Hey sports fans, I’m back this week with my first deep dive in a hot minute. Sometimes life can get a bit overwhelming yeah? You gotta take a deep breath and lean into your support system. Things have stabilized a bit now, and here we are… and here I am. Life, love, and baseball. 3 things that get me stoked. Baseball really is a magical thing.

One thing I always love to see: the archetype of the phoenix rising from the ashes. The reinvention. Somebody comes back with a new wrinkle, new process… maybe just a new perspective that changes the game for them in a positive way. Could be a guy that was formerly on top or someone that never was. Maybe because it says something about the “resilience of the human spirit.” Yes, it’s just baseball, but sport is a microcosm of the human condition (see my connection?). Either way, I love it. And what I love most about writing and talking about baseball, is the players’ stories. I love storytelling and a well-told story.

Enter one Collin McHugh, stage right.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The second half of the season is upon us boys and girls. And since the second half of baseball is basically a new season I spent the All-Star Break rebuilding my methodology for these ranks. I kept the core data but decided to change how I look at it a bit now that we have had nearly three and a half months of 2021 baseball data to draw from, which is now MORE than all of the 2020 season and its tomfoolery. So we turn a page and begin anew.

Unfortunately, we will be beginning anew without Ronald Acuna Jr., RIP. It will be interesting on draft day next season as for 2 seasons back-to-back now, Mr. 1.01 has dealt with an injury missing a good chunk of time. I think I still see him as the big Mac Tildaddy, but there’s some blemish on his armor now that wasn’t there before. Hopefully, this is just a blip on the radar. As the sun sets on one of our heroes, it rises for another. Who could that be? None other than…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So with the month of June in the rearview mirror, balls were once sticky but now clean and clear. Summer brings warmer weather and balls are beginning to leave the yard more. In the month of May, there were 936 home runs hit in MLB. And now, 1019 in June with 336 coming since June 21st, the start of the Sticky Inquisition. That’s an increase of roughly 66 per month. Does the drop in spin rates or rising temps matter more?

Who knows, but July should be the first full month in the heat of summer… so buckle up. This is the Outfield channel and figured, why not express my adulation for the month of Schwarbulation (in the 7th year of our Schwarb) through the art of song. In fact, a totally original song I just wrote for this very occasion:

Kyle’s on a roadtrip far away
Come around and let’s watch together
So many things I want to say
You know, I wish the month was a little bit longer
I just want you to hit a dong tonight
I don’t want to lose my roto points tonight
Yeaaaahhhhhh…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was taken aback when I saw Taijuan Walker a week or so ago post a line of 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 12 Ks. He’s made some good starts this year… but THAT one really got my attention. There were no walks, a lot of Ks, and he pitched deep into the game. Hello there. This is not the same Walker we once knew.

Coming into the league, Walker was heralded as a flame-throwing pitcher with a heater that could touch 98 mph. That pitch did not translate quite as well as was hoped when he faced MLB hitters since it was lacking much movement. He struggled the first couple seasons with injures and eventually had Tommy John surgery that was followed by several shoulder ailments that have plagued his career until recently. In the short 2020 season, he pitched through it and made it into free agency. This last winter he signed with Mets, and from the looks of it, it’s beginning to seem like they got a steal.

Before we can see what he’s doing, we need to see what he’s done (when healthy)…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ah, the sweet sounds of summer. Managers chirping. The pop of the bats as they wake from their early spring hibernation. Hitters all going down with soft tissue injuries. Pitchers breaking down with overuse injuries. And of course, Rob Manfred trying to fix something nobody wanted fixed while ignoring the plight of minor leaguers sleeping in their Geo Metros.

Everything just as I remember it from 2019.

As we approach the summer months we’ll undoubtedly start to see some players break out of their early-season funk. Players finding their rhythm, returning from injury, and hitting flyballs into the hot summer air. We will also begin to see who is for real and who is pretending. To start off our hot bat summer, here are a few names that I have noticed around the league.

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As I laid on the hospital bed recovering from my very painful bout with back spasms, I had a revelation. Maybe it was the morphine. Maybe it was the 4 nights in a row with less than an hour of sleep; or, perhaps it was my conscience and thoughts of my own mortality. Who knows. But I saw a vision of Jocko Willink before me. He challenged me to take full ownership of my life and own all my wins and all my losses. Especially the losses. Nothing is someone else’s fault. Nothing is chance, nothing is variance.

I am responsible for all my takes, and all my taeks. Whether they are good or bad… I am responsible. I am a capable person that can tilt the scale; if I fail, I need to learn from it and better myself. If I succeed, I need to learn from it and replicate it. I have no idea if anyone else in the biz does a post like this where they intentionally point out everything haha, but I’m going to give it a try and start now. Here. we. go.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We are 2 months into the season now (when the 2020 season ended, crazy huh?). Is it bad that the majority of success right now can be weighed by how many of your guys are on the IL? Oof. The other working title was “Doom Over My Hammy Edition” but that was just ridiculous. This week’s episode has become basically a spin-off of JKJ’s weekly bit, Ambulance Chasers. whew. That’s not so much an ambulance whew whew, as it is a sarcastic celebratory whew. Although… why not both? So as I said, we’re 2 months into this season now which puts us at roughly the 1/3 mark. Therefore, I have now made some adjustments to projected values reflecting this very truth. And that’s right, you guessed it. Adolis Garcia is rocketing up the charts like his batted balls to the heavens. I don’t have him in enough places and that makes me sad. Oof. Oh, and spoiler alert, Mike Trout is injured now… giant OOF. So many Oofs and so little time. But first, a word on the god-man Shohei Ohtani…

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Change is the one constant in the world. You can’t escape it. You can’t deny it. You just have to accept it. We end up in places expecting things to go a certain way with our own laid-out plans that will succeed. But that doesn’t always happen right? Life doesn’t follow a script. We are continuously thrust into a new environment with a new set of rules and presented with a choice. A call to action. Adapt or die. This young man you will hear about today answered the call.

So there I sat in my office on a wet and rainy May morning. The hum of the fan overhead was a siren’s call of missed sleep the night before beckoning me to steal rest from the jaws of the new day. *Ping* The phone buzzed thus piercing the calm and my sleep-deprived ears. It was Grey in my DM with a request. When the bossman pings you to say he mentioned you by name in his morning write-up… It’s kinda a big deal. He didn’t earn his fantasy baseball degree from the University of Phoenix, but on the mean streets of Jersey trusting his primal instincts. He’s either got a really good hunch on the player or he’s really curious about what’s going on. This would be one of the former. Adbert Alzolay is pitching like a new man this season, and the early results are promising. He’s still so young, and still largely untested, but there’s something about Alzolay that makes you want to say “yay.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here we are again fam. Last time I gave you an update we shuffled the board quite a bit to give due recognition to guys who were showing up and shaming the ones who aren’t. For instance, Adolis Garcia is still raking. That man has got power for days, he might break the top 40 next time we meet. Baddoo has continued to trend down with his average dropping below .200 for a bit, though he’s had a few signs of life over the past few days. He probably needs some time at AAA to continue his development as he fell a lot harder than I would have guessed. But it’s still early and he’s likely to be very hot/cold.

This week, I want to focus on a few more guys making a name for themselves in the “outfield”. And especially highlight one named Jared Walsh. As an Angels fan I have a lot of say on this, Pujols had to go. I knew it, you knew it, we all knew it. We all would have complained for the rest of the season that the Angels weren’t playing the young talent just like we do daily with the Rockies while Pujols struggled to hit over .230 (Jared is currently over .300). Jared is not a RF, he belongs at 1B where he’s a plus glove. Ohtani needs all the ABs at DH he can possibly get (speaking of him, is he going to get RF eligibility too? hahaha. He’s already subbed out there twice). These guys are the team’s future and they need to be on the field… Pujols was taking ABs away from their development and the time was now to let them fly. Anyway… let’s hit that run down:

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So I was sitting there on my porch drinking coffee this weekend thinking about a dream I had. In said dream, I was sitting at a small streetside cafe in Morroco, also drinking coffee. It’s a beautiful spring morning and the local street vendors are cooking the morning grub. The tasty aroma hangs like a cloud over the bazaar. I’m sitting there contemplating starting pitchers and who might be a surprise this season no one is talking about. Someone without a lot of flash that’s easy to spot, but low-key doing something different that doesn’t completely show up on the stat sheet. And while I’m staring at the clouds (debating this most serious of missions), a little Morrocan girl runs up to me carrying a bright turquoise bag and empties the contents on my lap.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last week I gave you the NyQuil & Naquin Update. We looked at some hot starters and some early snoozers. So I sat here pondering what I should do about the season so far. After all, we aren’t even a month in yet. Do I stick to my guns, make marginal changes to the board and keep telling people it’s early (which is true) or do I take a leap for faith and dive into the rabbit hole, “what if some of these wild things going on actually mean something, and if everyone is mad, are we all mad? or are those that still haven’t lost their minds the mad ones since it hasn’t driven them mad as of yet?” We ask the tough questions here at Razzball.

You will see things that might frighten you, but don’t be alarmed. These are just the ravings of a madman who dared to ask “what if?” What if Byron Buxton is stayed healthy (he probably won’t), Mitch Haniger stayed healthy (he probably could), Franmil finally broke out for real (maybe so), and Mark Canha was a top tier leadoff man (feels like it). And who the hell is Adolis Garcia and why is he not on your roster yet? These questions and more I shall pursue.

Please, blog, may I have some more?