(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH.)
Me and seven guys who I picked up in a Home Depot parking lot are bringing home a life-sized cutout of Grayson Rodriguez in a wheelbarrow. “Cory, please help me get my make-believe son, Gray, uh, son, onto my couch.” Cory and my new Home Depot friends, who I paid with Venmo, manage to lean the 6’5″, 220-pound cutout onto the couch.
Later, me and Cougs are watching The Staircase and between us is my make-believe son, Grayson. “Say hello, Grayson,” I say. I nudge the Grayson cutout with my arm, and it falls over crushing my wife’s foot. At the Urgent Care, I explain to Cougs that Grayson Rodriguez is the best pitcher the Orioles have right now. As a horsey might say, nay, he’s a top five arm in the AL East right now. If he’s healthy, it’s stuff you’re not seeing from many pitchers in the major leagues. Five above-average to plus-plus pitches with control. Through nine starts in Triple-A as the 9th youngest pitcher at the level: His K/9 is 13.7; his BB/9 is 2.9; his FIP is 1.77.
I shush Cougs’s sobs. I ask, “Are you sobbing from your broken foot from my make-believe son cutout falling on you or are you worried about his slider?” Before she can answer, I anticipate and tell her his fastball sits 95 MPH with a plus whiff rate, and his two plus secondaries are his curveball and changeup with whiff rates above 50%. Oh, and by the by, he has a slider and cutter that grade as average or better too. Is this man a hydra? What kind of water do they have in the Rio Grande that they’re giving this Texan? He’s unreal, like an alien. He just needs a nickname to play off Grayson, and being an alien. Oh, I know! Call him Spawn. Grayson’s going to be the best thing you’ve seen since the last future Hall of Famer was promoted. A chip right off the old block that fell on Cougs, that’s my Spawn!
Also, here’s me talking about Grayson Rodriguez (please subscribe to this friggin Youtube channel — click that and click subscribe):
Bert Blyleven allowed a major league record 50 homers in 1986. It was in 271 innings. Hunter Greene (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 5.89) might beat the record in 100 innings. There’s an old adage (I don’t know what an adage is but it sounds good) and it goes that starters are better at home. Just in general. Of course, there’s exceptions. Or I should say “of Coors.” Any hoo! Greene is the type that could throw a 15-K shutout vs. the Dodgers or give up five homers to the Marlins with Miguel Rojas leading the charge. His opponent or environs don’t matter, so it’s hard to roster a guy like that. Also, don’t ever say “environs” in real life, person you’re with has ever right to punch you. The offensive star of the game for the Reds was Kyle Farmer (4-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs and his 2nd and 3rd homer). Was his first game back from being out with general soreness. Lucky he didn’t run into Major Setback. Also, in this game, Nick Senzel (4-for-4, 3 runs, 1 RBI) did what we expected of him in 2019, and 2020, and 2021, and, well, you get the picture, as he hit leadoff. Was this a sign of things to come or just going against a terrible pitcher? Well, Justin Steele (2 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.40) did not look good. Maybe it wasnt the best idea to pitch the Man of Steele against a guy the color of Kryptonite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
A sheet attached to a building is covering something in front of the Sears sign on a storefront. The closer we look we see I’m standing on the letter S of Sears. I wave like Forrest Gump. Screaming now, “Okay, when I jump, make sure you film this reveal, because it’s going to be spectacular! …and 1…2…3!” Holding onto the end of the sheet, I jump off the S and Tarzan down the side of the building. Then, the sheet gets to its natural conclusion and, rather than revealing under the sheet the big surprise, it leaves me dangling ten feet off the ground. “Um, a little help.” Cougs puts down the camera and yanks on my feet, and I scream, “Yanks! Perfect!” I fall to the ground, and the sheet covers me, but now it’s revealed that the sheet was covering a spraypainted JP in front of Sears. So, JP Sears (5 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks) had his major league debut. It was vs. the Orioles, so the salt is out to count grains, but he looked fantastic. He has a 93-95 MPH fastball, decent slider and change, and elite command. That’s the JP Sears catalog of pitches. Yanks also have five starters in the rotation, so, with those going out of business sales on Sears, don’t expect refunds. Whether he stays in the rotation or not, he’s someone to keep an eye on, because elite command plays everywhere. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
“Only thing better than three homers in a game is three World Championships in three years for three different teams.” — Joc Pederson probably. Joc Pederson is 80-grade fun. Maybe it’s the goofy paunchy body, maybe it’s the frosted hair that seems done by himself on a whim. I don’t know; he’s just so much fun. Yesterday, him and his fantasy owners had a whole lotta fun — 4-for-6, 8 RBIs and his 8th, 9th and 10th homers and his first career three-homer game. I know it’s inaccurate, but it feels like Joc Pederson hits 30 homers every year, and they’re all hit in the matter of 10 games. Think the only thing you need to know about Joc Pederson is this picture:
