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?

Yesterday, Phillip Ervin went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd home run and 2nd in as many games.  This blew my mind:  there was no mention of Phillip Ervin on this site since 2014, when then-prospector Scott Evans said, “We’ll have a much better feel for (Ervin) after he’s had a chance to settle in at a full-season assignment, but on the surface, Ervin looks like a potential 20/20 outfielder who’ll also help in AVG and OBP.   I hope Grey reads this in three years…IN HELL!”  Damn, some animosity there.   Now, the real puzzler maker, as they say in the Haus of Rubik, Prospector Ralph hasn’t spoken about Ervin once.  So, I took it up with Endorphin Ralph on text, and he said, “He’s a 25-year-old, slugging fourth outfielder that’s Quad-A.  RUSNEY IS BETTER!!!”  So, Ervin’s a former 1st rounder, who might not be anything, due to weak contact he makes too often.  In Triple-A, he did have 7 HRs and 23 SBs with a .256 average.  He might just be a schmotato, that cools off and vanishes, but a speed/power combo plays in fantasy if he plays, which he is.  Better than Rusney Castillo?  WE SHALL SEE.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Job Posting: Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast Announcer
Must possess the ability to properly introduce Grey. Possibility to expand role into Grey’s everyday life, introducing him at the gas station, Whole Foods, Laundromat, etc … Pay commensurate with experience.

On this week’s Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast, Grey Albright and I start the show by discussing Bryce Harper’s freak injury, along with how much we trust Zack Greinke and James Paxton going into next season (ranked 5th and 8th overall for starting pitchers on Razzball’s Player Rater, respectively). We then bring on Ralph Lifshitz to talk Andrew Benintendi, the RCL’s, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, and Patrick Corbin. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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As the season rolls along, my choices for starters to profile should be wearing thin. Luckily for all of you, myself, and my relationship with anyone not in the Crab Army, spot starts and rookie callups give me the perfect intersect of my two worlds. Now as any good Seinfield fan knows, worlds colliding can be catastrophic. Just ask George Costanza. That however is not the case for your loyal and eccentric Prospector/Pitchspector. It’s all good on this end. Why? Because I’m more than happy to dig into the ratio roulette that is rookie starting pitchers. In the grand tradition of my messiah like activity on the prospect side, I’m here to observe these wild cards, provide my take, and lead you on the path to true fantasy salvation. This is a really long winded, and pompous, way to say I’m profiling Reynaldo Lopez’s White Sox debut today. I’ve been lower on Lopez than many other prospectors in the industry. For what feels like two years now, I’ve been constantly banging my shoe on the table of the United Prospect Nations, sternly proclaiming that “Lopez is a pen arm!” I’d make a joke of my followers storming the town square with Pier 1 style tiki torches, but the rest of the Lifshitz clan prolly wouldn’t appreciate that. Anywho, here’s what I saw.

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It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.

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In case you can’t tell from my dull, unoriginal title, I really tried to find a way to open this column with Saberseminar 2017 in Boston.

Yesterday and today, the most analytically inclined minds in the baseball industry gathered in a college lecture hall on Boston University’s campus to mull over the most finite details in the game. Rick Hahn (White Sox GM) spoke candidly about his club’s rebuild and how he and his staff emotionally deal with “teardowns” – he even spilled some beans that Reynaldo Lopez might be called up for a start Friday (#LanceTheBeatWriter) – while Tom Tippett, Red Sox Senior Analyst, dove into all the details unaccounted for in dollar-per-WAR retrospective contract valuations. There was even a chemist by the name of Stephanie Springer – unrelated to George Springer – who closed her powerpoint with an ominous bullet-point implying players might have an advantage in PED screening (yowzas indeed). I plan on detailing my experience in a post for my brainchild BigThreeSports, but let’s get to the matter at hand.

We need to talk about Aaron Nola…

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Maybe Carlos Rodon is a bit more high, ahhh, ummm, profile than the usual pitching, ahhh, ummm, profile candidate I cover. After all, at points over the last few years this is a guy who’s been universally owned. Things have definitely been a different story in 2017, as he missed all of April and May, and most of June recovering from a biceps injury. Following two strong starts upon his return, we’ve seen “Bad Carlos” over the last three turns. The former third overall pick has been steady, but inconsistent throughout his first two seasons in the big leagues. Apt to spells of poor control and command, that typically led to some ugly pitching lines. Is that what’s happening here? Simply a case of “Bad Carlos”? Good or bad, something has obviously been amiss the past few starts, let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s going on. Are these problems fixable or is there a lingering injury? On Sunday Rodon faced the red hot Indians and my guess is you already know what happened. Here’s what I saw.

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It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light.  Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy.  So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship.  That being Marcus Semien.  I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals.  Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube.  So why now?  Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year.  Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats.  (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.)  So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10.  I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference.  Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230.  The steals are what we want and that’s why we here.  So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues).  With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.

Be sure to check out Razzball Soccer for all of your Fantasy Premier Leagues!

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If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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Yesterday, Rafael Devers was called up by the Red Sox.  Meh, if he’s anything like Danvers, Mass., I’m good.  Somewhere, Prospector Ralph just Hulk-smashed his computer.  Say something bad about Rafael Devers and Prospector Ralph goes full Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue.  “You want a real man to play third base with your wife?”  Devers’ minor league numbers (20 HRs, near-.310 across two levels this year in 85 games) look like yet another Benintendi, but with more power.  The Sons of Sam Horn will go legit Sophie’s Choice if you try to get them to choose between Benintendi and Devers.  “I’d prefer to eat at a Wahlburgers every day for the rest of my life than choose between those two.  Oh, and Yankees suck!”  After owning Benintendi for the past four months, I think I might prefer Devers next year, if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be.  Not to get too crazy, but can anyone say a lefty Miggy?  If you can’t say it, you might need to see a speech therapist.  Devers is absolutely a grab in all leagues to see how looks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?