It might surprise you to learn that a catcher was the most added player in ESPN leagues last week. That’s right. A catcher. You’re probably thinking that it’s some hot prospect who looks like the next coming of Mike Piazza. In that case, you’d be wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s actually 30-year-old journeyman catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Salty’s smacked 6 homers in just 48 plate appearances this season, which has some fantasy owners dreaming of a cheap 20 homers from their recent waiver wire find. He has hit 25 homers in a season before (2012), and power has never been an issue for Salty. What has been an issue is making consistent contact. He’s one of 11 players in MLB history (min 2000 PA) with a 30+% K% in his career, and his 32.4% K% since the beginning of the 2014 season is the 3rd highest in MLB over that span (min 600 PA) behind only Mike Zunino and Tyler Flowers. This season, he has a 37.5% K% and his early power outburst is largely due to a 33.3% HR/FB (career 13.8%). Same old Salty. Enjoy the hot streak but don’t get too attached. Too much Salty will give you high blood pressure.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Philly fans are often singled out for their rude, obnoxious behavior, but yesterday, as the Mets hit six home runs, the Philly fans were attempting to be on their best behavior.  Here’s a few of the more polite things heard, “Excuse me, sir, are you using the batteries in your portable radio?  I’d like to throw them at someone’s shoulder.  No, not their head.  That would be rude.”  Also heard, “I hate to waste a cheesesteak, but I’d like to vomit on an unsuspecting Mets fan.”  “Jimmy, no, vomit on a suspecting Mets fan.”  “Yeah, you’re right, Marge.”  Finally, “These Mets are fun to watch, I get to try out new curse words — screw you, nut sock!”  Then, with a pleased smile, “See, it’s like sack, but sock.  Catchy, no?”  Philly fans had all kinds of reasons to be annoyed yesterday as the Mets did damage.  Yoenis Cespedes hit his 4th homer (1-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs).  Driving to the park in a limited edition car made of guano and Play-Doh must be his good luck charm!  Michael Conforto hit his 2nd homer (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) as he hit third until he was pinch hit for against a lefty later in the game.  I get that Conforto’s a lefty and it’s a matchup thing, but there’s gotta be some kind of unspoken rule.  The guy you bat third in your lineup is not a platoon player.  That’s Connie Mack to Earl Weaver to Coach Taylor rock solid coach stuff.  You don’t pinch hit your three hole hitter!  Then Neil Walker hit his 5th and 6th homers (2-for-5), with two homers in the past two days, and, honestly, truthfully, interruptingly, when you have six homers in 13 games, there weren’t a whole lot of games where you didn’t homer.   Finally, Lucas Duda hit his 2nd homer (1-for-5, 2 RBIs), and 2nd in as many days.  The Phillies starters really aren’t that bad.  Dot dot dot.  Compared to their relievers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Scout and Razzball teamed up to bring you 12-team mixed league slow drafts, and, when I say slow, I mean that I’ve seen paint dry faster and with more upside.  It’s exactly like our 12-team, mixed Razzball Commenter League drafts (there still might be a few spots), but in this league there’s two catchers, no waivers and 44 rounds.  So, I guess, it’s really not that similar to the RCLs.  No waivers changes everything.   I would never draft two top starters in a regular mixed league, let alone one in a 12 team league, but when you can’t pick up a starter off waivers or stream, it changes the dynamic.  You can’t worry about upside as much as you need to make sure you have innings when a rash of injuries hits.  Same with hitters.  Upside is nice, but at-bats are even nicer when you lose five outfielders to injuries in July.  This kind of leagues makes John Jaso Jingleheimer Schmidt and Tyler Flowers appealing.  Dot dot dot.  Okay, nothing makes Tyler Flowers appealing.  Anyway, here’s my 12-team, mixed league draft recap:

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atlanta-braves-logo

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Brad Rowland, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Atlanta Braves!

Note: Want to take on M@ in the Razzball Commenter Leagues? Join here!

