bryant_park

Those of you that live in the New York City area or have visited the world’s greatest metropolis have likely walked past Bryant Park. Perhaps you even stopped to take a leak or even sat down on a nice sunny day to do some fantasy baseball research and adjust your lineup. Located between between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is actually built on top of an underground building containing the archives for the New York Public Library. I know… who gives a shift. Besides, I’m more of a Washington Square Park kinda guy anyway.

For those of you that thought Bryant Park was the name of the Chicago Cubs spring training stadium, guess again. That would be Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona, which happens to be the largest spring training stadium (by capacity) with room for 15,000 people. [Jay’s Note: Had amazing sight lines, rugged, yet modern feel. 8/10, would go again.] I think that translates into 25,000 little people, but my math could be wrong. Despite his herculean efforts this spring, not only did they not rename the stadium after him, but Kris Bryant was denied the opportunity of being on the Opening Day roster. Instead, Theo Epstein gave us all some bullshart excuse that he needs more time in the minors. Listen Theo, say what you want, but there isn’t a baseball fan north of the border that doesn’t believe this isn’t a service time maneuver. I’m not a Boras fan, but I love how he called him out on this. Even Cubs manager Joe Maddon has said that he’d love to have him in the lineup. I guess I’ll see you in a few weeks Kris.

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It’s no secret that offense has been in decline across the board in major league baseball in recent years. It seems like only, uh, 17 years ago that the race was on to see who could break Roger Maris’ single season home run record. Last season, only Nelson Cruz reached the 40 HR mark and just ten other players managed to knock 30 out of the park. Remember Vince Coleman’s string of three consecutive 100+ steal seasons from ’85-’87? No? Too young, eh? If you’re familiar with the video game R.B.I. Baseball for the original 8-bit Nintendo, he’s the guy who’s able to steal bases at will. It was basically the same deal in real life. Pretty darn impressive feat, especially when you consider the fact that only four players reached the 40 SB mark last year.

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Second base is a solid position in OBP leagues and you can find standouts across the board and throughout the top-20. I have a few guys I am targeting heavily in drafts for the keystone, as well as MI positions, as I tend to end up with a second baseman there too. The top-5 in OBP looks a lot like most rankings: Robinson Cano .382, Jose Altuve .377, Ben Zobrist .354, (Anthony Rendon if eligible .351), Howie Kendrick .347, and Brian Dozier .345. There are also a couple of names left off of this list that are pretty consistently in the top 5 ranks: Ian Kinsler .307, and Dee Gordon .326 (but more on him later.) Here are a few guys I am targeting and one player, who was a surprising breakout last year, that I’m avoiding…

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ppd

Yeah, you know me. Who’s down with PPD? Every last homie. You down with PPD? Yeah you know me. Who’s down with PPD? All the homies. Are you a homie? If your response is “homey don’t play that“, then maybe instead of fantasizing about the fly girls, you should be zipping up your fly and getting down with PPD. You like how I transitioned from homie to homey? If I’m really good, I can make my way to jabroni.

So what in the Fire Marshall Bill is PPD? And how does it work? Well… Lemme show you something!!! PPD stands for points per dollar. More precisely, it’s fantasy points per dollar spent on a player at your auction. If your league doesn’t do an auction and it’s not a head-to-head points league then you can go watch an episode of In Living Color on YouTube or do whatever it is you do when you’re not reading Razzball. But for the rest of you, it’s time you learned how to put your money where your points is. Yes, I realize the grammar on that last sentence is as poor as a church mouse. Whatever that means.

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The late rounds of fantasy baseball drafts are filled with players who have questions surrounding them. It’s usually not too difficult to categorize these players, particularly in terms of starting pitching. There’s the post-hype group (Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, Tony Cingrani), the declining veteran tier (CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Bartolo Colon), and the unproven prospect tier (Noah Syndergaard, Andrew Heaney, Archie Bradley). Several high floor, low ceiling options (Ervin Santana, Kyle Lohse, Wei-Yin Chen) and volatile injury-prone pitchers (Clay Buchholz, Matt Garza) tend to remain on the board for quite a while as well. In recent years, Brandon McCarthy has generally been perceived by the fantasy community as someone who falls into one of the latter two categories. Is this perception accurate? What can be expected from McCarthy in 2015?

