papiout

Today, ladies and gentlemen, is officially the last day of school. And by school I mean me writing fantasy baseball posts in 2016. Over the next few months I’m sure Grey will take a gander at the numbers to determine if yours truly will be back in 2017. Hopefully my eight remaining followers have enough pull to see me through to the other side and get me invited back to Razzball Spring Training. But if not, it’s been a good run. This post is my 94th baseball-related post. I have big incentives in my contract if I make it one hundred, so I hope that doesn’t influence Grey’s decision in a negative way. There are a lot of hungry points league writers out there that just might be willing do what I do for even less. Will they be as cool as I am? Doubtful. As funny? Certainly not. And lastly, will they have the maturity level of a third grader? I certainly hope so. Here’s to hoping Grey just flips a two-headed coin.

Before I jump the gun and start saying any official goodbyes, I think we should take a look back at 2016 and what happened in points leagues…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Sunday morning, I woke around 8 AM to read a text from Rudy saying, “Awful news, Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident.”  I put on my glasses, no time for contacts, and turned on the TV.  It was still on Fox Sports West because I was watching Vin Scully tributes all weekend.  Yesterday morning, Fox Sports was playing Anglers Chronicles, a fishing show, which is wrong in so many ways.  After switching the stations, groggy-eyed and still half asleep, I realized TV was not the place anymore to go for breaking news.  I shut it off and turned to the internet.  I’m still piecing together my thoughts.  He was 24 years old, even if he never played baseball this is a horrible loss of life.  I’m reminded of all the friends I lost to motorcycles in their twenties.  I’m struck by how inconsequential fantasy feels.  There’s a giant pit in my stomach.  Then, I think about how I never saw Jose Fernandez not smiling.  Not having fun.  I think about how on that boat, Saturday evening, you know Jose Fernandez was having a great time, because he was always having a great time.  That exuberance came through in everything he did.  I think about how he spent time in prison after one of his numerous failed attempts of escaping Cuba, and how, even then, he was likely making fellow inmates smile.  How the excellence he brought to the mound every fifth day was felt all the way back in Cuba to raise up even the darkest corners of Cuba’s prisons.  “That was us.  That is us,” the inmates, who are still incarcerated for trying to escape, likely said.  How baseball does that.  How special that is.  You see what you’re going to see in tragedy, but I see Jose Fernandez pitching, and baseball, and making himself and others smile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m OCD about my iTunes.  I listen to a new album a few times, pick out some songs that I like, five star them, and then play them endlessly until I’m sick of them.  My top 20 for most played is embarrassing.   I like Lil Wayne more than anyone should ever admit.  Sometimes I have a song on repeat, and I’ll get a phone call (rare; only old people use the phone for calling people), the doorbell will ring (less rare; Cougs orders a ton of shizz on Amazon) or I’m just called away from my desk for some reason.  Then I’ll forget I have a song on repeat and I’ll go to lunch, dinner or…No, those are the only reasons I leave my fantasy cave.  When I come back and see a song’s play count has been artificially boosted with me not listening, I will edit info in iTunes and reset the play count to where it was before the accidental repeat.  It’s important to have a gage to tell how much you like a song.  Do you like it enough to play it 200 times like, say, Aloe Blacc’s Red Velvet Seat or do you like it enough to listen to it 120 times like, say, Tom Petty Yer So Bad (actual play counts)?  Why do I bring this up now?  Because Rick Porcello should roll his win count back to 15.  21 wins?!  C’mon!  That is misrepresenting him in every conceivable way.  Yesterday, Rick Porcello went 9 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 3.08, to move his record to 21-4 <–LIES!  He’s pretending to be Eazy E vs. Johnny Cash (great song; play count 278) when he’s really Randy Newman’s Short People (good song, but you ain’t listening to that nonsense more than once every few months; play count 59).  His ERA isn’t even accurate.  It’s saying, “I’m Bon Iver’s Skinny Love (play count 175),” when it’s really You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb by Spoon (play count 96).  The only thing that is sort of legit is his 0.98 WHIP, but that’s more Men At Work’s Overkill (play count 186) legit.  Have a season, Rick Porcello, but you are so Rihanna’s Diamonds (play count 86) and not Martians vs. Goblins (play count 365).  Also, if you want more, we talk about Rick Porcello on today’s podcast.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe it was the food poisoning I had yesterday, but I had a dream Toomgis, the AM/PM mascot, and I were driving around talking about September baseball.  It feels like half the teams are either resting regulars for the playoffs, or the other teams that are out of it are resting regulars to give rookies a chance.  Those are the matchups you need to capitalize on with starting pitchers.  By the way, Toomgis is so obvious a creation of stoned creatives.  It’s a collection of stoner food and Toomgis stands for ‘Too Much Good Stuff.’  Um, okay, but there’s an I in there.  Stoner creative, “Eye-shmeye, we just need to move on before I eat our prototype.”  One more Toomgis point, how is this not Colorado’s national bird?  