Hakuna_Matata

“It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem free…philosophy! Ha Kenta Maeda!”

That’s how the song goes, right? You know, the one by Timon and Pumba in The Lion King? Am I really referencing a Disney movie in a fantasy baseball post? You bet your bottom dollar I am. Just look at em swayin above. That’s swag, son! Truth is, Hakuna Matata or Kenta Maeda, they’ve basically been the same thing in 2016 for fantasy owners of Maeda. Whenever the rookie SP takes the mound good things are surely to come.

However, I, personally, would be looking to sell him high over the next few weeks. Do I think he can’t sustain his pace? Well, perhaps? Listen, you can’t argue with a 2.30 ERA and a 3.71 K/BB ratio, but his batters have a .237 BABIP against him (that’s low), and his peripherals are a little scary. When I think of Maeda more visions of Daisuke Matsuzaka pop into my head than Yu Darvish. I’m afraid that come the summer time we’re going to see hitters figure him out. And when they do, that ERA will balloon, the 89.7% runners left on base number will drop, and the value will decrease. So, how in the world is it all Hakuna Matata? Because this week he pulls the hapless Angels and the Padres…in Petco. It doesn’t get any better than that! Ok, wait…yes it does. It could be the Padres and Braves. That’s alright, though. This is a happy post. And clearly he’s still doing something right! Get the solid starts out of him now while you still can, but after he mows downtime Padres it may be the perfect time to Ha-Kenta Ma-sell high.

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forceawakens_rey-1200x675

As other sports seasons are starting to die down, baseball mirrors the seasons and begins its bloom at  the start of spring. The leaves are budding, the flowers blooming, the pollen wreaking its damn havoc, and hope springs eternal in the hearts of fantasy baseball players everywhere as the weather turns warmer. Well, unless you’re in the northeast. Freakin’ El Nino! We’re officially out of draft season, and baseball is here in full force. And that force is starting to awaken (wait for it…).

It’s a good time of year. Not only do we have the promise of summer on the horizon, but every one of you feel the promise of potential for your fantasy rosters. No one’s dead in the water yet, chances are plentiful, everyone has hope. Except for those A.J. Pollock owners out there (ahem, this guy…), but we’re not focusing on the hitting side today. No sir. Before all those summer bats awaken we’ve gotta get an advantage with the pitchers! It’s Week 2 of the fantasy baseball season and I’m about to tickle your fancy with some Two-Start Pitchers! You can also be hopeful that I’ll never promise to tickle you ever again. That’s strange. I already feel weird. Like Elmo.

For those of you that love a good statistical tickle, though, the Two-Start Pitcher game is perfect for you. Let’s call it what it is: you’re the nerds of fantasy baseball. To go in depth with the plethora of stats available in finding the best two-start options, you gotta nerd out a little bit. So, let’s go all out! In honor of Star Wars: The Force Awakens release to Blu-Ray this week (because who watches DVDs anymore?), we’ll categorize the tiers and rankings of the Week 2 Two-Start Pitchers through the vein of the franchise’s films. And like the Primer’s ability to draw ire from my thoughts on BvP (I get it! The sabermetric baseball world hates the stat!), I’m hopeful this one sparks some controversy on the tiering that’s about to occur. Leh’go!

In the Two-Start Pitcher Primer we discussed the strategy to finding the best two-start options. Being early in the year it’s difficult to pull statistical data on the opposing team’s lineups, so these rankings will revert to Park Factor (pitching at Coors Field is worse than pitching at Turner Field) and some 2015 stats for the pitchers. Pitchers are listed in order by rank.

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TIm Toolman Taylor

This past fall my wife wanted the cabinets painted. Ugh. This left me with one of two choices: pay some stupid amount of money for someone to trash my kitchen, cover everything in little drops of paint splatter and brighten up the house by turning my brown cabinets white, or do it myself. Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor I am not. In fact, I may have married more of a Tim ‘The Toolman’ than I am myself. Wait, haha, don’t take that wrong. My wife’s gorgeous. Maybe I should change the analogy. Ok, what’s the girl’s name who wears the short shorts and works on the show with Tim and Al Borland on ‘Home Improvement’? Heidi? Yeah, that’s what I hitched myself to. I win! And now that I’ve spent 100 words talking about my wife in a fantasy baseball post, let’s get back to the story. Which option did I choose?

