marlins

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Scott Gelman, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Miami Marlins!

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True Story Alert!  Socrates Brito used to pause the Diff’rent Strokes credits for Dana Plato’s title card and would argue with the screen, calling himself a Socratic method actor.  This drove his family crazy.  For many years I’ve spouted off like Tom Selleck’s sprinkler the need to ignore spring training stats.  You should only concern yourself with injuries and position battles.  With that in mind, Brito is winning a position battle with Yasmany, leaving Yasmany baffled, “Do you people just want an outfielder with a long-flowing beard?  Is that what this is about?  What’s the argument for Socrates?  Am I making an argument for Socrates by annoying you with questions?  Is this table still blue to a blind person?”  In the top 80 outfielders, I added in Socrates into the Brendan Dassey tier.  Appropriate that he’s in the Brendan Dassey tier because if there’s any justice, there will be Socrates.  In Double-A, Socrates had nine homers and 20 steals, and Yasmany looks to be headed into the same Cuban abyss as Rusney Castillo and that guy that played Tony Montana’s buddy, Manny.  For 2016, I gave Socrates the projections of 56/7/47/.264/18 in 410 ABs, and if your league counts arguments with Plato, he has added value.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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All baseball fans cringe when they hear a pitcher is visiting Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Andrews has made his name synonymous with Tommy John Surgery, a procedure to repair the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow joint. While a marvel of modern medicine in that it allows pitchers to return to the mound eventually whereas they would previously have had to call it a career, Tommy John Surgery still comes with a 12-18 month recovery period…

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*balloons fall from the ceiling, sirens go off*  Oh my God, what did I win?  Little ol’ me was the winner of the “Only Person To Put Dustin Garneau In A Headline?!”  *more sirens, more balloons*  I’m also the winner of the first person ever to mention Dustin Garneau in a lede?!  *yet more balloons, yet more sirens*  Okay, what is it now?  I’m the first person to mention Dustin Garneau three times in one lede?  Great, can we kill the sirens?  My neighbors are gonna get annoyed.  What do I win anyway?  Dustin Garneau on my fantasy team?  That’s the worst prize ever!  So, I took on the monsters of the industry in an NL Only league that was hosted by Scott White at CBS and I came away with a team that is more imbalanced than Amanda Bynes.  This league is deep so hold onto ye old hat.  (If you want a shallower league, play against me and hundreds of your closest buddies in the Razzball Commenter Leagues.)  Anyway, here’s my 12-team NL-Only team and some thoughts:

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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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Not everyone loves the buy-early and coast theory of closers.  I am not a full on component of it, but I don’t like to be left without, at worst, a top-12 option to anchor my save chase. So for those that procrastinate, there is nothing wrong with y’all.  Every theory has a proven outcome, whether it be wrong, backwards, or completely made up by several fortune cookies.  The wait game for saves can still be fortuitous, the only problem is being right when it matters most.  The last rounds of relievers needs to be decisive.  After all, we don’t have 4-5 rosters spots designated for save speculation.  Lucky for you, your ole’ pal Smokey is here to give you several options for late game options that you can try and strike it rich with late in your drafts.  These guys are in situations that are either committee based, the closer is in jeopardy (yeah already), or I can just foresee a change of the imminent.  So hold tight my fellow SAGNOF’ers and cast your fishing pole into the deep waters that I reside.  Just for the people that skimmed this whole intro, this post is about the guys who aren’t closing currently and could net you saves on cheap.

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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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What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs?  I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers.  Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival.  No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations.  Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t.  Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do).  Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness.  My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times.  At worst, they decimate your rates for one day.  At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s.  Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder.  I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer.  In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks.  So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.

“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.

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Yesterday, Brandon Crawford went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with two homers (17, 18). Crawford has a big flashing sign over his head that reads, “Career Year.” Under said sign, he has a smaller sign that reads, “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” Under that sign, there’s yet another sign that reads, “There is no third sign.” Then under that there’s a smaller sign that reads, “Is that meta? Why even go through the trouble of hanging a third sign?” Then there’s yet another smaller sign that reads…Ugh, I can’t even read it, the font is too small. Let’s stick with the signs we can read and that make sense, “Career year” and “Or could this be a legitimate breakout?” His previous career high was 10 homers in 153 games last year, and prior to that he had never homered ten times in any professional league. In four full years with the Giants, he only had 26 homers coming into this season. That was in over 1800 plate appearances. His previous career high in HR/FB% was 7%. This year it’s over 17%. He’s in the top 30 in the league for homers per fly balls. For the most part, a guy who hits a lot of homers per fly balls are, as you can imagine, not guys that had a previous high of ten homers in over 1800 plate appearances. They’re guys like Just Dong, Braun, Te(i)x, Miggy, etc. etc. etc. The homers will disappear, but I wouldn’t mind so much if Crawford was more than a .255 hitter. The most obvious comp is a young J.J. Hardy, if he was an actual comp, but he’s not. Hardy hit 26 homers in his 2nd full season, Crawford never came close to this before, and I don’t think he ever will again. So…*picks up megaphone* All right, guys, let’s lose all the signs, except the first one. And get back to work! Ugh, teamsters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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?