Reds trading away their closer, Raisel Iglesias, for Noé Ramirez is the kind of deal that will be used by future generations when they dissect when baseball clearly wasn’t about winning. This makes sense from the Angels’ perspective, clearly. Nothing that Angels like more than las Iglesias, and now they have two of them, having traded for Jose Iglesias earlier this offseason. This is not a black and white world, so I could see them trading for Emilio Pagan to balance their shoulders. Mike Trout will need to learn the Spanish nursery rhyme, “Aquí is the Iglesias, aqui is the personas, aquí is the pescado without a championship.” All I Noé is that dude is an 88-MPH middle reliever and what are the Reds doing? I like Amir Mrs. Garrett as much as the next guy, but he’s their closer now? I thought they were trying to be competitive. Why is “not being competitive” even an option? Okay, I’m about to burst my ulcer. So, Raisel Iglesias will clearly be the Angels’ closer, and has the stuff to be a top 3 closer. Last year he went 12.1 K/9, 2 BB/9, and 2.87 xFIP, and is nearly that dominant in his career, not just goofy 60-game seasons. For 2021, I’ll give Raisel Iglesias projections of 2-3/2.52/1.06/84, 34 saves in 67 IP.

On a more somber note, wonder what the Heaven’s Gate guy would’ve thought about the Angels trading for Raisel Iglesias and Jose Iglesias. That’s gotta be a sign, right? No? Well, he would’ve thought it was. Side note:  the phrase “what in the holy eff” was invented for the HBO Max Heaven’s Gate documentary. As for Jose Iglesias, I’ve already drafted him in one 2021 league. Yes, I’ve already drafted a 2021 fantasy baseball league, I’ll try to go over it later this week. It was super late when I went to Iglesias, but I was hoping he could save my batting average’s soul. He’s a high contact, nothing else guy. For 2021, I’ll give Jose Iglesias projections of 64/8/68/.283/6 in 472 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2021 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lying on a couch, talking to my shrink, “I put on a Franchy Cordero jersey, squeeze a combination of ketchup and mayo all over myself and walk around screaming, ‘I’m Franch’s dressing!'”

Shrink, “And, do you enjoy that?”

“It’s okay, but without relish.”

“Because you’re thinking of Thousand Island.”

And…scene!

