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Did you miss me? Or did you not even realize I was gone for two weeks? Not cool man. Not cool. Well, after my little Razzy vacation, in which I made sure to eat plenty of ice cream and re-watch Star Trek: Voyager, I’m back and ready to go. To re-acclimate myself into the weekly routine of bearing and bulling, we’re going to focus on a guy that I was really wrong on. No silly, not Paul Goldschmidt. Though I might have to deal with him at some point. I speak of the other guy– Clay Buchholz. In fact, to make matters worse, not only did I tell you to sell him, I told you to buy Edwin Jackson. Hilarious, amiright? (To be fair, Grey put Jackson as a buy last Friday.) While I often relish being right, they don’t call me Jaywrong for nothin’. And hey, I’m cool with eating crow. In fact, I can eat anything with enough salt on it. That’s what she said! Hunh? And yes, in this regard, so far, I have been wrong about Buchholz. But did your hedge alert go off? Well, it should have, I italicized it for you. So, will be this be a continuing trend, sans that sore shoulder? Or can I just be lazy, or what I call, pull a Morris, and just blame it all on saliva and the wonders that come with putting spit on a ball? Let’s take the jump and find out.

As of this writing, the Boston Red Sox are contemplating putting Clay Buchholz on the DL for a stiff trap muscle. Darn, should have used that ‘she said’ joke here. This potential injury doesn’t necessarily make me as nervous as ‘soreness’ or ‘arm falling off’ would, but since the problem has been upgraded over the course of a week and he’s already missed a bullpen session, this news will certainly affect the teams that own him and his overall value for the immediate future. I will note that everything I’ve read seems to state that there would be an imminent return once eligible to come of the DL if retroactively placed there. That, and I’ve seen the word ‘precautionary’ used a bunch of times, so, for now, I’m not treating this as a big deal. So we’re going to go ahead with this post, since I already have a nifty 350+ words banked and I’m too lazy to google another player and then write about him. It’s a tough life, I know.

So, what we have here is a pitcher I don’t own anywhere, who I have never believed in, and who I’m still hesitant to believe what he’s doing so far this season is sustainable. And let me tell you, I’m not the only one. This isn’t some island I’m living on out there. I have plenty of company. After all, this is a guy who has a career FIP of 4.08, K/9 of 6.89 and BB/9 of 3.47. These are very pedestrian numbers. Yes, he has had an excellent season, back in 2010, when Buchholz produced a 2.33 ERA with 17 Wins. However, his FIP of 3.61 and middling peripherals told a different story about his true talent. But we can’t forget that he was once considered a highly-touted prospect with ace-like potential. Sure, it was a long, long time ago in a scouting report far, far away, but a player reaching his potential outside the normal progression curve is not unheard of.

During the Razzy podcast, in which I recommended selling Buchholz, I mentioned that all of the leading indicators showed he was basically the same pitcher he was last year. True, we were in very small sample size territory, but I wouldn’t consider it a reach to say that a player is going to produce the same results if his peripheral numbers hadn’t changed from 2012. However, a month and half later, those indicators have started to catch up to his ERA of 1.71, and as of now, his FIP stands at 2.48, which is still outstanding. His BB/9 is stands at his career norm, but he’s striking more batters out with a K/9 of 8.64, and suppressing the long ball at an incredible rate of 0.24 HR/9. (Just to get this out of the way, that HR/9 will regress, but I’m not sure if it will profoundly change the current dynamic.) So while his velocity is the same as last year, something is fueling the uptick in strikeouts, which is also fueling the change in the type of pitcher Buchholz is. And what type of pitcher is Buchholz this year? The good kind silly! Obligatory anecdotal supporting-argument GIF time!

Come on, you know…

…and the whole word has to answer right now…

…just to tell you once again…

Who’s bad?

Delving deeper into the numbers, there seem to be subtle changes in the Plate Discipline of the batters he’s faced. There’s small, but noteworthy suppression in Contact% (3.7 less), and a small but also noteworthy increase in SwStr% (0.9% more). These changes don’t necessarily illuminate any firm conclusions (another lost opportunity for a ‘she said’ joke… gotta learn to hold those in.), but they do allow some insight of what to look for next. What is causing less contact and more swing and misses? And there it is. The biggest clue. Buchholz is using his four-seam fastball at an increased rate. Last year, he threw the fastball 43.8% of the time. This season, the fastball is being thrown at a 48.7% clip. Now that we’ve figured out what he’s doing different, we can surmise that this could be partly fueling his current success.

In fact, when you go one more level deeper into the numbers, Inception style, there’s something fascinating going on. During the 2012 season, when Buchholz threw his fastball, it was called a strike 26.4% of the time and was whiffed on 3.8% of the time. This year? It’s been called a strike 38.0% of the time. Whiff percentage? 9.0% Those are substantial increases. And guess what else? He has not surrendered a homerun on his fastball… at all.

