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?
It wouldn’t truly be baseball without a plethora of injuries to grace your fantasy teams’ rosters, now would it?
As I predicted last week, Prince Fielder is set to undergo surgery, but he isn’t the only player lost for an extended period of time. Here are some of the fallen from Week 8 and perhaps some players who could actually be returning (yes, believe it or not, they still practice modern medicine in MLB clubhouses!)Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s that time of year again when your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru digs out his star-spangled turban, the seersucker suit, and attempts to pull the ol’ “hotdog” trick on the unsuspecting ladies at the annual Razzball cookout. Johnny Manziel’s got nothin’ on me! Welcome once again to the Razzball Lounge where your favorite fake baseball scribes gather to crunch the numbers, drink the grog, and avoid the Tehol – hey, the kid gets all handsy after a few! We raise our glasses this Memorial Day weekend to all those that served and we pour out a little to all those boys of summer that never made it home. Let’s lower the Razzball flag to half-mast in horror honor of the latest fantasy casualties: Prince Fielder broke his cervix (who knew?), Ryan Braun strained his oblique (‘roids help with healin’, cust kayin’), Nolan Arenado broke a finger sliding (here’s a finger for you Nolan) and Mike Moustakas burned the roof of his mouth on the Hot Pocket Mama Mous made for him. Fielder looks done for the year, Braun was done the minute his medicine cabinet contained nothing but baby aspirin and Ben-Gay, Arenado is down a digit and good ol’ Moosetacos will be spending the summer in Omaha – oh, no, he just fell into the thresher. RIP Moosetacos. Yes, we’re grieving our fake baseball teams in the lounge this long weekend. At the bar we find Sky crying in his Islay, “I’m an organ donor and Arenado can have one of my fingers.” Sky, NO!!!! *raises machete, cuts off pinky* Over at the jukebox is our resident jukebox hero Jay(Wrong) playing “Candle in the Wind” for the 23rd time. “This one’s for you my sweet Prince.” *bottle smashes above head* Sauntering out of the ladies room, zipping up his fly, arm around his latest conquest, is international man of mystery Tehol Beddict, “Why the long faces, gang? I’ve been in last place since April.” *gets punched in the face by J-Foh, breaks nose* Here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless-dejected Guru. *closes eye, takes aim, fires cue ball through window* “All is lost, I’m going to start playing fantasy cricket.” And, with the Razzball crew at an all-time low, who should suddenly grace us all with his presence? The one and only Grey Albright, looking all Gatsby as he exits his convertible amidst a plume of sweet smelling vapor, a coug on each arm, mustache glistening in the summer sun. “Gentleman, don’t lose faith, it’s a long season, and even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Yahoo because they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! Now, Guru, fire up your jammer crammer machine and someone get me a goddamn umbrella drink!”Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?