Back in 2013, a high school math teacher embarked upon one of life’s greatest mysteries: Did Double Stuf Oreos truly have double the cream between the wafers? Utilizing the free labor from his students, the experiment concluded that Double Stuf Oreos only contained 1.86 times the stuff. This is why I have trust issues. The lesson here, boys and girls? Never fully trust what your eyes see and take the time to dig deep. Which brings me to Jeimer Candelario of the Detroit Tigers, who has been absolutely en fuego to the tune of a .325/.385/.571 slash with 7 home runs, 27 runs, 28 RBI, and 1 stolen base in 169 plate appearances. Is this for realio?

Candelario is 26 years old, 6′ 1″, 221 pounds, and bats from both sides of the plate. He signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2010, then was traded to the Detroit Tigers in 2017. Throughout his minor league career, he exhibited good plate discipline, often having a walk rate over 10% and a strikeout rate below 20%. The batting average was all over the map, though. While he did exhibit a little bit of pop, the ISO only exceeded .200 once. His high in home runs was 11 for a season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Korean clubs are unique. Physically, there is a dj, dance floor, blinding lights, fog machines, earthquake-inducing bass speakers, and all the stuff you’d find in a normal club, but the setup is disparate. Guys have to reserve a table and purchase bottles of alcohol, which are marked up thousands of percent, while girls get in free, as they are the showcase for the “booking system.” The hosts (waiters/pimps) of a table would go out and bring girls to a table. Those at the table would give a thumbs up or say naw and move on, until the next group is brought over. Don’t hate the messenger. Hate the game. Anyways, whether we like it or not, the fantasy club isn’t much different. The stats and highlights are the hosts, while the players are constantly brought to our table, when we must give a thumbs up or say naw before getting to know them better. Randy Arozarena of the Miami Marlins has caught the eye of many and looks good so far in his young career. Thumbs up or Arozarena?

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I bought a 30-gallon fish tank a few years ago and began my aquarium hobby journey. I enjoyed watching the fish fly around in the rectangle abyss, adorned with plants and driftwood, but when I learned about fully aquatic crabs, it was on. I’ve bought a few and have never been disappointed. Upon arrival, they are around an inch big, but they eventually get to around five inches or so. They grow by molting, which is the shedding of their old shell to make room for a new, bigger one. I knew about this process but wasn’t prepared for the actual thing. On the floor of the aquarium, I saw a crab, but it didn’t move. For days. I was a little heart broken, as I thought one of my crabs was dead, but then I poked it and saw that it was just an empty shell. A few days later, I saw the new, bigger crab emerge. I mention this story because it was the first thing I thought of when digging into Frankie Montas. He’s been left for dead after three horrendous starts, but is he really? Let’s dig in.

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I used to play a lot of hoops with my friends. I also used to smoke a lot of weed. Usually not a good mix, but everytime before the game, I’d yell to my buddies, “The rim looks like the size of the ocean. Just keep feeding me. And feeding me. And feeding me.” More often than not, it was but a figment of my imagination. That’s what happens when you’re high. But, but, but….Every once in a while, the heat checks would get cashed and all everyone would hear was, “Splash, splash, and splash” reverberating off the walls inside the gym. My buddies learned (after one night), that I was straight trash playing high. After the tenth time, they would just let me run around like a headless chicken, but when I got hot, they knew not to mess around, as they would just keep feeding me, and feeding me, and feeding me until whatever it was wore off. The beautiful thing about baseball is that the sample sizes are usually large that regression to career averages can be expected. In a 60-game season, though, anything can happen. A hitter can get hot and stay hot. Randal Grichuk of the Toronto Blue Jays is hot. Can he maintain?

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Never judge a book by its cover. An age old mantra yet one that is often dismissed. There’s a reason the advertising industry is a billion dollar one, and that Karen in marketing is cashing fat checks. We judge from the cover in all facets of life. Because of that, we make irrational decisions at times. No different in fantasy baseball. We get swayed by the batting average plastered on the MY TEAM page or the constant zeroes from what you thought was your fantasy hero. Sometimes digging deeper can shed some light upon the situation. Trent Grisham of the San Diego Padres has been dropped in 13.7% of ESPN leagues over the past week. Why? Is it a time to kill Grisham or keep reading?

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Sequels are rarely better than the original. Caddyshack II and all the Karate Kids come to mind, but there have been many instances when the new surpassed the old. The Dark Knight, Godfather Part II, Toy Story 2, and X-Men United are but a few. The same dynamic has played out in the baseball world as well. Pudge Rodriguez was a Hall of Fame catcher. His son Dereck? Not so much. C’mon? There’s a reason it’s named the Hall of Fame. Vlad Guerrero and Craig Biggio were both Hall of Famers and have sons in the big leagues now. Cavan and Vlad Jr. have just started their baseball careers, but the probabilites are low that they surpass their father’s exploits. But, but, but….that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, as Ken Griffey Sr. was a three-time All-Star, but Griffey Jr. was elected to the Hall of Fame. So what can we make of Mike Yastrzemski‘s hot start to the Rona-infested season of 2020? Will he be but another run-of-the-mill sequel or are there signs that he’s on his way to eclipsing grandpa Carl’s 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, and Hall of Fame career?

