“Hey, Intern, let’s get the Mayans on hold just in case we need them in a hurry. What? Who the hell is Ralph Mayan of the Mayan Empire and Grille in Norwalk? Your blank stare tells me nothing. Go buff out my El Dorado while I write this post!” So, I’ve seen The Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife. It touches briefly on his theorems and the universe’s push and pull. Imagine the universe breathes in and out. The in is gravity and the out is energy generated by particles. However, the Cubs would breathe in, but when they exhaled it sounded like a wheeze. For over a hundred years, people thought it was dying. That constant wheeze of death. Then, Theo Epstein came along, kicked the Cubs in the ass and realized it wasn’t a wheeze but there was something stuck in its throat. The Cubs won’t breathe easy until they win a championship again, but the signing of Jon Lester should help. Last year, Lester had a 9 K/9 and a 2 BB/9. I just touched on this with the signing of Samardzija the other day, but a difference of 7 between K/9 and BB/9 is about the most beautifulest thing in the world, Keith Murray. For K-BB, Lester was 11th in the majors last year. Top ten is a who’s who that’s more glamorous than your Who’s Who of American High School Students Who Paid $75 To Be In That Who’s Who Book. I’ll give you a little hint: if you were to just draft based on K-BB, you’d win your league. Why is K-BB so important? It’s so basically basic basically basic it’s silly. If you strikeout hitters and don’t walk them, good things will happen. For 2015, I’ll give Lester the projections of 15-9/2.92/1.08/206, which is number one fantasy SP numbers. Yup, he’s going to be solid once again. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
*knock, knock* “You almost done in there?” Sorry, I’m just not sure how long this Billy Beane dump is going to last in Oakland. It started last year with Yoenis, then Josh Donaldson and now Brandon Moss. So far this offseason, replacing Donaldson and Moss is Ike Davis, Billy Butler and Brett Lawrie. Beane’s addicted to seeking out bargains. What a Beane counter! He’s like the lady at Ross Dress For Less that is asking the in-store tailor to hem eight tube socks into a sweater. “Ma’am, I can’t alter socks.” Has anyone tried this with a free alterations pledge by a department store? Will someone please? “Free alterations, huh? Okay, alter this $5 white undershirt into a tuxedo. Thank you.” Unlike the Donaldson move, I like this move by the Thrifty One. Moss is returning from hip surgery that obviously was bothering him so badly last year it ripped apart his ability to bat for the better part of the 2nd half (post-ASB 179 ABs 25/4/15/.173 vs. 21 HRs and .268 in the 1st half). After the surgery on October 23rd, it was reported he wouldn’t be able to run for three months. That still puts him in line to be ready for spring training, but one setback and he’s spitting sunflower seeds in the trainer’s room until May. “You think you could spit those in the trash?” That’s the Indians fastidious trainer. The possibility of Moss reverting to his 1st half self is there, but I see little chance of me owning a 31-year-old who is coming off such serious surgery. For 2015 projections, I’ll give him 69/23/84/.238/1. I will say that if he looks good in April, then my fears will be assuaged, assuming I’m using the word assuage correctly, which I doubt. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
You know the guy that was going to draft Nelson Cruz in your league because he just had a career year? The guy that drafted Chris Davis last year, Buster Posey the year before and Mitzi Gaynor in his 50’s pinup league back in 1953? That guy is the Mariners. (In fairness to that doode, Mitzi had a hell of a follow-up in ’54. Va Va Va Va Va Va — How many Va’s is that — Voom!) Nelson Cruz stayed healthy one other year, besides last year. He hit the most home runs of his career last year. He had the most RBIs, runs, strikeouts and will be 35 years old in 2015. So, of course, the Mariners give him a huge deal. Baseball team management is a peculiar thing. (By the by, I can’t say the word ‘peculiar.’ It sounds like I’m trying to pronounce the word for film in Spanish.) What seems obvious to the everyday person must not be obvious to baseball management. It would be fun to test this out in other areas of life. “Okay, baseball management, I’m going to bring you to the corner of the street. When the light turns green, cross the street.” Insert Batman-style sound effect. Only they’re doing it with nearly $60 million dollars. Well, ours isn’t to wonder why, ours is to figure out the fantasy value when a player changes environs. (Environs? Coolest word to write. Least cool word to say aloud.) Up until Cruz actually passed 27 homers last year, I had him pegged for 27 homers, because, well, that’s how many home runs he always hits, give or take a handful. Last year, he had big hands — that’s what she said! Huh? — but that was contingent on one big number that he had never reached before: 678. As in how many ABs he had last year. If a player has a pattern of getting injured and has a healthy year at 34 years old, I don’t buy that his health concerns are a thing of history. Call me a fool! (Not to my face.) In the past two years, his steals have dropped to the five-steal range, so he is essentially power. He has hideous numbers in Safeco for his career, but I don’t buy into that mattering because when he was in Safeco prior he was facing Mariners pitching and he was playing in an away game (sleeping in a hotel, chasing tail amongst visitor hoochie, etc.). Safeco isn’t going to do him any favors, but he can homer anywhere if healthy. That’s the stick in my craw. For 2015, I’ll give him 475 ABs and the projections of 71/26/85/.262/5. Decent, but almost surely overrated for this year, and don’t call me Shirley. