I said in my last post I wanted to start off my articles with small discussions about this common game we play that bonds us. The people demanded, I deliver. Today, I want to talk about awareness. Being an aware fantasy manager. This means having some sense of what’s going on in your league, how the other managers are operating and how your general strategy compares.

Some of you, I’d bet, run your team like a horse wearing blinders during a race. While not always bad in horseracing, I would say this is decidedly a bad thing for a fantasy baseballer with title aspirations. This is because how you should optimally run your team is directly affected by how others are running theirs.

Right now, right this very instant, I encourage you to check out every roster in your league if you haven’t recently. At least the competitive ones. Indulge in a passing glance. I guarantee you’ll learn something that you will find interesting and in some way help you make better lineup decisions.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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That BTXJ is one smart fella. Last week, he predicted Khris Davis (+60%) would be this week’s biggest add and he would have had it locked down if not for Oscar Taveras (+80%) getting called up. Davis has been a hot topic in the comments section lately and for good reason. After a slow start in April, Davis hit .281/.330/.584 with six home runs and nine doubles in May. His splits are interesting. He’s posted a pedestrian 70 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, but he’s annihilating lefties with a 229 wRC+. Not that we all have the luxury of platooning hitters, but that’s a big split. The 26-year-old outfielder raised his walk rate from 1% to 7% in May, and nearly cut his 30% strikeout rate in half. He’s hit fifth in a strong Brewers lineup most nights and Steamer projects him for another 13 home runs and 40 runs batted in by the season’s end. That RBI total might actually be on the conservative side if he has indeed made adjustments at the plate. Here are two more buy/sell picks from this week’s most added and dropped players…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hate on me all you want, but I’ve been a full-fledged, die-hard New York Yankees fan since birth. [Jay’s Note: Could be worse… you could have been a Red Sox fan…] I may have been born and raised in the land of palm trees, bikinis and coked-out debutantes (Los Angeles), but my father, a Brooklynite, instilled in me his love for the men in pinstripes.

Being a Yankees fan has many ups, but when it has its downs, it makes you wanna bury your head in the sand.  Most of these “downs” are related to the front office spending a gazillion bricks of gold bullion on aging vets (that is the form of currency Hiroki Kuroda used during his formidable years in the 1920s).  No matter how many supplements and PEDs and anti-aging hormones these players use, they’ll eventually wither away and get hurt in the process. If only the Yankees had a pill that gave their players Benjamin Button disease.  I can picture CC Sabathia as a fat three-year-old baby, probably licking the fluid coming out of his knees.  How adorable, he got it all over his face!  How many jars of Gerber’s mashed zucchini can you buy for $142 million?

Mark Teixeira had to leave Saturday’s game with renewed wrist “inflammation”.  This is not something to be taken lightly.  He had offseason surgery on the same wrist and had to miss three games earlier this week before returning Friday.  The fact that could only make it through one-and-a-half games before getting hurt again says this problem is not going away.  Wrist injuries can completely sap your power (see, Encarnacion, Edwin in April).  He’s scheduled to see a specialist on Tuesday to determine the severity of the injury. Don’t hold your breath.

After a promising start to the season in which he compiled a 2-2 record with a 1.83 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, Michael Pineda has been nothing but a pain in the backside for fantasy owners — literally.  He’s been dealing with back issues, similar to the one Clayton Kershaw had in spring training, and he had been on track to return within the next few weeks.  But that is no more.  After a setback in his rehab this weekend, Pineda will be shutdown indefinitely.  It’s time for fantasy owners to cut bait, as it’s possible we won’t see him in the Bronx till August.

There may be some good news on the injury front in New York, however.  Carlos Beltran‘s attempt to avoid surgery to his elbow seems to be going well.  He’s been slowly swinging a bat — progressing from dry swings, to swinging from both sides of the plate, and he took batting practice on the field before Friday’s game.  According to Beltran himself, he walked away from that session happier than a big city business man taking his lunch break at a Korean massage parlor.  Evidently that was enough proof of good health for the Yankees to send him out on an extended spring training stint in Tampa.  He is shooting for a June 10 return when the Yanks visit Seattle to take on the Mariners.

