engine

I think I can-o. I think I can-o. Opposing catchers are claiming to have heard Robinson Cano chanting these words to himself as he stepped into the batters box on numerous occasions during the first two weeks of the season. Sources have reported that Yasmani Grandal is confirming these allegations, saying he heard him mutter those exact words on Tuesday night right before he hit his first home run of the season. That two-run homer accounts for 7 of Robinson’s measly 13 points so far this season. While it is much too early in the season to Joe “Panik”, my preseason fantasy MVP is making me look bad. And for those of you that have never met me, which should be every one of you, I already look bad enough. Over the last five seasons Cano has averaged 511 fantasy points. However, last season’s move to Seattle saw his points take a dip to 449, his lowest total since 2008 (346). My preseason projections for Cano have him coming in just under 449 at 437 points. With 13 points in hand that means he’s got another 424 points in the tank. I don’t put much stock into projections, but if for some reason the Cano owner in your league is willing to make a fair deal, I’d try and make that deal.

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The Diamondbacks decided now is the time to call up Yasmany Tomas! Hold on, exclamation mark, let’s examine. !, “Do we have to? I’m a sucker for excitement.” Tomas was only hitting .190 in Triple-A. !, “Hmm, this isn’t gonna end well.” The Diamondbacks aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. !, “It’s getting better.” But they have been more than fine in the outfield, and he can’t play 3rd base. !, “Oh, that.” With a karate kick and few words, Diamondbacks GM, Dave Stewart, said Tomas would be a bench bat. !, “I’m out of here.” Stewart said he would’ve liked Tomas to stay in Reno longer, but he was already on the 40-man roster, so they called him up. Yasmany said, “Who ate my English Muffins? I wrote my name on them! Hello? Amigos?” Tomas is fine as a flyer in deep leagues in case he catches on, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to get much playing time out of the gate. Assuming he can get through said gate. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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better-call-saul

You’ve got to be schlitting me, right? There’s actually a pitcher with the last name Schlitter. I was watching a Cubs spring training game last week and this guy was on the mound. It was literally a mound of schlit. I wonder… when he has an awful outing and someone asks him how he pitched, does he say “schlitty”? Another pitcher with an interesting last name is Jeff Manship. Manship! Sounds like the Carnival Cruise line that doesn’t allow any females. Or perhaps it’s the mode of transportation that Sean Doolittle will be offering to the dudes he bought tickets for to fill the seats in Oakland on LGBT Pride Night. And what about Josh Outman of the Atlanta Braves. Is he the guy that told everyone who secretly bought a ticket for the man ship? Any chance Josh Phegley is on that list? Wow, that really got outta hand fast. Did anyone throw a trident?

