Can you name the top five in the AL for batting average?  I’m talking those qualified.  The person who said Erik Kratz for being 1-for-1 on the year is unqualified to answer.  By the way, if you’ve taken too many quaaludes to answer, does that mean you’re unquaaludified?   I pose this question to you while sprawled on a tiger-skin carpet like Burt Reynolds in a centerfold for Cosmopolitan.  “Loni, feed me grapes, would you doll face?”  Totally making current references right now.  The top 5:  Altuve, Avisail Garcia, Hosmer, Reddick and Jose Ramirez.  Yo, batting average leaders nowadays are weird.  There’s only ten guys in the league over .300, and two of them are Joe Mauer and Lorenzo Cain.  Yesterday, Avisail went 5-for-5, 2 runs, 7 RBIs and his 17th homer, as he hits .333.  Let me be the first to tell you, he has not really broken out like your teenaged face.  He’s hitting 52% ground balls, a .397 BABIP (!), not even top 70 for Hard Contact percentage, a high HR/FB% for him and still only has 17 homers.  There’s very little to point to that he’s breaking out, and not just getting crazy lucky.  Now watch him win the batting title and go full Terry Pendleton.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Domingo Santana had a double slam (23, 24) and legs (12).  Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but it feels like Domingo is just so much better on Sunday, right?  Carl Jung and Sting would say I’m onto something with this synchronicity.  As someone who doesn’t own Domingo anywhere, but wishes he did own him, I can understand when Jung and Sting speak of the duality of a man.  I get the sense Domingo Santana will be underrated in 2018 too.  Of course, I think this is crazy for a 25-year-old guy capable of a 30/15 season in a great home park.  As Sting specifically sang, there’s a little black man named Sunday.  He’s not the same old thing on Saturday.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re about to enter that weird time of the year where baseball and football meet. It’s almost as if your parenting both DFS baseball and football, trying to show both equal attention. Deep down you know you have a favorite but you don’t want to let it show out of fear of the other one finding out. I’m a dog dad so I know the struggles of showing equal attention to both pups, but I can guarantee you every parent has a favorite whether or not they’d like to admit it, right mom? I wish my mom read my write ups. I’ll let you in on a secret, I like baseball more than football. Sorry for taking up your whole Sunday with a long intro but without further ado I would like to present Luke Weaver as my lede today. Sale and Severino are off the main slate today, which is a huge relief (salary relief). I think you must get cute today and play Weaver. My man crush is starting to formulate for Weaver because of his high K rate. Weaver goes up against a weak Giants offense and is in the pitcher friendly park. Weaver has 20 k’s in his last 2 starts with 2 earned runs. It’s hard to gauge his ownership today because you have some good arms going today but they are all more expensive than Weaver. Weaver’s price today is $17,600.

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Hey, guys and five non-guys, Dylan Bundy has awoken my nethers.  But can I “stay awoken” as the kids say?  The kids don’t say that, do they?   Please, I’m woke AF!  Though, I am confused why kids go around abbreviating Abercrombie and Fitch.  When I was a kid, we spelled out Abercrombie and Fitch and had summer songs about girls that wore Abercrombie and Fitch.  LFO was AF!  Yesterday, Dylan Bundy went 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 12 Ks, ERA at 3.94.  An Orioles starter with an ERA under 4!  It’s an early Rhystmas miracle!  Drop the balloons from the ceiling, Party City!  So, looking under the hood, in a non-sexual way, leaves me a little yawnstipated on Bundy.  His K/9 is 7.9, BB/9 is 2.6 and a 4.73 xFIP.  His velocity’s down this year, but he pitched in relief some last year, so maybe not the best gauge.  For 2018, I see nothing here to be excited about, but maybe he puts together a great September, and makes like Fonzie’s horse and says nay to the negativity.  I’d continue to ignore him in shallower mixed leagues or use the Stream-o-Nator.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time.  Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?”  Let’s look under the hood and see.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If I had a nickel for every time I streamed Matt Moore this season I would have probably six or seven nickels by now. Most of those nickels would have been thrown out of my second-floor window because the streams did not go very well. But, like any good insane person, I can’t help myself and am back for more. Or should I say back for Moore?

Matt Moore tops the Streamonator list this week for two-start starters owned in less than 75% of RCLs. At $15.50, he has the 7th highest value, behind only the six you see above him in the chart below. I would have to go back and look to be sure, but I think this is the first time all season that my top seven starters lined up exactly with what Streamonator projects. That is two opinions for the price of one, people. You can’t get that kind of bargain anywhere else!

While he sports a pretty ugly 5.38 ERA, he has tossed three straight quality starts. In those starts, he has allowed five runs in 20 1/3 innings while striking out nearly a batter per inning. His ERA of 4.09 in the second half is two runs lower than his first half ERA, which was inflated by an absolutely awful 8.88 ERA in June. June must have been when I was streaming Moore the most because that wound feels fresh.

His 4.51 FIP, while not great, is also almost a run lower than his ERA, so it seems that the Moore of late is leveling out to match up with what his peripherals are saying. While many of his numbers this season match up with what he has done throughout his career, there are a few concerns among the bunch. For starters, his swinging strike percentage is down. It’s not drastically down, as 8.9% is not a freefall from his career mark of 10.2%, but it is notable. His BABIP is slightly above league average at .329, while his 1.51 WHIP is up above his career 1.37 WHIP and the 1.29 he put up last season. His Hard% is up nearly 4%, and he is giving up a few more home runs this season, but then again who isn’t, right?

As for matchups this week, he has one great matchup against the Padres and one meh matchup against the Cardinals, who have been much better the last few weeks. The Padres have a wOBA of .291 over the last two weeks, which is good for third worst in baseball behind only the Mets and Nationals. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have the fifth best wOBA over that span with a .362 that is actually tied with the Marlins and Twins. The Cardinals start is a risk for Moore streaming, but his recent success and his matchup against the Padres make him one of the better two-start options this week. He is only owned in 28% of RCLs as of this writing.

As for other starters with a positive Streamonator $ value who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs, here is the entire list:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!

**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**

Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.

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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?

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.

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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?