Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and the illustration next to it was Salvador Perez’s abuelita. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back.” I thought I knew what love was. I owned Javier Baez in every league I could grab him, but what did I know? Those minor league days are gone forever. He’s got to let them go! I can see you, Baez, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby. And I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong. Not Giancarlo strong, but strong never the hoo! Baez’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie — 23 homers, 16 steals and a .260 average in only 104 games. What are you? A 35/25 guy at shortstop? Why stop there? Why not just dress up like the Sun-Maid girl and feed me shrunken grapes? What? It’s my fantasy! Like Don Henley and later The Ataris sang, I grabbed Baez in every league that I could. He might not be any better than, say, Danny Santana this year, his K-rate in the minors is a little scary, and he might hit .220. Whatevs, it’s an upside gamble, which I like at middle infield. I’m guessing Baez will play 2nd base, Arismendy (I still love you!) will move to center field and one of the Cubs platooners will sit. To paraphrase Harry Caray, if the moon was made of Javier Baez would cha eat it? Well, would cha? I would! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!
What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).
Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!
Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.
A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…Please, blog, may I have some more?
As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.
On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.
July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Cardinals traded for one of the most unreliable starters this year, Justin Masterson and his 5.51 ERA. Ouch. The Cardinals fell asleep and the Indians drew a shaft and balls on their forehead. People are snickering at you, Cardinals, because you have a shaft and balls on your head. Unless it’s a non-Leaning Tower of Pisa that is partially obscuring a tractor trailer so all we’re seeing is its giant wheels. Then, it’s a lovely scenic landscape, but you still got had. This saves the Brewers a lot of trouble because I heard they were going to trade for Masterson and then ‘accidentally’ leave him behind on their next road trip to St. Louis. No reason to obfuscate, my dear Milwaukee friends. Masterson gets a slight uptick in value just going to the NL, but he needs to prove he’s healthy and able to throw a Quality Start before I’d start him anywhere. So, he’s gone from a Waiver Wire guy, to an On My Bench Until He Shows Something guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We’re well into the second half of the season now… are you still with us? You haven’t given up yet? Good. Fantasy baseball is a game of stamina, and if you’re still scouring the waiver wire while others are quickly losing interest or preparing for their fantasy football drafts, now is your chance to make a run. Me? I’m still sore after losing Tanaka. Not to mention Tulo walked out on me when I needed him the most. Regardless, I like to think we’re more than just providers of fantasy advice here at Razzball, we’re also a sound piece for all your fantasy frustrations. I always tell my friend(s)– “don’t ask me how I’m doing, ask me how my team is doing”, because more often than not, that is deciding factor for my mood. So today, feel free to sound off in the comments why you’re so upset with your team right now. Why won’t Harper just hit five homers in a week? Why won’t anyone trade with you? Really Stephen Strasburg? Really!? Why did you draft Justin Verlander and why didn’t you draft Jose Abreu? Here’s your chance to let it all out, because god knows your spouse/significant other/barber/sibling/probation officer/mother/cat doesn’t want to hear about your GD fantasy team. Well, I feel your pain my over-the-internet-friend. And I’m listening.
Here’s what happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?
With the All Star Game, we were all witness to the unpredictability of baseball. It’s a long haul, and on draft day in March, very few, if any of us, would have picked Charlie Blackmon to make the All-Star Game roster for the National League. But that’s the case, and Blackmon, along with several other surprises, was most likely scooped up very late in drafts or off of the waiver wire in most fantasy leagues. For this week’s post we’ll look at four players, including Blackmon, whose average draft position (ADP) was 260 or higher but who currently find themselves in the Top 50 on both the ESPN and Razzball player raters. These players had phenomenal first halves but the question most fantasy owners want answered is whether or not they will keep it up. Are they “trash” or “treasure”? Will they carry teams to victory in September or are they about to implode? It’s hard to call any of these guys trash the way they have performed, but some may be more reliable than others going forward. Since all of these playerss have been good, I’ll use the term “TRASH” to designate the guys that are holds instead of buys. I’m not recommending they be dropped or sold for pennies on the dollar. Here are four names that came out of the woodwork in the player rater’s top 50 for 2014 fantasy baseball…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Playing daily fantasy can be a bit of a grind, but when you hit big nothing feels better. However, when you get slapped upside the head with a cold streak nothing feels worse. As we hit the halfway point of the MLB season your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru has had a profitable season. Yet, when a cold streak comes a knockin’ you just have to know when to walk away and know when to run. And I’ve hit a “Winter is coming”-sized cold spell the last few days. Nevertheless, I’ve never listened to Kenny Rogers and I’m ready to dive into the deep end of the DraftKings pool. I’m coming for your cash. Or, the way things have been going lately, maybe I should just hand you mine.
