I struggle to remember a world without alternate sites, and I miss the minors. Prospects really got crushed by the pandemic much harder than any recent pool of players. They were already being paid dirt, but to lose a year of development, or even a year of service time, is absolutely brutal. It’s like if the Beatles never went to Hamburg and tried to develop their talents in Liverpool instead with spotty gigs mostly attended by McCartney’s family. He seems like the kind of guy whose family is a little too supportive. Anyways, without Hamburg, the Beatles would have sucked. Without the minors, we don’t get to pick apart prospect blurbs that are absolutely sure that Prospect T. Neuplayer’s call-up is imminent. It never is, friends. Do you know what is imminent? Blurb injury curses!
I’ve introduced a section into this old series called “Hex Enduction Power,” where we will analyze injury blurbs that accidentally guarantee that a player goes on the IL. I’m talking something like this:
Dalton Trumbo, OF
Trumbo left the game in the 5th inning after being plunked by a 97 mph fastball thrown by Washington Nativist pitcher Joe McCarthy.
Analysis: Trumbo was in a great deal of pain, but he stayed in the game to run the bases. We have to assume The California Baseball Laborers were being careful with their prize outfielder. He was off to a great start this year, and it would be a shame for owners of Trumbo to lose his production.
This blurb has all the hallmarks of a potential broken wrist and a 60 day IL stint. Nothing is worse than seeing your player removed from a non-blowout, only to read this on a blurbsite. According to Emily Dickinson, hope is a bird. According to most fantasy sites, hope is a blurb. This should never be the case. You should never read a blurb like that and start hoping. As soon as the blurbist types out, “…it would be a shame for owners of Trumbo to lose his production,” the hex has been applied. You’re done for. Kaput. You’re the Beatles without Hamburg. Hope you’re ready to hop on the good ship injury! We never have a choice! We’re the passengers, and the players are the ships! That is a gross metaphor! Yes! On to the reminders!
A Blurbstomp Reminder
We will analyze player blurbs from a given evening, knowing that 1-2 writers are usually responsible for all the player write-ups posted within an hour of the game results. We will look at:
- Flowery Diction – how sites juice up descriptions of player performance
- Q/Q – Combined with Flowery Diction this week
- Hex Enduction Power – where a blurb can make an injury much, much worse
- Bob Nightengale Syndrome – instances of updates that don’t update anything
- Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award – Given to the player blurb that promises the most and delivers the least.
The hope is that by season’s end, we’ll all feel more confident about our player evaluations when it comes to the waiver wire. We will read blurbs and not be swayed by excessive superlatives, faulty injury reporting, and micro-hype. I will know that I have done my job when Grey posts, and there isn’t a single question about catchers that he did not address in his post. Onward to Roto Wokeness!
Flowery Diction/Q and Q
The Diamondbacks haven’t had a save situation in over a week, so getting a read on their closer situation has been extremely challenging. However, Crichton appears to have a firm grasp on the role moving forward. He got C.J. Cron to ground out to first base and Charlie Blackmon to fly out to left field before giving up a single to Yonathan Daza. He bounced back to strike out Matt Adams on three pitches to end the contest. The 29-year-old righty owns a 5.00 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and 8/4 K/BB ratio over nine innings. He’s worthy of a roster spot for fantasy managers in deeper mixed leagues.
This is a confusing blurb that you can almost send to your fellow managers to try to get them to trade you a hitter for a closer who “appears to have a firm grasp on the role.” The confusion lies in the rhetorical ambiguity that seeds this graph like white on rice:
- Firm grasp
- Moving forward
All those words put together in one sentence does not inspire confidence. This drives me nuts. I think it’s a committee, with Crichton at the top. The sample is so small, and what’s to stop the Dbacks from reinstating Soria when he comes back from injury? This blurb has a toe dipped in the “Declare a closer” puddle, but that’s all it is. A toe does not make a closer, by god. We need that whole foot, maybe even ankle deep, to get that true closer declaration. Kendall Graveman has a better grasp on his job, and Montero is still getting saves. You can’t tell me the author of Congo is more of a closer than a professional wrestler. Smokey, this isn’t Nam. This is declaring a closer. There are rules.
RotoEdgeWorld.com is in the business of Twitter-sourced beat writer-dependent scoops, so I understand why they write blurbs like above. I think there’s a more elegant way to do it, and if Strunk and White were here, they’d probably disagree with me, and we’d get in a fistfight over brevity and aesthetics in blurbing, and then James Joyce would arrive and throw Strunk through a plate glass window. Either way, you anoint the closer without any sourcing from the team, or you don’t. I prefer the latter.
