We’ve reached the end of the line for Cole Hamels‘ viability.  It happens to everyone.  Robert De Niro went from Meet the Fockers, a respectable comedic turn as Rex Reed likely said, to total garbage.  Maybe Hamels throws a couple of good games here and there, just as De Niro might have a scene or two here and there after the Fockers.  Silver Linings Playbook wasn’t all bad, but if you’re going to see a movie because of De Niro, you’re about to sit through crap that he did for money.  Hamels is heading out there with a 6-ish K/9 and starring in Last Vegas.  His xFIP and velocity look like Dirty Grandpa.  Hamels’ walk rate is still not right and you’ve walked into the wrong theater and now you’re watching The Intern and a grandmother is standing in front of the exit telling you to sit back down.  I want out!!!  Please God!!!  I would attempt to sell Hamels before it’s too late.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If only Adam Jones had gotten injured that headline would’ve been perfect. Well, it looks like we are in the thick of baseball injury season! When I went to put this week’s article together, I had 20 players listed that I needed to check out. Luckily, some guys like Brian Dozier, Logan Forsythe and Gregory Polanco were back in their team’s line-ups by the time came for me to check out their current status. Other guys like Jarrett Parker, Mallex Smith and James Kaprielan aren’t really fantasy relevant enough to worry about. But if you are in a deep or AL/NL-only league, feel free to ask me about anyone you want in the comments. Also, many of my fill in recommendations are for deeper leagues, so if you want to know who to pick up in shallower leagues, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments as well! 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This morning, I decided to look at my deepest NL-only league to see who the highest-ranked player who went undrafted was. It didn’t take long to find him: as of Tuesday morning, Anthony Senzatela was ranked as the eleventh most valuable pitcher in standard, mixed 5×5 fantasy baseball leagues. My NL–only league includes a fairly complex farm system as well, so it is beyond hard to find a diamond in the rough, since most minor league players with any decent prospect status at all were drafted years ago. It’s clear why Senzatela slipped through the cracks, though – he was a mid-level prospect at best, who entered spring training as a long shot to be part of a pitching rotation in the worst pitchers’ ballpark baseball has ever seen…

Will Senzatela still be the eleventh best pitcher in fantasy at the end of 2017? Uh, no. We’d have to expect some major bumps along the way even if half of his starts weren’t going to come at Coors Field. But he’s owned in just 20% of Yahoo leagues (21% of ESPN), which I think is too low. I am basing this almost entirely on the gut feeling I had while watching him pitch. In fantasy, upside can be overrated: just ask the Robert Stephenson owner in the league I mentioned above. Stephenson has been taking up a minor league spot on his owner’s roster for four years now. Even worse, now that he’s on the big club and his owner feels pot-committed to him, Stephenson and his 5.40 ERA are taking up a valuable active roster spot. There is no guarantee that even the highest-ranked prospects will even reach star status, either in real baseball or the fantasy variety. Taking a flyer on gut feeling won’t always work out either, and sometimes can be fairly disastrous, but it’s a risk that I think you need to take from time to time in a deep league. Otherwise, how will you ever find this year’s Junior Guerra — that guy whose past statistics make you absolutely sick to your stomach, but looks damn good on the mound every time you watch him pitch… and before you know it, has been a major contributor to the success of your single-league team.

Moving on to some other deeper-league names, starting with the AL…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Joining Paul Hollywood at The Great Britton’s Brach Off is Orioles’ manager, Buck Showalter.  Showalter said, “Craig Gentry (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) hit a home run with his leadoff Battenberg cake even if it is missing the mark on OBP, but I love its moistness, and I apologize for using the word moist.”  Trey Mancini (3-for-5, 4 RBIs, and his 3rd and 4th homers) was crowned this week’s Star Baker, beating out Mark Trumbo (2-for-5, 1 run), who was in the cleanup spot, saying, “Why do these people have to use so many pots and pans?”  The Great Britton’s Brach Off didn’t end without losing one baketestant.  Zach Britton over-whisked his meringue and left with a forearm strain.  The Brits are calling it, Zaxit.  So, Britton will be out for at least ten days with Brad Brach filling in, behind Brach will be Darren O’Day, who sounds too IRA to me, then behind him will be Mychal Givens, who is Mike Tyson and Robin Givens’ child.  Buck Showalter said he hopes Britton will be ready in ten days, but forearm strains don’t work that way, so you should grab Brach, at least.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m not a woman.
I’m not a man.
I am something that you refer to as Fantasy Master Lothario.
I’ll never beat you (except in fantasy, that is my pledge).
I’ll never lie (except about how much I once liked Josh Rutledge).
And you’re evil but unless Rougned Odor disappoints I’ll forgive you!
Cause baseball will start 4 2!

