It started with a simple email. Hey Grey and Rudy, wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote about the top pitchers broken down by month? And within those months, to evaluate with and without wins to ascertain who pitched well and gave good value vs. who pitched for a 90 win club and had a 4-0 month? Response was a resounding yes, of course. And of course, it was my own damn fault for having such a good idea because now I’m here giving you offseason content prior to January. Clearly the time that everyone is reading about fantasy baseball. Oh well, let’s get to it. Here’s a look back at April’s pitching to see if it holds any keys going forward to 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The rain cooperated to let Derek Jeter play his final game at Yankee Stadium. Thank God, the Yankees needed the tarp for Suzyn Waldman. The Yankees presented Jeter with a replica of the Yankee Stadium on-deck circle. He is going to put it outside his house and instead of pine tar rags and donuts there will be lingerie and gift baskets. I don’t really care for his final lap around Fenway. I do agree with Olbermann that I think he should have bowed out of playing in Fenway. With that said (reversal time!), sometimes stars get grooved pitches on their final retirement jaunt. I grabbed Jeter two days ago in my leagues just in case that happens, and so far, so good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After Rafael Soriano once again looked like his apologetic alter ego, Sorry-yo, Matt Williams said the Nats won’t have a set closer. Let’s backtrack to August 18th, it was a day after the fourth time Soriano had given up runs in the matter of two weeks. At that point, I wrote there was a problem, and I grabbed Drew Storen. That was three weeks ago, and things haven’t gotten better. So, why was I able to spot there was a problem with Soriano three weeks prior to the Nationals manager, Matt Williams? Terrific question. There’s a few possible reasons A) Matt Williams’s Oakleys are worn to shield TV cameras from showing he’s actually asleep. B) Matt Williams can’t find steroids that make him smarter. C) There’s no C. D) In a secret meeting in Bud Selig’s wood-paneled basement in Milwaukee in 1999, Major League Baseball declared that every team must have at least one Mark McGwire. Matt Williams was elected to be Arizona’s Mark McGwire. (Sosa was elected to be the Cubs’ McGwire, which is why he bleached his skin.) The experiment to have a McGwire on every team was a success at first, but soon the players that were elected to be McGwire began to say, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” every time any question was asked. The biggest offender of this was Matt Williams, so, rather than risk being found out, MLB made him the Nats manager. Any of these reasons could be right, but it’s probably D. So, with Soriano in trouble, the Nats could go to Storen, Tyler Clippard or Matt Thornton. My guess is it’ll go in that order, and yesterday Storen got the clean save, helping his case. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In 1778, Benjamin Franklin pulled the first American flag from Betsy Ross’s, uh, clutches and proclaimed a holiday to be called Labor Day in the then-resort city of Philadelphia. Since then there’s been a long history of great Philly pitchers: Steve “Lefty” Carlton, Jackie “Kid” Gleason, Robin “ESPN anchor” Roberts, Curt Schilling, who later went on to be known for saucing his French fries with ketchup out of his sock, Jim “Beds Are” Bunning and Brett “I’ll Show You Slap Hits” Myers. Philly’s not the same town now as it was in Ben’s day, as the battle for best cheesesteak tore up most of the city. “Geno’s? How about I give you a jihad wit wiz?!” It’s ugly, without much joy in the City of Brotherly Love, a nickname adopted due to the popularity of a WWF manager in the early 90’s. Yesterday, for a moment, all of that sorrow was told to go to ‘morrow, as Cole Hamels and Jacob Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a no hitter. Hamels only made it through six innings, because he took Labor Day literally and struggled with five walks. If I had to give an award out because I had an award and didn’t know what to do with it, I’d ask someone next year if Jacob Diekman ever threw a no-hitter, and would reward them with that unwanted trophy if they said yes. A great day for Philly fans everywhere (except for the fans that came to the game with D batteries hoping for a reason to throw them at a player). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
So there I was, huddled with my family in the basement. Waiting for the tornado. I kept thinking, “I’m from Massachusetts why am I in the basement at 9 o’clock at night, the Sunday before Labor Day waiting out a tornado warning?” (Entitled Northerner Alert!!) To get my mind off of what was potentially headed my way, I went and checked my DraftKings roster. GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY!!12TH! My mood went from somber to ecstatic almost immediately. That’s the highest I’ve ever finished in a Moonshot before. Sure I’ve had a dozen or so top 100 finishes and a couple of top 50’s but top 12? Hell nah! Now I really hoped to make it out of this basement in one piece. I’m cashing like crazy tonight baby. Get Money indeed!
Not to worry Razzaholics, the storm passed, the Tornado was canceled (I didn’t know that they canceled these things) and the Lifshitz clan is safe and sound. Great! more time to focus on turning these winnings into a vacation to San Diego or Hawaii or some place warm for the winter. Welp, I think I just locked up the award for the most dramatic opening of a post on Razzball. As well as the award for the Father who’s priorities are the least in order. In my work for Football later this week, I’ll be gunning for the most times the word selfie has been used in a post, and the least informative content. What can I say I aim high. You know who is aiming high these days? (Segue FTW!) Corey Kluber! Today he’s got the difficult task of trying to tame the Tigers. This is no feat for mere mortals, in fact Mr. Kluber himself has fallen a victim to the Jaws of the Tigers before. Primarily saber tooth sluggers Miguel Cabrera (15/28, 3 hr’s, 7 RBI, 6 K’s score one for Corey!) and Victor Martinez (8/21, 2 hr’s, 3 RBI, 2 K’s). I’m not under any delusions that tell me Kluber is going to get rocked, but as I said in Two Start-A-Palooza on Saturday I could see a 6 IP, 3 ER, 5 K kind of game. Not bad but also not worth $11,800. Just so we’re clear I love Kluber I’m just giving him the Labor Day fade. (UPDATE: Now that I know that Miggy will be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future I’m upgrading Kluber to a good start in all formats) The same goes for David Price and his $12,200 price tag. There are too many great pitching options today to bother with aces facing good offenses.
