I’m a stat junkie. Way back in the pre-internet days when I was just a little Magoo, I would run outside first thing in the morning to grab the daily paper so I could immediately check out the previous night’s box scores. There’s Tony Gwynn leading the league in batting average yet again. A slam and legs (before I even knew what that was) by that Bonds fellow. The Big Unit piled up another dozen Ks. Another high scoring game in Colorado. What’s the deal with that place anyway?

This fascination with statistics has led to the fantasy baseball obsession that I’m burdened with today. Only now, with all of the advanced statistics and metrics that are available at the click of a button, the obsession is worse than ever. Fortunately for you, all of the man hours that I’ve wasted poring over stats this offseason has allowed me to discover some interesting nuggets of information that I think are fantasy-relevant for the upcoming season, and I’d like to share some of them with you today. At least, I find them to be interesting and potentially useful for fantasy purposes, and I hope that you will too.

From here on out, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on hitters only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (home runs, stolen bases, batting average, counting stats) to the slightly more advanced (plate discipline, batted ball profile).

And now, without further ado, here are some interesting stats and trends to consider for the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Reds are like the slowest team ever to rebuild.  They sell off a piece every few months or so.  “We’re getting rid of Cueto as we look to the future.”  Dot dot dot.  A month later, “Someone make us an offer for Leake.  We’re rebuilding…kinda.”  Dot dot dot.  A few months later, “Okay, who wants Aroldis?  For what it’s worth, he has a gun permit.”  Dot dot dot.  “Todd Frazier anyone?  Everything must go…eventually!”  Dot dot dot.  “Hey, what do y’all think of Brandon Phillips?”  The teamsters on three hours of sleep broke down the Titanic set quicker than the Reds.  By August of 2016, Votto may be hitting between Kyle Waldrop and Cozart, and, knowing Votto, he will still hit .320.  Any hoo!  Moving to the White Sox doesn’t hurt Frazier, in theory.  I say that because I feel like everything the White Sox touch turns to the wall of a Porta-Potty. Maybe it’s the Curse of Bill Veeck.  Or just the Curse of the “Ill, Eek.”  Capital I’s with an L next to it are weird, right?  Okay, back to baseball!  Frazier had 35 HRs last year and a 15.1% HR/FB, which is nothing.  That’s around his career norm.  He achieved this by hitting everything in the air.  If he keeps that up — literally — in Chi-town, good things can continue to happen.  Of course, every action has an equal opposite reaction, and more fly balls could hurt his average, which would hurt his runs and RBIs.  Brucely, I’d take that trade off.  Then throw in his 15-ish steals and you have a guy that should be near the top 25 overall for fantasy.  For 2016, I’ll give him 86/30/98/.250/14.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason in 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Turn the channel. Well, at least during the commercial breaks. Yes, the NFL season starts tonight (Tom Brady is going to do work, y’all), but it’s still baseball season. Admittedly, I’ll be watching the football game, but I’ll be channel surfing during the long commercial breaks to keep track of my DraftKings lineups.

I’m especially going to be checking in on the Mets and Braves game. No, I’m not a fan of either team, but I’m a fan of Bartolo Colon. He’s not a good pitcher, and what he did last week isn’t indicative for what he’s going to do tonight, but my god. He’s so entertaining to watch. Isn’t that what sports should really be about? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Anyway, let’s get straight to the cash, homie.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka went 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks.  I took some guff in the preseason for being down on Tanaka, in the non-sexual way.  I projected him for the line of 10-4/3.49/1.15/150.  His line right now is 11-6/3.57/1.01/125.  Yeah, I was waaaaaaaaay off.  Multiple A’s to allow time for an eye roll.  Kids write me letters and say, “Unkie Grey, how did you know what Tanucky (sic) would do so mediocrely?”  My answer is always the same, I’m a witch.  Then I continue, “No, that’s just a broom.  Male witches ride around on Vespas.”  Tanaka was an easy person for me to avoid this year due to his elbow tendon.  For 2016, sadly, I don’t see my enthusiasm changing.  Or at any point for him until he has surgery, rehabs for 12-16 months and then returns.  I wish he would, because I would like to get excited about him, but it’s just not gonna happen, said like Dana Carvey impersonating George H. W. Bush.  Now, excuse me, I double-parked my Vespa on Sandoval’s foot.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yoenis Cespedes went 3-for-5 with his 31st homer and, like, his 12th homer in the past week.  Doode’s straight combustible heat.  Like a fatty steak on the grilling heat.  Uh-oh, I feel my rap altar ego, B-Fire, coming on.  Cannot stop the blaze.  Like a Scottish sheep, I can’t stand here, I gotta graze.  Between Monday and Tuesday is a hidden day called Muesday, between Monday and Sunday is all Grey’s days.  I watch a Merchant-Ivory period flick with my piece, because I’m strapped and going through a phase.  Shh, it’s my Victorian secret.  Whomp, there’s another Yoenis hit.  Cepedes is so on-lock it’s like he’s got a hundred legs all stuck in tar pits.  For my Def Poetry Jam audition tape, this I will submits.  I liked About Schmidt, but why Kathy Bates gotta get out of the tub naked with her flabby– Nah, I need to quit.  So, on the year, Yoenis has a line of 93/31/92/.298/7 and is nearly top five for all players on our Player Rater, not just top five outfielders, and, for 2016, it’s going to be real hard to knock him down much past the 2nd round.  Unless, of course, the Padres get their grubby mitts on him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Guess who’s back?  Back again!  No, that’s not The Greek God of Walks, Kevin Youkilis, sufferer of chronic back pain, singing.  Besides, it’s “who’s back,” not “whose back.”  We’re not trying to identify a back!  Byron Buxton‘s back, baby, yeah.  With every positive reaction, there’s an equal opposite negative reaction, or so said Einstein when he was fiddling with refrigerator magnets.   And the negative reaction to Buxton coming back is Aaron Hicks hit the DL.  Too bad, so sad.  Buxton didn’t do much in his first stint in the majors, but he could be easily as good as Schwarber, Sano or any other rookie nookie that’s got your cookie all melty.  I would grab Buxton in every league.  I’m excited.  Uppercase yay!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s always good to try and see every pitcher that you can.

