My years of sitting in French cafes, smoking really long cigarettes and wearing a beret, while sneering at children and puppies, has taken its toll.  I’m no longer the innocent fantasy baseballer who picks up just any potential rookie call-up.  I have more discerning tastes now.  When I was a mere jejune tot, I’d sip a combination of ale and grenadine my bartendress called a Monaco and talk about Super 2’s and so-and-so was going to be the next Ryan Braun-like call-up.  I’m no longer a tot; now, I’m a full potato, and I drink gin with extra juniper berries.  Crunching on juniper berries, coughing from a tumor, watching cyclists in spandex shorts, carrying baguettes.  The days bleed together.  I take out my daily planner and pencil, lick the pencil, turn the calendar day to make a note to, “Buy more Virginia Slim 120s,” when I read a note to myself, “It’s almost June, start picking up rookie call-ups, you dipshit!”  Ah, yes, Daily Planner Grey has a point.  Today, I decided to highlight Trea Turner.  At this point, he feels like the number one call-up.  A.J. Reed, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Orlando Arcia might make bigger impacts, but the Nats consider themselves a playoff team and they’re in a heated division battle right now.  I doubt they let Dusty simply ignore Turner because Espinosa is older.  Older really isn’t a reason to play someone.  An exec has to relay that to Dusty at some point.  Turner looks like he could be a Francisco Lindor-type from last year — 7-10 HRs, 15-18 steals, solid average.  Basically, a top ten shortstop from the time he’s called up.  I would stash him now–*coughs*  Sorry, I accidentally bought Virginia Slim 140s.  The extra 20 is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Tolleson had his cookies tossed for the last time on Tuesday.  Or maybe Shawn Tolleson caused his owners’ cookies to be tossed?  Sounds too passive, said Flesch-Kincaid, but you get the idea.  By the by, why is tossing food so gross?  Tossing one’s cookies should be a glorious thing.  Who doesn’t want cookies tossed at them?  Please toss your cookies into my mouth!  Then there’s tossing salad?  That sounds healthy and like a spring morn.  Why is tossing salad so bad?  I’d love a salad tossing and a jog around the Maypole!  Any hoo!  There’s no more Tolleson, and Sam Dyson will step in as the Rangers closer.  Glad to see Rangers manager, Jeff Banister, finally react.  Though, it took a long time since Tolleson’s ERA is over nine.  Banister’s reflexes are so slow Bautista could’ve snuck in a punch on him.  Maybe they should’ve let Odor punch Tolleson’s card.  He would’ve been out on April 4th.  “You’re done!”  “That was one pitch.”  “I don’t care, now I will punch you.”  Sam Dyson should be owned in all leagues.  Will Tolleson regain the role?  Maybe, if Dyson gets injured, but it seems highly unlikely otherwise and can be dropped in most leagues.  Hey, Tolleson, don’t let the door hit you, where Odor split your lip.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Danny Valencia had himself a nice little weekend.  On Friday, he hit two homers, then yesterday he became only the third player to ever have a three-homer game (3-for-5, 5 RBIs) against the Rays (last one was Carlos Delgado in 2003), and only the 2nd player that also stood for the pregame National Anthem.   Valencia grew up Jewish, and, according to Wikipedia, “(Valencia’s) two key hitting coaches growing up were Bob Molinaro, a family friend who is a former major leaguer, and his mother Mindy.”  I didn’t have a Jewish mother, but have plenty of experience being half-Jewish, so I can imagine the guilt trips he got, “Why don’t you marry a nice Jewish girl and stop swinging at balls in the dirt?”  “You never call your mother, and you’re opening up too soon.”  “You can go take batting practice after you give your mother a kiss.”  Wikipedia doesn’t mention it, but one less guilt-inducing hitting coach he had was Jose Bautista.  Valencia learned how to hit for more power from Joey Bats.  Since Bautista imparted wisdom on Valencia, he’s hit 30 homers in the last 580 ABs.  So, can Valencia keep it going?  It appears so.  Now finish your latkes and keep your hands back!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The “five tool” player (having the abilities to hit for average and power, base-running skills/speed, throwing, and fielding) is one who possesses an incredibly rare set of skills. Branch Rickey, who first coined the term in his book The American Diamond, could only name two true “five tool” players at the time – Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Essentially, it’s a term that refers to elite, well-rounded athletes who can do anything and everything on the baseball field. Which players would qualify as true five toolers in today’s game? Three names immediately come to mind – Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Manny Machado. Elite skills and production across the board. Andrew McCutchen is a strong candidate based on his track record, though his speed appears to be in decline. Jose Altuve, Mookie Betts, and Starling Marte might have a shortcoming or two, but they’re in the mix as well.

