Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It seems to be a weekly activity for me to genuinely question whether the calendar on my phone is accurate. We’re creeping up on the last week of January and the temperature in the Northeast has convinced me that in some alternate universe, I’ve already drafted my fantasy baseball teams and opening day is right around the corner. Even more terrifying? In this universe, Khris Davis and Chris Davis are actually the same player.

What keeps me sane chronologically, and prevents me from sending my phone back to Apple, is the fact that ADP (average draft position) is continually adjusting, and at a higher frequency as more draft data rolls in.

Instead of boring you to death with simple regurgitation of average draft position data, I decided to pitch the following players based on their minimums and maximums. The highest and lowest they’ve gone in drafts.

Why is this important? Thanks for asking! If you love a player going into a draft, I’m a proponent of looking at this ‘max’ pick and trying to rationalize if you as an owner could possibly take him there. Grey loves Ian Desmond. The max pick Desmond has been drafted at in NFBC leagues is 20th overall. Grey has Desmond 19th in his top 20. Relative to those drafting in NFBC, leagues with the highest correlation to both homelessness and divorce, Grey really does love Desmond.

I look at the minimum and see a slot where any player holds extremely mitigated . Think of this as a standard for guys you don’t like. Even if you say you’re never going to draft a player, if Paul Goldschmidt is sitting on your board at 10th overall, you take him, and invite me to your league in 2018.

Sure, this range can be skewed by outliers, but simply looking at these differences produces a list of players with divisive storylines and some of the better high risk, high reward cases out there. I chose four of the highest min-max variances among the top 300 players. Let’s have some fun!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Red Sox made a huge splash yesterday trading away Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech for Chris Sale.  Red Sox must be appealing to Bernie Sanders with their rotation: two lefties named Sale and Price.  Dave Dombrowski sure does love to trade away his top prospects.  Dombrowski buys 10 copies of Baseball Prospectus every year, crosses out the ‘u,’ and barters them for two cartridges of Nintendo Baseball Stars.  Dombrowski used to have four young kids, until he traded them to a Mormon family for an honors student three months from graduating high school.  Dombrowski dreams of finding the Fountain of Youth so he can trade it for a veteran fountain.  I’m not going to compare Sale to Price even if the Jew in me wants to talk wholesale.  Price had concerning stats going into last year and is older.  Of course, some of Price’s concerning stats were a lower K-rate and a falling velocity on his fastball, which are two warning signs with Sale too.  Okay, maybe I will compare the two.  Sale’s fastball velocity went from 94.5 MPH to 92.8 MPH, while relying on it 7% more of the time.  You’re a big-time Razzball noob — Razzboob? — if you think I’m going to suggest you draft an ace, and Sale is no different.  I’m not about to say he’s going to fall off, but declining velocity, K-rate and rising xFIP is not an ace I’d be excited about.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 18-8/3.31/1.08/244 in 225 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kevin Kiermaier might be my first sleeper of the 2017 fantasy baseball season.  The funny thing (completely and irrefutably not funny) is with fantasy football starting, fantasy basketball getting underway (don’t worry, I won’t clickbait you to death) and fantasy teams just falling out of contention, players that do well in September are often forgotten by next March even though they’re performing in the month closest to the next preseason. (Guys and five girl readers, if anyone says I don’t know the calendar, you tell them that is just inaccurate.  Grey knows the calendar very well.  Happy July 4th!)  Kiermaier has that potent mix that I crave so much.  No, not Russian dressing and relish, though that is delicious.  Your secret is safe with me, sauce!  Instead, I’m talking about a power and speed combo.  For 2017, it seems entirely possible that he gets to 25+ HRs and 30+ steals.  He’s only played in 91 games this year for 12 HRs, 18 SBs, and has a repeatable HR/FB%.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), with his walk rate trending up and speed, his average might be more like .275 in 2017 vs. .250 this year.  It’s not all yums ‘n roses with his Slash line.  He could be more Dexter Fowler (14-ish HRs, 17-20 SBs) than Correa.  That’s fine, because he’ll be drafted way closer, if not after Fowler.  As for why to grab him now?  He’s got five homers and six steals in the last ten days.  DUR!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“What about Asdrubal?  Asdrubal, Cron, Buxton, Peraza, Morales and Puig?  Puig, Morales, Asdrubal, Buxton and Morales?  Have I already mentioned Morales?  What about Puig?  What about Cron?  WHAT ABOUT CRON?!  Hardwiring is smoking!  I think I’m overheating!  Don’t throw water on me, I’ll short circuit!” It’s too late.  As the water hits the Fantasy Master Lothario’s mainframe, a sickening mix of smoke and sizzle expels from his metal joints.  He staggers to a pole and places his metal hand down.  With one last flicker, he looks up with his metallic, blue eyes and asks hopefully, “Is Puig facing a lefty?”  And shuts down.  The metal pole he placed his hand on wasn’t just any pole, it hung Old Glory.  As if the ghost of George Washington himself was a fan, the American flag lowers onto the Lothario’s shoulders, draping him like a metal Kid Rock.  If only people would’ve just picked up C.J. Cron!  My one major quibble with Cron — Or is it queef?  I always confuse those two. — is Cron going to have The Sciosciapath try to outsmart the universe and start benching one of the hottest hitters?  Not even the Sciosciapath can answer that, for he does not know what his brain tells him to do.  Plus, he’s crazy.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the Buy/Sell, just wanted to say a huge fantasy football announcement is coming in the next few days.  Let’s just say it sounds like Stream-o-Nator, but it’s got a football vibe to it.  And it’s less lonely.  Oh, Stream-o-Nator so lonely!  I wonder if the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron ever tried to date.  Anyway II, the Buy/Sell:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was younger, I played for a Little League team, the Teaneck Yankees, our manager, who went simply by the name John Doe, would spend most of his days stealing the other teams’ signs, but when he gave us advice, through a translator hired by our sponsor, Halliburton, he’d say, “The most important function of the baseball hitter is to get the base.  The second most important function of the baseball hitter is to get the WMDs.”  I searched Fangraphs for a stat abbreviated WMDs but wasn’t able to find one.  Walk-Off Moonshot Dingers?  Windup Mechanics Delivery?  Weapons of Mass Ducksnorts?  Whatever the case, I want to focus on Coach Doe’s first function, get the base.  Since the All-Star break, there’s been few hitters who are getting the base like Ender Inciarte.  In that time, he’s hitting .360 with 35 runs.  That’s the 5th best average and 8th best runs. This is a guy who last year hit .303 in 524 ABs, so it’s not a fluke, or hirame if a sushi chef is reading.  Will he give much power?  Will a llama do a NY Times crossword?  No, he won’t.  But for average and runs, you can do much worse.  Now, is it a coincidence that Coach Doe was a ringer for Saddam Hussein and you can’t spell Ender Inciarte without CIA?  I don’t know.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In my preseason Randal Grichuk sleeper post (hey, they’re not all Delino DeShields sleepers, which is to say God awful vs. just merely bad), I said, “How much Grichuk can Grichuk chuck if Grichuk strikes out 30% of the time?  Now, I’m no gypsy; I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl that was born in a manger in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Let’s look at some comp hitters, shall we?  Not to answer, but to keep reading.  Last year, Grichuk struck out 31% of the time after striking out 23% of the time in Triple-A.  His minor league strike out rate makes me think he’ll be closer to a 27-28% strikeout guy.  Brandon Moss is also around a 27-28% strikeout guy, which Grichuk should be.  Grichuk won’t walk as much as Moss, but, okay, they’re close enough for me.  Grichuk is a young Moss.  I shall call him Pete Moss.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Maybe old fools die hard with a vengeance while Samuel Jackson screams at them, but Grichuk was just some bad luck with his BABIP away from being exactly what I thought he’d be.  His strikeout rate is 27.8% (vs. Moss’ 30%), and he’s only 25 years old.  I’m still jazzed on Grichuk like Coltrane with a needle in my vein.  Of course, none of this matters if he didn’t hit a bunch of homers this week, and was available in about 75% of leagues.  Plant Pete Moss on your team and watch the growth!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

