If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA,  7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, where does Mookie Betts go in 2018?  That’s what we all want to know, right?  That and WHAT TIME IS IT?!  Sorry, was listening to Steppin’ To The A.M.  I was not listening to Time to Get Ill, however, because I don’t like the Beastie Boys, but it might be more appropriate with The Bettsie Boy, Mookie.  Home run distance is a weird thing.  Well, maybe not weird, but hard to trust.  Yeah, that’s the ticket, said like that Jon Lovitz character.  In hindsight, it’s obvious.  Mookie had so many Just Enough home runs last year, of course, he’s not hitting as many this year, but I thought there would be enough mitigating factors to lessen Betts’ drop off.  He’s young — power still peaking; he’s in a good park — Pesky/Wall; the lineup — oh, that lineup.  Didn’t play out that way for power and average.  His average is nearly fifty points off of last year, and his power will end likely down about five homers from last year.  Not huge?  Well, that is around a 15% drop — even after his big game yesterday of 3-for-5, 6 RBIs and his 20th and 21st homer.  So, what does all this mean for next year?  I think he’s going to be undervalued, and I expect a bounce back of sorts.  Likely closer to a 27-homer guy than his 30+ last year, but there’s no way he hits near-.265 as he is right now.  He’s hitting as many line drives as last year, hitting the ball harder, in general, and a .267 BABIP.  He’s gotta be one of the unluckiest hitters this year.  He’s basically hitting line drives up the middle, but a squirrel is knocking it down into a fielder’s glove.  Maybe he’s not Mookie Best this year, but I’m not counting out Mookie Ballgame yet.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and welcome back to the Mike Maher Hurricane Irma Shelter. My apologies for taking last week off, but it seems like I got out of South Florida just in time. I am now safely in the Pocono Mountains, where hurricanes dare not stray. Blizzards, on the other hand…

Hopefully, you all survived a week without me, especially as rosters expanded and probable pitcher lists were thrown further into confusion. This is the time of the year where it really gets dicey. We are all either in the home stretch or are in the playoffs in H2H leagues, while daily lineups and probable pitchers are more unpredictable than ever. Aces and top hitters for teams with guaranteed roster spots are getting extra rest now that each team has roughly 115 players available for each game. It’s not just Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts making our lives difficult anymore. Now, it’s all managers.

These two-start starters lists, regardless of where you look each week, are never going to be 100% accurate. Too much can change throughout the week and even over the weekend. These are just projections based on recent history and how the schedules line up. This week, multiply that by about a gajillion. If expanding rosters (and bullpens) weren’t enough to throw things off, Hurricane Irma and her friends are making sure to take care of the rest.

This week more than ever, you will need to double and triple check these starters on Sunday night and Monday morning. Some are all but guaranteed to change between now and then. Now, for the value picks from Streamonator this week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Victor Robles was called up by the Nats.  He’s number two in Prospector Ralph’s top 100 prospects, and everyone loves him, even Brad Garrett!  Robles will likely be the first guy I go over this offseason when I go over some high-profile rookies for 2018.  He is real, and he’s beautiful.  So, here’s the text question I posed to Prospector Ralph yesterday, “Who gets more at-bats from now until the end of the season for the Nationals, Alejandro De Aza or Robles?”  At that point, Ralph stopped talking to me, but it’s even worse.  Prior to my text, I saw “…” showing that he was typing, then that disappeared and nothing.  Just silence.  Eventually, I got a text back that Robles could play half the time.  I don’t know.  My guess is Nats are promoting him as a sort of butt pat that he did well this year.  Maybe he replaces Werth, Kendrick or Taylor here and there and plays a few times a week.  Werth’s shoulder has been barking and he’s woof, in general.  I didn’t care about picking up Robles in a 12-team mixed league, but grabbed him in a 15-teamer to drop Francisco Mejia, who was last week’s “YOU GOTTA GRAB HIM!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time.  Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?”  Let’s look under the hood and see.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the last few days, I’ve been in New York for my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  With each passing year, he gets more casually racist, and, let’s just say, he didn’t start at zero.  I told him Byron Buxton hit three homers on Sunday, and he said, “Byron?  What’s he, a Jew?”  I told him, no, I don’t think so, but, of course, he can’t hear so well, so he continued, “I didn’t think Jews played sports.  Well, I guess he’ll at least be good with the money he makes.”  Then he went on a twenty-minute rant about how he’d have more money if he was Jewish (he’s Italian).  If you read Who Is Grey Albright?, you’ll know that I was raised by my grandparents, so let’s hope the apple rolled far enough away from the tree.  Otherwise, I’m gonna be writing roundups in 40 years like this, “Byron Buxton Jr. – He has better contact rates than his father, and prolly can find a good interest rate, ya know, because Jew.”  Here’s my grandfather with the entertainment we got for the party.  For those of you that grew in the tri-state area in the 1980’s, you’ll be familiar with the entertainment:

Any hoo!  Byron Buxton went 4-for-5, 4 runs, 5 RBIs and three homers (11, 12, 13) and his 24th steal.  A triple slam and legs?  What a glutton for wonderful!  From the 1st half to the 2nd half, his average went from .216 to .309; his K-rate is down from 31% to 25%; his OPS went from .594 to .903; his ISO went from .090 to .245, and his OBP went from .288 to .350.  Beginning to think real adjustments have been made for 2018, because everything’s been better in the 2nd half.  His 2nd half has been bigger and better than the pictures I saw recently of Tiger Woods, if you catch my drift.  (Okay, so the apple doesn’t roll that far from the tree after all.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Lucas Giolito went 6 IP, 4 ER, 6 baserunners, 4 Ks as he was called up to take Reynaldo’s rotation spot.  The shine, as they say at the complaint desk for a shoeshine man, has come off Giolito.  I was all ready to mock Keith Law.  I was going to look at what Law said in 2012 vs. now, but I overestimated Law.  This past winter he said Giolito could be a #1 starter.  I can’t imagine what he said in 2012.  Likely that he’s the best starter in the draft.  He wouldn’t have been alone with that.  Most loved Giolito at the time.  Also, as that last sentence sounds, he was the most loved Giolito, with Sammy “The Bull” Giolito a distant 2nd.  Lucas’s value has rebounded a bit this year vs. last year.  In Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 prospects in the 2nd half, Giolito was ranked 82nd.  As a fantasy baseball prospect list vs. a real baseball one, that’s a solid ranking — or is that a solid Ralphing?  For this year, I’d avoid outside of the best matchups.  Rookie pitchers bring more heartache than your high school sweetheart friending you on Facebook.  “Ugh, she’s happy?  Such BS!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!

**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**

Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.

Please, blog, may I have some more?