So obviously, there is data here to show his new found success as not a fluke. His fastball has certainly leveled up, which is sending a positive ripple-effect on the rest of his repertoire. Based on what we’ve discovered, these changes come from improved command and perhaps even better sequencing. But are these improved skills here to stay? Well, that’s the rub. There’s really no way to tell you that these are permanent changes… yet. According to the post I did on stat thresholds, we can assume that his K/9 is here to stay. But all the other improvements will take about a full season’s worth of data to stabilize. But the one thing I *can* tell you is that his results are not just completely from luck. There is real eveidence here to hang our hat on, and that’s at least worth some peace of mind.

For the rest of the season, health permitting of course (I’m just going to assume he misses the next couple of starts and bake that in) I would feel safe projecting around 6 more wins, a lowish-3 ERA with the same amount of strikeouts we’ve been seeing. So let’s just go with 6-5/3.32/1.21/86. That being said, what do you do with this guy in redrafts? Well, if someone believes, it’s always wise to sell a player when they are doing something they aren’t accustomed to doing. But I don’t think players will pay the price that he’s pitched himself into to. I’d just hold and hope he keeps on chugging. For keeper leagues, I just don’t know. As I stated at the beginning of this post, I’ve just never trusted the guy. Buchholz may have just pitched himself into a long term holding pattern, as you most likely paid for him at a cheap price during a previous draft or trade. At this point, holding him would provide the most value. But again, if you can sell high, always do it.

I really have no idea what animal to choose, but I know I’m going to have to in about 30 or so words. Look, I’ve never believed, but at one point in his career, the sky was the limit. There is nothing static in baseball. Anything can change at any point in time. Buchholz has always had the stuff, and we could very well be seeing his breakout year happening. Or… he could just be effing with me.

Final Verdict:

Okay, here’s the real verdict… ugh. You let me down bro, I will cut you.

 Final Verdict:

 

Jaywrong is a 30-year old Korish writer who finds solace using Makers Mark as a vehicle to impress average-looking women, and also has an affinity for making Jennifer Lawrence GIFs. You can follow him @jaywrong, read his blog Desultory Thoughts of a Longfellow, or, you can find his GIFs at his tumblr, named Siuijeonseo.

From Around The Web

  1. yo Jaywrong

    I am in a keeper league, auction style. 9 keepers and $260 total on draft day (no budget after).

    I need help at AVG and SB and Runs. I was offered Rikki Weeks (11$). I was thinking Cashner ($3) would be a good trade value from my end to a team that is looking to next year… you agree?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @gbaked: yeah, its fair… question marks on both. I’ve never trusted Weeks, fwiw.

      • @jaywrong: yeah. im not totally into it.

        he has pedroia as well. Was thinking of offering Taveres for him first.

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @gbaked: I’d rather hold Oscar unless its for something bigger and better.

  2. Paul says:
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    jaywrong, can you set me right? I’ve got a little too much love for Miller and am afraid I might make a bad deal. Am I paying to much to send Segura and A-ram to get Miller? Miller could be a 9th rnd keeper in my league next season.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Paul: yeah, I think that’s an overpay.

    • Willy says:
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      @Paul: I’m not jaywrong, but most people would tend to agree that you shouldn’t be trading Segura for Miller, let alone A-Ram and Segura for Miller!!! You’d really really regret that! Maybe try A-Ram for Miller… although they probably won’t take it. I’ve been trying to trade A-Ram for a while and people don’t seem to want to buy low on him, but at the same time I’d be nuts to just drop him! It’s tough owning A-Ram these days!

      Cheers!

      • Paul says:
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        @Willy: Thanks guys. Yea, it ain’t easy right now holding that A-ram! No love for him – I got Pedro starting over him right now!

        I guess I gotta hold out then. too many people in my league are down on segura too. I can’t even swap him for iwakuma!

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @Paul: Segura is a good long term asset… Not this much power, but a great option at ss. Any reason why you’re selling?

          • Paul says:
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            @jaywrong: Pretty much b/c I got him for Homer Bailey and figured I could use him to upgrade from there. If I could get Miller, then I’d have Waino, Bumgarner and Miller, with Ryu and Samardzija for my 5 SP.

            I’ve got JJ Hardy and Rollins already and figure I could get the best overall benefit with a legit SP.

            • Jay

              jaywrong says:
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              @Paul: I hear ya. I wouldn’t settle though. He should net you something better.

              • Paul says:
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                @jaywrong: Yea I guess I’ll hold for now. People are pointing to concerns about his track record and inconsistency with the season.

                What’s a good benchmark for him?

