*fumbles with an envelope, Hillary Swank stands next to me, watching on, embarrassed for me*  And the Teoscar goes to…Teoscar Hernandez!  Hillary Swank leans into the microphone, “Well, he was the only one nominated.”  Ugh, totally unnecessary Swank!  I should’ve pointed out how she was checking out Hugh Jackman’s wife the entire time on stage.  I picked up Teoscar before yesterday’s game for the runs because he was leading off, I never expected such a windfall of gorge.  He went 2-for-5, 4 RBIs with his 6th and 7th homer in only his 73rd at-bat.  That’s 20 hits total for him, with seven going gonzo.  This is better than Million Dollar Baby!  Yeah, I hope Hillary Swank’s Google alerts are going bizzonkers today.  Not ready to announce my love for Teoscar for next year, I am more of an IFP Spirit Awards guy, but you have to grab Teoscar for these final days.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and welcome to the last Two-Start Starters post of the year. With it being the last week of the season, make sure you take this list with the biggest grain of salt you can find. Just stay away from the bath salts. That will lead to entirely different issues in the coming weeks.

For the last week, obviously, our problem is that these rotations are written in pencil. As more and more teams clinch the playoffs and become locked into their spots, they will rest starters. Some teams, looking ahead to a potential one-game playoff (which is the dumbest thing baseball has ever decided to do, but that is a rant for another time), may even tweak their rotation to get a certain starter lined up for that crucial game. So, disclaimer over. Take this list as a starting point, but know that it could be very fluid throughout the week.

The first thing you may notice is that Chris Sale is scheduled to make two starts, but I did not include him in the rankings. That is because that second start is not a certainty by any means, and I would argue it is very unlikely. If the Red Sox have already clinched the division, there is little chance he starts or, if he does, that he pitches deep into the game. If the Red Sox might be destined for a Wild Card Playoff game, then they will likely want to keep Sale fresh to be able to start that game. Sale is obviously still worth starting for his one start, but don’t bank on getting two starts from him this week.

There are others who are probably in similar situations. I removed Dallas Keuchel, Jon Lester, Luis Severino, and Jake Arrieta because I would avoid them strictly for two start purposes. Obviously, those are still pitchers worth starting; they just are not reliable options if you absolutely need two starts. While I left them on the list, I would also avoid Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, and Carlos Martinez.

As for the Streamonator picks for this week, there are actually seven starters with positive money values who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Gabriel Ynoa threw a gem, 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 3.41 in just under 32 IP.  His name is pronounced EE-know-a.  As they say, the more you EE-know-a.  Ynoa was only at 94 pitches, so don’t you let Ynoa try for the complete game?  I mean, Ynot?  He looks like a number five starter, though on the Orioles that likely means a number three starter.  He can touch mid-90’s with his fastball, but he’s missing a decent breaking ball and tends to get beat up by lefties, like Fox News.  Though, better things may await him because the Mets traded him away.  He will likely come up a little short of the Mets’ all-time worst trade of Nolan Ryan, and even their 2nd worst trade of Amos Otis to the Royals for a prospect with a giant baseball head.  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?

Yesterday, Carlos Carrasco went 6 IP, 0 ER, 8 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.41, as the Indians won their 162nd game, and four-thousandth in a row.  Hayzeus Cristo, who wants some of the Indians right now?  Who?  Or, more appropriately with the Indians, how?  They’re fired up like their relatives just got a bad case of the pox and they’re all out of peace to put in their pipe.  Am I right?  Or am I just borderline racist?!  You tell me, Redskins fans!  By the way, you know your team name is racist when you can substitute in Redskins and it makes sense, i.e., “The Cleveland Redskins won last night, oh, I’m sorry, I mean Indians.”

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?

Greetings and welcome back to the Mike Maher Hurricane Irma Shelter. My apologies for taking last week off, but it seems like I got out of South Florida just in time. I am now safely in the Pocono Mountains, where hurricanes dare not stray. Blizzards, on the other hand…

Hopefully, you all survived a week without me, especially as rosters expanded and probable pitcher lists were thrown further into confusion. This is the time of the year where it really gets dicey. We are all either in the home stretch or are in the playoffs in H2H leagues, while daily lineups and probable pitchers are more unpredictable than ever. Aces and top hitters for teams with guaranteed roster spots are getting extra rest now that each team has roughly 115 players available for each game. It’s not just Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts making our lives difficult anymore. Now, it’s all managers.

These two-start starters lists, regardless of where you look each week, are never going to be 100% accurate. Too much can change throughout the week and even over the weekend. These are just projections based on recent history and how the schedules line up. This week, multiply that by about a gajillion. If expanding rosters (and bullpens) weren’t enough to throw things off, Hurricane Irma and her friends are making sure to take care of the rest.

This week more than ever, you will need to double and triple check these starters on Sunday night and Monday morning. Some are all but guaranteed to change between now and then. Now, for the value picks from Streamonator this week:

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?

For the last few days, I’ve been in New York for my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  With each passing year, he gets more casually racist, and, let’s just say, he didn’t start at zero.  I told him Byron Buxton hit three homers on Sunday, and he said, “Byron?  What’s he, a Jew?”  I told him, no, I don’t think so, but, of course, he can’t hear so well, so he continued, “I didn’t think Jews played sports.  Well, I guess he’ll at least be good with the money he makes.”  Then he went on a twenty-minute rant about how he’d have more money if he was Jewish (he’s Italian).  If you read Who Is Grey Albright?, you’ll know that I was raised by my grandparents, so let’s hope the apple rolled far enough away from the tree.  Otherwise, I’m gonna be writing roundups in 40 years like this, “Byron Buxton Jr. – He has better contact rates than his father, and prolly can find a good interest rate, ya know, because Jew.”  Here’s my grandfather with the entertainment we got for the party.  For those of you that grew in the tri-state area in the 1980’s, you’ll be familiar with the entertainment:

Any hoo!  Byron Buxton went 4-for-5, 4 runs, 5 RBIs and three homers (11, 12, 13) and his 24th steal.  A triple slam and legs?  What a glutton for wonderful!  From the 1st half to the 2nd half, his average went from .216 to .309; his K-rate is down from 31% to 25%; his OPS went from .594 to .903; his ISO went from .090 to .245, and his OBP went from .288 to .350.  Beginning to think real adjustments have been made for 2018, because everything’s been better in the 2nd half.  His 2nd half has been bigger and better than the pictures I saw recently of Tiger Woods, if you catch my drift.  (Okay, so the apple doesn’t roll that far from the tree after all.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?