First, a story.  There was a young boy named Donkey Dong Jr. who worked at the barrel station of Niagara Falls.  He would rent barrels to tourists who wanted to go over the waterfalls in a barrel that was deemed to flimsy to hold wine in Napa Valley.  Then, one day, Robert Juiced Manfred showed up at his barrel station with a truck filled with baseballs that he was bringing back over the border from Guatemala.  See, he drove north from Guatemala, and Waze had him detour through Canada and back into the U.S.–Nevertheless!  R.J. Manfred stopped for some pop, and Donkey Dong Jr. said, “You’ve come to the right place,” and grabbed a barrel with his hands, swung it as hard as he could and hit every baseball in that truck 5,000 feet right back to Guatemala.  For pop, Donkey Dong Jr. said, “I love to barrel up.”  Fin.  So, Joey Gallo was the lead buy in an April Buy column.  Don’t like to double up on guys in a year, but here we are because you people are slow as molasses dripping down Robert De Niro’s face in Awakenings.  Gallo has 50-homer power, and is currently in some kind of zone not seen since McGwire stopped sticking needles into pre-peach-tinted Sammy Sosa.  How is he not owned in 50% of leagues?  Don’t answer, grab him!   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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First things first: go grab Cameron Maybin; he’s just been activated from the DL and is only 41% owned in RCLs at time of writing. More on him later.

Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s some proper preambling. Unbelievably, we are somehow in mid-August. The evenings are dropping in earlier. Those cruel “back to school” ads are in full swing. And we’re staring the 11 August trade deadline in the face — for the Razzball Commenter Leagues (RCLs), anyway. If you haven’t yet dropped dead of attrition, it’s time to go for it; time to take a long, hard look at categories where you still might catch up with competitors in your leagues. This week, Dr. Easy — my partner in fantasy baseball and other crimes — and I thought we’d comb through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR) with a particular focus on the categories of runs and RBIs. I.e. (ooh! She’s trotting out the Latin!), some surprisingly high scorers in these categories, whom you might target in trades (or off the waiver wire).

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s a picture of Reds’ outfielder, Jesse Winker:


The first thing people notice about him is he looks drunk and half-Asian.  He was throwing back soju and partying in an 8×10 room with three other people singing karaoke?  No, siree!  Or, no Siri, if a female computer is reading.  Next, you might wonder why the big grin.  He doesn’t have a body, ears, hair, arms, anything but a head really, so how can he keep such an upbeat attitude?  Well, let me put it to you this way, maybe it’s a body, ears, hair, etc. that bums people out.  You never thought of that, did you?  Okay, I’m being silly, but it’s Friday.  By the way, the other day, I realized that the days of the week MTWTFSS have WTF in the middle of them.  Mind –>blown.  So, with Schebler DL’d for an indefinite period of time, Winker has taken over right and started batting 2nd.  His power was goofy low in the minors this year (2 HRs in 85 games), but he doesn’t strike out, does walk and could hit .290.  I know, a lot of good that does with diddly poo on power, but he has homered twice this week, and did have more power before this year in the minors.  I’d grab him in all leagues to see if he found his stroke, even if we’re not sure what exactly he’d be stroking with.  Is that why he’s smiling?  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Today Dr. Easy and I are taking a deep dive into the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater, the good ol’ STD PR. We’re focusing on the dollar-per-game ($/G) category, looking for surprisingly good (or bad!) hitters who might (or not!) offer you value in the short term on days when they’re in the starting lineup. Many of these players are likely to be available off the waiver wire in your roto leagues, or you could look to play them in DFS line-ups. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but Imma say it anyway: obviously, don’t just take these rankings at face value for batty calls and DFS starts; check out match-ups and recent performance.

First, a word on how this works. The $ category is absolutely key as an overall ranking of players, but it tends to overlook players who haven’t played all that much. This could be due to injury or platoon or call-up situations. For example, on the STD PR, Mr. Mike Trout is 43rd out of all hitters when sorted by $, because he has only 275 plate appearances; but when sorted by $/G, he is 1st. He offers the most value per game, overall. Similar deal with Freddie Freeman: 73rd of hitters when ranked by $ (because of his 269 plate appearances this season), but 8th when ranked by $/G. We set the STD PR to show us hitters who have a minimum of 50 plate appearances, then sorted by $/G. Trout and Freeman’s rankings probably won’t raise any eyebrows, so let’s see if we can find some who will titillate your “I didn’t know that!” muscle along with your facial hair (includes beards, peach fuzz and Grey mustache wannabes).

Next, before we proceed, just a quick note: despite the name, “$/G” is not dollars divided by number of games. See the FAQs on the Player Rater page for a full explanation. And lastly, all stats lobbed at you are up to date as of Wednesday. So check for changes early and often.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Will Grey poop on?  Not this DeJong!  But, c’mon, we just have to look at Paul DeJong for one brief moment:

Dude looks like he owns a pair of Opti-Grab glasses.  Some things that sound like they’d be said to the guy in that picture:  “Um, Paul, why are you walking a lizard on a leash?”  “Paul, you shouldn’t sit three inches from the TV.”  “So, you say you’ve been frozen in that gaze for six months?  Hmm, have you tried a cup of coffee?”  “Paul, are you wearing those glasses with open eyes and are really sleeping?”  “Paul, I’m happy you got laid, but that was two months ago, can you lose the shit-eating grin?”  Seriously, I can go on all day.  “Paul, buddy, you’ve been out of the water for twenty minutes and the shark is still biting your arm.”  Okay, done now.  This week Paul DeJong had four homers and has 14 homers in 50 games.  That’s almost as goofy as his grin.  Buy him right now!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to another week of “Set Your PVR (Perception Versus Reality),” wherein Dr. Easy and I scour the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater for the arcane, the mundane and the insane when it comes to player rankings for fantasy baseball: who’s rated higher than you’d think they would be? Who are we surprised to see among the bottom feeders? Who’s just been quietly getting it done without fantasy baseballers (Grey’s mom’s term!) really noticing or scooping them up, meaning they juuuust might be sitting out there on the waiver wire, yearning for an owner like a puppy in the window of a pet shop?