                • Jay

                  jaywrong says:
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                  @Paul: 290/340/420 10/30

  3. JoeG says:
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    Looking to trade a Starter for a OF. Here are my Starters: Sale,Greinke,Kuroda,Ryu,Wainwright,Cole,Minor. I was going to try eithe Ryu or Greinke. What kind if any good OF can I get?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @JoeG: maybe a Marte? Bruce perhaps?

      • JoeG says:
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        @jaywrong:
        Funny; I already have both. I would love a one of those types.

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @JoeG: Hah. Maybe try to buy low on Upton? Might less to add a smaller piece.

  4. Tehol Beddict says:
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    is it bad that i traded him for glenn perkins after his first few starts?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: probably.

      Chris showed you up the other day, offering me sabathia for Samardizja AND Ryu.

  5. The Red Cyclones says:
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    Pick up Roy Oswalt in a 16-team H2H points league if I only have 4 picks left and my ace was supposed to be R.A. Dickey/pitching generally mediocre? Other WW notables include Chacin, Quintana, Turner and Jerome Williams. Ks are most valuable stat.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @The Red Cyclones: I’m not touching Oswalt. I’d line Quintana.

  6. Bryan says:
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    Is Harper too much for Hanley?

    My OF strong without Harper…
    Puig
    Bruce
    Cespedes
    Myers
    Aoki

    My SS is Franklin and 3B is Aramis

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Bryan: In a redraft, a little bit, but not wildly so. I’d rather move Bruce, or Puig while he’s hot instead.

  7. zoltan says:
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    Hey jaywrong,

    A.Gordon, Corbin, and Price too much for Stanton and Latos?

    rest of my staff- Scherzer, Bumgarner, Teheran, Hamels, and Gallardo to go along with some streamers. Any trade you would suggest if you don’t like that one? I definitely want Gordon involved.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @zoltan: It’s okay, I’m leaning slightly to the Stanton side. But that’s only because Price is still on the DL.

      You might get more out of Price if you let him pitch a little. Not sure if it’ll fly, but I would rather sell Gallardo or Hamels.

      • zoltan says:
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        @jaywrong: Yeah, I wish he was a Hamels fan or it might. Also, what pitcher would you give up for Zobrist besides Hamels?

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @zoltan: Any one of them except Scherzer, Bum, and Price. Maybe Hamels.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Sky: He makes me believe.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        and he makes you feel the vibration.

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @Sky: Of course.

        • Birdog says:
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          @Sky: I don’t wanna feel the vibration!!! I don’t! I don’t! (Ok, I kinda do…)

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Ha!

  8. t Moore says:
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    My Dearest Mr. Jay Wrong: O’ how I’ve missed you, your eminent FBB thoughts and the fine multi media presentations too (Even though, I often don’t have a clue what you are on about with them – I just like pictures when I read – I guess.. )..

    My team has suffered you being gone too… They just weren’t playing with their normal gusto knowing you weren’t here backing them up on every pitched ball or swing of the bat… Maybe, the MAGPIES, who have suffered a precipitous drop in the standings in your absence, will start their climb back up now.. Certainly, they won’t be playing any worse…

    To make things worse, that horrible man, Mr. Gray, decided to go part time on his loyal followers while you were gone.. So much for RazBall’s loyalty…

    ((The first whiff of stardom and they forget the fans that made them – wears well here.. Have you seen his new Lounge Lizard moniker photo/avatar… An almost perfect fit !!!!… The only thing missing in it, is him sitting in his Yuppie-mobile, having just backed into a parking place. with his raised cocktail and that smirk…. ))

    At least, that horrible man, let me know that you were just on vacation after my repeated requests to find out what had happened to you and if you were OK – thank the FBB Gods …

    (((I don’t know what I would have done if you pulled the plug on Razzball.. I might have jumped out of the window – Yes, it is only a one story – but still, I really could have hurt myself all the same.. )))

    Back to the good news of your return…. I began having palpitations this morning on hearing of your imminent return… It took a while to get myself calmed down and back in order to even post here to welcome you back… I am still excited… So..

    WELCOME BACK MR. JAY WRONG…. THE FBB WORLD HAS MISSED YOU..

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @t Moore: How I’ve missed you so.

      Hopefully my mojo can stretch across the pond and touch your FBB team in that special place… right in the heart. There will only be joy and a yeast like rise in the standings. If you do ever defenestrate, do so over some type of shrubbery.

      Good to be back, if only to return to love letters like this.

  9. zoltan says:
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    A.Gordon and Tulo for Stanton and Latos/Weaver a fair trade? Thank!

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @zoltan: Yes, but I’d rather have Latos.

