Angels are a bad team. Doesn’t matter for sleepers. Their home park doesn’t help. Oh em gee, I just thought of something: Mike Trout as a Rockies player for his career. He’d be wearing a SpongeBob Nascar jacket during his 2nd year with the team as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. “Today, we welcome the 23-year-old Mike Trout into the Hall of Fame, on the back of the 680 homers he hit his rookie year.” Oh, who am I kidding? If Mike Trout were on the Rockies, he’d still be platooning with Raimel Tapia. “I’m looking forward to giving Trouty a chance out of camp,” says Bud Black as he doesn’t give Trout a chance. Any hoo! What I was saying is Jared Walsh is on a bad team in a bad park. The bad team thing actually could help, because who’s bumping him from the lineup? Albert Pujols? Pujols has been shite, British pronunciation, for five years now. Taylor Ward? I just jotted his name down, and even I think I made his name up. I.e. Jared Walsh will have playing time. So, what can we expect from Jared Walsh for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
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*going through the rolodex in my brain* Ah, yes, that was a good time in the summer of ’99…Oh my, that’s where I left my keys in December of 2012…Oh, shoot, the finale to Breaking Bad–Eek, don’t want to revisit that, I might rewatch it at some point. So, that was me going down Memory Lane trying to remember if I had written a Nick Solak sleeper post last year. Turns out I hadn’t, and should’ve just googled it, rather than wracking my brain. I wrote a rookie outlook post for him last year, but no sleeper, because, well, he was a rookie going into this year. Here’s what I said back then, “In 2019 through two teams’ Triple-A affiliates and a brief call-up with the Rangers, Nick Solak’s numbers were 32 homers — take the R out of boring, because that is boing! — seven steals — you’re my daddy now! — and a .280-ish average (I say “ish” because I only do straight addition, and didn’t feel like figuring out his batting average). If this was merely a one-time breakout season from Solak, I’d still pay attention, but this is who he’s been now for his career. He also carries a 11+% walk rate and a manageable 20% K-rate. With 12 steals (seems impossible but who knows), and 25+ homers (might be more impossible, but, again, who knows) and those batted ball profile rates, Solak could squirm his way into a 27/14/.285 season and become the Rangers two-hole hitter. That’s de facto value! Narrator: Grey thought the best kind of value was de facto value. What I’m slightly surprised about, and which, honestly, has me a little troubled is why no one is talking about him?” And that’s me quoting me! One tiny thing has changed (besides literally all the huge things that have changed due to the pandemic), Solak is no longer a rookie. One thing hasn’t changed, no one is talking about him still. So, what can we expect from Nick Solak for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
With escapism impossible on the football side, we turn to the baseball team in Baltimore. After a surprising season that saw the Orioles playing meaningful games in October, 2021 looks like the opening of a window.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Would you consider this a high-octane, high-offense, get-high-in-48-of-50-states-but-watch-your-stash-in-Alaska-type of environs? Present day baseball, I’m saying. Would you consider it a home run happy environment? Not to answer, but to nod along like you know where I’m going but will be surprised anyway. You would, right? I would, so it’s okay to think it. Okay, without looking up for the answer, how would you hit a home run? Trick question! You have to look up for the answer. It’s fly balls. You hit fly balls and you have a chance for home runs. What’s the opposite of fly balls? Okay, stop looking up, it’s ground balls. The lowest ground ball rates for qualified hitters last year: Mike Trout (25.2%), Joey Gallo (26.6%), Adam Duvall (29.2%), Trevor Story (29.7%), Jose Ramirez (30.1%), and Freddie Freeman (31.6%). Just avoiding ground balls isn’t some kind of magic elixir, or Magik if a mutant is reading. You also need to hit the ball hard, like, say, Nick Castellanos, the Greek God of Hard Contact, who had a 26% line drive rate. Imagine someone hit fewer ground balls than Mike Trout, but more line drives than Castellanos, would that kind of magic interest you? Enter, stage right: The Amazing Anthony Santander…*Santander struggles to find an opening in the curtains, ruining his entrance*…The Amazing Santander! The Amazing…Will someone please help him with that stupid curtain? *watches as the curtain falls on him* Okay, we’re gonna fix that and the show will continue. So, what can we expect from Anthony Santander for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
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Find all of this week’s hilarious stories here:Please, blog, may I have some more?
