One of the things I enjoy about NL and AL-only leagues is that they often provide a comfortable home for fantasy baseball’s otherwise undesirables. I’m amazed at how many players there are that I’ve just flat out never heard that get promoted each year, no matter how well I think I know every MLB team’s roster and depth chart, and no matter how much time I put into trying to improve my knowledge of the minor leagues. Most of the players that get called up and have been completely under the radar do exactly what we’d expect them to – perhaps make a little splash as they dive into their first cup of coffee, but then quickly fade into oblivion. A few defy the odds and become mixed-league relevant. And some do what we deep leaguers need them to do – play just well enough that they are worth rostering. Much like actual baseball teams, it doesn’t seem like many deep league fantasy champions get through their 162-game seasons without a few spells of random help from players who seem to have appeared from completely out of the blue.
It’s still May, but we are already seeing many players who may ultimately fit this description come October. There are always a handful of guys that are somehow able to outperform their stats/projections/abilities, and I always think of 2016 Junior Guerra as the poster boy for this phenomenon. When writing about him last year, the more research I did, the more I realized that he didn’t have a single peripheral in his past stats to suggest he could do exactly what he did: have a prolonged run of success at the major league level. Yet somehow watching him pitch, there was an intangible (Grit? Moxie?) that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but made me want to own him. Back to the present: in the last couple of weeks, I feel like every time I turn around there’s a newbie that’s being thrown into a major league starting rotation. This week, I’ll be highlighting a few of these pitchers amongst the other players that might be available on the scrap heap that is your single league waiver wire…
If you had to write a fill-in-the-blank to summarize fantasy baseball in 2016, it would look something like this: “________ hit 30 HRs in 2016, a career high. He will hit half that amount in 2017.”
2017’s fill-in-the-blank is going to look like this: “_________ was placed on the 10-day disabled list.”
Last week I was astonished to only have nine players hit the disabled list. This week, the injury bug came back with a vengeance — there are a whopping 20 players who have been added to this dubious club. Some of them are really earning those DL frequent flier miles.
This week there are six outfielders and nine starting pitchers mentioned in this article. Rather than try to find six healthy outfielders and nine healthy starting pitchers to add I am going to list a few shallow, standard and deep league targets you can add as fill ins. I’ll add this list at the bottom of the article.
As always, if you’ve got a league specific question, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASA-quick.
Hope everyone is ready for a sun tan today! The Tampa Bay Rays are going to give our skins some much needed color…ok, I’m done I promise. I’m sure you already know, but I like the Rays as a whole today. As a team they’ve been heating up, and they’ll be facing off against a pretty unknown pitcher in Austin Bibens-Dirkx. WHO? I didn’t even know he existed before today, nor if he was any good or not. I did some digging and his stats aren’t terrible in the minors with a little over 3.00 ERA this year. Also has an ERA of just under 4.00 this year in long relief. I’m still going to load up on bats here. Mostly because of three things: stadium, conditions, and how often does a long reliever last more then a few innings? The bats I’ll be targeting start with Logan Morrison at $3,500. I think he’s a great play for the price and the potential. I also like Evan Longoria at $3,300. He’s had a rough time this year but I think he’s a much better hitter then what he’s shown. Corey Dickerson at $4,200 seems obvious at this point, but he’s always in play if your stacking Rays. Last guy I really like from this team is Tim Beckham at $2,900. The former #1 pick hasn’t done much of anything in his career but with the injury to Matt Duffy, he’s finally getting a chance to play everyday. Its beginning to pay off as he’s showing a power stroke and a decent average. I expect his success to continue through today, at least.
