Promise you all of my 2022 fantasy baseball sleepers won’t be “very hyped rookie who failed to live up to hype and is now priced well in drafts.” Though, how about that Brett Lawrie?! No, seriously…But what about Ian Happ?! C’mon! He had a good 2nd half. Okay, gonna stop there, since I might actually write an Ian Happ sleeper post for the fifth year in a row. So, I was looking at the top xwOBAs, which is a ton of letters to understand — yo, xwOBAs, who do you think you are, SAGNOF? — and I was sorting by who should be better in 2022 and Jarred Kelenic was in no way near the top of that (213th out of 328). Then I looked at Jarred Kelenic’s xBA and it was .215, and I started to hold my nose like I smelt a fart that was trapped under a dead body. Then I looked at his average exit velocity and that was hideous (87.5 MPH) and I began to think maybe I shouldn’t bother with the Jarred Kelenic sleeper post. There was always Ian Happ, amiright? But I can’t give up on Jarred Kelenic, not that quickly, not yet. Sure, he had the same expected stats as Alcides Escobar, but he can’t be that bad, can he? Well, he was, but will he be? That’s the real question, or this one: So, what can we expect from Jarred Kelenic for 2022 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Went back and searched my posts for every mention of the word “sleeper” until the All-Star Break. So, if I said, “(player’s name) was going to be a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper,” I made note of it with a slash. By the time, I was done, well, put the Jesus Sanchez slashes on a tree, and it would look like Tom Hanks in Castaway. It was like this over the last few months of the season, “I gotta write a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper for Jesus Sanchez,” “How long until I can write a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper for Jesus Sanchez?” “Have I written a Jesus Sanchez 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper or have I just mentioned it so much that it feels like I’ve written it already?” By the time I was done searching three months of daily roundups, it felt like Jesus Sanchez wasn’t a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper anymore, but ya know what? Eff that, bros, four sisters and one sista! I’m highlighting this em-effer!

So, guess what, snitches? We’re done with the fantasy baseball rookies and onto the 2022 fantasy baseball sleepers! Can I get a what-WHAT?! No, the 2nd “what” is louder, not from the standing position. That’s what caps mean:  louder. You thought caps meant it was said while wearing a baseball cap? You have a malfunctioning brain. Okay, forget it! I’m moving on! Across two levels of baseball last year, Jesus Sanchez went 24/1 with a .348 average in Triple-A (37 games) and a .251 average in the majors (64 games). I separated the averages for the two levels rather than average the, uh, averages together because:  I’m lazy. Okay, also, because Triple-A was an insanely high BABIP and he’s not a .348 hitter. If you were to combine his Triple-A and majors numbers, I’d say he went 24/1/.251. That’s what he’s closer to. Well, that and God himself! Jesus, take the steering wheel! Nah, seriously, I need both hands to try to dig around for this last boba in my drink. *tires screech, car flies off a cliff* So, what can we expect from Jesus Sanchez for 2022 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Jesus Sanchez sleeper post, just wanted to announce that I’ve begun to roll out my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. It’s an early Hannukah miracle! Well, late Hanukah miracle this year. The Jews should really decide on one day to start Hanukah each year, and stick with it. It’s better for branding. Anyway II, the Jesus Sanchez sleeper:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Figured if I heard the first part of the sentence, “Finally, the Tigers went out and got their man,” it would be followed by a story about how a few tigers dressed up as humans, went to visiting hours at Joe Exotic’s jail and ate him. It didn’t mean that, but if the Tigers sign Carole Baskin, the Pirates will trade Bryan Reynolds to the Tigers for her. So, the Tigers signed Javier Baez, and I love it. Tigers are sneakily becoming my “Pick it to stick it!” Which translates to a team I put hundred schmools on to win the World Series, and they just miss the playoffs. Javier Baez is defined, for better or worse, for his lack of walks — wacks? Hey, that’s actually pretty good. “Baez is too reliant on wacks to be a reliable batting average guy.” Wacks seems to give off a negative connotation in the mind of fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). If you’re in an OBP league, then I get it, but I’m not talking about OBP when I say Baez is continually underrated, which, brucely, is one of the weirder peccadillos in fantasy. By the way, never say “peccadillo” aloud because that would give someone the right to punch you in the nose. I say it’s weird because Baez is exactly the type that most love more than is deserved in real baseball. It’s truly bizarre. Real baseball people love Baez, even though he is a liability with his wacks, but, for fantasy, he’s underrated. I see Baez and want to “wacks” poetic. Comerica isn’t particularly fun-loving, so Baez has gone from Friendly Confines for power to neutral in Metco to a team whose player most synonymous with home runs was Matthew Boyd. Still, a guy who averages 27/15/.265 has my attention, and I’m ready to get my Baezian wacks. For 2022, I’ll give Javier Baez projections of 84/25/91/.257/14 in 541 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Promise you sleepers are starting tomorrow, unless there’s some other big signing during the lockout, which is illegal, but what are legalities except illegalities that wear frilly shirts. Also, I’ve begun to roll out my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. Anyway II, the roundup:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Once again a New York team makes a huge free agency splash. The big news from yesterday in free agency was Jose Peraza signing with the Yankees. With the loss of Tyler Wade, the Yankees could not afford to go into the season with Gio Urshela at short without an All-Star caliber shortstop backup. At the press conference, Brian Cashman stepped up to the mic and misquoted Jay-Z, saying, “I’m not a cash man, I’m a Cashman.” Reporters’ hands shot up to ask questions, and Cashman called on one in the front row, who asked, “Is it true you signed Jose Peraza because of his ability to do a well-choreographed handshake in the dugout after someone else does something good?” Cashman screamed, “NO MORE QUESTIONS!” and ran off the stage. Then a title comes on the screen that reads, “Three weeks ago…”

