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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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?
 

Yusei Kikuchi experienced the full gamut of emotions last year. He followed in the footsteps of Prince Akeem and came to America, where he had to learn a new language, culture, and game. His father passed away from cancer, while becoming a father for the first time himself. On the mound, he experienced glory by pitching a complete-game, two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts against the Toronto Blue Jays and struck out 10 Indians in seven innings back in May. On the flip side, he allowed 5 earned runs in a game three times, 6 earned runs four times, and 7 earned runs once. He did start 32 games, so there’s that, but the final line was 161.2 innings pitched, 5.46 ERA, 16.1% strikeout rate, and 6.9% walk rate. On average, he’s being drafted as the 434th overall player and 178th pitcher being selected in NFBC drafts from 2/1 to 3/11. Am I writing up Kikuchi as a peace offering to Donkey Teeth (noted Kikuchi lover) after hating on his other love, Luis Robert? Kind of, but for full disclosure, I’ve drafted Kikuchi everywhere. Here’s why:

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Who doesn’t like the home run? Chicks dig it. Players do PEDs for it. Rawlings loves it. Hmmm, let’s see. Pitchers despise it. Curmudgeons are opposed to it because some players flip the bat as a result. Maybe they think it’s flipping the bird? Fantasy nerds are infatuated with it, as they both celebrate and despise it. Whatever the case may be, the home run is freaking cool for real-life baseball and instrumental for the fantasy game, as one home run instantaneously affects four categories. So, for today’s piece, I thought I’d give the tale of the tape to two players who are both projected to be in the top 10 for home runs and are both being drafted outside of the first four rounds. Without further ado, do your thing Michael Buffer. Yes, we have a deep coffer here at Razzball to bring on talent when we need it.

In the red corner, standing a gargantuan six feet and five inches while weighing a hefty 235 pounds, we have sweet as Halo Halo Joey Gaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllloooooooooooooooooooo. USA! USA!! USA!!!

And in the blue corner, we have the 39-year-old, ageless wonder from the Dominican Republic, standing a respectable six feet and two inches and weighing in at 230 pounds, the man who always hits the ball on the screws, Nelson Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuz.

Are you ready? Are you ready? Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmbbllllleeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

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I didn’t want to write up Luis Robert of the Chicago White Sox because I’m a scared little boy named Marcus (real name is Son) who didn’t want to be stranded on an island by himself. I kid. I don’t know how I feel about him to be honest. My gut is yelling that he’s overpriced, but so many of my Razzball brethren are super high on him (Grey and Rudy recently drafted him in the 60s and Donkey Teeth set the minimum pick on him I believe in TGFBI). Let’s dig in and see if I should take out my gut with a baseball bat.

Robert is 22 years old, 6′ 3″, 205 pounds, and bats from the right side of the plate. He was the consensus #1 international prospect in 2016. In 2017, the White Sox signed him for just over $26 million. He’s a five-tool player who’s been compared to Vladimir Guerrero. The athleticism is off the charts, the bat speed is quick, and the power is prodigious. Oh, I forgot about the speed. He posted a sub-6.3 second 60-yard dash. For perspective, 6.7-6.9 is average. Billy Hamilton ran it in 6.2 seconds.

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

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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.

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This is my fourth post for baseball this season. Scrolling through the NFBC ADP data, a common theme has surfaced, which is that older players who had a down year due to injury are being left for dead. As Grey so eloquently commented in my Daniel Murphy post, “Eff the olds.” That is the natural state of drafts for most seasons. The allure of the unknown or success in the most recent season usually elevates the cost of acquisition. On the flip side, a down year has many players being tossed into the trash. Those are the players that most intrigue me because the overreaction to the downside is usually so severe that much value is available to be mined. Which brings me to David Peralta of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2018, he had a triple slash of .293/.352/.516 and clubbed 30 home runs. As a result, his ADP entering the 2019 season was 115.9. Then he proceeded to hit .275/.343/.461 with 12 home runs in 2019. Now, he’s being drafted as the 258th overall player. This David is no king, but could he provide salvation?

Before I dig into the nitty gritty, context is important. How is your team constructed? What are your needs in the latter stages of the draft? Do you need floor or want upside? Keep all of that in mind when you read any fantasy analysis article. With that said, let’s dig in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?