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I was cruising down the Razzball Player Rater streets last night. Aaron Judge. I am standing. Dansby Swanson. Delicious. Trevor Story. An enjoyable read. Then my head swiveled to the tv, as Wheel of Fortune returned from commercial. D_n_van S_lan_ was the puzzle. Pat, I’d like to buy a vowel. I’d like to buy an O. Yes, Donovan Solano is the numero nueve player on the rater! .484/.500/.710 slash with a home run, 13 RBI, and .226 ISO. Where did the O come from? And can it continue?

Solano is 32 years old, 5′ 9″ 195 pounds, and bats from the right side. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals as an international free agent back in 2005, which feels like six months ago, and spent seven years in their minor league system. He clubbed a total of 10 home runs in 2382 plate appearances. D_n_van S_lan_ indeed. He stole a few bases each season, the batting average fluctuated from .209 to a high of .317. The ISO surpassed .100 only two times. The walk rate never exceeded 8.3% while the strikeout rate was always good, routinely in the 10-15% range.

In 2012, the Marlins invited Solano to spring training as a non-roster invitee. He played 93 games for the big club that season and had a .295/.342/.375 slash with 2 home runs, 29 runs, 28 RBI, and 7 stolen bases. The walk rate was 6.6% while the strikeout rate was 18.4%. The ISO was .081, while the BABIP was .357. Hmm, not bad, but I think we are beginning to see what kind of player Solano is Mehlano.

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When I was a young pup, say around eight years old, my pops entered me into the Mt. SAC Relays, which was and still is to this day an annual track and field festival. I had never run before. I didn’t have cleats. I was dressed in a freaking izod polo shirt for goodness sakes. I still remember it being the red one. Later in life, I asked my pops why he did it. He answered, “I wanted to see how fast you could run.” LOL. For full disclosure, my pops was not a degenerate gambler. Anyways, it was actually a cool experience running in a stadium with people for the first time. And I held my own, which meant not coming in last place. My most distinct memory of that race, though, was a fellow who jetted from the starting line and galloped his way around the track. We ran the 800m race, which is two laps around the track. And said fellow almost lapped us. I’ve never been in awe of someone running before. Which brings me to this fantasy baseball season. It’s not the marathon we are accustomed to, but it’s not a 100m dash either. It’s going to consist of a few laps around the track. Normally, I would eschew hot starts because of the length of a normal season and the fact that the rest of the league would have time to figure out and humble hot player, but these are not normal times. 60 games. That’s it. A player could get hot and remain hot for the entire season! One player who’s sprinting out of the gate is Kyle Lewis of the Seattle Mariners. In 13 plate appearances, Lewis has clubbed two homers with a slash of .364/.462/.909. The sample size is obviously small, but I’ll dig into the data and try to find nuggets that will show whether or not the hot streak is sustainable.

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I usually have FOMO when it pertains to Japanese imports: cars, video games, sushi, anime, toilets, and baseball pitchers. I just learned that there’s a concept called JOMO, which is the joy of missing out. L. O. L. Well, I get JOMO when it comes to Godzilla, radioactive fish, and baseball hitters from Japan. But, but, but….there are always exceptions to the rule. Hideki Matsui, coincidentally nicknamed Godzilla, was amazing and so was Ichiro, but the rest of the list is the aftermath of eating that five-eyed fish. So, where will new import, Shogo Akiyama, fit into the spectrum?

Akiyama is 31 years old, 6′ 0″, 190 pounds, and bats from the left side. He played nine years in the JPPL and put up some impressive numbers. In 2015, he had 216 hits in 143 games and, over the past five years, has always produced over 170 hits per season. Over the last three seasons, he’s clubbed over 20 homers, stolen at least 10 bases, had a batting average over .300, and OBP hovering close to .400. He has five-category skills, but it’s the JPPL, so that sort of production is unrealistic to expect his first season in MLB. So what can we expect?

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I was born and raised in Los Angeles, so the Doyers, not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, are my team. My first memories were of Fernandomania. What a glorious time it was. Ever since then, it’s been the pitchers that have captivated my attention. From Orel Hershiser to a young Pedro Martinez. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! For Delino DeShields! I digress. The Hideo Nomo no-no in Coors. Eric Gagne and his roids running out from the bullpen to “Welcome to the Jungle.” Man, we would all get so freaking amped. For much of my adult life, though, it’s been about Clayton Kershaw. From 2009 to 2017, Kershaw had one of the most dominant stretches ever for a starting pitcher. In 1827.1 innings, Kershaw struck out 2020 batters. In the history of the game, only Chris Sale’s 2007 strikeouts in 1629.2 innings is better. Coincidentally, we are mired in a most unforgettable year of 2020. Is it time to move on from Kershaw for fantasy? Especially since he’s being drafted as the 10th pitcher off the board and 37.53 overall player in NFBC drafts from 6/1 to 7/12?

We’ve known the fastball velocity has been declining for years now, but man….90.5 mph last season isn’t good. Yet, the brilliance that is Kershaw still managed a 9.54 K/9, 2.07 BB/9 and 3.5 xFIP. Amazing. Most impressive was the 12.9% swinging strike rate.

How’d he do it?

Please, blog, may I have some more?