With the All Star Game, we were all witness to the unpredictability of baseball. It’s a long haul, and on draft day in March, very few, if any of us, would have picked Charlie Blackmon to make the All-Star Game roster for the National League. But that’s the case, and Blackmon, along with several other surprises, was most likely scooped up very late in drafts or off of the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues. For this week’s post we’ll look at four players, including Blackmon, whose average draft position (ADP) was 260 or higher but who currently find themselves in the Top 50 on both the ESPN and Razzball player raters. These players had phenomenal first halves but the question most fantasy owners want answered is whether or not they will keep it up. Are they “trash” or “treasure”? Will they carry teams to victory in September or are they about to implode? It’s hard to call any of these guys trash the way they have performed, but some may be more reliable than others going forward. Since all of these playerss have been good, I’ll use the term “TRASH” to designate the guys that are holds instead of buys. I’m not recommending they be dropped or sold for pennies on the dollar. Here are four names that came out of the woodwork in the player rater’s top 50 for 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t have enough spam, give me the Razzball email newsletter!

jeter1

Has the Derek Jeter Memorial Midsummer lovefest ended in Minnesota yet? I need an afterglow cigarette and one of those Jeter gift baskets after that All-Star reach around. Hey, as a Red Sox fan I can actually tip the turban to Jeter for a great career ( I just vomited in my mouth a little), but it’s not like Jeets is on his death bed muttering “Rosebud” or was the greatest player of his generation. Or was he? At least Adam Wainwright wasn’t grooving pitches to him for the last 20 years. With the fantasy DT’s settling in, I turned my trembling hands to Razzball’s Historical Fantasy Baseball Player Rater to check the numbers. I was surprised by what I found. No surprise that the top 3 fantasy players of all-time were Ruth, Aaron and Cobb, but it is interesting to note that Jeter ranks in the top 50 at No. 41. The Yankees captain ranks just ahead of Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Paul Molitor, George Brett and should be Hall of Famer Pete Rose. According to the Razzball Rater, Jeter is the No.6 shortstop all-time ahead of Robin Yount, Barry Larkin, Joe Cronin and Pee Wee Reese. Now, as Jeter rides off into the pinstriped sunset, he currently ranks as the 22nd best shortstop in our fake ballin’ world. Not great, but still better than more heavily owned players like J.J. Hardy, Xander Bogaerts and Brad Miller. In honor of the departing Jeets, his “dating diamond”, the Midsummer Classic and the fantasy baseball DT’s, let’s jam or cram the currently under-owned (60% or less) waiver wire All-Stars.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I Can’t Remember Anything
Can’t Tell If this Is True or Dream
Deep down Inside I Feel to Scream
this Terrible Silence Stops Me
Now That the War Is Through with Me
I’m Waking up I Can Not See
That There’s Not Much Left of Me
Nothing Is Real but Pain Now

That’s Metallica singing their ode to darkness, landmines and your 2014 fantasy roster. While I’m a big fan of the San Fran thrashers (and make a quick appearance in their Binge and Purge video collection), I’m not a fan of the creeping death that is the 2014 fantasy baseball season that currently has 151 players on the disgraceful list. As we hit the halfway point of the season the fantasy battlefield is littered with disposable heroes *insert 151 players here*. The latest casualties include Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), Edwin Encarnacion (quad), C.J. Wilson (ankle), Yadier Molina (thumb) and Brandon Phillips (thumb). Oh, is there anyone else for whom the bell tolls? Yup. Hanley Ramirez is getting injections in his shoulder, Mat Latos tweaked his back twerking, George Springer is dealing with a cranky knee, David Price has the sniffles and Jordan Zimmermann accidentally zipped up his zimmy. FML. I’m not one to quit mid-season, but I’m at my frayed ends of sanity here and it may be time to take up fantasy cricket. Before we hit the All-Star break, we have to drag the broken, beat and scarred off the stage and fire up the jammer crammer machine© as we go through the never looking for those players that just might inject some life into a lineup that is ready to fade to black. Take my hand, it’ s off to never never land – it’s time to jam it or cram it.

If you’re looking for more jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Going back to one of my old favorites, that I didn’t like for awhile, then did like, then loved, then hated, then should’ve loved but hated, then was nonplussed about, then Googled nonplussed to make sure I used it right, then took a nap, then clapped my hands, shot up out of bed and kissed my ‘Donna Martin graduates’ screenshot, scrubbed my undercarriage with my Q-Bert loofah and sat down to write about why you should sell Anibal Sanchez. Anibal’s K-rate is in the dumper. Big enough sample size to be concerned — that’s not what she said! Huh? His velocity is off. More concern. That dirty Sanchez! He hasn’t been great, but he’s been much worse when you throw out favorable luck. His xFIP is at 3.91, and he looks similar to the pitcher he was in 2010 when he had a 7 K/9 and a 3.55 ERA. Only he was in Florida then and against NL teams. I could see Anibal’s ERA continuing to rise and I don’t see much relief for his lack of Ks (currently a 6.9 K/9). 6.9 K/9? Who are you, Chase Anderson? Who the hell is Chase Anderson? I wouldn’t sell Anibal for tickets to see PM Dawn, but I would explore options. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Clayton Kershaw is no longer just dominating…

