2019 Recent Videos

Lucky I just bought hyphens in bulk from Costco. I’m gonna need them for this sleeper. Here goes, Ian Happ is a post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-P-O-S-T-p-to-the-ost-postpostpostpost-post-hype sleeper! Ian Happ has burned you in the past. I get that. He’s burned me. Is he a whatcha-talkin-bout-Willis, you-can’t-be-serious, how-deep-is-this-league-where-he’s-even-drafted, you’ve-lost-your-mind, seriously-are-you-ill-in-the-head sleeper? Last year in a Manfred-sticking-Capri-Sun-straws-into-baseballs season, Happ played in 58 games and only hit 11 homers. Good news is he was out of single digits so I didn’t have to spell out his home run number. The bad news, Tommy La Stella out-homered him in three games. For calling Ian Happ a sleeper again, there’s a giant melon sitting on my lady-like shoulders and it’s unclear if there’s anything inside the cantaloupe. Oh, and he hit .264 with only two steals so there’s nothing coming from other categories. Only remarkable thing here is how bleh Happ was. I’m really selling this sleeper hard, huh? Worst sleeper in the history of sleepers. “Or,” Mr. Reversal Question pokes his head in, “…is it?!” So, what can we expect from Ian Happ for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Has anyone wondered before if Josh Rojas was simply the Latin Josh Reddick or is Josh Rojaspinga an entirely different player who hates that you confused him with Josh Rojas? These are the questions that keep me up at night. That and do pandas shorten their names to P&A’s in texts because they are lazy? Imagine my head is a spaghetti squash that’s totally baked and now you’re scraping out faux noodles that are curly-Q’s and the Q’s stand for questions. Last year, Josh Rojas just exceeded his rookie eligibility, gathering 17/2/16/.217/4 in 138 ABs, which is about six weeks of juiced ball as The Ghost of Abner Doubleday once called it, and that’s about a quarter of the season, so Rojas is an 8-homer, 16-steal guy? Oh, Mr. Prorater is ashen with embarrassment. Please say there’s more. Of course there’s more! It’s why I’ve trekked you up the side of Sleeper Mountain with nothing but a can of beans and one undersized sleeping bag! So, what can we expect from Josh Rojas for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Carlos Collazo of Baseball America started a Twitter thread last month with a poll meant to determine who fans thought was the team of the decade. The San Francisco Giants, winners of three World Series championships in the decade, were left off the four-team survey. Twitter did not like this and demanded an explanation, but we already know what happened. Nobody really cares about the Giants.

That’s not fair. 

You care about the Giants. 

That’s why you’re reading this: you’ve got at least some level of interest in Giants prospects. Still, it fascinated me that the Astros won the poll despite having won the one World Series and having lost almost as many games as they won over the decade. The Astros have become the image of success and a preferred model for how to win at baseball, while the Giants ended the aughts in the shadows, scraping up castoffs as they transitioned to a forward-thinking front office after a dynastic run of success under Brian Sabean. Farhan Zaidi and company are in this for the long haul, and their system looks better every day. So grab some flowers for your hair and let’s go to San Francisco.

