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?

For the last few days, I’ve been in New York for my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  With each passing year, he gets more casually racist, and, let’s just say, he didn’t start at zero.  I told him Byron Buxton hit three homers on Sunday, and he said, “Byron?  What’s he, a Jew?”  I told him, no, I don’t think so, but, of course, he can’t hear so well, so he continued, “I didn’t think Jews played sports.  Well, I guess he’ll at least be good with the money he makes.”  Then he went on a twenty-minute rant about how he’d have more money if he was Jewish (he’s Italian).  If you read Who Is Grey Albright?, you’ll know that I was raised by my grandparents, so let’s hope the apple rolled far enough away from the tree.  Otherwise, I’m gonna be writing roundups in 40 years like this, “Byron Buxton Jr. – He has better contact rates than his father, and prolly can find a good interest rate, ya know, because Jew.”  Here’s my grandfather with the entertainment we got for the party.  For those of you that grew in the tri-state area in the 1980’s, you’ll be familiar with the entertainment:

Any hoo!  Byron Buxton went 4-for-5, 4 runs, 5 RBIs and three homers (11, 12, 13) and his 24th steal.  A triple slam and legs?  What a glutton for wonderful!  From the 1st half to the 2nd half, his average went from .216 to .309; his K-rate is down from 31% to 25%; his OPS went from .594 to .903; his ISO went from .090 to .245, and his OBP went from .288 to .350.  Beginning to think real adjustments have been made for 2018, because everything’s been better in the 2nd half.  His 2nd half has been bigger and better than the pictures I saw recently of Tiger Woods, if you catch my drift.  (Okay, so the apple doesn’t roll that far from the tree after all.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The image of eating salt always reminds me of one of my favorite Futurama quotes.  The “Death by snu snu” scenes are easily my all-time favorites though.  Enough about Futurama though and let’s talk about my boy, Charlie Morton.  Morton has been by streaming delight in the RCLs since he returned in early July.  In that time span he has never given up more than 4 earned runs and has never struck out fewer than 5.  Those numbers scream safety, which also means, boring.  I wouldn’t go in thinking Morton is winning you a GPP today, but he’s a perfect cash game play at a nice price ($17,400).  He’ll be squaring off against the California Angels of LA and/or Anaheim who are third to last in team OPS.  Granted, Mike Trout is back now, but I’m still comfortable with picking on the Angels.  So, pass the salt (Or, as he’s going by this week, “Ground Chuck”) in cash games and let’s take a look at who we’ll be pairing up with Morton and who to look at in those GPPs below:

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Lucas Giolito went 6 IP, 4 ER, 6 baserunners, 4 Ks as he was called up to take Reynaldo’s rotation spot.  The shine, as they say at the complaint desk for a shoeshine man, has come off Giolito.  I was all ready to mock Keith Law.  I was going to look at what Law said in 2012 vs. now, but I overestimated Law.  This past winter he said Giolito could be a #1 starter.  I can’t imagine what he said in 2012.  Likely that he’s the best starter in the draft.  He wouldn’t have been alone with that.  Most loved Giolito at the time.  Also, as that last sentence sounds, he was the most loved Giolito, with Sammy “The Bull” Giolito a distant 2nd.  Lucas’s value has rebounded a bit this year vs. last year.  In Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 prospects in the 2nd half, Giolito was ranked 82nd.  As a fantasy baseball prospect list vs. a real baseball one, that’s a solid ranking — or is that a solid Ralphing?  For this year, I’d avoid outside of the best matchups.  Rookie pitchers bring more heartache than your high school sweetheart friending you on Facebook.  “Ugh, she’s happy?  Such BS!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If your eyes weren’t burned away from the eclipse, it’s great to have you back and reading the write up. We have a full slate tonight with no bona fide ace on the mound but that doesn’t mean we don’t have some solid match-ups to pick from. The biggest one that stands out is Lance Lynn ($14,800), he is being priced as a middle of the road started despite the fact that he has 2 ER or fewer in his last 9 starts. Tonight should be no different as the San Diego Padres come to St. Louis, Lynn’s home ERA is currently 2.62. The Padres are no secret to DFS when it comes to streaming pitchers but Lynn is priced really low and the Padres offer a great strike out potential. They currently rank 3rd in the MLB in Strikeouts and are dead last in runs scored.  Lynn should be able to have his way with this line-up and also have a great chance to win the game as Cardinals are significant favorites.

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care! 

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Phillip Ervin went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd home run and 2nd in as many games.  This blew my mind:  there was no mention of Phillip Ervin on this site since 2014, when then-prospector Scott Evans said, “We’ll have a much better feel for (Ervin) after he’s had a chance to settle in at a full-season assignment, but on the surface, Ervin looks like a potential 20/20 outfielder who’ll also help in AVG and OBP.   I hope Grey reads this in three years…IN HELL!”  Damn, some animosity there.   Now, the real puzzler maker, as they say in the Haus of Rubik, Prospector Ralph hasn’t spoken about Ervin once.  So, I took it up with Endorphin Ralph on text, and he said, “He’s a 25-year-old, slugging fourth outfielder that’s Quad-A.  RUSNEY IS BETTER!!!”  So, Ervin’s a former 1st rounder, who might not be anything, due to weak contact he makes too often.  In Triple-A, he did have 7 HRs and 23 SBs with a .256 average.  He might just be a schmotato, that cools off and vanishes, but a speed/power combo plays in fantasy if he plays, which he is.  Better than Rusney Castillo?  WE SHALL SEE.  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?

On Saturday night, Bryce Harper lunged for first base, slipped and his leg went the wrong direction.  Like two white guys meeting, one goes for the handshake and one goes for the hug and it just goes awkwardly wrong in every way.  Atticus Finch had much more success stepping on his white base.  Owning Harper on multiple teams, I looked at the latest news Saturday night, and I saw:

Devastated.  Crushed.  C’mon, thesaurus, give me another one.  Thankfully, it was revealed as the best possible outcome for him, a bone bruise.  Still, not a great outcome for us with him on our fantasy teams, since he will be out for the better part of the rest of the season.  Don’t worry, I have Jose Pirela!  *sticks head in oven, puts on The Bell Jar book on tape*  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?