There’s one big question on everyone’s mind: what type of balls will 2020 bring? Will they be wrinkly? Sweaty? Blue? People are wondering about the baseballs, Donkey. Oh right, baseballs, thanks random italicized voice!

Let’s face it, we have no idea what next year’s balls will look like. Hopefully they aren’t engorged, lumpy, or discolored, but we just don’t know. And we won’t know for certain until early April 2020. What we do know is, regardless of how salty next year’s balls taste, there will be a bunch of pitchers drafted early who get hurt or just flat out stink (see: Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Blake Snell, Carlos Carrasco, Jameson Taillion, & Luis Severino from 2019) and there will be lots of pitchers drafted late, or not drafted at all, who sneak into the end of season top 25 starting pitchers (see: Lucas Giolito, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Sonny Gray, Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Mike Soroka, Domingo German, & Jake Odorizzi from 2019). Grey has almost fully brainwashed me over at his Fade Top Pitchers School of Philosophy and Sexuality. Yes, it’s just as weird as it sounds over there.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

As you may or may not know, Fantasy Master Lothario traveled to the Big Apple this past week. What you definitely don’t know, is why the Champion of Razzball made the cross country trek to the city that never sleeps: Grandpa-Donk’s 92nd birthday festivities. That’s right, Grey Albright and Gramps-Donk are the closest of friends. Have you ever seen Grey and Sweaty Jimmy in the same room? Didn’t think so…

As Grey stepped forward to kiss the hoof and present the ageless-donk with a priceless phallic statue specially commissioned by this season’s Blown Away glass blowing contestant Annette Sheppard, Gramps leaned in and whispered the name Kyle Gibson” into Sweaty Jimmy, I mean Grey’s ear. “The same Kyle Gibson who just gave up 4 runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings against Detroit last week?”, Grey thought to himself. But he knew better than to question the most respected donkey in all the land.

It’s the time of season where everyone outside of the top 20-25 starting pitchers become expendable in shallower leagues. Gibson will be an ideal streaming target in those leagues as he again faces the Tigers in Detroit on Friday; Streamonator loves this match up just as much as the grand old donk. I wouldn’t be excited to start Gibson for his following three starts in Boston, at home against the Nationals, and in Cleveland, but they aren’t the worst match ups. Then his last two juicy match ups will come against the Royals and Tigers once again. Don’t doubt the death defying donkey’s advice, stream or stash Gibson for this final month.

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On this week’s show we’re joined by the world’s foremost English speaking expert on Asian baseball players, Tim McLeod. Tim shares his thoughts on two guy’s who might be coming over from the Orient for the 2020 baseball season: former MLB pitcher Josh Lindblom, who has now dominated the KBO for two full seasons, and 27 year old Japanese slugger Yoshi Tsutsugo. Don’t miss out on some fascinating info on this two possible gems from the far east.

We also discuss two more well know Asian pitchers in Yusei Kikuchi and Shohei Ohtani; find out what McLeod expects from both in 2020. Other topics featured on this show include: Jake Fraley, Aristedes Aquino, buy low prospect targets, Acuna vs. Trout vs. Yelich for 2020, and MLB playoff predictions. Open your ear holes and enjoy the wise Canadian’s knowledge!

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Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

When the robots finally take over the world and the rest of us have fallen, one last sentient being will remain on the planet taming and ruling over the machines: Grandpa-Donk. Until that time we must do our best to live in harmony with the androids. Don’t give the bots reason to overthrow humanity during your lifetime, let it be your children’s problem.

For fantasy baseball purposes, it’s that time of year to start leaning heavily on artificial intelligence. The sample of data available for Rudy’s mechanical offspring to crunch grows larger by the day. The rest of season player rater and streamonator are functioning like the well lubed machines they are. The top 100 starting pitchers for the remainder of this year will strongly weigh these robotic opinions as most pitchers only have 7-8 regular season starts left; match ups are of the utmost importance from here on out. Speaking of the bots, is there something in rest of season player rater’s pocket or is he just happy to see Andrew Heaney?!

