Who loves irony?  Did you just answer your mom?  I said irony, not ironing.  As the British will tell you, irony is not a well-pressed shirt.  Though, now that I think about it, if I had a well-pressed shirt, and I said, “This thing is real irony,” I wouldn’t be wrong because I was saying it.  Any hoo!  The irony I speak of is Alex Gordon hitting the major leagues’ record 5,694th home run on the year, while there was less offense around the league last night than I could remember in some time.  Granted, from around September 11th to 14th is a bit of a blur.  A true highlight (building shizz up now!) was Kevin Gausman and his dismantling of the Sawx (really overselling) with the line 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 4.61.  This year, like a case of lice, Gausman is a real head scratcher.  Looking at his perfs (kids say this; think it’s short for perfumes), Gausman is having a garbage year.  Velocity is there, so doubt it’s a hidden injury.  The walks are way up, Ks are down, and the culprit appears to be his fastball.  Went from a near-10 in pitch value on his speed ball to a negative.  FS shouldn’t abbreviate fastball, it should be for “F**k’s sake.”  The good news is this sounds like a mechanics problem, and might’ve been fixed already.  Thanks, Pep Boys!  His 1st half vs. 2nd half:  5.85 ERA vs. 3.44; 7.7 K/9 vs. 9.6 K/9; 4 BB/9 vs. 3.2.  Yeah, sadly enough, it’s going to be hard to avoid him in 2018 again.  Now, that’s real irony (no, it’s not).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA,  7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the home stretch, boys, gals, and in-betweens. Like we discussed last week, the two-start starters list has been dwindling due to expanded rosters, young arms having their innings limited, and many teams opting for six-man rotations as a result. This week, with many teams also having an off day, there are fewer than 30 options for two-start starters. (By the way, fogimon, will you be watching Corey Kluber’s second start tomorrow? #KissyEmoji)

There are still some options for two-start streamers, however. Checking in with Streamonator, here are the two-start starters for this week with a positive dollar value who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs:

  • German Marquez COL, $16.80, 20%
  • Jharel Cotton OAK, $5.60, 18%
  • Blake Snell TB, $4.70, 31%
  • Tyler Mahle CIN, $1.70, 1%
  • Dan Straily MIA, $0.70, 53%

Despite the light list, we still have five starters with positive dollar values. Of the names on this list, I like Marquez and Straily the most. Snell I would gamble on if I needed to, but I would stay away from Cotton and my cousin Tyler Mahle (not really my cousin).

Marquez shines through this week because of his matchups: at San Francisco and at San Diego. Two teams who have struggled mightily at the plate, and he gets them in their pitcher-friendly ballparks. He is not without risk, but you could not ask for two better matchups.

I’m not sure how Straily is still only owned in 53% of RCLs, but sign me up for that, too. His matchups aren’t as good (vs. Mets and at Diamondbacks) because of that trip to Arizona, but I am still willing to roll with him over the others on the list.

Snell is meh, but he doesn’t scare me as much as Cotton or Mahle. Despite their positive value, if I am in need of starts in H2h playoffs, I am not going near either of those two. Their potential for disaster outweighs any value they provide, at least in my eyes. Stay away and save yourself.

And now, to the charts!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Matt Olson went 1-for-2, 2 RBIs with his 18th homer, hitting .273, all in only 49 games, and seven homers in his last ten games.  Dizzamn, who is he the American League’s Rhysus?  I’d call him Olsonus, but that sounds stupid.  We’re ridin’ the Ols-mobile?  That’s better (not)!  Like me after Taco Bell, he is Olplosive (much worse!).  I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend!  I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when!  Well I’m stuck with Matt Olson and time keeps dragging on!  While a train keeps a rollin’ like Olson to San Antone!  Well when I was just a baby my mama told me Olson, Olson, OLSON!  Always be a good boy don’t ever play with guns (flexes, showing gun show).  Well I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, not OLSON!  When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and I cry because I don’t have OLSON!  Whew, that was exhausting.  So, obviously, if you need power, you should grab Olsonus, and ride the Ols-mobile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a common term sociologists use called, The Tide of Uze.  Everything that encompasses everyday life is on The Tide of Uze.  Brushing your teeth, walking your dog, Jose Abreu, they’re all on The Tide of Uze.  There’s small pleasures to be found with them, but they’re so consistent they are often lost amongst other more exciting things.  However, this past weekend The Tide of Uze was raised by Irma GAWD!, the fantasy football kickoff and me going to a Dodgers game with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, a frequent commenter who was in town.  I didn’t rank those per their importance, I’ll leave that to you.  Big weekend for the world, right?  (Yes.) With the Tide of Uze raising, it lifts everything that was floating on its surface, which meant Jose Abreu had a career weekend.  On Saturday, he hit for the cycle, and, not to be outdone, he homered twice on Sunday (2-for-3, 3 RBIs, home run, 30 and 31).  His season numbers are now 85/31/90/.302/1.  All preseason I talked about how I wasn’t getting a 1st baseman in the first two rounds, so I was drafting Abreu everywhere, and I was nervous about it.  Let’s just say I’ve learned to appreciate The Tide of Uze.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time.  Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?”  Let’s look under the hood and see.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!

**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**

Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Allow me to paint a visual metaphor.  A vetaphor.  The entire league’s pitching is cornered on the grounds of a wildlife preserve.  A tiger, we’ll call him Blister, stalks towards the league’s pitching.  There’s no way out, but the league attempts to urinate on Blister to keep him away.  Then, out of nowhere, Nat Gio, dressed as Lord Beasley, a world famous butterfly collector from Gilligan’s Island, rides his Eddie Bauer jeep into Blister’s den, and befriends the beast, saying, “I slay pussy,” then off everyone’s look, “…cats.”  Yesterday, Gio Gonzalez had yet another great start — 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.49.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gio hears people talking about the new baseball and how offense is up.  Maybe he’s the one pitcher who likes a tightly-sewn baseball.  Up until this year, he must’ve been like, “Geez, is this ball going to unravel when I throw it?”  Of course, his outlook for 2018 fantasy doesn’t look anywhere near as optimistic.  Besides his ERA, there’s nothing promising in his peripherals.  He has left 85.7% of men on base.  That’s more than a wife with a headache.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?