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There’s some legit pitfalls to avoid this year. Maybe it’s like that every year, but this year feels more so than other years. With the juiced ball, how do judge people’s power? As I’ve said before, there’s one angle here where we just don’t worry about it, because if the ball is not juiced in 2020, it will not be juiced for everyone, so the very high plateau for power will just readjust for everyone. The one issue with that is the guys who we’re targeting who might’ve only looked good last year because of the juiced ball. For unstints, if Marcell Ozuna hit 29 homers last year, and, guess what, he did, he could hit 29 homers again in 2020 with a dry ball because the supposed ten feet extra on fly balls provided by juice is irrelevant for Ozuna. So, when you look at Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and his 20 homers in only 84 games, and start commiserating with Mr. Prorater about how Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could now hit 40 homers, you have to wonder if Gurriel only hit 20 homers because of a juiced ball and is really a 20-homer hitter across 162 games, as well. So, what can we expect from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jon Berti isn’t young. He will be 30 years old in January. So, the first thing I did for my Jon Berti sleeper was look up how many guys stole 25 or more bases at the age of 29 or older last year. Four players. That’s out of a total of 11. Yes, MLB turned the players with 25 or more steals to 11. Those four were Tommy Pham, Starling Marte, Jarrod Dyson and Elvis Andrus. What do these players make you think? Okay, I mean, I love ya, but let’s be real, this is just a way for me to get out what I think. These four players are speed-forward players. At 30 years of age, Lorenzo Cain, Marte and Dee Gordon stole thirty bags in 2018. The year before there was another four players at 30 years of age. 31-year-olds get a little less frequent, but there’s guys there in the last few years too. Players who primarily steal bases still steal (almost stutterer!) in their early 30s. Without a ton of evidence (because I’m too lazy to figure it out), the players who stop stealing at the ages of 29-31 are the ones who are not speed-forward players. Think of Paul Goldschmidt’s 15-20 steal years vs. Rajai Davis’s. Think of Ryan Braun’s 20+ steal years vs. Jarrod Dyson’s. Players who are not speedsters can scrap and eek out 15+ steals until the age of 29. Players who are fast don’t stop being fast until around the age of 32. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vie, Jon Berti isn’t young, but it doesn’t matter for 2020. So, what can we expect from Jon Berti for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As fate intended, the Padres dominated baseball news throughout their week as Razzball’s featured organization, trading SS Luis Urias and LHP Eric Lauer for OF Trent Grisham and RHP Zach Davies before signing LHP Drew Pomeranz. I think it was a pretty great few days for them, cashing out a hyped asset like Urias for a less beloved piece with better floor and topside in Grisham. In doing so, they’ve brought some balance to a righty-heavy lineup and secured an everyday outfielder to lead their island of misfit fly-chasers. They achieved something similar with Pomeranz, adding a burgeoning lefty to a bullpen loaded with the opposite. The move also opens a spot for Ty France, who hit .400 with power and limited strikeouts all season at AAA and has more than earned this opportunity. I even think Davies has sneaky upside in a better park for him. As a bonus, anytime you can move on from a guy named Lauer . . . right? 

Anyway, these are not your father’s Padres. Or your older brother’s Padres. Or even last December’s Padres. It’s hard to imagine how last winter’s San Diego fans would have reacted if you showed them today’s depth chart, but I’m guessing they’d be excited. Stay frosty! And stay tuned: there’s likely more moves where these came from! 

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Despite being a 26th round draft pick in 2013, Mauricio Dubon has been a fairly big prospect name since about 2015, where he was commonly ranked about top 15 in the Red Sox system. Dubon was traded to the Brewers along with Travis Shaw in 2016 for Tyler Thornburg, and has been a top prospect in that system since. A career .300 hitter in the minors, Dubon caught people’s eyes with his abilities as a pure hitter, and has consistently been given an above average grade on his hit tool as a prospect. He got off to a great start in 2018, slashing .343/.348/.574 through 27 games, but unfortunately had his season cut short due to injuries. Dubon returned in a big way in 2019, demonstrating power that he had never shown before en route to hitting 24 HR on the season (20 in AAA and 4 in the Majors). Despite this breakout, the Brewers felt comfortable enough with their infield depth (ironic given the fact that they just traded for Luis Urias who I’m not a fan of), and they traded him to the Giants for Drew Pomeranz. Come September, Dubon found himself getting regular playing time at both 2B and SS, and looks primed to be the Giants starting 2B going into the 2020 season, so this begs the question: what is his fantasy value? 

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Here’s a great thing about fantasy baseball, maybe any fantasy sport, I don’t know. Guys that come up with great expectations, who fizzle out at first, don’t just disappear and stop having potential, but other guys come along, steal the spotlight and overshadow those first guys who had great potential. This induces a buying opportunity. Now that I think about it, it’s not just fantasy baseball or sports. Same could be said for anything or anyone. Think of a cousin who seemed destined for great things, but then was sidetracked by drugs or a fantasy sports problem. If one day he gets cleaned up, he’s got that potential again. Dot dot dot. Unless you’re thinking about him harnessing his potential for selling drugs or winning fantasy sports leagues, because if he gets cleaned of those problems, then he’s not going to have that potential again. Reminds me of the early 2000s when I focused in on buying Apple stock at $12 a share and I was like, “That company was once great and can be great again, so I should buy this stock.” Of course, I didn’t or I wouldn’t be here telling you this. Instead, I bought Boston Market stock shares and they soon went bankrupt and I’m an idiot. By the way, I’m here to tell you never buy stocks on an empty stomach. Either way, I had the idea to buy Apple and that’s all that matters! Any hoo! Dansby Swanson is Apple stock in 2004. He was once great, and can be great again. So, what can we expect from Dansby Swanson for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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The hot stove heating up right before Thanksgiving is exactly how it was meant to be. Now if I could see Giancarlo in nothing but taters that would make me thankful for everything. Five hours through my thankfulness, “…um…I’m also thankful for the lines at the DMV because they give me time to reflect…” Seven hours later, “…I’m thankful for my wife’s cooking because it helps me appreciate dining out…” Ten hours later, “…I’m thankful for the kid at the frozen yogurt place who puts his grubby fingers on the yogurt spout because I really shouldn’t have been eating yogurt anyway…” I hope you’re all as thankful for everything you have too on this glorious day of turkey, stuffing and ignoring the cranberry sauce. Any hoo! The Padres and Brewers igniting the pilot light on the hot stove, sending Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer. This trade is close to even, so why make it? That’s a mystery best left to Grisham’s older, unrelated cousin.