Before we get to today’s picks, let’s talk some strategy. If you’re a DFS shark feel free to skip ahead, I don’t mind, I’ll still get paid by the word. We have talked a lot about hitting this year and constructing lineups. What we have not touched on is pitching. We give you the tools in the Stream-o-Nator and the DFSBot and we send the Razzball Hotsheet to your email everyday so finding the right arms shouldn’t be too tough. When it comes to choosing two pitchers on DraftKings there are three ways to go and maybe even a fourth way – which is kind of a DraftKings secret. 1) Take the two stud arms and find value bats. This is not generally the way I go, but it can be effective in some Cash Games like cheap 50/50s. 2) Punt the pitchers and load up on bats. This can work on a night like last night where there were not a lot of high priced arms and we had high over/unders in Arizona, Boston, Colorado and Texas. 3) The stud and the scrub philosophy. This is the way I usually go. Grab the one big pricey arm and one low priced arm that’s going to give you Ks and won’t get shelled. Last night I went with Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Young. It didn’t work. Tonight I will sacrifice a chicken to my Luis Tiant bobblehead in order to change my recent luck. And 4) The Mystery way. A lot of players don’t realize this, but on DraftKings if you select the “All” option on the roster page it will show a complete list of players that includes relievers. And they are cheap! The other night I started Hisashi Iwakuma and grabbed Kevin Quackenbush for $2000. Iwakuma had a big night and Quackenbush outscored Tyler Matzek – who was one of the cheapest pitchers of the night but still triple the price of the Quackenbush. It cashed as I was able to take the stud bats in Arizona and Texas. It’s a risky move, but it can allow you to load up on hitters and win big. Give it a shot in a free game and let me know how it works. Come to think of it, I have should went this way last night as I owned Julio Teheran and his -6.5 points everywhere. It was a bad night and my liver is not happy.
With all the said, let’s get to the plays of the day. We do have a bit of split slate today with four games this afternoon and 11 tonight. I’ll offer up the pitching studs, scrubs and punts I like today and throw in some bonus bats in as well.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ffffffft … BANG! That’s a bottle rocket in a nutshell. Actually, a bottle rocket in a nutshell isn’t feasible. What am I talking about? Oh yeah, happy Fourth of July, America. Bottle rockets are cool, but the fun doesn’t last long, and the finale is quick and to the point. That’s going to be the theme for this week’s article, because let’s face it, everyone’s in a rush to find some sand, sea, suds, and shorties. There’s always time for a little DFS action though, so head on over to DraftKings and set a lineup before you start grilling and/or chilling. In a rush? No worries, I have some players of interest you can peep, or just fire up any of Razzball’s DFS-friendly tools like Stream-o-Nator, Hitter-Tron and DFSBot. They’ll quickly provide the guidance needed, so you can get out there ASAP and enjoy being an American. We are damn lucky, so do it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Pitching my life with his words. One time, one time. What, you don’t get down with The Fugees remix? By the by, Wyclef, musical talent, instrumental to success, pun noted. Lauryn Hill bonkers talented, pun noted. Pras? Um… Well… An actual refugee? True story, Wyclef once walked into my mom’s chiropractor office and asked her to massage his butt. My mom declined…Or so she tells me! Marcus Stroman did a little dazzle number last night — 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks — that hinted at his true talent level. Why has he looked like Pras’s career post-Fugees? Because he’s a rookie and prone to roofies. The pretty remarkbuehrle thing about his numbers thus far is he averages a 94 MPH fastball (that’s terrific) and an under 2 BB/9 (also terrific). A guy that can throw bullets and aim them will translate into an ace very quickly. To see what kind of thing the Royal We is talking about — his Triple-A numbers were 11+ K/9 and a 2.3 K/9. If that happens in the majors, he’ll be a top 10 starter. For serious. Unfortch, for now he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues with a chance for upside. Yesterday, the Stream-o-Nator liked him and next time out it loves him, so I’d give him a little how’s your father, good, thanks for asking, but he’s still risky. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?