Hex Enduction Power
All things considered, that sounds like positive news for the hard-hitting backstop. He’ll likely be re-evaluated on Saturday — and may receive a day off to rest — but it sounds like he should be able to avoid a trip to the injured list. Prior to leaving Friday’s game, Contreras had been 2-for-3, raising his season slash to .238/.333/.512 to go along with seven homers and 16 RBI.
This blurb raises the specter of a lingering injury for a catcher who depends on his thighs more than Joshua Reynolds. With the words “that sounds like positive news,” this blurb guarantees at least two missed games for Contreras. He’s a catcher for GD sake, of course he’s going to miss multiple games. He’ll probably come back tonight (Monday), and then play every other day for a week. Granted (what’s granted, why did I write this? Is there a wish I’m addressing here?), it definitely could have been worse, but every blurb could be worse. Shredded knees, elbows, everything shredded, besides mini wheats, who are better shredded. Maybe this wouldn’t be a cursed blurb (blurse? clurb?) if the blurbist went for the rhetorical jugular and wrote:
“All things considered, the fact that he didn’t shred any tender ligaments in his legs is brilliant. Expect him to miss a few days as the Cubs manage his innings, and pray they don’t throw him back into games too early. We can’t have a ballclub that sides with the enemy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with the evil Shredder. Shredder don’t care about no catcher. Shredder don’t care about no good time. Shredder shreds, baby.”
See, it’s really easy.
Bob Nightengale Award
Pache was sent down to the Braves’ alternate training site to work on his swing last weekend, but has been summoned to take the roster spot of Guillermo Heredia, who has been placed on the injured list due to right knee inflammation. The 22-year-old centerfielder is one of the most dynamic defenders in the entire game, but he’s struggled at the plate so far this season. He batted .133 across 11 games before being sidelined by a groin injury last month. He’s worthy of a speculative roster spot in deeper mixed leagues and NL-only formats, but it’s unclear exactly where he’s at in his development from an offensive standpoint at this moment.
“It’s unclear exactly where he’s at in his development from an offensive standpoint at this moment.” It’s clearer than the bottom of that pool suspended between buildings guaranteed to be a creeper’s paradise. Pache is still early in his development. Fangraphs various systems have him at 39/10/37/5/.243. RotoEdgeWorld.com has their own projections for Pache that they hide behind a paywall. He’s 22 years old, so he’s still developing his hit tool at the professional level. In his best year’s he looks like Andruw Jones with all the defense and a fraction of his power. Fangraphs has him as a 20/20 hitter at his offensive peak, and I see him at a least season removed from that outcome.
You can use blurbs like this to do research on trade candidates. Don’t use the blurb as a piece of evidence, use a blurb like this to spur you on to deeper research. See if you can convince someone in your league that Pache is just a swing adjustment away from a utopia of barrels and LD% heaven. I do not think he is, but I also thought that Leodys Taveras was at worst a skim milk Adalberto Mondesi. It hurts to be wrong.
Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award
Kris Bryant drives in a run Thursday versus Atlanta.
Fantasy Impact: Bryant has been an elite player in the past and is playing quite well this season. He should be owned in most leagues.
This is one of the most boring blurbs I’ve read. It felt like I was underwater while I read it. Reading this blurb is like changing the laundry, only you’re on downers, and you’re lying on the couch listening to the washing machine beep knowing that you should get up and change it. However, the ending is absolutely bonkers. “He should be owned in most leagues.” Is Kris Bryant not owned in leagues? He’s already owned in 97% of all leagues across all formats besides AL-Only and All-Pitcher leagues. “Should be owned” is the type of fantasy sports idiom reserved for dudes that are under-owned. Here’s Rotowire’s write up for comparison’s sake:
“Bryant went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, an RBI and a run scored in Thursday’s win over Atlanta.
Bryant is rolling right now, as he’s now batting .310 with a superb 1.011 OPS and 17 RBI through 23 games. After a down 2020 campaign, it looks like Bryant is back to his old form, and fantasy managers should enjoy the ride.”
I can’t disagree with any of the descriptive words, they seamlessly blend basic data analysis with anecdotal evidence, and you’re good.
You can’t weaponize Fantasypro’s blurb. It is the equivalent of The Shaggs first record. It exists in a vacuum all of its own, surrounded by the blurbs that provide updates that try and serve a purpose. This blurb is a cork in the ocean, floating over the raging sea. It’s a rock in a landslide, rolling over the mountainside.
Good luck this week, friends and blurbists alike.