Any hoo!  So, with this matchups point hidden amongst my fracking in on Toomgis, we have Jharel Cotton capitalizing.   In his first major league start, 6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 3 Ks.  Jharel Cotton makes me think of Faye Dunaway in a heavy Southern accent saying, “I shall avert my eyes.”  Cotton showed good control in the minors, and solid Ks, but in redraft leagues, you’re more worried about matchups this time of year.  For 2017, Cotton idolized Pedro Martinez and I can see why.  He’s five-eleven soaking wet (but I’m not sure people get taller when wet).  He also relies on the speed of the fastball and the break of the change.  A change that might carry him to glory, as soon as next year.  In keepers, I’d be very interested.  For this year, go with Toomgis’ advice on matchups.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Can you believe it’s September already? With just under four weeks to go until the end of the MLB regular season, it’s time to push your chips all-in. Outside of the elite players, everyone is expendable in redraft leagues from this point on. If you want to make that final surge up the standings before it’s too late, production trumps reputation. Nursing a sore wrist? Thanks for the memories, Marcell Ozuna. Looking for more than a .220 average with mediocre counting stats out of your #5 outfielder? See you later, Josh Reddick. Need some ratio relief down the stretch? Adios, Marco Estrada. The problem is that trade deadlines have passed and the waiver wire is looking pretty thin at this point of the season. Who are you going to replace these players with? Fortunately, the recent roster expansion has allowed for a fresh influx of rookie talent at this key time in the fantasy season. The youngsters who were held down in the minors earlier this summer for some extra seasoning (or to delay their arbitration clocks) are being called up to get a taste of the big leagues. This week’s most added player, Boston Red Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada (39.6% owned; +33.3% over the past week), is a prime example of the upsidey September call-up. Moncada is about as toolsy as it gets – plus-plus speed (94 steals over the last year and a half in the minors), above average power (.254 ISO in Triple-A), and a patient approach at the plate (double digit walk rates at every level) – which has made him one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His plus throwing arm has allowed the Sox to move him over to third base from his natural position of second base as well. The one caveat is that he strikes out. A lot. He’s already whiffed six times in his first fourteen MLB at-bats and his 30.9% K% in 207 Double-A plate appearances this season is a concern. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if he hit three homers and stole half a dozen bases over the season’s final month. Moncada is definitely worth adding for his upside alone.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For those of you expecting Dan Pants, well the pants are off today. And when the pants come off, malamoney comes out. Did I just talk about myself in third person? I love when I do that. I think Grey might have asked every Razzball writer before asking me to fill in. I’m not sure I blame him, but did he really have to ask the Chinese food delivery guy too? Just because it was Chien-Ming Wang doesn’t lessen the blow to my already diminished self esteem. Speaking of self esteem, Jon Lester was on a roll last night. I’m not a big fan of Lester, but I was watching the box score thinking to myself how much easier this post would be if he completed the no hit bid. Nonetheless, with two outs in the seventh, Hunter Pence hit 1-2 pitch over the wall that Trump is going to build to keep the illegal Mexicans out to break up Lester’s no-no. “No no” is exactly what Trump plans to say to any Mexican caught trying to scale his new wall. Rumor has it that Jorge Cantu caught Pence’s home run ball and threw it back over the wall in disgust. Then he and Yovani Gallardo put on sombreros and cracked open some cervazas. Lester went the distance giving up just three hits and the one run. He struck out four and walked two throwing just 102 pitches…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Twenty-six years after my Lord and Savior, Reggie Jackson, retired from professional baseball to collect cars, full-length fur coats and start a business where you use cocktail franks as cocktail stirrers, I saw a young Mariner by the name of Brad Miller.  To this day, when you Google “Brad Miller sleeper,” you still see archival footage of Grey’s massive excitement — that’s not what she said!  I was jazzed back in 2013 because Miller had hit 20 HRs, stole 11 bases and over .300 between the majors and minors.  Then 2014 and 2015 happened, Miller did nothing, and I retreated into my cubby hole of snack food that I eat out of sight from my Cougar wife.  “I’m snacking on kale, baby doll!”  “Grey, you sound louder than usual.”  I was being amplified due to eating a nacho cheese Bugle.  Finally, this year I was sure not to own Miller anywhere.  So, of course, he breaks out.  Yesterday, Brad Miller went 3-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 25th homer, 5th homer this week, while hitting .265.  On our 30-day Player Rater, Miller is 5th most valuable for hitters.  The top 4 –> Blackmon, Hamilton, Braun, Betts.  Yeah, pretty good company, like Reggie’s cocktail frank stirrers’ company, The Dog That Stirs The Drink, Inc.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Milwaukee Brewers non-roster invitee Josh Hader, points to help his catcher field a wild pitch, Wednesday, February 24, 2016, in Phoenix. Arizona.(Photo/Roy Dabner) ORG XMIT: RD037