Now on to the rest of the league…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice in Wonderland, “The rule is: jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.”  Carroll also was blasted out of his mad hatter on opium and really liked little kids (in a weird Michael Jackson-Jesus juice kind of way). However, your humble-but-nonetheless-poppy-fueled Guru says jam yesterday, cram tomorrow and jam it twice today. Now pass the hookah and pardon me while I pull on your bloomers about something here, Alice (and it completely applies to the jamming and the cramming we’re about to do): This Super Two nonsense is damn annoying. Not to just us fantasy ballers, but to anyone that’s a fan of young talent wasting away in the likes of Iowa and Indianapolis. Bring up Javier Baez and Gregory Polanco now! Don’t give me the ol’, “He needs more seasoning” B.S.. How much seasoning does Polanco need? He’s hitting .350, with six homers, 45 RBI and 11 steals in 50 games. I think this meat is tender enough, get him on the grill now. Of course teams put money above winning (and our fake teams), that’s why four watered down Sam Adams’ cost me a kidney at Fenway last week. What exactly is Super Two? As simple as I can put it is: once a player gets promoted, they start to accrue MLB service time. A player needs three years of MLB service time to qualify for salary arbitration. However, the top 22% of players promoted first in the season that have more than two years of service time, but less than three years, qualify for salary arbitration under the “Super Two” status. Get all that? Becoming arbitration eligible obviously means a significant bump in the bucks. So, it’s a big money grab by a bunch of Spaulding Smails that fart in the general direction of fans and our fantasy teams. And, while the Pirates playoff chances slip away, you pay $75 to park at PNC, and my Polanco has to have dinner at the Indy Applebee’s. Now that we’ve hit June, this Super Two stuff is about to end and there will be a bunch of prospects making their way to the party. At least the Twins called up Oswaldo Arcia and the St. Louis Cardinals came to their senses by bringing up  Oscar Tavares on Saturday. If the waiver wire in your league is full of Super Two’s, grab them now and screw the Queen of Hearts. With my Sunday rant out of the way, let’s head down this rabbit hole – it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Speaking generally, more than just to help you maximize your lineup’s potential, my plan for this column is also to use it to start discussions over whatever enters my mind about fantasy baseball. Things like the pros and cons of Yahoo vs Espn vs other fantasy service providers, developing a model to predict which relievers will pitch on a given day, or which players will benefit from upcoming interleague play like Corey Dickerson is right now. I got things on my mind is all I’m saying, but for now those will stay there since I’ve got an hour before a friends grad party and this has to be submitted. Down to business!

Last Time & Season Results

Last Article: 21 AB, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .333 AVG

Overall (per game): 0.3 R, 0.0 HR, 0.2 RBI, 0.0 SB, .270 AVG

Although my recs are still light on the counting stats, at least they picked up  plenty of hits, led by Oswaldo Arcia‘s 3-for-5 night. I can’t control whether people are on base, at least not yet! Hopefully a few of you gave Arcia the ol’ scoop in your leagues; he looks like he’ll be productive fruit going forward. Overall on the season my guys are batting a smooth .270, higher than most of your regular’s averages I’d presume.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve said before Homer Bailey is someone you should acquire in a trade. SAME! I’ve said Homer and homers are synonymous. SAME! Those homers should come down, literally. SAME! I…went…scuba…diving…while…eating…Captain…Crunch…SAME! His K-rate is down from last year and his walks are up…NOT SAME! I’ve also said his BABIP is absurdly high, which means he’s getting unlucky. SAME! I’ve said before the difference between his xFIP and his ERA are huge, but after his last start his ERA is starting to come down. Um, SAME but different? He’s not the same pitcher as he was last year. SAME NOT SAME! His Ks are a bit off. NOT SAME! It’s more likely he has a low-3 ERA the rest of the way than the plus-5 ERA he has right now. Um…Well…Dah, the Gobstopper! I wouldn’t trade anyone too huge to acquire Bailey, but the beauty of this is you don’t have to. He’s got a 5+ ERA, so trade for him your Never Nude jorts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?


