The Tigers must be picking my brain, because Eduardo Rodriguez was on my short-list for a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper post. I am asking the Tigers politely: Please, stop picking my brain, after just recently going on a Scarecrow-esque spiritual journey of going from no brain to a half brain to a full-full brain. People with full-full brains call them “full-full brains,” right? Yes? Cool, thanks. So, last year, Eduardo Rodriguez went 13-8 with a 3.32 FIP, a 10.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9. If you’re like me — a full-full brain person — then you’re likely thinking, “Hey, this guy never mentioned his ERA or WHIP!” Smart, we are. Talk like Yoda, I do. I didn’t mention those stats, because I wanted you to see how good Eduardo Rodriguez was before telling you how bad Eduardo Rodriguez was. If you just saw those numbers, you’d be like, “This guy with a full-full brain is telling me Ed-Rod is good, and those numbers are showing me Ed-Rod is good-good, so how would he even be a 2022 fantasy baseball sleeper?” Good question for someone who doesn’t sound full-full in the head like me. Ed-Rod had a 4.74 ERA last year in 157 2/3 IP. Ha, that’s awful, and why I think a lot of people will be ignoring him. Eduardo Rodriguez was very unlucky in 2020, then in much different ways he was unlucky again in 2021. Focus on his xBA numbers, because that’s what’s gonna f**k us (pun points!):
Look at those xBA’s. That’s crazy. Every single pitch should’ve produced better results, except his slider (more on that in a second). His velocity was down a hair in 2021, but it was really down in April, after a full year off, then it hovered up. Not quite reaching 2019 levels, but close enough. I’m not worried about velocity losses. Fenway is not a great park for BABIPs, so can dismiss some his bad luck across the board, but *that* much bad luck? Did he walk under a ladder on the way out to the mound every game? If he were traded after 2019, and he had a new home park in 2021, I might say these BABIPs might not regress, but this guy is clearly being unlucky and that will correct itself. Quick take away unrelated to the xBA numbers is he’s starting to figure out his slider, which has been a long time in the germination pod. Since 2015, he’s been throwing a slider and the values that it’s produced are all negative, which makes me chuckle a little. He’s still trying it, and it still is not great. Either way, last year was the best, uh, negative it’s been at -0.14. To give you an idea of how to compare that, in 2019, it was -2.31. That’s very bad. Don’t think that means a lot, but if his slider becomes a positive pitch for him to go with his cutter, fastball and change, three pitches that were all extremely positive as recently as 2019, Ed-Rod’s not going to be a sleeper that becomes a number two, but he’ll be an ace.
I’ve been a fan of Ed-Rod for so long, I painted his face on a kitchen cabinet that I call my Ed-Rod cupboard and it’s where I store my Top Gun-themed collectible Big Gulp cups. He’s rewarded me with two seasons of 3.82 and 3.81 (who are you, Khris Davis with the number .247), then I was out last year, due to him missing 2020, but it’s time to get back in. 2022 might be the year where we finally see him realize the immense upside. For 2022, I’ll give Eduardo Rodriguez projections of 14-7/3.77/1.24/217 in 191 IP with a chance for more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:
Tucker Barnhart – Traded to the Tigers for Nick Quintana. Tigers really liked how Barnhart worked with the arm barn. I kid, I don’t care about *ucker Barnhart, but this is fantastic news for Tyler Stephenson, who I was already a little in love with. For 2022, I’ll give Tucker Barnhart projections of 43/8/48/.239 in 312 ABs.
Mike Brosseau – Traded to the Brewers. Milwaukee becomes the new number one capital of Whoa, because that’s what the Brosseau. In the 70’s, Milwaukee imitated a 50’s era Fonzie and bros said, “Ayy,” but almost fifty years later, now the Brosseau, “Whoa.” So, Brosseau goes to the Brewers and Rowdy Tellez gets his platoon partner in November. Lowercase yay! Why won’t anyone let Rowdy play full-time? I am begging you–Wait a second, the Brewers are about to get a DH! Rowdy can play! The NL is going to get a designated hitter, and Rowdy will finally get his just desserts! “Did someone say desserts?” Oh, man, that’s Daniel Vogelbach.
Christian Yelich – Said there was no physical limitations impacting his play this past year. Um, is this good news?
Nick Anderson – Underwent elbow surgery and he’s not due back until after the 2022 All-Star Game, which could mean. Dot dot dot. 2025?
Charlie Morton – Fractured his fibula in the World Series, then pitched on it for another inning. Adrenaline is the best drug there is. Well, next to Robitussin. There is no tusslin’ with the ‘tussin! Morton says he will be ready for Spring Training, but this could change at any point between now and then.
Ronald Acuna Jr. – Said he’s aiming to return in May. So, he’ll be ready for Opening Day after owners and players work out their differences, right? Right? Ugh, hopefully.
Manny Pina – Signed with the Braves. Apparently, the Braves weren’t done celebrating their World Series championship. After the champagne, they moved onto Manny Pina’s. For a long time, I liked Pina, rostering him multiple times. If only there was another word for multiple…Manny…Manny…Manny. Damn, guess there’s nothing. If The French Terminator, d’Arnaud misses time, as he always seems to, Pina could sneak into solid 2nd catcher value. For 2022, I’ll give Manny Pina projections of 29/11/32/.221 in 234 ABs.
Lance McCullers – Dealing with a forearm strain. Weird from a guy who only throws 96% curveballs. The good news is his MRI says there’s no issue with the UCL in his elbow. The bad news is once the MRI started talking another patient screamed and jumped out a window.
Jameson Taillon – Underwent surgery on his ankle. He had a partially-torn tendon much like a partially-torn ticket for a raffle — fingers crossed he’s fine for the 2022 season, but there’s talk he will start next year on the IL. Can’t spell Taillon without IL, after all.
Seiya Suzuki – Sounds like this Japanese star (38/9, .321/.435/.647) is leaving Japan for the states. If only Seiya had a way to say goodbye.
Andrew Heaney – Signed with the Dodgers. It’s funny to me the people twisting themselves into a pretzel trying to figure out how great Heaney is gonna be, due to his peripherals. You know the thing about Heaney’s peripherals? Not yet you do, but I will tell you. The thing is, Heaney’s had great peripherals for the last four years! Ya know what’s not so great? His career 4.72 ERA. As I said in my rankings last year when I told you not to draft him, “Just dismissing him feels shortsighted, but think about how well we all would’ve done the last seven years of his career if we just dismissed him.” And that’s me quoting me alluding again to his career 4.72 ERA! He’s not good; I’m sorry. For 2022, I’ll give Andrew Heaney projections of 8-9/4.36/1.28/145 in 132 IP, which feels laughable optimistic and still not draftable in a lot of leagues.
Wade Miley – Claimed off waivers by the Cubs. What a jizzoke. Not that I love Miley, but he was a solid real world starter. The Reds are tanking the 2022 season in November of the previous year, and they so desperately need to make changes to the CBA it’s not even funny. Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, screaming at all tanking teams, “They can’t keep getting away with this!” It’s not like getting rid of Miley bumps up Hunter Greene’s promotion date either. I don’t what needs to happen, but you can’t have teams not trying to win. The major leagues have become a real-life Major League movie. For 2022, I’ll give Wade Miley projections of 11-11/4.13/1.36/138 in 171 IP.
Buster Posey – Retired after a just-fine season and a just-fine career. “Just-fine” perfectly encapsulates Buster Posey. Does ‘just-fine’ get him into the Hall of Fame? Let me ask you something, is it the Hall of ‘Just-fine?’ No post-1960 era player with less than 2,000 hits has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Don’t think Buster Posey, who is 500 hits below that mark, deserves it either. Sorry, today I am The Hater. Though, I’d like to see Buster Posey try to block the entrance to the Hall of Fame, then be told that’s against the rules. Also, something I don’t talk much about because it’s not really related to fantasy, but: What’s something people talk about now as criteria for the Hall of Fame that will seem ludicrous in 20 years? I’ll start: pitch framing. You, as a catcher, grab an obvious ball and move your glove towards the strike zone. Me, an umpire, screams in your ear, “Stop cheating!” I look forward to robot umps just so I never have to hear about pitch framing again. Now, if we wanna talk about how blessed we were to have someone named Buster Posey, I’m a little man in a canoe ready to listen.