I’m a stat junkie. Way back in the pre-internet days when I was just a little Magoo, I would run outside first thing in the morning to grab the daily paper so I could immediately check out the previous night’s box scores. There’s Tony Gwynn leading the league in batting average yet again. A slam and legs (before I even knew what that was) by that Bonds fellow. The Big Unit piled up another dozen Ks. Another high scoring game in Colorado. What’s the deal with that place anyway?

This fascination with statistics has led to the fantasy baseball obsession that I’m burdened with today. Only now, with all of the advanced statistics and metrics that are available at the click of a button, the obsession is worse than ever. Fortunately for you, all of the man hours that I’ve wasted poring over stats this offseason has allowed me to discover some interesting nuggets of information that I think are fantasy-relevant for the upcoming season, and I’d like to share some of them with you today. At least, I find them to be interesting and potentially useful for fantasy purposes, and I hope that you will too.

From here on out, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on hitters only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (home runs, stolen bases, batting average, counting stats) to the slightly more advanced (plate discipline, batted ball profile).

And now, without further ado, here are some interesting stats and trends to consider for the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Chris Coghlan went full Ivan Drago on Jung-ho Kang‘s knee, taking him out in a hard slide.  Kang is now done for the year, and could miss a month of next season, with a torn MCL.  That’s not the year 1150, if any Romans are reading this.  He also has a fractured fibia.  Coghlan should not be allowed to wear that Iron Mike Sharpe knee pad.  Things couldn’t be much worse for the Pirates, who will now rely on Jordache Mercer (full name).  Kang’s agent said, “It is unfortunate that what would be considered heads up baseball would cause such a serious injury.  That said, Coghlan was playing the game the way it should be played.”  Doesn’t that sound backhanded?  Like, “It’s a shame we allow 85-year-old people to drive, but that’s the law and thanks for crashing into my car.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about a few of the specific hitters and starting pitchers who I felt might be useful as well as a few who might struggle during the remainder of the 2015 MLB regular season. With just over two weeks remaining until our fantasy fates are determined, I’d like to focus on the types of players who are worth targeting and avoiding down the stretch, aka the final bears and bulls of the season. As Judge Alvin Valkenheiser would say, it’s “last chance saloon” to make a few key moves and take home your league titles, so let’s get to work.

Here are the types of players that I’m bearish on over the next couple of weeks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe because The Bastard Executioner premiered last night, but I’m feeling reminiscent for Sons of Anarchy — Jax, Clay, Peg Bundy and that Irish guy I couldn’t understand — and, specifically, to the Season 4 premiere set to Joshua James’s Coal War.  In that spirit, I ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Good Lord, when’s he gonna come!  I hate to give someone a lede soon after I just gave them a lede, but Stephen Strasburg had a line of 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk, 14 Ks, and I need to make exceptions.  As previously stated, Strasburg’s control and ERA (still at 3.98 on the year) have been all over the map like a drunk Magellan, but, as he showed yesterday, he could easily be a Cy Young candidate for 2016.  I just wish he’d wait until April of next year to show it so we can draft him for cheap.  Likely, most have moved on to fantasy football, so people will see a 3.90-ish ERA from him and under draft him next year.  That’s when we pounce like SAMCRO near an Elvis impersonator that’s not Bobby.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

