh, stupid allergies. Luckily, I’m not allergic to calling Jonathan Schoop a sleeper, huh? Right now, the Orioles lineup is listed from 1-9 as Hyun-soo Kim, Machado, Jones, Wieters, Trumbo, Schoop, Paredes, Hardy then Hoes. Hardy Hoes sounds like what a jolly pimp says. “Hardy Hoes to everyone!” But I wouldn’t be cheery O’s. Let’s assume the O’s re-sign Chris Davis. That still leaves them a little short of a major league lineup. What am I getting out, you ask. Schoop won’t be batting lower than the six hole for the majority of the 2016 season as he comes into his own like the star of his own Lifetime movie. Last year, he hit 15 HRs and .279 in 86 games after losing around two months to an injury. Last year, I called him a sleeper as a guy that was bound to hit north of 20 HRs. I see no reason that wouldn’t have happened if he stayed healthy. Now that he is healthy, well…Anyway, what can we expect for Jonathan Schoop for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Honestly, in June of last year, if you would’ve asked me if I’d be writing this post come January, I would’ve said you were as crazy as the Republican field for president, but then July through the end of the year happened and Joc Pederson not only looked lost, but he lost his starting job. Yes, Cro-Magnonly was their manager and you need to take all of his moves with a grain of salt, but anyone could see Pederson was struggling. Here, I’ll test you to see if you could tell. Pederson had a high for a month in power with 9 homers in May and followed that with seven homers in June. He cruised into the All-Star break with 20 homers and a .230 average. Post-All-Star break saw him hit only six homers and a .178 average. That’s-a, how do stereotypical Italians say, notta so good. Actually, “notta so good” calls up its attorney about pressing defamation charges for being used to describe Pederson’s 2nd half. The proverbially wheels came off the cart Luke was pushing to buy some frankinstinks. Is that a proverb? I don’t know, but it sounds like it. Anyway, what can we expect from Joc Pederson for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Kenta Maeda signed with the Dodgers and has been labeled as “Not as good as Yu and Masahiro.” Looks that good though. Right? I guess one can edit together 200 IP into a three-minute video to make Bartolo Colon look skinny too. Okay, with some funhouse mirrors. I say Maeda could be getting a favorable edit like CT after he started dating Diem because his K-rate was just 7.4 in Japan, which is solid, but not spectacular. Baseball in the Land of the Rising Sun has often been compared to playing in Triple-A. I’d like to add the Nippon Professional Baseball league is like Triple-A, but almost everyone is Japanese. Perhaps an unnecessary distinction. So, if a guy is 7+ K/9 in Japan (or Triple-A) that doesn’t land him in the elite class of pitchers like Yu and Masahiro. If Darvish and Masahiro are toro, Maeda is the tuna they chop up for the spicy tuna roll. Since it’s impossible to not compare one Japanese pitcher to another, a 7+ K/9 compares more favorably to Iwakuma. Iwakuma is still a solid comparison for a pitcher to receive; that’s still a number two to (stutterer!) three fantasy starter. Unfortch, I think Maeda is likely a notch below Iwakuma. For 2016, I’ll give Maeda the projections of 14-10/3.66/1.16/152 in 200 IP. On a real baseball note, Maeda’s deal was an 8-year deal for $24 million. I’m guessing the Dodgers hired Melky Cabrera to hack into Japan’s Google, or as it’s known there, Googre, and change all recent baseball salaries to thousands rather than millions. “So, David Price will earn two hundred and seventeen thousand dollars? I’m definitely taking a deal for three million a year!” That’s Kenta reading off of Googre. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
What’s Ice T’s favorite pastry? Cruellers, cruellers, cruellers, cr-cruellers. Who’s Ice T’s favorite pitcher? Lance McCullers, McCullers, McCullers, Mc-Cullers. Sorry, if I didn’t get that out of the way up front it would’ve gnawed at me this entire post and I never would’ve been able to write it. Now, into the actual post, you know how they say you can’t fold a piece of paper more than seven times? (Yes, I know MythBusters folded a football field-sized piece of paper eleven times, but the myth is seven-plus times.) That myth is how I feel about starting pitchers. There’s so many guys that I like late that I feel like I can’t fold them all into a singular fantasy team. Maybe this is subconsciously the reason why I manage upwards to ten fantasy teams. This way I can have a little taste of all of the late-round starters that I like. One such pitcher is Lance McCullers. Last season, he had a 3.22 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 and a 3.50 xFIP. If you know a thing or two about a thing or two, you’re saying to yourself, “How is this guy a sleeper? He was great last year.” Good question, Voice In Your Head. He shouldn’t be a sleeper, which is why he is a sleeper. Wrap your noodle around that, stick it in some boiling water and stir it so it doesn’t stick. You feel me? Okay, seriously, stop touching me, it’s weird. Anyway, what can we expect from Lance McCullers for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Overheard at my house on Christmas, “Why isn’t it Jesusmas?” Then someone who you only see once a year chimes in, “‘Jesus, mas’ is what I say to the waiter when I want more cheese and his name is Jesus.” Ah, family over the holidays. Arriving a few days late for Christmas for Yankee fans was Aroldis Chapman. It didn’t come in their stocking, but he will probably be wearing a stocking on his head while he tries to board a domestic airline with a gun. “You know, in Cuba, no one cares if I wear a stocking on my head and try to rob people, because Fidel owns everything anyway.” That’s Aroldis sitting next to someone in First Class who is being polite but just wants to watch Jason Sudeikis in Vacation. So, Aroldis joins an already stacked Yankee bullpen and does nothing but makes it more sizzling, obviously. I could make the case that Aroldis is the best closer of all-time, not just the best one in the majors right now, so, yeah, he’s definitely a $12 Salad and that doesn’t change in New York. He could miss a couple of weeks of the season, due to domestic abuse charges, but that’s not set in stone, and, if baseball is ever going to become as popular as football, then the league will turn the other cheek while asking his girlfriend to do the same. For 2016, I’ll give Aroldis the projections of 4-2/2.04/1.03/110, 40 saves in 60 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I was between Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk for a sleeper post. Why did Stephen lose out? Piscotty doesn’t know! Grey does, though. They’re roughly the same age; Piscotty will be 25 to start 2016, but Grichuk won’t turn 25 until August. They were both first round draft picks. That’s neither here nor there; no more rhyming and I mean it, anyone want a peanut? I don’t dislike Piscotty, but last year in a full season, he was on pace for around 16 HRs, 5 SBs and a .270 average. Grichuk was on pace for 23 HRs, 8 SBs and a .250 average. Those lines aren’t that different for fantasy value. Twenty points in average makes up for the power and speed lost, but average is fickle and how many times can one write Piscotty doesn’t know? Piscotty doesn’t know! Grey does, three times. That’s it, then a small migraine starts to pulse in your frontal lobe. Real baseball people who spit and scratch themselves would like Piscotty better (he takes more walks, strikes out less, better OBP). I like Piscotty too, especially soaked in espresso, but The Amazing Randal feels slightly more upsidey and I just had my computer dictionary learn the word upsidey, so here we are. Anyway, what can we expect from Randal Grichuk for 2016 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?