James Jones has appeared in this column before, but his three steals against the Padres last week opened the eyes of fantasy players in all formats. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise given who those steals came against though. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the majors at holding baserunners and on that particular night it was Tyson Ross on the mound. Ross is currently leading the major leagues in stolen bases allowed (21). He’s got a big red target on his back for those of us in daily leagues looking to deploy SAGNOF types. If you look at it as a rate, the Padres hurler is giving up about a steal for every five innings pitched. Ross is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks this week, so even fringy players like Tony Campana might be worth a shot for a stolen base. Week to week we give you the best and worst teams to run against, but looking even closer at the individual pitchers can be helpful for daily lineup changes. Hey Mike, I wish we had a tool for that! I hear you, friend. Check out the SB Rates vs. SP tool. It will give you the stolen base against data for each pitcher in 2013. Here’s a quick rundown of the best arms to run against in 2014 fantasy baseball…Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Sciosciapath gave Ernesto Frieri the dreaded vote of confidence the other day, so, of course, he wasn’t there when a save presented itself in the 10th inning of a 3-1 game. Cam Bedrosian entered the game with his 10+ ERA. He’s the one guy I would trust less than Frieri, but not to worry, The Sciosciapath had Frieri come in once Bedrosian was in a jam, and Ernesto promptly gave up a grand slam to Nick Swisher, who is batting .200 this year. Joe Smith would seemingly be used to get all future saves, but The Sciosciapath ties his shoes with Crazy Glue and uses the non-pronged side of the fork to eat and thinks Alan Hunter was better than Martha Quinn and once bought Styrofoam peanuts to snack on and his voicemail is “Siri, how do you leave an outgoing voicemail message?” and he thinks arithmetic is the work of witches, so I have no idea where he’s going the next time the Angels have the lead in the ninth. He says they’ll go to a committee, but I’d own Smith. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
David Price is one of the most interesting pitchers right now. Snooze! Okay, Random Italicized Voice, I’ll try not make this too boring. No, I thought I heard an alarm and was yelling for it to snooze. Oh, okay. So– Snooze! You’re not hearing an alarm! Maybe it’s your voice, Random High-Pitched Voice! Snooze! So, Price’s K/9 and BB/9 are at 10+ and sub-1. He should be a top five pitcher with those numbers. It’s not rocket surgery that if you’re striking out ten guys per nine innings and walking less than one guy good things will happen. This isn’t like when your mom says if you’re good to people, good things will happen back to you, cause I’m pretty sure any millionaire will tell you that’s a crock. The odd thing is not enough good things have happened to Price. See, Mom! Price’s ERA is at 3.93 on the year. That couldn’t be further from what is going on. Right now, he’s having the best season of his career from a strictly peripheral sense. This is all happening while his fastball velocity continues to fall. It doesn’t add up like Joan from Mad Men being married to that guy that looks like a young Jeff Goldblum only geekier. As each great start happens like yesterday’s — 8 IP, 3 ER, 5 baserunners, 10 Ks — it’s going to make it harder to buy Price low, but I would. Snooze! Ugh, I hate you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.
I did some soul-searching math the other day, and I determined that 54 percent of the time, I’m right every time. But that benchmark of psychic-level foresight seems to no longer be reachable in these turbulent times. Although a few recent stumbles have me questioning myself a bit lately, there are some things I do know for sure. Taking a page out of Jimmy Fallon’s playbook, I give you my “True Facts of Truth” for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season:
1) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? More tightly wound balls?) has sapped the power out of guys who used to have power. Robinson Cano, Billy Butler, Jedd Gyorko and Evan Longoria are among those who have experienced major power outages.
2) Roughly 32 percent of all adult males get excited when they see Matt Adams rub a bat between his moobs, but only 30 percent will admit to it (Cards’ fans).
3) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? Less tightly wound balls?) and not something else (kids throwing curveballs too early) has made Dr. James Andrews and very busy man and caused carpel tunnel issues for whoever types up the disabled list section of the transactions that run in newspaper sports sections.
4) The “R.A.” in R.A. Dickey stands for “Really Acting”.
5) Guys who were aces heading into the season (Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Gerrit Cole, Gio Gonzalez, Homer Bailey) are not aces in 2014, and therefore not automatic green lights as two-start pitchers.
6) Guys who were not aces heading into the season (Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Josh Beckett) are pitching like aces and becoming dang near must-starts as two-start pitchers.
7) In cricket, the game of pepper is called “circle jerk.”
8) When in doubt, go with the Stream-O-Nator.
9) If you’re still not sold, look at a dude’s K/BB per game ratio.
10) Ronald Belisario is actually 61 years old.