1431967859-madmax-guitar

My name is Didi. My world is fire and blood. I also have some pop in my bat, and play excellent defense. I wear this metal mask on my face so I can field grounders with my teeth. I wear one shoulder pad so I can lean into the batters box, and I rescue the most beautiful virgins in my Dystopian future because I have nothing better to do. I also play for the New York Yankees, drive giant spiked vehicles and enjoy blowing things up. Didi Gregorius stayed hot Friday night going 2-for-4 with his ninth home run and 4 RBI. After struggling most of the season, the Gregorius D.I.D. has been Born Again late in the season. In the past two weeks, he’s batting .408 with 11 runs, 3 homers, 16 RBI and a .463 OBP. Grey told you to BUY Didi last week, but he’s still less than 30% owned in most leagues, so I’m telling you again. I could blame Yasiel Puig for my season’s struggles. I could blame Stephen Strasburg. I mean, I have so many people to blame! But there’s no time for that. Like Mad Max, now’s the time for balls to the wall action. Now’s the time for silver spray paint on the lips and shouts of “Witness me!” You’re trying to win this fantasy thing, right? Well, now’s the time to grab the hot bats like Didi Gregorius or the guitar-flame guy, and ride them to your championship.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As we always do about this time!  *beat drops, Grey does the worm, Grey’s iPhone alarm goes off, time to put more money in the meter*  Damn, how long was I worming for?  September 1st hits and teams expand their rosters to the Four-Oh.  Now pour some extra bullpen guys out for all the dead moments between pitcher changes.  So, what does this mean for all of us, fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!)?  It means call-ups and rookie nookie is aplenty.  Aplenty, I tell ya!  By the by, for big boned people, rather than an X-Large t-shirt, they should call them aplen-Tees.  Yeah, I just made the English language better.  High-five yourself for even knowing to read me.  *Grey worms, alarm goes off*  Damn, I need to get more coins.  At this point in the year, you need guys that are getting everyday playing time, so I’m pumped up the jam on Javier Baez (0-for-4) being called up — Javier Na Gila! — but if he’s not playing every day, he’s not helping me in redraft leagues.  I’m intrigued by Brandon Drury (0-for-4), but I’m also hesitant if he doesn’t play every day.  Hector Olivera (0-for-4) was called up, and I’ve already gave you my Hector Olivera fantasy and I do think he plays every day.  It’s a most exciting time to be alive and be fantasy balling, but don’t lose sight of the real goal here.  To get quality at-bats from guys that are playing, not to pick up a guy that will be great in 2016.  (Unless you’re in a keeper league; then, by all means, knock yourself out!  Not literally!  Ouch.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As Jeff Probst once said, “Turnabout is Johnny Fairplay,” which was his mashup of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart line, “Turn around, bright eyes,” which was co-opted by a children’s toy commercial with, “Turn around, Rainbow Brite eyes,” which was Elmore Leonard’s original name for a pedophile, which he changed to short eyes, and short people have big reason to smile, unless they’re not wearing shoes and, yesterday, Matt Shoemaker threw a one-hitter into the 8th inning.  *takes a breath, bows, exits like Tommy from this season of MasterChef*  And scene!  So, Shoemaker returned from the minors yesterday and did exactly what we’d hoped from him since March — 7 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 5 Ks.  He will remain in the rotation, but I wouldn’t indiscriminately add him in all leagues.  I would give him a shot in his next start in Oakland, and go one start at a time from there.  While you’re wearing the kid gloves for Shoemaker, hopefully you don’t accidentally Like an Instagram post from two years ago by someone you once dated that you’re now stalking.  Been there!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Soler is likely done for the year with a strained oblique.  This is one of those injuries that comes with a sigh of relief.  Yay, I don’t have to keep running Soler out there and being disappointed.  Disappointment, you are the mistress of expectation, aren’t you?  Soler fascinates me in a car crash that you rubber neck while you pass sorta way.  Here’s a preseason tweet from Peter Gammons, “John Mallee (Cubs hitting coach) says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring.  Scary good.  May be best of Cubs lot right now.”  Cubs committed to playing him, and, by the end of the year, you had to wonder if they should’ve just been committed.  If his year is over, he ends with 7 HRs, 3 SBs and a .265 average in 278 plate appearances.  Worse (yeah, it can get worse), his strikeout rate zoomed, and not in the fun way like Aretha Franklin’s zooming.  On our Player Rater, he was about as valuable as Will Venable, Brandon Moss and Jeff Francoeur.  Or make that, as craptastic as those guys.  In 2016, Soler will be one of those guys that goes in the 150 range that could be as valuable as Pollock this year, or as valuable as the Pollock that parked so close to your car you couldn’t get in your door and needed to climb through the trunk, knock down the backseat and crawl through to the steering wheel.  Time, not the magazine, will tell.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Papelbon, your new Nationals closer

Maybe the worst thing to happen on the trade deadline was something that didn’t happen.  Carter Capps to the Yankees would have been stupendous.  I wanted to see the media and baseball people lose their mind over Capps’ delivery and I think that’s exactly what would have happened had he ended up there.  But the thing that really has fantasy baseball managers in a tizzy is Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals.  As their closer.  (Yeah this old news, Grey and Smokey already beat me to Paplebon/Nationals puns.  Whatever.)  Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Joakim Soria and Jim Johnson are out of their closing job but jobs were created in the form of Ken Giles, Edward Mujica, Alex Wilson, and Arodys Vizcaino.  Now some of us might still be scrambling for players that can get some saves.  Well the Rockies have a closer spot up for grabs.  It sure took long enough, but this is something I’ve been saying would happen since Axford took that role.  Justin Miller, Rafael Betancourt, and Tommy Kahnle are the candidates to close there and that’s the order I would own them in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Corey Seager should’ve been called up already. Brucely, we’re up against it with the Dodgers. We have the aging vet, Jimmy Rollins, who looks like toast if you were to take doodie and pat it into the shape of toast and, uh, toast it. We have Justin Turner, who is having a career year but isn’t really this good and getting more slap hits than another Turner. We have Dumb Mattingly, who has Joe Torre on speed dial because he thinks Torre is still the manager of the team and Dumb is just acting as interim. We have the playoffs in their grasp. We have a team where money is no object, so if they call up Seager and bench Rollins and his contract, whatevs. We have a city that is obsessed with youth, says Debra Winger. This sounds as convoluted as True Detective. Now that I write it out, I’m surprised Seager didn’t get called up in April. I’ve refrained from tooting the Seager horn to avoid looking like a Bozo when he wasn’t called up, but I’m starting to think it could be soon, or at least within the next month. Why do we care, young prematurely balding men? Cause he looks like a young Tulo. Maybe he doesn’t steal 20 bases in a year, but he could hit 30 HRs with 10 steals and a .300 average. No, not this year, but at some point those numbers seem doable. And I’d like to do ’em! In redraft leagues, I’d now start stashing Seager, and, in keepers and dynasty leagues, he’s likely already gone, but if he’s not, oh, heck’s yeah. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?