Greetings and welcome to the first installment of the offseason stock report. If you love this silly, fake game as much as I do, you’ve either shined up your 2014 winner’s trophy several times and have shamelessly admired it since the end of the season or have shed many tears over the disappointing fantasy results that you’ve just endured. Either way, it’s time to move on and look forward to the start of the 2015 season.

In this series, I will attempt to analyze the performances of various players from this past season and project what can be expected from them next season. After digging into all of the underlying peripheral statistics, each player will be deemed either a “buy” or a “sell” depending on whether he can be expected to improve, regress, or maintain his most recent level of production. Much like commodities on the actual stock market, the idea is to buy low on a player that stands to gain value in the near future while selling high on one that is likely to lose value. Of course, players who are already valued highly but appear likely to maintain a high level of production should be targeted, while players who have experienced a sharp decrease in value and appear unlikely to improve upon their current production levels should be avoided.

Without further ado, let’s dig into three of the biggest early round busts from the ’14 season and decide if their poor results are a sign of things to come or if a rebound is on the horizon.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Today, it’s the final Buy of the year. Next week, we’ll be doing one last roundup on Monday and recaps the rest of the month until I start on 2015 rookies that could make an impact. In other words, where the hell did the summer go? And does this mean I have to go back to spending time with Cougs? To paraphrase the Broadway musical Rent (or maybe it was Abe Lincoln), eight thousand, two hundred million seconds, five hundred trillion milliseconds and three fortnights ago, our forefathers had a full head of hair and began on a journey to win their fantasy league. Today, I sit in front of you, a changed man, if we were to count my underwear. No longer do I love unconditionally any man (in redraft leagues). Now I simply like hot schmotatoes. And today’s hot schmotato is Ender Inciarte. So, sneaky good, he’s got CIA in the middle of his name. Ender has six steals this month and is hitting .400 in the last week. There’s no time to worry about the future, only the present. I call this Ender’s Game. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Didja you know The Captain from Captain & Tennille’s real name is Daryl Dragon? Why would this guy have a nickname? Your name’s awesome, you don’t get a nickname. Daryl Dragon has bedtime slippers that are cooler than you. Daryl Dragon washes his hands, then breathes a not-very-intense fire on his hands to dry them. Daryl Dragon can’t get a speeding ticket. “Okay, Mr. Dragon, I’ll let you go this time with a warning because your name is Daryl Dragon.” Any the hoo! Michael Pineda continues to dominate sans pine tar fingers. At least I don’t think he has pine tar on his fingers. Imagine he was really a Caucasian pulling a fast one? His ERA is now down to 1.93 after a 7 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk, 8 Ks gem. For 2015, I picture him being overdrafted due to the Yankees thing and the insanely low ERA, but it’s gonna be hard to be as excited about him due to his 6.30 K-rate, and 3.61 xFIP. You, sir, are no Daryl Dragon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to look right in your eye and say, “I don’t know where Jacob deGrom‘s coming from.” Don’t turn away from me. *turns your face by chin* Look at me. I don’t know everything. I’m sorry. I know that upsets you like finding out that Santa Claus is really just a drunk man in a costume. I apologize profusely if you didn’t know that about Santa too. It hurts me to ruin your naivete more than anything. Your child-like innocence is what originally drew me to you. Alas, we’ll find something else. Like deGrom, for instance, we can discover him together. In Triple-A, deGrom had a 6.8 K/9 this year, and 7.5 last year. Always had nice control, but he has a 9 K/9 in the majors. You don’t see guys often jump up a pedigree when they go from the minors to the majors. He’s always featured nice command, which is the key here. When a guy can command his pitches and then learns how to throw a new pitch that is special, he can use it effectively. So, what did he learn? Supposedly, Johan Santana gave him the secret sauce recipe for The Change. Another key is his velocity. This isn’t a guy who is adding a new pitch with 89 MPH velocity. He throws his fastball in the mid-90’s. Throw one pitch in the mid-90’s and another dropped in around 84 and you have a recipe for Ks. As was the case yesterday — 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 13 Ks — when the Marlins were like Farmer Ted striking out at deGrom. Still think he’s closer to a high-7/low-8 K-rate guy with a mid-3 ERA, but it’s still a lot better than I thought he was when he came up. Now let’s move past this lapse of judgment by me and try to enjoy ourselves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dot dot dot. Kicks an end table. Picks up the phone. Dial tone. No one there. Flips the TV channel. Not really watching. Picks up phone. No one there. Flips the TV channel. Stops on a special about Tony Conigliaro. Sobs uncontrollably. Picks up the phone, dials, “Hello, I don’t want to be alone, please come over. This is Grey. Albright. Momma Stanton, I’m your son’s stalker. Please, don’t hang up. We need each other right now. Hello? Hello?” Guess it’s just us right now. It’s lonely without Giancarlo Stanton. And his mollywhoppers. God, how I loved those mollwhoppers. It’s late, I need rest, hoping for good news tomorrow. Giancarlo, mi novio, we sip from the same mug, even if you don’t know it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Recently, Matt Adams and his melon-ball shape has either been dreadful or benched for Daniel Descalso. The only time Descalso should be in front of Adams is in pictures, so the photographer can see him. It’s odd to think Fatt Adams isn’t getting it done at the plate. I do have a useful suggestion for everyone in Missouri. Send a topless Adams into Ferguson. That would lighten the mood for everyone involved. “I hate your guts!” “Speaking of guts…” And everyone smiles and laughs at the naked fat man. Peace brought to you by the ingestion of copious amounts of lard. Now, instead of Descalso, the Cardinals have a real option to move over moobs, Xavier Scruggs. What? No Crockett? How can the Cardinals go with a platoon of Scruggs and Tubbs? It’s crazy talk! Scruggs is A) Old to never be in the majors yet. B) Legit power threat that could hit .190. C) There’s no C. He has Quad-A player written all over him, but sometimes Quad-A players are exactly the kind of hitters that excel in September when they’re facing a bunch of Quad-A pitchers. Too early outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues to worry about Scruggs, but this does put the kibosh on any value Tubbs had, not to mention now he’s phantomed-up an oblique injury. Like anyone could even find his oblique! In all but very deep leagues, I’d drop Adams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I did a little Google of “pine tar brands” and everything is this Grandpa’s brand!  Talk about cornering the market.  And their new spokesman should be Michael Pineda!  “Those other brands, they dirt, it’s dirt…”

