Man, what a week for starting pitcher callups!  Thankfully we’re seeing Major League clubs unshy of bringing up their future aces instead of being little scaredy-cats and using the Super 2 as a crutch.  “Stop wasting some of your better pitched innings in the Minors, ya bums!”  That was me two years ago.  I was also skinnier and not married yet, so not everything has gotten better…

Right on the heels of the Jose Berrios callup, the A’s promoted Sean Manaea after an absolutely meteoric rise after being traded by the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal.  Manaea always had power stuff and great K-rates, but never quite harnessed the command to get himself atop prospect lists.  But when you have awesome pure stuff, sometimes one minor tweak can take you from “meh” to “mania”!  After a 21:4 K:BB in Triple A over 18 innings this year, it certainly came with a lot of fanfare that Manaea was getting called up, and he’s surely scooped up in almost all leagues at this point.  Is he worth all the hype?  Here’s how he looked on Friday night in his MLB debut against the Astros:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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So I’m watching Raiders of the Lost Ark with my dad and following Tanner Roark strike out 15 Saturday afternoon, and all primed to write my “Raiders of the Lost Roark” pitcher profile. But then I was like, “Ya know what?! I already wrote on Joe Ross and the Nationals don’t need ANY MORE press! I’m not writing two of my first three 2016 profiles on Nats, get outta here!”

Option B: An argument I had with myself the other day: “Is Robbie Ray really that different than Carlos Rodon?” Think about it – both are lefties with mid-90s heat, plus off-speed pitchers, and are near unhittable. But they’re also two of the most frustrating pitchers to own with their control issues. So why would I love Rodon and bank on him figuring it out in my ranks and not have similar optimism for the also young (just turned 24) Ray? Mayyyyyyybe I shouldn’t broadcast to ALL of Razzball Nation my inner monologues… “What was that dream last night about? I think I was taking off my clothes in Miller Park with – – – -” Yeah, bad idea.

With Ray one of my two decent SP in REL, I decided to megalomaniacally (made up word?!) take the pitcher profile to Arizona and break down how Ray looked again the Pirates yesterday afternoon:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grey beat me with the parallel to the other Aaron Sanchez, so I’ve got to cook up something different! …dammit.

As I mentioned in my first in-season re-ranks last week, I mentioned I always liked [the real] Aaron Sanchez‘s stuff and had some of my worst early-season regret not ranking him higher. But after that sizzling (…crap) debut, 5 K and 3 BB against the Yankees in his second course (…ahhhh!). It was still a quality start, but if he keeps walking guys, he’ll be a recipe for disaster (…OK, I’m done).

While it’s still too early to make blanket judgment calls, it’s nice to start having 3-game samples on starters as we head into week 3. Sanchez is likely owned in most mixed leagues, but in the RCLs where the name of the game is streaming, I wanted to see how “must-hold” he is in formats where starting pitchers are cycled in-and-out more than sex jokes in Two Broke Girls. Oh my god, have you seen that show?! Wife loves it, but it’s written by 12-yr-olds who giggle during sex ed class in middle school! Speaking of: “boobies”. Tee-hee! Wow, this got way off track. One of the more interesting starters going on Sunday afternoon, I decided to break down Sanchez’s third start on the young season to see how his command is maturing (hopefully maturing faster than I am…):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re finally starting to settle into the season!  The Opening Week jitters are gone, and while we still say “small sample size” on everything – it’s not the size of the data but how you use it!

With starting pitching, most guys have only made their first start on the year – a few top-of-the-rotation guys have made two – so unless you see something drastic, you’re not panicking.  And full disclosure, I wrote this intro before Joe Ross‘s first start, so admittedly I am a little nervous…  I have several shares of Ross – on all my redrafts teams, I ranked him crazy high, he’s going to have my first born child…  But whatever happens, it’s still only one start!  This is one of the most nerve-racking Pitcher Profiles I’ve done!

My heavy investment in Ross made him an easy choice to break down for the first Profile on the young season, so here’s how he looked on Sunday afternoon hosting the Marlins, after having his start Saturday night postponed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The season is here baby! Boy what an awesome opening day… The Cardinals are in dead last in the NL Central! So beautiful…

Hard to believe we’re going into year 4 of the Pitcher Profiles. So much profiling! And it’s the 3rd year of the weekly re-ranks. I’m doing so much SP heavy-lifting that I might have a UCL injury!

Speaking of injuries, a lot has changed since I put out my initial ranks exactly a month ago, but it feels like this Spring was a little more injury-free than last year. In fact, the biggest elbow injury wasn’t even a pitcher! Take that, pitching detractors! It’s mostly been some surprise risers (my K:BB obsession gave me a Juan NicasiO-face looking at his stats!) and some guys losing their opening day rotation spot (wahhhh Paxton, whyyyyy?!). As always, green for ascenders and red for The Descenderists, who as a band should be marked in red. I haven’t heard anything about them for years!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh man, baseball is almost back!

This has been an epicly tough offseason…  Mainly because it took me like 3 weeks and countless hours to try and get these rankings done…  How the hell does Grey do it?!  Probably by not watching any TV or movies; he STILL refuses to catch up and watch The Fifth Element!

Then again, I went from 6700 words in my yearly magnum opus in 2015 to 9500+ this time!  JB-Full-Of-Words!  I dunno if J-FOW is a new acronym I want though, I sound like the nerdy, fantasy baseball brah from Jersey Shore.

