Grey has been touting Eduardo Nunez, for what seems like, forever. He’s also been pushing the whole Convent, Edu-Nun, an educational institute for nuns thing, for what seems like, forever, forever, ever, forever, ever. I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, I’m just not feeling that, but I am the OutKast at Razzball so….
Shenanigans aside, did you know that The Convent (I’m a company man) is the No. 4 rated third baseman according to the Razzball Player Rater? The Fantasy Master Lothario knew. He can see into the future, except when it comes to a few players that shall remain nameless, for if I name them, I shall become toothless, armless, legless….you get the point. Thank goodness I’m already hairless.
Anyways, is this high noon, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the most advanced, flourishing, or creative stage or period,” for The Convent this season?
Ryon Healy (44.7% owned – increase of 18.3%) has hit 13 home runs in 57 games this season. In 72 games last year, Healy clubbed 13 home runs in 72 games. For those that are too lazy to use their desktop abacus, that comes out to 26 home runs in 129 games to begin Healy’s major league career. As John Hickey of The Mercury News wrote, “For the A’s, only two men have done better – the Bash Brothers. Mark McGwire hit 42 homers in his first 128 games and Jose Canseco hit 28 over the same number of games to start his Oakland career.” Yo Grey!!! Time to schedule another interview with Jose. The thing that immediately jumps out to me is the .331 BABIP. Regression, right? Well, he had a .352 BABIP last season. The projection systems have him slated for a .310-ish BABIP and .270-ish average for the remainder of the season. I’m not one to argue with the computers. It’s the same reason why I married Chinese. Just in case either take over the world, I’ve got some protection. As I continue to research Healy, the numbers look good. The contact rates are good (88.3% in the zone and 76.5% in general) and swinging strike rate is decent for a power hitter (10.9%). The chase rate of 34.2% is high (Top 30), but a far cry from the 47.1% by Corey Dickerson. Healy is mashing lefties (.408 average with five home runs), but what’s most impressive are the .346 average and 10 home runs at O.co Coliseum, which is an albatross for power. The cherry on top is that Healy plays everyday, which is sometimes worrisome with the ADD platoon nature of the A’s. TREASURE
Here are a few more players that caught my eye on the most added/dropped list for the week:
I’ve been trying to figure out if I should use a percentage-owned threshold to determine which players I cover in this column, but have come to realize that it’s probably best not to use a hard and fast rule for this. There are just too many different sizes and shapes huddled together under the “deep league” umbrella, and a few differences in rules and roster restrictions can make a huge difference in how deep the player pool goes. I have a 12-team one AL-only league where we have huge rosters, we’re only allowed to add minor leagues at a supplemental draft once a year, and we can never add a player on the DL. The waiver pool is miniscule, consisting mostly of players who are 0-1% owned or less in CBS leagues. I have a couple NL-only leagues, meanwhile, where there are often a handful of 20 – 40% CBS owned players.
One of the reasons I’m mentioning this is because I’ve gotten in the habit of using percentage owned as my go-to way to sort players when perusing the waiver wire, trade possibilities, etc., and I want to make sure I’m not using it as an unnecessary (or even harmful) crutch, especially in my shallower leagues. I feel like in the past, I’ve actually gone to pick up a player in a mixed league and changed my decision at the last minute because it seemed so wrong to be adding a guy who was 8% or 17% or 25% owned in a league where every lineup is packed with 80%-plus owned players. (I guess the deep, ‘only’ league equivalent of this is picking up a 0% owned player… nothing like the boost of confidence it gives you to see that you have a couple guys in your lineup that, according to the internet, basically don’t exist in fantasy baseball).
While ownership percentages can be a good way to sort players, I think paying too much attention to them can be a big mistake, including when it comes to evaluating trade value. If you think a player can help your team or have a gut feeling about a guy, don’t let others’ perceived value of him keep you from pulling the trigger. Now if you can squeeze more out of the other owner by mentioning that you’re taking on lesser-owned players, go for it. And you can feel free to use it to your advantage the other way as well – if you’re trying to move, say, Julio Teheran, who hasn’t looked like he belongs on a fantasy team of any size all season, feel free to mention that he is owned in an absolutely inexplicable 91% of CBS leagues (but don’t include the part about it being inexplicable). With that being said, on to some deep-league names…
For the first seven years of his career, Elvis Andrus was a light-hitting shortstop that would provide cheap speed for fantasy teams. That Elvis has left the building. Unlike Mr. Presley, who aged into a fat slob which lowered the barriers to entry for employment as an impersonator, Mr. Andrus has become phat. For those that only know # as a hashtag, phat was synonymous with great, back in the 90’s. I still can’t believe phat was a thing.
Anyways, Andrus is the #1 shortstop in fantasy right now. He’s batting .305 with seven home runs, 34 runs scored, 32 RBI, and 14 stolen bases. The wOBA is .353 and ISO is .170.
For perspective, the ISO has been below .100 six of the last eight seasons and the season-high in home runs is eight, which occurred last year…
Danny Glover played Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon movies. Murtaugh was the stabilizing force to the maniac that was Martin Riggs, played by the maniac Mel Gibson. Was Lethal Weapon a reality show before reality shows? Was the lethal weapon in Lethal Weapon Riggs or was it like a ying and yang thing where the combination of Murtaugh and Riggs formed a lethal weapon? I’m going with the assumption that Riggs was the lethal weapon.
