I was between writing a sleeper post for Framber Valdez and Lance McCullers. Not Lance McCullers Jr., he’s a bum. Kidding. At a certain age though, drop the Jr., junior. It’s like being a thirty-year-old Bobby. Put on your big boy pants, Bobby, and call yourself Robert! I’d even accept Rob. No freakin’ Robbie! Any hoo! I didn’t love everything I saw on Lance McCullers’s peripherals. Enough to like him at his current ADP? I think so, but it might be a game-time decision when I’m doing my rankings. Framber Valdez, how’sever, a chef’s kiss echoing through the caverns of your mind, which sounds like a Yacht Rock song, making it even more special. Special like the guy who opens the door at thirty seconds into this video. Yes, I could’ve just embedded right to that part, but you really need the lead-up to brace yourself for the door-opener. Oh my God, that guy is Jose Alvarado, i.e., The Opener.

Damn it, that will never get old. I want to read a 15,000 word essay about Jose Alvarado from the Benny Mardones video. “Skim read,” not read read, but still. So, what can we expect from Framber Valdez for 2021 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Psyche! Before we get into the Framber Valdez sleeper, just wanted to announce all my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now. So II, the Framber Valdez sleeper:

Framber Valdez’s stats over the last two years are so fun, I just gotta tell you. In 2019, he threw 70 2/3 IP with a 8.7 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 and 4.31 xFIP. Then in 2020, he threw, wait for it, oh my goodness, it’s so great, wait, where is it…*checks pockets, pulls up sleeves, finally, checks under top hat* There it is! He threw exactly 70 2/3 IP in 2020 too! (And if it’s in 2022 too or 20222, I’ll lose my mind.) Only this past year Framber Valdez started to put together the why and what we’re doing here: 9.7 K/9, 2 BB/9 and 2.94 xFIP. The big difference was the command. The worthwhile note is, after he settled into a new level of pro ball, this is his pattern. Framber has male pattern commandness. After he settles in, the command shows up.

His repertoire includes a sinker, curve and change. FanGraphs classifies his sinker as a fastball, but, with five inches of movement down, it’s likely better classified as a sinker. That movement was up (uh, down) two inches year over year, and gets kinda hit. It’s not the best pitch, but a bit better than league average. Similar to his change, in that respect. It doesn’t matter a ton, though, they’re meant to setup his curve, which is the pitch that carries his value from solid to dynamite. He had the 4th best curve last year, and only one of three with a positive on two other pitches, him, Shane Bieber and German Marquez. *sits up in chair, places hands under chin* Tell me more, pop-pop. As we all know (or should), Shane Bieber is a God, and German Marquez is a sexy em-effer if it wasn’t for Coors. To give you an idea of how important just a boring old ‘just above league average change or sinker’ is, Framber had a great curve in 2019, but his other pitches were terrible, so he wasn’t good. With just a little bit from the sinker and change, the curve will carry him to top 20 starter value.

Finally, this is all assuming he’s simply as good as last year, and doesn’t take yet another step. Remember, in Benny Mardones’s voice, “He was just 26 years old…” He’s flashed 10 and 11 K/9’s at different stops in the minors. If his sinker or change, just get a hair better, Framber Valdez is gonna be a top seven, if not top five starter. For 2021, I’ll give Framber Valdez projections of 12-9/3.39/1.09/181 in 168 IP with a chance for more.

 
  1. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!!!

    Awesome report.

    a. Grey, Framberis is so awesome!! Some early trends from mock drafts with 11 robots.

    1. CBS is giving .270/35 or similar to Soler, Franmil and Sano, yet the bots don’t like Franmil as much as they like Soler or Sano. Weird, right? Track record maybe but for a bot?

    2. Biggest trend of all is the fact that intelligent predictions for 2021 are missing for many players / pitchers. Of course, it’s early and things will crystalize out by May 1 but if you’re drafting right now, it’s a psychological advantage to have your predictions for 2021 over any other site out there, to wit.

    i. CBS, mock drafts check but player predictions for 20% absent.
    ii. FantasyPros, no mock drafts available yet and the same CBS problem for predictions.