I’m absolutely pumped for another season of Pitcher Profiles, a full season with my new computer for the sexier new pitcher GIFs, flashing around my very own, spiffy Gamescore+ stat, and a season to hopefully forget the epic Greek tragedy of Shane Greene.  Super Greene!

If you missed the wrap up at the end of last year, you can check out how my 2015 pre-ranks fared against Grey and ESPN.

Let’s get down-n-dirty into it!  Especially since we’re nearing 9600 words with this open now…  Sheesh!  Someone get this guy an editor!  As always, please shoot your comments below on what ya think, and happy pitching to us all in 2016!

Want to take on myself and the other contributors for prizes in our RCL League? Join here!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Baseball is over!  Wait, um, what World Series?  My Brewers aren’t in it, so I’m not watching…  i.e. I never watch the World Series…

2015 was a very interesting year for pitchers with a lot of unique things – guys coming out of nowhere, a lot of TJ surgeries, a crazy amount of Ks…  Wait, OK, never mind, it was about the same!  Hopefully with the doldrums of winter upon us for fantasy baseball, you hopped into some fantasy basketball leagues and can join us for an indoor fantasy sport!

Recapping February ranks can be pretty eye-opening.  As in, seeing my Chris Archer rank makes me want to gouge my eye out!  Maybe that would be eye-closing then…  Anywho, for the second straight season I went through my top 100 from Spring to see what went right and what went Chien-Ming Wang.  I think I did a little better than last year, especially when you consider James Paxton was easy to drop and didn’t just pitch bad all year…

You’ll find below in this War and Peace-esque recap SP sorted by my initial SP ranks in February, Grey’s SP pre-ranks in the top-400 sortable ranks post, ESPN’s SP pre-ranks based on whenever that list came out (I tried to find their most standardized ranks), then compared them to their Razzball Player Rater finish amongst SP.  I also mention a few times my ranks edit right before the season, since it’s not really fair to grill me on Yu Darvish.  No, Yu’re injury prone!  With all those numbers thrust together to showcase best and worst calls, I review each pitcher and include which top-40 pitchers I failed to rank.  I cut it off at 40 to make me look better, there were like 7 I didn’t rank between 40-50 and I’m lazy!  Haha.  And I promise, no more hyperlinks in the open!  Here’s the recap to 2015’s starting pitching ranks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sure there’s roto leagues wrapping up, some final H2H matchups, but the Pitcher Profile isn’t going to help too many owners scout for the remaining 6 days of this season.  We are doing a little more looking ahead!  Progressive scouting is my term for this edition – makes me feel all front-office-y!

So I decided to find another off-the-map “prospect” to break down – Rays maybe long-term long-relief/maybe full-time starter next year, Matt Andriese.  I know what you’re thinking…  Blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  But what really intrigued me was his AAA numbers this year.  In 12 starts (13 app.), 3-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 69 K in 65 innings.  He did have a 1.15 WHIP, but then in the deeper numbers it’s even more intriguing – 9.55:1.38 K:BB and all with a .344 BABIP, giving him – wait for it – a 1.94 FIP.  Whoa!  Given it’s a pretty small sample, but he’s been decent in 62.2 innings in the Majors as well.  I don’t really remember seeing any of those innings this year in the Majors (and I don’t think I saw him the few Durham Bulls games I’ve been to this year), so I decided to break down his spot start yesterday to see if there’s some deep league sleeper appeal for 2016:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every time I think of Brandon Finnegan, I envision a long-storied lineage of Irish pub purveyors.  “Have a pint, laddie!”

A very big name prospect with the Royals, the Reds hit on the luck of the Irish by dealing a really awful-looking Johnny Cueto – whose numbers are getting walloped by an ugly stick – and picking up some nice prospects with Finnegan the centerpiece.  Man, both the Reds and my Brewers got some nasty returns for vets that have been atrocious in the AL…  The NL Central is going to be unreal in a few seasons…

Back to the point!  Hell, I’m all over the place – I’m writing this open while watching football, and while taking a break from putting together basketball ranks in position tiers.  Oh yeah!  Play in an RCL Basketball League, it’s like Fantasy Baseball but without rainouts!  Yikes, get me some Adderral…

Even with all the hype, and even though he’s made a few relief appearances, I don’t think I’ve ever watched Finnegan pitch.  So I decided to break down Finnegan’s first career MLB start at the Brewers last Friday night to see if he’s worth an add over the final two weeks, and/or a buzzy sleeper pick in 2016:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Unfortunately when you watch a lot of baseball, there’s guys who at the eye-level look awesome (whoa, not like that though!) that turn out to just never put forth the numbers.  You get this big lumbering Canadian, with this long but smooth delivery, hitting high-90s at times, and you get all excited and…  It turns out to be James Paxton‘s bumpy start to his career.  A few nice stretches, but very inconsistent Ks, inconsistent control, AND THE INJURIES!!  Long-term lat strain last year, he sprains both his forearms tripping in Spring Training, then sprains a finger tendon which keeps him out almost this entire season.  Hey Pax, I have a finger with a sprained tendon for ya too!

Even with all these injuries, I still think I’ll rank Paxton favorably next year…  Eesh, I just know I will…  But I did want to see his final starts of 2015 before my off-season work…  So I decided to break down his return off the DL yesterday afternoon hosting the Rockies to see if he’s worth a spot start or two for the stretch run, or will be the worst ranked pitcher yet again in my 2016 ranks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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