As in our inaugural post last week (in which we managed to break both Jason Vargas and Jim Johnson! Who will it be this week?), Dr. Easy and I will be taking another look at a few more players who may be doing better or worse than you thought they were. To do this, once again we went trawling through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (all hail Rudy, Rudy for king — hell, let’s just elect him Fantasy Baseball Overlord), looking for surprising performances to help you with trade targets, waiver wire pickups and DFS plays.
Precipiently* (*not a word), in Monday’s daily goodness, Grey referred to the crap-ton** (**not a Système International unit, for the scientists playing along at home) of home runs that are being launched at the moment. “I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind,” he hath quoth. Dr. Easy and I had just started to think about a similar thing: in this brand-new reality, in each category considered by the Player Rater, what constitutes “falling behind”? Take a guess: what would constitute a good HR or SB season? How many home runs are enough home runs? How many steals does a player have to have — or be on pace for — to be giving you value in a particular category? So this week, we’re taking a look at that too…
I need to come clean about something. It’s embarrassing, and I hope once I tell you you don’t judge me. This is a bit of a trust fall for me. Okay, the truth is, whenever a player breaks out, I start singing Breakout by Swing Out Sister. I put down the convertible top on my canary yellow Sebring, flipping down my sunglasses, adjusting my spandex shorts, because they ride up all the time, and Tommy Pham, fist pump, BREAKOUT!
In Triple-A, Pham had 10 homers and 20 steals in 2014, but, like some many young hitters with the Cardinals (really, only hitters; pitchers they have no problem promoting and playing), they’ll play someone like The Federalist and never give a prospect hitter an opportunity. Now that Pham’s about to turn 30 (in nine months), the Cards have finally given him playing time. There’s nothing here long-term, but he does have power, speed and, finally, the playing time, so, Swing Out Sister and BREAKOUT! And, y’all who think I don’t keep it real, Tupac would date Swing Out Sister, then send her a letter from prison, breaking it off, only to realize halfway through the letter, he shouldn’t break it off, he should BREAKOUT!
Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
“Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton are pizza delivery men. And–Yes, two of them delivering one pizza. Okay, and you answer the door naked.” Jim Bowden squints, considering it. “Can I be riding a Segway?” “Sure, sure.” “And you’re saying it’s not erotic?” “Not traditionally.” That was a pitch for a Showtime After Dark movie called The Bowden Fluffers. Before they’re through, they will also pitch it to Skinemax, Spike and NatGeo TV. Sadly, no one will bite on the Fluffers, pardon the phrasing. They will say they want to work with Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton again in the future, and rightfully so. Brucely, I was shocked they were both under 50% owned in ESPN leagues. I’d usually go on to say something snide here about ESPN leagues, but I get the feeling that we’re thisclose to every fantasy site closing its doors and opening its own video chatroom. Who would’ve guessed twenty years in the future all journalism professors would be Max Headroom? Any hoo! I’m off-off topic. Taylor has 11 HRs and nine SBs and hitting around .275, and Broxton has 13 HRs and 14 SBs and hitting around .250. If these numbers don’t immediately grab you like an angry sock puppet that needs its coffee, then you don’t know fantasy value. On our Player Rater, Broxton is the 24th best outfielder and Taylor the 46th best, i.e., they should be owned in 100% of leagues. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
