As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Pirates Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Pat Lackey from Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Confession time! I’m looking at Craigslist’s Missed Connections for a five feet, three inch starting pitcher that I saw last year on TV. I see someone on Missed Connections looking for a man that they ran into who was wearing a striped shirt and a wool hat. Hey, that’s no fair, you have to find Waldo on your own. I don’t see the guy I’m looking for on Missed Connections, so I’m going to fill out my own ad, “Seeking SLM (Sexy Little Man). When I first saw you throwing 100 MPH, I was smitten like a kitten that grabs onto the side of a building on one of those posters that reads, Hang In There. There’s no emoji to express the joy you gave me that day. If you’re interested — no strings attached! — please be available to draft around 220 overall in standard mixed league drafts.” There, now I just have to wait to see if Yordano Ventura is available in my next draft after being officially named to the Royals starting rotation. Since some of youse, have a problem searching the site for what I’ve said about him in the past, allow me to copy and paste me, “Check out these K-rates from Ventura in the minor leagues: 9.91, 9.39, 11.55, 11.55 and 9.47. That’s every year’s K-rate where he had more than 50 IP pitched. Those are eye popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie. I want to sit by a campfire with those K-rates and let them search for firewood on my lap. His walk rates weren’t egregious either. Not elite, not bad. On average around a 3.50. A 9+ K/9 and a 3.50 BB/9 works. He reminds me of Pedro Martinez, which is a huge compliment. Yordano weighs about a buck-forty and he can hit 100 MPH on the speed gun. His stuff is elite. He could be a lights out closer or starter. For now, the Royals think he’ll work as a starter and so far he hasn’t disproved them.” And that’s me quoting me! Ventura is worth owning in every league. Yes, even that one. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Gerrit Cole has filthy stuff. He can hit 100 MPH with his fastball and make all four of our girl readers go, “Ooh…” Which reminds me of my Walk on the Wild Side remixed chorus, “And the four girl readers go doo do doo do doo do do doo.” There was a whole lot of nonsense, or whole lotta if we stick with the rock theme, when he was first called up that Cole didn’t want to strike people out. Does Alf not want to get back to Melmac?! Does macaroni not mean awesome when Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni!? Does everyone with glasses not look goofy on a 1980′s baseball card?! Ron Kittle? I rest my case! Of course, Cole wants to strike out guys. You can’t stop that! Yesterday, he struck out 12 of them. In 111 1/3 IP this year, he has a 7.60 K-rate and if you throw out June, when he was saying that nonsense about throwing to contact, his K-rate would be near 9. Oh, bee tee dubya, everything else is purdy, too. His FIP is 2.98, his walk rate is barely over 2, he gets ground balls. For 2014 fantasy baseball, Cole could easily be a top 20 starter for all of baseball and will be someone I’ll get plenty googly about this offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Charlie Morton‘s start yesterday of 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 6 Ks wasn’t incredible in itself, but other than Lenny from Laverne and Shirley when he was wearing a Lone Wolf jacket and Burgess Meredith when he broke his glasses on The Twilight Zone, nothing in this world is to itself. There’s befores and afters, causes and effects and chewy watermelon Now and Laters. Morton has now strung together six straight starts and nine of his last ten, dropping his ERA to 3.00. His K-rate isn’t particularly inspiring, but his walk rate is more than solid and his xFIP is 3.62, which tells us he’s not that far from a guy you start every time out. With all of that said, I still don’t trust him for his next start vs. the Cardinals, but then he gets the Cubs and Padres, and for those two starts, I’d absolutely gamble that Morton is worth his salt. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s doubtful that Chicago will start singing, ‘Baby, what a big surprise,’ when Garza’s traded. I don’t imagine there will be that many that are left holding their Putz when the Diamondbacks trade for a closer. Every fifteenth rumor you hear between now and July 31st has at least a two percent chance of happening. So, that rumor about how your old lady is sleeping with your mechanic? Still unlikely no matter how many times you tell her, “Quiet, the game is on.” This Buy is about a rumored trade of yours for Yoenis Cespedes that you can make happen. Cespedes was touched on briefly by JayWrong yesterday, which caused Boras to call Razzball HQ and ask that Yoenis stop being touched on now and fo’ever more. I’m here to say I concur — JayWrong shouldn’t touch on people, and I also concur Cespedes is a solid buy low with enough reasons to count on all 100 of Cespedes’s feet. With regards to his BABIP, he’s been getting unlucky. He’s been hacking a bit less, but saying a hitter hacking less is a bad thing is a stretch for even Rubber Boy Daniel Browning Smith. Yoenis has been swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, but more aggressive at pitches inside the strike zone. Cespedes is the kind of hitter who could have a huge 2nd half and suddenly be in the MVP conversation as Who. As in, Trout, Miggy and who? The only drawback is Cespedes won that stupid long ball hitting contest, so he might not be as low on the radar as he should be. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Matt Cain had his shortest outing of his career with 2/3 IP and 3 ER. At least Bochy had the sense in his giant watermelon-sized head to remove Cain quick enough that yesterday’s damage was that of a bad Heath Bell outing. Wait a second, did I just compare Cain to Heath Bell? I just rang my own bell and answered with, “Holy crap no one wants to be compared to Heath Bell.” Where did it all go wrong for Cain and can Cain (almost stutterer!) get it back to good, assuming you’re not just signing a Matchbox Twenty song? Looking at his K-rate from last year to this year, he’s actually been better this year. His velocity is fine. His xFIP is nearly the same as last year when he had a 2.79 ERA. The only big change is his luck and his walk rate. He’s missing his spots. This can come one of two ways. He can miss his spots off the plate and walk guys or he can miss his spots in the zone and give up hits and homers. He usually works up in the zone. Done it his whole career. If you miss up…up, it’s a ball. If you miss up…down, you’re Sandy Duncan with one glass eye while watching with your other eye as the ball is leaving the park. The Giants are saying he might not be healthy, but I don’t think Cain is hurt. Still could land on the Disgraceful List. More likely, he needs to tweak something in his mechanics. Until that happens, I’d stay away from him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I originally titled this post “SuperNova Destroys Baltimore,” but I was worried it would cause mass panic in the Crab Cake Capital, and those guys already have it rough enough with Hamsterdam running wild. For now, I’ll settle for simply pissing PETA off. Planet destroying exploding stars aside, Ivan Nova‘s star was shining extra bright Friday night as he dominated Baltimore pitching a complete game, giving up just three hits, two runs and striking out 11 Orioles. Ivan “I Vill Crush You” Nova’s only blemish in this game was a second inning home run to Matt Wieters. It looked like Nova would be stuck with the no-decision but new best friend and obvious father figure Vernon Wells hit a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth to get New York their fifth win in a row. It was Ivan’s first career shutout and he now has a 2.95 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with a 22/4 K/BB ratio in his three starts since returning to the majors. You gotta like that! Ivan gets the Royals next time out and he could be worth streaming in most formats, because they aren’t any good. Super Nova is a star worthy of a look, at least until he explodes.Please, blog, may I have some more?
In 2010, the Diamondbacks traded Dan Haren to the Angels for Joe Saunders (and Patrick Corbin and Tyler Skaggs). Turned out in that parenthetical lied the rub. At the time of the trade, ESPN Fantasy said, “…this looks like highway robbery for the Angels, and a salary dump for the Diamondbacks.Please, blog, may I have some more?