This week has provided a windfall of blurbs, as we shake off the early season roster machinations and tilt, with steampunk goggles adorned, into the full gale force winds of early April player blurbs. The player you drafted in the 13th round is hitting sub-.200, so it’s definitely time to drop, right? According to some player blurbs, yes. Look, here’s a Rule 5 guy, and he already has 16 RBI+Runs, and has stolen 3 bases. Soon, you will see the words that are like lines of Pixie Stick dust to a room full of 10 year old boys:
“Small sample size…we know this level of production is unsustainable…BUT.”
This BUT is a large BUT. It is bigger than Butte, Montana. This BUT is bigger than all the Kardashian buttockses put together into a Mecha Kardassian. E! hasn’t pivoted to reality/kaiju/mech yet, but anything’s possible if you can simply remind Kris that she hasn’t entirely ruined her family’s mental health. Asides aside, do not give into the temptation of the BUT. You do not want to be the person dropping their 13th rounder for a 5th OF who might be a 4th OF in a best case scenario. Promise me you will stay true to your fantasy heart. I know it can be hard. My roto team is batting sub .200 so far. Sob. Promise me you’ll stay the course.
Speaking of promises, I promised to prove a simple hypothesis last week: A fantasy baseball manager is in all of Dante’s nine circles of Hell at all times. I break promises all the time, but this isn’t grandfather’s me. This is a me that states it and makes it. To whit:
|1st Circle – Limbo||Before stats begin every day, we are here, tortured by potential.|
|2nd Circle – Lust||TFW a new closer is announced, and your bid can’t begin to reflect your level of desire|
|3rd Circle – Gluttony||TFW your team is cranking, and you don’t even have room to add a hotshot call-up|
|4th Circle – Avarice/Prodigality||FOMO regarding potential waiver gems, and hoarding FAAB $ for that last big free agent (that never comes)|
|5th Circle – Wrath/Sullenness||TFW you see an 11-0 score, and your guy goes 0-5|
|6th Circle – Heresy||TFW you’re so angry your team sucks, you convince yourself it’s GOOD you drafted Eloy instead of Vlad Jr.|
|7th Circle – Violence||TFW you’re still angry about Eloy, so you post on that Yahoo Player note that you want to break his other shoulder|
|8th Circle – Fraud||TFW you pick up Tyler O’Neill after losing Eloy, telling yourself, “I won’t lose that much production overall.”|
|9th Circle – Treachery||TFW your leaguemate accepts your horrible trade proposal, but the league vetoes you|
If you’re playing fantasy sports, you’re already in a beautiful hell of your own cognitive labyrinths. You are the medieval knight in the Seventh Seal, only you’re playing dodgeball instead of chess, and there’s a dozen Deaths instead of one, and they’re all zonked on greenies. Your soul has been compromised. Accept it as I have, give into the darkness. Soon you’ll be slicing off your son’s hand and winning your fantasy league! Let’s get it!
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 – Qualitative and quantitative look at how a site’s editorial vision colors the blurb “analysis”
- Double Takes – instances where successive player blurbs contradict each other
- 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
Posey collected a pair of singles and also drew a walk in this one, reaching base safely in three of his four plate appearances. He worked a walk off of Austin Gomber in the seventh inning and ultimately came around to score on Brandon Crawford’s go-ahead two-run double. Posey hasn’t missed a beat after sitting out the entire 2020 season, hitting .333/.400/.667 with a pair of homers, six runs scored and two RBI through his first five games.
I think this might be a case of the lazy idioms. “Posey hasn’t missed a beat after sitting out the entire 2020 season.” I would say he missed a giant beat called the 2020 season. Maybe the blurb is intimating that he was a dominant fantasy catcher in 2019 and now he’s back like he was never gone? The sub .700 OPS tells me a different story. Seven home runs and he didn’t hit for average? He hasn’t hit for average since 2017? How is this missing any beat? All these question marks are making me dizzy. I feel as if it’s 2am, and the “Free Money for Everybody” guy has emerged out of my television to pummel me in one of his pristinely fitted Riddler suits. Let us abscond from this hall of mirrors and recognize that Buster’s playing great considering the trajectory of his career. Good for him, and death to lazy idioms.