    So, for instance, Jordan Hicks will be good to go in 2021. He sat out 2020 because he had that option and the COVID scare and all. He still throws the fastest fastball and is a steal for 2021 only because there is no prediction for him. Well, the astute reader (aka 100% herein) will set up his / her draft room 30 minutes before the draft and move Hicks into the queue for a later round pick but apart from them…

    3. Lastly, the fantasy teams produced by the 11 robots is made up of guys that are tried and true rather than good but risky. Basically 2020 turned our fantasy world upside down and backwards.

    b. MLB quote of the day for January 5, 2021

    1. Ron Kittle, born January 5, 1958

    ‘It was hard to give up on Ron Kittle – because he never gave up on himself. The right-handed power hitter won the Rookie of the Year Award with the White Sox in 1983. Five years earlier he had been released by the Dodgers after having part of his spine fused, one of several injuries that limited Kittle to only two full seasons in a 10-year major league career.’

    Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia (Matthew Silverman, Total Sports, May 2000, Page 611)

    2. Danny Jackson, born January 5, 1962

    ‘(Danny) Jackson can be an effective, seasoned power pitcher – good fastball, hard slider, and a change up that I’m sure has imrpoved under the tutelage of Phillies pitching coach Johnny Podres, who had one of the best ever.’

    Former Player / Author Keith Hernandez in Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan (1994)

    3. Bob Dernier, January 5, 1957

    ‘We try to live good, clean lives, but whether or not we do is for our wives to judge.’

    Bob Dernier

    4. Juan Nieves, born January 5, 1965

    ‘He (Juan Nieves) was the best student I had in my clinic. He played the outfield and first base and pitched. He had the ability, and he was very intelligent. He could assimilate the game good. Like, I’d show him how to bunt, and he’d do it right the first time. Most kids at that age (14-15), it takes them a while, but he could pick everything up right away. Plus, he liked to work. He liked to practice. Other kids would want to go to the beach or just hang around with their friends, but Juan, his first stop was always the ballpark.’

    All-Star (4x) First Baseman Vic Power in The Boston Globe (Bob Duffy, Baseball comes calling on Avon: Nieves has major-league arm … and major-league smarts, 04/08/1993, Page 29)

    5. Tug McGraw, died January 5, 2004

    ‘The reason I love baseball so much is because when I come into a game in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, no one out, and a one-run lead; it takes people off my mind.’

    Tug McGraw in The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and the American Culture, 2001 (William M. Simons, Alvin L. Hall, Mcfarland Publishing, 04/2002, Page 240) [Tug McGraw Quotes]

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Thank you!

      A. 1. That is very weird, but why we’re here to point out inconsistencies…

      2. Yup

      ii. Hicks is particularly hard to predict bc he sat out last year, will he again? Does he close? Need time from TJS?

      3. 10000%

      5. Cougs loved Tug McGraw

  2. Whitt23 says:
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    Anyone have thoughts on a $6 LeMaiheu for a $10 Woodruff and $5 Grisham. It’s 12 team 6×6. I get 8 keepers and the rest of the league gets 9 so the quality of keeper is paramount. I have sufficient pitching to choose from I think. Cheap money pitchers I have are Sonny Gray, Maeda, Plesac, Price, Bassitt so I think I could move Woodruff. Thanks.

    • Phil says:
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      Why do you only get to keep 8 and the other 11 teams keep 9? What are the other two stats (I imagine it’s typical 5×5 and the other two cats are OPS and holds?)?

      Who are your hitters and how much are they each?

      Also, in my opinion, I’m really high on Woodruff. You have some quality starters there, but I have Woody ranked slightly above Gray, Plesac and Maeda (although Plesac’s upside is tantalizing). David Price is garbage.

      • Whitt23 says:
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        I love the Price is garbage comment. It warms my heart. I won the league this year so the penalty is 8 keepers vs 9. QS and OPS are the other stats. For hitters I have Realmuto, Swanson, Tim Anderson, Freeman, Grisham, Kyle Lewis, Ozuna and then I can keep 3 minor leaguers for free. I have Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, Andrew Vaughn, and Arozarena. I am trying to package one of them with a couple other guys to get a top tier hitter.

