Inspired by JKJ’s recent lament on the St. Louis Cardinals, combined with my First Year Player Drafts informed by The Prospect Itch and Hobbs, as well as noted scout John Sickels’ “Shadow Twins” series of articles, I wanted to reveal my own mourning process for my beloved tolerated local sports team, the Minnesota Twins. More than just an elegy to the Midwest Monsters that could have been, the Minnesota Twins stand as an example of a team that dynasty fantasy managers might want to avoid, and the reason is rooted in the “real world” dynamics of the Twins’ ownership and management over the past century.

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“I released it, he’s swinging, and as he’s making contact, I’m like, “Oh boy, this is gonna hit me, and so I turn… and it hit me, and it actually ricocheted off my head…my ears were ringing, so loud that it was hurting my eyes.

“When I hit the ground, I just went straight for my hat, and ripped my hat off, and I was bleeding. From the time I hit the ground, it was really…kinda crazy. I just had this, like, amazing peace about me. It was like God was saying ‘Hey, you’re OK.’ It’s like, ‘I got you.'”

Robbie Ray, Interview with YMI, published March 12, 2019

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Hey all! It’s Blair, your 2020 Top 100 starting pitcher ranker. Glad you came along for the ride! Your fantasy season is over now, and hopefully you won the championship, or you made a dent in your dynasty league, or you just managed to stay a bit saner in the depths of the pandemic that’s been clawing away at us for the past six months.

Let’s get the business side out of the way first: if you like what I did with [waves hands around] this series, hop on over to the subscription page and get an ad-free subscription to support me and Grey  and Lauren Holt and Coolwhip and MattTruss and JKJ and, and, and. If you’re not in a place to grab a subscription, then tell your friends about us, or share Razzball content on social media, or, well, just say thank you in the comments and I’ll give you a virtual high five.

Since there’s no longer traditional fantasy baseball going on right now, my weekly series at Razzball is more or less done until spring training. If you want my advice on DFS or dynasty leagues or whatever, feel free to ping me on Twitter, or leave a comment at the bottom of this page, or ask one of the many other talented writers here on Razzball what their opinion of your situation is. Otherwise, I’ll provide some updates on player profiles throughout the winter and I hope you keep coming around to check them out.

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I’m freshly back from The Hotties, which is the annual Razzball award ceremony for the “hottest taeks” in fantasy baseball. With the sharp-toothed piranhavirus in full swing, Grey called for a “Mask-erade” ball, but the Eventbrite invitation auto-corrected it to a “masquerade” ball. Everybody showed up with the wrong parts of their face covered. I thought Grey would be upset but he seemed to take everything in stride, saying that he had been waiting for this day since “Eyes Wide Shut” was released. Is that a movie or a novel or a contact delivery service? Anyway, Grey started giggle-whispering “Fidelio!” at everybody. Hey, Grey, I get it. Fidel Castro liked baseball. Let’s get with the times!

I did manage to record Grey’s speech to all the writers and Instagram models who attended. Here’s the transcript if you want to read it:

“I’ll get right to the point: I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Razzball and the San Diego Padres. 2021 will be known as STAN DIEGO around here, and all hot taeks will involve Padres players. The top 10 pitchers? Lamet, Davis, Clevinger, and Paddack [audible hissing from the crowd]. The top 10 hitters? Tatis, Machado, Grisham, and Myers. Trevor Rosenthal is a top 30 pick. You will all write sleeper articles on Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon, and yes, Eric Hosmer. [pause while Grey dodges thrown masks] Fear not, for STAN DIEGO comes with perks! You will all get a free hot dog with a purchase of an annual pass to Sea World, and you’ll get a personal tour of the tiger enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. Now, writers, start hyping Jake Cronenworth!”

At that point, all the people Grey whispered “Fidelio” to disappeared into Grey’s private grotto, which he named “50 Shades of Play” because of the underwater mini-golf course he installed. Myself? I was left standing in the foyer with a mysterious note that only said, “MacKenzie Gore, 2021 hot taek.”

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Hard to believe, but my first season as a baseball analyst here at Razzball is almost at an end! For athletes, that means they’re leaving the bubble soon. Us fantasy writers? We’re all bubbled-up to protect from the dreaded Piranhavirus. Oh, you don’t know what that is? See, we’re so forward thinking here at Razzball, we’re already sequestered away for the next pandemic. You may be asking, “How does the Razzbubble work?” Well, future victims of piranhas, let me show you my notes from earlier this summer when I bubbled up.