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Could this finally be Brett Lawrie‘s post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post hype breakout?  I don’t want to overrate or prorate or ameliorate a past inveterate obturate to eviscerate execrate, try not to hate, love your mate, mediate or flip through cards like Michael Hutchence forth, Sandoval’s girth, Andrelton’s not from this earth, movie remake that never went anywhere was North by North.  Yesterday, Lawrie went 3-for-3 with his third straight game with a homer, and he threw in a steal on Saturday, not a liar like James Frey, in Florida I need my mosquito spray, I have three albums by The Fray, said no one that wasn’t gay, which is totally okay.  I was very high on Lawrie in the preseason, and right now he’s on pace for 20+ HRs, 12-15 SBs and hitting .290.  On its own this would be implausible, laughable, impossible, insoluble in water, but he hit 16 homers last year, is only 26 years old and has easy 15-steal speed, so it’s not INXS of the possible.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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We’re now about three weeks into the season, obviously still a very small sample to work with but it’s worth taking a look at current trends around the league.  Some young guys around the league are having a great start helping their long term value while others are on the opposite side of the spectrum.  On the other side of things, there are some older players who are showing signs of decline that you’ll need to make a decision on.  In this article, I’m going to look at these players and talk about their current stock and what I’d do from here.  Let’s get right to it:

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In the offseason, I experimented with a new rankings system. After a several iterations of trial and error, I finally arrived at a solution that yielded favorable results. Even though we are only about eight games into the 2016 season, I decided to give the system a test run. The saying “size matters” definitely comes into play in this case. Approximately 28 plate appearances for a hitter is barely enough to scratch the surface. Projecting based on these numbers is more of a fool’s errand than a productive endeavor, but far be it from me to avoid the opportunity to be a fool.

For those wondering how the system ranks players, I’ll give you the 30,000 foot view. Employing multiple points scoring systems I use both year-to-date and projected stats to calculate points. For each scoring system I then rank the players by position. I then take all the rankings for each player and average them to give each player a ranking. Finally I sort the players based on their average rankings.

As we move deeper into the season I will provide a much fuller and detailed list of rankings, but for today I am just going to give you the top five hitters at each position.

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I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“With my last trick, I will make Paul Simon six feet tall, while throwing a 94 MPH fastball with pinpoint control.”  Then Ray Searage waved a fancy-style cape in front of the audience.  It didn’t block their gaze, but it was such an exotic-looking garment, they were distracted enough to not notice a six-foot-tall Paul Simon walk onto stage, towering over Art Garfunkel.  Simon then threw a brushback pitch while singing Home Plate Bound.  Prior, of course, Searage made the seemingly all-over-the-map Juan Nicasio into an ace.  Or at least an ace in spring training.  Do I believe Nicasio is fixed because of some spring training stats?  Actually, yeah, he could be, and is worth a flyer.  Last year, he averaged 95 MPH on his fastball, and his undoing was always his control, which Searage has helped other pitchers conquer.  Bring Searage your stuff, and he’ll make it work.  I added Nicasio into the top 80 starters and gave him the projections of 8-10/3.81/1.33/148 in 165 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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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…Bryan Kilpatrick, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Colorado Rockies!

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