    • Uncle Salty says:
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      I’m all over the Woodruff and Grisham side for DJLM. We’ve probably seen the best of DJ, the other two are on the rise.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Yeah, think it’s a no brainer

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’d take Grisham side

      • Whitt23 says:
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        Thanks everyone. Appreciate the feedback.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

        • Phil says:
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          Sorry for the late reply…I would also take the Grisham and Woody side. DJ’s stock will fall if he leaves Yankee Stadium, and I do think he has hit his ceiling already at 32-33 years old, and I personally feel as though he’s outperformed the expectations I had for him two years ago. You also need Grisham considering the crop of other hitters you have, and your rotation looks solid with Woody, Gray, Plesac, and Maeda.

          Since you have two SS, unless your league uses a MI slot, perhaps you can flip one of your SS and package with a prospect or another player for a top tier hitter better than DJ? Your prospects are straight dope though. I’d keep Kelenic and J-Rod and perhaps move Arozarena since his stock is sky high and you can get a pretty good hitter that is more valuable.

          Sorry about the Price comment. I just really don’t like him anymore.

    • NUX says:
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      5 spots left now!

      I will post this in other places to fill it up this afternoon. But wanted to try for a full Razz group if possible.

      • thehombre says:
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        TheHombre is in. TheHombre will win.

        • thehombre says:
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          Where’s CoolWhip?

      • Dave says:
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        I’m your Huckleberry

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’ll ping CoolWhip

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Does he do these drafts with us tho usually?

        • NUX says:
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          I’m not sure he has drafted with us yet, but hope he joins. I sent the bat signal out in a few other places a minute ago. So this thing should fill within the next couple of hours. And I’ll ping when it does

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Ah, cool, Whip said he was in a work meeting and will check it out after

            • Coolwhip says:
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              okay i’m in

              • NUX says:
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                Awesome, look forward to drafting with you brother!

                League only needs 2 more and than it will fire. You should get an email when that happens. Prob within next couple hours.

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Nice!

                • NUX says:
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                  11/12 draft will start when next person joins! You have been warned/pinged sir!

                  What’s the deal, is everyone scared to draft with Grey?? It’s January, let’s go!!!!!!!

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    These are the best leagues, except for not knowing exactly how to draft even after doing a dozen of them

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    I filled it with a new razzball writer

  3. Llango15 says:
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    Grey,
    What are your thoughts on JD Martinez? is he on the decline?
    Im in a 12 team H2H keeper league where we keep 10.

    Would you trade JD Martinez for Julio Rodriguez and a 2022 #2 pick?

    Current 10 Keepers:
    Olson
    Hiura
    Moncada
    Bo
    Alvarez
    Betts
    JD* / Julio Rodriguez (if i trade JD)

    Buhler
    Sixto
    Plesac

    Potential 10th Keeper
    Paddock
    Urias
    B.Lowe

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yes, think he’s on the decline — In a 12 team league tho? Feels shallow to be trading for Ju-Rod, when he might be around a 150th overall pick next year still

      • Llango15 says:
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        Thanks Grey!

        150th next year..so that’s about the 2nd -3rd round for us. If we keep 10 players and there are 12 teams the first pick is number 121. I say 2nd – 3rd round because someone will reach.. it always happens with prospects.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Right, so I’d just prolly draft him, assuming you can

          • Llango15 says:
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            He will get kept or drafted first rd this year along with Torke, Kenelic, and probably Vaughn.

            Would it make more sense to trade Plesac for Grisham?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              They’re pretty similar, but I wouldn’t with your other keepers

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Similarly ranked, I mean

  4. DonnieB says:
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    Are you picking Framber over Burnes or Fried? How are you ranking those three? Can you join Patreon with an annual payment? Thanks.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Not sure if you can do annual payment, maybe

      • DonnieB says:
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        How about Framber versus Fried or Burnes? How would you go?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Framber, I think

  5. Donna G. Ellaby says:
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    I tend to like Cristian Javier’s future more than Valdez’. Am i crazy ?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I think maybe, but maybe not…I don’t mind Javier, but I think I need to see a bit more

  6. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    If the guy opening the door is Jose Alvarado then Benny Mardonas must be Felipe Vasquez. Jeez, the guy was 34 when he recorded that song and he’s trying to get with a 16 yr old.
    As for Framber, it’s kinda hard to believe he’s so poorly regarded in fantasy. I’m thinking by most drafts he’ll climb up on draft boards don’t you?
    Mahle from yesterday I can see being lower but at his price-basically free- why not take a flier.
    Houston has a few rotation guys that could produce.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      HAHAHA — Framber is more higher priced, but going around the point of 30th SP off board and I think he can be a top 15 SP…All sleepers aren’t made equally

