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 start of this series will focus on NL East…Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s a closerousel! Which is a play on carousel, not arousal. Pick up your pants. Recently, the Cleveland Indians organization talked to the media about moving away from the unfortunate Native American stereotype their team is known for. They said, “We respect the people who came before us. This was their land, and we drove them out. Scalping was a crime on humanity. In other news, we just signed a guy that goes by the Ax Man. Chief Wahoo, can I get a woohoo?!” John Axford should be perfectly competent as the closer in Cleveland, until he’s not. What I mean is he’ll be handed the job and will hold it the whole year unless he reverts to his hideous ways. I was burnt by him in more leagues than I care to remember, but I would still draft him again. SAGNOF, after all. Then Theo Cubstein went out and got Jose Veras to close games. Cubs fans will miss the days when their games went an extra fifty minutes due seven men getting on base in the ninth inning. If you throw out Veras’s first five appearances and start his stats on April 13th of last year, he had a 2.48 ERA. Yeah, that’ll work just fine. Then the Orioles pulled their best Billy Beane impersonation when they let one high-priced closer go and got Grant Balfour back. Oddly enough, Billy Beane was the one that took the high-priced one. I scream, what’s the world coming to?! Then Billy Beane shoots Spider dead. Then Beane turns to me and says, “Not so fast, amigo. Check Balfour’s health. Oh, and amigo is being sarcastic, you dumbass.” I knew that! But not about the health. No one did. Except for the Jedi master. Of course, there was more to it. So, now Balfour’s deal may fall through with the O’s due to health concerns raised in his physical. It’s a developing situation as they say in third world countries about their water and cable TV. Finally, Addison Reed went from the Chicago White Sox to Arizona. Now the Diamondbacks won’t have to worry about what happens when J.J. Putz hurts himself opening a tin of Band-Aids. Irony only takes you so far, Putz. This leaves a vacuum in the South Side of Chicago in the ninth inning, but I guess they don’t plan on winning any games. White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It feels like yesterday the baseball regular season started. You wrote “I heart baseball” in permanent marker on your arm, then you met a girl who wrote “I heart guys who heart baseball” on her arm, then, during sex in September, you screamed out “I love you, Chris Davis!” and now you don’t have baseball or a girlfriend, unless your girlfriend was Bill James. C’mon, calendar, make like a soldier and turn to March. The only cure for the post-baseball season blues — recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand-fed Doritos. First up, Cool Ranch and our preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2013. It’s important to look back before we look ahead to 2014. To paraphrase the one and only B-Real, “How do you know where you’re at, if you don’t know where you’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from?” It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. It’s cold hard math, y’all! Please, for the love that all is holy, don’t ask me if this is for next year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2013 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:Please, blog, may I have some more?
After Pablo Sandoval hit three homers in a World Series game last year, he sat down with Reggie Jackson for a conversation in December. Reggie wanted to know what the experience was like for him and to tell him his own. By the end of the conversation, Pablo was near tears, he whispered to Reggie, barely able to get the words out, “The fans threw candy bars onto the field?” Pablo Sandoval’s like the condensed milk version of Jay Bruce. It’s not really milk, but it’s real sweet and kinda tastes like milk and frosting and it gets crazy hot for one game a year. Jesus, Pablo (no relation to Jesus Guzman), if I would’ve known all it took to get you hot was to say you’re droppable, I would’ve done it in April. He still cost a lot of people their fantasy seasons, and is probably on a lot of teams that are out of the race, but, if you have him, you gotta hope this is the start of something. 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?