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Uh no, the Yankees fell for the oldest trick in the book, mon!  Starlin Castro was traded to the Yankees for middle reliever, Adam Warren.  Didn’t the Yanks get the memo?  Middle relievers are the new cheap starters.  There was an interesting development the past week.  Jordan Zimmermann got ridunk money and everyone was like, “Damn, Cousin Fat Pockets needs to let out the elastic on his velcro wallet.”  Then David Price got boku bucks and a Nigerian from Nigeria by the name of Boku said, “My last name is not bucks, I’m confused by this idiom.”  Then Zack Greinke went for a walk in the park and came across a suitcase of $206.5 million and looked over his shoulder slowly, then looked back at the suitcase, then started putting million dollar bills into his shorts.  Finally, Henderson Alvarez was non-tendered and the entire league was interested, and this sounded warning bells.  People are interested in Henderson Alvarez?!  What the eff!  At that point, the smarter GMs realized they just need to make it so their starters that aren’t terrific go six innings, then their bullpens can come in.  The Royals realized this two years ago, but now everyone is catching on.  As for Castro on the Yankees, I want to say unequivocally that this is the best landing spot for him in the majors outside of Coors.  Castro has totally failed as a top prospect– Oh, wait, he’s only 25 years old.  This was a case where the Cubs didn’t make a bad deal; they just had too much of a good thing with middle infielders, and their eyes set on Messin’ Wit’ The Zo’.  Castro feels set up to have his biggest season to date, and I’m going to project him as such.  For 2016, I’ll give him 72/16/77/.274/7 with room for more.  As for the future at 2nd base in Robert Refsnyder, there’s always playing for the Padres in two years.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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The Red Sox season is like the guy that knocks over the Jenga structure with the first block pulled, then manages to somehow knock every single block off the table, even the ones on the very bottom. Koji Uehara hit the DL with a fractured wrist, and is done for the season, as originally speculated here after reading between the lines at other sites. I also read between the lines that aliens constructed Tikal in Guatemala. And I thought Tikal was constructed by Method Man. Also, I have a bone to pick with read, why is the past tense still spelled read? Siri can’t even figure that shizz out to speak. You messed up, English language! Any the hoo! With Uehara out, this opens a hole for Jean Machi or Junichi Tazawa to walk through. Tazawa is Asian, though I’m not sure that’s a requirement, Machi is ugly. Again, may not matter. Either way, I’d go Machi first since Sawx manager, John Farrell, indicated that Machi would fill-in as the closer, adding, “And Sandoval is still fat.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kennys Vargas was demoted to Double-A. Shouldn’t it be Double-Kenny? It’s official, the Twins hate Vargas. They gave him all of about ten days to prove himself this time around. Maybe they just get off on killing Kennys. Oh, well, that’s all I wanted to say in the lede. Nothing else. Just gonna pick my cuticles until I get to that “Anyway, here’s what else” jazz that I always write. Oh, I guess I could mention Miguel Sano is being called up. I buried the lede worse than Kendall Graveman! First Buxton and now Sano, this is the most excitement Minnesota’s seen since Prince was spotted at a Cold Stone Creamery ordering raspberry sorbet, and, without missing a beat, the cashier said, “And if it was warm, you’d order much more,” then high-fived his oblivious co-worker. I just gave you my Miguel Sano fantasy. I wrote it with an 80’s glam Sharpie. I’ll add one thing to that. Grab him right now! He could hit .180 with power or he could hit .250 with power, but, either way, at corner infidel, you do worse, as my Jewish grandmother would say. After saying, “Oy, it’s hot in here.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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How do you quantify the pure power of you, yes you, the loyal Razzball Nation commenter?

How about with an 82 ranking as if from nowhere!

I’ve actually seen Nate Karns pitch in AAA, and I remember not being too impressed…  Then again I was balls deep in craft beer and a footlong hot dog with BBQ and slaw on it, so there’s that…

I really haven’t seen too much of Karns this year, but what I have seen heading into yesterday’s start is a pretty good fastball with a solid knucke-curve.  Nothing “blow you away”, but enough to keep hitters honest.  And with a garbage-ish pool of pitchers to stream in a couple of leagues where I’m behind in my innings quota, Karns was my stream of choice against a struggling White Sox offense yesterday.  Boy was I happy with the result!  So I decided to go back and watch this start complete with all of the Pitcher Profile bells and whistles to see if there’s something a little deeper here than just a 10 or 12-team matchup streamer:

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To paraphrase Collective Soul, “Diamondbacks, your cup runneth over with outfielders. Don’t scream about! Don’t think aloud! Trade an outfielder now, baby! Just spit him out! Don’t worry about! Don’t speak of doubt! Turn your organization’s head and spit Trumbo out!” From Collective Soul’s website (that was surprisingly not a Geocities site or Myspace), they’re still touring. Coming to a church bingo hall near you! So, the Mariners acquired Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno for Welington Castillo, Dominic Leone, Jack Reinheimer and Gabby Guerrero. During one of the games I took in at spring training this year, I screamed at Guerrero, “Hey, number ninety-two,” because I had no idea who he was and the media guide only went up to ninety-one. Then I jawed at Guerrero for about ten minutes, giving him a little taste of some major league heckling. Now that I realize who he was, it turns out we were both Gabby. This doesn’t do anything major to anyone’s value. Diamondbacks were one of the best team offenses in this little thing we call reality, so if anything, Trumbo takes the smallest of hits. Park-wise, Mark can be Trumbomb or Trumboner anywhere, so I’m not concerned. The ones that get the biggest value boost here are David Peralta (2-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs) and Castillo. Welington relocates his boeuf to the desert and becomes an everyday catcher with 15-homer power and a .270 average. Definitely grab him in NL-Only and two-catcher leagues. Peralta will have a chance to prove himself, but he’s more of a 14-homer, 8-steal guy, so nothing huge. This does stop the Diamondbacks from benching A.J. Pollock (2-for-4, 2 runs, 7th homer, and 2nd in as many games; grab him!), Ender Inciarte (0-for-5) and Yasmany Tomas (3-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) when Jake Lamb returns. Or as Lamb would say, “Not baaaaah for either team.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Wahhhhhh, Shane Greene doesn’t strike anyone out, he’s useless, wahhhhhh!”  That’s Sky on the Podcast a few hours ago…  “The Fifth Element sucked!”  That’s Grey before I socked him!

Since my initial ranks in February, I’ve been a Greene champion.  In my blurb, I mention a high K-rate finish to 2014 (52:16 K:BB his last 41.1 innings), along with an unlucky 2014 BABIP (.330).  The starts I saw from him last year had me encouraged with his stuff, plus the move to a much better pitcher’s park in Comerica had me “thrilled”.

But even with the rank looking spiffy and everything going right, the low K-rate does seem a little concerning.  He’s turning into Rick Porcello, noooooooo!  While his ERA and WHIP (along with 3 wins) are all change-your-pants worthy, he’s got a measly 11:5 K:BB in 23 innings.  Regression is screaming like Ruby Rhod after he counted ten!  I of course hope not since he’s on all my teams, and watching him so far this year in my normal bouncing-around-through-all-the-games he looks like a strong strikeout capable guy.  So I decided to watch his start yesterday hosting the White Sox, and give it the ol’ full attention and Pitcher Profile treatment.  Here’s how he looked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?