Allow me to paint a visual metaphor.  A vetaphor.  The entire league’s pitching is cornered on the grounds of a wildlife preserve.  A tiger, we’ll call him Blister, stalks towards the league’s pitching.  There’s no way out, but the league attempts to urinate on Blister to keep him away.  Then, out of nowhere, Nat Gio, dressed as Lord Beasley, a world famous butterfly collector from Gilligan’s Island, rides his Eddie Bauer jeep into Blister’s den, and befriends the beast, saying, “I slay pussy,” then off everyone’s look, “…cats.”  Yesterday, Gio Gonzalez had yet another great start — 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.49.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gio hears people talking about the new baseball and how offense is up.  Maybe he’s the one pitcher who likes a tightly-sewn baseball.  Up until this year, he must’ve been like, “Geez, is this ball going to unravel when I throw it?”  Of course, his outlook for 2018 fantasy doesn’t look anywhere near as optimistic.  Besides his ERA, there’s nothing promising in his peripherals.  He has left 85.7% of men on base.  That’s more than a wife with a headache.  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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week’s slate of two-start starters was pretty light, so it is nice to see our list back to being robust for Week 20. A week after not having any two-start starters with a positive dollar value who were owned in less than 75% of RCLS according to Streamonator, we now have three. Streamonator likes two of the starters and like likes another one. Enough stalling and fluff, here are your three beloveds for this week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Phils’ manager, Pete Macktheknife, said, “Everybody wants to see (Rhy Hoskins‘) bat but Tommy Joseph has done well enough where there’s enough games left for him to show even more improvement.  It’s hard. You don’t want to put Tommy Joseph on the bench so maybe (having Hoskins play outfield) is a way to do it.”  Hey, quick question, anyone got a participation trophy for Joseph?  Sounds like he could really use one!  “I accept this participation trophy on behalf of all the players who are at positions where the club has a better prospect in the minors, but is too cheap to promote them.  Especially to my runner-up, Shin-Soo, way to keep down Willie Calhoun!”  A bunch of prospblockers, the lot of you!  Don’t even get me started on the absolute craziness that you risk putting your top prospect in left field just to keep playing Tommy Joseph.  Hoskins should be okay out there, but there’s a ton more risk with injuries in left field than standing on 1st.  I grabbed Hoskins in all leagues.  He was top 30 for Prospector Ralph’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects, and might be the last big name to come up that can make a difference.   For this year, I’d say Hoskins = Mark Reynolds with way fewer Ks.  Long term, well, I won’t say Votto, but his OBP is insane for a kid.  Scouts call players kids, did I sound like a scout?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tim Beckham was a perfect 4-for-4 Friday night at Camden yards with his fourteenth home run of the year. He’s now homered in back to back ball games. Welcome to Baltimore, Timmah! Where everyone hits everything. Beckham’s bomb came off Tiger’s ace Justin Verlander in the second inning to tie the game at one. He added base hits in each of his next three trips to the plate. Sure, his .279/.331/.453 slash is nothing to write home about, but that was with Tampa. Let’s leave the past in St Petersburg and let’s look at that slash line for Beckham since arriving in Baltimore: .688/.688/1.375! Much nicer, right? And that 2.063 OPS? Unreal! OK, so maybe I’m having a little too much fun with small sample sizes but the truth is Tim Beckham is a hot little crab cake right now! He’s 11-for-16 in his last four games with three doubles and two homers. He’s also scored five runs with four RBI in that stretch. As long as J.J. Hardy is sidelined, Beckham should see playing time every day and you need to ride him while he’s hot. Also, for a player in the midst of a career year in Tampa, playing in the friendly Camden confines and in a much stronger Orioles line up should only help his production. He’s out there in about 85% of leagues, if you’re in need of a hot middle infielder, there are few bending it hotter than Beckham right now.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to another week of “Set Your PVR (Perception Versus Reality),” wherein Dr. Easy and I scour the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater for the arcane, the mundane and the insane when it comes to player rankings for fantasy baseball: who’s rated higher than you’d think they would be? Who are we surprised to see among the bottom feeders? Who’s just been quietly getting it done without fantasy baseballers (Grey’s mom’s term!) really noticing or scooping them up, meaning they juuuust might be sitting out there on the waiver wire, yearning for an owner like a puppy in the window of a pet shop?

Today we’ll focus on some surprises in the category of starting pitcher, but before we get into that, we thought we’d mention a regime change at the top (of the Player Rater. Not in Razzball. No coup yet that we know of). Over the last four weeks since we started this column, Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge have been battling it out for position 1 and 2 (overall): 6 July—Goldschmidt 1st; 13 July—Judge 1st; 20 July—Goldschmidt 1st. Max Scherzer has consistently held 3rd place throughout. But as we’re writing this on July 26, Charlie Blackmon has suddenly shot up from his habitual 5th or 6th place and is perched on top, tied with Jose Altuve. Judge is 3rd, Goldschmidt 4th. Scherzer’s slipped to 9th overall. Blackmon was rated 19th pre-season; his numbers were always good, but people may have anticipated a trade mid-season (which will have hurt his numbers) that hasn’t happened because the Rockies aren’t sellers.

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On the podcast coming later today, I felt a reverb.  Luckily, I do everything while standing in a doorway because who has time to run to a doorway in the event of a earthquake?  This reverb wasn’t God practicing his spinning of tectonic plates.  Oh no.  This reverb wasn’t Dr. Dre messing with Technics either.  No siree, Bob.  This was the Padres trading Brandon Maurer and Trevor Cahill to the Royals for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz.  Damn, San Diego, save some of the trading deadline hype for other people.  Okay, I’m laying it on too thick.  This trade is okay for both teams.  Royals appear to have playoff aspirations, and get bullpen depth that they should never use in Maurer and Cahill, who has some of the most extreme splits I’ve ever seen.  In Petco:  0.72 ERA; elsewhere:  5.75 ERA.  Goodbye, my old friend!  Of course, this means Brad Hand officially officially becomes the closer.  Wouldn’t totally shock me to see Hand dealt — to who?  Phil Ivey? — and Maton become the closer, but that’s more for NL-Only.  Matt Strahm is an interesting name for NL-Only leagues for next year.  As of now, he’s out after knee surgery, and he’s from the crazy Ks and crazy walks variety show, Krazy BBs.  By the way, I believe Esteury Ruiz is Rio Ruiz with a badly thought out new name in the Witness Protection Program.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?