Outside of major superstars, like the best of the best, the top of the echelon, the cream after it rises, there’s not too many players with 70 grade power and speed. Franchy Cordero has it though. He has that muscle and speed. Just look at last year, he hit two homers and stole one bag in 38 at-bats with a -1.1 Launch Angle. El oh–*coughing fit* WUT. A negative Launch Angle? Did he swing backwards, hit two balls so hard off the catcher’s mask that they ricochetted out of the park? His Hard Hit% was 47.1%, which would’ve been third best in the majors if it qualified, and at 38 at-bats, it didn’t, but not far off in that stupid year. Speaking of stupid years, throw out last year for Franchy. He had an injury — had his hamate bone removed in early August — and didn’t do anything worth talking any more about. As I always say, forget the Yandyesque Launch Angle, but remember the Yandyesque muscles. So, what can we expect from Franchy Cordero for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Angels are a bad team. Doesn’t matter for sleepers. Their home park doesn’t help. Oh em gee, I just thought of something:  Mike Trout as a Rockies player for his career. He’d be wearing a SpongeBob Nascar jacket during his 2nd year with the team as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. “Today, we welcome the 23-year-old Mike Trout into the Hall of Fame, on the back of the 680 homers he hit his rookie year.” Oh, who am I kidding? If Mike Trout were on the Rockies, he’d still be platooning with Raimel Tapia. “I’m looking forward to giving Trouty a chance out of camp,” says Bud Black as he doesn’t give Trout a chance. Any hoo! What I was saying is Jared Walsh is on a bad team in a bad park. The bad team thing actually could help, because who’s bumping him from the lineup? Albert Pujols? Pujols has been shite, British pronunciation, for five years now. Taylor Ward? I just jotted his name down, and even I think I made his name up. I.e. Jared Walsh will have playing time. So, what can we expect from Jared Walsh for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*going through the rolodex in my brain* Ah, yes, that was a good time in the summer of ’99…Oh my, that’s where I left my keys in December of 2012…Oh, shoot, the finale to Breaking Bad–Eek, don’t want to revisit that, I might rewatch it at some point. So, that was me going down Memory Lane trying to remember if I had written a Nick Solak sleeper post last year. Turns out I hadn’t, and should’ve just googled it, rather than wracking my brain. I wrote a rookie outlook post for him last year, but no sleeper, because, well, he was a rookie going into this year. Here’s what I said back then, “In 2019 through two teams’ Triple-A affiliates and a brief call-up with the RangersNick Solak’s numbers were 32 homers — take the R out of boring, because that is boing! — seven steals — you’re my daddy now! — and a .280-ish average (I say “ish” because I only do straight addition, and didn’t feel like figuring out his batting average). If this was merely a one-time breakout season from Solak, I’d still pay attention, but this is who he’s been now for his career. He also carries a 11+% walk rate and a manageable 20% K-rate. With 12 steals (seems impossible but who knows), and 25+ homers (might be more impossible, but, again, who knows) and those batted ball profile rates, Solak could squirm his way into a 27/14/.285 season and become the Rangers two-hole hitter. That’s de facto value! Narrator:  Grey thought the best kind of value was de facto value. What I’m slightly surprised about, and which, honestly, has me a little troubled is why no one is talking about him?” And that’s me quoting me! One tiny thing has changed (besides literally all the huge things that have changed due to the pandemic), Solak is no longer a rookie. One thing hasn’t changed, no one is talking about him still. So, what can we expect from Nick Solak for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Would you consider this a high-octane, high-offense, get-high-in-48-of-50-states-but-watch-your-stash-in-Alaska-type of environs? Present day baseball, I’m saying. Would you consider it a home run happy environment? Not to answer, but to nod along like you know where I’m going but will be surprised anyway. You would, right? I would, so it’s okay to think it. Okay, without looking up for the answer, how would you hit a home run? Trick question! You have to look up for the answer. It’s fly balls. You hit fly balls and you have a chance for home runs. What’s the opposite of fly balls? Okay, stop looking up, it’s ground balls. The lowest ground ball rates for qualified hitters last year:  Mike Trout (25.2%), Joey Gallo (26.6%), Adam Duvall (29.2%), Trevor Story (29.7%), Jose Ramirez (30.1%), and Freddie Freeman (31.6%). Just avoiding ground balls isn’t some kind of magic elixir, or Magik if a mutant is reading. You also need to hit the ball hard, like, say, Nick Castellanos, the Greek God of Hard Contact, who had a 26% line drive rate. Imagine someone hit fewer ground balls than Mike Trout, but more line drives than Castellanos, would that kind of magic interest you? Enter, stage right: The Amazing Anthony Santander…*Santander struggles to find an opening in the curtains, ruining his entrance*…The Amazing Santander! The Amazing…Will someone please help him with that stupid curtain? *watches as the curtain falls on him* Okay, we’re gonna fix that and the show will continue. So, what can we expect from Anthony Santander for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

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A big part of 2021 fantasy baseball drafting is going to be not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The “baby” being a player who had a terrible 2020 season, and the “bathwater” is the player who had a great 2019, and was primed for a breakout before we entered the crazy two month nonsense of last year. Ramon Laureano is a prime example. His 2019 was 24 homers, 13 steals, .288 average and was ticketed for great things, then the 2020 season happened and no “great things” happened in the 2020 baseball season. Some good things happened if you’re a Dodgers fan, and willing to overlook the giant asterisk on the top right of your World Series banner, but great? Great, I don’t know about. I just googled “great” and it said, “Can I interest you in ‘just all right?'” In fairness to “just all right,” Ramon Laureano can’t make that claim. He was awful last year. No way around that little factoid. In 54 games last year, he went 27/6/25/.213/2 in 183 ABs. Wait, it gets worse! His average exit velocity was 87.7, which was in the bottom third of the league; his line drive rate fell, and his ground balls went up (not literally). You hit a WAP (weak-ass piddler) to the 2nd baseman, and you’re not going to get many hits. So, his .270 BABIP was low for him, and a sizable drop-off from his .342 mark the previous year, but can’t just say unlucky since his hits were so weak sauce. His strikeouts also went up, too, and not in a way that would lead one to believe he was overaggressive. His O-Swing% went down and his Swinging Strike% went way down. In other words, he was waiting for his pitch, and waiting and waiting and…Anyone have eyes on Ramon Laureano right now? I’m wondering if he’s standing at the plate somewhere watching a pitch. So, what can we expect from Ramon Laureano for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alex Kirilloff has the same number of hits in the playoffs as Mike Trout. Sorry, I forgot my parasol, so I made my own shade. An important aspect to him starting a playoff game shows — Oh, by the way, in case you didn’t hear, Alex Kirilloff made his major league debut in the playoffs this year — back to the scheduled program! One thing that him starting a playoff game shows is the Twins are ready to see Kirilloff go, um, off. And *raises hand* same, same. Here’s what Prospect Itch said previously, “After a tough summer fighting a wrist injury, Alex Kiriloff caught fire in the final month—a burst that could be connected to his wrist feeling better. 2020 is a big year for his perceived value. If he comes out hot, people will handwave a disappointing 2019. If he struggles, they’ll start connecting data points and dropping him down their lists, now only if Grey would drop dead.” Okay, what the eff, dude? Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1,500 words about Alex Kirilloff in his Blind Resume post. So, 2020 wasn’t a great year for Kirilloff–I literally can’t think of anyone who had a good 2020, so join the crowd. A bad 2020 for Kirilloff, however, had no bearing on him or anything. There was just no year to have. Here’s where I suppose something:  If the Twins weren’t confident with what they were seeing from Kirilloff in the alternate training camp, they wouldn’t have put him on their playoff roster. So, what can we expect from Alex Kiriloff for 2021 fantasy baseball?

