Pitcher Profiles are almost back baby!  Let’s get this shizz goin!

We’ve got another big year of GIFfing, Gamescore+ , breaking down every pitch to a tedium… it’s going to get my motor running about as hard as every Corey Kluber start!

I hope everyone has had a nice winter, and enjoyed an awesome year with us so far over on Hoops.  Good thing it’s an indoor sport!  Northeast getting more snow than Tony Montana’s desk.  But with the allure of the weather warming (it hasn’t yet), we can all get together and talk some starting pitching (it’s deep, convo over).  With depth comes two interesting schools of thought – should you go with aces early because there’s so little distinguishing the mid-tier and breakout guys?  Or wait entirely and build your whole staff late?  Of course there’s 50 Shades of Grey, which is still my usual approach.  Hopefully Grey’s next book will be 51 Shades of Grey Albright.  Shade 1 – mustache play.

If you missed the wrap up at the end of last year, you can check out how my 2014 pre-ranks fared against Grey and ESPN.

Enough foreplay, below are my top 100 SP ranks!  With the great pitching depth, comes great responsibility a lot of guys out of the 100 that are probably in other ranks here and there.  Pitchers 70-130 are so hard to differentiate…  But as always, please shoot your comments below on what ya think, and happy pitching 2015!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The late rounds of fantasy baseball drafts are filled with players who have questions surrounding them. It’s usually not too difficult to categorize these players, particularly in terms of starting pitching. There’s the post-hype group (Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, Tony Cingrani), the declining veteran tier (CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Bartolo Colon), and the unproven prospect tier (Noah Syndergaard, Andrew Heaney, Archie Bradley). Several high floor, low ceiling options (Ervin Santana, Kyle Lohse, Wei-Yin Chen) and volatile injury-prone pitchers (Clay Buchholz, Matt Garza) tend to remain on the board for quite a while as well. In recent years, Brandon McCarthy has generally been perceived by the fantasy community as someone who falls into one of the latter two categories. Is this perception accurate? What can be expected from McCarthy in 2015?

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?

There’s a dark side to the expansion of rosters that no one wants you to talk about. Or people do talk about it, but they talk about it as written by the writers of The Honourable Woman so no one can understand it. You laid a cable modem through the Gaza Strip? But now the Palestinians can see which celebrities are on their side. “We got Rihanna! With a hashtag, baby! If we could only buy her albums. What does she sing? S&M? What’s that mean? Whips and chains? Oh, yeah, like torture? Oh. Regarding sex? Hmm, we’d kill her for singing that. What other songs does she have? Umbrella? It doesn’t rain here. What else does she sing? Only Girl in the World? That is neither accurate nor encouraging. Could she remix it to 72 girls in the world?” This MLB roster expansion has a side to it that is that disturbing. With teams expanding, they don’t need to DL players. A week ago if Dustin Pedroia was forearm shivered as he was on Saturday, he would’ve hit the DL. Now, well, he’s going to sit on the bench for at least a week. Miguel Cabrera may have also hit the DL a month ago, so he could rest his ankle. Now, the Tigers said he could sit for 4 to 5 days. It’s not great news, though with how he’s hitting, in some leagues it might pay to just bench him and grab a hot bat. As for Pedroia, I’d drop him in most mixed leagues. He could be out for a week or longer, and, brucely, he hasn’t done much this year when he has been playing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I didn’t say in June, but could have, “With the promotion of George Springer and Gregory Polanco, Mike Trout and Mike Trout’s father, Tim Salmon, should make room in their mini-van that’s designed to look like a submarine because there’s new top hitters in the major leagues of baseball. Put down your periscope, Trout, no need to look any further. You have the new challenger for your supremacy. Polanco is especially intriguing due to his blend of speed and power, and inability to hit for a low average. There’s just no chance he hits below .280. No chance. Also, on August 25th play the Powerball numbers 37-08-32-11-09-38.” And that’s me quoting what I could’ve said! Of course, I didn’t say it exactly like that, but that was generally my feelings. As it started to appear like each was overmatched, I told you to sell both of them before they bottomed out. Springer’s got his strikeout problems, that I’ll go over at some point in the offseason, but Polanco got a raw deal. He had 6 homers, 12 steals in 64 games. That’s a 15-homer, 30-steal guy next year. The Pirates demoted him yesterday as some kind of neg designed by pick-up artist, Mystery. Polanco’s K-rate wasn’t terrible, his walk rate was fine, he was done in by a .241 average. A .241 average with the aforementioned strikeout rate that wasn’t bad. So what happened? He was unlucky. That batting average was being grounded by a .277 BABIP. With his speed, Polanco could easily have a .320 BABIP and a .290 average. For this year, you can lose him, but I’m still going to like him in 2015. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How does that old adage go? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? Basically, having in hand and ‘knowing’ what you have is worth more than the potential of what you could get elsewhere. Well, because this is my post and I can kinda do whatever I want, I’m gonna mix up that metaphor into a fruit cocktail of fantasy baseball jargon. A Rocky in the Mountains is worth two in the McCovey. Yeah, take that! Basically, for every one Rockies hitter you’d take in Colorado, it would take two to get the offensive production you’d expect to get from that one. You feel me? I’m glad you do. Now stop feeling me, you’re making me this write up dirty. The point here is the Rockies on the road have a rocky road as they’re the 4th worst wOBA away from their friendly confines. Well golly gee, DraftKings players, look what we have here. It’s a Cy Young blast from the past on the mound to face this fragile lineup in Jake Peavy. It may seem like the last time Peavy was good that Leave It To Beaver was a popular television show and truth be told, that may still be the case. He hasn’t looked fully ‘right’ over the last few years and his best days are behind him. But, he’s a bulldog on the mound and he’s also pitched well since rejoining the senior circuit, posting a 3.58 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Not Earth-shattering numbers but when he has a matchup he can exploit – like his last turn against the Cubs, going 7 innings while striking out 8 – he typically delivers. The Rockies K nearly 24% of the time while on the road and even if they dial one up on him, the AT&T Park rarely delivers good service. We’re sorry, but the HR you have hit is no longer the right distance. Please hang up your batting helmet and try again. I rarely call lines, but give me at least 6 IP with 6 K and minimal walks and hits to go along with it for the Peav’er. Here’s some other picks for the Monday slate on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is happening on the other side of my laptop as I sit here writing the Two-Startapalooza…