*takes a long inhale* Can you smell the freshly cut grass?  No, because it’s still freezing in half the country?  Where’s your climate change now, Al Gore?!  I’m so hyped up about Opening Day, I’m slangin’ bean pies like Ice Cube and picking up and dropping catchers for s’s and g’s!  *goes to my Yahoo fantasy team page*

All right, so I guess I’m not making changes to my Yahoo team on this glorious of splendiferous days.  This day that is more beautiful than Giancarlo’s tukis.  This day that is the most frou-frou of all catchpennies!  Okay, I think my thesaurus steered me wrong on that last one.  On a sappy level, this was a weird offseason, and I’m glad to put the real world in my rearview mirror for six glorious months, and worry about nothing but winning as many fantasy baseball leagues as I can, and helping everyone along the way.  Now who was it again that had Greg Bird (0-for-4, but batted third; yes, you should own him) ranked higher than everyone else?!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Dancer!  On Prancer!  On–Oh, I didn’t hear you come in.  Welcome, reader!  Grab some egg nog and brandy it up to the fire.  You look festive.  I love that Rudolph tongue ring.  That’s the great thing about Christmas, no matter what your interpretation is, it’s all about commercialism.  That’s unless you light the Munenori Kawasaki. The 2017 fantasy baseball rankings are not far away.  Right now, January Grey is throwing darts at a board to figure out where to rank Jay Bruce.  Exciting!   In the meantime, let’s look at the players who have multiple position eligibility for this upcoming 2017 fantasy baseball season.  The biggest surprise from this list?  Marwin Gonzalez played how many games at 1st base?  Hayzeus Cristo!  I did this list of multi-position eligible players because I figured it would help for your 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  I’m a giver, snitches!  Happy Holidays!  I only listed players that have multiple position eligibility of ten games or more played outside of their primary position.  Not FIVE games at a position, not six, definitely not seven. Ten games.  10, the Laurel & Hardy of numbers.  So this should cover Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, et al (not the Israeli airline).  Yes, Christmas came two days early this year.  Players with multiple position eligibility are listed once alphabetically under their primary position.  This is the only time a year I do anything alphabetically, so I might’ve confused some letters.  Is G or H first?  Who knows, and, better yet, who cares?  Wow, someone’s got the Grinchies, must be the spiked egg nog talking.  Anyway, here’s all the players with multiple position eligibility for the 2017 fantasy baseball season and the positions they are eligible at:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryon Healy couldn’t have come at a better time for the A’s.  Their corner infidels were about as weaksauce as they come.  Mark Canha?  More like Can’t-hit.  Andrew Lambo?  More like ‘that Lambo is bahhhd.’  Yonder Alonso?  More like ‘over Yonder’ as in everyone’s over him in value.  Though, looking at Healy’s minor league numbers, he doesn’t look much better.  However, Josh Donaldson wasn’t much to look at in the A’s minor league system either.  It wasn’t until he came up and the A’s adjusted his swing to get more lift than a Beverly Hills surgeon.  Not saying in 2017, Healy will be Donaldson, but we shouldn’t write him off as a 15-homer hitter either, as his minor league numbers may indicate.  Why didn’t the A’s give Canha, Lambo, Alonso and others the patented lift?  An anecdote to illustrate:  for a few months, I wore shoe heels like Tom Cruise to give myself an extra two inches.  It was impossible to tell I had them in, they elongated me!  I looked like Fred Astaire (as old people told me)!  But after a few months, I got bunions the size of pearl onions and couldn’t walk.  I had to stop with the lift because it wasn’t natural and making things worse.  Maybe those other players couldn’t do the lift because it didn’t feel natural to them.  Of course, none of this matters for this year.  I’d grab Healy for the last ten days.  Doode’s fahrenhot!  Doode is straight butter that a professional hibachi chef puts on a sizzling lobster tail!  Doode’s Kurt Russell in Backdraft!  Healy is a social worker at a female prison that married a Russian mail-order bride!  Wait, that last one is a plot point for a Netflix show.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In order to be competitive, the Marlins would need All-Stars at every position all farmed from their minor league system.  Sorta like what the Cubs have managed to do.  Not impossible, but that’s what it would take for the Marlins because they are cheap AF.  By the way, AF is my favorite acronym.  Props to whoever first started using it.  Feels like it started on Twitter because of the character limit.  Keeps shizz short and simple AF, kinda like me (short and simple).  Any the hoo!  I was saying the Marlins need to be precise AF (I’m overusing it now) with their minor league system like they were with Jose Fernandez.  He’s AF as AF comes.  His nickname should no longer be Jo-Fer but AF.  Or maybe AF-Fer.  Nah, that looks like a trade union.  A-Fer?  That looks like algebra.  Fernandez should own Abercrombie & Fitch he’s so AF.  Yesterday, Jose Fernandez went 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks and 12 Ks.  He has 253 Ks in 182 1/3 innings.  Seriously, digest that for a second.  WTF AF?!  Of course, I wish the Marlins would shut him down until 2017, but I have no chance of owning him next year.  Not that I don’t love him.  He’s the best pitcher in the game if I’m building a dynasty league.  Yeah, I said it.  I want him over Kershaw.  Kershaw has been durable up until this year, but all pitchers are durable up until the point when they’re not.  At one point, Jake Peavy was durable AF, too.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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?