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 the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.
Alright Head-to-Headers and Weekly League players. This is more than likely the most important week of your season. You’re either kicking off the first round of playoff match-ups or you’re grinding out the last week trying to get that ever elusive playoff birth. Not to worry my peeps, the Legendary Lifshitz is back and ready to drop some two start pitcher science on y’all. In fact I’ll be taking over as your captain from here on out and into 2015. That’s right! I’m your 2015 Two Start Huckleberry! Think of me as the top prospect getting called up for roster expansions with an eye on the starting job next year. You know like Xander Bogaerts but less of a disappointment. Unless you’re my third grade teacher Ms. Schultz. Then I’m more of a disappointment. What can I say the women had high hopes.
As for the roster of Double dippers, it’s not bad. Lots of good streamers and ton of middle of the road options. I’ll try and focus a little more on the arms with lower ownership levels, knowing those are the guys you’ll be looking to for the extra counting stats to put you over the top. This is one of the most fun times to be a fantasy baseball manager. This is for those digging through the wavier wire looking for that streamer to get you into the dance, or that spot starter to help you lock down that swing category to get you into the next round of the playoffs, or even the roto owner looking to capitalize on the less savvy owners who hit their innings limits this week. May you use this as your guide good sirs! Unless you’re in a league with me, then I hope all your pitchers get shelled. Sorry but I’m in it to win it no matter the cost!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Madison Bumgarner threw a near-perfect game vs. the Rockies, ending with a one hitter and 13 Ks. Tim Lincecum was the first one to congratulate him, saying, “I’ll see you in the bullpen in two months.” Then Lincecum laughed, a hallow, empty laughter and his eyes glazed with what appeared to be tears. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive that even Gattis said, “I’d bunk in a cardboard box with that Bum anytime.” Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Brian Sabean altered Bumgarner’s contract, making him twelve years older. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Giants fans didn’t roll their eyes when someone had white wine with a burger. On the year, Bumgarner has a 3.02 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and is about as consistent as a starter that you can find. Oh, and he’s only 25 years old. *Homer Simpson drool* Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
This is happening on the other side of my laptop as I sit here writing the Two-Startapalooza…
Yes, that is a dog dry-humping Boo the star Pomeranian in stuffed animal form. He does it all the time, but for some reason it seemed profound to me and strangely relevant to this week’s batch of pitchers. [Jay's Note: Uhhhh. Okay?] Perhaps my dog represents the fantasy gods, and Boo is fantasy owners everywhere, especially those on the playoff bubble in their leagues. No Clayton Kershaw, no Max Scherzer, no David Price, no mega-aces to speak of. Combustible No. 2’s. A lot of mediocrity. Dudes obviously pitching over their heads, and dying to, well, eff you over. And then the looming threat of namby-pamby real-life baseball managers pulling guys early in games to get ready for the real-life playoffs and even scratching top-flight starters with mysterious blisters, hangnails and other assorted bogus injuries in an effort to save them for the postseason. The nerve! But I see two little gifts from these same fantasy gods: Two guys with potential who have good-to-great matchups this week.
First up is Eric Stults, a Hodgepadre with two home starts (Brew Crew and Dodgers) and a nice run going. He’s 3-1 in August with a 1.49 ERA, and only one of those starts was in Petco. Also, he’s only walked two guys in his last three starts, and has the potential to strike guys out on top of that. Then there’s Dillon Gee, who looked like a potential ace out of the gate this year but then missed two months with a back injury. He’s been about as appealing as amusement park food since his return, racking up a 5.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with no wins over the last 30 days. But if you drill down into his last four starts, he hasn’t been that awful. He held down the Giants for the most part on Aug. 4, giving up two runs over 5-plus innings. He then dominated the flat-lining Phillies in Philly. Now I’ll make some excuses. Is there shame in getting a little shaken (4 ER in 5 innings) in a loss to the first-place Nats at home or a road loss to first-place Oakland? This week, Gee welcomes two beatable opponents to Citi Field: The strikeout happy Braves and then those same crappy Phillies. I like Gee and Stults as streamers who won’t “screw you over” (heh) and nothing else. Now let’s see what else we got in the Two-Starter cupboard this week.Please, blog, may I have some more?
“Richards is talking to trainers but remains on back. Injury appears to be serious.” That’s how the news was tweeted out yesterday by the Angels beat writer. If Agatha Christie were around today, she’d adapt that tweet and name the novel, 140 Characters On A Train Wreck. Then it would be re-released after a train disaster with its new title, The Pitcher’s Trap. No matter the title, there was and will only be one antagonist, the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, who gets his jollies from the misery of fantasy baseballers. You sit on his lap; he says, “What do you want this season?” “A healthy pitcher.” “Ho, ho, ho, no.” Arm injury, oblique, hip impingement, parallel parking impingement because of a stupid cone, broken toe, Tommy John surgery, Tomas Juan surgery in Mexico, forearm strain and now a knee. The Angels best options are Wade “Joey” LeBlanc, Randy “Team Jacob” Wolf and Chris “Lord” Volstad. They are all horror shows. Mean’s while, it sounds like Garrett Richards will miss the remainder of the season, but hopefully will be fine for next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:Please, blog, may I have some more?