I had this lede in my back pocket. In the fantasy baseball writing world, it’s called ‘the early lede.’ It’s a form of sandbagging. You know everyone wanted Mike Montgomery in the preseason, but his rotation spot wasn’t confirmed. So, in March, you write a Mike Montgomery Buy lede like you’re filling in a Mad Libs. You say how he’s been great/solid/surprisingly awful but will come around. You can’t believe the Cubs took this long/moved this fast with him. His rotation spot was all but guaranteed once (pitcher’s name) got injured. That (same pitcher’s name) wasn’t good anyway and now Montgomery is here to stay for the season/the month/this next start. So far this year, he has a 61% ground ball rate, which would be the 3rd best in the majors if he qualified, and has a 8.6% swinging strike rate, which would be around the top 40. Those two numbers give the promise that his strikeout and walk rate aren’t giving yet. His 2.26 ERA is a bit of a fairy tale in unicorn clothes, but there’s still enough to be encouraged by. You better get him/have to get him/maybe should get him! This could be the pickup of the year/maybe a streamer and you better act fast/moderately quick/sometime while you’re still drawing breath. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
I didn’t understand the title at first when Rudy gave it to me. Our conversation went like this, “I don’t get it.” Him, “What do truckers need?” Me, “Caffeine and horns?” Him, “Hats with back-of-the-head ventilation.” After a beat, him again, “Speed! They need speed!” Personally, I think all of these trucker requirements are right. The conversation continued with me asking, “And EYJ is a play on KY Jelly?” Him, “It’s a Se7en reference. Please leave me alone.” The 30 for 30 we’re all waiting for: Michael Madsen narrates, “Back in the 1980’s, Keith Hernandez, Willie Stargell and Dave Parker used to sniff more devil’s dandruff than Tony Montana at the height of his infamy, and these weren’t even the fast guys. At some point in the 1990’s, cocaine looked less cool when players started crashing and burning.” Cut to: a reenactment of Dwight Gooden trying to sell something to a drug dealer. Actor playing Doc Gooden, “This is the original Doc Gooden rookie card! It’s my high school driver’s license!” Now, speed’s crashed like Alex P. Keaton after a brutal exam. Enter, Mallex Smith, Cameron Maybin and Eric Young Jr. Maybin is the most polished; let’s call him Maybinski. He can provide top 30 OF-type numbers, but will likely get injured. EYJ is the schmotato-y one, and will likely lose his job within a month. Finally, Mallex is the most upsidey and interesting one to me. He could have a Billy Hamilton-type six weeks and never look back, except when looking back at greenies, Ron LeFlore and the go-go 80’s that never sucked, but they sure did blow. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
The Jewish Sphinx has a riddle that goes like this, “What does the old man scream while at the urinal?” The answer, of course, is, “Peacock!” The Jewish Sphinx is silly, but hella good with money! “Why are you buying all those irrigation tools at Home Depot when you’ll eventually come across a mirage?” Great point, Jewish Sphinx! Or better known as Joshua Sphinxberg. Any hoo! This brings us (not really) to our featured Buy this week, a guy that needs no introduction, which is why I talked about Joshua Sphinxberg for 120 words — Brad Peacock! I don’t love featuring starters as the lede Buy because they have one bad start and people are like, “Grey’s dumb, what else is new?” Um, MasterChef, that’s also new. Getting the obvious out of the way, I don’t know why Peacock’s parents didn’t name him Bird instead. Now, his peripherals. Zoinks, they are gorge: 13.5 K/9, 2.87 xFIP, 16% line drive rate, which would be the seventh lowest in the majors, and 27% soft contact, which would be the 2nd highest in the majors, just after Dallas Keuchel. People are teeing off on Peacock like they just pressed their nose to the handle of a bat and spun in circles for five minutes. Of course, Peacock’s one downside is his balls. He is an old man! No, he throws too many of them. Peacock’s command could use one of those urinal flies on the catcher’s mitt. Either way, I’d absolutely grab him in all leagues; he looks like he could be breaking out. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
This isn’t about what Amed Rosario can do when he’s promoted. I mean, that will be in here, but we’re getting to the point in the season where Super Twos are super-done with the minors. So, what the flying Mr. Met middle finger is a Super Two? I love baseball, but we need to move past the language that sounds like it needs to be explained by an attorney. I don’t know football, but do they have situations where players can’t play until a certain date due to salary arbitration and is that date different for every player? Of course not, football fans can barely figure out offsides — Grey’s dragging people! Novel concept: baseball says all rookies can come up on June 1st and that’s it! Nothing else! Lose Super Two! Super Two sounds like a toddler that is big for his or her size or a large turd, which may be one in the same depending on your POV. As for Amed Rosario, Prospector Ralph just gave you his Amed Rosario fantasy. To pull some quotes from there, “Crabs, haters, and countrymen…on a limb here…is the peculiar case of Amed Rosario.” What is he smoking? Hmm, maybe it was my pulling of quotes. In summation, he’s hitting .350 with five homers and 11 steals through 51 games in Triple-A, and he’s more than ready to play every day for the Mets, so promote him and stop being a super pooper too! Ouch. I need a nap after that one. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
