Sometimes a news story falls through the cracks, but Lewis Black is there to catch them in a segment we call Back in Black!  Oh wait, got a little carried away there…  I mean:

Sometimes a pitcher falls through the cracks, and Grey is there to catch them!

Now, I have somewhat of an excuse…  Due to the MLB and regional networks wanting to stick it up the rear of their viewers and black out however-the-hell-far their national maps can reach, I can’t watch Orioles or Nationals games live in my region.  It’s so frustrating that I sold high on Adam Jones in my keeper just because I couldn’t see the homers right away!  I’m an instant gratification kinda guy, wink wink.

It’s easy to follow the hitters from these teams and see the highlights, but I never see big samples from either teams’ SP unless it’s on national TV.  Or in this case, in a Pitcher Profile!  Grey has been all about some Miguel Gonzalez on the Podcast, and I guess it’s easy for me to be a little dismissive as he’s never had “huge” numbers and I can’t ever watch him.  Plus, how good could he be anyway, he’s not even the only starting pitcher named Miguel Gonzalez!  Mmmmmm, Alfredo.  But not the Simon kind!  Anyway, since I’ve seen so little of Gonzalez and he had a very under the radar 2.09 ERA in the final 3 months last year and a 2.59 ERA this year with nice Ks, I figured it was a good time to break down his last start hosting the Rays to see how he’s doing pitch-by-pitch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Imagine Gangsta Gangsta’s Ice Cube singing, “With a right left, right left you toothless, and then you say goddamn they ruthless,” but not coming out of Ice Cube’s mouth, but out of Glass Joe’s mouth from Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. Imagine Mola Ram reaching into a chest and ripping out a heart. Only instead of Mola Ram, it’s Arvid from Head of the Class. Imagine the head Neo-Nazi from Oz, walking into your shower, only instead of him it’s the guy from the Farmers Insurance commercials…Oh, wait, that’s the same guy. Those were the sort of visions Chris Sale must’ve been having when he looked at the Twins. We see nerds, he sees Ice Mola Cube Ram Nazis. The Twins scored eight runs on him in three innings and, without looking at a box score, you can’t even imagine who did that damage. Brian Dozier? Yeah, he went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd homer. Joe Mauer? Yup, he went 3-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs. Eduardo Escobar? Okay, now you’re cheating. You would’ve never guessed Eduardo Escobar. Up until two seconds ago, you thought Eduardo Escobar was Pablo’s peacenik brother. Sale’s ERA is up to 5.32, but that’s almost entirely due to last night. If his owner is panicked, I’d look for a little sale on, um, well, you know. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The closer carousel continues to spin round and round. In the season’s first week, Joaquin Benoit’s ride ended abruptly in the fallout of the Craig Kimbrel trade and Jason Grilli climbed aboard to take his place. This week, thanks to the early season struggles of 42 year old former closer LaTroy Hawkins, Adam Ottavino (+83.9%) became the new 9th inning reliever for the Rockies and was the most added player in fantasy baseball. A Rockies reliever? Awesome! Why don’t I just pick up Kelly Gregg and put my ratios out of their misery? That’s your Coors Field park factor voice playing devil’s advocate. When you consider Ottavino’s abilities to keep the ball on the ground (62.5% GB% this season in 6.1 IP – small sample size alert!; 45.6% career), rack up the strikeouts (54.6% K% this season; 25.7% in 2014), and limit his walks allowed (4.6% BB% this year; 5.9% in 2014), the Coors concern is somewhat alleviated. He also appears to have ditched his ineffective change-up in favor of a cutter to keep left-handed hitters honest and improve his split issues against that side. Factor it all in and he looks like a potential top 10 closer this year and an early treasure for fantasy owners. “In Ottavino, there is truth…” Here are a couple of this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball:

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For the first time, there’s Reasonable Doubt for you, the Jay Z owner. Asking yourself, on Growing Pains, am I, Boner? You’re supposed to put up goose eggs, and be all zen. Now the Black Album is scrambled, got funky albumen. Grey told me don’t draft a top starter, but I got Jordan Zimmermann not Shawn Carter. Jigga what…is with all the runs? His starts make me want to curse, hide your nuns. Pardon my question, but my H2H is on tilt and I need streamers from the SON, see. This is fantasy, where’s my funzies!? Yesterday, Zimmermann went 2 1/3 IP and gave up seven, but at least I have Kershaw, Strasburg and Samardzija. Wait, then why is my team’s ERA pushing five and I don’t have anything that rhymes with Samardzija!? As for Zimmermann, he looks like he’s hiding an injury so far this year. Velocity’s down, Ks are down, pitches are up. I wouldn’t panic trade him, but I wonder if something might be wrong and I would explore trade possibilities. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Lads (and ladies), sit with me for a moment while I bless yee with a bit of the folklore of the old country, the Emerald Isle to be exact. A place of legal drugs, pubs, whiskey, rolling green hills, lovely redheaded lassies, and a tradition of folklore as rich as an Irishman’s heart. You may be familiar with stories of wee men and their pots of gold, or the luck of the Blarney Stone, Stonehenge perhaps, but how many of you are familiar with the Púca? To be clear Púcas are ghosts or spirits, bringers of good luck or bad fortune, they are said to be both helpers and hindrances. The really tricky thing about Púcas is how tough they are to identify due to their ability to change appearances and shape-shift. We’re all familiar with Púca’s in one way or another but the most well known Púca to those of us in the States is a giant rabbit named Harvey. That would be the protagonist from Mary Coyle Chase’s play of the same name. The play was later adapted to the silver screen in a film staring Jimmy Stewart, and its a worthwhile take.