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The A’s traded Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto. I had this cheap friend who would go to the supermarket and buy things that were on sale. Not because he wanted them, but because he was cheap and it was a good deal. So, he’d come home with groceries of only things that were on sale and for dinner he’d end up having a box of couscous and a Tofutti Fudge Treat. I’d say to him, “Do you even like this stuff you’re buying?” He’d say, “No, but I do like the price.” This is what happened to Billy Beane. He doesn’t like Lawrie, but four players for one? What a deal! There’s one other explanation. Everyone is constantly telling Beane he’s brilliant. He’s so gee-dee brilliant (and handsome!), they cast Brad Pitt to play him. His detractors are nil. So, he thinks he can do no wrong and then does a trade like Friday’s, where no one can check him. If anyone else did this trade besides Beane, people would be saying he got Cosby’d. Since it’s Beane, I’ve heard people say the trade is a bit ‘underwhelming.’ Underwhelming?! The A’s traded away their best hitter, that is only 28 years old, for the Blue Jays worst hitter. If someone did this trade in your fantasy league, you’d quit your league, come into the comments here and say, “I’m done with stupid people.” The A’s five and six-hole hitters now? Ike Davis and Brett Lawrie. Well, lucky they still have Andy Parrino. Andy Parrino will be played by Joe Jonas in the Moneyball sequel. “Coach, it’s Christmas, why are you at my house? Okay, I’ll play for your A’s, but first let me sing a charity concert in Denver.” From a fantasy prospective, nothing really ever was gonna hurt Donaldson, besides maybe a move to Petco, and nothing really was going to help Lawrie, besides Coors. The Blue Jays lineup looks stacked now, but to that I say the Rangers looked stacked going into last year too. Edwin and Bautista aren’t the models of good health, Donaldson, though, has been. The last two years he’s played 158 games, and has hit 24 homers and .301, then 29 homers and .255, while chipping in 5 and 8 steals, respectively. He’s in the prime of his career, as previously mentioned, about to be in a better lineup and in a much better park for home runs, if not offense, in general. Game, set, tennis term! I don’t see him hitting for a great average again, like in 2013, but 27 homers and great counting stats without killing you in average seems not only doable, but likely. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 79/27/93/.259/7. The only question in my mind is where he’s batting. My guess is fifth (Reyes, Martin, Bautista, Edwin, Donaldson), assuming everyone is healthy. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Earlier this offseason, it was reported that the Red Sox coaches didn’t like Yoenis Cespedes. Wait until they get a load of Hanley Ramirez! If you were to put “Happiness That You Have Hanley” on the Y-axis and “Time Spent With Hanley” on the X-axis, you would find a line that starts at the top left and slopes right down to the bottom right. For what it’s Wuertz, the enjoyment of Hanley matches directly with the chart of Pancake Eating. After one bite, “Mmm, that is delicious.” After two bites, “Not bad at all.” After three bites, “I’m gonna try and douse these with some maple syrup.” After ten bites, “You gonna share your bacon or should I order my own?” That’s Hanley. Try to douse him with maple syrup, but when it’s July and your team is in the pennant chase and he has a sore hamstring, enjoy! From a real baseball standpoint, I hate the move for the Red Sox. You had Xander Bogaerts for short, you nabbed Panda for 3rd (which I’ll get to shortly) and now you have Hanley playing left and Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis that you have to trade for the most you can get. (By the by, I love that everyone refers to Yoenis as Home Run Derby Champion Yoenis, so I will now do the same.) That’s not even mentioning Allen Craig, Will Middlebrooks, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Daniel Nava and Juan Francisco. It’s kinda sad that all of those guys would be starting for the Padres (and Astros and Marlins and about ten other teams) and for the Red Sox they’re trade bait. Maybe the Red Sox will also sign Han’s brother, Head. From a fantasy perspective, this is about as good as it gets for Hanley. Will this mean he’ll play 150 games? No, I didn’t say that. It’s hard to account for insouciance (Word of the Day!). If he shows up at Fenway in April and wants to play, great. If he shows up at Fenway in April and doesn’t want to play until August, it wouldn’t surprise me. If we get 150 games from him (it will be nothing short of a miracle), I’d give him the projections of 86/24/91/.266/17. I’d only count on a 130 games though, which would knock him to 72/20/84/.268/12. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Braves had the 5th best ERA last year in the major leagues. That’s with a down year by Mike Minor, and injuries to Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen. Their runs scored were second to last in the majors. Only the Padres’ offense was worse. So, naturally, they trade away Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, who had a sub-5 K/9 in High-A last year. Oh…*pounds out a chicken cutlet, fills it with spinach and ricotta cheese, rolls it up, ties it with twine, bakes it on 450 for 18-22 minutes, pulls it out and breathes in the aroma* …kay. That’s the Chicken Florentine pause. Practiced by many, only able to be pulled off by a few. I rarely pull out the Chicken Florentine pause, but trading a top hitting prospect that is only 25 years old, when your team is hurting for offense, is straight up baffling with a pickleback. Are the Braves trying to bring the entire organization down to Fredi’s level of intelligence? Did Fredi tell