Now on to the picks…
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The title is referring to 24. I never saw 24. Well, I’ve seen the number. I never saw the show. No interest really. Not my sorta thing. I do have a Kiefer Sutherland story though. I think I recapped it in my book, Who Is Grey Albright? Long story short, at my first job ever in Boston (and really only job ever where I collected a weekly paycheck), I was working in a film production office and someone called for the producer and I asked them who they were. “Tell him, it’s Kiefer,” and I was like, “Kiefer? Kiefer who?” “It’s Kiefer Sutherland, you jackass!” I wasn’t made for answering phones, apparently. Y’all gotta admit; you hear the name Kiefer out of context and it’s a bizarre name. Though, it wasn’t fully out of context, I suppose, since it was a film office. Any hoo! Whatever Trevor Bauer did prior to yesterday’s game, do it again! Was it the pre-game chucking of a softball three-quarters of hectare? Then do that! Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners with 14 Ks. Well, hello, there. Can you stay a while? Maybe I can make you a Cuba Libre and some Brazilian cheesy bread? His peripherals are gorge too — 11.5 K/9, 3 BB/9 and a 3.03 xFIP. Of course, his opponent, Sonny Gray went 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER, and thus illuminates the problem. Gray was solid too, a game ago, and now look at him. I’d grab Bauer for some Ks, but the risk is enormous. He doesn’t just happen to have a 6.00 ERA even after yesterday’s game. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
The stolen base market is put into two categories: Billy Hamilton and basically everyone else. Capitalizing on the “everyone else” is the problem. The dreaded ebb and flow theory of SAGNOF is a beer served at room temperature. Yeah, at its core, it is still a beer, and yes some beer is served at room temperature. I know there will be some beer snobs that chime in and say “blah, blah this about micro brews and room temperature”. My response is nothing, you are on ignore. Come hang with me and you will see dudes that know how, like to, and will drink. Ask Prospector Ralph, he knows we can bang. Anyways, grabbing a SAGNOF guy on the waivers is a tumultuous beast. Trying to say that he will steal or he will get on base to actually attempt to steal the base… It’s a crap shoot outside of stolen base wizard Billy H. Even when looking at the usually candidates from the preseason and their potential for stolen bases, they are down. The stolen base as a whole is almost as dead as being in Buffalo Bill’s well. We all drafted Trea Turner for his 50-plus SB potential. To date, he has 11, and is on pace for 44. Charlie Blackmon has gone from 43, to 17 last year, to 4 this year. He has basically turned into a RBI machine and it shows by him being the MLB leader in the category. And don’t get me started on Jean Segura or Jonathan Villar… go trade for Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton or anyone else in the top-5 and quell all your stolen base woes. Trying to make up on the category but nickle and dime’n is the worst ideas since screen doors on a submarine. In case you think I am pushing pork pies and you don’t wanna listen, here is a fancy chart for catchers to abuse for streaming, and some more SAGNOF tidbits. Cheers!
The humans are making their move now! Mad Beach Bums (Rakers Nation) continues to put the heat on Rudy Is Snooty and our human hero, Cram It has vaulted up the standings into third overall. It might be slightly unfair for the robots as Cram It seems to be half human, half Razzball Commenter League machine. We’re all pulling for you Cram, make us humans proud! Only two of the four bots remain in the top 10 overall, however, all four remain in the top 20. Of course, two of those four bots are in the top four overall. They are the bread to the human sandwich of MBB and Cram. It was yet another excellent week for our Fantasy Master Lothario, Mr. Grey Albright. Despite this, he slipped back a spot from 7th overall to 8th overall. It was a very busy week of trading in the RCLs with a whopping 19 being completed. Some of the most competitive leagues were very active with three trades being completed in each of the ‘Perts League, ECFBL and DFSers Anonymous. All this, plus a familiar name makes an appearance as the team of the week. Come check out this and more in the week that was, week 8:
Like the old saying goes, “Never trust a man with two first names”, and that is exactly how it feels every time Robbie Ray ($18,400) takes the mound. He is a fantasy enigma, one day he can be the ace for your team then the next day he walks 6 batters and last 4 innings in a start. One of his biggest Jekyll and Hyde characteristic is his Home and Away splits, this season he has an ERA of 6.75 at home and 0.81 on the road. A matchup on the road against the low hitting Pittsburgh Pirates is exactly what we are looking for when building a line up. The Pirates have struggled all year versus lefties hitting .217 and carrying a very pedestrian .689 OPS. He should be able to rack up some strikeouts as that is his best asset. His K/9 this season is at 11.10. Speaking of Elite K rates, Chris Sale ($26,000) is making his return to Chicago, lets just hope he doesn’t go into his old locker room and cut up all the jerseys. The way he is pitching this season it would be hard not to pick him at whatever price he is listed at. There are some good pitchers he can be matched with and some quality bats as well. Lets take a look at the picks.
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I tried to re-create the magic of last week’s podcast, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t take. Instead, Grey goes full Reality TV villain mode, and not so sneakily tries to chip away at the unbreakable Halph relationship. He’s an only child, he doesn’t like to share! He then announces I will be sold off to the 16th person to sign up for next week’s Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest (there won’t be a contest this week), in our new “Win a Date with Halp” segment. Yes, even if it’s a dude (apparently, I didn’t read the fine print in my contract). I also congratulate MattTruss for breaking through and absolutely dominating the field in last week’s tournament. On the fantasy baseball side, I point out that nobody in “the industry” (that term just bothers me for some reason) was as high as Grey in the preseason rankings on two of the bigger pitching breakouts this year, Lance McCullers and Michael Pineda, while also discussing the past and future rankings of Mookie Betts, Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper, Aaron Judge, and many more. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast.
I hope everyone’s Memorial Day was filled with hot dogs, hamburgers, Coorses (Coorii?), fireworks that were meant to be saved until July 4th but were blown off yesterday so close to your ear that you still have a ringing, and all the other red-white-blue American things one hears backstage at a Larry The Cable Guy concert. My Memorial Day was filled with eating and burping and farting and wearing an American flag t-shirt, but that’s every Monday. Eat a D, ISIS! Someone whose Memorial Day was less than ideal is Mike Trout. He was diagnosed with a ligament tear of his thumb, and will opt for surgery. This will knock him to the DL for the first time in his career, and it will be a two month stay. Just like that, he went from GOAT to goatse. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: