As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries. What positions are a lock? What positions are being fought over? What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)Please, blog, may I have some more?
Andrew Cashner stole his second base of the season last night. It was a fine effort. Not a straight steal, but a solid jump that looked like a busted hit and run. Whatever it takes to get the man over, I say. Oh, and he also threw a one hitter, giving up one single to fellow Cougar hunter, Jose Tabata. Sonavabench! Coming into the game, he had a 4.41 road ERA and DAH! Well, you know the rest. Someone mentioned yesterday that Cashner could be someone to watch for 2014 fantasy, so that got me thinking. I think, y’all! His K-rate is way down this year (6.48 K/9) and his xFIP is about that of, say, Lance Lynn, Derek Holland and Dan Haren. I love Cashner in Petco. The thought of him in Petco is like listening to a CD of Bob Ross’s voice while on Demerol. I’d say soothing but I have a hard time with my th- sounds. Those comparable names for xFIP don’t scream someone who’s on the precipice of breaking out, assuming the word precipice is even close to being used correctly here. In fact (Grey’s got another point to make!), Haren, Lynn and Holland are pitching better than him. I’m sure I won’t be totally against Cashner next year, because he does have solid stuff, but his numbers don’t get me as excited as when a barista forgets to charge me for sugar syrup. Seriously, Starbucks? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
In true Halloween spirit, we have a special haunted edition of the Pitcher Profile. Ok, so it’s not even September yet, but hey, we live in a world of mass consumerism and the Halloween specials and themed sections of department stores are already up. Don’t believe me? Ask the um, French Maid, you um… you saw leaving my room last night – it was just someone breaking in the costume! I’m kidding, I’m not Jude Law.
So about a month ago, I was all set to do a Scott Kazmir Pitcher Profile then his arm died. Kinda like Jared Leto’s arm in Requiem For A Dream. After a strong stretch through mid-June to late-July, Kaz gave up 4 to the White Sox, blanked the Marlins (but a slow-pitch softball pitcher could do that), then got rocked vs. the Angels and his arm was murdered. Murder, I Wrote! But through the modern world of medicine, he got a Will Smith I, Robot replacement, then struggled with his stuff with the zombie arm in his first game back, giving up a 5 spot and 12 baserunners at Oakland. So expectations were pretty low heading into his start yesterday against the Twins, but after seeing the stat line and his return to form, I decided to break down his start and see if that velocity is back where it was a few months ago:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe you’re with me, maybe you’re against me on this one, but the MLB All-Star game is an idea that should be buried alongside B.J. Upton, New Coke, Bic Disposable Underwear, and the XFL. He hate me because I hate the All-Star game. Home field in the World Series, whether it comes down to the Tigers and Cardinals or the Red Sox and the Braves, should not be determined by a matchup between Steve Delabar and Marco Scutaro. Also, it’s fans like this voting guys in, so the teams are not really the “best of the best” to begin with. Yet they are allowed to affect actual teams in real games? Only Bob Costas loves to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen, warming up in the American League bullpen, Brett Cecil!” I look forward to the day when my son tugs on my shirtsleeve and says, “Daddy, tell me the story again how Jason Castro popped up to second in the All-Star game.” And I will turn to him and say, “I have a son? Did your mother work at Applebee’s in 2008?” It’s time we just bury Bud Selig and his “it counts” t-shirt alongside Chris Berman and his Hair in a Can. The All-Star game doesn’t count, it sucks. Bud and Boomer, the people don’t care. Television ratings for the game have been down every year and last year’s game had the worst ever with a 6.8 rating. Know what pulls in those kind of numbers? Sharknado. There must be a way to work that into the Razzball glossary. “Erasmo Ramirez sharknado’d my ERA this week!” Not sure, but that phrase may have already jumped the… *now back to our regularly scheduled rant* The first televised All-Star game in 1967 pulled in a 25.6 rating. Keep in mind that in 1967 there was one nationally televised baseball game a week, smoking was good for you and a kid’s favorite toy was Hasbro’s Stick with a Nail in it. Times, they are changin’. Sing it Zimmy.Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Marlins parted ways with Ricky Nolasco on Saturday. He was the longest-tenured Marlin. That’s about the same length as a Gary Busey train of thought. Nolasco was also their highest paid player, which on the Marlins is like being the highest paid paperboy. Jeffrey Loria was sad to see Nolasco go, because as the highest paid player he also had in his contract that he had to dust Loria’s artwork. Loria said, “Adeiny Hechavarria is nimble on the field, but how is he with a 700-foot, post-modern statue of unicorn vomit?” Nolasco was more than usable in Miami, with his only big drawback being his inability to win on a club that put swindling nearby residents before winning. On the Dodgers, Nolasco no longer has that issue. He’s a solid #4 fantasy starter with a 7+ K-rate, 2 walk rate and 3.70 xFIP. I’d pick him up in all mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
For all you Jersey kids out there, yesterday’s game title is, “Holland Tunnels Yanks.” For all you Jersey kids out there who have been stuck in traffic in the Holland Tunnel on a hot day, “Holland Dutch Ovens the Yankees.” For all of you history nerds, “Holland Takes Back New Amsterdam.” By the way, I’d be surprised if I was the first person who thought of this, but I’ve never heard it before, so here goes: What is New Jersey shaped like? Kid from Kid ‘n Play. It is totally rocking the flat-top. Right? Damn, I totally would’ve failed me a Rorschach test. So Derek Holland put two peaches together yesterday and made a plum of a start with the line: 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs and 7 Ks. Holland is what he is, which is a decent 3rd to 4th fantasy starter. The Stream-o-Nator predicted this beaut. Know why? The Yankees aren’t good usually (23rd overall for OPS), but are hideous vs. lefties (27th overall). These aren’t your slightly older brother’s Yankees. Right now, George Steinbrenner is rolling over in his grave, though that is partially because he was facing Billy Martin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The afternoon started with Matt Harvey. He pitched a stellar 7 innings with 13 Ks, but Terry Collins sent him out there in the 8th after throwing 110 pitches, which lead to two singles and a walk, three runners that the bullpen let in. After the game, Collins said, “I felt bad for Duda (who blew a chance for a Harvey no-hitter by not covering first base on Heyward’s infield single). I couldn’t let Duda make the only Metsake of the game. I was going to keep pitching Harvey until he screwed up. He’d have started the nightcap, if necessary.” Fortch, it wasn’t necessary, as the nightcap brought on Zack Wheeler‘s debut with a line of 6 IP, 0 ER, 9 baserunners (5 BBs), 7 Ks. To summarize, it was shaky as all get-out at first. He looked like he couldn’t hit the broadside of Precious. Then he either calmed, or realized something — if he could locate, no one could hit him. He can easily be as good as Harvey, but I’m guessing it won’t be until next year. Last night was the best you could’ve hoped for. To summarize that summary, he was shaky, then solid. To summarize the summary’s summary, Zack good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Chris Johnson and Justin Upton made a nice Diamondcomeback last night. To welcome them back, everyone in attendance received a visiting team home run ball. Upton and Johnson went a combined 7-for-9, 3 runs, 5 RBIs with two homers as they both came a triple short of the cycle. Their trade to Atlanta for infielder Martin Prado and four prospects was a trade that Kevin Towers said was done because his team needed a facelift. That facelift looks about as good as Bruce Jenner’s, and right now Justin Upton is Ray J having sex with Kris, Kourtney, Khloe and Kim while making some wack-ass rap video about it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Roy Halladay makes every hitter look like Babe Ruth right after he burped. (Burping was the key to his success; I watched a documentary.) Roy’s gotta hit the Disgraceful List, doesn’t he? I mean, it’s in everyone’s best interest at this point. Watching him is like seeing Carol Channing before someone told her to use a mirror to apply makeup. “How’d I get this lipstick on my ears? Maybe a dab of mascara on the ol’ chin!” You should’ve heard me saying that line like Carol Channing in my head. It’s just real sloppy out there right now for Roy. If he’s not hurt, his fantasy owners may find him in a dark alley and change that. If he is hurt, stop taking one for the team, you gamer you. “I’m a gamer. I grind like I’m old school, Jodeci, going riding roughshod over fantasy ratios…Horatio…Alger, in reverse.” That’s Roy doing beat poetry. At this point, I’d bench him against most teams until he starts piecing together something less craptastic. You might, unfortunately, have the reincarnation of 2012 Lincecum. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last year, the Buy/Sell brought you such brilliant ideas as “Eric Thames is gonna be a river running through your heart!” and “Brennan Boesch is more like Brennan Bauce.” Buy/Sell, “You know, I don’t point all of your crappy suggestions… A.J. Mass was talking about buying me an acre of land in Kentucky and letting me run around with all of his stolen base draft picks. I may take him up on the offer if you’re not careful.” So, this is the first Buy/Sell of the season. Every Friday there will be a new one. Buy/Sell, “Not if we continue to get along like this. Try me, ‘stache. Try me.” This week’s lede pick is a new fave of mine who might not be worth owning by the end of April in mixed leagues, Jose Fernandez. Here’s an overall note, in this fantasy baseball game that has chosen us, we want to take the risk right now in case someone breaks out. It would be great if we all drafted a team that we can coast to a championship with, but if that’s true, your league isn’t competitive. In any league worth its salt, you need to pepper in some risk. Tuck your head down and go head long into the risk tornado. Fantasy baseballers on the storm, Fantasy baseballers on the storm…Into this blog we are born… Fantasy baseballers on the storm! I’m not saying drop Wainwright after one bad start, but having guys like Jose Fernandez at the end of your staff is much better than guys like Maholm (assuming every one of your other starters isn’t a risky upside gamble). You want guys at the end of your rotation that can do so much more than a 5th or 6th starter, rather than a 5th or 6th starter that is essentially a 5th or 6th starter. As for Fernandez, here’s what I said the other day, “First thing I do when I have a prospect question is search the site to see what Scott, our prospect writer, said. What I found, was a whole Jose Fernandez fantasy. He didn’t stop there, he also talked about him in the Marlins prospect preview post in October. There he said, “Fernandez broke out in 2012, posting a 1.75 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 between Low-A and High-A. The 20-year-old has legitimate ace-potential, and should find himself in the top-15 on most prospect lists this offseason. Now, if I were making a top-15 list of Well-Groomed Mustaches, Grey wouldn’t make it. When I blow up his picture 1000% in my laboratory, I can see cheese microbes.” Wow, Scott has a laboratory? That’s awesome! So, the Marlins are an interesting beast. They sell off all of their pieces, but they promote within quickly. After watching that Showtime series last year about the Marlins. I’m 50/50 on whether they even know about the arbitration clock. Within their minor league system, they’re run like, “We gotta make it to the playoffs this year!” From the major league level, they’re run like, “Let’s make sure we ship in our concession stands’ Cracker Jack from Chile because it’s four-hundredths of a cent cheaper. They pop their corn in yak oil.” I’d absolutely grab Jose Fernandez in all leagues. He has the chance to be lights out and could go 160 innings. He has the stuff that could make him a top ten starter in all of baseball within a year. For this year, I’ll give him the line of: 7-8/3.74/1.31/120 in 130 innings. Absolutely can be better. And worse. That’s the rookie nookie blessing and curse.” And that’s me quoting me! A lot of people commented about his lack of experience. He hasn’t thrown above High-A. Or as he calls it now, Bye-A. That shouldn’t matter. His stuff will play anywhere. He hits mid-90′s with a plus change and curve. Does it matter that a guy is 20 years old or 30 years old with his stuff? Chances are a pitcher is more likely to have that stuff at 20 with less miles on his arm. Fernandez will need to be lucky to win 10 games this year, but he could get a shizzload of Ks and have decent ratios. If he flames out, then you drop him for the next hot starter. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?