Yeah, I did already use this title, didn’t I?! Manaea? Maeda? Tomato? Tomatto?! Let’s call the whole thing off! What’s funny is Sean Manaea and Kenta Maeda couldn’t be more different either, with the former is a lefty hard-thrower, and the other a righty craftsman…

I got a good amount of flack the first few weeks of the Pitcher Profile ranks for not moving Maeda way up, but I think he’s going to end up a pretty average pitcher in fantasy terms – something akin to a standard league SP4. Like Grey’s Pulitzer-winningMatt Harvey is sucking because of the playoff workload last year” advice on the Podcast, I’ve always maintained the entirely unique and previously un-thought “Maeda could start strong, but will fade as the league sees him more.” We’re all about the hard-hitting advice here at Razzball!

We’ve begun to see the cracks in the armor from Maeda (can’t use a different phrase because of Jeremy Lin, thanks ESPN). After a 0.36 ERA through his first 4 starts, he sported a 5.82 the next 4 heading into yesterday afternoon. Didn’t expect it to regress this fast! Comments exclaiming for a Maeda move-up in my ranks certainly went away! But within this 8-start microcosm, I indeed think Maeda is somewhere in that law of averages. So after a few requests for a Maeda profile, I decided to break down his start yesterday afternoon in a saucy matchup at Petco to see how he looks.

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Besides that Eric Prydz catchy a** song, the bullpen situation/decision in Tampa is drawing nearer and dearer to our closer hearts.  The return of the “Box” is coming, and it drums in the deep.  Now we automatically assume, myself included, that three weeks ago, Brad Boxberger would just go all cutzies like in the high school cafeteria and get his job back at the time he arrives.  Fast forward three weeks, or to now, and that situation doesn’t look like it is a foregone conclusion because look what Alex Colome is doing in the role.  He checks all the “I am keeping my job” boxes. He of the 10 saves in 10 chances, 12 K/9, 2 BB/9, BAA under two bills variety.  Those are all good things to have, and better than 15 other closers in baseball for stats across the board.  Now, I just said that I don’t see Box claiming what’s his right away, but it could happen, because loyalty rules everything around baseball.  So if you own Colome and can get Boxberger before he gets noticeable stats on the cheap, I advise to do so.  If you own Boxberger and don’t own Colome, well, the price will be higher because the people that own him can read stats just as easily as I can type them out for you.  So be proactive as we reach the quarter post in the fantasy year, and for giggles, stay around as I find some goofy things to learn you…

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Matthew Wisler threw a gem yesterday — 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 Walks, 4 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.24.  Or if you like portmanteaus and/or vomit — Matthrew up a gem.  By the by, after anyone says their name is Matthew, do you always want to say, “Gesundheit?”  “Name for the cup?”  “Matthew.”  “Wow, it’s allergy season, huh?”  That’s me as a barista, a job I never had.  I’ve actually held one real job in my entire life.  I’m like Mark Cuban without the money.  Since I own Wisler in more leagues than I care to admit, I watched the whole game.  Prolly first time I watched one of my pitchers while listening to the opposing broadcast, but you cannot beat the Mets announcers for a broadcast booth or for stories about insane cocaine intake in the 80s.  Wisler was dancing a 94 MPH fastball just at the knees, spinning a backdoor curve that had Neil Walker look more like Neil Statue.  Duda?  Go take a doodie, it’d be more productive than facing Wisler!  Asdrubal?  Well, he actually hit the ball hard.  Quite a few Mets did.  It was like, “Matthew!  Damn, I think I caught something,” and the Braves would look up with a ball in their glove.  So, Wisler’s performance last night was a gorgeous line, but I wouldn’t go near him outside of the deepest of leagues.  In shallower leagues, Matthew?  God bless you for last night, but I don’t need those tissues.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Scout and Razzball teamed up to bring you 12-team mixed league slow drafts, and, when I say slow, I mean that I’ve seen paint dry faster and with more upside.  It’s exactly like our 12-team, mixed Razzball Commenter League drafts (there still might be a few spots), but in this league there’s two catchers, no waivers and 44 rounds.  So, I guess, it’s really not that similar to the RCLs.  No waivers changes everything.   I would never draft two top starters in a regular mixed league, let alone one in a 12 team league, but when you can’t pick up a starter off waivers or stream, it changes the dynamic.  You can’t worry about upside as much as you need to make sure you have innings when a rash of injuries hits.  Same with hitters.  Upside is nice, but at-bats are even nicer when you lose five outfielders to injuries in July.  This kind of leagues makes John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt and Tyler Flowers appealing.  Dot dot dot.  Okay, nothing makes Tyler Flowers appealing.  Anyway, here’s my 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page.  Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom.  I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy.  It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that.  Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either.  Add in the fact that I remember my first beer…  So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks.  The NSVH question…  I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it.  Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever?  That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance.  The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know.  I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss.  So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.

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A bullpen battle is like watching a boxing match with a blind man in one corner, and a one-legged man in the other.  The ole’ mantra of never paying for saves is the cattle call of many Razzballians, but in leagues that we all pay, in terms of saves there has to be some semblance of order, and ADP plays a huge part in that.  No one ever admits to paying up for saves, but when push comes to shove in your draft, more times than not, you are most likely jumping at the chance to own an elite closer.  I love being the fifth guy to draft a closer.  It allows me the extra round to grab another essential roster piece, and since I am awesome at my craft, I tend to get my pick of the litter of who I really want.  Listen, not everyone pays for saves, but it isn’t an awful thing to do.  They do only really count for one category, with parts of another, but in reality, so does a hitter drafted in the eighth round.  That eighth round product isn’t going to give you, at best, a five share in a points league (minus Billy Hamilton).  He is the same product that we are saying don’t pay for and falls firmly into the SAGNOF sandbox.  So I am here to tell you that paying for saves is okay, but within reason of course.  Don’t be a lemming and get sucked into a bidding war or a run scenario where it leaves you completely short after the draft without any saves to speak of.  So here are some strategies and basic ideas I like to use for approaching saves based on formats and for giggles, we’ll be looking at some ADP stuff after my advice.  Cheers!

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Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, took the podium yesterday and said, “Whether it’s the speed of the game, popularity of the game — as indicated by TV ratings — the amount of open-handed palm grabs of a crotch or spousal abuse, we will not become the NFL.  For better or worse, the number seven is indivisible under God and so are we!”  And with that, Our Man Fred suspended Aroldis Chapman for 30 games.   Trying to stay positive, Aroldis commented that he would not appeal the suspension but that “I am very glad I can still own a gun; I am getting married, after all.”  One of the top closers takes a huge hit in value, I knocked him out of my top 100 for 2016 fantasy baseball, and took him down in my top 500.  His auction value dropped from $20 to $9.  Hopefully, he can make up lost salary with endorsements for Smith & Wesson and as the opening act for Smif-N-Wessun.  A double threat of new income!  Andrew Miller received a slight boost, as well.  There’s also a long shot scenario that the Yankees are comfortable with Miller in the ninth, when Aroldis returns, and Chapman becomes the world’s best setup man.  Before you scoff, you scoffer, it’s not like Miller isn’t good.  Gun to my head, I’d draft Miller in any league.  Unless it was Aroldis’s gun, then I’d politely ask him who he wants me to draft and tell him I’ll happily marry him.  By the by, in just a few short years, Aroldis has been caught leaving a woman tied to his hotel room bed, choking a woman and firing gunshots.  It’s no wonder this is his new Topps baseball card.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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What goes through J-FOH’s head when he does these ranks? I’m glad you asked. Wait… you didn’t ask? Are you sure? No? Not at all? Sheesh, thanks guys… and four girls. I’m going to be my usually contrarian self and tell you anyway. I’m looking at players from their floor to their ceilings over the next 3-5 years (and beyond). I’m looking at games played over the previous few seasons, projecting risk going forward, and predicting how they will age based on their skill set. A player whose value is heavily dependent upon speed will usually lose that speed going into the 30’s and players with power will usually keep that a little bit longer. There are always guys who defy the odds like David “I never juiced” Ortiz or Adrian Beltre. They are a special breed that should never be slept on ’til the day they retire. There is science, stats, and anecdotal B.S., and then there are “those guys”. Joey Bats and those sweet bat throws would fall into that class for me. Excuse me while I preach for a second. I love bat flips. I think they should be mandatory for any home run after the 7th, 6th for the Yankees. This is a kids game that is suppose to be fun and guys like Mad Bum need to either throw the punch or shut the front door. Any a-hole can stand there shouting with a team behind him. At least Robin Ventura had the cojones to try and fight. (I want that shirt!) Now that we have my major side track out of the way, let’s move down to some words about the list before we get to the list. Note to self, take an english class at the local adult education center next year.

Take on your favorite writers in the 2016 Razzball Commenter Leagues! Join here

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A few weeks ago, we looked at some interesting hitter stats over the last few years. If you didn’t find the stats and trends that were highlighted in that article to be particularly interesting, at least you might have been mildly amused by the inclusion of names such as Jack Cust, Candy Nelson, and Silver Flint. Today, it’s the pitchers’ turn. Perhaps I can find an excuse to reference Cannonball Titcomb in this post. There’s only one way to find out! (spoiler alert: he won’t be mentioned again)

Just as I did in the hitter edition of this series, 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 pitchers only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (strikeouts, win-loss record, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP) to the slightly more advanced (K/BB ratio, LOB%, batted ball profile, SwStr%).

Let’s get to it. Here are some interesting pitcher stats and trends to consider entering the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

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With every first list or preseason edition of anything, there comes question marks. Lots of ifs and buts, with no real sound determination until we actual see the product. I am pretty sure Jane Austen’s first attempt at Pride and Prejudice was an abomination because who knew if Elizabeth Bennett was up to the task of being wifey material? It turns out that I can win a bet and correlate anything into the bullpen situations of the current MLB teams. Until injuries, demotion or a better option arises, we have to go by two main instincts: former ability and common sense. So the list is based off of the news to date that we have gotten on all the potential closers to date and for gigg’s I have ranked them accordingly. I have been doing bullpens for a long time and have been wrong on a few occasions, but I am not the manager or GM for the team pulling the strings, I am merely a fantasy writer. So here is the Spring training edition of the Closer rankings, their set-up men, and the cuffs we covet for fantasy in 2016.

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