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163 pitches, 16 Ks, 7 BBs, 1 H. That’s what Nolan Ryan used to do before going to chop some wood and bulldog some steer. The only pen Ryan ever needed was to house his horses. Yesterday, that was, how do I say this, an interesting start by Trevor Bauer. He went 6 IP, 0 ER with 11 strikeouts. He didn’t allow any hits, but he gave up five walks in 111 pitches. I feel like I should get half-credit for Bauer’s start on teams where I drafted Danny Salazar. Can I call him Tranny Bauerzar or will that upset my LGBT readers? My new favorite spring training stat that means nothing: Bauer’s 26 to 1 K to BB ratio. Bauer looked unhittable for the whole game. Depending on whether or not the Astros hitters decided to swing, it resulted in a strikeout or walk. It was like Randy Johnson in his early years when if hitters swung, they’d strikeout. If they sat there, they’d walk. The “Do You Feel Lucky…Plunk” approach to pitching. I’ll demonstrate as a hitter’s inner monologue, “I’m feeling lucky…Gonna step into this one and drive it… Jesus…That almost plunked me, I’m gonna swing wildly and get back to the dugout.” This approach can also be found in most Little League games. If Bauer’s unowned in your league, I wish I were in your league! Grab him! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You know what’s a very considerate thing to do? To tell you about some concerns I have for the upcoming season after you’ve already drafted. Due to posting my rankings in January and not tweaking things outside of injuries and playing time updates, there’s some things that I look at now and I wonder what the hell I was thinking. I could update some rankings due to spring training performances, but then I’m throwing out the countless hours (1 1/2 hours) of research I put in to do my rankings. I don’t believe in doing that. There was a reason I ranked how I ranked originally and to move a guy now because he hit a few homers in March doesn’t make any sense. I’m also not completely immune to what was going on for the last month performance-wise with players, so I’m giving you some players that I might’ve ranked slightly different if I let spring training performances come into play. If you want to bump up or down some of these guys, I could understand it. Anyway, here’s some players that have me second-guessing myself for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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My love for all things Tribe will probably be the death of my fantasy team but I’m out here not carin. I’m not sure if my Bauer post will come out first or if this one will but I’ve also at this point in late February already completed a draft in which I took Carrasco in the 9th and Salazar in the 16th. What I’m trying to say is Cleveland is going to win 155 games this year so I want every starter on that team. I’m joking of course…about that many wins for the Indians. Or maybe it wasn’t a joke more so than it was hyperbole? I don’t wanna get technical here, let’s just say I literally want every starter they have for various reasons and when you’re going deep like I am with these posts, you sometimes have to scratch beneath the depth chart to see what’s available and what do I see? I see a T.J. House party that just might blow up in the late rounds of your draft. So BYOB and get ready to groove as we see why T.J. might be a solid play by the end of the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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Per the usual, I have to drop a caveat when it comes to Deep League Thoughts about pitchers: there’s no such thing as a deep league pitcher. Unless you’re talking 20 team leagues and then you’re calling some relievers deep league pitchers. I ain’t going there so let’s realize upfront before you feel affronted. Now that we have that settled, when does a young pitcher settle? Two years? Four years? Do they ever? It’s all hard to predict. As we’ve seen through our years as fantasy baseballers, growth isn’t a promise from a young kid, it’s a possibility. How many rookies came and went on your rosters in 2014 alone? I’m not asking you, Grey. You’d add and drop the same player five times in one day so you don’t count, you chronic rosterbator. That said, I’m sure Trevor Bauer hit your roster more than once. He had some good with some bad in 2014. Maybe you got the bad from him and won’t go near him again. Maybe you had more of the good like I did and you’re willing to look into him a bit further. If so, trudge on with me. We’re about to go deep inside the enigma that is Bauer and what he can do for you for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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The late rounds of fantasy baseball drafts are filled with players who have questions surrounding them. It’s usually not too difficult to categorize these players, particularly in terms of starting pitching. There’s the post-hype group (Trevor Bauer, Kevin Gausman, Tony Cingrani), the declining veteran tier (CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Bartolo Colon), and the unproven prospect tier (Noah Syndergaard, Andrew Heaney, Archie Bradley). Several high floor, low ceiling options (Ervin Santana, Kyle Lohse, Wei-Yin Chen) and volatile injury-prone pitchers (Clay Buchholz, Matt Garza) tend to remain on the board for quite a while as well. In recent years, Brandon McCarthy has generally been perceived by the fantasy community as someone who falls into one of the latter two categories. Is this perception accurate? What can be expected from McCarthy in 2015?

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With the top 80 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, I will say this, we are having such a gay time! Gay like Colin Firth would use it. In an 19th century period drama. As in merriment. We are having ourselves a merry old time! Okay, that’s very gay. Still the same definition of gay. Merry. Merry, merry, quite contrarian of you if you say different! The starters start to thin out a little when we get to this post — not you, Sabathia! — but there’s still plenty to go around. You could likely draft starters from only this post and do fine in some leagues. Think I’m a liar. Well, I’m offended, but in this post last year was Samardzija, Peralta, Ventura, Quintana and Pineda. How many of those guys had an ERA over 3.50? One, Peralta at 3.53. I just got goose pimples typing that, but I also have the flu so maybe I should drink fluids. All the 2015 fantasy baseball rankings are there. My tiers and projections are noted. Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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