Joc Pederson has ice in his veins and NFTs in his crypto wallet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Pirates’ front office looking at the clock labeled, “Service Manipulation.” The big hand clicks towards “Extra year of service time,” and the little hand creeps towards, “Being cheap AF.” Just as Being Cheap AF and Extra Year of Service Time meet at 12 o’clock, a little birdie flies out in a Pirates’ jersey with the uniform number for Tyler Glasnow and starts cuckooing. With that, Roansy Contreras was called up by the Pirates, and will start today. In Triple-A, he had 2.66 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 4.9 BB/9, and a 1.33 HR/9. He can be electric, but those walks scare me. Yo, I don’t trust the Pirates at all. Not with pitchers, not with hitters, not for nothing but not with nothing. No trust. Anyone rostering Ke’Bryan and Bryan Reynolds liking it? Has Mitch Keller clicked yet? Will he ever? How’s Oneil Cruz doing you? Sucks to put that all at Roansy’s feet, but there ya go. That’s my feelings on him. For those that found us by googling “sucks” + “feet,” you a freak! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
They say he’s the greatest Orioles catcher ever. They say the greatest catcher prospect since Yogi Berra. They are talking about Matt Wieters. “They” are Keith Law. He’s not the only one. I went back to the 2009 prospect guys to see what people were saying about Matt Wieters and found, “Has the power of Mark Teixeira,” and “a bat so potent he could be a two-time batting champion and one of the game’s biggest stars in almost two years.” Okay, I lied, those are all Keith Law quotes! Good for baseball that Wieters wasn’t its biggest star. Others were just as complimentary to Wieters with Kevin Goldstein, who got a job with the Astros and now the Twins said, “Wieters, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz are can’t miss.” They had great things to say about Matt LaPorta too. Who? Not sure, I think Matt LaPorta is French for doormat. From that draft alone, there was no mention of Madison Bumgarner, Giancarlo, Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson, or even Travis d’Arnaud, all guys drafted after Wieters and LaPorta. Why mention any of this? Just tamping down Adley Rutschman enthusiasm with this hype-cleaver. That’s my Tamp-ax! Wait, maybe it’s not a good idea to say that. So, this is a weird way to start a post where I say I’d absolutely pick up Adley Rutschman in every league. Killing enthusiasm with my Tampax. Yikes, need to stop saying that. The Tampax (this is not a sponsored post, by the way) is simply to stop up hype that Rutschman will be a top five catcher as soon as he’s called up. I don’t think he will, but he could be. Think 15 HRs and .280 for four months. It’s irrelevant what he was even doing in the minors. He was ready two years ago. He’s worth adding in all leagues if you’re struggling at catcher, Tampax be damned. Period. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY THIS WEEK ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $10/MONTH.)
Who knew the most emblematic song about MJ would’ve been Smooth Criminal? Or going from Pretty Young Thing to Beat It. Or Bad. Jeez, now that I think about it, a lot of Michael Jackson songs become Creep City. Would’ve been hilarious if he named Neverland, “Creep City.” Not haha funny, but more like, “Hey, lots of red flags here, guys, maybe we should investigate?” Speaking of investigating, MJ Melendez (how about that segue?) sounds like a 90s tabloid reporter who would’ve been invited to Neverland to “take a look around” while the help hide children in closets, waiting for Michael. Speaking of segues, I took a Segway tour through Beverly Hills and we stopped at the former Menendez Brothers’ house and the people who now live there just looked at us with disgust. Was pretty cool. Any hoo! Sal Perez is the type to play through all kinds of shizz, so that he was IL’d means he must’ve truly been hurt. MJ Melendez was also up with the club even before the Sal P. IL stint, so the Royals seem committed to him. We don’t care about catchers usually, but Melendez could be a 17-homer, .250 catcher this year with even some steals thrown in. Him or Adley? If both were up, I don’t think Adley’s necessarily the better choice for this year. The guy who is up right now is the easy call. A-B-C, as easy as 1-2-3, for the King of Pop Times. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
First, the bad news, Tyler O’Neill hit the IL with a right-shoulder impingement. Took how long for him to come up with some made-up injury? Hope it wasn’t very long, because it’s not believable. His exit velocity on his lame-ass excuse is almost as bad as his hitting. Take a TO, TO, you disappoint me. Replacing him…*drum roll*…Nolan Gorman is being called up for today’s game. Lezzzzzzzzzzzzzz Fudginnnnnnnnnnnnnn Gooooooooooooooooo! *jaw comes dislocated from screaming, goes to the hospital, doctor diagnoses me with Gormania* Gormania can’t be cured, according to WebMD. Does it matter that I keep wanting to call him Norman Golman? No, dude. So, he’s going to start at 2nd base, and Edman likely moves to the outfield. It’s about to get crowded in Saint Louie. Ugh, seeing they might have a cure for Gormania, it’s called a 35% strikeout rate. That’s not cool. Gorman could hit 45 homers, and .170. Here’s my Nolan Gorman fantasy; some stats might be a little off, but sentiment stays same. Also, I am go over Nolan Gorman at our Youtube channel. Click that link, hit subscribe and come back. Thank you! We’re halfway to thousand. Get us to thousand and never hear about it again. Here’s the video:
