Spring Training camps are starting to break, and so are bones, ligaments, and the hopes and dreams of early fantasy drafters everywhere.  We’ve got lots of updates on big names here as well as some minor nicks to watch as preseason workouts start to ramp up.

Mike Clevinger – News broke recently that Clevinger underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and is on the shelf for 6-8 weeks.  Meniscus injuries can be tricky and the treatment Clevinger opted for carries a longer up front rehab time, but less risk of injury moving forward. Clevinger’s did suffer another left leg injury last year (ankle sprain), and that didn’t show any effect on his velocity or numbers after his return.  Even with a full recovery, this still knocks Clevinger down from the second round price that early drafters are paying for him. I’d start looking for him towards the later part of the top 100, where guys like Brandon Woodruff, Tyler Glasnow, and Jose Berrios are currently being drafted and hope that you get last year’s stats after a return in late May/early June.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Our fantasy baseball trade analyzer just got a little better as you now have an option of valuing players by their full/rest of season value ($) OR their per game value ($/Game).

I think the $/Game metric is one of our more underrated/underused metrics so I am going to use this post as a primer on its value.

What is the difference between $ and $/Game?

The standard way of valuing fantasy players is based on each player’s projected stats for the full season (or rest of season once the season has started). These stats are converted into a total value. We find auction $ value (based on $260 for all starting players with a 67/33 hit/pitch split) to be the most intuitive scale for displaying player values but other methods like summing z-scores provide similar benefits.

The downside of full/rest of season projections for comparing players is they reflect both projected performance AND playing time. This is fine when comparing players with similar playing time projections but creates issues if playing time is uneven because one of the players is projected for less playing time because of injury, minor league time, unsettled role, etc. A full season value for a player with discounted playing time essentially treats all that missing time as a zero. We know for DL stints or minor league time that we can plug in a replacement and, thus, the full season stats will undervalue the player with discounted playing time.

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In last week’s preview, we covered the Arizona Diamondbacks. For this week, we’re deep-diving to the bottom of the NL West to find the Giants. Many naive San Fran fans will tell you that this is their year since it’s an even year (2020) but that’s a pretty stupid notion if you look at this team. The championship days are certainly a thing of the past and it’s crazy just how far this team has fallen since then.

If you have any comments or questions, reach me here or on Twitter @Bartilottajoel

Also, if you want to see some other team previews or my bust picks, click here!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Ketel Marte had a very fine season in 2019. In fact, Ketel Marte had such a fine season that most of us have now priced in that this fineness probably won’t happen again. Much like when I’m walking down the street and people are screaming at me the same thing. (I’m more of a capital “F” Fineness type of guy.) After hitting 329/389/592 with 32 home runs and a staggering .264 ISO, his high BABIP has been targeted as reason for regression. While this stat remains an easy crutch to make fast conclusions, if I could just make one important point: I have a higher Fineness factor than Ketel Marte. Most people, actually. But if I could make two important points; I’d also say that Ketel Marte’s demise has been greatly exaggerated…

 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

If I wrote up another old and boring player, Grey was going to make me pass out Razzball lollipops to all the senior citizens in Los Angeles. Young and exciting. Got it. Young and exciting. Scrolling through the NFBC ADP from January 1st to February 19th and……Got it. Keston Hiura of the Milwaukee Brewers. He’s 23 years old. Check. But is he exciting? Well, he only hit 19 home runs and stole 9 bases in 348 plate appearances last season. And he’s being drafted as the 43rd overall player right now. The peoples are definitely excited. He’s Asian, so you know I’m excited, but will drafting him this season bring oohs and aahhs, or will it end up being a tragic flaw?

The first thing that jumped out to me when looking at Hiura was the 30.7% strikeout rate. I hate high strikeout players, but I’ve been coming around to them more recently because of the high upside many of them exhibit. That’s evident with Hiura, as the ISO was .268, and he straight mashed the ball. According to the Statcast data from last season, Hiura had an exit velocity of 91.4 mph and a hard hit rate of 50%! The exit velocity was good for 25th in all of baseball, while the hard hit rate was 7th! No wonder peoples are going goo goo gaga, not for Coco Puffs, but for Keston Hiura.