Don’t be a hader. Don’t hade the player, hade the game. Hader. Hader. Hader alligator. Alright, well maybe that last one was a bit of a stretch, but far be it from me to give it the old college try. What have I got to lose, two of my remaining eight readers? Based on the metrics available to me it seems I lost about thirty percent of my followers after I posted that article comparing Julio Urias’s eye to Sloth’s from The Goonies. If you serve it up on a silver platter you better believe I’m going to gobble it up like a bag of Doritos after a session with Tim Lincecum. Besides, that one was like hitting the ball off of a tee. Since that post I’ve been trying to figure out how I can lose another thirty percent while still providing some valuable fantasy baseball advice. Enter Josh Hader, the minor league pitcher for Milwaukee. There’s no pussy footing around it, this guy is not handsome. Talk about getting beat by the ugly stick. This guy fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. He’s so ugly he makes Willie MgGee look good. He’s so ugly his manager insists that he wear a catchers mask at all times. He looks like Randy Johnson had a baby with Jorge Cantu and that baby had a baby with Pascual Perez. You don’t have to tell me that it’s wrong to poke fun at something another cannot control, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to. Besides, it’s not like I’m making this sh!t up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Joe Musgrove shut down the mighty Toronto Blue Jays for the second time, going seven strong innings, allowing just six hits, two runs, a walk and striking out seven for his first major league win. He looked dominant. Like Michael Phelps dominates the pool, or Simone Biles dominates her sport, and all sports, for ever and ever. Simone though. Have you ever seen such dominance? Clearly, ESPN has not. Regardless, Joey Joe Joe now sports a sparkling 1.47 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 21/2 K/BB ratio though 18.1 innings. Did you miss out on Jameson Taillon, Michael Fulmer, Lucas Giolito or Blake Snell? Well frown no-more, my frowny-faced friend, because Joe Musgrove may just be the best performing of the rookie-nookie bunch, and while everyone is off drafting their fantasy football teams, Musgrove is still available in over half of baseball leagues. Who is this Musgrove character, and what makes him a must-own pitcher, you ask? In 16 games in AA and AAA (85.1 IP), Joe was 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 87/10 K/BB rate. Oh yeah. For those of you playing at home, that will help your fantasy team. He also plays for the Houston Astros, a team in dire need of all the help they can get as they make their playoff push. Grey told you told BUY and Joe Musgrove needs to be added in all leagues as soon as you finish reading this…sandwich! Gotcha! Now make like Katie Ledecky and 100m fly to the waiver wire!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As we’ve seen countless times, a logjam in a starting rotation never ends up being a hurtle. At first, the Astros were seemingly cutting out Lance McCullers with boring vets like Doug Fister and Scott Feldman, the latter who has really not worked out as a starter… Feldman was throwing some good RP innings though, before they dumped him north of the border… Anyway, with McCullers’ elbow barking, it opened a spot for Joe Musgrove to step right into the rotation.

I’ve been thinking back; has there been a more exciting SP debut for a guy coming out of the bullpen at first? 4.1 innings coming in for the injured McCullers with 1 hit, 1 walk, and 8 Ks and a Jose Fernandez-esque fiery presence from Musgrove. Brian McCann will be a big baby whenever the Yankees face him… 8 strikeouts has to be close to a record for an MLB debut out of the bullpen (broadcast tells me it tied the record, nice work Astros broadcast!)… I guess without the clear opening through the season, it dulled the fantasy love for Musgrove, who had a crazy 10.25:1.03 K:BB in AA and 8.69:1.07 in AAA. Makes Phil Hughes look wild! Although, throwing Phil Hughes’ name in here isn’t exciting anyone… Hopefully a good outing and sexy GIFs will do that! Here’s how Musgrove looked yesterday afternoon in his first career MLB start:

Please, blog, may I have some more?