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Let’s head on over to our friends in the American League Central to see which position battles they have going on during Spring Training.

First, in Cleveland, Brandon Moss will bring his power bat to Jaco…I mean, Progressive Field.  Moss will look to prove his success in Oakland is who the real Moss is, not the one that Pirates’ fans dealt with.  I’m not bitter, I promise.

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Well at this point you kinda sorta maybe know what this is all about. I mean, I’ve now dropped April, May, June and July on you so if you’re lost about what we’re trying to look at it simply means you haven’t been keeping up. That’s ok, that’s what hyperlinks are for. Now if you’re asking me to spoon-feed you info…well, ok. Vvvvvvvvvvrooooooom, open the mental hangar, we’re about to drop some #PitchingIsSoDeep knowledge on you. We’ve been looking back at 2014 to get some feel for just how deep the pitching rabbit hole really went. Did we reach Wonderland? Well, I’m not here to make a verdict on either side but so far we have seen an abundance of ownable arms either for extended periods or for at least a few weeks that were sufficient if you didn’t draft a ‘top’ arm in the draft. Better yet, if your top arm was Jose Fernandez, you had your chances to make up for it. This isn’t a West Side Story thing, BTW. I’m not ‘team draft late arms forever’ any more than I am ‘draft Kershaw in the first’. I want to see both sides and weigh them out for myself so that’s why I’m here. Come join me, will you? Here’s the top August arms from the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…

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Sometimes I use opening paragraphs of off-season content to remind myself what I was doing at the time of writing it. It’s hard to say when this stuff will come out so I like to treat these like that YouTube guy did with himself. Sky, this is me from the past! Are you falling asleep to Jeopardy now? Do you have dentures? Are you, by any chance, dead? If so, can I have your stereo? Sorry, you just never know when these posts might go live. Maybe if I pass along the way, this post could become a piece of art reveled by many…or it could just be another one of my crappy posts. Yeah, prolly one of those! Oh well, if you’re not famil with the series, take a look back at Top April and Top May pitcher posts from earlier. The premise is pretty basic. We’re slowly looking back on the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season in month sets of data just to see how much value you got from drafting a high end pitcher compared to what you could’ve gotten late in the draft or from your free agent pool. As you may or may not remember/know, we were chirping ‘#PitchingIsSoDeep’ earlier in the year so here’s us – well, me at least – trying to see if that was truly true. So without further ado, let’s begin anew…sorry, got caught up in rhyming. Let’s just get on with it. Anyone want a peanut? Here’s the top June pitchers from last year to see what we can gleam for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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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:

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So here we are, the last week of the season. If you’re playing now, you’re in the money game of your head-to-head league, or you’re in a dog fight to pull ahead in the roto standings. I’ve said this for the last three weeks but, congratulations! You did something right. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there are a few things you definitely didn’t do, you didn’t draft Justin Verlander, you didn’t draft Buster Posey or Joe Mauer anywhere near the first 5 rounds, you didn’t invest in one of the top 3 closers, and you probably didn’t draft Dominic Brown (Sorry Tehol). They say fantasy championships are made after the draft. Whoever they are? Seriously do you know? I’m just going to guess that if there is a they that writes these cliches, then they know Nick Capozzi. Mostly because he knows everybody in the fantasy industry. I’m also going to assume it’s a secret club that I’m not privy to. You know, like Skull and Bones.  Wow that escalated quickly! Where was I? Oh yeah winning fantasy championships. Well my belief is that the secret to winning in the final week is pitching, and how you use your streams. If you’re in a H2H league with a limited move number than be careful. One must choose wisely. With this in mind I have created a new format for these posts. As I mentioned last week I had the vision of putting my rankings in spreadsheet form and providing a couple of key metrics I felt gave you the readers full transparency into my thought process. Well my vision is reality behold the new and improved two startapalooza. You’ll see that in addition to the Pitcher’s name and opponent, I’ve also provided the pitcher’s handedness, the pitcher’s Home/Road ERA, the opponent’s Home/Road wOBA, and the opponent’s Right/Left wOBA split. These are the numbers I look at most closely when creating my rankings for the week. So why not share them with you? Enjoy, I put some time into this and I believe you’ll find it extra helpful. I hope it also sparks more debate in the comments and gives you guys all the more reason to challenge my tiers. I’ve also made sure that I based my Two-Start roster off of Rudy’s new two start pitcher SON/tool. This way all the information mirrors each other and gives some continuity to the post. Thanks again for reading and I’m looking forward to bringing this format back next season. Go Get’Em!

Please, blog, may I have some more?