As I dug deeper, though, I began to get concerned.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Much like the classic Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) PC game, The Oregon Trail, we finish our bullpen parade out west. Apologies if the research in this post is light, I stayed up all night playing TOT on the Wayback Machine. Suck it deer, I shot so many of you I can’t even carry all the meat. Much like the game, your journey to saves accumulation is a series of decisions fraught with peril. Do your best not to die of dysentery. In this example, Wade Davis is dysentery.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

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Well holy shift Batman! This season marks my 19th year writing for Razzball. It’s hard to think back to 2001 and my chance encounter with Grey in the mens room at Yankee Stadium. True story, one of the worst things that could happen to a sports fan happened to me. It was an extremely hot Sunday afternoon after a long Saturday night of celebrating my 55th birthday. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that bacon double cheese at 4am. Well sure enough after a few tall boy PBRs my stomach was twisting up something awful. I tried to hold it, but there was nothing I could do. I was going to have to drop Bill Cosby off at the pool at Yankee Stadium. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather make out with the 300 pound, overweight (redundant) lady selling the Hebrew National hot dogs than put my bare ass anywhere near the toilet seat in a public bathroom at a ballpark. Had it been pregame perhaps it might not have been so bad (somewhat freshly cleaned), but we’re talking about the 5th inning here. I’ve learned a lot in my many years on this planet and one of them is that human beings are beyond vile and have absolutely terrible aim when going to the bathroom. How is it possible that so much human waste winds up outside of the bowl? Often I believe that it’s just got to be on purpose. Well there I was, sitting on about fourteen layers of toilet paper eating a cheesesteak. In case you’re wondering I just didn’t have the strength to hover, and about the cheesesteak, that’s a story for another day. Get in and get out I said to myself. I was just about done when my stall door was kicked open, nearly off its hinges. One might have thought Daniel LaRusso was practicing his crane kick. The ironic thing was a simple push would have done the job as, lost in all of the shuffle, I neglected to lock the stall door. There, standing in front of me, was a middle-aged dude wearing a “SAGNOF” shirt who took one look at me and my cheesesteak and asked if I’d be interested in writing points league posts for his up and coming fantasy baseball website. I agreed, we did NOT shake hands and that marked the beginning of a my “professional” writing career. Since then I have slowly worked my way up the company ranks and have settled in as the points league guy. My how far I have come. Lastly, if you believe a word of that story I’ve got a league I’d like you to join. Please be sure to provide your contact information in the comments section.

 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Last week, while I was wilting away in my cube, I had the pleasure of staring off into space for a few minutes. What was in my ears while I did it? The soothing sounds of Donkey Teeth and B_Don. They were discussing all the different league offerings the NFBC can provide with Darik Buchar of SportsHub on Razzball’s Goin’ Deep Podcast. I enjoyed the informative nature of the podcast, but it brought to a head something; a belief has been simmering inside of me for quite some time. My belief is that the NFBC, and the strategies used by those who play in those leagues, has become the principal source for many fantasy baseball content consumers, but the strategies applied in these leagues are misused by content consumers as they aren’t applicable to single league set ups.

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I’m Asian, so [email protected]#! Yuli Gurriel! I’m also a fantasy baseball writer, so separation of emotion from the numbers is a must. Much strength will be required in providing an objective analysis regarding Gurriel, so I’d appreciate if you click this post trillions of times so I can supersize my McyD’s and get the kids some new shoes. Thank you. Gurriel clubbed 31 homers last season and had a triple slash of .298/.343/.541. As a result, his average ADP from NFBC drafts (1/1/20-2/15/20) is the 125th overall player. [email protected]#! Yuli Gurriel?

Gurriel is 35 years old, yet has only played three and change seasons in the bigs. His rookie season consisted of 36 games and 137 plate appearances. Yes, Grey, I’m writing up another old guy. Maybe I have a thing for the olds? Should I hit up AARP to sponsor my posts? Anyways, in the past years when he played full seasons with the Astros, Gurriel never hit below .290 and never struck out more than 11% of the time. The swinging strike rate has never been in the double digits and the contact rate in the strike zone has always been above 91%. Translation: he’s a professional hitter.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

It’s not easy to draft a player who is old (at least relative to baseball ability), boring, and offers little true upside.  Well, it’s easy, but it’s not fun.  I can’t believe how often in a draft I veer off of my carefully-constructed, perfectly-ordered master list of players, skipping a solid but dull veteran to reach a few spots lower on my list for a youngster who may or may not end up with any fantasy value at all.  I’ve already been guilty of this in 2020, and I need a little re-set for myself to remember how helpful a boring but probably steady player with a decent floor can be, especially in deeper leagues.  Thus, a list of some players whom I can’t possibly call “targets,” but could actually pay off nicely down the road with solid-if-not-spectacular production come summertime.  (All of the following players are on the ugly side of 30, and are being drafted outside the top 250, according to current NFBC ADP).

Please, blog, may I have some more?