I’ve never seen Henry Owens pitch, but didn’t think much of him for 2015 with a horrible walk rate in AAA (4.12 per/9).  “Is this strike zone regulation size, or what?!”  But he is a top prospect, reportedly has good stuff, and was decent in his debut against the Yanks.

You never know what you can see at the eye level, and you never know what pitchers might have a fluky bad walk rate in AAA only to find dynamite command in the Majors (cough,  Taylor Jungmann).  So I decided to check out Owens yesterday, to see how he looked on the road against the Tigers in his second MLB start:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m picturing Droopy Dog saying, “Going down,” to my Excitement for Jose Fernandez. My Excitement for J-Fer is hooking up with a strobe light honey at a club, and my Excitement for J-Fer’s friend later tells my Excitement for J-Fer, “She was cute, except for that protruding Adam’s apple.” My Excitement for J-Fer just got a $300 red light camera ticket. My Excitement for J-Fer put the green trash can at the curb the day it was supposed to put the blue can and then puts the black can at the curb the day the green can was supposed to go out. My Excitement for J-Fer exclaims, “Why can’t I even throw out the trash right?!” My Excitement for J-Fer sighs and puts an emoji in its text messages that symbolizes its childhood hero Hulk Hogan being a racist. As you’ve likely heard, Fernandez is out indefinitely with a bicep strain. Hopefully, he can be fine for next spring, i.e., I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t return this year. Otherwise, as the old beer jingle will tell you, J-Fer, the pitcher to draft when you’re DL’ing more than one. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Papelbon, your new Nationals closer

Maybe the worst thing to happen on the trade deadline was something that didn’t happen.  Carter Capps to the Yankees would have been stupendous.  I wanted to see the media and baseball people lose their mind over Capps’ delivery and I think that’s exactly what would have happened had he ended up there.  But the thing that really has fantasy baseball managers in a tizzy is Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals.  As their closer.  (Yeah this old news, Grey and Smokey already beat me to Paplebon/Nationals puns.  Whatever.)  Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Joakim Soria and Jim Johnson are out of their closing job but jobs were created in the form of Ken Giles, Edward Mujica, Alex Wilson, and Arodys Vizcaino.  Now some of us might still be scrambling for players that can get some saves.  Well the Rockies have a closer spot up for grabs.  It sure took long enough, but this is something I’ve been saying would happen since Axford took that role.  Justin Miller, Rafael Betancourt, and Tommy Kahnle are the candidates to close there and that’s the order I would own them in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At least, that’s what wise men say. Thankfully for both you and I, I’m not one of those…wait, I mean…dammit, nevermind, you know what I mean. I think? Not good to start a recommendation blog off with trepidation but what can I say as I’m going for the unreliable narrator thing. I mean, it worked for Chuck Palahniuk and who doesn’t love the anti-hero Tyler Durden? So while I splice some rated X films into your kids’ movie, lemme tell you a little bit about Chris Rusin. Or better, yet let me tell you about his opponent, the Texas Rangers. Or better than better yet, let me start by saying this: it’s a tourney only call. I know, I know, anything goes in tourneys but hear me out. The Rangers are an impressive offense overall so far this year, especially with how many projected them but there’s one thing they haven’t done well: hit left-handed pitching. For the year, the Rangers have K’d 22.9% of the time vs southpaws and just got sat down by Keuchel on Sunday as he went 7 and struck out 13 while only giving up 2 hits. Would I expect that from Rusin on Monday? Hells to the no, children, but I expect the opportunity for at least 5 to 6 innings and perhaps 7 punch outs. Given the low ownership he’ll garner and the minimal price tag of $4,800, Chris opens the doors to flood your lineup with all of the best bats in the prime spots…ya know, like Colorado, where he’s pitching. It’s a gamble but it’s not one without its merit and I’ll be sure to be the fool that’ll Rusin today. But enough about Elvis love songs, let’s get a little more country. Here’s my ring of fire hot takes for the Monday DK slate…

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?