What is up everybody? I’ve been listening to a ton of Jamiroquai lately. I’m a sucker for a good bass line. That funk just sets you up for the nights where Mike Foltynewicz was a better start than Nathan Eovaldi, and Cal Quantrill was a better start than Corbin Burnes. What can I say? Variance is the reason we play this wacky game. It’s precisely the fact that Marco Gonzales can throw 108 pitches against the Yankees and limit all the damage, and the Mariners bullpen can come in and do some good, and yet they still lose to the Bronx Bombers in extra frames. As much as experts say we can “predict” this stuff, we simply can’t. That’s why we play the game. If we called the work, “certain outcomes,” there wouldn’t be a game. So, let’s celebrate the weird outcomes that happened Friday night and remember that this, indeed, is the game of baseball where anything can happen.
Cal Quantrill — Calvin, why you so sexy in your Klein’s? If you had followed Rudy on his family trip to a gambling state this week and looked at the prop, “Who will throw 10Ks today?”, I’m pretty sure Quantrill’s line would have been +10,000. In fact, it took Quantrill 6 weeks to rack up his first 10 Ks in 2021, and when he finally got there, he had 11 walks to boot. I mean, that was kind of my Little League schtick: I could strike out the side but I walked 5 people on the way to doing that. ENYWHEY. Calvin achieved his bucket list goal against the Tigers, who are on pace to [checks notes] be a viable wild card contender? I don’t want to be here anymore.
Mike Minor — Uh, we might have a late-season reinvention happening. 7Ks on the day with 4ER, but over the past month, he’s got a 9 K/9 with a sub 2.0 BB/9 and he’s got a 3.32 ERA/3.27 FIP. Also, he’s allowed 4 HR, but Robbie Ray does that and you don’t care about that, do you? Minor’s fastball has gained 2 MPH on average over the past month, so I suppose he’s just like me and in the best shape of his life. Just wait until all those Labor Day BBQs, though.
Sandy Alcantara — Speaking of a metric hit ton, Alcantara gave up 10 ER on 10 hits while allowing only 2 BB, which is like a massive math problem: 3 of those hits were homers, so how many singles did he give up? He’s been pretty volatile recently, but you didn’t really want to start him in Coors Field, did you?
Nathan Eovaldi — 7ER in 4.2 IP, but it was against Vladdy and his Baddies. Eovaldi’s actually been destroying the competition recently, with a 10ish K/9 and a sub 1.00 BB/9 with an ERA/FIP in the low 3.00 range. Nothing to worry about here, we all make bad decisions and eat 5 Beef and Cheddars for midnight snacks sometimes.
Marco Gonzales — Marco with an ‘S’ has resumed his soft-contact ways (sponsored by Accuvue) and has a 3.00-ish ERA over the past month while striking out less than 6 per 9 (nice!). Imagine facing that muscled-up Yankees lineup and Gonzales only getting 7 whiffs on 108 pitches, and he gives up 0ER and 3 hits. You’ve got better odds of finding me eating a jar of mayonnaise (P.S., I hate mayo) than seeing the Yanks get 3 batted balls of greater than 105 MPH off of Gonzales and getting only 2 singles out of it.
Craig Kimbrel — 3 runs allowed, blown save. Have you seen that majestic picture where Kimbrel cosplays as a hawk awaiting prey with a cornfield as a backdrop? At least we’ll all have that Glamour Shot as Kimbrel goes blown up against the midwest teams in September.
The Mariners Bullpen — Remember when the Mariners had Kendall Graveman and they reinvented him and gave him a closer spot and then they suddenly traded him away despite having a shot at the playoffs? ENYWHEY. These new extra-inning rules are dumb. The Mariners ended up with two blown saves despite giving up only 3 hits over 4 IP. I can’t even think of a joke because that runner on 2nd thing is a joke itself.
C.J. Cron — Double dongs and 4 runs. I remember fondly the pre-All Star Break when we were merely on the gamma variant of the coronavirus and C.J. Cron was supposed to be hitting dingers after dingers. Well now we’ve moved on to delta and Cron’s home runs finally came after he went nearly 3 weeks without a dinger and hit near the Mendoza Line. In theory, the Rockies are supposed to be power-hitters, so keep an eye on them to see if this Quad-A team cosplay they’ve been doing all 2021 is over. The thing about regression is that it often happens fast. When you’re looking at season-long stats, a couple of stellar performances can give significant boosts to a player’s final stat line. The problem is, recency bias is a notoriously bad predictor of future production, especially around the “lesser” bats like Cron. Maybe that’s why the prediction systems were all wrong about him being one of the better power bats rest of season? Or are they right and we’re just seeing the start of the barrage of dingers right now? That’s why we play the game!
Nelson Cruz — a homer and 5 RBI, 2 runs. He’s been hitting poorly for the Rays since the trade, with his batting average below .200 and a SLG around .340. He knows how to dong, but maybe he just doesn’t know how to do the Tampa dong.
Adam Engel — 2 swiped bags and 3 hits. I’ve got this theme about sub-.200 batters going on, and Engel was there too over the past week. His two steals brings him up to 6 on the year, so don’t get SAGNOFy quite yet.
Anthony Rizzo — The guy who’s hitting .333 with a .708 SLG since the trade gets a single and a stolen base. Variety is the spice of life!
Starling Marte — 1 run, 2 hits, 3 RBI, ___ home runs…yeah, the missing number is 1. I wish it was 4. I drafted Marte in my DFS Wars lineup because he was facing off against Folty, which is basically a free dinger. Then Folty pulled a Marco Gonzales and induced a ton of soft contact (3BB, 2K, 2 hits over 6 IP…yeesh). Luckily Marte came away with a homer in that win and landed me in the lower cash groups. Gotta earn that cheese! Since the trade, Marte’s been slotting into the 2 spot in the Athletics lineup and batting over .300 with a SLG over .600. He’s also stolen 5 bases along the way, which makes him one of the premier hitters in MLB right now. Marte’s done a bit of a reinvention this year, hitting more line drives than usual and losing some of the power pop. His SBs are right on track for his career, although he’ll be 33 next year so we can’t expect massive steal numbers to keep appearing from Marte. It can happen, but historical data says it will stop suddenly. Then Marte becomes a 12 homer/10 SB guy and you can’t figure out if you want Marte’s stat line for a full season or Shohei Ohtani’s stat line for June. So, enjoy the current ride on Marte, but if you’re out of the money in your fantasy league and keepers are an option, you might want to trade him for somebody who is less reliant on SB for their fantasy production as your keeper.
Manuel Margot — I’m trying to highlight some players here that might make a difference for your fantasy championship run. I mean, who cares about Andrew Romine? Not me! But Margot slapped 3 singles and scored a run, and he’s batting about .300 over the past few weeks. Problem is, his SLG is .362 over that period, and he’s slotting in the batting order anywhere from 1 to 7. He’s much more productive against lefties, so if you’re looking for a cheap source of average or adequate OBP guy, Margot’s out there.
Sam Hilliard — For whatever reason, Bud Black didn’t want to play Hilliard in the beginning of the year, which sucks because the Razzbois were drafting Hilliard hard. His 2020 stats were fine, yet Bud Black opted to go with a “platoon the entire team” approach which angered players and fans. Now we’re past the All-Star break and it’s a new delta world, and Hilliard is hitting .286 over the past 3 weeks with a SLG over .600. His K% is an unsustainable 30%, which doesn’t bode well for your fantasy playoff run, but with a .357 ISO in that time frame, you don’t really care about K%, do you? Grab Hilliard if he’s still around and hope that he notches up in the batting order a bit as the season goes on.
Ty France — That Mariners revelation tour 2021 keeps going. France is batting over .300 for the past 3 weeks with a SLG of .464. That’s better than Margot! His .320 BABIP is propelled by a 28% line drive rate, which suggests some stability to that average, although France is a big man and slow runner, so his average will likely sink a bit if he doesn’t consistently get square contact on the ball. However, he’s sitting the 3/4 slot in the batting order, and that makes him a cheap source of BA, RBI, and R…maybe a couple of dingers along the way too.
Tell me what’s up people! I’ll be around to chat in the comments. What bass lines are you thumping? What players are you looking at to finish strong? How much hiking are you doing? Let me know!