Early yesterday morning, on Mother’s Day, Bill Hall hopped out of bed to the wail of sirens. There was a puppy tied to train tracks two miles from Bill’s house and the train was due for a gruesome splat in four seconds. If Bill flew at 500 MPH, he would get to the train tracks in a quarter of a millisecond, but Bill didn’t fly. Bill Hall moonwalked backwards, causing the earth to move in reverse five minutes and lifted the puppy off the tracks before the sirens even began. Next up, Hall was due at the ballpark in a face mask that resembled Michael Pineda. Yesterday, Bill Hall threw 7 IP, 1 ER, 6 hits, zero walks and 16 Ks. For Hall/Pineda this year, it’s been a bunch of Mother’s Days. His K/9 is 10.5, his BB/9 is 0.60 and his xFIP is 2.20. For those just joining us, those numbers are insane. If the difference between a K-rate and a walk rate is 7, we’re looking at an ace. Hall/Pineda’s difference is nearly ten! It’s better than Kershaw’s (11.4 K/9, 2.2 BB/9)! So Hall/Pineda’s walk rate is absurd and we shouldn’t expect it to continue, right? His walk rate last year was 0.83 and he had a 1.89 ERA, which was in 76 1/3 IP. At what point do we consider Hall/Pineda an ace? I say this point. (I’m pointing my finger as well, to drive home the pointing point.) I’ve even considered that maybe that was Michael Pineda in a Bill Hall mask for all of those other Mother’s Days. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you search for the pitchers with the top xFIPs, it’s a who’s who of the league’s finest. It’s not quite as glamorous as the Who’s Who of Western Appalachian High School Students that your parents paid $25 for you to get your picture in, but it’s still pretty illustrious. Kershaw on top, then Salazar, F-Her, Gerrit, Carrasco, Pineda, Archer, Shields, Scherzer, Harvey and Lynn. If your pitching staff was just those guys, you may not be currently winning your pitching categories, but you will by the end of the year, or your money back1. Right after Lynn in the list is Clay Buchholz, then after him it continues to be purdy: Arrieta, Kluber, Lester and so on2. Out of all of those pitchers, Kershaw, Shields and Salazar are the only ones with a better K-rate with Buchholz’s at 11.5. 11.5 K/9 is excellent and is the 4th best in the majors. Buchholz’s walk rate isn’t bad either at 2.87 — under 3 is solid. Under three walk rate with an 11.5 K/9 is an ace. Only thing is, his ERA is 6.03. Oopsie! Right now, his BABIP is .407. A .407 BABIP is basically the equivalent to an easy grounder is headed right to a fielder, but the ball is grabbed by a possum and the possum runs the ball around the infield for five minutes as the hitter goes around the bases for an inside-the-parker. If Buchholz is available in your league, I’d absolutely grab him, and could even see trading for him in deeper leagues9.
1You just need to sell my Jose Canseco Sportsflics rookie card to get that money back.
2Yes, I said so on rather than list Bartolo Colon3.
3Yes, by footnoting Bartolo Colon I am sorta listing him4.
4My autocorrect wanted to change sorta to Sorat. Is that Borat’s sister5?
5I miss Sacha Baron Cohen. Shame what happened to him.6
6My intern says nothing happened to him, he just picked crappy films to be in7.
7The Spirit of David Foster Wallace has taken over my body8.
9Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:
OBPwulf opened to lukewarm reviews in the Grandal Opry in 2012. One critic said the country number performed by the girl in Daisy Dukes can only be described as “poon twang” to those sitting in the front rows. Another critic argued that a show dedicated to a catcher, who never topped 15 home runs and had a career .247 average, but was good at OBP, while being delivered in country music songs written in archaic Old English prose, would struggle to find an audience. And struggle it did. Until it moved to Los Angeles and got a cast change to Carrie Underwood and Craig Wayne Boyd. Now the story of OBPwulf is singing! Yesterday, Yasmani Grandal went 4-for-4, 3 runs, 8 RBIs with his 3rd and 4th homers, hitting .301. He’s owned in 39% of ESPN leagues and the Dodgers go to Coors this weekend. I didn’t put Grandal in this afternoon’s Buy column, because he’s here now. You don’t need things repeated. You don’t need things repeated. You don’t need things repeated. Sorry, I’m typing this in a cave. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
“As Bryce Harper passed home plate after his 2nd home run of the three he hit yesterday, Ian Desmond lifted Harper’s helmet and with a flick of the head, Harper’s hair fell back in place. If you get a base hit, you have to stand on base and the helmet weighs down your hair. That’s why Harper uses the home run.” This message was brought to you by Aqua Net. What? It’s better than the same stupid Major League Baseball highlights over and over again on MLB TV — we get it, Bo Jackson threw out a runner! Get a new highlight! It’s also better than a Hanz and Franz commercial — talk about a sad commentary on baseball fans’ demographic. “Hey, Bill, we have a commercial that appeals to 35 to 60-year-old white males. Any ideas where we should place it?” So, Harper hit three monster-sized badonkadonks like a night out as Gabourey Sidibe’s pants and I told you to draft Harper before just about every fantasy baseball ‘pert, so you’re welcome. Don’t mention it. No, no, it’s okay. Okay, fine, you can hug me. Stop trying to touch my mustache! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
“This is a smart decision by the Nationals franchise to not let Stephen Strasburg pitch in the playoffs,” said every sports reporter two years ago. Let’s try another one, Google, just give me the search results from 2010 when Strasburg was first promoted. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime arm that the world has not seen since Sidd Finch.” Strasburg, Virginia even considered renaming itself Stephen Strasburg. I’m not joking. The hype was real, prematurely balding man. In the past seven months of baseball: Sonny Gray or Strasburg? Is it close? Who’s been better, Strasburg or Lance Lynn? Can I now ingest that laced-Halloween candy that I got from the sketchy guy that I’ve been saving for a special occasion? Yesterday, Strasburg left the game after three innings and two earned runs, saying he has irritation under his shoulder blade. The Nats say it’s an alignment issue that could be corrected by a chiropractor. He’ll be looked at by Jon Cryer from Two and A Half Men. Probably from his stupid inverted W. Why not just call it an M?! No idea how long Strasburg will be out, but obviously this isn’t great news. But, Part II: If Ifs And Buts Were Candy And Nuts, I’d Be A Diabetic Squirrel, it’s better Strasburg not pitch injured and keep getting rocked. But, Part III: But Lives, I’d grab Tanner Roark in case he’s moved into the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The title’s not to be confused with a Wahlburger. By the by, Marky Mark was at my gym the other day. My man’s short. He looked like a Caucasian Altuve. Steal some bases, Marky Mark! You know, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as setting your weekly lineup and having your star go down the moment games begin on Monday. It’s more frustrating than the person in front of you trying to locate exact change. Use your debit card! What do you mean you’re going to see if there’s some loose change in your car ashtray? Cars don’t even have ashtrays anymore! In the preseason, I supposed that Hanley Ramirez would need to be moved to shortstop at some point, unable to handle The Green Monster. Yesterday, Hanley got a taste of Wally. The Red Sox said it’s a shoulder sprain, which could mean he’s back in a few days or out until July. Yay, specifics! On a related note, a Red Sox reporter from The Boston Globe tweeted in the 2nd inning, “It’s 4-0 Rays. Red Sox season could be done soon at this rate. Losses and injuries piling up.” I’m in no way a Red Sox fan, but really? Done because you’re losing in the 2nd inning of an early May game and your team is practically at .500? Wow, is that guy a Masshole. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Evan Gattis went 2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers, while hitting four homers in the last three days. After the game, Gattis likened this streak to the five red lights in a row where the first car to stop had broken windshield wipers and Gattis had a squeegee. Adding, “Right now, I’m swinging the squeegee as good as ever. There was one guy, Non-Tall Paul, who claimed to get a six-red-light streak back in ’98. Non-Tall Paul reminds me of Altuve, actually. Size-wise. Not smell-wise. He smelled of grapes. Very, very rancid grapes.” Okay, Gattis! This weekend Gattis reminds us how ridiculous it was that people wanted to drop him in the first week-plus when he was striking out like Non-Tall Paul at a plus-sized model runway show. I think someone even asked me in the first two weeks if I had revised projections for Gattis. Guys and five girl readers (we have a new one! Hey, lady!), the season isn’t even a month old yet. You need to trust your players. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