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I’ll be up front and honest from the jump. This is a post designed to do one thing, and one thing only. That’s share the pain of not getting what I wanted at the toy store between the ages of 0-8. My ultimate goal today is to make my parents feel so awful about what I was deprived of as a child. That they feel motivated to hit E-Bay and bid on some sweet, sweet nostalgia toys. You know, stuff I can play with after I put my kids to bed, around the time I usually begin binge drinking, or ignoring my wife on the couch. What I like to affectionately call “Grown man shizz”. But seriously didn’t we all have that awesome toy we desired that we never got, because our parents just wouldn’t buy them for us? My Mom was a teacher and always had this big thing about not buying toys that would kill my sister and me’s “creativity”. Whatever that means…. Let’s just say my parents set the trend for the pretentious I’m better than you parent shaming that’s so popular amongst the social media mommy bunch. You know the types, they’re the people on your news feed always sharing toy and stroller recalls, and anti-GMO posts about Kraft Mac & Cheese. Hey I get it, you want what’s best for your kids, but you’re nuts if you think at 18 they won’t be crushing EasyMac at 3am on a dorm room couch after a night of drinking like the rest of us. It’s just the natural way of things toots! Any the who, here we are week 22 or da deuce deuce as I likes to calls it. 22 weeks of two start pitching and we’re still here looking to get you into the playoffs or the next round if you so choose. So without further ado let’s whine about toys I didn’t get and discuss two start pitchers for week 22.

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To many, 1993 is considered the watershed moment in Hip-hop’s golden era.  Classic album after classic album was released over that year.  It’s the only year I can think of that’s in the title of an all-time hip hop classic.  Some might even argue a top 10 song of all time within the genre.  I’m of course talking about the Souls of Mischief classic and title of this post.  If you don’t know by now I like to ramble about something that has nothing to do with baseball in my intro.  This is to set the stage for the theme of the week’s two start pitching tiers.  This week we delve into the greatest years in hip hop.  Why? because if there’s one thing I know better than baseball it’s soccer… oops, I mean hip-hop.  Then again soccer is pretty awesome….did you know we have a site here on Razzball where we talk about it exclusively?  My plugs are shameless like William H. Mace, better have legs like B-Ham if you wants to keep pace, lace the track, dutchies dipped in honey, two start pitchers ain’t nothing move but the streamonator $.  Okay now back to the lecture at hand, perfection is perfected…. What’s perfection? Why the greatest years of hip-hop of course.  So I’ll discuss this week’s two start pitchers in relation to each great year in hip-hop and share some science on the top jewels to drop in the tier’s title year.  If I missed any years or albums let me know.  Hell drop some of your favorite jams/albums/miscellaneous stories about your mom’s slutty college experiences in the comments. I like to talk about all those things…

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This week’s slate of two start pitchers reminds me of fire-crotched former hottie and child star Lindsey Lohan. So let’s examine the parallels. No, they don’t have whiney coked up fathers or unstable attention whore mothers who may or may not be as equally coked up. No, they don’t post pictures to their Instagram accounts where they fail miserably at “breaking the internet”. Well, they may do all these things, but not to my knowledge. Then again, my knowledge consists of Fantasy soccer, baseball, and Fernando Tatis MS paint artwork. Oh you are unfamiliar with Tatis’s work? Click here and check her out. Seriously, I have five Tatis’ on my office walls at work. People often ask if those are blown up drawings by my four-year-old son. When I inform them that are in fact cherished works of computer generated art by a former fringe major leaguer, they typically stop extending invitations to lunch, but no matter, I like eating alone. Where were we? Oh yeah! Lindsey Lohan and two-start pitchers! So much like Lindsey Lohan’s career and looks the options start strong, but are very brief and ummmm….well, drop off dramatically. In the first two weeks we’ve been blessed with a plethora of sexy names and strong performers to double up on in our head to head and weekly leagues. This week not so moooch! (Last sentence said with bad Italian accent) I even struggle to rank anyone in the top tier. I love Jake Arrieta and you can make the case that he is matchup proof at this point but it’s two road starts. The first against a good offense and the second against an above average offense at a hitter’s park. I guess he’s sort of like Mean Girls Lindsey. She’s certainly hot and it’s an entertaining flick but A. Do you look like a creep for drooling over a teenager? and B. do you share with your bros that you were watching Mean Girls on TBS for the fourth time? (Shawshank Redemption it is not my friends.) That just means we need to dig a little deeper and appreciate each tier for what it is. Sort of like Lindsey’s wild coked out knife play phase, her lesbian phase, her doing anything for money including nude pictorials phase. We just need to avoid her methed out shell of herself phase. Those ladies and gentleman are your tiers. Good luck may your Li-Lo’s be kind.