“I’d be a bloody fool if he didn’t frighten me. He’s freakish big and freakish strong. And quicker than you’d expect for a man of that size.”

Edwin Encarnacion is known for his size, bat speed, and his Herculean power. Sir Edwin is tall (he is 6’2″, so I guess not that tall). He possesses massive shoulders and arms thick as the trunk of small trees. Edwin weighs over twenty stone (230 lbs), practically all of it muscle, making him near in-humanly strong. Encarnacion’s strength allows him to wield a bat so humongous, it would make Greg Oden’s wang look like a thumb tack, giving him enormous reach, making him all the more lethal with his eagle-eye vision. Such is the power of Sir Edwin’s strength, that he has been known to literally obliterate baseballs upon contact with just a single blow.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah yes, David Price.  I like to think of Price as a great pitcher who flies under the radar.  He’s like the Spinal Tap of baseball.  Feel free to call me out on this, I did five minutes of research/thinking in the shower for that simile.  Sure, we all know his name, but how often does he come up when you compare him to his peers: Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, and Stephen Strasburg?  Price is looking to dominate in what looks like his last year with the Rays.  If he plays well, I fully expect the Yankees to offer him a $400 million, 10-year contract.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the second edition of the Lineup Maximizer! If you’re here as a result of my Reddit AMA, glad to know that that day wasn’t all for naught. Kidding! My motivations for dispensing fantasy advice are purely altruistic.

Before we get under with this week’s streaming picks, let’s recap how we did last week in honor of commenter Simply Fred. Record-keeping and accountability are taken seriously around these parts.

Last Week & Season Results

16 AB, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .188 AVG.

My first edition’s picks did perform as well as hoped, but if you agree with the process, results should follow over a larger sample. The question should be raised though, what should we expect from these players? Sure, most of them have favorable matchups, that’s why I highlight them in the article. But they are still available in the vast majority of leagues for a reason, that reason being they aren’t good enough to be owned in the vast majority of leagues.

I could try to compute a baseline scientifically, something like the rate at which replacement level hitters score runs, homers, etc. on a per game basis, but let’s instead just do something that feels nice. A .250 average, that feels nice. If the hitters I suggest here end up getting one hit for every four at-bats, I think everyone would agree it was worth our time to do this. Also arbitrary, I’ll aim for .5 runs per game, .5 RBI, .2 HR, and .2 SB. If one of every five players hits a home run (one per article), I think we all go home happy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It was easy to accept Jay(Wrong)’s offer to add an additional column when I heard his idea. The concept was simple: take a look through the most added and dropped players and decide which ones are actually deserving of their big gains or declines in ownership percentage. Every fantasy baseball platform has some version of the ‘Most Added/Dropped’ sheet, but for the purposes of this column, I’ll use ESPN’s data. I don’t consider ownership percentages to be research. In fact, if you you are using ownership percentages as your only barometer for player evaluations, then you probably found Razzball by mistake. Welcome. We’re here to help.

What is interesting about these numbers is that they offer a window into the minds of all the other teams out there patrolling the waiver wire. We see a player on our roster or in free agency with the double digit red/green numbers next to his name and we tend to think, “What am I missing?” There are two feelings I hate in fantasy baseball- the feeling that I just dropped somebody I shouldn’t have, and the feeling I just picked up a guy who’s about to go as cold as ice. God forbid we tick both boxes in the same move (I’ve done this).

Each week, we’ll look at one of the biggest adds or drops, then I’ll suggest one player from the most added column that I feel is actually trash, and one player from the most dropped list that is actually a treasure.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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