    • NUX says:
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      Mahle won’t be as cheap as you might think, especially come March. He’s getting hyped a decent bit in the fantasy community in general. He’s not gonna be one of those free/flier types as you describe it. Will be cheaper than Framber though of course. But since December 1st, Mahle has an ADP over on NFBC of 170ish. So like 14th round or so in a 12 teamer.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I think Mahle might be free in ESPN, CBS or Yahoo leagues, will depend on where leaguemates get info

        • NUX says:
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          Great point. Didn’t think about that part.

          • Sweatpants Nation says:
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            Yeah, I haven’t really looked at ranking yet. Going more with what I expect in my league. Auction draft I’d expect Mahle to go for $1-2 which makes him an easy drop if he flops. Framber will be more but that fits with your 30 SP. a couple of years ago Pivetta was the big must have guy in the fantasy world. Maybe Mahle will be this years. (Except for those of us that would like to forget we all remember how the Pivetta thing worked out, haha)

  7. thehombre says:
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    I get the Framber love. It’s sweet, but what about his rotation mate Louis Garcia??? He seems like a January Grey post.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      He won’t be getting a post, seems like a very late flyer

      • Got Garcia with pick #452, late flyer

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, that’s super late

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Tad late for a sleeper post

  8. Funny Name says:
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    So I signed up for Patreon yesterday because I am an impatient man and need your ranking now, so thanks, tons of reading material. Is your too 500 available? Just curious of where certain guys from different positions are ranked in comparison. Also the downloadable to excel option would be great, I’m a big excel guy. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      That’s gonna take some time, it’s not as easy for me to do as simply writing my thoughts…I am working on it tho

  9. Dave D says:
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    I’m glad you finally got on the Framber train, Grey, but dont let Hernan read this. He mIght start to realize his ultimate fate in the early Razz DC.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Choo-choo, all aboard! Thought Hernan was more worried about your Renfroe

      • Dave D says:
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        Just wait until I sick my other Valdez on him, and he stuffs 20 SAGNOF SVs down his pipe. Then he will be really feel the Valdez burn not felt since the Exxon Valdez wrath of yesteryear!!!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Haha

        • Hernan says:
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          Plus not worried about renfroe, Red Sox are in talks with every cheap outfielder that breathes, renfroe is platoonee to help benintendi and verdugo against lefties, at least when he was with Rays he could feast on Red Sox pitching, not anymore

    • Hahaha, DD you sniped Strasburg, Framber, and Luzardo you dog!

    • Hernan says:
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      Lol, I was waiting for you Dave, don’t mean to rain on Grey’s parade , but looking at statcast page tells me regression for Framboise is inevitable, hard contact on him is insane, followed by a meh whiff rate, SwStr % of 10, no way that KRate is sustainable, sure the ground balls are there, still , pitched way over ha head, another decent arm with apocalyptic angels that will disappoint… Urquidy >>>>>Frembo

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I’m looking at his increased command, and maintaining a 9.3+ K/9, with solid GBs, but the SwStr and HardHit are fair reasons for pause

    • Hernan says:
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      Frember reminds me of Folty, one big run, great surface numbers, meh underlying, everyone in on him, then hitters adjust…, problem solved…

      • Dave D says:
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        He sure looked good in the playoffs against the best. I sense some serious self-doubt in your retort. Long live Framber!!!

  10. Framber will grind. Love his competitive fire. Dude can run his fastball away from RH’s, and elevate for effect. Definitely pounds away with that breaking ball as he piles up those K’s. Hoping he doesn’t get too much hype, want him at a reasonable cost. Thanks Grey!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, agreed, think he’s just scratching surface of possible upside and might have a top 10 SP year in him — Appreciate it!

  11. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    Does it matter where Springer signs between Mets or Jays? I mean other than the Mets curse of course.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Not especially, tbh — Are you saying bc I didn’t project him in my Patreon rankings? — I will project him by the time rankings come out if he still hasn’t signed, holding out hope he signs somewhere to save me trouble of projecting him twice

      • Sweatpants Nation says:
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        I guess more lineup and where he might hit in that lineup. Probably stays leadoff on either team maybe it doesn’t matter.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Different people behind him (or in front), but yeah it’s pretty close to same diff with those two teams — Jays prolly a tad better

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            *Especially in Buffalo

            • Sweatpants Nation says:
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              Yeah, for sure if in Buffalo

  12. herschel says:
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    @Grey: happy new year! is it still within a reasonable window to say that to people? anyway, how long til rankings drop? gettin itchy…..