Want to take on Razzball contributors and readers in a Fantasy Football League for prizes? Join here!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re about two weeks from September call-ups, or as we call it in my house, “One more month and Cougs gets back the Fantasy Master Lothario,” or as they call it in Prospector Ralph’s house, “Let’s make another baby,” or as they call it in any Cubs fan’s house, “Start drinking heavily now so the heartbreak of October is a blurry haze.”  By the way, whatever team faces the Cubs in the World Series should pay Steve Bartman to throw out a first pitch of one of the games.  Bartman, “I won’t do it.”  “We’ll give you $50,000.”  “Do you want me to throw out the first pitch while riding on the back of a goat?”  So, that brings us to who will be the top September call-up, or at least for hype, Yoan Moncada.  About a week ago, Moncada injured his ankle, but he’s likely to be fine in a week.  In about 12 days, every fantasy baseball site will be telling you to grab Moncada, so it depends on how quick you need to react in your league on when you grab him, but I would in most leagues.  “Why, Unkie Grey, what does Moncada do?  Can he help me talk to girls?”  Yes!  If those girls live in Boston, have red hair and are named Francine.  Would you be interested if I told you Moncada went 13/44 in only 97 games with a .300 average?  How about if I told you he’s going to play in one of the best offensive parks with one of the best hitting teams?  What if I said he’d move your car on street cleaning day?  He will do all of that (minus the moving of the car, but it’s good if you get out of the house once in a while).  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?