Maybe you saw something in the list you can use and apply to the rankings below. Or maybe you saw some things that have you questioning the future of the human race. Regardless, let the Two-Startapalooza begin!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, the Astros had a scare when Jose Altuve was hit hard on the hand by a pitch and he immediately left the game. Because of the nature of Altuve’s hand, a broken bone would’ve been devastating. You know those tiny boats that people use tweezers to put into little bottles? Those people are called tinyshoremen. Tinyshoremen are the only ones capable of working on a hand as petite as Altuve’s. Finding a doctor who is also a tinyshoreman? Good luck with that! Thankfully, X-rays came back negative and he’s day-to-day. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
A lot of talk has been made about the Fantasy Baseball Overlord causing all of these injuries this year. What people haven’t mentioned as much is the why. FBO was born in a small Jamaican village outside of Kingston. His family was wealthy from manufacturing fertilizer, though this came with a severe downside — the smell of manure. Knowing how cruel kids can be, it’s no surprise they would pick on FBO. The school jocks, specifically the baseball players were the worst. Constantly mocking his ever-present stench, they nicknamed him Fecal Body Odor, or FBO for short. It got so bad that teachers and adults started calling him FBO. Eventually, people called him FBO without even knowing what it stood for. Rather than trying to shake the nickname, FBO decided to have it empower him. First, he tried to get into banking, thinking he could convince people it stood for Fixed Buyout. Then he got an internship with the Field Botanists of Ontario. Neither worked for him, but he did have some knowledge of voodoo from his Jamaican aunt and always harbored hate for baseball players, so Fantasy Baseball Overlord – or FBO, for short, was born. With that said, Adam Wainwright went for an MRI on his elbow and the FBO said, “Eat it, Wainwright!” The Cards are saying his UCL is fine and it’s just tennis elbow. Hopefully this isn’t game, set, match for him. He received a cortisone shot, and there’s no word yet on a DL stint. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
So if you hadn’t noticed, Nelson Cruz has been occupying the top spot (until yesterday) on our Player Rater for quite a while now. For the season, he’s hitting .303/.374/.636 with 21 home runs, 42 runs, and 55 RBI’s. In other news, what is up is down, and I’ve already made an appointment with the Catholic church to seek what our options are for exorcism. Afterall, this isn’t the only strange thing happening in the year of the Tommy John, aka year of Closermageddon, aka year of the Nelson Cruz. I can only surmise that the fantasy baseball gods are trolling us. How do I know this for sure? Anyone see what Lonnie Chisenhall has done? I rest my case.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Gerrit Cole, one of the better young pitchers in the game, landed on the DL Sunday with “right shoulder fatigue”. What does this mean for the Pirates? Well, they have been playing much, much better of late, and this is gonna put a wrench in their chances of making a run at first place in the division. Yes, they are still eight games back, but with Gregory Polanco likely getting called up this week, if they had a push in them, now was the time they were going to have to make it. Instead, 2013 All-Star Jeff Locke, who was so bad post-break that he finished the year in the minors, will fill the void left by Cole and his 6-3 record.
Fantasy baseball owners are also going to be affected by this. The Pirates hope Cole will only miss one start, but this sounds like it could develop into a multi-week recovery. Concern arose when Cole, who normally throws in the 95-98 MPH range, was showing decreased velocity in the mid- to-late innings of games. Assuming the Bucs fall further out of contention, the team will be in no rush to bring back their 23-year-old stud. For what it’s worth, the Reds’ Tony Cingrani landed on the DL in May for the same reason (left shoulder fatigue) and missed just the minimum time, but he hasn’t been good at all in the weeks since. For now, fantasy owners will just have to stash Cole on their DL and hope for a speedy recovery.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Felix Hernandez had the best game of the season for fantasy — 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 15 Ks. F-Her was the best thing to hit the world since Natalie Portman decided it was a good idea to get naked for a short film. Granted, that short film was by Wes Anderson. In film school, it was always met with a mixture of amusement, bewilderment and excitement when any student filmmaker convinced an actress to take their clothes off for a student film. Invariably, they were a better salesman than auteur if they were able to pull it off. “So, your husband, hungry for approval, just left you for a ham sandwich and now you want to shed your clothes, which is a metaphor for the stripping of your soul. Don’t worry, it’s a locked set.” I’ve talked in the past about how if a pitcher has a difference of six between his K-rate and walk rate, then he’s usable in all leagues. F-Her has a difference of plus-8. That’s glorious. He has 106 Ks to 17 BBs. That’s insane. His ERA is at 2.39. He’s real and he’s magnificent. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.
What do you think the Stream-O-Nator looks like? I imagine it resembles Dr. Theopolis, the little circular faced thing that hangs around Twiki’s neck on “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. Dr. Theo was basically a robot on a robot, only he was the smart one and he kind of relied on his dumb robot friend to get him around. Is it possible that Stream-O-Nator hangs around Hitter-Tron’s neck? Would that make Stream-O-Nator a blow-up doll of sorts?
These questions probably couldn’t and shouldn’t be answered, but one thing I do know is that Stream-O-Nator cannot detect signs of life. Because if it could, it would be able to go in and perform the baseball equivalent of an electrocardiogram on the Philadelphia Phillies and come back with something very close to a straight, flat line. This is especially true at Citizens Bank Park, where it’s almost worse than a road game in terms of boos and pressure from a fan base that’s about to go for a group swim off the Ben Franklin Bridge.
And if Stream-O-Nator could do this, it would know that the first of Ian Kennedy’s two starts next week should be a cake walk. Yes, CBP is a bandbox, but no, the older Phillie bats won’t be able to catch up with Kennedy’s lively fastball, nor will bewildered youngsters like Domonic Brown, whose swing is so jacked up that play-by-play guys with manboobs who never played the game are dissecting the various hitches that have him down near the Mendoza line.Please, blog, may I have some more?