Man, name a starting pitcher and there’s a 50% chance he’s hurt!

It’s been a brutal Spring – Tommy J’s, ACLs, dead arms, demotions, sports betting on Twitter…  It never ends!  It feels like we’re just another few injury-plagued Springs away from having pitching machines on the mound.  Would spell a devastating end to Krispie Young, that’s for sure!

So as we’ll update every Monday through the season, below is an update to my first edition of the Top 100 SP Ranks, which you can find through the magic of clickity-click.  Standard in-season-esque green for risers, red for fallers, additional notes at the end, and my principle is usually to not rank pitchers in the bullpen unless it’s highly anticipated they will join the rotation in the immediate future.  So Sayonara Cingrani!  Sounds like an episode title of The Sopranos…  Here’s my updated Top 100 SP:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re almost there. Opening Day is just 11 days away (10 if you’re counting down to the Cubs/Cards game on Sunday night), which means that fantasy draft season is in full swing. For those of you who are veterans of the FBB world, you know that draft day can be quite unpredictable. Average draft positions can mean next to nothing at times, particularly in competitive leagues. What should you do if Kershaw falls into your lap unexpectedly at the turn? How about if pitching is flying off the board and productive hitters start dropping an extra round or two below ADP (or more importantly, your own personal rankings)?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I swear to you with the sincerity of someone you’ve never met, I woke up yesterday and saw the news about Zack Wheeler and decided it wasn’t a catastrophe for my already-drafted teams. At least I only drafted him in one of three leagues. I liked him a lot, so things could’ve been worse. I felt downright well-adjusted. Breathe in, breathe out, Grey’s fine. So, I went to my car to go on my morning trip to Starbucks, where I have the pleasure of buying an overpriced coffee and having my name misspelled, but, when I got in my car, it wouldn’t start. The car’s not a clunker, never had problems before. Then I realized something very profound. There was a higher power that would not let me be well-adjusted to Wheeler breaking down. A higher power that insisted I mourn the lose of my Wheeler even if it meant hitting me over the head with sad, sad irony that my four-wheeler wouldn’t start either. That higher power’s name, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Now I have no car and no number two starter on one of my teams. As I said in yesterday’s podcast that was taped on Sunday prior to the official Wheeler news breaking, the Mets said Wheeler’s elbow was fine so that meant he’d need Tommy John surgery. I was being facetious at the time, but is there any such thing as being facetious when talking about the Mets? Not to answer, but to ponder. Terry Collins said on Sunday, and I quote to let you absorb fully what teams say vs. what is actually going on, “There is nothing alarming or different from what’s been going on before. I know (Wheeler)’s got some issues with the finger (a blister). Other than that, just a little rest and he’ll be fine.” On Monday, Wheeler’s UCL was fully torn and needed Tommy John surgery. That’s one heckuva blister! Wheeler’s biggest challenge will now be finding time to see Dr. James Andrews. He’s getting booked up quickly! I’ve removed Wheeler from my top 40 starters and my top 400. To add insult to Wheeler’s injury, the Mets will moved Dillon Gee into the rotation and not Noah Syndergaard. Gee, terrific. Gee’s a 4+ ERA, 6+ K-rate guy that I won’t add into the rankings because he’s a streamer in most mixed leagues. Also, he’ll be bumped in June for Syndergaard, assuming no more Mets pitcher injuries– Ha! Damn, almost got through that last sentence without laughing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marcus Stroman tore his ACL and is out for the year. Remember me?” says the Fantasy Baseball Overlord. Then the opening to Seven Nation Army kicks in and FBO does a little dance. His dance partner isn’t a person, but rather a pitcher’s limb. It’s very disturbing to watch. Oh, my God, he’s taking a picture with the limb with a seven-foot-long selfie stick. Oh, this is just awful. No one over the age of 14 should ever have a selfie stick. Why do you hate such wonderful, Fantasy Baseball Overlord? Why?! “I wasn’t loved as a child.” So, Stroman is out for the year and now the Blue Jays have moved one step closer to being the 2014 Texas Rangers. All they need is Edwin to gain 200 pounds and have a boo-boo on his neck. I’m guessing that filling in for Stroman will be Marco Estrada, but I have Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris projected in my top 400 and think they both will see some starts and have value. It’s still too early to call on Sanchez vs. Norris, but I’d