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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Daniel Brim, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Los Angeles Dodgers!

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It’s telling over a period of time, taken into account the teams success rate naturally, how well their bullpen is performing. Take a look at the Texas Rangers over the last 30 days.  They are a 19-10 and steaming toward playoff relevance… maybe.  During that time they had 17 save/hold situations.  Those of you that can’t count well, that is a lot. Leading the charge for them has been bullpen recall and future closer dubbed by me Keone Kela, who over that same 30 day period is contributing a hold basically every third game with 8.  As a team, they have 28 team holds which is more than the White Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Athletics and Mets… combined.  So basically they are the Costco of holds for those who like to buy in bulk.  Kela isn’t alone in his fantasy hold-em,  Sam Dyson has kicked in 7, Jake Diekman 6 and Sam Freeman with 4.  The best part of this whole thing is that the latter three guys were not on the roster to start the year.  I love that kind of stuff, that’s like wearing matching t-shirts with your friends whether it be on purpose or not.  Awesomely awkward.  Stick it here for some more bullpen tidbits and a fancy chart with gadgets and numbers that show an order.  Cheers!

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Jonathan Papelbon has a contract that insures that he remains the closer if he’s traded. He would likely be the closer in Washington even without that stipulation, but it’s so like Papelbon to have that in his contract. Should just call that the douche clause. To fix him, the Nationals should bring him into games where they’re up one run in the seventh and run him out there for three innings every night until his arm falls off. Sure, they’d cost themselves a closer and games, but isn’t spite worth it? I know it is when Cougs says she has a headache and I say, “Fine, I’m gonna sleep in the bathtub!” Sure, I could stay in the bed, or even opt for a couch, but the spite wouldn’t be driven home as well. Papelbon’s trade obviously kills all value for Drew Storen. Shame, his career feels like the exact opposite of Fernando Rodney. No matter how well Storen pitches every year he seems to lose the job for some unforeseen reason. Maybe he can figure out a way to work into his contract, “Must pitch after any white guy that is a terrible dancer whether that is Mark Madsen, Grey Albright or Papelbon.” Of course, in Philly, this means that Ken Giles gets his long-deserved chance to close for the Phils. All three games where they’re leading. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve just never been a Matt Moore guy…

Uber-talented Moore has always gotten praise for his clean mechanics and smooth delivery, plus fastball, and solid slider, but it never materialized into good control and solid numbers.  Those horrible, horrible walks…  Moore’s K zone looks like a star chart!

After never ranking him favorably the past few years because of a 4.5 walk rate, yes 4.5, I thought the buzz for him off the DL from TJ recovery was too… buzzy.  I’m at a loss for words I’m so confused!  But I hadn’t seen him pitch since hitting the DL after two starts last year, and maybe a reconstructed elbow can help.  “He’s more machine now, than man!”  Well let’s hope it helps the horrific walk rate!  Here’s how he looked yesterday hosting the Astros, along with ranks for pitchers for the second half:

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Cody Anderson took a perfect game into the 7th inning yesterday and ended up with a line of 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 baserunners, 2 Ks, and his ERA is at 0.57 thru two starts. The Indians staff just keeps getting sexier. Now their rotation is Cody, Corey, Danny, Trevor and Carlos. Sounds like a boy band, K-Nudo. Only Cody doesn’t strike out as many — he’s the sensitive one. Anderson has an interesting backstory. He’s from Idaho, and he signed with the Tribe out of a junior college for $250,000. Imagine that. One day, Anderson’s asking ma if they have to eat potatoes yet again for dinner and saying a lot of “Aw, geez,” then he signs for a quarter of a million dollars, which is more than the state economy of Idaho. Suddenly, he was able to purchase the state of Idaho and all its trout. (I have no idea if they have trout there, but Guy Fieri seems to stop at a Diner and/or Drive-In and/or Dive at least once a week in Idaho for trout.) “Aw, geez, ma, I have to pay to pave highways now? Money is evil!” As for fantasy, Anderson’s not quite as big city-ish. He has very few Ks thru two games, but he does throw hard-ish (93 MPH fastball) with a decent slider, and he also has decent control. His minor league numbers portend a mid-rotation guy at best and he’s not at his best yet, so there’s still room to grow, but I’d let him grow on someone else’s team in mixed leagues. If you wanna check the Stream-o-Nator on him, go for it, but outside of AL-Only leagues, I wouldn’t own him yet. Just as I wouldn’t eat trout from Idaho. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Geez, what is it about Steven Matz?!

The puns have been outpouring faster than illogical movies by Christopher Nolan.  Maybe it’s because he pitches for the Metz?  I don’t know!

I’ve been… well, naive to not rank Matz to this point.  Even with my standing concerns coming into his debut, he likely should’ve been ranked the last few weeks.  I thought it would be at least July until he was up, and I questioned how many innings he’d really get through in the Majors.  His peak is 140.2 IP last year across high-A and double-A, and he entered the Majors at 90.1 innings before yesterday’s debut.  Innings concerns are a big question mark after his career started with major elbow issues (TJ and complications).

And after that debut with 4 RBI at the plate, the mythical legend might be one of the biggest gaps from perception to reality.  Then again, I’m saying all this before breaking down his first start without seeing much of him beyond the numbers.  What Pitcher Profiles are all about!  You can’t know for sure on a guy until you really get a chance to see him pitch.  So without any more noodling, here’s how Matz looked in his debut:

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Maikellebrew strikes again! And again! Two homers last night for Maikel Franco (4-for-5, 3 runs, 5 RBIs, hitting .312), his 8th and 9th homers of the season in only his 36th game played. That prorates to, like, 189 homers in a season. (Don’t do the math.) Perhaps I’m drenched in jade, the mother jewel of sarcasm. Perhaps my cup runneth over with Blasé like a bored rapper. Perhaps I’m all cosmopolitan and citified and other words Charlie Manuel would call me, but why do I get the feeling Maikel is going to have a great rookie year than disappoint for the next three years? Has Bruce, Heyward, Machado and so many others taken away my innocence? Is that a Black Flag bumper sticker on a Cadillac? Don’t look back, I can never look back. I sure hope I’m wrong, but with each homer by Maikel, his hype grows and he moves further away from my clutches. But, if we are to entertain the insane for a moment, he’s only 22 years old. What does his future hold? Does only the papier-mâché head of Michael Jack Schmidt that sits on Prospect Mike desk hold the answers? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Some call them cookie dusters, others dirt squirrels, lip luggage, snot mops, and upper lipholstery. I believe our Boss/fearless leader/fantasy master lothario calls his “old bullet proof”, but I’m not sure. I’m of course talking about those lip rugs knows as mustaches. Our sport of baseball more so than any other contest of athletic prowess has embraced the flavor savor. Over the years there have been some top choice lip rugs in the American past time. So this week’s theme is Baseball Mustaches. Seriously narrowing hardball’s best mustaches down to just six was damn near impossible. I tried anyway and I’m sure all of you will call me thick as brick for not including the handlebars you’d most like to ride. But that’s why we have comments, so you can belittle and abuse me for my lapses in judgement, poorly formed opinions, and general lack of research when it comes to the pitchers being skipped two days after this article posts. I mean in some circles I am known as the Oracle and my propensity for knowing the future is rather well documented. Still I’m at least 37% human, so cut me some slack.  Week 12’s roster of two start pitchers is top heavy and flat bottomed, it’s like the Kate Upton of two start pitching weeks. You know because she’s big…..wait I’m not going to bother explaining this.

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You, “So, Grey, I appreciate a well-coiffed mustache as much as the next straight man, but are you trying to tell me Luis Valbuena isn’t a virtual lock at 3rd base?” Crazy shizz, right? The Cubs made the right move and went with Mike Olt to at least platoon at 3rd base. Here’s what I kinda said in the past, “Don’t you love when New Yorkers say the expression, “I got your _____ right here!” Coming out of the right taxi driver’s mouth, it’s like a cello being played by Yo-Yo Ma. Sometimes it can get confusing when you are actually trying to tell someone you’ve located something. Like, “I got your cellphone right here!” Probably sounds like you’re being an a-hole. Well, in that vein, take a a scruffy taxi driver’s voice, throw it through two packs a cigarettes a day for 20 years and give me a little, ‘I got your loyalty to Luis Valbuena right here!'” And that’s me kinda quoting me! I wrote that nonsense in 2012 when he was on the Rangers and behind Michael Young. That’s how long this whole Mike Olt saga has been going on. I received straight C’s in math, but I’m gonna try to count Olt’s post-hype hypeness. Okay, ready? Good. He’s a post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-hype prospect. Whew. I hope I didn’t put the italics ‘post’ where the capped ‘post’ was supposed to go. Olt was supposed to break out two years ago. Supposed to be a Chris Davis clone. Last year, Olt was in a backwards spiral of epic proportions. He hit .168 in 152 plate appearances at the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, but he had something wrong with his eyes. His eyes are fixed and he has other strengths. Strength being one of them. He can hit the ball a country mile (which is further than a city mile due to a lack of public transportation). He also has a decent enough glove. It’s a Rawlings. It’s a tanned leather. He will platoon in the early going, but, at this point, there is absolutely no reason to hold him back if he can hit. He won’t put up a great average, but there is a chance here for 30 homers if he can get the at-bats. 30-homer 3rd basemen don’t fall off the wagon every day, unless it’s an overcrowded wagon specifically labeled, “30-Homer 3rd Basemen.” Oh, and I’ve moved him up in my top 400. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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