First Heyward, and now Brandon Beachy is headed to see Dr. Freeze. This is the worst back-to-back days in Atlanta since Sherman burnt Atlanta and then Home Depot decided to push back their grand opening by 100 years. If the Braves keep going like this, TBS might have to show repeats of The George Lopez Show. NOOOOOOOO!!! The caps were for emphasis, you know, in case it was lost on anyone. The last pitcher to see Dr. James Andrews and pitch again within 6 months was Lee Majors during a Battle of the Network Stars tourney, but he was bionic. I’d put five internet dollars on Beachy missing the season, but I’d hold him for now. This would obviously clear up the confusion in the rotation between Alex Wood, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen. Or Alis Moodlen, for short, though that sounds like a guitarist for Deep Purple. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
When he was called up just before the All-Star Break, the exclamation for the long-awaited arrival for Erasmo Ramirez was perhaps hyperbolic. I’ll admit, I thought he’d be a big fantasy help too. Sure he was dynamite last year with a decent 3.36 ERA but dazzling 1.00 WHIP and 7.32 Ks per 9 in his debut 59 innings. His walk rate was under 2 per 9, pitches in Safeco – this was going to be a fantastic season.
But a triceps injury kept him from making the Opening Day rotation, forcing him to rehab his way back up. After two nice starts in single A and double AA, Erasmo spent most of his time in AAA with a solid 3.09 ERA and 42 Ks in 43.2 innings. However, red flags did arise with a WHIP at 1.31 and a walk rate at 2.89. Not exactly too scary, and he was certainly shaking some rust off.Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you found us from Google due to this title, you might want National Geographic or an African safari forum where discussion quickly turns into a story about how ‘your old lady doesn’t let you watch scary movies.’ Here, when we say our ‘old lady,’ we’re not using a euphemism for a wife. It’s for my fiancee. Gio Gonzalez had a throwback to the days of wine and roses. The wine being anything but Boone’s. The roses being McGowan. He went seven innings and didn’t give up a hit past the first inning with only 4 baserunners and 11 Ks vs. the Phils and Kyle Kendrick (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks). This was a battle between two teams you think are good offensively, but are not. The Bryceless Nats couldn’t score for Gonzalez and needed an Ian Desmond grand slam in the eleventh to win. This no decision was Gio’s 7th in his last 8 starts — c’mon, Gio, make up your mind. Or console yourself with a QS, Gio! This was a nice start after I had reservations about his falling K-rate and rising walk rate. Again, it was the Phils, so I wouldn’t just accept he’s back to last year’s tricks. It’s an illusion! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Hello, Nick Castellanos, see you soon, maybe, yeah, no, okay. Great to meet you, Gerrit Cole, eventually. What do you know it’s, Mike Zunino, maybe at some point in the near future. What’s up, Billy Hamilton, hey, aren’t you supposed to be fast? What’s taking you so long? Is that Oscar Taveras…Oh, it’s Willy Taveras eating nachos out of a dwarf’s sombrero. What about that number one prospect guy that the Royals traded so they could be a .500 team? What’s his name again? Something Byers. Or is it Jon Cryer? HBO Signature Loves Playing Radio Flyer? Wil Myers! That’s it. Let’s compare him first to a guy that he’s nothing like, shall we? Cool, thanks for indulging. What a mensch, you are! Jurickson Profar was called up and has played about as well as expected. Is there any league where you can’t do without him? Sure, maybe in a deep AL-Only league where you lost Kinsler or were starting Marwin Gonzalez. In most mixed leagues, Profar has been good but replaceable. At some point in the near future, Profar’s going to use the world to wipe his butt. He’s not going to wash his hands and then run them down our country’s shirt with his profound badassery. That day probably isn’t that far off. Right now, he’s good, I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse for mixed leagues. Compare him to Jean Segura if you like. Segura was nice when he came up last year, this year he’s dining with Jay-Z while shushing Blue Ivy. Now, like I said, Wil Myers isn’t a Profar comparison when it comes to their stats, but everything else I said there could apply. Myers is holding his own in Triple-A so far this year (10 HRs, .276) and could be called up in about three weeks. Now would be the time I’d stash him in all leagues. The moment he’s called up it will be like The Day the Earth Stood Still only Hitter-Tron will be saving all the ladies. I’d cautiously expect him to see 80% of starts after being called up, and numbers around 30/14/35/.280/4. That’s probably a tad optimistic, but what fun is there in dour? Those numbers could also be had in three months from, say, Alfonso Soriano. ‘What fun is there in dour’ then you drop Soriano? Sorry, Random Italicized Voice, we’re not seeing a Trout this year and I’m just being honest. What are you, Abe Lincoln? Lie to me! Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?