If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note — JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note — I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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Andrew Cashner stole his second base of the season last night. It was a fine effort. Not a straight steal, but a solid jump that looked like a busted hit and run. Whatever it takes to get the man over, I say. Oh, and he also threw a one hitter, giving up one single to fellow Cougar hunter, Jose Tabata. Sonavabench! Coming into the game, he had a 4.41 road ERA and DAH! Well, you know the rest. Someone mentioned yesterday that Cashner could be someone to watch for 2014 fantasy, so that got me thinking. I think, y’all! His K-rate is way down this year (6.48 K/9) and his xFIP is about that of, say, Lance Lynn, Derek Holland and Dan Haren. I love Cashner in Petco. The thought of him in Petco is like listening to a CD of Bob Ross’s voice while on Demerol. I’d say soothing but I have a hard time with my th- sounds. Those comparable names for xFIP don’t scream someone who’s on the precipice of breaking out, assuming the word precipice is even close to being used correctly here. In fact (Grey’s got another point to make!), Haren, Lynn and Holland are pitching better than him. I’m sure I won’t be totally against Cashner next year, because he does have solid stuff, but his numbers don’t get me as excited as when a barista forgets to charge me for sugar syrup. Seriously, Starbucks? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I remember reading the Cliff Notes for Gustave Flaubert’s masterpiece and thinking, “From the moment Cliff Notes was invented, no one has actually read a classic novel. Therefore, ergo, henceforth, vis-a-vis, if I wrote a Cliff Notes book about a book that doesn’t exist, I could invent a classic novel. I will call it ‘Uncle Fritter’ and have it take place during the 1908 World’s Fair.” These are the thoughts of someone who will one day run a fantasy baseball blog. Matt Dominguez is owned in 26% of ESPN leagues, which is absurd. Absurd, I tell ya! He has 19 homers and a .240 average. Look at Pablo Sandoval’s stats, okay, now look at Dominguez’s — now look at Sandoval — now Dominguez — Sandoval — Dominguez — dizzy yet? Look at Gyorko’s ownership (86%) and his stats vs. Dominguez. Since we’re all about the here and now at the end of the season, it doesn’t really matter what Dominguez has done previously. It’s about what he has done most recently — he has 4 homers in the last ten games and is hitting over .300 in the last week. If you’re struggling for power, I’d absolutely grab him. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Derek Jeter returned and went 1-for-4 with an RBI, run scored and left with a strained quad. I’m not even joking about the injury. The Yankees should just travel with an MRI machine. Didja know 100% of the babies born in the tri-state area between 1992-2013 have a 98.7% chance of having Jeter as their dad? I know, it’s not easy to look at your dad like this, but he’s old. He’s not the same Pops who used to get drunk and tell you to sit in the closet while he hand feed your mother In N Out. This is a different father. This father of yours has the appeal of an old Prado and I’d rather be a suitcase than an old bag like you. In a full season, you might, maybe, possibly get ten homers and ten steals. In less than half a season, your dad could be replaced by, say, Nick Franklin. Mom might think it’s weird, but it’s true. I’d own Jeter if I needed an MI, but if you can use him as a sweetener in a trade then Splenda! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter, and it was the first time a player who looked identical to Christian Bale has thrown the last two no-hitters in the major leagues. Johnny Vander Meer’s family is currently drawing bat ears on old photos of Johnny to try and contest that record. Nolan Ryan was the last non-Balehead to throw the majors back-to-back no-hitters in 1974 and ’75, but the coincidences don’t end there! Back then the only live action Batman was Adam West, and Nolan was pitching as far West as you can go in California and Joe West called Ryan’s fifth no-hitter and Kanye West wasn’t born yet but Jesus was and that’s who Kanye thinks he is. It’s a small word after all, which is played at Disneyland and that’s in Anaheim where Nolan played. My brain is bugging out! Bailey seems like he’s a one-game-a-year pitcher, but he’s been terrific all year. He’s in the top ten for FIP and has the 4th best K-rate in that group. That’s not a 2nd or third fantasy starter; that’s an ace, over-the-internet friend. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When Jose Fernandez walks into the 18-and-over strip club, where only the drinks are virgins, that’s called “Rookie Nookie,” he flips his rookie cards like they’re dollar bills, yelling, “Jose make it rain! Jose make it rain! Get it? Hoe say, ‘Make it rain.'” He explains his puns, but he doesn’t need to explain his stuff. It’s filthy with a side of Dirt Nasty. Last night, his line was 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits) and 10 Ks. Sure, it was against the Padres, but Nolasco just got his asco handed to him by the same team. Fernandez is in the upper echelon of K-rates (9+) for all pitchers with a more than manageable walk rate (hair above 3). Oh, and he’s 20 years old. He can’t buy alcohol! He can’t legally marry an illegal alien in the state of Mississippi without parental consent! He’s so young Jose Tabata’s wife could’ve gave birth to him! He skipped right from High-A to the majors, so this is basically his Double-A season. I just got goose pimples on my butt thinking about how good he can be next year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Mark Twain wrote there are three types of lies; there’s lies, damned lies and baseball stats. That’s from Huckleberry Finn, Page 84…I think. I’m not entirely sure as I went to an “alternative high school” in Maine which was a flannel-clad cross between Glee and Lord of the Flies. Now everybody sing “Don’t you Forget About Me” while I impale this pig’s head on a spear. Happy Mother’s Day!

*Now back to our regularly scheduled blog*

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Kazmir’s career sunk like a lead zeppelin, but get ten Ks against anyone and I sit up and take notice and I’m not just talking above my waist. Hey now! Yesterday, Scott Kazmir‘s line was 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners with 10 Ks. Okay, I have to be a cyclops with a monocle for this guy. To refresh everyone, a cyclops only has one eye so it’s particularly sharp. Like how a blind person’s hearing is enhanced. So you put a monocle on a cyclops and you have creature that sees everything. That’ll be me. Let’s see, his fastball speed has returned to his 2008 levels. The last time he was good. His walk rate went to atrocious after that year, but that too has returned and he has a 25:6 K:BB ratio. The only start where he was hit was his first. Maybe that was nerves — or noive if you’re in Brooklyn. Everything else from Kazmir has been like butter, so he’s no longer toast? That’s what I’m seeing. Okay, now for whether or not you should pick him. He gets the Yankees, Mariners and Red Sox next. Two out of three isn’t good. Sorry, Meatloaf. I wanted to pick him up so badly, I counted each start of his for the next two months. It doesn’t get better. He gets the Reds, Yanks again, Tigers then Nats. I like him more than I have in five years, but I’m still not picking him up. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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