draft Sanchez first since he’ll either see starts or Brett Cecil will be nodus modus operandi. As for Stroman, well, I’ll make sure to write a 2016 sleeper post for you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, there’s one schmohawk post I don’t have to write, right? Stutterer! Yu Darvish left a game the other day with a tight triceps. That’s what the she-dinosaur said! Huh? Then, this past weekend, it was announced he’s a candidate for Tommy John surgery. Stop sullying the word candidate with your surgery, Tommy John! I wonder if the whole -san suffix for names like Daniel-san gets confusing with Tommy John. Thomson John? Tommy Johnson? Thomson Johnson? It’s no secret that I didn’t like Darvish coming into this year. For my foray into pannin’ Asian, too much risk was attached to his arm for where people were drafting him. His NFBC ADP was 43 prior to this news, so you had to start thinking about him in the 3rd round. No thanks, Yu, I said. Of course, when I told you in my top 40 starters post to avoid him, I was beat up in the comments for losing my way. Yu was the greatest pitcher since sliced bread that had a portrait of Hello Kitty on it! Don’t Yu know, Grey?! Yu can strike out so many something-somethings that you should want to bear his children, then one day shout at him in divorce court, “These are all Yus!” I had Yu in a tier named, “Not touching them with a nine-foot pole that has twelve one-inch straws taped to its end.” One person in the comments on the top 40 starters said, “Phil Hughes ranked above Darvish, I’ve seen everything now.” Then there was someone else arguing for Darvish’s dignity like they fought with Darvish in The Great War. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I’m saying I told you so by saying I don’t want to say I told you so. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Today, it’s time for the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, but, first, let’s jump in the world’s worst time machine and go back to this past Tuesday morning when Rudy released the Steamer Hitter/Pitcher projections along with the fantasy auction values for every conceivable league. If you go to the ESPN 12 team auction values (or any page from the menu on that auction value page), you’ll see little boxes above each column. Go to the POS box and type in SP. Frank Voila! Now it’s just listing pitchers (you can sort for whatever you want in the top boxes). Now click on the $/G box. It should turn black. You are now sorting by the dollars expected to earn per game for starters. If you click on the $K column, you are now sorting by who is expected to rack up the most Ks. So on and so forth. All of my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings are there. As always, my tiers and projections are included. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It started with a simple email. Hey Grey and Rudy, wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote about the top pitchers broken down by month? And within those months, to evaluate with and without wins to ascertain who pitched well and gave good value vs. who pitched for a 90 win club and had a 4-0 month? Response was a resounding yes, of course. And of course, it was my own damn fault for having such a good idea because now I’m here giving you offseason content prior to January. Clearly the time that everyone is reading about fantasy baseball. Oh well, let’s get to it. Here’s a look back at April’s pitching to see if it holds any keys going forward to 2015 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?

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?

In a crazy day of trading, the blockbuster has to be David Price heading to the Tigers. Though, I’m not sure blockbuster is the right word anymore. Blockbuster is so 80’s. Blockbuster sold out to a fro-yo chain and is Blockberry now, isn’t it? The Netflix deal of the day? The Hulu pause-for-three-ads-every-five-minutes trade of the day? The Redbox snatch and grab? See, I wasn’t even talking about the trade in that last one. I wonder if Josh Reddick ever rubs up against a Redbox. Any the hoo! The Tigers rotation is now Price, Anibal, Verlander and Scherzer. Well, you got two aces again! Unless Tim McCarver is announcing and still thinks Verlander and Anibal are aces. As for fantasy, this does nothing to Price’s value. Maybe now that he doesn’t have a manager pulling names out of a hat for a lineup, he might get a few more wins, but did his bullpen get noticeably better? Eh. Did his division become noticeably easier? Eh, his career ERA vs. the White Sox and Indians is worse than his ERA vs. the Red Sox. That’s kinda irrelevant though, these are different teams then he faced previously. In all, it’s a solid lateral trade for Price’s value, but he was already a top arm in the game. No one is happier to see Price than the Tigers Assistant GM, Ted DiBiase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?