The Pirates are having a very fine season. There is no knocking on wood required here, no jinxers, no late-season collapse to ruin the party. They will, at the very least, clinch one of the two wild card spots, and as it stands right now, they have a 95.7% chance to do so. It’s been over 20 years since the last time they were there. As a baseball story, I think we can all appreciate the idea of a good Pirates baseball team. And as such, the journey of this baseball team has, in turn, illuminated several individual performances that have not just come as a surprise in the world of ‘real’ baseball, but that of fantasy as well. In an effort to choose which player to spotlight, and ultimately narrowing my focus to a few performances, I stumbled upon something very interesting. It wasn’t just the fact that both of the players in question had improved substantially from their career norms. And it wasn’t just the fact that both of these players were producing career years or near-career years. It was the fact that both of these players shared the same exact process for these improvements. That is to say, A.J. Burnett and Francisco Liriano changed in the exact same way, and in effect, share the exact same result. Because of this, we’re going to scrap the normal ‘single’ player spotlight and go over both of these guys. And since they’re Pirates, I get to have a little fun. ARRRRRGH you ready?
Booty, booty, booty. I couldn’t help myself. Okay, now I’m ready. Booty. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sean Connery enjoyed the landing of B-Weezy.
So it’s official. Just in time for your playoffs or late-season run for a title, Matt Cain has joined Jason Heyward and Rafael Betancourt, all recent casualties, on the DL. Even though the X-ray’s came back negative after Cain got hit by a line-drive on Thursday, Bruce Bochy said it was too soon to say whether or not he would make his next start. A mere seven hours later, which I guess was not too soon anymore, it was decided that Cain would not only miss his next start, but at least three. You’d figure with such a big head, Bochy would have a better grasp of time. And, you know, bullpen usage. Granted, this season wasn’t shaping up to be Cain’s finest and was pretty up-and-down (more down) in general. But his second-half ERA of 2.84 and improved walk rate were representing an expected regression. So the timing couldn’t be worse, especially since the Giants are not postseason bound and really have no reason to rush a recovery. Relevant. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday… Please, blog, may I have some more?
For the most part, there is general theme that I try to cover in this series. Usually, I like to concentrate on the heavily owned guys, say, in the top-100. And within that 100-or-so range, I try to focus on ones that scare the shittake mushroom out of us. Or, players who show us something that is unexpected. A new skill or the deterioration of production are prodded, shaken (not stirred) until we find a suitable conclusion. This is what I do. And while Jhoulys Chacin definitely does not fit the former of what I cover, he does fit the latter quite well. And while he won’t get confused as a player in the top-100, there was a time and a place not too long ago when he was considered a guy with potential, and a pitcher, who, if everything came together, could be a lot more. Plus, you know, this is my series, I do what I want. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Rod Stewart knows how to pick venues. Masterful choice.
Hey now, somebody likes someone, or so says Marc Topkin, who, by-the-way, sounds like a X-Wing pilot. He has reported that there is mutual interest between Delmon Young and the Tampa Bay Rays. Ooo-la-la. They should get a room to rekindle the fire that once burned. Hopefully not in Tampa, because I’ve been there. It has bridges and old people. That’s… about… it. However, there are two things that I can say about this that are rock solid facts. First, Delmon Young is most certainly hanging out on your waiver wire. Maybe throwing bats at people. As pictured above, hopefully one of those people is Luke Scott. And second, he’s supposedly heading back to a team that utilizes match-ups correctly, and, most certainly, would utilize him correctly. Like if there’s a bat throwing contest. Now, forget everything you know about Young. I mean, don’t forget *that* much. He’s still kinda stinky, in, you know, a hobo sort-of-way. And if you’re wondering, there’s really no downside here, since hobo’s don’t own computers. I think. But if you’re actually wondering about why I’m talking about Delmon Young, it’s not because he’s hit .266/.300/.402 since 2011 and .261/.302/.397 so far this year. It’s because he’s hit .286/.361/.397 against lefties in 80 games. Which brings me back to the second point. Tampa Bay will play the match-ups here, and perhaps you should too. Who knows, he could get on fire, do some damage, and help your team for the stretch run. Or, you know, throw bats at people. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday… Please, blog, may I have some more?
We are reaching that time of the baseball season where this series offers more of a prospective look. What I mean by that is that the players we look at from here on out may not contain any real-time analytical value. That’s sort of of an eccentric way to say that it’s too late for me to help you now. In fact, I was thinking of arugula when I typed that sentence. But it’s never too early to begin and gather what we’ve learned from this year and apply to the next. Of course, we’ve been doing that with every single post, but the focus has been mainly on the now and soon-to-be now. The time has arrived when we can officially start laying our eggs in the proverbial futuristic basket. A robot basket, with The Matrix twins and lasers. Wait, is there a proverb that involves a futuristic basket? Virginity like bubble, one prick all gone. No, that’s not it. Man who leap off cliff jump to conclusion. Eh, close enough. Today’s focus is an interesting one — taking a player who has never really done anything great, but done a lot of things well, and when’s he’s done those things well, he’s done it with multiple positions. That’s what she said.