The player rater has Heaney ranked as the #27 starting pitcher for the rest of the season. I did a double take when I saw the large rusty shaft protruding from player rater’s nether regions at the mention of Andrew Heaney. Looking closer, it makes some sense: Heaney threw two above average outings against the stacked Astros lineup in July before hitting the IL with shoulder soreness. He then came back strong Saturday with an abbreviated outing in Boston against a struggling, but still loaded Red Sox lineup. His swinging strike rate is up over 13% in his 49 2/3 innings this season with 58 strike outs, plus he’ll face the White Sox twice and maybe the Rangers twice over the next three weeks. Heaney’s arm should be fresh at this point, since he’s been hurt ALL season, so pick him up and trust fall into rest of season player rater’s cold, rigid, arm-like metallic stumps.

Here’s some more players rest of season player rater and Donkey both like for the stretch run…

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So you started the season with a monstrous keeper squad of Jose Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Luis Severino? Now you’re sitting in a bathtub, crying like Grey as he watches Travis Shaw and Jose Peraza bag his sack of Whole Foods groceries in the year 2021. Peraza holds the bag while Shaw inserts the various packages of beyond meats. The toaster is already plugged in and heating up next to your bath; Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” is blaring on your old school boombox as you shovel Hagen-Daas into your face. Suddenly everything goes black! Did the toaster slip into the tub? Nope, you blew a fuse!

Now you have a choice. Either go flip the breaker, crank The Man in Black back up, and finish the job; or wipe those tears away and send out a flurry of fantasy baseball trade offers before your deadline passes. In an effort to save a life, here are my top 20 starting pitchers for 2020:

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Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

The outpouring of concern over Grandpa-Donk’s well being during Heatwave 2019, has been heart warming. Rest assured, Gramps is still alive and donkey kicking. In fact, last weekend the old jackass worked out in the yard 48 hours straight in the 100-degree heat without stopping for so much as a Señor Crappers change. Once he finished the field labor, G-Donk came inside to make the rest of us pancakes and lemonade–an old Donk family tradition. As Great Gran-Donk always said, “When life gives you apocalyptic weather, make pancakes and lemonade.”

Mmmmm ice cold lemonade: my favorite of the fresh squeezed juices. You know what other juice is worth the squeeze? The Clevinger concentrate. I was skeptical when Mike Clevinger returned from his back injury in mid-June. His first two brutal starts had me strutting around like top donkey, so smart. But since the calendar turned to July, Sunshine has been lights out going 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 41 strikeouts in 31 innings. Clevinger is extracting juice like a fantasy ace right now and there’s no reason to think the liquid will dry up anytime soon.

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Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

Grandpa-Donk: World traveler, meteorologist, woodworker, Señor Crappers spokesperson, and wise elder. One fact you may not know about Gramps is that his favorite movie is King Arthur. The old Donk and his friend Sweaty Jimmy have a thing not only for handling wood together, but also for the Knights of the Round Table. After a long day of working with each other’s sweat moistened wood, it’s not uncommon to see G-Donk and Jimmy together watching Sir Lancelot’s feats of courage while spooning ice cream into one another’s mouths like very normal heterosexual men.

Speaking of Sir Lancelot, have you noticed what Lance Lynn has been up to? If Lynn had pitched in that crazy London Series there’s a decent chance he would’ve been knighted. Fun fact: Granddaddy-Donk was knighted back in the 60’s; all it took to be knighted back then was some good smoke and semi-straight teeth.

As for Lynn, the 32 year old has compiled 14 consecutive starts of 6+ innings and he’s thrown 7+ innings in 9 of those outings. Since May 10th, Lynn has gone 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 98 strikeouts in only 81 1/3 innings pitched. He hasn’t required Señor Crappers since that fart (which wasn’t just a fart) back on April 23rd.

Back in Week 12 I said, “The Lance Lynn brand has never been a best seller, but prior to last season Lynn had posted 3 straight seasons of 175+ IP with a sub-3.50 ERA. He’s added a half MPH to his average fastball velocity and he’s throwing a lot more sliders this year, leading to a career high K-rate through 86 innings. In 51 1/3 IP since May 1st, Lynn boasts a 3.63 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 60 strike outs, and the FIP fairies are whispering that he’s actually been even better than that. Anyone care for a bowl of Lance Strasburg? Mmmmm salty beard!” I sound pretty smart, for a Donkey.