This is the opening to my Freaky Friday-like role reversal movie where the Yankees become the Mets and Vice Versa, another great role reversal film. The Mets as the Yankees are Fred Savage and Lindsay Lohan in this equation. Mets signed Max Scherzer, while the Yankees’ fans watched Jose Peraza do a really cool handshake. “Yanks gonna bring back Clint Frazier on a minor league deal and trade him for Max Scherzer, right? Right?!” That’s Twitter user, BingBong27rings. Anyway, Max Scherzer for 2022 fantasy baseball and other free agency news:

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Welp, we were supposed to start our fantasy baseball sleepers today, but there was some movement before the lockout. *looks in the toilet* “Hey, we got movement!” By the way, for those of you who didn’t hear my thoughts on the impending lockout, you can listen to the last episode of our fantasy baseball podcast. Basically, I expect them to go to their separate corners. Owners will cry poor; players will cry that the owners are crying poor, which will be accurate, and then they’ll come back. My guess is we lose about a week of the season and gain the NL DH. It will seem dire, because a lot of reporters are on team payrolls and they’re paid to make it seem dire. It won’t be as dire as it seems, unless we get to May and still no baseball. Bright side of that would be Acuña will be ready for Opening Day. Lowercase yay! Any hoo! We’ll start the sleepers as soon as teams stop signing big free agents — we (I) did start my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon, by the by.

The Mets went out and got Mark Canha and Starling Marte, as they remade their outfield. The A’s did their best to change their culture, club wasn’t working around players like Canha and Kaprelian but those windows of opportunity come and go. They come and go. Boy, Jorge Soler would fit nicely there. The best thing about the addition of Mark Canha and Starling Marte is they push Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil to the bench-slash-platoon-Slash-Axl. Remember when there were people who thought some random 60-game stretch of Dom Smith meant he was good? Haha, those people were almost as dumb as the people who drafted Cody Bellinger last year. Hey, wait, that’s me! Jeff McNeil actually pulled the wool over our eyes in a full season, but he was never really good either. On a related note, the Mets cornered the market on Micks who hit weak grounders. Between McCann and McNeil, they hit about as hard as the IRA, if the Irish Republican Army was modeled after everything they read about IRAs on Charles Schwab. Any hoo! Canha should fit perfectly in with the Mets, because Mets’ fans need a good sense of humor so Canha helps. Can’t really be a laughingstock without a Starling ability to Canha. Canha’s 20.5% strikeout rate with a .231 average is a little bit of a concern. Couple that with his .274 and solid speed paints a picture of a guy who makes weak contact. McCann, McNeil and now M.C. are gonna bloop other teams to death. Seriously, Canha’s peripherals indicate some pretty weak contact, and backing that up was the 35th worst Hard Contact% in the league. His Launch Angle came down a little, which was prolly better for him, as it led to a few less weak fly balls, even if they’re more like weak bloopers to the 2nd baseman. For 2022, I’ll give Mark Canha projections of 73/21/64/.239/10 in 571 ABs.

That was the longest Mark Canha breakdown ever, because it was really just a giant stall for me, before tackling Starling Marte. A 33-year-old who just matched his career high at 47 steals. That’s not even taking into account the very real evil eye the universe gives to all players who sign with the Mets. Ugh. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be an ageist anymore. I wouldn’t write off players just because they’re old, but I sorted by all the players who were 33 years old who stole 47 bags or more, and there were 21 seasons of them since 1914 with 13 players. Seven of those were Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson. Guess what I’m saying is, after much deliberation about not worrying about a player’s age in regards to steals, I am still doing exactly that. Marte also had a .372 BABIP. It’s too simplistic to say the Mets just got had. Not as simplistic as saying a guy is old and his BABIP was high, but do you see why I was stalling? In the end, here’s the thing, there’s so many players to choose from, that you don’t have to be right or wrong on some guys, you can just ignore them, and that’s what I think I’m gonna be doing with Starling Marte. As far as his lineup slot, I will say the Mets have more number twos than a public toilet. If I were the Mets manager, and the Mets had a manager, I’d start the lineup Marte, Canha, Lindor, Alonso, but where are you finding Nimmo a spot? Maybe a trade with Miami, since he’s a fish at heart. For 2022, I’ll give Starling Marte projections of 89/19/61/.277/32 in 534 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

And thus ends our 2022 fantasy baseball rookies series. Next up, sleepers. You can hardly wait! No, you! Hope you enjoyed our 2022 fantasy baseball rookies series. It was brought to you by me! And The Bachelorette. Kidding on the last part, but I’m obviously a huge Bachelorette fan now that one of our own was on the show. In case you missed it when I said something a month ago:

I have the show DVR’d and haven’t watched. From what I understand, there’s not much to watch as Tehol gets three minutes of airtime across three weeks, then is booted. Shame, because a bunch of people trying to find fake love sounds great to me. It’s what I do every year when I draft a fantasy team. Any hoo! There’s a few different types of fantasy baseball rookies. My goal is to give you all the types you’re going to encounter, except, let’s be honest, most of them are high upside bingo-bangos, and high upside bingo-bangos might be a year away from being high upside bingo-bangos. Then there’s just steady producers. Jeremy Pena might fit into both categories. How he could be a high upside bingo-bangos: Jeremy Pena just came off one of the hottest months of September in minor league baseball: 22/10/19/.287/5. That’s in 30 games. He was coming off wrist surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue at all, right? Rhetorical! He hit three homers in one game, turned around and almost hit for the cycle in the next game. His 2020 was lost (with all minor leaguers), then he missed five months with the wrist, so it’s here where the bingo-bangoes become hard to account for. Is Jeremy as good as his September or he’s simply old for Triple-A and ripping it up? Here’s Jeremy Pena’s first and second homer during the three-homer game. Think about your takeaways, then I will give you mine:

So, what can we expect from Jeremy Pena for 2022 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I forgot I included Vidal Brujan in my top 100 2nd half rankings, and, honestly, that made me laugh a lot. Hey, he sucked me in like he was Myles of Straw. No shame in that, I’d do it again if I had the chance. At the backend of the top 100 for the 2nd half, you gotta go risky ishkabibble vs. safe whose-he-whatsies. Vidal Brujan was called up right before the break last year, so I figured we were about to see a prince and I was the Kingmaker. I wasn’t even playing checkers, and still missed. C’est la vie, as Ty France says. It was kinda weird how the Rays played Brujan this year. Called him up out of seemingly nowhere, then they let him rot on the bench and demoted him almost as quickly as they promoted him. Though, this reminds me of what I said in my Shane Baz fantasy, the Rays have no problem promoting rookies, they just don’t retain them when they have to pay them. So, what can we expect from Vidal Brujan for 2022 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Imagine sexy upside starters are a twirling jump rope, and I’m skipping right outside of the swinging jump rope, counting myself off before jumping in. Okay, the jump rope are the Marlins’ sexy, upside rookie starters and I’m, well, me. It’s so hard to know where to jump in on the Marlins’ sexy, upside rookie starters. Do I cover Sixto Sanchez (again), Max Meyer, or Edward Cabrera? Not to mention, they have five starters in their rotation that I love — Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, Pablo Lopez, Elieser Hernandez, and Jesus Luzardo. The Marlins are just stacked with starters. Before we get to Edward Cabrera and what he can do (or you can skip to the 2nd paragraph, but that is cheating), can Cabrera even get in this rotation? Yes. Long answer: Yeeeeeeeeeeeees. Sandy Alcantara is the only surefire starter. As said about 168 words ago, I love the Marlins starters, but “safe” they are not. Rogers was so overworked by the end of the year; Pablo, Elieser, Jesus and Sixto might be good for 800 IP or 80. Speaking of 80, it’s how many innings Edward Cabrera threw last year because of elbow soreness. Um, cool? Well, Prospect Itch covered that, here’s what he said, “Cabrera didn’t throw much in 2020 due to recurring elbow soreness, then opened this season in the same limbo. Unlike about 90 percent of these stories, Cabrera’s did not wind up with Tommy John surgery. Instead, the thickening 6’5” righty was hitting 100 mph by midseason and combining that heat with a have-a-seat changeup at 92, a tight slider at 87 and an average curveball at 83. His slider has generated the best results thus far in the big leagues, holding opposing hitters to a .167 slugging percentage in 100 pitches. He’s thrown it 23.5 percent of the time, preferring the fastball (36.9%) and change (24.6%), each of which has been hit hard (.758 xSLG and .824 xSLG, respectively). He’s certainly a sleeper target for 2022 redraft leagues, but his command will have to take a step forward, something I think is fair to bet on given the organization’s history and the player’s baseline athleticism. Unlike Grey, who is an out-of-shape loser.” That’s hurtful, man. So, what can we expect from Edward Cabrera for 2022 fantasy baseball?