owierazz

Yes, that is a dog dry-humping Boo the star Pomeranian in stuffed animal form. He does it all the time, but for some reason it seemed profound to me and strangely relevant to this week’s batch of pitchers. [Jay’s Note: Uhhhh. Okay?] Perhaps my dog represents the fantasy gods, and Boo is fantasy owners everywhere, especially those on the playoff bubble in their leagues. No Clayton Kershaw, no Max Scherzer, no David Price, no mega-aces to speak of. Combustible No. 2’s. A lot of mediocrity. Dudes obviously pitching over their heads, and dying to, well, eff you over. And then the looming threat of namby-pamby real-life baseball managers pulling guys early in games to get ready for the real-life playoffs and even scratching top-flight starters with mysterious blisters, hangnails and other assorted bogus injuries in an effort to save them for the postseason. The nerve! But I see two little gifts from these same fantasy gods: Two guys with potential who have good-to-great matchups this week.

First up is Eric Stults, a Hodgepadre with two home starts (Brew Crew and Dodgers) and a nice run going. He’s 3-1 in August with a 1.49 ERA, and only one of those starts was in Petco. Also, he’s only walked two guys in his last three starts, and has the potential to strike guys out on top of that. Then there’s Dillon Gee, who looked like a potential ace out of the gate this year but then missed two months with a back injury. He’s been about as appealing as amusement park food since his return, racking up a 5.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with no wins over the last 30 days. But if you drill down into his last four starts, he hasn’t been that awful. He held down the Giants for the most part on Aug. 4, giving up two runs over 5-plus innings. He then dominated the flat-lining Phillies in Philly. Now I’ll make some excuses. Is there shame in getting a little shaken (4 ER in 5 innings) in a loss to the first-place Nats at home or a road loss to first-place Oakland? This week, Gee welcomes two beatable opponents to Citi Field: The strikeout happy Braves and then those same crappy Phillies. I like Gee and Stults as streamers who won’t “screw you over” (heh) and nothing else. Now let’s see what else we got in the Two-Starter cupboard this week.

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?

James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay’s Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?