So, can we call it square for the whole Kikuchi debacle yet? Speaking of The Kooch, he’s been looking a little better of late. Watching him pitch no longer makes me want to slam my junk in a car door. I may have to see if the the ole Kooch Razzwagon will fire back up. Fair warning: The Koochwagon only has three tires and no steering wheel, but the acid spiked punch never runs out!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise, but Grandpa-Donk is what they call a “Donk of all trades”.  At one point in his legendary life, the venerable jackass even tried his hoof as a weatherman. In fact, he was one of the first weatherdonks on television back in the ’50s.

When I was just a little donkus, no bigger than Trevor Bauer’s poodle, Gramps would gather all us youngins round and tell us about his days of Hollywood stardom. The weather forecasting tools back in his time were just as primitive as the are now, so he was frequently way off on his prognostications. But he always delivered his forecast with the classic family wit, mixing in his token skyarrhea toilet humor and even the occasional dong joke, which was very risque back in his day. Grandonkey would always finish his meteorology tales with one bit of sage advice, “Find an occupation where you can be wrong 90% of the time and people still come back for more”.

Writing the Top 100 Starting Pitchers post in 2019: the year of the juiciest of juiced balls, and baseballs, I imagine is exactly like being a weatherdonkey. Just other day, when The Kooch was getting lit up for the 17th consecutive outing, G-Donk called me up to tell me how proud he was that I had discovered my niche. Actually, he called to ask where he might find a fresh pair of Señor Crappers, but I could sense the pride in his voice.

The only thing we know about 2019 Starting Pitching is there’s going to be lots of rainy days with a few random sunny days mixed in, followed by a tornado which will destroy what’s left of your already fugly ratios. Your 2019 fantasy pitching staff is more or less going to be Seattle with a little bit of Kansas, but we’re all living there in rainy tornado alley with you; so quit your whining and grab an umbrella!

Speaking of umbrellas, Mike Minor has provided a pleasant refugee from the storms this season, and he’s only become sturdier as the summer monsoons set in, sporting a 1.70 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 37 June innings. Unfortunately, there’s some large red regression fairies lurking here, the first of which is a massive and unsustainable 97.5% strand rate over this past month. Pair that with a lucky .200 June BABIP, and Donkey begins running for new shelter. I’d aggressively shop Minor if someone in your league thinks he’s actually a top 20 pitcher, but I wouldn’t sell him for a cup of Grey’s baby gravy. I’ll take a guy that might continue getting lucky over a cup of Grey goo any day.

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Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

You’re at the local grocer staring at a shelf in the cereal aisle, wishing you were watching baseball and/or Naked and Afraid. Perched next to each other on the shelf are a $4.00 box of Cocoa Puffs and a $2.00 box of Choco Spheres. Do you choose the known quantity name brand or take a gamble on those mysterious spheres at half price? It was always an easy choice for frugal old Grandpa-Donk, he didn’t build his fortune of Donkey-units by purchasing the luxury orbs of chocolate. To this day Gramps would poop himself if we ever brought home a box of Depend’s Diapers. It’s Señor Crapper’s or nothing for the old timer.

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Not your Grandfathers Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

These baseballs are juicy. Juicier than Grandpa-Donk’s drawers the first time he visited Méjico. The juicy balls are causing some major volatility among our starting pitcher ranks this year. Few pitchers are exempt from the pitcherocalypse. Carlos Carrasco has suffered from severe constipation each of his last three outings, Tyler Bauer ate some questionable China-Buffet during May, and Patrick Corbin’s Gatorade was spiked with laxatives in Cincinnati this past Friday. Even the mythical Yusei “The Kooch” Kikuchi has required adult diapers for his two recent explosions.

As the driver of the Kikuchi Razzwagon, I do apologize for crashing us into a Porta-John these past two weeks. There’s been talk of The Kooch tipping his pitches; I like the narrative, it makes me feel a little better, but I’m not sure it’s true. His command was flat out awful in those two blow ups, as hitters teed off on his hanging off speed pitches. It was also his third time facing the A’s and second time facing the Angels; his funk may suffer from the law of diminishing fantasy returns once teams have gotten a good look.

Regardless, I can’t blame anyone for moving on in 10-12 teamers, but I might give a reach around thru this buy-window in deeper leagues. Is that a buy-window or a guillotine? Just leave me alone random italicized voice! The Kooch is a crafty veteran who will benefit from some extra rest this week, a trip to the laundromat, and a heavy dose of prune juice. Don’t be surprised if there’s another dominant run in store as we get the Kikuchi Razzwagon back up running, and deodorized, this summer.

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