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In the highly lucrative industry that is imaginary sports team management, we here at Razzball are always looking to give you readers the sharpest edge of advantage. I mean, how do we keep up with a provider like Pitching Ninja, whose name literally invokes the finely-honed edges of a ninja star slicing through bats before landing softly in the supple leather of a catchers mitt? Fear not, fearful reader! I have been to cram school, and I have been to Austria, and I have been in dungeons, and I combined all of my knowledge of those places and completely threw it out the window. See, to be sharper than sharp, you gotta think outside the box. When the competition goes sharp, you go — that’s right! — blocky. I present to you, followers of the Top 100 Starting Pitcher series, the latest in pitching analysis: 8-bit graphics.

Robbie Ray Demonstrates his elite level of unpredictability

Let’s apply this newfangled technology to our top starting pitchers and see what we can do to help you to fantasy glory!

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The esteemed Commander Daniel Pants has been called to the Spice Wars where he will defend the season of fall against the armies of Pumpkin Spice. If you’re interested, we’ve set up a GoFundMe to buy Commander Pants and his Zipper Platoon a collection of ascots and sweaters. If you’re feeling generous, you can get him one of those Eddie Bauer sweater vests that just screams, “I’d totally be out in the woods if I wasn’t so busy drinking hot coffee on my veranda waiting for my bitcoin investments to start paying off.”

Like any good lef-tenant would do for his Commander Pants, I gathered intelligence on the fine baseball players playing the balls on Friday night. And when I was done looking through the shirtless paparazzi photos on Sports Illustrated, I even looked at some of the boxscores. Here’s some of the best performances from Friday night and what they mean for your baseball team.

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All right, we almost made it a week without a Covid positive test in MLB, but Sunday morning, the Oakland Athletics announced that a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus and their play has been postponed. News will be developing more, but as of the time of writing (Sunday morning), you’ll probably want to pay attention to your Oakland starters (i.e. Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt) in weekly lineup leagues. For DFS and daily lineups, you can follow the news and do what you have to do.

Again, we’re nearing the 60% mark of the season for most teams in MLB, and the same goes for most of your fantasy baseball teams. If you’re going to make a move — whether the waiver wire or a trade — it’s time to do it now. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Rest-of-Season-o-Nator-o-Tron. That Sixto Sanchez guy that everybody’s talking about? Hit Control-F and search his projections for the rest of the season. Come on, do it! Oh fine, I’ll just tell you. It’s 23IP, 1W, and a probably too-conservative 17K. What about Gerrit Cole? 36IP, 3W, and 49K. OK math majors, let’s get to work! If you’re trailing in pitching stats in your fantasy league, what’s the likelihood that Sixto Sanchez helps you catch up to the team that’s starting Gerrit Cole every 5 days? Not all that great, right? The Marlins have a lot of catch-up to do, and Sixto Sanchez can’t throw those extra games, and no manager is going to risk The Sanchize by throwing him overtime in a year when 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For actual baseball, this is amazing, because the Marlins seem on track to make the playoffs and you’re going to see The Sanchize playing in the wildest shootout of baseball playoffs ever seen in human history. But for fantasy baseball, you’re getting, at most, maybe 2W and — if you’re lucky — 30Ks from Sixto over the next few weeks.

So, how do you overcome the teams that are starting the entirely-possible rotation of Shane Bieber, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Andrew Heaney (all of whom are in the top 25)?

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“I want to be a cardiologist, to be a heart surgeon, but I don’t know how that’s gonna work with baseball as well. So, I might do something business-related, so I get a little bit of business acumen going into the real world. And then once I’m done with baseball, I can probably go back and continue my study in medicine.”

–17-year old Triston McKenzie in 2015

 

Triston McKenzie strikeout

23-year old Triston McKenzie, 2020 Debut

I mean, Triston McKenzie achieved both of his dreams, right? In his major league debut, McKenzie surgically sliced through the heart of the Tigers lineup, giving up one run over six innings while whiffing 10 batters. And you know what? There’s a very good chance that he takes the heart out of Zach Plesac, whose arbitration schedule would be delayed if Cleveland keeps him at the alternate site much longer. Is it too early to call McKenzie the “Cardiac Kid?”

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[Chapter 1 of my upcoming novel, FML Grey]

Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario, wakes in a haze. Last night was hard, but not in the way Cougs would have preferred it. After watching Chris Paddack get shelled by the Dodgers, Grey collapsed on the couch, crumpled boba containers at his feet. “Draft pitchers late,” he muttered, falling into a fitful sleep with images of Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander haunting him.

Now awake, Grey runs to the bathroom and grabs the Barbasol. “5.54 FIP!” he spits into the sink. “Paddack has a negative value fastball!” Grey lathers his lip sweater, and grabs his razor. The man in the mirror is manic. “You’re no lothario!” Grey shouts at himself, his Schick stick in hand. “You don’t deserve this anymore!” With short, rapid strokes, Grey shaves off his mustache. The commotion wakes Cougs, who enters the bathroom. Grey looks up,  wiping his now-naked philtrum, “Dylan Bundy’s the top pitcher on the player rater,” he says. “I need a boba.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?