Also, getting the call was Matthew Liberatore to start on Saturday. If you think I’m slightly less enthused for Liberatore than I am for Gorman, you’re right. It’s a hitter vs. pitcher thing. Not much else. In 40 IP in Triple-A, Liberatore had 10.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and 3.83 ERA, and he should have better command than that. Here’s what Prospect Itch said, “For a while, Liberatore seemed fated to become a blip in trivia history as the player acquired for Rays postseason beast Randy Arozarena. After 2021, skies look a little clearer. The club jumped him over AA and let him throw 124.2 innings at AAA, where he was six years younger than his average competitor. He struggled at first (5.21 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 1.87 HR/9 through 11 starts) but got better results over his final ten turns (2.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 0.78 HR/9). The WHIPs here show some luck both ways, but the home run ball was clearly his bugaboo early, and he cut that by more than 100 percent over the 2nd half. His pitch shapes could still leave him vulnerable in that department (his fastball doesn’t ride), but he’s adding velocity as he ages and was burying that big curve with consistency by season’s end. If he keeps that up, he’ll be a nice addition to the Redbirds’ rotation this year. And Grey is a big dummy.” Honestly, that’s fair. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Nick Pivetta went 9 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 8 Ks, ERA at 4.22 vs. the Astros who put an absolute beating on the Red Sox on Tuesday like they were a garbage can lid. Yes, that Nick Pivetta aka The Stopper aka If The Red Sox Turn Their Season Around This Feels Like The Moment It Happens aka The Nick Pivetta of Every Fantasy Baseballers’ Dreams For The Last Five Years aka I Was Not Expecting That aka I Honestly Don’t Even Believe The Box Score And I Watched Five Innings Of This Game aka Nick Pivetta F*cks aka Should You Fall For The Nick Pivetta Tailpipe Again? aka That Means You aka Are You Following What I’m Putting Down? It’s Breadcrumbs To Nick Pivetta On Your Waivers aka Or Not But His Peripherals (8.7 K/9, 3 BB/9) Are Usable As Long As He Keeps The Ball In The Park aka Likely Streamonator In Shallower Leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
That photo of him brings me so much joy. He’s like, “I’m on your fantasy team? Okay, cool.” He looks like he just let out a fart, and only he knows it. Using one of his three asses, I presume. This Kyle Tucker assault was brought to you initially by Nathan Eovaldi (1 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA at 4.32) as he gave up five homers, all in the 2nd inning. Apparently, Manfred tried to work the 2019 ball back into circulation. Also, in this game, not simply Eovaldi — Nothan? Novaldi? Meh, maybe now’s not the time for portmanteaus — Yordan Alvarez (2-for-4, 3 runs) hit his 12th homer. Captain Woo Cubano gonna star in Dongs Just Wanna Have Fun; Yuli Gurriel (2-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 3rd, and 3rd homer in the last five days for the smoldering schmotato; Jeremy Pena (2-for-5) hit his 7th for a nice welcome-back-old-friend to the lineup and to the New England area (he’s from Are-Eye); Michael Brantley (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) hit his 3rd homer, and I just thought of something, everyone on the Astros is better than that former Astros player Carlos Correa. Bummer for him! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
I only hear what I want to. *sob-snorting* I thought what I felt was simple! *mumbling words I don’t know* Turn the MLB dot com on! Yusei is on. *mumbling more words I don’t know* I think that Yusei’s throwing, but I’m thrown. Is Yusei…oh…kay? *mumbling more words I don’t know* You try to give away a keeper, or keep me cause you know you’re just so scared to lose, and Yusei…Stay.
It’s kinda crazy how much Lisa Loeb was singing about Yusei Kikuchi (6 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 3 walks, 6 Ks, ERA at 3.38) when he was only three years old. Yusei’s command is usually around a 3.5 BB/9, but this year so far it’s 5.6. His Ks are still so far’king good — 9.3 K/9, and his velocity is fine (95 MPH on the speedball), and he seemed like he wasn’t controlling the cutter/slider well early on, and it was forcing him to throw the fastball more. So hitters were sitting dead-red on the chugga-chugga, and it wasn’t working. In his last three starts, things have been better, and Yusei isn’t just a Gen X anthem for lost love angst. Yusei…Stay on my teams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
“This is 911, what’s your emergency?”
“I need a defibrillator!”
“Someone’s having a heart attack?”
“No, it’s for the dead ball.”
“Please stop calling, sir.”
Tarik Skubal was a victim of being sneezed on by Matthew Boyd, and used to give up a homer just about every three pitches, but no longer. It might not just be the dead-ball, Skubal was a top pitching prospect a mere three years ago. That timing tracks. Usually it’s three years in the majors, and a rookie pitcher becomes what we expect from him. A rookie pitching prospect has moments his rookie year, then he has more moments his 2nd year, then his third year it’s all moments. Tarik Skubal (6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 2.50) is currently living in the moment. 94 MPH fastball, 89 MPH slider, 76 MPH curve and 84 MPH change, each used liberally. Not relying on the fastball as he had in the past, even though you wouldn’t blame someone with a 70-grade fastball. There might be something to his success and the homers allowed thing, but the ball doesn’t seem like it’s being resuscitated any time soon, so Skubal can absolutely maintain his newfound success. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball: