In 2014, the Cincinnati Reds signed Homer Bailey to a six-year, $105 million contract. Doh! He only pitched 145.2 innings that season due to arm fatigue. The following season was cut short due to Tommy John surgery. 2016 consisted of only 23 innings and in 2017, Bailey had elbow surgery to remove bone spurs and finished with 91 innings pitched. 2018 brought DL stints due to knee inflammation and a subsequent benching after posting a 1-14 record with an ERA of 6.09. Doh! But then last season showed a flicker of hope, as he made improvements after being traded to the Oakland Athletics. Now that he is in Minnesota, and being drafted as the 396th overall player in NFBC drafts, is there profit to be mined here? Or is it just more Doh! from Homer?

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In these dystopian times, my mind can only wonder if Mad Max could ambush and/or eradicate COVID-19. Probably not since the Rona is invisible, but Max Rockatansky could do unimaginable things when mad, so I’m not completely dismissing the possibility. There is another Max, though, who may ease the pain that COVID-19 has brought into our fantasy baseball universe, and that’s Max Kepler of the Minnesota Twins (Max Scherzer is too old and happy from winning the World Series). And this Max is mad as well because he’s being drafted as the 136th overall player in NFBC drafts from 2/1 – 3/23. Is it warranted for this Max to be mad, and can he bring a ray of sunshine into these gloomy days?

Kepler was signed at the age of 16 back in 2009 for the largest signing bonus ($800k) ever given to a European-born player. He then spent three years in rookie ball, where he hit for a high average, showed good plate discipline, had a high BABIP, and produced 10 home runs and 7 stolen bases in 269 plate appearances during the 2012 season. As he moved up the ranks, the walk rate continued to improve (from 10% to 13%), while the strikeout rate remained very low (13% to 15% range). The BABIP also remained above .300 while Kepler continued to hit for a good average. When he finally received consistent playing time with the big club in 2016, the batting average and BABIP both plummeted, while the walk rate went down to 9% and strikeout rate went to 20%. Not uncommon when making the leap to the majors. He was a 18 home run and 6 stolen base player the first two seasons in the majors. Then in 2018, things started to improve. The walk rate went back to above 11% while the strikeout rate cratered to 15.7%. The batting average and BABIP continued to trend lower, though. He ended the season with 20 home runs and 4 stolen bases. Last season, Kepler broke out with 36 home runs but only stole 1 base. The walk and strikeout rates were similar to 2018, but the ISO spiked while the batting average increased to .252 with a BABIP of .244.

Kepler ended last season as the 107th offensive player for fantasy, so the NFBC ADP seems fair. Is there room for improvement?

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Billy Bob was gracefully galloping across the Texas plains, chasing that magnificent butterfly he had seen five minutes earlier. The sun was blazing, the wind was lazy, and the CV-19 was raging, but all Billy Bob could think of was calibrating his senses so that when he swung his net in the air, the butterfly would be his. But then…………..aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. He was oblivious to the human-sized sinkhole and fell feet first for what seemed like hours, but in reality was just a few seconds. After gravity was defeated by the floor, Billy Bob ended up in a cavern about 10 x 10 x 10. In the middle stood a stand with a book placed on top of it. Billy Bob got up, shook the dirt off his clothes, and proceeded to inspect: The Book of Isiah. Intrigued, Billy Bob turned the page. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, 24 years old, 5′ 10″ and 176 pounds. Meh. .238/.299/.322 slash with 1 home run and 3 stolen bases in 222 plate appearances last season. MEH. About to shake his fists and curse the gods, Billy Bob then turned one more page: .378/.410/.757 slash with 4 home runs in 39 plate appearances during Spring Training. Maybe Kiner-Falefa was a caterpiller and is now ready to transform. Did Billy Bob find his buttefly after all?

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Reynaldo Lopez allowed the fifth-most home runs last season and had game logs that would have made NBA players jealous. There were four games allowing three homers in a game and one game serving up four. There were 14 games in which he allowed at least five earned runs, with six of those games giving up six earned runs and two games with eight! Reynald-NOOOOOOOOOO. But I’m intrigued for some weird reason. Is it the 296 ADP in NFBC drafts from 2/1 to 3/9? Could be. Maybe it’s the fact that he throws mid-to-upper 90s. I’m always a sucker for speed. I blame Maverick and Goose. Or could it be the six-inning, 14-strikeout performance in April of last season? How about the complete game, one-hit, 11-strikeout game against the Cleveland Indians in early September? Let’s dig in and see if we can say Lope-YESSSSSS.

Lopez signed with the Washington Nationals back in 2012 as an international free agent from the Domincan Republic. He pitched in Single-A until 2016, when he logged 76 innings in Double-A, 33 innings in Triple-A, and 44 innings with the big club. With the major league team, Lopez finished with a 4.91 ERA, 8.59 K/9, and 4.50 BB/9. The following year, he was traded to the White Sox. He suffered a rib injury in 2017, which kept him at 47.2 innings pitched that season. In 2018, Lopez pitched 188.2 innings, had a 3.91 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 3.58 BB/9. Last season, he pitched 184 innings, had a 5.38 ERA, 8.27 K/9, and 3.18 BB/9.

I know, I know. Yuckaldo Nopez, right?

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I fulfilled my quota for young, exciting players when I wrote about Keston Hiura last week. Now back to our regularly scheduled program of boring, undervalued players. I liken it to walking into a Baskin Robbins. Ooooohh, 31 flavors. There’s mint chocolate chip, rainbow sherbert, jamoca almond fudge, and cotton candy with their fancy names, colorful skin, and sweet taste. The scooper behind the counter has to dig his/her arm way down into the bucket to mine the deliciousness due to their popularity. But, but, but…..let’s not forget about the vanilla, very berry strawberry, and old fashioned butter pecan. They are boring compared to their more high-profiled brethren, but they get the job done. Which brings me to Jonathan Schoop of the Detroit Tigers. He doesn’t steal a lot of bases or hit for a high average, but he could club 25-30 home runs and is being drafted as the 321st player on average in NFBC drafts from February 1, 2020 to March 2nd, 2020. Scoop Schoop?

 

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It’s been well documented all draft prep season that the shortstop position is deeeeeeeeeep. So deep that Ron Jeremy has signed up for a Razzball Commenter League for the challenge. So deep that the CEO of CVS has taken offense. So deep that Rodin’s Thinker has asked to be moved into solitary. The top 10 shortstops are all being drafted in the top 45 overall. There are 14 being drafted in the top 100. There are still viable options within the top 200! With a plethora of options, there are so many viable ways to attack drafts and this position in particular. Would double tapping the shortstop and middle infield slots after making William Wallace proud be the way to go? In this scenario, I’m thinking about Paul DeJong and Jean Segura, who are both being selected with the 196th overall pick in NFBC drafts from the start of February. It must be your lucky day, as you get double the content for the price of…..free. Uhh, Grey. I think we need to alter the business model a tad.

 

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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.

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Murphy’s law states that, “If something can go wrong, it will.” Murphy’s Law of Expectations (made up by me) has a similar theme: Assumptions lead to outsized expectations, which translates to disappointment. Imagine if your significant other comes home one day and says, “Honey, I’m going to get a boob job or penis enhancement procedure done.” Well, alrighty then. You get all excited and start mental masturbating over gazoongas or I___________________________________________________________________I. But what if the procedure was to reduce the size, or there was a complication with the procedure? You’d be pissed because the outcome did not correlate to all the mental masturbating sessions. That is what happened with Daniel Murphy last draft season. Even though he was coming off knee surgery and missed half of the season, signing with the Colorado Rockies had owners all over the land mental masturbating over what he could do in the confines of Coors Field. There’s no debating that hitting in Coors Field boosts hitting, but the outsized expectations led his ADP to skyrocket from 160 overall up to as high as the 36th overall player. Murphy finished the year hitting .279 with 14 homers in 478 plate appearances. As a result, he’s being selected as the 245th player in NFBC drafts according to data from 1/1/20 to 2/10/20. Does Murphy’s Law of Expectations work the other way as well?

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You ever play Marco Polo? Marcooooo, you bellow out. Listen intently. Pooolllooooooo is the response. Move to where you think sound came from. Marcooooo, you yell out again. Listen more intently. Pooollloooooooooo. Each Marco with the subsequent Polo response should get you closer to tagging the idiot yelling Polo. For the non-swimmers chilling in the cabana poolside with the quizzical looks, the Hot and Cold game is more your speed. Get closer to the object in question, a Hot response is elicited. Mover further away and you get Cold. According to NFBC ADP data from January 1, 2020 to Februrary 3, 2020, Khris Davis is receiving the Cold response, as he is the 177th overall player being drafted on average. There is no Polo to Marco when it comes to Davis this season, but are the fantasy goodies dangling right in front of our faces? When Kross told Kris to warm it up and Kris responsed with, “I’m about to. ‘Cause that’s what I was born to do,” can we expect the same from Khris?

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