His name is Bills because his parents were told at the hospital that you can’t put an apostrophe in a name, and got mixed up when the nurse asked, “Whose birth certificate will this be?” and they said, “Bills.” Bills is now 34 and wears jorts and an American flag tie-dyed t-shirt all year. Same ones. Doesn’t have five dozen of the same shirt and jorts, but Bills sometimes tells people he does. Bills’s jorts remain fresh because he washes them every night, though this has caused them to fray. Bills has one love, fireworks on July 4th. Bills travels all around the Midwest, picking up fireworks at 24-hour fireworks stores. Bills laughs when people question why a fireworks store would be open 24 hours a day. Bills says, “For when you can’t sleep.” Now, if Bills were to set up all his fireworks on July 3rd and fire them off at midnight on July 4th, Bills would be Jeff Luhnow. On Sunday, Carlos Correa was called up, and wasting no time, he followed that up with Vincent Velasquez, the Astros prized pitching prospect. His fireworks cannon was filled, and he’s firing! Prospector Mike said this offseason, “While Mark Appel pushes into #2 starter territory, Velasquez sits comfortably with #3 starter upside and shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s got Tommy John on the books already and missed some time this past year with a groin issue, so his development has been slowed a bit, but he’s got two plus pitches in his fastball/changeup and he survived a 55 inning stint at High-A Lancaster. Despite the missed time, Velasquez could see the majors quickly thanks to above average command of his fastball. To give you an idea of a different above-average command, ‘Die, Grey, die.'” Hey, what’s the big idea?! This year in Double-A, Velasquez had a 12.7 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and 1.37 ERA. Basically, drool, drool and more drool. I tried to grab him in every league, but I was too slow. He’s worth the flyer to see if he surprises hitters with his 95 MPH fastball and devastating change. There’s a real chance here for some fireworks for Bills. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week I implored you to consider your options in selling Steven Souza, a player who seemed to be at his peak at that time.  Yes, I told you to consider moving a player that has been stellar so far.  The thing is, what a player’s done doesn’t really move me.  All I care about is what a player is going to do.  That means past stats are only important insofar as they predict future stats.  So when I see that a player has hit 15 home runs so far, or stolen 12 bases so far, all I really care about is to what degree is that level of production sustainable.  I came to the “sell” conclusion for Steven Souza by using peripheral statstics, primarily his HR/FB% (unsustainable) and K% (too high and likely to not go down much).  Going back to a May 4th post, I mentioned  offhand that Jake Marisnick was a sell high.  His AVG/SLG at the time it was published: .382/.632.  His AVG/SLG since that time: .172/.242.  That’s not to say I’m a soothsayer.  Or to say that’s precisely how regression to the mean works.  So why did that happen?  Because baseball.  But I do think it’s an example of why we, excepting those times when peripheral stats suggest otherwise, should trust the projections and use the peripheral stats they are based on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The title comes from Rudyard Gamble’s novel about a young Astros prospect named Carlos Correa that is saved by a non-Portuguese man named Jeff. Jeff Luhnow is his full name, and he’s the only straight man named Jeff in the northern hemisphere. A point that Rudyard only alludes to in the 4th chapter, when he says, “As he read the Doppler radar outputs that track the ball in three dimensions, Jeff chewed corn from the cob, careful to not disturb his mustache that still had the fragrance of a dame.” The adventure novel is full of twists and turns. Correa is signed as a 17-year-old in 2012 and hits, then is called up to Single-A and hits, then is called up to High-A and hits, then is called up to Double-A–Now that I think about it, it’s pretty straightforward. Not too many twists. Correa hits everywhere he goes. According to the novel, Correa even succeeds when he comes upon a fellmonger on the Appalachian plain. Rudyard’s adventure novel first appeared in serialisation form in SABReader’s Digest underneath the horoscope. A fact that once disturbed Rudyard, but when his horoscope read, “The two-plus months of waiting are over, Correa’s being called up,” even he took pause. Any the hoo! I already went over my Carlos Correa fantasy about two weeks ago. I told everyone to grab him then, so the same holds true now. If you don’t think you have room, think of the trouble Jeff, Rudyard and Correa went through to make this possible. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After beginning his career almost no-hitting the Red Sox through six innings last Saturday, the legend of Chi Chi Gonzalez, whether I mean that ironically or not, continued Friday night with a complete game 3-hit shutout of the Kansas City Royals for his second win. He allowed just five base runners in all, striking out two. Oh, hello there. I am now intrigued. *Raises eyebrow, googles stats* Err. O…k. Despite my intriguement, in 43.1 innings at AAA, Chi Chi posted a 4.15 ERA with a 26/19 K/BB rate. Hmm. Well, that’s not very good at all. Still, I am not one to stare a gift horse in the butt. That’s how you get kicked in the teeth. Gonzalez has now pitched 14.2 scoreless innings to start his MLB career, allowing just five hits. Let’s focus on that. So maybe he’s almost walked twice as many batters as he’s struck out. Fair enough. I’m not saying he’s here to save your team, but he gets the Oakland A’s next week and should certainly be worthy of a ping on your fantasy radar at this point.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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I loved when Junior Lake homered the other day and, as he rounded first base, he held his finger to his lips, shushing the Marlins dugout, as if he was some kind of maniacal librarian. The only disappointing thing from this whole encounter is no one wrote an article titled, “Junior Mince Words.” It’s that kinda of braggadocio, WWE-type attitude that makes Grey’s man muscles tingly. Baseball needs to shed its 1920s demeanor and get rowdy-bawdy. If rowdy-bawdy means acting a fool, what the eff, go for it! The game is losing fans and fans want crazy/stupid/cool. Even in the conservative Japan, baseball players flip their bats like they’re cutting up an imaginary origami crane. I say everyone needs to come up with their own home run trot and pitchers need to blow on their gun finger after a K. As for Junior Lake, I’m a big fan outside of the theatrics. He’s a 12-homer, 15-steal guy that should play most days until Soler returns. I’ve added him everywhere I could. After I added him, I shushed my hand on my mouse. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To paraphrase Collective Soul, “Diamondbacks, your cup runneth over with outfielders. Don’t scream about! Don’t think aloud! Trade an outfielder now, baby! Just spit him out! Don’t worry about! Don’t speak of doubt! Turn your organization’s head and spit Trumbo out!” From Collective Soul’s website (that was surprisingly not a Geocities site or Myspace), they’re still touring. Coming to a church bingo hall near you! So, the Mariners acquired Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno for Welington Castillo, Dominic Leone, Jack Reinheimer and Gabby Guerrero. During one of the games I took in at spring training this year, I screamed at Guerrero, “Hey, number ninety-two,” because I had no idea who he was and the media guide only went up to ninety-one. Then I jawed at Guerrero for about ten minutes, giving him a little taste of some major league heckling. Now that I realize who he was, it turns out we were both Gabby. This doesn’t do anything major to anyone’s value. Diamondbacks were one of the best team offenses in this little thing we call reality, so if anything, Trumbo takes the smallest of hits. Park-wise, Mark can be Trumbomb or Trumboner anywhere, so I’m not concerned. The ones that get the biggest value boost here are David Peralta (2-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs) and Castillo. Welington relocates his boeuf to the desert and becomes an everyday catcher with 15-homer power and a .270 average. Definitely grab him in NL-Only and two-catcher leagues. Peralta will have a chance to prove himself, but he’s more of a 14-homer, 8-steal guy, so nothing huge. This does stop the Diamondbacks from benching A.J. Pollock (2-for-4, 2 runs, 7th homer, and 2nd in as many games; grab him!), Ender Inciarte (0-for-5) and Yasmany Tomas (3-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) when Jake Lamb returns. Or as Lamb would say, “Not baaaaah for either team.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Adrian Beltre was diagnosed with a dislocated left thumb. The doctor said it could be anywhere, his glove compartment, upstairs by the hamper, in the basement by the weights we bought you in high school that you never used. Beltre will miss two to three weeks. So… the Rangers called up Joey Gallo! *searching Gallo on Google, coming across Orson Welles commercial outtakes* Damn, that Orson guy was a genius. Orson Bean too. You cannot go wrong with the name Orson! Could Gallo be Orson-like? I think he can, but, like the dentist tells you, there’s some caveats. Here’s what I said this offseason, “I get the sneaking suspicion that Gallo is going to be The Return of the Sucky Average Lagoon Monster, who was played briefly last year in an off-Broadway revival by Chris Carter. In Double-A last year, Gallo had a 39.5% strikeout rate. That’s absurd. That’s the same rate historians have said Babe Ruth had after an all-night bender with Fatty Arbuckle when Ruth showed up and accidentally went up to bat still wearing his sleep mask. Fun fact! Sleep masks for the wealthy used to be made from raw hamburger patties. So, with Gallo wearing a raw hamburger on his eyes, is there any chance here of him hitting above .200? Not if he can’t tame his strikeouts. Right now, he’d probably hit .150 in the majors. Jot noking, Spooner. Luckily, for the sake of all that is holy, I don’t think he’s going to break camp with the club and will have time to fix his swing tendencies. His power is completely for real, and I think he could hit 30 homers in the major leagues right now. Like the bowling alley that doesn’t cater to dwarfs, no small feat there. He’s only going to be 21 years old, so 30 homers from a guy that young is crazy.” And that’s me quoting me! So, did Gallo fix his swing tendencies this year in the minors? No, not really. His strikeout rate in the minors so far is 33.6%, which is awful for Double-A, and the Rangers have specified that Gallo is merely a two to three week call-up while Beltre gets right. I’d grab Gallo for power in any league, but not at the expense of anyone that worthwhile. