With the state of the pitching landscape, moments like last Thursday night, when Twins’ prospect Jose Berrios finally flourished in the major leagues force all fantasy owners turn a very watchful eye north to Minnesota, with a club that has situated itself atop the AL Central heading into Sunday’s action.

After two starts, Berrios has 15.1 innings of work under his belt with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Good for a sub 1.00 ERA and a FIP, that isn’t as good as Kenley Jansen’s -0.95, but will be buoyed by the advanced control always touted as a strength. How much of his current line is indicative of what we should actually expect is more of a puzzle after how dominant he was at home against the Rockies. Tampering expectations might come because his matchup was the second of a double header, and despite the Rockies hold on the NL West, their WRC+ in both home and road games is sub 90, suggesting they might be playing a bit over their heads.

Now that I’ve gotten the two most obvious points to calm us down from Ian Desmond’s comment that Berrios’ stuff looked like Jose Fernandez, I still can’t get over the fact that Berrios had 20 swinging strikes, seven on his curveball, 12 on his fourseamer, and a lone whiff to his sinker. This was basically double the amount of whiffs he had on his fastball and curveball independently, at any point in his major league career. Needless to say, this was a glimpse at the peak of the Berrios mountain. Watching this start, it was painfully obvious that the Rockies had no chance on his curveball, which he threw near 35% of the time and generated about 20% swinging strikes on.

Thursday was a game of firsts for Berrios, but as with any player that storms onto the scene, taking a step back to look at what is actually possible moving forward is extremely important.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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That is one of my favorite GIFs of all-time. And it just happens to be perfect for this piece. Ian Happ (29% owned – increase of 27%) was called up to the majors over the weekend. On a side note, that 2% difference in ownership has to be Prospector Ralph. Anyways, in three games Happ is 4-for-10 with three runs scored, two home runs, and four RBI. So, why am I so giddy? He’s a Cub, so you know he’s going to be an OBP monster. He’s a switch-hitter so there shouldn’t be any platoon issues. Happ has also been batting clean up. Either Mrs. Maddon is smitten with Happ or Ian has some pictures tucked away of Joe. Whatever the case may be, he’s got some semblance of trust from the manager. Javier Baez is sitting on the dugout steps pondering what he did wrong. While Happ is not known as a plus defender, I don’t think that’s going to be too much of an issue. Have you seen who’s decorating left field for the Cubs? The final piece to the puzzle is the depth chart for CF: Albert Almora Jr. and Jon Jay. Exactly. TREASURE: IT’S HAPPENING!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Well, here we are gentlemen and five girl readers. Hmm, if I’m one of the five girl readers and I’m writing this [Jay’s Note: You forgot my mother.], does that mean I should only be addressing 4 girl readers? Or should I just stick with 5, since I’m certainly vain enough that I’ll be reading my own work once it’s published? Hold on, is “published” the wrong word since we’re talking about the internet, and does my use of it make me sound out of touch? Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, here we are: week 7! Most MLB teams have played around 40 games now, so we’re about a quarter of the way through the season. Have any owners just flat-out quit in your leagues? In one of my keeper leagues (which of course are a different animal than re-drafts when it comes to punting a season), there were several blockbuster trades over the past weekend… those “in the hunt” have definitely distinguished themselves from those who are “playing for the future”. Meanwhile, I have a few re-draft leagues where some owners are barely setting valid lineups. Does this happen in your league? And if so, do you care?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Eugenio Suarez is off to a blistering start in 2017, slashing 23R/7HR/22RBI/2SB in just 36 games this season. Suarez is fairly young, as he’s 25 with three years’ experience in the majors. However, he only started receiving consistent playing time beginning last season, and has been producing with his daily starts in 2017.

A consistent starter in Cincinnati, Suarez has been one of the top options at third base. While the hot streak will not continue indefinitely, he has the ability to consistently produce stats for the remainder of the 2017 season. In this article, I’ll show the reasons why I believe Suarez will continue his high contact rate and power surge.

The example I’ll provide will be using his last four years of stats, beginning with his 2014 rookie year in Detroit.  This will allow us to see the progression of his stats, along with the growth of his contact rates.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Image result for jose bautista pinata

I always loved pinatas at parties. You got to beat the crap out of something with a stick until candy fell like manna from the heavens. Ah, the good ole days. To make it a little more challenging, pinatas would often be swung from side to side to make it a moving target. There would also be like a million kids waiting their turn because who wouldn’t want to beat the crap out of something with a stick? You would get two, maybe three swings. I noticed that if you showed some skill and whacked it with feeling, the parents would let you do your thing. As long as you didn’t look like a psychopath. Anyways, the point is that it took time to figure out how to hit the pinata correctly. With the limited number of swings afforded, it also made it a very stressful situation. Sounds a lot like baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

