With a quarter season of jamming and cramming behind us, it may be time to start taking some serious inventory. No, not a fearless moral inventory, that’s 12-step talk and I ain’t no quitter – just ask my liver. I’m talking about taking an honest look at where your team is good and where it absolutely sucks donkey dongs*. We have enough data behind us now that we know Matt Kemp is actually Milton Bradley in disguise, Billy Butler needs a mansiere (It’s called The Bro!), Jedd Gyorko is more myth than man (and mercifully on the DL), Troy Tulowitzki is really good at baseball, and Nelson Cruz can hit a ball a long way with or without his juice. Now I’m not saying to go and blow up your team and drop Dustin Pedroia  because he has just two more homers than the late Johnny Pesky this year. What your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is pulling on your coat about here is that it’s time to drop the dead weight wasting away on your bench for some fresh meat that could save your fantasy season. I’ve played this fake game long enough to know that we have about two weeks to go until disgruntled owners completely abandon their teams for fantasy Cricket which cuts down on our trade options, but increases our chances of moving up the leader board. It was around this time last year that I bailed on Josh Rutledge and Jason Heyward for Jean Segura and Dominic Brown. I eventually traded them off for Ian Desmond and Hunter Pence. That worked, and all the cash and glory (and glory holes) were mine. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can discover some riches for our bankrupt roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

*Donkey dongs is a technical sabermetric term taught at Mathew Berry’s Fantasy Baseball College for the Criminally Insane.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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On Tuesday, the Gods befriended my plans, making the only effect of scattered thunderstorms in the New York area a simple hour rain delay in the Yanks-A’s game. After that, it was a beautiful night for baseball. What began as an unexciting, low-scoring affair, ended in a thrilling come-from-behind, extra-inning A’s victory. Before the game, I was most looking forward to groovin’ to Josh Reddick’s walkup song “Careless Whisper”, and embarrassingly, it wasn’t until I was sitting in my seat and saw the lineups posted on the scoreboard that I remembered he was on the DL. No slow-dancing  for me tonight.

I highly encourage everyone to watch the full MLB video I linked to above about, what was at that time, Reddick’s new walk-up jam. For those of you who need the quick fix, here’s the payoff of the video.

From the professionalism of his attire, you get the sense he’s really letting loose in the moment. And then as soon as the music stops, his demeanor flashes instantly back to his normal stodgy self. This is purely speculation on my part, a modern version of the people-watch-and-invent-stories-of-their-lives game that can make any trip to a metropolitan area more interesting.

Anyhoo! Let’s get down to business with regards to Monday’s games…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Chris Sale is a monster. Before the season, Jay(Wrong) gathered and tallied the 2014 Official Razzball Picks. And I have to state, at this point, my choices are making me look stupid so far: ROY = Nick Castellanos; Sleeper = Justin Ruggiano; Come Back = Mitch Moreland (although he does still have an elite fly ball and home run average distance); Bust = Jose Bautista, not; MVPitcher = Danny Salazar (ugh).

One pick makes me still feel omniscient: Infatuation = Chris Sale.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Years ago, the movie industry left Mickey Rourke for dead. He couldn’t get a job with anyone. His face looked like pot-holed road that a Doberman took a dump on. His attitude was more disagreeable than Jack’s white supremacist gang from Breaking Bad. The rumors were he gave up acting prior to his last few movies and what you saw in those last few was simply a cardboard cut-out of Rourke that he bought in Chinatown in the 80’s. When Darren Aronofsky found Rourke for The Wrestler, Rourke was ice fishing in a tenement in West Virginia. The ice was methamphetamine and he’d toss a fishing line out a 4-story window and try to fish it out of a drug dealer’s hidden stash. Then The Wrestler happened and he acted well enough to distract from his face. Suddenly, the contracts started streaming in and Rourke was hot again. Then a funny thing happened. He brushed off the cardboard cut-out for his next few movies and started calling Marisa Tomei at four in the morning to see if she wanted to go get waffles and blow him. In the life cycle of Mickey Rourke, Nelson Cruz is now receiving acclaim for his performance in The Wrestler. At 33 years old, it is possible Cruz could have a career year, but he is 12 homers from his career high. What does he get the rest of the year? 15 homers? Maybe. That means you already got the bulk of his stats and it’s barely June. He’s also a .270 hitter that is currently hitting .313, so what does he do the rest of the year? 15 homers and a .260 average? That’s Khris Davis. If you have someone in your league with visions of Diner and Rumble Fish, I’d absolutely explore offers selling Nelson Cruz. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

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…

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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?
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