2019 Recent Videos

On Thursday, December 12th, 2019, an event took place that even some of the most hardcore baseball fans don’t pay attention to, and for pretty good reason. The Rule 5 draft was started as a way for the MLB to attempt to give players buried in the minors, usually on strong teams or teams deep in their position, a chance to earn a role on another team. They attempt to accomplish this by allowing anyone not on a 40-man roster to be selected by another team, as long as they stay with that team in the Majors all year. This sounds great in theory, but when the 40-man rosters are all sorted out, that’s around 1,200 players that get protected, so it’s very rare that a gem slips through the cracks. For this reason, most teams will pass on their picks, and most of the ones that do get picked end up being returned to the team that they’re selected from. There are scattered success stories, with guys like Brad Keller, Odubel Herrera, Ryan Pressly, Marwin Gonzalez, and Mark Canha being some notable recent ones, as well as plenty of other intriguing names like Delino DeShields Jr., Hector Rondon, Josh Fields, etc., but for the most part there usually isn’t much to come out of the Rule 5 Draft. As a fantasy player you’re not worried about who’s going to get returned, you just want to know if there’s any fantasy value in the draft. Most of the guys taken are big arms with command issues, or bench players at best, but here are 3 names who could make an impact.

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So I got owned. I was razzing Donkey Teeth about his NFBC league draft (use promo code: Razzball25 and get $25 off at NFBC). I told him his team stunk. I didn’t trust his pitchers. Didn’t love his drafting of a top catcher. Felt he had some injury risk in Gallo and Mondesi, but I didn’t hate the team. It was just so…harmless at the time. Then, he put it out there…out to the hoi polloi, asking who had the better team, and that was when I got owned. No one, and I’m not being dramatic, liked my team. At one point, I think Cougs used her burner account to log in and dismiss me. Here is the carnage:

I can’t remember such ownage happening to little ol’ me in such a devastating, emotionally crippling way before. It was like my dog spoke for the 1st time (while I wasn’t on drugs) and said, “My name is Albert, not Ted, and I hate you.” That was the disrespect I felt! This was many weeks ago, and I am still sighing that long, hard sigh that can only come from knowing years of hurt and ridicule. Like a character William H. Macy would play. Well, life goes on, ob la di, ob la da. For those not in the know, this is a 15-team, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. You draft it, and manage it. Weekly moves for pitchers, bi-weekly for hitters, changing out on Monday and Friday. Most of the draft happened prior to the Winter Meetings, so who knows with playing time. I did it as an experiment to see what would happened if I stopped being polite and started–Wait, that’s the Real World opening. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

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Not too far off from here, there’s a city named Anaheim. It’s named after Ana Heimlich, the German inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, which was 1st used on a short-haired Daschund who tried, unsuccessfully, to swallow a grape. “Nein grape, Himmler!” Ana screamed as she stepped hard on the small dog’s belly. Out shot the grape, and the entire Bavarian village rejoiced. They all loved that dog. Hundreds of years later, to honor Ana, the city of Anaheim was born, and then, to much disrespect of Ana and Himmler, the dog, they started calling themselves Los Angeles, because they were all star-f***ers. Well, you got your star now, f***kers! Anthony Rendon signed on with the Los Angeles Ana Heimlichs for seven years. Wait until he’s 36 years old, playing across from a 74-year-old Pujols. So far, Boras ‘earned’ Cole $324 million; Rendon $245 million; Strasburg $245 million, and Moistasskiss $64 million. That’s $878 million, or roughly $87.8 million in commissions. You chose the wrong line of work! Any hoo! Anthony Rendon for fantasy…

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I’m here in sunny downtown San Diego at the Winter Meetings and just ran into Matt Kemp. How ya doing, Matt? “I’m great, Grey, excited about continuing my career.” Which career is that, Matt? “Baseball.” Okay, great! *holds finger to ear* Sorry, hearing now there’s big breaking news! Wow! It was just reported the Red Sox have a lot of suitors for Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Price. An absolute ton of offers. Currently, 32 teams are offering packages and there’s only 30 teams, including them. That is crazy! Just going to pass through this downtown San Diego lobby and, damn it, it’s Matt Kemp again. *ducks behind a bank vault with money that is being wheeled by Brain Cashman, follows him into a room with Gerrit Cole lighting cigars rolled in million dollar bills* Gerrit Cole, “Can you change your Diamond Club to the Cole Club?” Cashman, “We can change Giancarlo to Giancole-lo if you want.” “We have a deal.” Oh my God, I snuck into the biggest signing in the history of signings! Excuse me for a second while I try to piece together some of this million-dollar-ash back into a million dollar bill. So, Gerrit Cole signs with the Yankees. He seems like he might be, I don’t know, good. There’s only one person Cole disappointed last year. “His contact rate was 66.3%? That’s next-to-last in the league! So dumb! Is he as thick as this Fribble?” That’s Ray Searage explaining pitching to a Friendly’s waitress. Luis Castillo was the only pitcher with a lower Contact Rate, but Cole’s O-Swing% was 1.4% higher. Cole was also number one in the majors for Swinging Strike percentage (16.8%). In other words, Cole induced the 2nd lowest contact while making hitters chase more than the number one guy, and made hitters swing and miss more than everyone. I’d like to thank the Academy for telling me who died last year and thank Cole for being wonderful. Cole had the best fastball (36.2 Fastball wins above average). That was the 5th best fastball since 2000. No one in the top 10 had another pitch register higher than 11.4, except Cole, whose slider was a 13. Like Leggs, Cole is sheer excellence. He had arguably one of the best pitcher seasons in the last 20 years. The Pirates got Joe Musgrove, Michael Felix and Colin Moran for him, then the Pirates turned around and traded Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer. Pirates should sell their team bus and buy a Dodge Dart to drive around the team, because they are a bunch of clowns. For 2020, I’ll give Gerrit Cole projections of 17-6/2.61/0.93/294 in 207 IP. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA–Breathe, Grey, breathe! I am wheezing thinking about going back in on Willie Calhoun as a sleeper. I am bent over a toilet coughing up chunks of past sleeper posts, swearing that I will never write another Willie Calhoun sleeper post, yet, yup, here we are. Ya know how when you fake throw a tennis ball to a dog, and the first five times they will still run out, but invariably by the sixth time, they’re like, “I’m not an idiot, you’ve dropped the tennis ball backwards instead of throwing it.” That’s what this Willie Calhoun sleeper post is. How many of you are still running out, panting, expecting the tennis ball? None? I don’t blame you. How’sever, here we are, panting, hundred yards out, looking for a tennis ball, hoping it was thrown this time. So, what can we expect from Willie Calhoun for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth travailing that well-worn landscape one more time. There’s sleepers for most of you that no one in your leagues will know about because their research entails them licking their Cheetos-orangey fingers and typing into Google “ 202o fantasy baseball projections” during their actual draft. For those leagues, J.D. Davis will be a sleeper. He prolly won’t be drafted until 250th overall or later. You’ll be able to get him for a good price. In deeper or more knowledge leagues, everyone’s going to know and want J.D. Davis. Doesn’t mean you won’t get him, but you’re gonna have to pay more. For unstints, everyone (at least I hope everyone) knew Pete Alonso going into my NL-Only Tout Wars draft last year and I still was able to get him for $10.  So, what can we expect from J.D. Davis for 2020 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Life is a thankless slog made occasionally bearable for humans by moments of surprising joy and glimpses of baby Yoda.

Those aren’t my words. Werner Herzog’s family and mine get together for Mandalorian Fridays, and these were Werner’s thoughts on the Dave Dombrowski firing when I told him I was writing up the Red Sox. 

I’m confident Chaim Bloom will be just fine in the top job. Will he be as successful as Dombrowski? Tough to say. Pretty high bar. What we can say is Bloom will be less handsy with ownership’s purse strings, which will grant him an extra level of job security. As might his ability to thread the needle between going for the win year over year and building up and protecting the minor league system. 

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Just over a year and 89 minor league games after he was drafted, Nico Hoerner made his debut with the Chicago Cubs, going 3/5 with 4 RBI in his debut, as the Cubs starting SS on September 7th. While the rest of his first month in the majors wasn’t quite as spectacular, Hoerner’s debut was a bit of a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season for the Cubs. His .282/.305/.436 grades out as below average overall, but it displayed his plus hit tool, as well as surprising power. Hoerner has been somewhat of a hot commodity this offseason, so my goal here is to help you realistically guide your expectations for Nico Hoerner, both for 2020 and moving forward.

When Hoerner was drafted, he was seen as a safe, but unexciting pick, yet here he is getting people excited about his fantasy potential. Hoerner’s hit tool has always been his best tool, as he was a .300 hitter through both his last two years of college, and the two summers he spent in wood bat collegiate summer leagues. While he’s shown to be a competent fielder, and can run pretty well, Hoerner didn’t seem to have anything outside of his hit tool that could help him contribute in fantasy, yet here we are. Nico Hoerner’s AA stats seem pretty in line with how he fared in his major league debut. He walked a bit more, and didn’t show as much power, but the overall slash line was very similar.

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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?

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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?