Some days one has the juice, others the juice has dribbled between the humble 2×4’s of your local park’s picnic bench, to be scarfed by ants drowning in the treasure of sweet excess.
What makes a sample in baseball? Some argue it’s two weeks of data for hitters, others argue a month. Fantasy baseballers meanwhile react to every box score as if it’s adding a new apocryphal page to the illuminated text of a player’s career arc. We are all aware of knee-jerk drops, the people who see a hitter go hitless for two games and then drop them into waivers to be scarfed by miscreants drowning in the treasure of sweet excess.
Last year I drafted Lourdes Gurriel on most of my teams. He went on to have an injury-marred power outage that drove me to madness. What did I do this spring? Salivated at his extremely low draft price and put him on a few teams this season. His line after the month of April was 12/1/13/1/.273 with 7 doubles. He had an 87 wRC+.
I dropped him.
I had not waited two weeks. I had not waited one month. I had technically waited seven full months to see any sign of his power returning. It did not return. Statcast didn’t seem to think he was too unlucky. He was a player who had lost his ability to drive the baseball over the fence, and I needed an OF who could do just that.
I dropped him.
In May, he went 18/8/16/0/.356 with a wRC+ of 206.
Sometimes fantasy baseball makes you sweaty with anticipation, other times deliriously happy with your ability to rope in the randomness of numbers and control them like a false god. And then there is this. The bitter taste in one’s mouth. The quiet seething rage every time one peeps a Diamondbacks box score and knowing someone else is scarfing up your treasure. Your sweet excess. And you wish that excess were refuse, old plastic bags filled with dog poop sitting in a dumpster filled with slowly evaporating rainwater.
One day you have that treasure, the next refuse. You can look at every model, watch every at bat, cast every stat, and still watch the juice drip off the table. You don’t have the juice. They have the juice. And all they did was drift over waivers and take a chance on a zero. What a cruelty.
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 and Q – when a site contradicts a player valuation on back-to-back blurbs
Stephen A. Smith IMG_4346.jpeg Award – Given to the player blurb that promises the most and delivers the least.
Bob Nightengale Memorial Plaque – the details are better when they’re askew
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!
Verdugo had gone 0-for-12 over his last three games before breaking out of the funk on Friday against the Diamondbacks. He knocked a base hit in the fourth before doubling and scoring in the sixth. Verdugo plated a run on his third hit in the eighth. Despite the recent cold stretch, the 27-year-old outfielder is hitting .292/.364/.464 with five homers and three steals across 214 plate appearances.
Here we go again. Last week we tried to pin down exactly what constituted each type of slump, and now we have a batter going 0-12 labeled as both a “funk” and a “cold stretch.” I find myself baffled but also must recognize that we live in a world not dictated by absolutes. I will update the chart after I find a way to give myself any time to open another tab and copy and paste data. Lord knows that time exists for people who don’t have their writing window from 11:15pm to 1:00am due to poor planning and children and life.
Also, can we all stop trying to project him for anything more than 80/14/80/.290? Every year I read a new blurb commenting that this is the year that Verdugo has “figured it all out.” Verdugo has figured it out. He’s a doubles hitter with a good command of the zone. Plays well in category leagues, otherwise is a 4th/5th OF that is written as if he’s produced at a 90/25/100/.295 level at any point in his career.
He hasn’t. Move along.
This could have been a huge game for Davis, but he was batting third while the top two hitters in the Giants lineup (LaMonte Wade Jr. and Blake Sabol) combined to go 0-for-12 with nine strikeouts, even as the rest of the team went 19-for-36 with four strikeouts in the 15-run outburst.
This was a dadgum huge game for Davis! Great googley moogly, the man can’t make the hitters around him perform better! This isn’t MLB The Show or the far superior Super Mega Baseball series. He doesn’t get to “do” their at bats for them (and that sounds gross anyway!). Every time I drafted Corbin Carroll this spring, I heard mutterings in chat or in person that he would have depressed counting stats due to the perceived sogginess of the Dbacks’ offense. And lo, here we stand, the Diamondbacks crushing the ball, and Corbin in the thick of things, albeit when he’s not throwing his body into outfield walls in a 9-1 game that was entirely unnecessary and yes there is bitterness inside me.
I can understand not betting on the Pirates or the A’s to score runs in March. Every other team is a bit of crapshoot. Don’t draft the team around the player, draft the player. Unless it’s Bobby Witt and the Royals. Every coach on that dadgum team is probably too busy teaching the players anti-porn material to actually help Witt, Melendez, etc to improve whatsoever in 2023. What do you think the anti-porn teachings include? Perhaps that one’s hands become covered in hair as our masculine-werewolf scarlet letter? Or that part of our souls leak out with every solo emission?
Tatis Jr. took righty Luis Severino deep in the fourth inning to supply one of San Diego’s three hits in a low-scoring affair at Yankee Stadium. The 24-year-old has gotten off to a bit of a slow start at the dish, slashing .254/.297/.486 with 20 runs scored, nine homers, 18 RBI and four stolen bases across 148 plate appearances.
Really. A slow start. A slow. Start. Slow.
I am a broken man. A slow start.
Tatis has played around 15 games less than your average major leaguer this season. In 35 games, he’s gone 20/9/18/4/.254. In May he finished with a line of 16/7/13/5, and then play the fun prorate game! A full season of Tatis Jr. would be 96/42/78/30 if he were to continue at his current rate.
A slow start would mean the big boy would perhaps not reach a reasonable level of expectation. Do we expect all players to produce 3-5 standards of deviation higher than their average season at this point? We all have unreasonable expectations for ourselves. I believe I should have had about 5 successful careers at this point, something that an unhealthy obsession with Brian Wilson and other cursed wunderkinder bake it my very essence.
Tatis is projected to go 40/30 in a year where he missed 15 games already. If that’s a slow start, then this blurb has doomed us all to obsolescence.
In other words, it’s a glass house, blurb. Maybe you need to take a look at yourself and ask what real fulfillment feels like.
Then report back to me. I desire the feeling of accomplishment gained lazily via the toil of others!
Bob Nightengale Memorial Plaque
In a game that the Royals led 2-1 heading into the sixth inning, things got wild in the final four frames. García smacked a two-run double in the sixth inning that extended the Nationals’ lead to 7-2, then he scored on a two-run single off the bat of Joey Meneses. He became just the second player in Nationals’ history to record a six-hit game, joining Anthony Rendon. He also became the first player in team history to have two doubles in the same inning. With the terrific five-hit night, the 22-year-old is now slashing .288/.330/.394 with three homers, 20 RBI and three swipes on the year.
Getting six hits in two games is pretty rad. Doing it once is incredible. Doing it in one game is so incredible that the blurbist plum forgot it even happened, even after mentioning it twice in the same blurb!
This is why I preach from the pulpit of concision. Include the pertinent details, and then get out of the way. You feel the need to mention how he scored one of his three runs? Why? Why’d you do that? Do we need to read about Joey Meneses in this blurb? If you’re going to mention it was a two run single, why not tell me who the other runner is? Why not tell me how the inning started? Break the whole thing down, we don’t write blurbs anymore! Pandora’s box is open you fools! Everything and anything is possible! Every blurb will exist as its own 1,0001 Nights, collections of stories that Jorge Luis Borges posits is endless, as humans continue to create stories, legends, and Neti Pot conspiracy theories every hour, if not every minute of our waking lives.
Or just write blurbs. I dunno.