management that they had too many top of the order hitters (they have none) and they needed another arm (they don’t)? Are the Braves trying to get featured in the third sequel to Major League? I got questions, y’all! From a fantasy perspective, Heyward’s value goes up simply because the Cardinals are a better offensive team. Like someone doing yoga, Heyward will now be surrounded by Matts, Carpenter and Holliday. What will Heyward produce? Go ask the Sphinx. One year he looks like a 30-homer hitter, another year he looks like a middle infielder with 20 steal speed. He could be anywhere from a 15-homer guy to a 30-homer guy. The 20 steals, now in two of five seasons, looks possible, until you see he has a year of only 2 steals. His .271 average last year is around his career average (.262), so that seems repeatable, until you see his .227 average in 2011. At some point, he could have a 30-homer, 20-steal top 20 fantasy season, but to say it’s definitely coming is you lying to yourself. You already lie to yourself in other areas of your life, let’s not start with Heyward too. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 91/20/75/.274/15. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Around six months ago, your mother left us in the middle of the night with nothing but each other and our drafted fantasy teams. I tried to make you French toast as you stood on a stool and watched, but we got egg shell in the batter and you cried about drafting Brad Miller. I was trying to do work one night, looking for a middle infield replacement as you played with your toy airplanes and — crash! — you spilled your milk all over my fantasy team. I screamed, you cried and Prince Fielder hurt his neck. Then your mother reappeared and began a custody battle to take over our teams right as Wilin Rosario seemingly lost his job. It was the Fourth of July, and no one was available, but I frantically searched for a replacement catcher with a job. If your mother’s attorney got wind that we couldn’t even manage to have a catcher with a job, we’d lose our teams forever. With a last ditch effort, we grabbed Yan Gomes off waivers, and another crisis seemed averted. It wasn’t all smooth sailing the final stretch, like when you fell off the jungle gym, and I carried your through Central Park screaming, “We have to replace David Wright and Alex Rios!” But you just needed a few stitches and Xander Bogaerts with 3rd base eligibility and a hot schmotato for the outfield. The final test was making French toast again and seeing how well you adapted to finally cutting the cord on Jay Bruce. We did it, seemingly conquering a mountain, just the two of us, but due to a hot week from Ryan Rua we lost in the H2H playoffs. As you packed up your stuff to leave, we sat on the couch in silence. The weight of the summer on our minds when you turned to me and said, “What do you think about Dallas Keuchel for 2015?” Today, we close our fantasy baseball team window for the first time in six months. Of course, you can never remove those teams from your mind’s eye because you turned off your computer’s screensaver months ago and your team is burned into your monitor screen. Last year, Henderson Alvarez pitched a no hitter on the last game of the season, and this year he pitched against Jordan Zimmermann, who returned the favor with his own no hitter, with the help of an incredible, diving catch from Stephen Souza. Of course, a guy named after a composer known for patriotic marches secures it for the Nationals. In a season that saw seemingly every pitcher have a sub-3.50 ERA this was about as apt of a way to close out a season as any. As Bud Selig doffs his toupee, bidding baseball adieu, let us bid this season adieu too (almost stutterer!) and say hello to the offseason. Seriously, what about Dallas Keuchel for next year?! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo did his part to ensure he’ll be over valued in fantasy leagues next year going 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base last night versus the Yankees. He’s now 4-for-7 with two homers, four RBI and a steal starting in center field in the past two games. I guess it’s pretty clear from his bat that’s where he’s most comfortable. With New England, the new home for Cuban All-Stars and Big Papis, sure to be buzzing all offseason over these final games, the hype should build enough that Rusney Castillo is the next Manny Ramirez by draft day. At the very least he’ll be the next Jackie Bradley, Jr. Still, desperate times, call for desperate fantasy measures and Castillo could be a hot schmotato with a whole lot more to prove in these final two games than most players. We know he can steal. We’re seeing him hit. Two homers in two days, people! It’s mathematical! You’re trying to win a championship, right? Well, this Rusney trombone could be the reach around your fantasy team needs for the final push. Did I just type those words that way? Doesn’t matter it’s my last day of the season, is anyone still reading this? If you are, it’s about time you picked up Rusney Castillo and let him help you bring home a trophy.
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The rain cooperated to let Derek Jeter play his final game at Yankee Stadium. Thank God, the Yankees needed the tarp for Suzyn Waldman. The Yankees presented Jeter with a replica of the Yankee Stadium on-deck circle. He is going to put it outside his house and instead of pine tar rags and donuts there will be lingerie and gift baskets. I don’t really care for his final lap around Fenway. I do agree with Olbermann that I think he should have bowed out of playing in Fenway. With that said (reversal time!), sometimes stars get grooved pitches on their final retirement jaunt. I grabbed Jeter two days ago in my leagues just in case that happens, and so far, so good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?