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Andrew Vaughn, hmm. A classic case of team ready to win, having the parts to do it, but are they thinking long-term to save money? Like Altuve trying to get cereal, going with the latter always wins. Never trust teams to promote prospects. It’s good self-care to expect teams to be absolutely monolithic creatures of saving money and not caring for fans’ wants and/or needs. Imagine a giant glove compartment filled with all the Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons in the entire world, that’s every major league team, except the Dodgers and Yankees, and maybe now the Mets. By the by, how do the Dodgers and Yanks compete every year? Hmm, let’s see, could it be they spend money? Really? I nailed it on my first guess? Damn, just lucky I guess. The Pirates’ team owner is worth $1.1 billion. He could sign Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and Liam Hendricks to one-year $25 million contracts, and still have one billion left over accruing enough interest to pay for those contracts. But, ya know, poor franchises! Any hoo! Andrew Vaughn’s ETA is what this entire post is going to come down to, but, well…So, what can we expect from Andrew Vaughn for 2021 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was tempted to do a rookie outlook post for the entire Marlins organization. Here’s me putting guys in categories in my brain:

“Okay, Jesus Aguilar, you stay where you are. Everyone else take a step forward.” Seeing one player with his head low, “Wait, who are you?”
The player finally lifts their head, “I’m Chad Wallach, sir.”
“Oh, you stay with Jesus Aguilar. I think. Were you in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?”
“That’s Eli Wallach, sir.”
“Any relation?”
“Not sure, but since this is your inner monologue, you could google it.”
“Don’t talk back to me, son.”

So, there’s a ton of Marlins prospects. Let’s just run down some names:  Jazz Chisholm, Monte Harrison, Sixto Sanchez, Trevor Rogers, Lewin Diaz, Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer. Already gave you a Sixto Sanchez fantasy, and I debated writing one for Edward Cabrera, but, honestly, Prospect Itch’s Marlins top 10 prospects will suffice for most of these guys. Monte Harrison is interesting, but has severe strikeout tendencies, and I like Lewin Diaz, but more of an NL-Only guy, who I might rank in January, but don’t think I need to talk about him for 500+ words at this point. Jazz Chisholm, though, there’s still more to say, and looks to be at least be in the discussion for a starting job in April, which makes him immediately relevant. So, what can we expect from Jazz Chisholm for 2021 fantasy baseball?

Psyche! My NFBC league filled, so we’ve started another league with Donkey Teeth. The slow draft starts this coming Monday, and costs $150 to join. $1,000 to the winner, $350 to 2nd place, and money back to 3rd. Also, there’s a $30,000 overall prize, amongst other incentives, like razzing Donkey when he drafts Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard. Donkey’s league is just about full too, so don’t wait, hesitate or any other rhyming synonym. To sign up, click this rather unwieldy link that’s under this writing. Anyway, the Jazz Chisholm 2021 fantasy:

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Predicting rookie call-ups is a lot harder this preseason than in past, because of the previous year shizzshow. Usually a team calls up a guy in September, lets them play for a few weeks, then they appear ticketed for an April call-up in the next season. Or a guy isn’t called up, but you know there will be minor league teams playing in April so you can sorta gauge whether or not a guy will be playing in April in the minors and called up by May, June or later. We might know by mid-March if there will be a minor league season, and what it will look like: Will there be Single, Double and Triple-A? Will there only be Triple-A and camp? Will there just be an alternate camp? I have no idea. I’m flying blind right now, like Howard Hughes with undiagnosed syphilis. Every time someone mentions minor league baseball, I mimic Little Carmine with, “Your minor league baseball, whatever happened there?” If there’s only a Summer Camp again, Wander Franco might start the year with the Rays. If there’s relatively normal minor league baseball, and we can remember what relatively normal is, Wander Franco might not be up until June. It’s worth saying that I think we start the MLB season on time. So, what can we expect from Wander Franco for 2021 fantasy baseball?

Please, blog, may I have some more?