Today we’ll focus on some surprises in the category of starting pitcher, but before we get into that, we thought we’d mention a regime change at the top (of the Player Rater. Not in Razzball. No coup yet that we know of). Over the last four weeks since we started this column, Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge have been battling it out for position 1 and 2 (overall): 6 July—Goldschmidt 1st; 13 July—Judge 1st; 20 July—Goldschmidt 1st. Max Scherzer has consistently held 3rd place throughout. But as we’re writing this on July 26, Charlie Blackmon has suddenly shot up from his habitual 5th or 6th place and is perched on top, tied with Jose Altuve. Judge is 3rd, Goldschmidt 4th. Scherzer’s slipped to 9th overall. Blackmon was rated 19th pre-season; his numbers were always good, but people may have anticipated a trade mid-season (which will have hurt his numbers) that hasn’t happened because the Rockies aren’t sellers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like a kindergartner who just discovered boogers, I was digging into exit velocity and launch angle, because, ya know, these are important things now.  Is it me or does it feel like sabermetricians think they’ve reinvented the wheel every six months only to abandon all the new stuff in six months for something else?  “This is Marvin!  Marvin Berry, your cousin!  Yo, put down your ERA+ and VORP, I need you to hear about exit velocity!”  So, Nick Castellanos is regularly talked about when exit velocity and launch angles are brought up.  His average exit velocity is 90 MPH.  The top is Aaron Judge at 95 MPH, and Castellanos looks to be about 40th on the list (it wasn’t numbered, and I’m too lazy to count).  The top 40 is filled with hitters who are excelling at ghosting faster than others, but is also littered with disappointing names:  Machado, Gallo, Sandoval and Miggy, to name a few, and there is at least half you don’t want.  I could make a case that Adam Lind is as enticing as Castellanos using just exit velocity, which I guess is my point.  It’s a fun new metric (not that new, not that fun), but, in my estimation, it’s like a piece of evidence found at a crime.  It’s got the victim and suspect’s DNA on it, but if it doesn’t fit you can choose to ignore it.  Granted, that doesn’t rhyme quite as well.  Castellanos is 2nd in the majors for Hard Contact%.  Right in front of Miggy.  Again, you can read into that anything you want.  I still believe the Castellanos breakout is coming one of these years (he’s still only 25), but if you watch him hit, he has a line drive stroke, not a home run one.  The launch angle data is even less compelling for Castellanos because he drives balls the opposite way.  You can mollywhop, but if you’re going the other way, it’s not going to do as much damage unless you are Giancarlo or Judge, i.e, a giant living amongst Lilliputians.  The Greek God of Exit Velocity pulls line drives and hits fly balls the other way.  It might be the leg kick, it might be his natural swing tendencies, but it’s obvious if you look at his spray charts.  With all that said (here’s where Grey throws everything out), there’s no one hotter right now and it’s silly he’s only owned in 40% of leagues.  Okay, enough of Grey’s impersonation of Fangraphs… Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week, Dr. Easy and I (he’s the Rudy, with the stats and the puns; I’m the Grey, with the high-pitched giggle and the puns) continue our Adventures with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), looking for players who are rated higher than you may think they are — or lower than you think they would be — in an attempt to help you with waiver wire pick-ups, trade targets and DFS plays. We’ll look at a couple of position players but focus mostly on non-closing, non-handcuff relief pitchers, to try to get an idea of where their value lies for a roto team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Since there were no games this week and players haven’t been able to get hot or cold or humid, this Buy/Sell is going to be slightly different.  This Buy/Sell includes some players that are owned in more than 50% of leagues.  Okay, that’s not different for the Sells, but it does change the Buys.   “Hello?  No, B-U-Y-S.  Thanks, you too!”  That was GLAAD calling me about potential insensitivity.  I have not triggered anyone in almost three days, unless you count that fisherman I saw with a pipe that I called “Hipster Popeye.”  As I mentioned in my top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, my biggest Buy of the 2nd half is Manny Machado.  He’s about to come on in the 2nd half like he’s Mickey Maris in 1927 with Barry Bonds’s personal trainer.  For the 2nd half, I gave Machado the projections of 48/18/49/.288/3.  This year he’s been gun shy.  He’s swung at 4% less pitches inside the strike zone.  Either guessing wrong, or just being flat out beat by fastballs.  Ground balls have gone through the roof (especially if ants are reading) and fly balls have fallen, and I don’t mean a defective zipper.  Bad swings, and weak contact?  I’m gonna call them flailing balls, lightly chuckle to myself and sip my Tom Collins.  That’s all bad news, said Mr. Exposition.  The good news is, it’s a small sample size — that’s what she said snidely! — and it’s been mostly propped by a terrifically terrible — terribically? — May.  His May was so bad it will hold down his season-long stats.  In May, he had a 6% line drive rate and a 51% ground ball rate.  El oh what?  Was he a 78-year-old Jeter for a month?  By the way, 78-year-old Jeter is dating your 23-year-old niece, and you’re proud of her.  You absolutely should buy Machado, and on the pronto.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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