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“Hey, Intern, let’s get the Mayans on hold just in case we need them in a hurry. What? Who the hell is Ralph Mayan of the Mayan Empire and Grille in Norwalk? Your blank stare tells me nothing. Go buff out my El Dorado while I write this post!” So, I’ve seen The Theory of Everything, the story of Stephen Hawking and his wife. It touches briefly on his theorems and the universe’s push and pull. Imagine the universe breathes in and out. The in is gravity and the out is energy generated by particles. However, the Cubs would breathe in, but when they exhaled it sounded like a wheeze. For over a hundred years, people thought it was dying. That constant wheeze of death. Then, Theo Epstein came along, kicked the Cubs in the ass and realized it wasn’t a wheeze but there was something stuck in its throat. The Cubs won’t breathe easy until they win a championship again, but the signing of Jon Lester should help. Last year, Lester had a 9 K/9 and a 2 BB/9. I just touched on this with the signing of Samardzija the other day, but a difference of 7 between K/9 and BB/9 is about the most beautifulest thing in the world, Keith Murray. For K-BB, Lester was 11th in the majors last year. Top ten is a who’s who that’s more glamorous than your Who’s Who of American High School Students Who Paid $75 To Be In That Who’s Who Book. I’ll give you a little hint: if you were to just draft based on K-BB, you’d win your league. Why is K-BB so important? It’s so basically basic basically basic it’s silly. If you strikeout hitters and don’t walk them, good things will happen. For 2015, I’ll give Lester the projections of 15-9/2.92/1.08/206, which is number one fantasy SP numbers. Yup, he’s going to be solid once again. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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We already went over the top 20 catchers and the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Today, we dip our big toe into the top 20 2nd basemen. There were a lot of land mines found at this position. Shoot (not you Dick Cheney!), I’d say a guy like Cano ending up in the top 10 was still a landmine due to where you had to draft him. But there was Kipnis, Gyorko, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips, Brad Miller (!), Lowrie and the thousands words devoted to Alex Guerrero in the preseason and he didn’t even show up until September. To recap, this final ranking for last year is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Throughout the year I’ve learned many things about Daily Fantasy baseball. Avoid lefties against the Rockies at Coors, never trust a Nationals pitchers, and always target hitters on a hot streak. With the last lesson in mind I’ve complied a lineup entirely filled with smoking hot bats. This strategy has been wildly successful for me all year, and typically is a great way to get a potent lineup on a limited budget. A good way to figure this out is to take a deeper look at the stats over the last two weeks. I’m about to give you a lesson in my native tongue of Stat Geek.

There are a few metrics that are particularly telling and I personally feel hold more weight in daily fantasy. My two favorites are wOBA and wRC+. I was put onto wOBA earlier in the year by the one and only Sky, and I have to say it was a revaluation. wOBA if you don’t know is based on linear weights and measures a players offensive contribution per plate appearance. Huh? I know right? I stole that definition from wiki. To put it in layman’s terms they apply a value to each positive offensive contribution whether it be a walk, a single, home run, etc and divide that total by the number of plate appearances. I have to be honest it’s not the only number I look at, but I now put more weight into that particular statistic than I do batting average, OBP, or OPS. It’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of a player’s overall performance without having to dig through stats for hours. Saving time on your homework is a huge advantage when playing daily fantasy. Of course you could just use Rudy’s DFSbot but my opening would have been really short.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Shields’s season proves one thing. He doesn’t answer to you, he doesn’t answer to anyone. Not today, not tomorrow, not even on Cinco de Mayo. Then Shields steals a knot of hundreds from a drug dealer, nurses a drug addict mother back to health and then kills a criminal only to cover it up. Shields, the anti-hero. Oops, I was watching a best of The Shield, and Vic Mackey had me feeling dirty, like a renegade cop! The renegade cop — fun on TV or movies; pain in the ass in real life. In September, James Shields has a 0.00 ERA, rolling off of yesterday’s 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 8 Ks with his ERA down to 3.13. His season has really been all over the map from month to month. On the bad side of things, May ERA 4.69 and June ERA 4.88. On the good side of things, July ERA 2.63; April ERA 1.60; August ERA 2.95, and the aforementioned September. Maybe the Royals knew something when they traded away Wil Myers. Or maybe we can at least pretend they did for this year. “I got short term eyes, not to be confused with short eyes like Elmore Leonard.” That’s Dayton Moore. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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