I speak of none other than Ben Zobrist. Now, as stated above, he brings a lot of things to a fantasy team. There’s a mediocre batting average, a sprinkle of power and speed, multi-positional eligibility, and also consistency within all of those things. The old adage that when it rains, it pours, doesn’t really describe the production you get there. Rather, you get The Drizzle. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Fact: Ron Washington is a giver.
MLBtraderumors found a reason to stay significant post-trade deadline yesterday, and now it’s official — Alex Rios has been traded to the Rangers for Leury Garcia. Who? Basically. (To be fair, he does have some speed, but the hit tool is a bit lacking. So close, yet Profar. HUUUUR.) You can check on the complete, gory details here. But don’t complain about the lack of gore. So, what’s the fantasy impact here? No, silly, I’m not asking you. Unless you know the answer, then by all means, go for it. You can’t tell, but I waited a good five minutes. Thanks for nothing. Allow me. While U.S. Cellular Field can be homer happy, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is right behind in offensive park factors. I do prefer the Texas lineup, so a boost in projected runs and RBI’s may occur. Grey projected a 37/10/30/.284/14 line for him in the second half, and while Rios has gotten off to a slow start, these are still achievable numbers if going into a playoff situation can get some of those juices flowing. Or there might not be any juices. I am unaware of Rios’ juice levels. But let’s hope its cranberry. Because that’s my favorite juice. Honestly, it’s just really hard to tell if a player is going to pull a CC Sabathia or Ryan Ludwick. Overall though, I don’t see a huge change in the dynamic, but there’s certainly nothing to complain about. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday… Please, blog, may I have some more?
Has anyone noticed the year Derek Holland is having? This is me raising my hand. You can’t see it, but you’ll just have to trust me. I’ve noticed. And I’m sure those in Arlington have noticed. And perhaps even a Derek Holland owner here and there has maybe gotten a whiff of what he’s cooking. Hopefully it’s brisket. I mean, yes, he’s certainly cooking some great pitching stats (3.18 ERA, 8 Wins, 135 K’s) for teams throughout the fantasy baseball universe. But what I’m saying is, why can’t he also be cooking brisket? Furthermore, why am I not cooking brisket? These are all fantastic questions. Does this have anything to do with baseball at all? Fantasy baseball even? No, it doesn’t. So? I’m not even going to bother justifying it. It’s brisket. I should be able to write in a superfluous fashion about that crispy burned concoction of cow breast, slowly cooked with a spicy yet savory rub… Mmmmmmm. Mmmmmmm. Err, you were saying? Derek Holland? Who the ef cares about Derek Holland? Brisket bro Please, blog, may I have some more?
So, here we are again. You could say it’s been a long time. Or, you could be like me, and say it hasn’t been long enough. This series obviously is not one that touches on hot button issues. There are no Mike Trout or Matt Harvey sightings. Simply put, this series is more a labor of love than anything. I get tired of reading pieces that are supposed to be on deep leagues, and they spend time talking about Lucas Duda. NOT DEEP ENOUGH. And while I moan and groan about discussing the likes of Luke Montz or Chris Rusin, I want to make sure that someone does. Because, first of all, Luke Montz and Chris Rusin deserve to be known by somebody… anybody. Not just their mothers. And second of all, well, simply put, you deep leaguers understand what’s going on here. And if you don’t understand, imagine if your starting lineup consists of names like Nick Punto and Brendan Ryan and Joe Thatcher… then you will know what it is like to be us. And you will wonder why we do what we do. Which, to be perfectly honest, is what we wonder about too. So, with all the time off from this series, I’m sure there is plenty to talk about. [Looks at player list] UGHHHHH. Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s been much consternation going on around these parts ever since I ranked Chase Headley 34th in my Top 100 Keepers for 2013 and Beyond post that came out last week. Wait, is that the correct word? Consternation? Does constipation work better? There’s been much constipation… hmmm. Decisions. Let’s just go with both. Actually, now that I think about it, no one really cared about that ranking. However, there were some eyebrows raised at not including a second baseman, whose name rhymes with Rick Danklin. But I don’t want to talk about him anymore. I already wrote about him here. ARE YOU NOT SATISFIED? And even though I also talked about Chase Headley in the same post, I want to examine him a bit further for a few reasons. And I also want to examine both your consternation and constipation. My friends call me ‘H’. As in Preparation H. But not really. Not at all. This will never be mentioned again. Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’ve reached it folks, the All-Star break. Though not really the halfway point of the season, it’s a good time to assess our teams and start thinking about how to make the final push for championship glory. Use this in tandem with Grey’s list of top-100 for the second half. I’m writing this assuming Grey is writing his. While Grey is quite the dependable guy, I don’t fully trust that mustache. Shhh. Wait, is it staring at me? Quick, hide! Does it see me? I think it hears us. I’m getting the ef out of here bro. You go left, I’ll go right. If I don’t ever see you again, let Grey know that Braun has a great line of shavers and trimmers, as stated here. Please, blog, may I have some more?