What you didn’t think I was going to go full homer with my debut pitching profile? I mean, it’s as if you don’t even know me? Suffice it to say we’ve turned the keys to the Top 100 pitching ship from one homer, to another. Truth be told, it was a busy weekend, as I covered for Grey on Friday, recorded the Prospect Podcast on that night with Halp, traveled to New York for Smokey’s 40th birthday, took in the Saturday Yanks vs. O’s game with Smokey and the crew, wrote my Minor League Update, and drove back to Massachusetts Sunday morning. Not to mention I was only tasked with this honor Thursday evening, right after I returned from my oldest son’s first baseball practice of the season. So to say it’s been a hectic few days is an understatement. However, a date for Edurado Rodriguez with the Cubs seemed like a good test for his new found swing and miss tendencies. It should be mentioned, that coming into the game Ed-Rod sported a 33 at bat hitless streak vs righthanded batters. So I was going to be paying extra attention as to how he attacked righties vs lefties, and what sequencing, pitch, etc. was leading to his success. Let’s get into it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So here’s something ridiculous – I think the Oakland A’s are my least favorite team.  Scratch that, F THE CARDS!  Even if they do have the best fans in baseball…  A’s are my least favorite AL team.  And it’s nothing to do with particular players, trying to be “hipster” and not liking Monyeball (It’s a cool movie!  Love the music.), or residual ire due to the Warriors.  Ugh, NBA with only 2 or 3 competing teams every year – BORING!  It just seems like every year, their offense is lacking, yet they pound on pitchers when you least expect it.  Cough, James Paxton, cough.  It’s so annoying!  It all started when I owned CC Sabathia on some dynos back when he started with the Yankees, and it felt like every April or May the A’s would tag him for 7 or 8 runs every game.  Plus, ya know, I didn’t buy into Josh Donaldson and Khris Davis decided to be a consistent power hitter in a shittier park, but we’ll end this absolutely ludicrous rant here.

Due to the above, I don’t watch a ton of A’s, so I have yet to see Andrew Triggs pitch.  His scouting report is unimpressive: his fastball actually lost velocity to be a sub-90 MPH pitch, he gets groundballs which usually means Ks should be low, is 28 and a converted closer, and it just all feels like smoke and Black Mirrors.  He’s a robot!  But maybe that perception is a reaction to my A’s bias, especially since he went into yesterday with three straight scoreless start wins.  Well, he did allow 2 unearned runs in one of em and 1 in another – yet another reason I think it’s Black Mirrors.  So I decided to watch his start Sunday afternoon to finally get the book out on the guy, and here’s how he looked against the Mariners:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Man, after thinking about where I need to go with this intro, I got a mad hankering for Italian food.  Just ordered some to get here during afternoon baseball.  Is it profiling that now I’m non-stop craving Italian when I hear a name like Sal Romano?  But Italian food is so positive!  Is there such a thing as positive profiling?!

Speaking of Profiling, we’re back with enough edition of the Pitcher Profile!  I know I’m picking someone that’s pretty far off the beaten path, but any time Sunday baseball features an-even-somewhat-interesting guy making their debut, I’m intrigued!  Romano was vaguely on the radar for the NL-only and NFBC-type leagues given the Reds complete lack of a starting rotation, and surprisingly it was Rookie Davis getting the first DL stint (not their old farts, although Brandon Finnegan got hurt as well Saturday night) that opened an early spot for Romano to make his debut.  Buried on prospect lists in the 10-20 range for Cincy (they do have a good farm system though), with Ralph ranking him as merely a “floorboard”, Romano apparently has pretty interesting stuff from what I read, mainly a mid-to-high 90s fastball.  As tradition, I write the intro to the Profiles before I watch a pitcher’s start, and I’ll withhold any judgment until I see him throw.  So as I eagerly await my baked ziti, the Brewers game is about to start and I’m pumped to see how Romano looks and Profile his debut.  Here’s how he fared yesterday afternoon in his debut:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

We back baby!  The Pitcher Profiles are back!

It’s a brand new season, so we got some brand new digs!  Hah not really, just some new GIFfing magic to help make the posts pop a little, and see some pitches a little clearer.  Even better content if these posts are too long, and you just watch the GIFs then scroll to the ranks!

If you’re new to the Profiles, I break down a starter’s outing pitch-by-pitch, to try and portray how they “really” looked.  We’ve seen multiple guys have a lucky BABIP day – or a few flares fall against them – that can really skew their numbers (especially early in the year).  The Profiles try to help give an eye level account, leaving nothing to question.  I also developed my own “Gamescore+” stat, that I will continue scoring for pitchers getting Profiled.  With Statcast data now out there, I still need to work with Rudy to automate it!

