In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp played for one of the most popular sports franchises in the world in the 2nd largest city in the country. In San Diego, the Padre fans pride themselves not on wins and losses, but how well the Chablis goes with the brie while they watch the game from the picnic area. In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp went to all the hottest nightclubs. In San Diego, he’ll be frequenting places that look like the bar where Jodie Foster was in The Accused. In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp hung out with the hottest celebrities. In San Diego, “Hey, is that Natalie from The Facts of Life?” In Los Angeles, Matt Kemp dated Rihanna. In San Diego, Kemp’s dating Natalie. It’s only a mere two and half hour drive, but the culture shock is going to hit Kemp as soon as he arrives because he’s going to have to surrender his Lamborghini, there’s a town ordinance that everyone must drive a Jeep with no doors that they put plastic bags over when it rains once a year. On the backside of the site, I’m currently churning through rankings that will be coming in January. I nearly ranked Kemp higher than I want to admit to now. I was believing the 150 games played, 25 HR, 8 SB, .287 season he had last year. Whether I believe it or not, going to San Diego is going to hurt his value. From hitting in the middle of an All-Star lineup to hitting in the middle of Yellowstone. Kemp said on his first day in Petco, “It took some time to get my bearings. In other parks, you can set yourself in the batter’s box by using the outfield fences as a guide. Here, you have to assume the outfield fences are out there somewhere.” Kemp has money coming to him either way, so if he became a 20 HR, 5 SB, .270 guy for a few years, it wouldn’t surprise me. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 72/22/81/.276/8. Oh, and, yes, I’m cautiously optimistic this means Joc Pederson will now be the starting center fielder in LA. For more, I already went over my Joc Pederson fantasy. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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“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?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (22) | 2013 (29) | 2012 (30) | 2011 (27) | 2010 (23)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] AL Central
AAA: [63-81] International League – Charlotte
AA: [60-80] Southern League – Birmingham
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Winston-Salem
A: [62-75] South Atlantic League – Kannapolis

Graduated Prospects
Jose Abreu, 1B | Marcus Semien, INF | Erik Johnson, RHP | Jake Petricka, RHP

The Gist
Despite another losing season, the White Sox are headed in the right direction. Cuban import Jose Abreu looks like a steal after leading the team on offense and winning Rookie of the Year honors. Chris Sale continued to pitch like an ace and won’t turn 26 until March. Lefty Jose Quintana proved to be a reliable arm as well and is the same age as Sale. The recent acquisition of Jeff Samardzija adds even more firepower to the rotation. As part of the return, the A’s received first base prospect Rangel Ravelo, who was included on this list prior to the trade. Adam Eaton and Avisail Garcia are two other young pieces ready to contribute in 2015 and are also good options in the fantasy game. Garcia lost most of 2014 to a shoulder injury but still managed seven homers in under 200 plate appearances. The bullpen was a battle all year, but the signing of David Robertson is an immediate boost and this year’s first round pick Carlos Rondon could contribute later this season before joining the rotation in the spring of 2016.

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*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?

I like being the only one saying something on a player. I do. It works against me sometimes — hello, Cody Asche 2014 sleeper! — sometimes it works in my favor — hello, Michael Brantley 2014 sleeper. Michel Saunders reminds me of Michael Brantley, and I don’t think it’s because they share a first name, but it could be. Psychology is a weird phenomenon. One day you’re a finicky eater, the next day you’re trying anchovies on your pizza and aren’t totally grossed out. Maybe Saunders is our anchovies. Gross to a lot of people, but not reprehensible if you give him a try. Going into last year, Michael Brantley’s high in power was 10 homers, and his high in speed was 17 steals. Obviously, that didn’t stop him from being a top ten fantasy player in 2014. In 2012, Saunders beat both of those Brantley numbers easily; he blazed a trail of badonkadonks and monkey butts with 19 homers and 21 steals. That year should’ve put Saunders on the map, but he hit .247. Fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) don’t like low averages. Why? I don’t know, ask them. Then Saunders didn’t equal that year in 2013, and was injured-slash-unownable for a lot of last year, so Saunders disappeared into an abyss of 5th outfielders, who are grabbed off of waivers then dropped like a sack of potatoes. If I didn’t think he was capable of reaching the heights of 2012 again, I wouldn’t even waste your time, but for s’s and g’s let’s take us into the 2nd paragraph with a little… Anyway, what can we expect from Michael Saunders for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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Time to check back in on some winter league action. I mentioned him two weeks ago, but we need to talk about Randall Delgado again. Since our last update, the right-hander has pitched 12 innings with 12 strikeouts, eight hits, two walks, and one earned run allowed. He currently leads the Dominican Winter League in strikeouts with 41. Here’s what I said about him last time “Delgado isn’t a lock for a spot in the rotation this spring, but he’s throwing as a starter this winter after getting only four starts in all of 2014. Two things I like about Delgado are his strikeout numbers and his age/potential for more growth. Last season he posted a 10.0 K/9 in 77+ innings pitched and his FIP was a full run lower than his ERA.” He now has an 11.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 33 innings in the DWL. While he’s currently listed as long relief on the Diamondbacks’ depth chart, I really think he’s going to get his chance to start at some point this year and run with it. Entering 2012, Delgado was listed as Baseball America’s #46 prospect. He was still with the Braves at that point, then was traded in 2013 along with Martin Prado in the Justin Upton deal. The Diamondbacks looked like the losers, but the jury is still out on Delgado at just 24 years old. This has prospect fatigue and breakout written all over it. Here are some other recent highlights from the winter leagues…

