A wise man once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” But what if that box had only one kind of chocolate in it? Then what, Mr. wise man? Because sometimes I have a favorite and just want to binge it. That reminds me of my first year in NYC. The different seasons were cool and all, but why not be in a place where it’s spring 24/7? Like LA, for example. Yes, I’m a homer. If I want some snow, I can drive an hour and half. If I want to be in a sauna-like environment, well, I can go to a sauna. Anyways, there’s a place in life for both volatility and consistency. Take the readings on an EKG machine for instance. If there are no spikes and valleys, that means the poor soul hooked up is dead. When sine waves are present, there needs to be a consistent rhythm or, doctor, we have a problem. The same can be said for fantasy baseball. It’s a game inherently based on failure, so we look for players who provide spikes in production, at a relatively consistent rate. The higher and faster spikes are produced by the superstars sitting on the pantheon of the fantasy landscape. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many. Which brings me to the pillars of the game, those who don’t stand out from the crowd but provide production across the board to allow each fantasy house to stand firm and stable. Kevin Pillar of the Colorado Rockies is such a player, yet he’s been dropped in 10.2% of ESPN leagues over the past week. Is this Pillar crumbling or is he a Pillar of Destiny to bring fantasy glory?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Black. Lives. Matter. Period. Enough of the bullshit. Yes, all lives matter, but all lives are not treated equally, so hopefully people empathize with those who experience life on a different difficulty setting than themselves. Ok, rant over and shoutout to the BLM Movement, but it’s time to talk about the BML Movement. Brad. Miller. Lives. Yes, THAT Brad Miller who slugged 30 homers back in 2016. He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. What can Brad do for you?

Miller is 30 years old, 6′ 2″, 215 pounds, and bats from the left side. The Seattle Mariners selected him in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2015, moved to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018, signed with the Cleveland Indians in March of 2019, was waived a month later, picked up by the New York Yankees, then traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in June. Before the start of this season, the St. Louis Cardinals signed him to a one-year deal. As the boys and girls be saying in high school, he been around.

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April 5, 2010. 20-year-old Jason Heyward catches the ceremonial first pitch from Hank Aaron, then comes to the plate against Carlos Zambrano in the bottom of the first, with two on, one out, and the scored tied at three a piece. KABOOOM! A laser bombed into the back of the bullpen beyond the right field fence. It. Was. On. We were all witnesses to the genesis of the next great superstar career. How could he fail? His rise through the minor league system was as quick as my lovemaking. He was rated as the top prospect in the game, and his rookie season was a phenomenal success (.277/.393/.456 with 18 HR and 11 SB). But then the dreaded sophomore slump happened, but he rose like a phoenix in year three. Only to roll over and embark upon years of mediocrity. With that said, he was left for dead many of times, only to bounce back, like his brother from another mother, Jason Voorhees. So far in 2020, Heyward is batting .299/.411/.563 with 5 HR and 1 SB. Is this for real?

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The mass had grown disheveled and restless, as for thirty long days and thirty long nights, they were without a savior at the catcher position. Many of prophets had come and gone, Omar Narvaez and Mitch Garver were two of the most prominent, but they have been exposed as false prophets up to now. So the aimless walk through the catcher landscape has been a challenging and arduous one. But then thunder banged the ear drums, water flattened the disheveleness, and fire glistened off the pupils as a voice echoed throughout the universe: Seek forth the highest mountain and I will provide salvation. Filled with a vigor that hadn’t been felt since draft day, the mass walked, and walked, and walked, so much that Forrest Gump looked down upon them and nodded in approval. Upon reaching their destination, a swirling wind enveloped them while lightning was radiating from the mountain top. Then…..Austin Nola descended down the face of the mountain with two tablets. On one were his stats for this season with the expression Catchers Ain’t Got No Face at the bottom, while on the other tablet was written: Thou shall not covet any other catcher. It has been written.

Nola is 30 years old, 6′ 0″, and 195 pounds. The Miami Marlins selected him in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB draft. He spent seven years with the organization before opting for free agency, which is when he signed with the Seattle Mariners. Drafted as a shortstop, Nola became a catcher in 2017, then played first base with the Mariners.

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I love fast cars, fast turnaround at the buffet, and fast waiting lines, so when it comes to pitchers, it only makes sense that I’ve got the need….the need for speed. Guys…or girls…..who can throw mid-90s make me hyperventilate. Even better when they are young. Now, no need to call the authorities or anything, but I’ll admit that I’m an ageist. Once a player passes the 30-year threshold, I start giving the, “I’ll call you back when I get a chance.” So, then why do I sort of, kind of like Tommy Milone, a 33-year-old pitcher who averages 86 mph on his fastball?

Milone was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB draft. He was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2011, where he spent two years before getting traded to the Minnesota Twins. To the New York Mets in 2017, then back to the Nationals in 2018, the Seattle Mariners in 2019, and finally ending up with the Baltimore Orioles this season.

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We humans are a funny species, as emotion punks the brain much of the time. Back in the day when we roamed with clubs and were hunted by dinosaurs, emotional responses were necessary for survival. There was no time to analytically break down the size, speed, weight, etc of threat. Just run or fight. As we evolved and conquered much of the threats that nature could bestow upon us…..hears knock on the window…..Oh, it’s just Rona waving hi. Just put on your mask, don’t pay any attention, and everything will be fine. Now, there is a much-too-huge segment of the population that is still in survival mode (shameful), but many are not. As a result, you’d think that we would use our brains more, since we have more time. Unfortunately, we still let emotion run our lives. Some do it to feel alive. I get it. Others? It usually comes down to greed and fear. In fantasy baseball, we see it all the time. Owners rage dropping a pitcher after he gets slapped for 8 earned runs in 2 innings. On the flip side, there are players on heaters like Dylan Moore of the Seattle Mariners, who is the number one added player in ESPN leagues over the past week (49% owned – increase of 47.4%). Can we expect Moore from Dylan or is this the time to jump off?