I used to be the biggest Big Mike fan.  I was all in on him in the Mariners rookie season, and went gaga watching his starts over anyone else.  Of course he faltered down the stretch, got traded, blew up his shoulder, and now is a little bit of a parody based on the ridiculous double-down of pine tarring and feathering himself.

While he might be a punchline, and finding a little bit of humor for the open was easy, he’s still been good while healthy this year.  And not just good, but Grandpa’s good!  ERA barely over 2, WHIP under 1, 30:4 K-ta-walk.  And still owned in only 51% of Yahoo leagues!  I haven’t seen Pineda pitch since the April oil slick days, so I decided to break down his Saturday start north of the border to see how he’s looking:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Richards is talking to trainers but remains on back. Injury appears to be serious.” That’s how the news was tweeted out yesterday by the Angels beat writer. If Agatha Christie were around today, she’d adapt that tweet and name the novel, 140 Characters On A Train Wreck. Then it would be re-released after a train disaster with its new title, The Pitcher’s Trap. No matter the title, there was and will only be one antagonist, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who gets his jollies from the misery of fantasy baseballers. You sit on his lap; he says, “What do you want this season?” “A healthy pitcher.” “Ho, ho, ho, no.” Arm injury, oblique, hip impingement, parallel parking impingement because of a stupid cone, broken toe, Tommy John surgery, Tomas Juan surgery in Mexico, forearm strain and now a knee. The Angels best options are Wade “Joey” LeBlanc, Randy “Team Jacob” Wolf and Chris “Lord” Volstad. They are all horror shows. Mean’s while, it sounds like Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, but hopefully will be fine for next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was growing up, we had a hutch. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what piece of furniture it was that my grandparents used to call a hutch. So, like a child of the naughts, I Googled it. On Wikipedia, it says a hutch is where one prepares an evening tipple. Let me just say, I don’t remember anyone in Jersey ever preparing an evening tipple. An evening Sloppy Joe? Sure. An evening ‘bang on the side of the TV so the picture would come in?’ Yup. An evening ‘curse at the neighbors?’ Definitely! An evening tipple? Not in my Jersey. But, for the sake of argument, let’s all pour ourselves an evening tipple for Drew Hutchison. Last night, he went 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk and 8 Ks. See, nothing to it. The only mistake yesterday was a long ball surrendered to Chris Davis (now has back-to-back games with ding-shots). As I said when Hutchison was called up, he could be as great as any pitcher to come up this year. Sadly, it may not be this year that he is great. It’s the pickle that is young pitchers. I would own him, shoot, I’d even have a tipple with him, but I wouldn’t fully trust him until he has a longer track record. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?