If players are going to break out in a season, they don’t always break out the first week of a season.  I’m reminded of another Phillies player, Dominic Brown.  The year he broke out, it didn’t happen until June of that year.  Of course, in subsequent years, his swing got long like Don Johnson’s in The Harrad Experiment and rather than working his way back in the cages, Brown was preoccupied with avoiding his stalker, Tehol.  This brings us to another potential breakout, Aaron Altherr.  Or as Mystikal calls him, Altherr.  You don’t have to be scurred, he’s doing his thang.  Altherr hit two more homers yesterday (2-for-4, 4 RBIs, hitting .351), and is one of the hottest players in the majors this week.  Of course, this won’t continue, but to what degree will this tail off?  By the way, I want to be a judge at a twerking competition called a Tail Off.  In the minors, he’s shown speed (20-ish) and power (teen-ish).  With his Ks and BABIP, his average will come down a long way (maybe .250), but I see no reason why he can’t be a 17/20/.250 hitter on the year, and definitely a must own.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wonder if Freddie Freeman has Fletch-like dreams where he pictures himself with a huge afro and his name is Freddie World B. Freeman.  “He’s actually 6-5, with the afro, 6-9.  Pretty good hands, loves to hit ones deep.  His club is behind by three, and World B. Freeman drains a three-run homer!  Wow, was that some kind of hit.  You know this kid from the gritty streets of Orange County, California sure can play.”  By the way, gritty in Orange County refers to a Sonic Drive-In that has a B grade from the Health Department.  So, yesterday, Freeman put up those stats that I told you to pay a 2nd round price for — 4-for-5, 3 runs, and a double slam (1, 2) and legs (1), hitting .346 on the year.  I was truly perplexed how low I saw some people ranking Freeman in the preseason.  If anything, I think a stronger case could’ve been made to have Freeman ranked above Miggy, who was a consensus top 12 pick everywhere.  Guess Freeman could use the name Mr. Under-ranked when he sneaks into country clubs to visit Dansby Swanson (1-for-5, 1st homer, hitting .179).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For those of you expecting Dan Pants, well the pants are off today. And when the pants come off, malamoney comes out. Did I just talk about myself in third person? I love when I do that. I think Grey might have asked every Razzball writer before asking me to fill in. I’m not sure I blame him, but did he really have to ask the Chinese food delivery guy too? Just because it was Chien-Ming Wang doesn’t lessen the blow to my already diminished self esteem. Speaking of self esteem, Jon Lester was on a roll last night. I’m not a big fan of Lester, but I was watching the box score thinking to myself how much easier this post would be if he completed the no hit bid. Nonetheless, with two outs in the seventh, Hunter Pence hit 1-2 pitch over the wall that Trump is going to build to keep the illegal Mexicans out to break up Lester’s no-no. “No no” is exactly what Trump plans to say to any Mexican caught trying to scale his new wall. Rumor has it that Jorge Cantu caught Pence’s home run ball and threw it back over the wall in disgust. Then he and Yovani Gallardo put on sombreros and cracked open some cervazas. Lester went the distance giving up just three hits and the one run. He struck out four and walked two throwing just 102 pitches…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

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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?