  13. Scott Kimmel says:
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    Grey,

    I just received a trade offer where Igive up COrey Knebel/RP/LAD/$26 for a minor league prospect either Ethan Small or Carmen Mlodzinski. WHat are your thoughts? and if you like it which minor league prospect would u want? I am leaning towards Mlodzinski.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Meh, those prospects are kinda whatever, but I’d take the Small flyer I guess

  14. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    World Junior Hockey Championships: Canada v USA in the Gold Medal game tonight!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Already have the DVR set

  15. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Yes, I imagine it just automatically saves all hockey games for you.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yes, I bought it from a guy in a Red Wings jersey driving a sketchy van

  16. Rick Brown says:
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    Game is Wednesday the 6th. Go Canada!!
    RICK

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Pinging VinWins

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        Hope you got a good deal, Grey!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I traded him my Josh Rutledge sleeper post!

          • VinWins

            VinWins says:
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            I was wondering what happened to that.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              It’s gone now, and I miss it *sad face*

  17. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Maybe you are looking at a replay on Wednesday. Game is definitely tonight, 7:30 in Edmonton, 6:30 PT, 9:30 ET, and 8:30 here in Saskatchewan.

    Russia – Finland are playing for Bronze right now.

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      Or I suppose you could be in Europe or some other part of the world where it will be Wednesday.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Pinging Rick

    • Rick Brown says:
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      Yeah,my bad.Game is 10:30 Atlantic time where I am.

  18. J-FOH says:
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    Whats up little homie.

    This song is so creepy. And Ive heard it at probably every backyard cholo BBQ late into the night

    whats the good word? Big Magoo or Oaktown been around?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      This song? What song? Haven’t seen Magoo or Oaktown

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Oh! Benny Mardones — that door opening kills me

        • J-FOH says:
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          I miss the videos that acted it out in song

          This song is on yacht rock! I love that channel!!!!

          They always played it on the oldies/jams/lowrider shows

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            You should listen to Hit Parade by Slate and the Yacht Rock episode, it’s great

            • J-FOH says:
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              they probably get into steely dan. Im all in

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Yeah, lots of Steely Dan, good podcast in general too if you like the topic

  19. tank1 says:
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    Hi Grey and a belated Happy New Year! Have a very early keeper question which I know is subject to change as offseason progresses and we learn more about the upcoming year. For now though my keepers are as follows:

    Acuna
    Buehler
    Olson
    Arozarena

    My final choice is between Betts and Bellinger (unfortunately per league rules I can only keep one of them). I’m leaning Betts but Bellinger is better value (he will cost a 20th round pick as compared to Betts costing an 11th round pick – both great value overall). Who would you select? As background, this is a 10 team mixed league that counts OPS and holds as the 6th category.

    Thanks!

    • RoarOf84 says:
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      Why not keep both and let either Olson or Randy walk? Even if they had insane value, I’m not sure I’d keep them over elite options like Betts and Bellinger.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Betts

      • tank1 says:
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        Thanks for the responses. The reason I can’t keep both is that per league rules in order to keep either Betts or Bellinger they must be “franchised” (which is based on previous year’s keeper status) and we can only franchise one player. One other factor that might come into play, each year a franchised player’s keeper status increases by three rounds so next year (2022), Betts would cost an 8th round pick and Bellinger a 17th round pick. Still great value for both but, as you can see, there is a longer window for Bellinger than Betts. Unfortunately Acuna requires franchising after this year as well and will cost a 4th round pick in 2022. So next year I will be weighing either keeping Acuna in the 4th round or Betts in the 8th or Bellinger in the 17th. Obviously not a bad problem to have but could weigh in favor of keeping Bellinger this year given the significant draft value for the next 3-5 years. This decision would be much easier if Bellinger had not had such an off year in 2020 (as much as that matters at this point).

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Gotcha, yeah, I’d just go Betts

Comments are closed.