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This index is a compilation of the American League top ten prospect lists publishing this offseason at Razzball. Click on a team name to view the original posts with commentary on each player listed. Clicking on a player’s name will take you to their Razzball player page with stats, projections, etc. The index will be updated as each new top ten is released, but the rankings will not change once they are posted.

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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:

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If you are gluten free, you might want to be careful of this post, because to draft Jedd Gyorko again in 2015, after what he did last year, you need to be a gluten for punishment. I am spelling that right, right? (Stutterer!) On a side note, I want to open a gluten-free bakery that isn’t really gluten-free called Gluten for Punishment because I have a theory that there’s no such thing as gluten-free people. How else do large companies sell another loaf of bread to people who usually only buy one loaf a week? Make up a fake ailment and then a product to sell to them. Now people are buying a loaf of regular bread and another loaf for the one person in their family that is supposedly gluten-free. The Padres are actually the good news and the bad news. The good news, who on earth else are the Padres going to bat in the middle of their order besides Gyorko? The bad news, they have no one else to bat in the middle of the lineup other than a guy that hit 10 homers last year and .210. The mostly good news that was bad news, he was hurt last year. Reason why that was not completely good news is no one knows if his ailment will flare up again. Though, no one really knows if he was actually hurt and not just so crizzappy that he was benched under the guise of being hurt. I’m going to assume he was hurt, since he had a walking boot on. If Jedd was wearing a walking boot just to throw people off his scent, Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity did a less involved insurance scam. Or Gyorko just has seriously funky feet and the walking boot was literally meant to throw people off his scent. This is neither here nor there or there nor here or there-here or here-there. He was bad last year. Luckily, we’re now talking about 2015. Uppercase yay. Anyway, what can we expect of Jedd Gyorko for 2015 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (23) | 2013 (24) | 2012 (27) | 2011 (11) | 2010 (18)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [73-89] NL East
AAA: [66-78] International League – Lehigh Valley
AA: [66-76] Eastern League – Reading
A+: [49-89] Florida State League – Clearwater
A: [53-84] South Atlantic League – Lakewood
A(ss): [33-43] New York-Penn League – Williamsport

Graduated Prospects
Ken Giles, RHP | Cesar Hernandez, 3B

The Gist
The rebuilding process has begun in Philadelphia with an aging core and bloated contracts on their way out between now and 2017. Cole Hamels returned from offseason surgery to have another great season in 2014, and he could either be a part of the next good Phillies team or trade bait for some nice prospects along the way. The younger talent is already starting to arrive. Ken Giles emerged as a major force in the bullpen and could be the next closer once Papelbon is gone. Maikel Franco is on the verge of being an everyday player and should be an asset in fantasy leagues soon. The farm system is relatively thin, but there are some toolsy prospects in there. They are just too far away to be relevant in most leagues at the moment. If the organization is able to move veterans in trade this year and next, the farm could get very healthy very quickly. The Phillies’ first round pick in 2014 was Aaron Nola – a college arm that has a good shot at cracking the rotation in the spring of 2016.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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