Last week, I looked at the luckiest pitchers to date. Clayton Kershaw was not only the most “skillsy,” but he was also slightly UN-lucky. Do you believe that?! His BABIP is actually the worst since 2008 while the HR/FB is the third worst of his career (still not bad) meaning his left-on-base rate is potentially the only luck he has going for him thus far, but then there are these splits:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I saw what Steve Pearce had done over the past two weeks, questions arose. The main question being, “Who the hell is Steve Pearce?” He’s the most added player on ESPN (+43%) and now has ten homers and 30 runs batted in with just 189 plate appearances. He’s even thrown in four steals! He does everything! This feels very hot schmotatoish if you ask me, but who cares when there are about a half dozen corner infielders sitting on your wire right now. Might as well ride the hot hand and if it doesn’t continue we can fall into the waiting arms of Casey McGehee or C.J. Cron. Aside from strikeouts, Pearce’s splits are nearly identical against left and right-handed pitching, but his best stuff comes at home against left-handers where he’s rocking a 205 wRC+. I’m not sure the .365 BABIP will hold up and his 17% HR/FB% is almost twice his career average, but I’d wager we didn’t pay more than a waiver wire claim for him so let’s ride the wave. Here are the other big adds and drops for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It was just a couple of months ago that I discussed Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto, and what his fantasy value would be the rest of the season. At the time, he was on the DL nursing a quad injury, and had yet to resume on-field activities.  I basically approached the situation this way: if you own him, trade him; if someone else in your league was growing tired of the situation, he may not be a bad guy to target in a buy-low scenario. Flash forward to Monday, and we are presented with a nearly identical question: what do we do with Joey Votto?  And putting him in cement shoes and dropping him in the Ohio River is not an acceptable answer.

Votto is likey headed to the DL for the second time this season — and for the same injury.  Folks, that is not a good sign.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy 4th of July weekend, my all-American Razzballers (and two foreign readers). It was in the greatest breakup letter ever penned that our Founding Fathers said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ‘Murica, f*** yeah!” John Hancock then signed with a big “Ef you very much”. Ben Franklin downed his thirteenth pint of ale (“one for each State”, he slurred) and Thomas Jefferson hurried home to “check on the help”. As we Razzballin’ scribes gather on this holiday weekend in the Razzball Lounge for some grillin’ and chillin’ and a little bottle rocket firin’ at the guys from YAHOO!, it’s important to remember that if it wasn’t for those wig wearing patriots we’d all be driving on the wrong side of the road and playing fantasy cricket! Don’t tread on me and don’t stare directly at Tehol’s red, white and blue thong. This week in the lounge we’re talking some deep league jams and crams. With the season half over, the player pool has gotten shallow in most RCL’s and that requires us to take some chances, play some matchups and maximize at-bats in order to move up in the standings. While our leaguemates are snoozing with a belly full of hot dogs and Miller High Life, let’s make like George Washington crossing the Delaware and kill the competition while they sleep. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

If you’re looking for some more deep league talk and jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At least one of you is reading this with a bandaged thumb from a fireworks mishap. I had a Cousin Pete (Italian side of the family) who lost the tip of his thumb on the 4th, but rather than stop the festivities, he taped the tip of a hot dog on his thumb to act as a tourniquet for the rest of the 4th, so we could all go about our fun-having business. I suggested my Cugino make a PSA about hot dog tourniquets, but I was turned away by NBC Cares. Let us bow our heads and pray that if anyone loses a finger, may there be a proper-sized hot dog nearby. Robinson Cano hasn’t been bad. Let’s put that misconception behind our ears like the baby ounce of Drakkar you do every morning. Not bad. Low on homers? Yes. Not bad though. The perception is he’s struggling. Having a real hard time of it in Safeco. He’s on pace for better numbers than last year, except for power. So, where did all the power go? (I sang that like Paula Cole.) He’s insanely off for homers per fly ball, and down in the fly ball department, in general. Those aren’t great things, but — what are you gonna do with that big fat but? — his April/May are dragging down the homers per fly ball. He had four homers in June and looked relatively the same as he’s always looked. There’s no way he makes it to 25 homers on the year (he’s at 6), but four homers per month is doable and about what you always got from Cano. As already pointed out, he’s still doing everything else that made him a top 12 player in March, so if someone is down on Cano, in the non-sexual way, I’d look to see if I could buy him a little cheaper than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?