After producing disappointing results over the first four months of the 2016 season, it was pretty clear that the Los Angeles Angels would be sellers prior to this year’s trading deadline. The problem was that, outside of Mike Trout, there didn’t appear to be too many desirable players to sell off to contending teams. Jered Weaver and Huston Street have been absolutely terrible. Garrett Richards and C.J. Cron are currently injured. Perhaps Kole Calhoun could be moved for something of value, though it’s unlikely that any serious contenders would view him as a significant upgrade for their teams. Getting another team to take on even a fraction of Albert Pujols’ massive contract would be an effort in futility. Outside of Trout, the Angels have basically been the Bad News Bears of Major League Baseball. However, there has been one bright spot for the Halos recently. This week’s most added fantasy player, 25-year-old starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (37.4% owned; +28.4% over the past week), looks to be a potential building block for the Angels going forward. Since returning from Tommy John surgery earlier this summer, Skaggs has looked like a different pitcher from the one that he was pre-injury. The velocity on his fourseam fastball has spiked to a career high 93.46 mph, and his curveball looks as good as ever. He’s followed up seven dynamite rehab starts in triple A (12.53 K/9, 1.67 ERA) with two scoreless outings (0 ER and 13 Ks in 12.1 IP) following his big league promotion just over a week ago. The big southpaw has always kept the ball on the ground (46.4% career GB%), and he’s only allowed 2 homers in 51.2 combined innings across all levels this season. If you’re looking for an upside arm down the stretch, take a flier on Skaggs.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aw, man, now we’re left with the ominous team updates of “Giancarlo Stanton is not in lineup, no other news available.”  I think I need to have a talk with him.  Maybe I’ll hide in the trunk of his car and get out when he parks in his four-car garage, then go in through the kitchen that’s got the espresso machine on the left; not the kitchen with the soft-serve machine.  What?  I memorized his Cribs episode, I never snuck in his house.  So, times are rough for Giancarlo.  The Marlins score 13 runs and he’s not even playing.  Holy sit!  Giancarlo has the lowest batting average for a qualified hitter.  Things are so bad, the other day he hit the hardest recorded ball in StatCast history, 123.9 MPH, and it was a double play.  Digging through his numbers is a little bit encouraging.  His BABIP is way below his career mark; he’s hitting .192, but could hit .250 the rest of the way.  You don’t get him for average; it’s homers you desire like I desire him.  His ground balls are through the roof.  Not literally, unless we’re talking about roofs of ant farms.  All he’s hitting is fly balls and ground balls.  His line drive rate is poor.  He usually kills fastballs.  So far, he’s a negative on them.  That was his bread and butter, and right now he’s toast.  He’s 26 years old; this should be the prime of his beef.  Instead, he’s been getting a steady diet of sliders.  That’s not real beef!  What I think is going on, he’s dealing with some health issues after his collision with OZUNA, he’s not spitting on sliders and waiting for fastballs.  Then when he gets a fastball, he hits it hard, but gets unlucky.  Can all of this be changed with me appearing mysteriously in his Snuggie?  I’m not sure.  The health is an unknown question mark.  Eventually, he should get luckier and do damage on some fastballs, assuming he’s healthy.  I wouldn’t count him out, but health has been an issue for him in the past.  If I were able to get a tasty offer for someone buying him, I could see letting him be someone else’s problem.  For now, I will wait in his bathroom wearing a shirt that matches his wallpaper, and try to ‘talk’ some encouragement into him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I missed out on Julio Urias in all of my leagues.  Shame because I was just looking at his stats the other day — 9.8 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.10 ERA and I was like, “Those can’t be real,” and he winked at me.  An interminable wink.  And I was like, “Are you winking that those stats are real or are you winking at me that they’re not?”  He didn’t answer, he just kept winking.  So, I tried to pull a fast one on him and was like, “Wink once if I should wait to pick you up, wink twice if I should pick you up now or wink three times if you’re going to be called up to be a middle reliever.”  And he winked once.  Again.  Then, like I do at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, I climbed onto his head and blew into his eye to see if he was alive.  He wasn’t.  I mean, he is, but this was just a picture of him.  Don’t be like me, don’t worry about the wink test with Urias and just grab him in all leagues.  He could be a number one starter for the time he’s in the rotation.  That’s the catch, however.  (Or is it pitch?)  He’s filling in for Alex Wood, who has triceps tightness.  Wood could be out the rest of the season (not saying he is) and Urias would still not stay in the rotation.  The Dodgers have said they will limit Urias’s innings.  He could only pitch 60 more innings this year, which is about ten starts.  My guess is he’ll pitch a few starts in the rotation, then move to the bullpen and pitch an inning or three a week.  Sound about right to you, Urias?  Wink once for yes…. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

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?

marlins

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Scott Gelman, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Miami Marlins!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

George Springer will miss six weeks with a broken wrist. I find in these times of sadness it’s best to turn to the ones you love, your family. But it’s also important to not forget why you were sad either, so you don’t lose perspective. So print out pictures of Springer’s face and paste them to your wife, kids and dog’s faces. See, aren’t you glad you have family. It’s that kind of moral support that one needs at a time like this. If they don’t allow you to paste pictures on their face, you can leave your family or paste it on their faces while they’re asleep. Fun Fact! I always fall asleep during the movie While You Were Sleeping. Power of suggestion? Perhaps. This is obviously terrible news for Springer’s owners, and I wouldn’t get too cutesy with trying to trade for him on the cheap in redraft leagues. Wrist injuries can be tricky to rock around, it’s right on time, they’re tricky. Oh, oh, oh, they’re tricky! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Steven Matz is getting the call to the majors, a day after the Mets received this call, “Earth to Mets, your season is slipping away, and stop crashing back into me.” Though, it was kinda nervy of Earth to call collect. Earth added, “Sorry, I also invested in Madoff.” Thankfully for Mets fans, the Mets accepted the charges for Earth’s call, but declined Ian Desmond’s. If you are a fan of the Mets, I’d immediately write them a strongly-worded letter to not trade for Ian Desmond. I just gave you my Steven Matz fantasy. It was written on the backside of the napkin where you wrote your phone number. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except he’s added some more wonderful to his statz (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! Sorry, I’m using a keyboard sponsored by Marcus Semien and the keys are sticky.). Matz’s IP count is now up to 90 1/3 with a 2.19 ERA and 94 Ks. Before you scoff, you scoffer, it’s in the PCL, where they use helium balloons as baseballs. I’d absolutely grab him in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I pulled up MLB.com on Wednesday morning and clicked the calendar over to Thursday’s games to get an idea of what I would be working with for tonight’s slate. I saw three night games. Yes, three.

I made the two-hour drive to New York City, and hailed a cab to 245 Park Avenue to the office of the commissioner of baseball. After a brief — 10 hour — meeting, I made my pitch, but he ruled against me and kept the slate so small. If I couldn’t convince Rob Manfred to change things up, I’m not sure how Tom Brady will do.

Alas, I emailed one of our fearless editors, and he informed me that the show must go on.

So, let’s take a look at this mess… err… mesmerizing slate. Yeah, that works.

Straight to the cash, homie.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?