So to our subject today, I know I’ve Profiled Sean Manaea before…  Here’s his 2016 Profile, but I decided to go back to the well and see if he’s maintaining his good stuff that he showed in the second half last year.  Plus in that Profile, it was his Major League debut and I thought he looked a lot better once he settled into the rotation by August and September.  I mostly hope and pray he looks good in a tough matchup @TEX so Grey would feel bad about laughing at my high Manaea rank.  My order of baseball priorities – 1) Brewers 2) Proving Grey wrong 3) My SP Ranks 4) My fantasy teams.  Here’s how Manaea looked yesterday afternoon in the desert:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Baseball is back!  Our long wait through an absolutely ridiculous winter (in pretty much all aspects of life) is finally over!

I looked back at my re-ranks from last year to kick off the season, and can you believe this is Year 5 of the Pitcher Profiles?!  Who woulda thought Grey would let me write these silly things this long?!  I’m in my 5th year though, have a lot of seasoning, I’m ready to hit my prime!

As always, a lot had changed in the past month+ since I put out my ranks in late February, with big names falling to elbow issues/concerns this time out vs. a fairly injury-free 2016.  My Alex Reyes dynasty team weeps for this offseason!  Plus ya know, massive changes after opening day.  Drop Masahiro Tanaka everywhere!  Yeah, if I were in any schmohawk leagues, I’d offer buy lows non-stop for Tanaka.  Wait, I am in the Perty Perts league, I’ll try there!  Haha I keed, I can’t walk the walk, not like I’ve topped the Perts league my first two years against Grey’s 1,000+ moves every season…

We’ll be getting into the Profiling next week (everyone watched those first 3 games, seems silly to profile any of those Opening Day guys), so get ready for some mad GIFs!  And going to try a little something new for the GIFs too!  Hopefully you like em…

Here’s my updated top 100 SP for the first week of the fantasy baseball season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

We back baby!  Spring Training is already starting up (We desperately need shorter games, but like 2 extra weeks of Spring Training?!?! I know, I know, WBC, but whatever!), we’re about to March, drafts about to be drafting…  Love this time of year.

So note to self – get the rankings done earlier in 2018.  Second note to self – bitch slap Grey when I see him in person next week for making everyone else look so bad, with his ranks done so early!  But hey, not like he’s got other sports to worry about!  Speaking of, if you haven’t played fantasy basketball yet, shameless plug sentence/link for you to come over and check us out on hoops!  Play in some Hoops RCLs next year maybe!

Ok, JB’s ADHD voice, back to bidness!  My yearly baseball magnum opus is finally complete – weeks in the works – and went from 9600 words last year to 9700!  Weird they were so similar… I’m kinda like Tolstoy, they just gonna keep getting longer, hah!  Of course no one is expected to read War & Peace in one sitting, so take your time getting through this bad boy!  I’ll wait!

I’m pumped to get the Pitcher Profiles ramped up again, better quality GIFs, and another year with the Gamescore+, which maybe we can start to automate with more batted ball data out there.  RUDY?!?!?!  WHERE’S RUDY?!?!?!?!  SOMEONE GET ME RUDY!!!  Also, if you missed the wrap up I put together a few weeks ago, you can check out how Grey and I did vs. ESPN with the 2016 SP ranks.

A question that is always debated and weirdly always different for each ranker/rankings sets is: are these your personal rankings?  Adjusted for ADP?  Are they how you would draft, or how you think guys will finish?  I’ve decided I have the be all, end all answer.  I did these ranks initially without looking at ADP or any other rankings sets.  The ranks are my personal ranks for how I would value guys one over the other, and then I’ll use this list to be malleable for every draft/site/league format.  Pigeonholing ranks to adjust for ADP means you’re stuck looking at one list of ADP data.  So there’s my answer for how I approach rankings.

Anyway, here we go!  Find below my top 100 SP for 2017.  And as always, my top-5 sleepers (to varying degrees) are James Paxton, Sean Manaea, Blake Snell, Ivan Nova & Reynaldo Lopez.  Plus bonus #6 – Tyler Skaggs – moved him up after re-looking at his data.  Apparently I love my lefties this year!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Better late than never!  February in the following year is always THE BEST time to review last year’s follies and jollies, amiright Razzball Nation!?

After making it through the duldrums of Winter (which I haven’t really had in NC, but ya know, the EPA was lying about global warming), I’m finally catching up on my Pitcher Profile wrap-up for the 2016 season.  If anything, it turns out to be a pretty funny post!  Let’s see how bad JB/Grey/ESPN ranked the AL Cy Young Winner!  Always a good time…  They say hindsight is 20/20, but seeing how bad some of these went, I’ll need my hindsight to be 420 to get through this!

As I did last year and the previous seasons ere’twixt, I’m here to break down my initial 2016 Starting Pitcher Ranks with the – hot, hot, hot!  …or cold – hits and misses.  I compare and contrast what happened with Grey’s 2016 ranks at SP, along with ESPN’s initial ranks from the 2016 season, then make us all look foolish by lining these up with Razzball’s Player Rater rank amongst SP.  And as I did last year, complete the analysis with the Player Rater’s top-40 SP that I missed on in my ranks.  Lots of whiffing this season!  Whiffing as bad as I do when I play Rocket League, the boost makes you go too fast!

Here’s the recap to 2016’s starting pitching ranks (plus my 2017 ranks should be out hopefully in a week or two):

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

As this is our final Monday of the regular season, I was about to go out all silly with the last Pitcher Profile of the season, but the pitching world – and the sports world as a whole – woke up Sunday morning to the news of the heartbreaking passing of Jose Fernandez. The young phenom was such a pleasure to watch; not only for his youthful exuberance, but his pure pitching stuff seemed to somehow reflect that personality. Monster fastball, video game slider, and he could hit the ball too! Fantasy, and well sports in general, brings people together in the sense that we can just share something intangible – the spirit of a team, momentum of a game, the thrill of winning… Or just experiencing, together, the personality of one of the game’s greats. So instead of merely reflecting on a life taken from us too soon, I felt we should take this slice of time we spend together talking about pitching/fantasy baseball/sports and celebrate Jose Fernandez with a pitcher profile on his last start. Unsurprisingly, it was another absolute gem. Here’s how JoFer looked the final game he toed the rubber:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

So for a lot of these puppies I pump out here for Razzball (That makes sense in oldspeak terms right?! You’re not picturing me birthing a litter under Grey’s desk at the Razzball office, right?! RIGHT?!), I write the intro before a pitcher’s start to unsully my biases so you can read how the pitcher looked in real-time. Yeahhhh, football is on during Sundays now… It’s tough to multi-task watching the Panthers, RedZone, AND baseball! Alas, for this week’s installment of Pitcher Profiling, I had already known the outcome before breaking it down. The title should give it away as well!

I lucked out and nabbed Ivan Nova in several leagues just on a streaming whim within his first few starts on the Pirates, and was reaping the rewards of a late-season pitching surge. All hail Searage! I actually read an interview with Frank Herbert that the planet Dune was actually being mined for “Magic Searage Dust”, but it wasn’t literary-sounding enough, so he just went with “Spice”. Authors are nothing but lazy bums! Which speaking of, I picked a dude who got shellacked and didn’t pitch too deep… But I wanted to take a second look at how he… well, looked (lazy again!), to see if I should just cut bait and move on, or hold onto the most recent Searage reclamation project through the finish line. Here’s how Nova fared pitch-by-pitch, and hopefully a helpful treatises on if you should hold him as well:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Who could forget our first visit over to Finnegan’s?! Grabbin’ a pint, singin’ some odes, and getting so sloshed we’re coming back for mo’!

As we saw in his first career start last year, Brandon Finnegan looked kinda blah to me. And after an early-season near no-hit bid against the Cubs, Finnegan’s effectiveness was a range from blah-to-awful. His walk rate was terrible especially next to an equally atrocious K-rate, and Finnegan could not be further off my radar. But suddenly some Ks started popping up with equally sudden success, which beat writers reported could be contributed to learning a change-up from Dan Straily. After heavily using what I’m assuming was a different change-up grip at the start of the season through his first 4 starts (close to 25% of the time), Finnegan then barely threw it 10% of the time over his next 21 starts . As I mentioned in that pitcher profile from last year, his change-up looked pretty below average and I’m guessing he more-or-less scrapped it from his main arsenal. But over his last 4 starts, he’s got an insane 35:8 K:BB in 25.0 IP with a 2.16 ERA. I obviously haven’t watched too much Finnegan, but I have added him in several of my leagues due to glowing reports on this new change-up (and of course, recent result), so I decided to profile him to see how it’s really looking. Here’s how he fared yesterday afternoon against the Bucs:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 
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