What’s up amigos?! Let me first say that if you’re reading this, thanks. I really appreciate the support, especially when we’re all recovering from too many Mother’s Day Mimosas. What!? Surely I’m not the only one that enjoys a little champagne and citrus juice occasionally, right? I’ll let you in on another Honcho secret: I like mine fruity! No comments please. Anyway, I’m back for another week of streaming fun and I’ve vacuumed out the sidecar on my new, American made motorbike. Won’t you join me? I love adventures, especially the kind that make you feel like you’re living on the edge. Like the time I challenged a few skateboard Yolo teens to a dance off after they made fun of my favorite pair of white New Balance shoes and sweet fanny pack. I’m straight savage at times. Kind of like now, when I recommend using Alex Meyer on the road against the Mets. Look, his numbers are far from sexy, but he tossed an absolute gem Sunday vs the Tigers (3 H, ER & 7 Ks) and I’m in love with his 98 mph fastball. If we’re being honest, the Mets offense has been underrated all season, despite the injuries. This suggestion probably seems crazy, but who cares! The Stream-o-Nator loves him in this start and I’m standing by my man, I mean…… robot. Maybe it’s their .166 ISO vs RHP, which ranks 17th in the league that the SON loves? Or perhaps the .314 wOBA and .406 SLG% which rank 19th & 20th respectively are making the bot all hot and bothered. Who knows, but what we can conclude is that the Mets are slightly below average against right-handers this season and that’s good enough for me. Also, he’s available in 99% of standard ESPN leagues, so he’s waiting to be scooped off the wire. Remember friends, the arms and bats I’m suggesting below are all owned in less than 50% of standard ESPN leagues and more importantly – are supplied with the assistance from the Stream-o-Nator and the Hitter-Tron. If you like what you see, take a leap of faith and purchase a subscription to any of the Razzball tools. You’ll thank me later.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The phrase is no longer “Chicks dig the longball,” it’s “Chicks dig the flyball.”

From the forgotten (Yonder Alonso) to our freshest superstars (Francisco Lindor), the want for more lift in hopes of combating infield shifts hasn’t played favorites in the style of hitter it acquires. While Alonso and Lindor lead list of qualified hitters with the largest increase in flyball percentage compared to last year, another name sits atop the list of hitters with the highest overall flyball rates in 2017.

Ryan Schimpf (63.8%).

I’m barely five months into my Razzball tenure and this is my second column about a San Diego Padres’ player (Austin Hedges was my first). Maybe my next one will be about that first basemen who has been better than Anthony Rizzo! Wil Myers who?

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Scott Schebler (41.6% owned –  increase of 13.3%) is batting .248/.322/.550 on the season with nine home runs and 20 RBI in 109 at-bats. He’s also sporting a 23% strikeout rate with an 8% walk rate. I thought Jay Bruce was on the Mets! The Reds be loving their lefty-whitey right fielders that can bop ’em out of the park. Unfortunately, they often send the crowd home unhappy like what happened after mighty Casey’s last at-bat. Me thinks that Carl Henry Lindner Jr., the owner of the Reds back in 2000, used to cry when he read Casey at the Bat as a child. It was during those times that his brain began to hatch the master plan. Bring his family’s dairy business out of the doldrums of the Great Depression. Become one of the richest men in the world so that he could buy a baseball team. Acquire a “Casey” on his team, thereby creating a parallel universe where mighty Casey does in fact not strike out. It would be in those moments when tears of joy would flow down his face, instead of the tears of sadness experienced in his youth. Lindner bought the team in 2000 and Adam Dunn, the original “Casey” was acquired in 2001. After Dunn left, Bruce took his place. So, bascially Schebler is just the most recent cog in the “Casey” legacy. Usually, I shy away from these types of players, as they are very streaky and you have to endure some rough cold streaks. With that said, he’s entrenched in the sixth spot of the Reds order, against both lefties and righties, and that power is so enticing! Also, that ballpark where he plays half his games is amazing for left-handed power to right field, which is the direction he hits to 44% of the time. Lastly, have you seen some of the pitchers in the NL Central? I imagine this is how Carl Lindner would look if he were still with us today. TREASURE (Beware: could become a donkey at any moment)

Here are a few other players that caught my eye on the most added/dropped list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Jackie Bradley Jr. Pitch Breakdown. Click to zoom.

See what I did there? His name is Jackie Bradley but I capitalized B-A-D because, you know, he’s bad at baseball. Well, I shouldn’t say that. He’s bad at hitting baseballs, but he is an elite defender. The latter means nothing to the fantasy world except that it is the only reason some schlubs get to stay in the lineup sometimes. That is certainly the case for JBJ sometimes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Much like in real baseball, in fantasy, timing can be everything. On Monday, Grey mentioned that he’d like to find a term for a guy who does what Tommy Pham did this past Sunday – that is, a guy who goes off on Sunday afternoon, driving up his Sunday night FAAB price. I need a slightly different way to describe this phenomenon in my deepest NL and AL-only leagues, as both have weekly waivers that get processed on Saturday night. I’ve been in one of the leagues for years now, and I’m still not used to it. I don’t know why the founding fathers of this league thought it was a good idea to run waivers on Saturday when everyone and their dog knows that Sunday evening is the proper time to be thinking about one’s FAAB budget (hell, I half expected my computer to auto-correct when I typed the phrase “waivers on Saturday.”) I can only assume it’s to put those of us who might be extra busy/drunk/etc. on Saturday at a disadvantage, and I’m afraid that this particular strategy works on occasion. The week in 2014 that Jacob DeGrom and Anthony DeSclafani were called up, it was hardly my fault that I wasn’t sober enough to rank DeGrom ahead of Disco in my waiver claim list! It haunts me to this day, as it’s a keeper league where I would still have DeGrom at a bargain-basement price… as opposed to the three weeks of bargain-basement pitching I received before I unceremoniously dropped DeSclafani.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 
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