With the time when prospects are called up and Memorial Day upon us, it’s appropriate for us to take this time to walk past the fallen rookies of the past. Sorta like the Rites of Passage walk on Survivor when they burn all of the Survivors’ belongings that didn’t make it to the end. When I write it out, it sounds like something Germany did in the 1940s. Any the hoo! Here we have the number one pick in the 2008 MLB draft, Tim Beckham. Actual Keith Law quote, “(Beckham has) the best chance of anybody in this draft pool to be a superstar.” Not Buster Posey (drafted a few picks after him), but Beckham. Next up, Jesus Montero and Zach McAllister. Actual Keith Law quote from a chatscript: Question, “Could Montero be an All-Star level 1B?” Answer from Law, “Yes.” Question, “How do you project McAllister?” Law answer, “At least a #3.” At least! These are fun, let’s do more! Another question posed to him, “I’ve heard contrasting things about Dustin Ackley’s power. Based on what you’ve seen what is Ackley’s ceiling in terms of HR/year?” Keith, or Klaw as he calls himself, said, “I could see 20-25. I’d say Ackley’s chance for 30 HR power is 20%.” Okay, one more (though I could do this all day) actual Keith Law quote, and this one is classic because he name drops his alma mater. In 2009, someone asked him, “Shouldn’t Teheran be higher on (Law’s prospect) list than Jeff Locke?” Keith said, “Are you asking me or telling me? When I first got to Harvard, there was this variety show that some upperclassmen put on during freshman week, and one guy had a funny routine about “flexers” — students who would ask bogus questions that were really designed to state opinions or try to show off knowledge. (Grey comment, “Sounds like a riot!”) Obviously, the answer is “no,” since I ranked Locke over Teheran. It’s incredibly naive to ignore probability when ranking prospects.” I do enjoy a pompous ass. I wonder if he has a post.harvard.edu email address. Of course, he does! Shoot, his email is likely harvardgrad@post.harvard.edu. So, what in the Hans Christian Anderson does this have to do with Carlos Correa? He’s a sure thing right now. That doesn’t mean he’s a sure thing. A lot of shizz happens between Matt Bush signing a contract and having his tiki torch snuffed out with his 4th DUI while singing Free Bird. Just like it’s also true that Albert Pujols was drafted in the 13th round. I’m reminded of the William Goldman quote about Hollywood, no one knows anything. What we do know is the Astros are winning and have no reason to keep down the hitting Correa. He looks like a young Hanley. Just remember, so did Xander Bogaerts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What an eventful SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) week it was.  Shawn Tolleson, who was originally a high priority SAGNOF Special recommendation two weeks ago, now looks to be in a position to steal some saves from Neftali Feliz or possibly take the job outright.  Feliz is in serious trouble and it will probably be either Shawn Tolleson or Keone Kela that takes over if Feliz is in fact removed.  Right now the word is that Rangers manager Jeff Bannister is going to use whoever he fancies on any particular day to close out games and that leaves the door open for just about anyone, including Feliz.  I find it hard to believe that anyone other than Tolleson is capable of running away with the closer role so he’s my heavy favorite.  If I’m wrong, call me bad names, but try to make it funny at least.

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The first-place Astros will promote right-hander Lance McCullers to pitch against the Athletics tomorrow. The 21-year-old will make the jump straight from Double-A to the majors. McCullers was drafted 41st overall out of high school back in 2012 and features two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball. That combination should lead to a decent amount of strikeouts if he can command both pitches. McCullers probably tops out as a #3 starter in the majors, but he’s shown improved control this year with a 3.5 BB/9 (down from 5.2 and 4.5 in the two previous seasons). His strikeout rate has also ticked up – posting a 13.3 K/9 in 29 innings at Double-A Corpus Christi. McCullers is a viable fantasy play in most formats right out of the gate. Even in shallower leagues he’s worth a spin as a streamer. Here’s what else is happening around the minor leagues right now…

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Cody Asche was sent down to learn left field (or get lost trying), and the Phils’ GM, Ruin Tomorrow Jr., said they’re calling up Maikel Franco this weekend. Let’s see what October Grey had to say about Franco, “Well, Asche’s opportunity to sneak in and have a surprisingly solid season in 2014 before Franco emerged went swimmingly. If we’re judging swimmingly on a scale established by Natalie Wood getting swimming lessons from Robert Wagner. Too harsh? How about as swimmingly as Whitney Houston in a bathtub? That’s just terrible, why would you force me to give you a second one? Upon his arrival in Philly at the end of last year, Franco’s lack of assault on major league pitching made it seem like he needed more seasoning, i.e., the Franco-American Outside-Of-King-Of-Prussia War on pitching didn’t exactly leave us with shock and awe (.179 in the majors with zero homers in 56 ABs). Shouldn’t have been a surprise, he didn’t exactly look like a breakout waiting to happen last year in Triple-A, where he had 16 homers in 521 ABs, hitting .257. With rookies like that, maybe the Phils are right to invest in more megaphones for the clubhouse, so their veterans can communicate. Franco could be the type that just needs to get comfortable at a new level, which bears itself out when you look at his month-to-month OPS last year in Triple-A (.967, .636 in last two months and .879 this year in Triple-A).” And that’s me quoting me! He’s worth a flyer if you need corner infidel help. I stashed him in one deeper league (15 team) and ignored him in a 12-teamer. He might only have 14-homer power, so, basically, he’s Ryan Zimmerman. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you search for the pitchers with the top xFIPs, it’s a who’s who of the league’s finest. It’s not quite as glamorous as the Who’s Who of Western Appalachian High School Students that your parents paid $25 for you to get your picture in, but it’s still pretty illustrious. Kershaw on top, then Salazar, F-Her, Gerrit, Carrasco, Pineda, Archer, Shields, Scherzer, Harvey and Lynn. If your pitching staff was just those guys, you may not be currently winning your pitching categories, but you will by the end of the year, or your money back1. Right after Lynn in the list is Clay Buchholz, then after him it continues to be purdy: Arrieta, Kluber, Lester and so on2. Out of all of those pitchers, Kershaw, Shields and Salazar are the only ones with a better K-rate with Buchholz’s at 11.5. 11.5 K/9 is excellent and is the 4th best in the majors. Buchholz’s walk rate isn’t bad either at 2.87 — under 3 is solid. Under three walk rate with an 11.5 K/9 is an ace. Only thing is, his ERA is 6.03. Oopsie! Right now, his BABIP is .407. A .407 BABIP is basically the equivalent to an easy grounder is headed right to a fielder, but the ball is grabbed by a possum and the possum runs the ball around the infield for five minutes as the hitter goes around the bases for an inside-the-parker. If Buchholz is available in your league, I’d absolutely grab him, and could even see trading for him in deeper leagues9.