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Since I’m focused mostly on 2022 fantasy baseball, and how guys can help us next year, whenever next year is, Roansy Contreras moved up on the radar, because the Pirates’ puzzling moves at the end of the year to bring up their guys. It was almost like a showcase for the Rays. “So, do you like Roansy for a middle reliever? Right…Who do you want to send us? Garrett Whitlock for Roansy and Oneil Cruz? Okay, but it says here the Rays don’t have Garrett Whitlock that he’s on the Red Sox. The team media guide is wrong? Okay, that sounds fair then, we’ll send you Roansy and Oneil for a player we’re not sure you have on your team.” Jokes aside, for the life of me, I can’t understand why Roansy Contreras was called up for one day at the end of the year, then sent back down a day later, but maybe someone has a better idea than me. Either way, since the Pirates did that, it means the Pirates are at least considering Roansy Contreras for the 2022 Pirates’ rotation, which puts him on our radar. So, what can we expect from Roansy Contreras for 2022 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s likely a lot of factors that go into fantasy baseball prospects, but here’s two I look at:

1. Ready and it’s up to the club.

2. Not ready.

Frank Voila! That’s it! Well, maybe not it it, but it is close enough to it. That it is in the It Crowd. In the big broad, general sense. If the player is in the 2nd category, then I’m not going to cover them. It’s why we have Prospectors Itch and Hobbs. They’ll tell you the guys who will be ready, eventually. My job is to tell you the guys who are ready, then leave it up to the team on whether or not they’re going to promote them. Triston Casas aka The House of Triston, as he’s known to George RR Martin, is ready. Honestly, Triple-A is a way station, in general. If a guy is in Triple-A, he could be in the majors. There’s no more “learning” for Triple-A guys. Maybe some are just not good enough for the majors, so they sit in Triple-A for years, but even those guys are Quad-A guys, not Triple-A guys. See, there’s no such thing as Triple-A. You’ve been woke’d up. You’re welcome. This doesn’t mean the Red Sox will call up Triston Casas, just because he’s in Triple-A. But they could at any time. So, what can we expect from Triston Casas for 2022 fantasy baseball?

Psyche! Before we get to the rest of the post, just wanted to announce that we’re doing an NFBC league. Originally, we were talking about starting an NFBC Draft Champions league (slow draft, you don’t have to be at your computer) on Black Friday, but I forgot I had family in town for Thanksgiving, so I set the league up to draft starting the following Monday at noon EST. That’s the Monday after Thanksgiving (11/29). It is a slow draft league; you don’t need to be at your computer to draft. Yes, I said this already five sentences ago, so sue me! First person to sue gets Razzball, 2nd person gets Cougs, 3rd person to sue gets my car — it needs oil! The league will be the Draft Champions format, $150 to join, and you can win $1000, or $350 to place, or $150 to show — overall prize is $30,000, 2nd place is $7,500 etc. You can find the prizes at their site. The link for the league is here, NFBC LEAGUE. This 15-team league has no waivers and is Draft and Hold. This league already has quite a few people who have joined, because I opened it to our Patreon a few days ago. I’m going to start rolling out my rankings there soon too. Anyway, back to Triston Casas for 2022 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Tigers must be picking my brain, because Eduardo Rodriguez was on my short-list for a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper post. I am asking the Tigers politely: Please, stop picking my brain, after just recently going on a Scarecrow-esque spiritual journey of going from no brain to a half brain to a full-full brain. People with full-full brains call them “full-full brains,” right? Yes? Cool, thanks. So, last year, Eduardo Rodriguez went 13-8 with a 3.32 FIP, a 10.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. If you’re like me — a full-full brain person — then you’re likely thinking, “Hey, this guy never mentioned his ERA or WHIP!” Smart, we are. Talk like Yoda, I do. I didn’t mention those stats, because I wanted you to see how good Eduardo Rodriguez was before telling you how bad Eduardo Rodriguez was. If you just saw those numbers, you’d be like, “This guy with a full-full brain is telling me Ed-Rod is good, and those numbers are showing me Ed-Rod is good-good, so how would he even be a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper?” Good question for someone who doesn’t sound full-full in the head like me. Ed-Rod had a 4.74 ERA last year in 157 2/3 IP. Ha, that’s awful, and why I think a lot of people will be ignoring him. Eduardo Rodriguez was very unlucky in 2020, then in much different ways he was unlucky again in 2021. Focus on his xBA numbers, because that’s what’s gonna f**k us (pun points!):