- Q and Q
Clase was called upon to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning and immediately made things interesting by issuing a leadoff walk to Jeimer Candelario, and also giving up a one-out single to Jonathan Schoop. The flame-throwing 23-year-old righty managed to settle down, coaxing a game-ending double-play ball off the bat of Nomar Mazara to preserve the victory. He continued to flash impressive fastball velocity, touching triple digits on seven of his 18 pitches in this one. He’s been dominant so far, allowing only two baserunners, while also racking up six strikeouts, over four innings this season. He appears to have a firm grip on the Indians’ closer role and should be rostered in all fantasy formats.”
There is a lot I don’t like about saves in fantasy baseball, but it is incredible to watch a blurb move the needle on an under-owned player based on two saves just two weeks into a season. The modifiers here are murder, but they get eyeballs and change human behavior. “He appears to have a firm grip…” is a paradoxical statement. The grip is firm or it is not. Perhaps the blurbist is reacting to his website’s anger regarding the closing situation in Cleveland.
RotoEdgeWorld ranked James Karinchak as the number one closer in 2021. Not just for the Indians, but all of baseball. This prognostication has been torched. Karinchak is still listed as Cleveland’s closer on their depth chart, even though this Clase update makes the unverified assertion that Clase is the closer moving forward. One last note is how bitter the blurbist sounds on this player note from March 26th regarding Karinchak’s poor Spring Training. “The Indians could use that as an excuse to bypass him in the closer’s role initially, though that probably won’t work out well for them.” The blurb just threatened Cleveland like a mob boss character from an episode of “Murder She Wrote.” Amazing.
- Double Take
Going to replace this category, as most sites haven’t been egregious in this regard. The well is dry, so I will look for water elsewhere. I’ll take suggestions in the comments for a new cat!
- Bob Nightengale Award
Hopefully, Solak can justify the Rangers’ show of faith after he was handed Rougned Odor’s second base job this spring, even though he was arguably even worse than Odor last season. He’s even getting to hit cleanup, too, and he’d seem to offer quite a bit of fantasy potential if he starts producing like he did in the minors. He’s worth trying in leagues in which he’s available.”
Odor: Played 38 games with a 15/10/30/0/.167 line. His OPS was .623.
Solak: Played 58 games with a 27/2/23/7/.268 line. His OPS was .671.
You can’t make an argument about pro-rating Ughned’s stats, because that’s ridiculous. If Odor’s stats were better, or he hadn’t hit .205 in the previous year in 500+ AB’s, he’d still be on the Rangers. There is no argument to have here. Solak was the better player, unless you’re voting for home runs alone. I’m a fan of the 4-baggers, especially in my deep AL-Only One Category League. Odor was a monster in that league. Pour one out. Stephen King says you should annihilate the adverb, and this blurb is a good example of why self-editing is important. Imagine that you’re a writer, and you’re about to throw down a terrible take that you know is factually incorrect. How can someone create an argument that they can walk back whenever it is convenient? ‘Arguably’ does it in a pinch.
- Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award
Eflin allowed seven hits, and he walked one with just two strikeouts. The 27-year-old right-hander struggled from the get, as he allowed three runs in the first; including a two-run homer to Freddie Freeman. He allowed just one run from that point on, but it’s tough to recover from a three-run first in terms of fantasy production. Eflin was solid in his first start of the year with seven innings of one-run baseball, and will try to have a similar start (obviously) against the Mets on Thursday.”
This blurb has one of my favorite bias tells. Nothing tickles me more than when a pitcher gets shelled, and the blurb says, “Sure he had a bad inning, butwhatabout those other good innings???” I would rather focus on those two K’s, or maybe that he was facing the Braves twice in less than a week? Maybe follow up on his velocity from his last blurb where it noted that it was down more than a full mph? He was throwing harder in this one, maybe something to note. Instead, we get a rare parenthetical adverb to cap things off (obviously) in the last sentence. Seeing a parenthetical adverb alone in the wild is frightening and strange, like getting on the subway in NYC and not seeing a Dr. Zizmor poster. Poor guy had Clint Howard forehead. Google it, you’ll love the wiki wormhole.
On that note, we wrap another week of blurbs. I hope the attention on prose, especially (obviously) the modifiers that are the difference between 200 owners picking up a middle reliever, and 64% of all fantasy players picking up that same potential closer. I will see you in all the different layers in this Dante’s Inferno we call fantasy baseball. I’ll probably be in the 5th circle this week, listening to Talk Talk “Laughing Stock,” sobbing and journaling about all the wonderful plans Eloy and I had this summer.