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So here we are, the last week of the season. If you’re playing now, you’re in the money game of your head-to-head league, or you’re in a dog fight to pull ahead in the roto standings. I’ve said this for the last three weeks but, congratulations! You did something right. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there are a few things you definitely didn’t do, you didn’t draft Justin Verlander, you didn’t draft Buster Posey or Joe Mauer anywhere near the first 5 rounds, you didn’t invest in one of the top 3 closers, and you probably didn’t draft Dominic Brown (Sorry Tehol). They say fantasy championships are made after the draft. Whoever they are? Seriously do you know? I’m just going to guess that if there is a they that writes these cliches, then they know Nick Capozzi. Mostly because he knows everybody in the fantasy industry. I’m also going to assume it’s a secret club that I’m not privy to. You know, like Skull and Bones.  Wow that escalated quickly! Where was I? Oh yeah winning fantasy championships. Well my belief is that the secret to winning in the final week is pitching, and how you use your streams. If you’re in a H2H league with a limited move number than be careful. One must choose wisely. With this in mind I have created a new format for these posts. As I mentioned last week I had the vision of putting my rankings in spreadsheet form and providing a couple of key metrics I felt gave you the readers full transparency into my thought process. Well my vision is reality behold the new and improved two startapalooza. You’ll see that in addition to the Pitcher’s name and opponent, I’ve also provided the pitcher’s handedness, the pitcher’s Home/Road ERA, the opponent’s Home/Road wOBA, and the opponent’s Right/Left wOBA split. These are the numbers I look at most closely when creating my rankings for the week. So why not share them with you? Enjoy, I put some time into this and I believe you’ll find it extra helpful. I hope it also sparks more debate in the comments and gives you guys all the more reason to challenge my tiers. I’ve also made sure that I based my Two-Start roster off of Rudy’s new two start pitcher SON/tool. This way all the information mirrors each other and gives some continuity to the post. Thanks again for reading and I’m looking forward to bringing this format back next season. Go Get’Em!

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First off, congratulations fellow nerd, if you’re reading this it means one of two things. 1. You’re just as painfully boring as I am and you read everything Razzball posts. Or 2., You’ve made it to the second or third round of your head-to-head league playoffs. Pretty impressive if you ask me! Now go tell everyone about it and be sure to let them know how you couldn’t have done it with out the good folks at Razzball! Best fantasy sports coverage in the industry, and all that happy horse shizz as my Vavo would say. What’s a Vavo you ask? It’s a Portuguese grandfather. See, you learn something new everyday. Well, I don’t because I know everything there is to know. It’s okay marvel at my excellence.

As for this week in double dipping, we have a couple of rude party guests in the Red Sux, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Astros, and Padres, who have decided to move to 6-man rotations. Who would have guessed that the rudest guests at this two start party would come from Massachusetts, California, Texas, Arizona, and Chicago? Regardless of those skipping the cake and ice cream that is this week’s TwoStartapalooza we still have a whole bunch of good options to discuss. I’ve decided to add another element to these posts going forward. I’m now going to add in each pitchers home or road ERA, as well as the opponents wOBA against that pitcher’s handiness, and their home/road wOBA. I feel this provides you the reader with better statistical data, as well as better transparency into the reasoning behind each ranking. This week I’m just going with each opponents home/road wOBA because I’m on vacation, and if I spend any more time writing, my wife will kill me. So starting next week I’ll have all these numbers for you. The greater point is this data paired with Rudy’s new handy dandy two start matrix makes these posts that much more helpful. Knowledge is power boys, and raw Imma give it to ya with no trivia raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia. Ohhh U-God you had one good line in 25 years….

