Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

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REL baseball logo newHappy Cinco De Mayo!  I certainly know I’ll be drinking, as my rebuilding Brewers continue to have pitching numbers go down the drain like after a great relief following 5 margaritas.   And I certainly know the co-owners of the Nats are drinking heavy today too!  The Nationals are obliterating the NL league, accentuated by a 13-2 drubbing of the Royals in interleague play yesterday afternoon.  On the AL side, it’s still the Orange Birds’ show as they’ve been the hunted all year long.  Somebody break up this powerhouse on the I-95 corridor!  Here’s how week five went down in the 2016 REL League:

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The Pod returns with a hot new show full of yelling, weirdness, and even with some Grey stalking! That’s right, we learn about someone Grey used to stalk while growing up, and mayyyyybe continues to stalk to this day… Also on today’s show, we reply to some of your awesome comments from last week’s Pod post, Victor Martinez‘s hot start, and what to make of Brandon Drury. Shocker! Grey has fun pronouncing that name! We then get into a hotly contested trade I made in the Perts RCL which I’m sure you commenters will endlessly ridicule, the Dee Gordon suspension, and hot pitching prospects getting called up. There’s just so much going on, that Grey only had 3 or 4 tangents instead of his average 10! Small sample size though, I imagine on the year that will regress to the mean of about 10… Here’s our latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:

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Man, what a week for starting pitcher callups!  Thankfully we’re seeing Major League clubs unshy of bringing up their future aces instead of being little scaredy-cats and using the Super 2 as a crutch.  “Stop wasting some of your better pitched innings in the Minors, ya bums!”  That was me two years ago.  I was also skinnier and not married yet, so not everything has gotten better…

Right on the heels of the Jose Berrios callup, the A’s promoted Sean Manaea after an absolutely meteoric rise after being traded by the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal.  Manaea always had power stuff and great K-rates, but never quite harnessed the command to get himself atop prospect lists.  But when you have awesome pure stuff, sometimes one minor tweak can take you from “meh” to “mania”!  After a 21:4 K:BB in Triple A over 18 innings this year, it certainly came with a lot of fanfare that Manaea was getting called up, and he’s surely scooped up in almost all leagues at this point.  Is he worth all the hype?  Here’s how he looked on Friday night in his MLB debut against the Astros:

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REL baseball logo newA month is in the books!  We’ve made it [mostly] through April in our inaugural season without too many issues in our rules-set, while amending our constitution with a few new minor rules as we go along.  It’s been awesome starting up a complex league and figuring out what rules need to be tweaked as we go with feedback from everyone!  In the standings, the Cubs/Nats rivalry up top looks like the easy front-runners to win the NL, with the Cubs a mere 0.5 Pts in the lead.  In the AL, the Orioles keep on trucking, but I’ve been impressed with the run by the Indians, who have moved into a strong second place.  Here’s how week four has gone down in the 2016 REL League, plus a look-in at the REL 2 League with how it’s shaping up:

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Woooo, the Razzball Pod is back, now with more imbalance and effeminatey! On today’s show we talk Jake Arrieta‘s no-hitter and value moving forward, Tanner Roark‘s 15 Ks, and if there’s any value in Mat Latos. Hint – Nope! We also play America’s Favorite Game Ben Revere or Denard Span, discuss Aledmys Diaz, and how much we can rely on Kenta Maeda. And if you’ve ever wondered how Grey made his fortune, he gives us a look into his highly fortuitous foray into website squatting. Here’s our latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:

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So I’m watching Raiders of the Lost Ark with my dad and following Tanner Roark strike out 15 Saturday afternoon, and all primed to write my “Raiders of the Lost Roark” pitcher profile. But then I was like, “Ya know what?! I already wrote on Joe Ross and the Nationals don’t need ANY MORE press! I’m not writing two of my first three 2016 profiles on Nats, get outta here!”

Option B: An argument I had with myself the other day: “Is Robbie Ray really that different than Carlos Rodon?” Think about it – both are lefties with mid-90s heat, plus off-speed pitchers, and are near unhittable. But they’re also two of the most frustrating pitchers to own with their control issues. So why would I love Rodon and bank on him figuring it out in my ranks and not have similar optimism for the also young (just turned 24) Ray? Mayyyyyyybe I shouldn’t broadcast to ALL of Razzball Nation my inner monologues… “What was that dream last night about? I think I was taking off my clothes in Miller Park with – – – -” Yeah, bad idea.

With Ray one of my two decent SP in REL, I decided to megalomaniacally (made up word?!) take the pitcher profile to Arizona and break down how Ray looked again the Pirates yesterday afternoon:

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REL baseball logo newWe’re settling into the season now, and this dumb DC-Baltimore combo is just rolling over the REL!  East Coast bias!  The Nats have taken over the NL by over 10 points thanks to Bryce Harper being the best hitter on the planet and great pitching.  And just like the Orioles in real-life, The Orange Birds in the AL are surpassing all expectations thanks to some savvy drafting of non-Orioles that are flanking a great offense.  I hope everyone is enjoying their deep dynasties this year! Here’s how week three has gone down in the 2016 REL League:

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Now punchier! On today’s edition of the Razzball Pod we talk big performances from the last week including Aaron Sanchez moving forward, if Matt Moore can contain his control, and Jose Altuve‘s ridiculous start. Shocker – Grey has been happy with what he’s gotten from Altuve so far! We then play America’s favorite game: Ben Revere or Denard Span?! We use them to rank some fringy OF and how they can fit your needs. Then we wrap going into an NL-only abyss and alienate 99% of our listeners… Hey, deep leagues are leagues too! Here’s our latest edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:

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Grey beat me with the parallel to the other Aaron Sanchez, so I’ve got to cook up something different! …dammit.

As I mentioned in my first in-season re-ranks last week, I mentioned I always liked [the real] Aaron Sanchez‘s stuff and had some of my worst early-season regret not ranking him higher. But after that sizzling (…crap) debut, 5 K and 3 BB against the Yankees in his second course (…ahhhh!). It was still a quality start, but if he keeps walking guys, he’ll be a recipe for disaster (…OK, I’m done).

While it’s still too early to make blanket judgment calls, it’s nice to start having 3-game samples on starters as we head into week 3. Sanchez is likely owned in most mixed leagues, but in the RCLs where the name of the game is streaming, I wanted to see how “must-hold” he is in formats where starting pitchers are cycled in-and-out more than sex jokes in Two Broke Girls. Oh my god, have you seen that show?! Wife loves it, but it’s written by 12-yr-olds who giggle during sex ed class in middle school! Speaking of: “boobies”. Tee-hee! Wow, this got way off track. One of the more interesting starters going on Sunday afternoon, I decided to break down Sanchez’s third start on the young season to see how his command is maturing (hopefully maturing faster than I am…):

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