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I’m not a condiment guy. Dipping fries in ketchup is fine, but I prefer gravy or clam chowder soup. Mayonnaise? Disgusting. Mustard? Repulsive. Relish? Nauseating. So, when it comes to hotdogs, I’m an au naturel kind of guy. I know, boring to most, but whatever. I don’t live for them. As for fantasy baseball, there’s a place for the boring, dependable players, but I’m all about guys that hot dog. I want home runs, ribbies, and stolen bases. One player who’s been doing a little of everything recently has been Teoscar Hernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays. As a result, his ownership percentage has spiked 48% over the past week in ESPN leagues. Does this hot dog have staying power?

Teoscar is 27 years old, 6′ 2″, 180 pounds, and bats from the right side. He signed with the Houston Astros as an international free agent back in 2011. Over his minor league career with the Astros, Teoscar had a high of 17 home runs and 33 stolen bases in a season. The batting average fluctuated from .240 to a high of .313. The walk rate was in the 7-10% range, while the strikeout rate ranged from 16% to 36%. The ISO never dipped below .130 and got to as high as .256. The plate discipline numbers did improve as time went on, culminating in an 8.1% walk rate and 15.6% strikeout rate in 2016. As a result, he got his first call up to The Show that year and produced a .230/.304/.420 slash with 4 home runs, 9.8% walk rate, and 25% strikeout rate.

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When I first started writing One’s Man Trash, I would go through the most added/drop list at ESPN then highlight a bunch of players that stood out to me. As time passed and evolution did its thing, I would hone in on one player and do a deeper dive. Since it’s the beginning of the season, and the sample sizes are small, I’m going back to my roots. Enjoy.

 

David Fletcher (3B/2B/SS/OF – LAA) – 73.1% owned – increase of 38%

Fletcher lives!!! In 23 PA, he’s slashing .556/.609/.667 with 1 stolen base. The walk rate is 17.4% while the strikeout rate is a paltry 13%. The BABIP is .625! Lol. He’s obviously not going to maintain that level, but Steamer has him projected for a .283 batting average with 2 home runs, 3 stolen bases, and 24 runs. That ain’t bad for the leadoff hitter for the Angels. Fletcher led the league in swinging strike rate last season with a 3.2% number. This season, he’s at 2.3%. The contact rates are all elite. In this shortened season, Fletcher could lead the league in batting aveage and runs scored if the stars align. Finally, he’s eligible at four positions, which is huge in this Rona-infested environment. TREASURE

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I still can’t believe it took us so long to figure out The Seoul Train nickname for Shin Soo Choo. No wonder we don’t get paid the big bucks. I think it was Rudy who finally figured it out. So freaking good. Anyways, that’s another reason why you should subscribe to the award-winning (courtesy of The Son Awards) tools and projections. Best in the biz. Back to…..aaah Choo. Gesundheit. Jay “Who Is Never” Wrong wrote up a good piece on Choo back in March, which you can find HERE. Read it. Since I wrote up Shogo Akiyama earlier this week, I wanted to keep the asian flavor going, so let’s get the spiciness flowing.

Over the past three years, Choo has been a model of consistency. He’s played around 150 games each season, accrued around 650 plate appearances, clubbed 20 home runs, scored 90-ish runs, driven in 60 RBI, and stolen around 10 bases each season (only 6 in 2018). The walk rate has been around 12%, strikeout rate in the low-20% range, with a slash of .260/.370/.440. Interestingly, the SLG has increased in each of the past three seasons. All that at the ripe ages of 36, 37, and 38 years old. Chugga chugga Choo Choooooooo!!!!

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Dumpster diving is a thankless job. One often comes out empty-handed with all of the prior weeks culinary leftovers slathered about. Grey! I need a raise!! But, but, but….every once in a while a potential treasure is unearthed. Granted, potential don’t mean shit but, when you’re dumpster diving, potential is everything. As I was frolicking in the NFBC dumpsters this week, a player who could be leading off and possesses power and speed caught my eye. And he’s being drafted, on average, with the 261st overall pick in NFBC drafts from 5/1 to 7/6!!! Madness! His name? Austin Hays. Let’s dig in.

Hays is 25 years old, 6′ 1″, 195 pounds, and bats from the right side. The Orioles selected him in the third round of the 2016 MLB draft. In 2017, he tore up Single-A and Double-A to the tune of 32 combined home runs with a batting average over .300 and a strikeout rate under 16%. Woo hoo! As a result, he received 20 games worth of big league experience. As expected, he struggled, but he was young. No biggie. 2018 was marred by injury and underwhelming performance, but things picked up last season. He began in Single-A, quickly advanced through Double-A and Triple-A, then finally made The Show for another 21 game stint. This time, however, things were much different, as he clubbed 4 home runs, stole 2 bases, hit .309, and had a 9.3% walk rate with a 17.3% strikeout rate. Oh yeah!

Now, entering the 2020 season, RosterResource has Hays slotted to bat leadoff. You’ve been reading all of Grey’s 60-game season primers, so you know that batting at the top of the order is going to be huge this season. But that’s not all. Hays has speed, as in 85th percentile sprint speed, so stolen bases are in the offering. And that power. Oh, baby. That power. Fangraphs has Hays rated with a 60/60 for raw power and a 45/50 for game power.

Please, blog, may I have some more?