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.

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Well, it’s about that time folks. I’ve taken a small break from running Razzball Football to go over how my 2014 Bold Predictions turned out. If you remember, 2013 was a fantastic year for me, as I got zero predictions correct. So by “fantastic”, I mean a total sh*t-fest. Which is also Nickelback’s favorite venue. Of course I had to up my game, so showing no proof whatsoever that I knew what the heck I was doing, I decided to take on Eno Sarris of FanGraphs, mano a mano, or, in this case, mother’s basement a mother’s basement, and have a prediction competition of the ages! All of them…

Here were the terms: Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has agreed to take on your very own lovable and quite handsome Jason Longfellow (yes, that’s my name, don’t wear it out) in a duel for the ages. His bold predictions will battle my bold predictions for COMPLETE AND UTTER SUPREMACY. Sort of like Highlander. We certainly need more Sean Connery, that’s for sure. And what’s at stake in this epic battle? Heads? Lightning swords? Shinobi’s? Naw. It’s beer. That’s right, beer. Whomever get’s the most predictions right, well, the loser has to buy him a six-pack of the beer of his choice. In this case, Eno has chosen DC Brau. Great selection, but it might come with side effects such as too much hipster and listening to Mumford. My choice? Koko Brown, because Hawai’i is the greatest thing ever known to man besides ice cream and blow jobs.

Here’s what happened…

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Third base was far from an epic fail like something JayWrong would have a GIF for. There were a good ten 3rd basemen and another handful that could’ve covered your corner infidel slot. The problem is after the top twelve, the 3rd basemen fall off the map like a 12th century explorer. Here’s you, “Hey, I’m gonna go to India heading west.” You’re whistling, everything is good, then you have Trevor Plouffe in your corner infidel slot and you’re dead from scurvy. This year there were fewer 3rd basemen coming out of nowhere to give you value, so if you didn’t have a top guy, you were probably stuck piecing together waiver scraps. This final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. I look forward to the random comment about how I’ve left off so-and-so. This is not for next year. Lisa Simpson groan. Oh, they’re not reading this intro. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Every year we get together in a Schenectady Sheraton to give away fantasy baseball awards for the past season. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice — What’s up, guys and four girls?” On the red carpet for everyone’s arrival is the Comatose Rangers Fan, “Let’s get started, I need to get home to see my Rangers face the Tigers!” Joining us up on the balcony is Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department, “I’m high above the crowd, in more ways than one!” Today’s very special musical guest opening the show is…Counting Crows! Coming straight from opening for Pink! Not playing on stage prior to her performing, but literally opening a door for her. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2014 Razzball Year End Awards:

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Nicholas Tropeano sounds like a sitcom character, doesn’t he? Like that’s his real name, but he goes by the nickname of The Boof or simply Boof. Then only his mom, Mrs. Tropeano calls him Nicholas. Some girls call him Nick, but Boof or The Boof, that’s what you know him as. At one point, he even went to a technical school with Arthur Fonzarelli and Joseph Tribbiani Jr. I went over The Boof briefly the other day when he threw a five inning, meh start. There I said, “Breezed through the minors as only an Astros prospect could. What I mean is they don’t have a ton of major league options, so if someone does okay, they promote the crap out of them. In Triple-A, he had a 8.7 K/9, 0.99 WHIP and a 3.03 ERA in 124 2/3 IP.” And that’s me quoting me! This Buy is more for AL-Only leagues and keepers (I’ll go over mixed league starters to stream in the post). Shoot, this Boof buy could even be considered more for 2015 fantasy baseball. Now, maybe I’m really just having residual feelings for what Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel did this year, but Tropeano looks like a $1 flyer in very deep leagues that could reap similar benefits. I know it’s far from glamorous to put faith in Astros, but I’m likely to call Tropeano a sleeper for 2015 and point back to this post next year. I’d love if his velocity was a tad faster to go with his nasty change, but The Boof could pay dividends for savvy owners in deep leagues. Ayyyyy! *pounds wall, jukebox turns on* Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The Denver Homerlette is like the Slam & Legs, except it’s 2 HRs, while Tulo and CarGo hold their legs. As most of you know, Rudy writes the title for most of these. Currently, Rudy and I are in a tough battle for 1st place in our RCL and he owns Corey Dickerson, so I thought I’d share with you the first few titles Rudy suggested, “Dickerson Poops On Grey, But Of Coors” and “Suck My Dickerson.” Stay classy, Rudy! Since Rudy won’t or can’t toot his own horn, I will for him. Hmm, that sounds weird. Maybe if he could’ve tooted his own horn, his wife wouldn’t be spitting out kids like they were sunflower seeds. In February, Rudy released his rankings, and he had Dickerson at 102 overall. I don’t think I saw Dickerson within 100 spots of that anywhere. I was one of the other few people who even ranked him, and I didn’t have him within 150 of that. Yesterday, Dickerson hit two bombs, raising his season total to 22. In addition, he has a .311 batting average to go with 8 steals. Right now, he’s top 60 overall on our Player Rater and near the top 15 for outfielders. That’s after Walt Weiss played with his ding-a-ling for a month, platooning him. That ranking won’t be far from where he’s ranked for 2015 either. Everywhere he’s played he’s shown solid power, average and some speed, then throw Coors into the equation and he could be a top 30 bat overall in 2015. Yup, I kinda love him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Jorge Soler arrived in the majors earlier this week like a gift from the fantasy baseball gods. Last night he went 3-for-3 with two more home runs and three more runs batted in. The 22-year-old from Cuba has come to the plate 12 times and already has seven hits, three homers, six RBIs, and a walk. Those are video game numbers and could carry a fantasy team through September. It hasn’t come out of nowhere either. Soler was always regarded as a good prospect even in the loaded Cubs system. Injuries and some makeup questions put a damper on his value earlier this year, but he quieted all that noise by raking for Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs are absolutely stacked with hitting and even if one or two of their prospects don’t reach their ceiling, they will still have more than enough firepower in that lineup. The scary part is that their players are all still so young. It’s a great time to be a Cubs fan, and a great day to be a Soler owner in fantasy. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go too bonkers in September so we can all still draft him on our teams for 2015. Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy baseball…

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Rosters are just about to go from Foster’s oil cans to forties for our annual tradition of getting completely wasted on rookie nookie. I remember in September of 1997, this young talkative player debuted. He could spin a yarn as well as he could spin his bat. That player had modest power in the minors and was hitting .361 in Triple-A at the time of his call-up. His name: Sean Casey. He had a solid career, hitting for modest power and a solid average. Later he became more known for his defense. Not with his glove, but how hitters would purposely not get a hit so they didn’t have to stand on first and hear him talk. He’d say there’s nothing a good conversation can’t defend. What is all of this getting at? That first year Sean Casey was called up, he didn’t do anything. Looked totally overmatched. Now if I would’ve dropped Ryan Klesko to grab Sean Casey, I would’ve missed out on a damn fine September from Klesko. If that happened, it may have shook my confidence in the great game of baseball and the ability to grow sideburns, and maybe I would’ve never have went on to become the fantasy baseball ‘pert you’ve grown to love and secretly dream up of scenarios where we’re hanging out and sharing a burrito. A parallel universe none of us want to imagine. So, be careful about who you drop in the coming days as players are called up. I love Joc Pederson, I’ll probably make him my preseason NL Rookie of the Year next year, but this year he may not even have a starting job.* *Fantasy Players who read this also searched for Kevin Maas, Sam Horn and Nadir Bupkis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Adam Wainwright went 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 5 Ks as he was out-dueled by Jeff Locke (7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks). Wainwright being out-dueled seems to be the norm lately. In August, his ERA is 5.17 and he says he’s going through a ‘dead arm’ phase. Ways that a dead arm could help (in no particular order): tricking a zombie while playing dead, making your other arm feel more alive, doorstop, can’t pick up a bill because your wallet is in the dead arm pocket, screaming out “Sorry, dead arm!” when cutting off people while driving and making your Bernie Lean more believable. Ways that a dead arm won’t help: pitching. Verlander’s arm must be so dead that necrophiliac stray dogs try to constantly hump it. You have to hold onto Wainwright and hope he comes out of it, but obviously this was not what you wanted to hear. By the by, Rudy tells me after he learned his wife was preggers with twins he went through a ‘dead penis’ phase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?