  10. Scott says:
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    My league uses QS instead of W. Given that, how would you rank the following ROS: B. Colon, J. Locke, Teheran, Porcello, Wheeler, T. Wood? Would you drop any of them for Kluber?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Scott: Porcello, Colon, Teheran, Wheeler, Locke, Wood.

      I might drop Wood to take a gander.

  11. Billy B-Cup Butler says:
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    Hey Jay welcome back!

    How would you rank Porcello, Vargas, Kluber ROS in 12 team standard H2H?

    Current staff features:
    Scherz, G. Cole, Ryu, YoGa, Homer, Quintana, Lester, Fister, Perkins, Mujica, Wilhelmsen, Heath Bar, Pineda, and Beachy (occupying DL spot)

    I’d end up dropping Heath Bell and Quintana for any of the three aforementioned above.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Billy B-Cup Butler: Thanks, I would rank it Porcello, Kluber, Vargas.

  12. MPC says:
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    I was just offered his Ryan Zimmerman for my Nelson Cruz. Which player would you rather have ROS? I’ve been burned by Zimm numerous times in the past so I’m having trouble pulling trigger.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @MPC: Yeah, Zimmerman burns a lot, that’s for sure. That being said, I’m not a big believer in Cruz. It might end up being about who you are dropping at the CI, but I’m still leaning with the guy who has natitude.

      • MPC says:
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        @jaywrong: ARAM is my starting 3b. I’d use both daily. 14 team h2h deep league. Cruz having great season, why are you down on him?

        Thanks!

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @MPC: If Aram is at your cornerstone, I’d hold. He’ll offer close the same rate stats that Zim will.

          On Cruz, I just don’t like the profile, and he can be streaky. I’m not especially down on him, but I’d rather go another direction. But in this iteration, I’m fine holding.

  13. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    jaydawg,

    Lightning round:

    Which side do you prefer:

    Votto/Gardner/Scherzer/Marcum
    Encarnacion/Cuddyer/Bourn/Masterson

    Thanks in advance, good sir.

    Cheers!

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @RandomItalicizedVoice: man, I love me some e5, but I’m going with the Votto side.

  14. Bryan says:
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    Give Wil Myers get Han Ram.. no brainer?

    Franklin is my SS.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Bryan: In a redraft? YES.

      • Bryan says:
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        @jaywrong: in a redraft?

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @Bryan: one year league, no keepers.

          • Bryan says:
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            @jaywrong: Gotta thank you…yes its a re draft league.

            • Jay

              jaywrong says:
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              @Bryan: Then yes, execute trade good sir.

  15. mike says:
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    Felix for Harper and wheeler…should I take the risk on Harper and wheeler or stick with the king??

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @mike: I might take the risk. But said risk is risky, if ya know what I mean.

      • mike says:
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        @jaywrong: i hear ya..I think this is a move that could win me a championship…I’m gonna pull the trigger..thanks!

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @mike: Good luck!

  16. LA Sound Guy says:
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    ROS: Aramis Ramirez or Todd Frazier?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @LA Sound Guy: Frazier for homeruns, Aram for everything else.

  17. troy says:
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    hey jaywrong do you think cingrani is a good add even if hes in the bullpen? deep league but someone with his k potential can be lethal in the type of league im in. My only worry is when broxton or marshall comes back he will just be sent back down to the minors. do you still think its worth it for someone like dempster? i have 9 starters in a league that stashes starters like crazy, closers are soriano, perkins, and chapman. I have a good k/9 and whip but cingrani could make it unbelievable. its head to head as well deep 12 team league 8X8 cats.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @troy: I like him more as a reliever more than a starter. If the move makes sense, do it. Just don’t drop q known quantity.

      • Troy says:
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        @jaywrong: would Logan Morrison be considered a quantity? I’m leaning towards no, if eaton ever comes back then ill have to decide what starter to drop between dempster ogando cashner and a couple others but I don’t think eaton will ever be back…

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @Troy: prolly not. Not too high on Dempster either.

  18. HWY71 says:
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    Hey jaywrong,

    Trade my Stanton & Ellsbury for Miguel Cabrera?

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @HWY71: I’m leaning towards the Ellsbury side, unless you already have enough speed.

  19. t Moore says:
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    Mr. Jay Wrong: My Razzball team gained 3 places in the standings last night… I know, it is because of your Powers (MB Mojo)…

    Promise not to leave for the rest of the season… Pretty please!!!

    Where does one send the money to????

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @t Moore: I think it goes to Grey, made out to cash.

      But I take full credit.

  20. t Moore says:
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    Mr.JW: Thoughts on Stirling Marte going forward.. Just snagged him in Yahoo… He is in a short term funk… I guess, even if his BA falls off his SBs will still carry him..

    TIA

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @t Moore: streaky babip driven player who is very talented. A good #3 outfielder.

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