A big part of 2021 fantasy baseball drafting is going to be not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The “baby” being a player who had a terrible 2020 season, and the “bathwater” is the player who had a great 2019, and was primed for a breakout before we entered the crazy two month nonsense of last year. Ramon Laureano is a prime example. His 2019 was 24 homers, 13 steals, .288 average and was ticketed for great things, then the 2020 season happened and no “great things” happened in the 2020 baseball season. Some good things happened if you’re a Dodgers fan, and willing to overlook the giant asterisk on the top right of your World Series banner, but great? Great, I don’t know about. I just googled “great” and it said, “Can I interest you in ‘just all right?'” In fairness to “just all right,” Ramon Laureano can’t make that claim. He was awful last year. No way around that little factoid. In 54 games last year, he went 27/6/25/.213/2 in 183 ABs. Wait, it gets worse! His average exit velocity was 87.7, which was in the bottom third of the league; his line drive rate fell, and his ground balls went up (not literally). You hit a WAP (weak-ass piddler) to the 2nd baseman, and you’re not going to get many hits. So, his .270 BABIP was low for him, and a sizable drop-off from his .342 mark the previous year, but can’t just say unlucky since his hits were so weak sauce. His strikeouts also went up, too, and not in a way that would lead one to believe he was overaggressive. His O-Swing% went down and his Swinging Strike% went way down. In other words, he was waiting for his pitch, and waiting and waiting and…Anyone have eyes on Ramon Laureano right now? I’m wondering if he’s standing at the plate somewhere watching a pitch. So, what can we expect from Ramon Laureano for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
On the big league side, the Giants employed three specialized hitting coaches to great effect in 2020. This made an immediate impact on the field–a field that shrunk a little before the season when the front office decided to bring in the outfield walls. Last but not least, a huge tarp was hung behind the right center field fence, blocking a gust that might’ve been killing home runs for years. According to the story by Eno Sarris and Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, the tarp was meant to shield the eyes of looky-loos getting a free peak, so there’s a non-zero chance it remains. If it does, if the park and the wins and the coaching stays the way it was in 2020, I’m taking a second look at every San Francisco prospect, especially left handed hitters. You had to be Barry Bonds on super balm to get to lefty power in previous iterations of the park. Now you can be Brandon Belt. Or Alex Dickerson. Or maybe Hunter Bishop?
One interesting piece of this is I feel like the front office has been targeting right handed bats for quite some time to try and navigate their park. It’s just anecdotal, and Hunter Bishop deflates the relevance pretty quickly, but it’s a thought I’ve been having nonetheless. I’m thinking of the pre-Zaidi group, but even if you look at Farhan Zaidi’s low-stakes acquisitions: Kevin Pillar, Wilmer Flores, Jaylin Davis, Mauricio Dubon, you find mostly righties. Last year’s top ten here had seven righty bats and just two lefties. I dunno, probably just silliness that’s irrelevant now, but thoughts are thoughts, y’all.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Alex Kirilloff has the same number of hits in the playoffs as Mike Trout. Sorry, I forgot my parasol, so I made my own shade. An important aspect to him starting a playoff game shows — Oh, by the way, in case you didn’t hear, Alex Kirilloff made his major league debut in the playoffs this year — back to the scheduled program! One thing that him starting a playoff game shows is the Twins are ready to see Kirilloff go, um, off. And *raises hand* same, same. Here’s what Prospect Itch said previously, “After a tough summer fighting a wrist injury, Alex Kiriloff caught fire in the final month—a burst that could be connected to his wrist feeling better. 2020 is a big year for his perceived value. If he comes out hot, people will handwave a disappointing 2019. If he struggles, they’ll start connecting data points and dropping him down their lists, now only if Grey would drop dead.” Okay, what the eff, dude? Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1,500 words about Alex Kirilloff in his Blind Resume post. So, 2020 wasn’t a great year for Kirilloff–I literally can’t think of anyone who had a good 2020, so join the crowd. A bad 2020 for Kirilloff, however, had no bearing on him or anything. There was just no year to have. Here’s where I suppose something: If the Twins weren’t confident with what they were seeing from Kirilloff in the alternate training camp, they wouldn’t have put him on their playoff roster. So, what can we expect from Alex Kiriloff for 2021 fantasy baseball?Please, blog, may I have some more?
Andrew Vaughn, hmm. A classic case of team ready to win, having the parts to do it, but are they thinking long-term to save money? Like Altuve trying to get cereal, going with the latter always wins. Never trust teams to promote prospects. It’s good self-care to expect teams to be absolutely monolithic creatures of saving money and not caring for fans’ wants and/or needs. Imagine a giant glove compartment filled with all the Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons in the entire world, that’s every major league team, except the Dodgers and Yankees, and maybe now the Mets. By the by, how do the Dodgers and Yanks compete every year? Hmm, let’s see, could it be they spend money? Really? I nailed it on my first guess? Damn, just lucky I guess. The Pirates’ team owner is worth $1.1 billion. He could sign Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and Liam Hendricks to one-year $25 million contracts, and still have one billion left over accruing enough interest to pay for those contracts. But, ya know, poor franchises! Any hoo! Andrew Vaughn’s ETA is what this entire post is going to come down to, but, well…So, what can we expect from Andrew Vaughn for 2021 fantasy baseball?Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Padres took a turn as America’s team this summer, partly because Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch when his team had a three-run lead, partly because the whole team pitched in to make the name Slam Diego stick, partly because we all love a rags to riches story, and the Padres’ future looks as rich as any club in baseball.
Plus they really went for it in 2020, trading away several key cogs from last year’s list: 5) Taylor Trammell; 6) Joey Cantilllo; 8) Gabriel Arias; 9) Owen Miller after moving 3) Xavier Edwards and Luis Urias during the off-season. Trades are fun. AJ Preller is fun. The Padres are fun.Please, blog, may I have some more?