Look at those xBA’s. That’s crazy. Every single pitch should’ve produced better results, except his slider (more on that in a second). His velocity was down a hair in 2021, but it was really down in April, after a full year off, then it hovered up. Not quite reaching 2019 levels, but close enough. I’m not worried about velocity losses. Fenway is not a great park for BABIPs, so can dismiss some his bad luck across the board, but *that* much bad luck? Did he walk under a ladder on the way out to the mound every game? If he were traded after 2019, and he had a new home park in 2021, I might say these BABIPs might not regress, but this guy is clearly being unlucky and that will correct itself. Quick take away unrelated to the xBA numbers is he’s starting to figure out his slider, which has been a long time in the germination pod. Since 2015, he’s been throwing a slider and the values that it’s produced are all negative, which makes me chuckle a little. He’s still trying it, and it still is not great. Either way, last year was the best, uh, negative it’s been at -0.14. To give you an idea of how to compare that, in 2019, it was -2.31. That’s very bad. Don’t think that means a lot, but if his slider becomes a positive pitch for him to go with his cutter, fastball and change, three pitches that were all extremely positive as recently as 2019, Ed-Rod’s not going to be a sleeper that becomes a number two, but he’ll be an ace.

I’ve been a fan of Ed-Rod for so long, I painted his face on a kitchen cabinet that I call my Ed-Rod cupboard and it’s where I store my Top Gun-themed collectible Big Gulp cups. He’s rewarded me with two seasons of 3.82 and 3.81 (who are you, Khris Davis with the number .247), then I was out last year, due to him missing 2020, but it’s time to get back in. 2022 might be the year where we finally see him realize the immense upside. For 2022, I’ll give Eduardo Rodriguez projections of 14-7/3.77/1.24/217 in 191 IP with a chance for more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier this year, the Reds called up Jose Barrero, formerly known as Jose Garcia, formerly known as Jose Garces, a former Iron Chef–Okay, being told he is not a former Iron Chef. Jose Barrero is a shortstop by trade, but was called up to play some outfield for the injured Nick Senzel. Nick Senzel injured? No way, Jose Barrero! Barrero ended up playing 2B (2 games); SS (9) and OF (7) in the majors, and some 3rd base in the minors, which shows the Reds are ready to play him anymore. With great reason:  In Triple-A, 13/8/.306/.392/.594 in 45 games, and he’s a five-tool guy, which takes no air out of this Cuban raftee, only buoys the hype. Here’s what Prospect Itch said about him, “The team’s best position prospect found himself blocked by a career-best stretch from Kyle Farmer, so much so that he split time between short and center field while he was with the big club in September. That’s okay. Barrero can handle either spot, and while he might not be a gold-glove-level defender in center the way he was on the dirt, his physical gifts will help him improve quickly as he goes along. Cincinnati doesn’t have anyone else there, so Barrero has a good shot to open 2022 as the captain of that outfield. He came into his own on offense in 2021–his fourth season in the states after signing out of Cuba, slashing .303/.380/.539 with 19 HR and 16 SB across 85 games in the minors (40 at AA and 45 at AAA). We’ve long been Barrero believers here at Razzball and can’t wait to see how his power plays in the Great American Drive to Deep Left, and Grey’s an idiot.” Okay, end part wasn’t cool, but I agree with Itch. I love me some Jose Barrero. So, what can we expect from Jose Barrero for 2022 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?