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m taking questions after my Ted Talks on fantasy baseball. I adjust my headset mic, pull on my turtleneck. Going Steve Jobs today wasn’t the best of ideas. This turtleneck is itchy. “You, in the front row.” “First off, the stuff you said blew my mind. I never knew electromagnetism had anything to do with fantasy baseball. Your square root stuff seemed like it came from a supercomputer. But a supercomputer with a mustache. And older supercomputers fawning over it. Supercomputer Cougars, if you will. So, my question for you is who does Kyle Hendricks remind you of?” “Alex Wood. Next question, you.” The Sun-Maid Raisin Box Girl stands up, “Do you know I’m a Cougar?” *shoots up in bed, dripping in sweat* Whoa, I just had the weirdest dream. Left Side of My Brain, “Or was that reality?!” AH!!! So, Hendricks pitched a gem the other day. His 2nd gem in a row, and I took a long hard look at him, then didn’t mention him the other day because I wanted to highlight him here. I agree with Dream Grey, he does look like Alex Wood. Only Alex Wood when he’s on point. Right now, Hendricks has a 7 K-rate, 1.9 BB/9 and a 3.77 xFIP. Wood throws a curve more, but their velocities are very close on the fastball, too. Both have 50%+ ground ball rates, which makes them prone to BABIP. Hendricks is not a potential ace, but he should be owned in far more leagues and looks like a solid fantasy #3 with #2 upside based on luck. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I want to get back to sleep and see the Sun-Maid Raisin Box Girl. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Felix Hernandez went 9 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners with 8 Ks, but wasn’t the best pitcher in yesterday’s gaymey. Damn! I wrote the preceding sentence in drool hanging from my mouth while looking at Chris Archer‘s stats, and got to the very end before my drool failed me, sorta like Boxberger failed the Rays. This post will be one part fawning over Archer, two parts awe and three parts peyote. Speaking of peyote, why are there jam bands, but not jelly bands? I put on 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover by Garfunkel’s old partner and fell asleep. When I woke, I started singing, “Chris, there is something you can do to make me smile again. I said I appreciate that and would you please explain the fifty ways you can fix my ratios. You just throw a backdoor curve, swerve! Make a new game plan, man! You don’t need to be coy, 12 Ks — oh, boy! Just get yourself free to pitch every fifth day! Hop on the Nats bus and explain it to Effin Strasburg! You don’t need to discuss much because you are so clutch! Just drop off the key and stay with me! There’s fifty ways I can leave my Cougar!” Yesterday, Archer’s line was 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners, 12 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.12. Fancy area code you got there! The crazy thing is his K-rate is 10.9, walk rate is 2.7 and xFIP is 2.59, which means he’s as good as he seems. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week I recommended Shawn Tolleson, a player that seemed on the cusp of closerdom.  The closer’s role is now his and even though they have a player in Keone Kela that is being groomed for the role (thanks for the tip, Smokey!), it is my belief that Tolleson will stay the closer until he loses the job by blowing saves, but that could be said of just about any closer.  This week it’s time to turn our attention to the happenings in Seattle, where Fernando Rodney has an ERA of 6.23 so far this year.  I’ve previously recommended Danny Farquhar but he’s been almost as bad as Rodney. Both of them sport BABIPs of about .350 so it’s been some bad luck in addition to bad pitching.  Your answer:  Carson Smith.  Some of you have caught on already because his RCL ownership is up to 39% but it should probably be near 100%.  His ERA is 0.90 but his FIP and xFIP are 2.40 and 2.36 because his BABIP (.182) and LOB% (95.6%) are unsustainable.  So now you know where all of Rodney and Farquhar’s luck went.  The sustainable part is the solid 23:5 K:BB in 20 innings.  That’s closer material.  He could, in theory, be named the closer any day now, but unfortunately Rodney has been given a long leash so it’s not likely to happen until after the next blown save or two.

Please, blog, may I have some more?