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So here we are in week 24 if you don’t count the All-Star break. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that this whole marathon got started. Tehol was speaking of the blessings bestowed upon Dominic Brown by the elder gods, Grey was telling you pitching was crazy deep, and Sky was freaking Nick and everyone else out with his creepy masks in the background of his podcast segments. Things were simple then, we all had hope, some of us still do. Oh who am I kidding you read Razzball of course you have at least one team in the playoffs. Everyone knows we only cater to savvy fantasy owners and snappy dressers. Maybe mustache aficionados also, but they only read Grey for the avatar. Mustachioed men are like the rich and Greek Nationalists, they stick with their own.

Regardless, the end is neigh good citizens of fantasy land. It’s now officially the end of  the beginning of the season. My beginning just so happens to last 5 months. The real ending for fantasy and real life players alike is that last month chasing a championship. Hence the end of the beginning, beginning of the end title. It’s also a not so subtle nod to my favorite Murs album  and possibly song, Done Deal.  The point is you have 3 weeks left max, and should be doing all you can to edge your league mates in the H2H playoffs or Roto standings. Either way we’re all hustling like Freeway Ricky Ross, and I mean the Drug Dealer not the rapper. I’d only say we were like Rick Ross the rapper if I was in a room with Matt Adams and Billy Butler. Even then it would be about them and not me. For the record I’m built like a Greek God and bearded like one as well. I’m sort of a fantasy sports version of Dan Bilzerian, but without the trust fund, harem, and over the top douchiness. Well I guess the last one is up for debate. Okay everything I just said about myself is up for debate…Sad Trombone.

You know what isn’t up for debate (Segue! FTW) the quality of the high end double dipping starters this week. We have 4! Count’em! 4 must start options this week in Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester. That’s great for any owner with those guys and bad news bears for any owner facing them in the playoffs. It’s okay there’s some hidden gems in the lower tiers with some good matchups. Also feel free to chime in with any double dippers flying under the radar. Whether you feel I’m overlooking them, or that they have under appreciated fantasy appeal. We’re all in this together, unless you’re in one of my leagues, then you’re on your own.

The tier names this week are a nod to my all-time favorite HipHop Group Gang Starr…

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Alright Head-to-Headers and Weekly League players. This is more than likely the most important week of your season. You’re either kicking off the first round of playoff match-ups or you’re grinding out the last week trying to get that ever elusive playoff birth. Not to worry my peeps, the Legendary Lifshitz is back and ready to drop some two start pitcher science on y’all. In fact I’ll be taking over as your captain from here on out and into 2015. That’s right! I’m your 2015 Two Start Huckleberry! Think of me as the top prospect getting called up for roster expansions with an eye on the starting job next year. You know like Xander Bogaerts but less of a disappointment. Unless you’re my third grade teacher Ms. Schultz. Then I’m more of a disappointment. What can I say the women had high hopes.

As for the roster of Double dippers, it’s not bad. Lots of good streamers and ton of middle of the road options. I’ll try and focus a little more on the arms with lower ownership levels, knowing those are the guys you’ll be looking to for the extra counting stats to put you over the top. This is one of the most fun times to be a fantasy baseball manager. This is for those digging through the wavier wire looking for that streamer to get you into the dance, or that spot starter to help you lock down that swing category to get you into the next round of the playoffs, or even the roto owner looking to capitalize on the less savvy owners who hit their innings limits this week. May you use this as your guide good sirs! Unless you’re in a league with me, then I hope all your pitchers get shelled. Sorry but I’m in it to win it no matter the cost!

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