Trent Grisham had a higher walk rate (14.6%) than strikeout rate (13.9%) in Triple-A last year. That originally attracted me. If I’m being honest, before I go any further, a lot was turning me off. He didn’t look like a major league regular as recently as a year ago — I mean, for Criss Angel’s sake, he hit .233 in Double-A in 2018. Hilariously, he had a 26% strikeout rate in Single-A. Grisham is a lefty, which immediately gives me pause, because the wrong manager — hey, Tingler, how’s tings? — will platoon a lefty almost exclusively. Now that I say the quiet part out loud, what the hell am I doing being excited about Grisham, and has anyone turned my marbles in at my library’s lost & found? Thankfully, it wasn’t just a minor league walk rate in a mere 34 games that drew me in for Grisham. In 2015, Trent Clark was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Beermakers. Trent said, “I miss my mommy’s née and I want you to now call me Trent Grisham,” and a legend was born. I.e., you people who need things like I and E spelled out to you, Grisham was a top prospect in the country five years ago. Maybe he should’ve went to college, but can’t fault a guy for skipping classes to play pro ball. Without college, he brought warts with him to minor league baseball, that he might’ve been able to shake prior. So, to recap, Grisham was good, was terrible in the minors, became good again this year. He’s still only 23 years old. Better he figure things out now than later like those great waxy candies. So, what changed, you ask with a bat of your eyelashes. An approach change. He used to try to be overly patient and hit everything the opposite way. He began to pull more pitches this year and became more aggressive, and things went Click, like that terrible Adam Sandler movie, but in a good way. This year Grisham hit 32 homers across three levels. This is a guy who regularly took a walk, and that hasn’t just disappeared. Oh, and he has 15-steal speed. I’m sorry, a guy who can go 30/15 with walks? Who’s being drafted around the last round in many fantasy drafts? Hmm, all of those reasons why I didn’t like him seem like distant memories, which gives me an idea. Hello Sharks! For $400,000, you can have 5% of my secondhand memory foam mattress store called Distant Memories. Only real concern is that Grisham doesn’t do well early on, falls into a platoon or worse, is demoted, but his price is so cheap in drafts, that he’s well within the realm of being a sleeper. Also, he hit .284 vs. lefties last year in the minors, which was better than his average vs. righties, so he’s not an obvious platoon guy. For 2020, I’ll give Trent Grisham projections of 64/19/51/.254/13 in 453 ABs with a chance for much more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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Look I don’t hate the Dodgers and you don’t hate the Dodgers, but there’s a decent chance we all kind of hate the Dodgers. Even Dodgers fans kind of hate the Dodgers. 

Green might be the color of envy, historically speaking, but these days in the baseball world, dodger blue has taken the mantle.

The Dodgers occupy an extremely unique place in the baseball psyche as the model for what every owner wants: cost-controlled assets regularly cycling through the system to keep profits high and payroll low. Andrew Friedman was just awarded a contract extension—a smart move considering other owners would line up to pay him a top-of-the-market salary to bring his magic to their front office. This all feels slightly ironic in a world where Dave Dombrowski gets fired the year after winning the World Series while Friedman’s Dodgers fail to win the big game year after year. 

It’s quite a look into what’s valued within the industry. 

One off-shoot = you can expect this club to promote the players who might help them rather than shopping for a big trade. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?