True story: in a 15-team league last year, I toyed with dropping Corey Kluber in April. He was being dropped in multiple leagues, most shallower than mine. If you think I’m crazy as a loon wearing a “I’m crazier than a loon” t-shirt, you have selective memory about him from last year. I decided to stick it out with Kluber and he ended up winning the Cy Young last year. This true story, of course, makes me sound even more moronic than usual. It also highlights a point, Kluber likes the cold weather about as much as a chapped nipple. Or maybe he just takes some time to get going. Either way, his Aprils have been forgettable for the last two years. This year, his April is actually better than last year’s by any measure that means anything. His K-rate is up, ground balls are up (not literally), fly balls are down (literally), xFIP is way down, walks are down and his K/BB is up. You have to do some serious digging to find something that is negative for him this past month other than his ERA. His velocity is down a hair (0.5 MPH on his fastball) and his line drive rate is up (people are making better contact). Everything else is nails, and not as in Lenny “Nails” Dykstra just invested me in this mutual fund and I lost my retirement savings. There’s some worry to some that Kluber threw too many innings last year. That’s not a worry. He’s 29 years old; a jump in IP from one year to the next is for pitchers 25 years and younger. Also, plenty of great analysis here and elsewhere has shown that jump in innings isn’t the end all/be all, even if it applied, which it does not. As the weather warms up, his sensitive nips will be less dry and he’ll likely have months of a sub-2 ERA. If you can buy him now, do it. Quickly! Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Imagine Gangsta Gangsta’s Ice Cube singing, “With a right left, right left you toothless, and then you say goddamn they ruthless,” but not coming out of Ice Cube’s mouth, but out of Glass Joe’s mouth from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Imagine Mola Ram reaching into a chest and ripping out a heart. Only instead of Mola Ram, it’s Arvid from Head of the Class. Imagine the head Neo-Nazi from Oz, walking into your shower, only instead of him it’s the guy from the Farmers Insurance commercials…Oh, wait, that’s the same guy. Those were the sort of visions Chris Sale must’ve been having when he looked at the Twins. We see nerds, he sees Ice Mola Cube Ram Nazis. The Twins scored eight runs on him in three innings and, without looking at a box score, you can’t even imagine who did that damage. Brian Dozier? Yeah, he went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd homer. Joe Mauer? Yup, he went 3-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs. Eduardo Escobar? Okay, now you’re cheating. You would’ve never guessed Eduardo Escobar. Up until two seconds ago, you thought Eduardo Escobar was Pablo’s peacenik brother. Sale’s ERA is up to 5.32, but that’s almost entirely due to last night. If his owner is panicked, I’d look for a little sale on, um, well, you know. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Chris Davis (1-for-4, 3 RBIs, hitting .268) hit his 5th homer, and the announcers said that it was all Davis since there was no breeze in the stadium. Could there have been no breeze because there were no one in attendance? Is that why they’re called fans? Is the world devoid of wind without people? I feel like Mike Seaver on the Growing Pains episode when he figured out there was TV shows even if he was at school. This is mind blowing! I need to take a schvitz and clear my mind. Maybe Manny Machado (3-for-4, 3 runs and his 4th homer) plays better without a crowd, not taking after his uncle, Randy “Machado Manny” Savage. RIP, you raspy voiced lunatic! But, really, all of this offense was thanks largely to Jeff Samardzija (5 IP, 7 ER, 11 baserunners, 5 Ks, ERA up to 4.78). When I type Samardzija in my iPhone, it autocorrects to, “Inseam Arduous.” No truer words were ever autocorrected. If Devon Travis and Arenado were sitting on either of my legs and I had Samardzija pitching for my team, it would still be arduous in my inseam. Way to kill my buzz, you impossible-to-spell, mullet-haired freak! Alphabet Soup’s ERA is worse than his xFIP, that’s the good news. The bad news is everything else. His xFIP is still 4.13 and his K/9 is 6.2. He’s throwing next to no walks, but maybe he should throw some if it means not letting people single you to death. I wouldn’t sell Samardzija low, but I’m also more concerned now than I was in the preseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?