For this Buy on Adam Frazier, we are hoping C**nt Hurdle doesn’t mysteriously bench Frazier for, say, Jose Osuna, Alen Hanson or John Jaso. You’re thinking to yourself, “No way Hurds benches a guy that’s batting near-.360. No way Hurds does this to a guy that regularly hit for a .300+ average in the minors. No way Hurds does this with a guy that had a .400+ OBP in the minors and with an OBP near-.450 in the majors.” Yeah, well, Hurds and way, Little Miss Muffet. I have no proof of this, but I think C**nt Hurdle came up with the idea for gas station TV. Not that there’s anything dumb about TV above the pumps while you get gas, but it’s so stupid that every 15 seconds it says, “Welcome to Gas Station TV!” Imagine this anywhere else, “Hello, and welcome to living room TV!” “Welcome back to guest bedroom TV, after just telling you that you were watching guest bedroom TV literally 15 seconds ago!” “We now interrupt the conclusion for this week’s Better Call Saul finale to tell you exactly where you are.” That Hurdle came up with announcing Gas Station TV every 15 seconds tells you how smart this guy is. Frazier does appear to be as good as most leadoff guys around the league for OBP and speed. Think a poor man’s Ender. I will call him, Watching The Ending Of A Show On Gas Station TV. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
Justin Smoak isn’t simply the hottest hitter in all of baseball. No! There’s more! He’s hitting near-.400 in the last week with four homers. But wait, there’s more! Justin Smoak is the world’s first liquid smoke for a fantasy team. Put Justin Smoak on your fantasy team and it instantly adds an unmistakable Smoak flavor. Sick of bland boeuf Welington, try Justin Smoak! Once you taste Justin Smoak, you’re gonna be like, “Now I know why those crazy Canadians measure everything in meat’ers!” This Eve is not covering her naughty bits with a fig leaf, she’s wearing Smoak’d beef! Justin Smoak adds such flavor to a fatty piece of old beef it now becomes lean and fresh, leaving our Spanish customers saying, “Si, newy!” I don’t want to Bragg about our Liquid Aminos, but Justin Smoak can be added to real-live cows and they take on the unmistakeable smell of an ashtray! All of this for the low, low price of a waiver wire pickup! Justin Smoak is too good not to try! (Awaiting FDA approval.) Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
The title reminds me of an old joke — stop me if you’ve heard it — a guy with a wooden eye walks into a bar and pours out his heart to the bartender, “My wife left me, she said I had a bad temper, and, with this disability — this wooden eye, I will never find another girl.” The bartender puts down the glass he’s shining because that’s what bartenders do to talk and says, “I’m not going to lie to you, your wooden eye could be a problem. You need to find a girl with problems of her own. How about you try that girl by herself on the dance floor? The one with the big ears.” So the guy with the wooden eye downs his shot of whiskey, wipes his mouth with his sleeve and approaches the girl, “Do you wanna dance?” She swoons, “Would I?” “F*ck you, Dumbo!” So, Alex Wood is in Coors tomorrow. Um, yeah, no thank you, but this is about the bigger picture. Well, not too big of a picture, because the Dodgers have about sixteen starters on the DL, so at some point Wood might not be in the rotation. He is now, though, and he’s lovely. He has a 11.5 K/9. That would be the fifth best starter K-rate and better than his rotation mate, Kershaw. Wood has a 2.49 xFIP, which would be third in the majors for starters, behind only Chris Sale and Pineda. To touch on stats that actually matter, his ERA is 2.73, and he’s been unlucky! You’d be hard-pressed to find one area where Wood is not excelling. Am I grabbing him in all leagues? Of course! Wait, are you asking, ‘would I?’ F*ck you, Dumbo! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball: