Now that the closest baseball stadium to me is in Anaheim I’m watching more Angels games.  Truthfully I’m watching more MLB network, and then Cubs games, and then Angels games.  It’s still more than just the Mike Trout highlights I would normally but in any event I’ve seen some of this guy, Jefry Marte.  Jefry Marte?  Who is that?  And why can’t he spell Jeffrey right?

Well this Jefry is seeing time in left field for the Angels, who really stink out there to the tune of an MLB worst .550 OPS (thanks Yahoo!, as that tidbit is on his player page).  That is pathetic.  So they’re running Marte out there, who is normally a corner infielder.  Only 24 years old from the Dominican Republic, which is on the island of Hispaniola (which is such a fun word to say, especially if you throw a lisp in there), Marte has been around in his short career.  He originally started with Mets at age 17, played in the Futures game at the 2011 All-Star Game, was traded to the A’s for the not aptly named Collin Cowgill (he’s not a cow at 5’9, 190), and then was released by Oakland after the 2014 season.  Signed by Detroit two weeks later, he wound up being designated for assignment so the Tigers could sign Justin Upton (I can’t imagine that Detroit could foresee that Marte would be almost as good so far in 2016 as Upton) and traded to the Angels.

Marte did play in the majors in Detroit last year, hitting four homers in 80 at-bats; this season in limited action he’s hit four homers in 42 at-bats and has an OPS of 1.078; which is good.  His 4.5% BB and 29.5% K are not.  Those numbers last season on the Tigers were 8.9% BB and 24.4% K.  So he looks like a hacker.  A power hitting hacker in the same lineup as Mike Trout?  Are you sure I’m not really talking about Albert Pujols?  No, I’m not.  Not even I can recommend Albert anymore.  Just think, the Angels get him for how many more years?  Five more?  And full no-trade protection? Ha!

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It’s 2016, and that means that most of us will have to make some moves throughout the year to address the catcher position. Long gone are the glory days of 2004 when the top 10 catchers could all be counted on for double digit home runs and an average above .280. In 2004, an already aging Mike Piazza rated as the 10th best catcher with 20 home runs and a .266 average (See: Doping in Baseball). This year, in this sad world that we live in, Travis d’Arnaud was the second catcher taken in many leagues because it was thought that he had the POTENTIAL for 20+ long balls and a .240 average.

So, the chances are that unless you drafted Buster Posey early or were able to keep Posey in a keeper league, you’ll be at least flirting with the waiver wire catchers at some point this year. Perhaps you drafted d’Arnaud and now have his .196 AVG and zero home runs on your DL. Maybe you’re in my league and you traded for Kyle Schwarber on draft day and are now ready to kill yourself. It’s even possible that you drooled over his 2014 stats (25 HR, .273 AVG) and  drafted Devin Mesoraco, but now his .152 AVG and frequent days off have you ready to move on.

The bad news is that catchers in fantasy baseball have become crapshoots, and many owners choose to chase categories instead of trying to find balance. The good news is that you’ll get to pick a new catcher and feel hopeful every few weeks!

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My schmohawk posts are like the fantasy equivalent of Final Destination.  First, A.J. Pollock loses his season, then Kyle Schwarber is carted off the field after running into Fowler.  If I were Miguel Sano, I’d look both ways while carefully crossing to the plate to strikeout.  And Tulo, well, I would just stay in the hyperbaric chamber that you sleep in for your hamstrings.  I’m not sure if it was the writing of the posts, publishing of the posts or simply thinking about writing the posts that jinxed these players.  Where does my kavorka start and end?  Is it okay for me to think bad thoughts about Trevor Story?  How serious are my premonitions?  Oh, and one side note, you never want to see anyone get hurt, but how on earth did Schwarber get hurt and Fowler was fine?  Schwarber’s got like 200 pounds on him.  Damn, Dexter Fowler is one strong bean.  So, Schwarber has a sprained ankle and is headed for an MRI today.  He could be gone for a while, which could help Jorge Soler see some light, though I’m not sure this won’t just mean more playing time for Matt Szczur, Javier Baez (when he returns) or Kris Bryant into the outfield.  I’m not even joking; Maddon’s playbook is written in hieroglyphics and the Rosetta Stone didn’t make it through baggage claim.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We want dingers, lots and lots of dingers. The formal definition of a ‘dinger’ has something to do with home runs, just to paint a better picture for you. We will go after dingers, dingers, and more dingers. Now remember, you don’t want your pitchers to give up dingers, so be careful to not fall too much in love with them. The first Thursday of the MLB season promises plenty of potential for the long ball; sadly, most of the pitchers possess this potential too. With a few lower priced arms, it is possible to put together a very strong hitting lineup that can compete with anyone. Without further ado, we construct Team Dingers, and more importantly a team that will prove a winner on DraftKings for you!

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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The first major injury of the 2016 MLB season occurred last Friday as spring training was drawing to a close, when Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock fractured his right elbow sliding into home plate. Why did he decide to slide head first in a meaningless game with a previously sore elbow that kept him out of preseason action for several weeks? Does GM Dave Stewart finally wish that he could rescind his ill-conceived Shelby Miller trade and bring Ender Inciarte back into the fold? Why does it seem like I’m peeing more frequently as I get older? So many questions! However, the most relevant question in this particular situation is: who is the next man up? The most interesting in-house candidate to replace Pollock appears to be 23-year-old prospect Socrates Brito (11.3% owned; +6.1% in the past week). Brito was a candidate to steal some playing time away from Yasmany Tomas in left field, so Pollock’s injury opens up yet another potential path to playing time for the youngster. In a brief stint in MLB last season (34 PA), he managed a .303/.324/.455 triple slash and graded out well defensively, which helps his case to see some at-bats in the near future. In fantasy terms, a decent comp might be Austin Jackson. With regular playing time, a .260/10/20 type of line looks to be in his wheelhouse. There is some upside here, so he’s worth a gamble to grab and stash to see how this situation plays out.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Fret not, Razzball nation. The wait is almost over. As of today, we’re now just three short days away before the official start of the MLB regular season. Pretty soon, you won’t be refreshing your fantasy team’s live stats page and wondering why DeShields hasn’t stolen a base yet. They’re coming! In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at one of the most surprising rookies from the 2015 season, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the bear/bull series, here’s the deal. Each week, I’ll be highlighting a different fantasy-relevant player and creating a framework of where that player is trending in fantasy terms. After some background analysis, number crunching, and sometimes even a player comp or two, I’ll reveal whether I’m bearish (pessimistic) or bullish (optimistic) on the near future of the player in question. So essentially a one player buy/sell. Dig it? Awesome. Now let’s take a look at this week’s player under the microscope…

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Hey guys!  Today, I’ll be looking at outfielders that I think are currently overvalued and undervalued in dynasty leagues.  I’ll be referencing their overall rank and rank among outfielders based on the expert consensus at Fantasy Pros.  I’ve selected some guys that are currently going at the top of the draft, a few rounds after the top and then in the middle.  Let’s get right to it!

Andrew McCutchen (#6 overall, #3 OF) – This isn’t at all to say I don’t like McCutchen.  He’s an amazing player who has a long track record of staying healthy.  My problem is that if I was starting a 12-15 man dynasty league today, there’s no chance that I’m taking McCutchen in the first round, let alone at 6th overall.  This is because of the steep dropoff he’s had in the stolen base department.  After years of getting 20+ steals, he had 18 in 2014 and 11 in 2015. From 2010 to 2015, here are his attempted steal totals: 43 (33 SB + 10 CS), 33 (23+10), 32 (20+12), 37, (27+10), 21 (18+3), 16 (11+5).  He’s going to be 29 this year so it makes logical sense for his steals to start declining.  His counting stats are going to be strong, his average will be around .300 and Cutch should hit 20-25 bombs, but if he only gets 10-15 steals, that’s not a first rounder in normal leagues.  In dynasties, that pushes him even further down the totem pole because McCutchen’s decline is approaching us.

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What goes through J-FOH’s head when he does these ranks? I’m glad you asked. Wait… you didn’t ask? Are you sure? No? Not at all? Sheesh, thanks guys… and four girls. I’m going to be my usually contrarian self and tell you anyway. I’m looking at players from their floor to their ceilings over the next 3-5 years (and beyond). I’m looking at games played over the previous few seasons, projecting risk going forward, and predicting how they will age based on their skill set. A player whose value is heavily dependent upon speed will usually lose that speed going into the 30’s and players with power will usually keep that a little bit longer. There are always guys who defy the odds like David “I never juiced” Ortiz or Adrian Beltre. They are a special breed that should never be slept on ’til the day they retire. There is science, stats, and anecdotal B.S., and then there are “those guys”. Joey Bats and those sweet bat throws would fall into that class for me. Excuse me while I preach for a second. I love bat flips. I think they should be mandatory for any home run after the 7th, 6th for the Yankees. This is a kids game that is suppose to be fun and guys like Mad Bum need to either throw the punch or shut the front door. Any a-hole can stand there shouting with a team behind him. At least Robin Ventura had the cojones to try and fight. (I want that shirt!) Now that we have my major side track out of the way, let’s move down to some words about the list before we get to the list. Note to self, take an english class at the local adult education center next year.

Take on your favorite writers in the 2016 Razzball Commenter Leagues! Join here

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I’m Buzzkill Aldrin this preseason, huh?  Just call me Killjoy McAvoy!  Don’t hate the player, hate the game, or in this case, watch as I hate players that play the game.  First, I call Miguel Sano overrated, and now the other supremely hyped 2nd year guy, Kyle Schwarber.  I may as well just say Carlos Correa has gout and call it a day.  You know, not a lot of ‘perts would call Sano and Schwarber overrated, so if nothing else I’m getting an A in Balls.  Potentially, an F in Smarts.  But maybe I’ll get a C in Being Aware of My Lack of Smarts, which gives me a C overall and passes me through to the next grade.  I’m not getting placed in any AP classes next year though.  I’m hanging out the window with my grade A Balls and letting everyone know that I have a problem where everyone else has none.  At first, I was shocked that so many people were on board with Sano and Schwarber, but, once I saw everyone was on board, it was only natural that every everyone was on board.  I mean, what is fantasy prognosticating without repeating back to you exactly what everyone else is saying, right?  This is one of ESPN’s rare qualities.  Everyone says Kyle Schwarber is good?  Great, he’s good; now, let’s move on so we can get out of here by lunch.  Member that time they did a video of their rankings summit?  Ten minutes of Cockcroft rolling his eyes, five minutes of Karabell getting his makeup touched up, fifteen minutes of Berry hitting on Karabell, thinking he was a girl.  Good times!  I understand the urge to be positive on Schwarber.  He hits the ball a long way.  He is exciting.  But, alas…. Anyway, what makes Kyle Schwarber overrated for 2016 fantasy baseball?

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Chicago_Cubs5

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…Neil Finnell, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Chicago Cubs!

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