1You just need to sell my Jose Canseco Sportsflics rookie card to get that money back.
2Yes, I said so on rather than list Bartolo Colon3.
3Yes, by footnoting Bartolo Colon I am sorta listing him4.
4My autocorrect wanted to change sorta to Sorat. Is that Borat’s sister5?
5I miss Sacha Baron Cohen. Shame what happened to him.6
6My intern says nothing happened to him, he just picked crappy films to be in7.
7The Spirit of David Foster Wallace has taken over my body8.
8Not really.
9Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“As Bryce Harper passed home plate after his 2nd home run of the three he hit yesterday, Ian Desmond lifted Harper’s helmet and with a flick of the head, Harper’s hair fell back in place. If you get a base hit, you have to stand on base and the helmet weighs down your hair. That’s why Harper uses the home run.” This message was brought to you by Aqua Net. What? It’s better than the same stupid Major League Baseball highlights over and over again on MLB TV — we get it, Bo Jackson threw out a runner! Get a new highlight! It’s also better than a Hanz and Franz commercial — talk about a sad commentary on baseball fans’ demographic. “Hey, Bill, we have a commercial that appeals to 35 to 60-year-old white males. Any ideas where we should place it?” So, Harper hit three monster-sized badonkadonks like a night out as Gabourey Sidibe’s pants and I told you to draft Harper before just about every fantasy baseball ‘pert, so you’re welcome. Don’t mention it. No, no, it’s okay. Okay, fine, you can hug me. Stop trying to touch my mustache! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

True story: in a 15-team league last year, I toyed with dropping Corey Kluber in April. He was being dropped in multiple leagues, most shallower than mine. If you think I’m crazy as a loon wearing a “I’m crazier than a loon” t-shirt, you have selective memory about him from last year. I decided to stick it out with Kluber and he ended up winning the Cy Young last year. This true story, of course, makes me sound even more moronic than usual. It also highlights a point, Kluber likes the cold weather about as much as a chapped nipple. Or maybe he just takes some time to get going. Either way, his Aprils have been forgettable for the last two years. This year, his April is actually better than last year’s by any measure that means anything. His K-rate is up, ground balls are up (not literally), fly balls are down (literally), xFIP is way down, walks are down and his K/BB is up. You have to do some serious digging to find something that is negative for him this past month other than his ERA. His velocity is down a hair (0.5 MPH on his fastball) and his line drive rate is up (people are making better contact). Everything else is nails, and not as in Lenny “Nails” Dykstra just invested me in this mutual fund and I lost my retirement savings. There’s some worry to some that Kluber threw too many innings last year. That’s not a worry. He’s 29 years old; a jump in IP from one year to the next is for pitchers 25 years and younger. Also, plenty of great analysis here and elsewhere has shown that jump in innings isn’t the end all/be all, even if it applied, which it does not. As the weather warms up, his sensitive nips will be less dry and he’ll likely have months of a sub-2 ERA. If you can buy him now, do it. Quickly! Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every other week Razzball ranks the prospects closest to contributing to your fantasy roster. The list is limited to players who still have rookie eligibility (less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched) and who are currently in the minor leagues. It’s not a list based on talent alone, but rather it’s a mixture of talent and opportunity. It will change frequently over the course of the season as prospects graduate to the majors, injuries occur, or service time roadblocks are passed. Here are the top 15 prospects on the cusp of the major leagues for 2015 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (5) | 2013 (9) | 2012 (17) | 2011 (26) | 2010 (30)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [70-92] AL West
AAA: [74-70] Pacific Coast League – Oklahoma City (2015: Fresno)
AA: [67-73] Texas League – Corpus Christi
A+: [78-62] California League – Lancaster
A: [70-69] Midwest League – Quad Cities
A(ss): [48-28] New York-Penn League – Tri-City

Graduated Prospects
George Springer, OF | Jon Singleton, 1B | Jake Marisnick, OF (from Marlins) | Collin McHugh, RHP

The Gist
This is a fun system for fantasy prospects and reminds me of the Rangers’ farm with a stud building block, toolsy outfielders, and a couple of nice arms to round things out. The Astros have talented young players surfacing on the major league team as well, with George Springer entering his sophomore season and Jake Marisnick in the mix for an outfield gig. I like Marisnick as a sleeper this year, as he’s always had that 20/20 type of profile and now finds himself in a better park for hitting. Jon Singleton needs some polish after hitting just .168 in his rookie year, but I’m still buying the 23-year-old in dynasties thanks to his power potential. Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz would have both been towards the top half of this list prior to being traded to Atlanta.

Please, blog, may I have some more?