A funny thing happened while I was setting my lineups for this week. I picked up not one, BUT TWO starting pitchers from the Colorado Rockies. Here’s where I blow your mind….They’re both named Tyler! Weird, right? You see friends, there once was a myth in fantasy baseball that the only good Rockies’ pitcher was the one not on your roster. My how times have changed. I mean, people are listening to albums again, The Rock is contemplating a Presidential run and a good portion of the Colorado pitching staff is fantasy relevant. What’s real anymore? Is this the Upside Down?? Anyway, both Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood have dates with the San Diego Padres this week and here’s the best part: The games are in Petco Park. I just high-fived myself. Both Anderson and Chatwood are lightly owned, just 11% & 7% respectively. That’s bargain bin shopping amigos. Ignore Anderson’s ugly ERA (5.38) and focus on this: He’s allowed just seven runs and racked up 32 K’s over his last 24.2 innings across his past four starts. Chatwood owns a 4.50 ERA (Thanks Coors!), but he’s been effective on the road dropping that number to 3.06 while producing a 3.86 xFIP. The Padres meanwhile, have decided to continue their tradition of being all but unwatchable by turning in a .641 OPS, .148 ISO and 73 wRC+. Those numbers rank 29th, 29th and 30th respectively. So yeah, this seems like a great time to get to know the Tyler’s.
Positional depth is a fascinating topic. Preseason, it’s one of the first things returning owners look at when emerging from their offseason hibernation. Thoroughly fattened by chips and Dominos’ pasta dishes – please tell me nobody is actually spending money on those – understanding where “fall offs” occur at positions is essential in constructing overall rankings and providing guidance for where targeting positions might be more appropriate.
A narrative I remember hearing in March was that elite first basemen were hard to come by. We had Goldschmidt, Votto, Freeman, and Encarnacion, followed by some Wil Myers believers (justified!), and a stretch of murky waters. As with any depth estimation, what happens in-season always throws a metaphorical wrench in what we initially thought. Cody Bellinger gets called up after less than one month, Freeman is lost for 10 weeks, Encarnacion once again starts slow, and everything we thought we had ironed out is tossed like that salad you should have eaten instead of that Dominos’ pasta dish! Has Jenny Craig taught you nothing?!
Enter our two darlings of the first base position two months in, Justin Bour and Justin Smoak, single handedly causing disgruntled twitter followers to tweet at the likes of Tristan Cockcroft and complain that he should do his job better. Yeah Cockcroft, we want four LABR titles in a row, three isn’t enough!
Here we are in week 8, so you know what time it is: it’s time to take advantage of the apathy of others. It was a rough weekend in the Holt household, as I checked in Sunday afternoon to find that Tajuan Walker, the one guy who’d been healthy and pitching semi-decently on my deepest NL-only team, had randomly hit the DL with a blister issue. Meanwhile, Trevor Cahill, who’d practically been carrying my pitching staff in the same league before he got hurt, was headed for an MRI that gave me the sinking feeling that he wasn’t gonna be pitching again any time soon. After slamming my computer shut and spending about an hour behaving like a 7-year old having a bad round of miniature golf, I needed an attitude adjustment. I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy, and remembered that if Chris Pratt can go from being a tubby sitcom fifth banana to a universe-saving mega-movie star, I can keep fighting in the world of fantasy baseball until October. Now that I’m looking at the comparison with a clear head, sure, it may make no sense whatsoever, but it inspired me to spend an hour Sunday night scouring my various league waiver wires in an attempt to improve my teams. By the way, if you missed out on Parks and Rec when it was on the broadcast television, it’s one of the rare network sitcoms of the last decade that’s worth going back and watching, IMHO (has it been so long since anyone used the term “IMHO” that it’s retro now?)
I know, I know…The title is an awfully long stretch. I just wanted to pay tribute to one of my favorite Tribe albums. I’m referring of course to the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest for all of you young hipsters who might not be familiar. “Midnight Marauders” was a pivotal release for the group as their lyrics shifted to more of a community concern and focused on stories about their everyday lives. Great stuff and you should definitely check it out. In fact, I challenge you to listen to the entire album and not have “Award Tour” and “Oh My God” stuck in your head for the next week. So, where am I going with this and what does Joe Mauer have to do with it? Could it be that Marauders was released in 1993 and that happens to be the last time Mauer was fantasy relevant? Just kidding. I’m here to sell you on the idea of streaming Joe Mauer for your hitting pleasure this week. Sounds crazy, right? Well, the Twins are scheduled to play seven games this week and all of them line up against right-handed starters. That’s important because Mauer has been a career .318 hitter against righties while slugging 101 of his 132 career home runs against RHP as well. That’s cool. Better yet is the fact that he owns a .378 wOBA, 136 wRC+ .882 OPS against right-handers. Sign me up! He’s also just 3% owned, so yeah…you could say he’s available everywhere.
Like always, I’ll be suggesting a few of my favorite plays with the assistance of the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron. All of the players mentioned below will be available in at least 50% of standard ESPN leagues, so stream away if you’re so inclined. Without further delay, I bring you the Week 8 streaming suggestions. Enjoy!