Like a kindergartner who just discovered boogers, I was digging into exit velocity and launch angle, because, ya know, these are important things now.  Is it me or does it feel like sabermetricians think they’ve reinvented the wheel every six months only to abandon all the new stuff in six months for something else?  “This is Marvin!  Marvin Berry, your cousin!  Yo, put down your ERA+ and VORP, I need you to hear about exit velocity!”  So, Nick Castellanos is regularly talked about when exit velocity and launch angles are brought up.  His average exit velocity is 90 MPH.  The top is Aaron Judge at 95 MPH, and Castellanos looks to be about 40th on the list (it wasn’t numbered, and I’m too lazy to count).  The top 40 is filled with hitters who are excelling at ghosting faster than others, but is also littered with disappointing names:  Machado, Gallo, Sandoval and Miggy, to name a few, and there is at least half you don’t want.  I could make a case that Adam Lind is as enticing as Castellanos using just exit velocity, which I guess is my point.  It’s a fun new metric (not that new, not that fun), but, in my estimation, it’s like a piece of evidence found at a crime.  It’s got the victim and suspect’s DNA on it, but if it doesn’t fit you can choose to ignore it.  Granted, that doesn’t rhyme quite as well.  Castellanos is 2nd in the majors for Hard Contact%.  Right in front of Miggy.  Again, you can read into that anything you want.  I still believe the Castellanos breakout is coming one of these years (he’s still only 25), but if you watch him hit, he has a line drive stroke, not a home run one.  The launch angle data is even less compelling for Castellanos because he drives balls the opposite way.  You can mollywhop, but if you’re going the other way, it’s not going to do as much damage unless you are Giancarlo or Judge, i.e, a giant living amongst Lilliputians.  The Greek God of Exit Velocity pulls line drives and hits fly balls the other way.  It might be the leg kick, it might be his natural swing tendencies, but it’s obvious if you look at his spray charts.  With all that said (here’s where Grey throws everything out), there’s no one hotter right now and it’s silly he’s only owned in 40% of leagues.  Okay, enough of Grey’s impersonation of Fangraphs… Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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This week, Dr. Easy and I (he’s the Rudy, with the stats and the puns; I’m the Grey, with the high-pitched giggle and the puns) continue our Adventures with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), looking for players who are rated higher than you may think they are — or lower than you think they would be — in an attempt to help you with waiver wire pick-ups, trade targets and DFS plays. We’ll look at a couple of position players but focus mostly on non-closing, non-handcuff relief pitchers, to try to get an idea of where their value lies for a roto team.

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I tried to get Grey going to start the podcast again, but he didn’t take the bait this time. He was too excited over his brand new podcast microphone. I wasn’t sure if I noticed a difference during the show, but listening back, I think he might be clearer. You guys can be the judge of that. We then get right into the blockbuster Jose Quintana trade, and how much this changes his fantasy value, if at all. We discuss Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle heading to Washington, Madison Bumgarner’s return, and Johnny Cueto’s blisters. At the midway point of the show, we bring on Razzball’s own Mike Maher to talk about a few interesting hitters on his Top 100 Hitters post this week, including Marwin Gonzalez, Kyle Seager, Tommy Pham, Chris Taylor, and Keon Broxton. Finally, Grey and I gush over the insanely high quality of RotoWear.com’s t-shirts, and thank Kenny for hooking the Razzball community up with 15% off by entering promo code “SAGNOF.” It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Experiments are fun.  When I was a youth, we used to play a game called killer UNO.  Basically, the gist of the game was don’t get caught with the most cards. Similar to regular ole UNO, but this is where the killer part came in.  The loser had to drink a concoction of any four things mixed together from the kitchen.  So while you are trying to think of actually how gross that is and the possibilities, let’s look at the strange thing about four things soon to be in Milwaukee…  (Including prized prospect Lewis Brinson or soon to be lack there of.)  The way he is playing and the imminent return of Ryan Braun from the DL spells one thing: Minor leagues.  He is being outplayed by Keon and even twice on Sunday. Subtle Domingo joke folks.  So with Braun coming back, the regular a bats are not going to be there.  Brinson definitely has the goods, it just isn’t his time.  He came up with some SAGNOF promise and basically gave us, to date, 3-for-21, .143 batting average, and one whole counting stat.  A steal for all the kids at home screaming it.  Cut bait and go in another direction.  I get that he has sexy name appeal and can juggle, but in redraft leagues, move elsewhere and see what’s what in a month or two with the Brewers roster and pennant push.  In September, he could be a sneaky Dave Roberts type of late game entry with some steal capability.  So I bid you fair the well Sir Lewis of Brinson of the Colorado Silver Sox clan.  Carry on SAGNOF surfers, let’s see what else is hopping on the good foot to do the bad thing in the thievery department.  As always I like to include a chart of some sort, makes it all pretty like…

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I can’t believe Aaron Judge was caught stealing yesterday.  I’d be afraid of tagging him.  He should have just put the MI in The Claw, Baron Von Judgeske-style.  You remember The Machines?  They were the most obvious masked wrestlers in the 80’s.  Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan put on a mask, but wore exactly everything else.  Here’s Hulk Machine:

It’s like the Clark Kent of disguises.  It’s like if I wore a Hamburglar disguise but you could see my mustache.  They should do Baseball Machines.   Right now, Judge Machine is my favorite Machine and moving in on my love for Giancarlo Machine, and where the hell is Odor Machine?  He needs to pop Bautista Machine in his big, fat mouth and get crazy like Charlie’s mom, Ma Sheen.  As for Judge Machine, yesterday he went 3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his major league-leading 13th homer as he hits .330.  That last number is the real surprise.  Is he a .300+ hitter?  I’m gonna go unlikely with a side of nuh-uh.  Can he hit 40 HRs and .270?  That’s looking affirmative.  I’m sure he’ll cool off; they all do, but I wouldn’t be against buying him high either.  If someone doesn’t believe the 40-homer, 275-pound love muscle, get him.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When struggles happen, the fantasy geeks come out of the wood work with words like “decreased velocity”, “contact rate” and “swing strike percentage”.  Now I am no geek, but Roberto Osuna is failing the eye test for me.  Control is all over the place and he has zero confidence in his pitches.  Yes, if you look at all his secondary pitching attributes, they are all down or up for the worse.  First, his velocity is down almost two MPH from last year.  Granted, he did miss some time this spring though, so there is a reason to have a letter from his mom to explain that.  His z-contact rate (pitches in the strike zone) is off the charts bonkers.  It currently sits at 91%.  If he had pitched more than five innings to date and qualified, he would have the highest such contact rate in baseball among relievers.  That is not a good trait to have as a closer, let alone a mammal.  Finally, his swing strike percentage has bottomed out at a cool 10%, which would put him outside the top-100 relievers.  And surrounded by names like Tommy Hunter and Michael Ynoa, all staples to a flourishing fantasy team.  So what do we do?  You cuff him.  Jason Grilli is the best name there and Ryan Tepera just got the save in extra innings the other day.  All we can hope for from Bobby Osuna is that with some more innings and builds back up to the 9-plus K/9 reliever we drafted as our 1A closer.  It isn’t time to panic, but do yourself a favor and cover your bases.  Here’s what else is going down in the end game… Cheers!

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If I didn’t wear cowboy boots to the community pool.  If I didn’t ooze machismo like I’m Fonzie and John Wayne’s baby which they had during the intermission of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  If I weren’t such a gee-dee man’s man — exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark — I’d el oh el right now like a 13-year-old girl.  Perfect through six and two-thirds (final line: 7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 2 baserunners (0 BBs), 11 Ks, ERA at 3.97) from a guy that has caused more ulcers than your wife’s best friend’s bright idea to videotape your wife’s bachelorette party.  She cheated on you, doode, and he was hung like Carlos Lee.  Michael Pineda, why do you cause such ulcers, I ask like I’m at Ellis Island in 1931.  I also have the scurvy, as I continue for no apparent reason.  Okay, seriously, I don’t know what to make of Michael Pineda.  He has the stuff, as George Carlin once said, to be a 2.50 ERA pitcher with 220 Ks.  He could also have a 5.50 ERA and be sent down by July.  If someone tells you they know which one he’ll be, they’re lying.  Would I own him?  Sure.  Would I always enjoy it?  C’mon, man, pay attention!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I think the biggest question I always get when I’m out for dinner trying to inconspicuously eat is: Who should I cuff and when should I start drafting handcuffs for the inevitable closerpocalypse?  My advice is always: As soon as I am done eating, I will tell you.  I then proceed to give them the Irish goodbye and smile as I gleefully think that I got the best of them.  But in all seriousness, the biggest question is: Do I cuff myself or do I cuff someone else’s closer?  Me personally, I am a “cuff someone else’s” kinda guy.  This way, it gives you better odds to have another closer.  Where as if you cuff yourself, you are only replacing what you already drafted to expect.  So in theory, look for the best cuff options that you currently don’t own and steal them from someone else.  Leaving them short and for you, the possible plus one.  So with this theory in mind, I have made a list of the guys that I would want to draft first, second and so on.  I have done closer lists with their back-ups, holds guys, and the pecking order and now you get the best handcuff options to draft and sit on.  Enjoy!

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As the season begins to wind down, and the grind of the first four months feeds into the stretch run of the final two months. The contenders begin to rise to the top in Razzball’s own dynasty league the Razznasty. We got a serious race going, with the top spot changing hands multiple times over the last few days. RCL Czar Matt Truss sits atop the mountain, for the next few hours at least. BTW Matt you are a Czar, watch out for Commies old friend. Look at that a Russian history lesson mixed with fantasy baseball. I’m gunning for a Smithsonian gig one day. In the meantime I’ll keep providing you with gushing articles about prospects, dynasty strategy, and PROSPECT PODCASTS!!! I hope everyone is ready for our first episode coming tomorrow!!! We’ll be talking the prospect side of the trade deadline, and some of the recent weeks callups. Benintendi anyone? Yes, I have to mention him twice a post.

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