Sex sells. Just turn on your t.v. and tune into any non-Disney/PBS/kid-friendly channel for a few minutes and you’ll see what I mean. Beer commercials, video game ads, movie trailers. You’re bound to catch a glimpse of Kate Upton or one of the Victoria Secret models flaunting her assets at some point. But what does sex have to do with baseball, and fantasy in particular? Good question.

The answer is power. Power is sexy. Power bats and power arms. Giancarlo Stanton just received $325 million from an owner who still clips coupons out of the Sunday newspaper every week. Felipe Paulino might be the chick at the bar with the butterface and the muffin top, but the D-cups keep teams coming back for more (though they’re probably more like B-cups stuffed with socks these days). What’s Joel Zumaya up to these days anyway? His right arm might be held together by chewing gum and duct tape, but I bet some team would offer him a minor league deal if he somehow managed to flash a plus fastball in a throwing session. That brings me to Danny Salazar.

Last pre-season, he was in the sexy flame-throwing tier of starting pitchers that’s currently occupied by Carlos Carrasco, Yordano Ventura, and Garrett Richards, among others. An incredible 10 start run in 2013 (3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 11.25 K/9, 4.33 K/BB) made him a trendy breakout candidate. Had he thrown enough innings to qualify, his 96.2 mph average fastball velocity would’ve been tied for the highest mark in MLB among starting pitchers and his 14.6% SwStr% would’ve led the league by a substantial margin. Sexy indeed.

Unfortunately, in the first half of 2014, the beer goggles were ripped off and all of Salazar’s flaws became exposed. Across his first eight starts, Salazar’s fastball velocity dropped to 93.7 mph and his SwStr% fell all the way to 10.6%. He began to have some control issues as well, experiencing a steep decline in first pitch strike percentage from 67.3% to 57.1% and a corresponding jump in BB/9 from 2.6 to 3.76. A 14.8% HR/FB rate combined with a .369 BABIP caused his ratios to predictably balloon as well (5.53 ERA, 1.62 WHIP). This disastrous stretch led to a surprising demotion to Triple-A.

Once he was recalled to the big leagues, Salazar got his sexy back. Whether his first half issues were mechanical or health related, he seemed to have gotten past them and looked like the dominant pitcher from ’13 in the second half of ’14. His fastball velocity of 95.1 mph was 7th highest among all starting pitchers in the 2nd half, and his 11.3% SwStr% was 12th best in MLB. His first pitch strike percentage returned to an acceptable 61.4%, which allowed him to get ahead of hitters more often and cut his BB/9 down to 2.34. All of these factors resulted in a much more palatable 1.24 WHIP and 3.50 ERA (which could have been even lower based on his 2.83 FIP, 3.25 xFIP, and 3.20 SIERA marks).

What does all of this mean? Simple. It might be possible to draft a #2/3 SP at a low-end #5 price (NFBC ADP of 232) should the current ADP data hold through March. Low risk for a potentially high reward? Now that’s sexy.

 

 

 
  1. Eric says:
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    Have him as a choice in a keeper league. Deciding between him, Fiers, and T. Walker. Can only keep two. Whacha think?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Eric: Depends on your other keepers, but I’d go with Salazar and Walker. Fiers has some value this season, but he’s the oldest of the three and is a flyball pitcher in a hitter’s park.

  2. Sky

    Sky says:
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    Important note: You can almost spell Lazarus by jumbling Salazar. Coincidence? I think not. 2015 should be a good year.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Sky: Danny Lazaras! I like it. Agreed, I think he’s a great value where he’s coming off of the board at the moment.

    • Cram It says:
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      @Sky: Or Zaltara

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Or Salad Czar: the Obama cabinet that determines who belongs on the $12 salads list for closers.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          And who has botulism

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            that was Joe Nathan

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @Sky: And Ernesto Frieri

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Sky: @Grey: we don’t have $12 dollar salads anymore. *throws dart at picture of Smokey*

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              It’s more like $20 salads. Damn you, inflation!

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Sky: not really, now we get Marry, F**k, or Kill, and I really don’t want to marry a dude…not that there is anything wrong with that.

                • Wake Up says:
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                  @J-FOH: you’re good with the other two with dudes???

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Wake Up: f**k no and only in acts of self defense or a zombie apocalypse.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  @J-FOH: Move to Louisiana

            • Smokey and Ralph

              Smokey and Ralph says:
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              @J-FOH: hey now, are darts nice?

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Smokey and Ralph: did you two get the surgery to become one person or is this some kind of master blaster mad max beyond thunderdome thing?

        • Wake Up says:
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          @Sky: HaHa Dix!
          All closers are gosh dern socialists…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            and un-American!

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I have Salazar around 125 overall, FWIW… And agree, love him this year…

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Grey: Yeah, I wrote this prior to having access to your rankings. Just had early ADP data to work with. I agree with where you have him ranked.

      • SwaggerJackers says:
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        @Big Magoo: Hmm, sounds like a communication breakdown at the Razzball Office.

        Salazar is not “under the graydar” if he’s ranked 125 overall by Grey.

        If you’re basing these off ADP data maybe just call these posts Undervalued ADPs?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @SwaggerJackers: Grey sent me a “Stop Sucking” memo a few weeks ago that I accidentally interpreted as “Salazar Post.” Probably a coping mechanism.

  4. J-Man says:
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    Strictly speaking keepers, I would rather have Fiers and Walker.

  5. Clint says:
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    I know Grey likes Carrasco but would you bet on Salazar or him emerging for 2015, assuming both get starting gigs? Seems as though, if the hype train vaults the former up the draft lists as anticipated, Salazar could be your better priced Doug, no?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Clint: Carrasco has a more diverse arsenal and better command of his off-speed pitches than Salazar, but I like both players. In a vacuum, I’d prefer Carrasco, but based on early ADP, Salazar might be the better value.

  6. J-FOH says:
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    So what you’re saying is Salazar is a second half pitcher?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: Eh, I don’t put too much stock into 1st/2nd half splits unless it’s over a large sample size. Salazar only has 30 career big league starts under his belt, so I probably wouldn’t put him in that 2nd half category just yet…

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: but he has more starts in the second half than the first half, hence making him a second half pitcher… and you are no fun when I mess with you.

        • Wake Up says:
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          @J-FOH: jfoh: knock knock
          Magoo: you’re not even making a fist, there’s no door, if there was a door you could come in without knocking, like I’ve told you many times, plus if there was a door, I wouldn’t have been able to hear you…

          • Grant says:
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            @Wake Up: Kock, just kock, why isn’t she knocking, do you think she knows how to knock….if you get that reference I feel your pain.

            • Wake Up says:
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              @Grant: I have no idea what you are saying, but that sounds like a good thing

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                It’s the best!

              • Big Magoo

                Big Magoo says:
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                @Wake Up: The shoe’s on the other foot for once…

            • Robdouth says:
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              @Grant:

              Having suffered through the age of Barney and Care Bears because I had a sister 10 years younger, I welcome Frozen because it does not make you want to gouge your eyes out like the old cartoons did.

  7. Bob the builder says:
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    Cano or Tulo???

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Bob the builder: Depends on format and whether you’d prefer a high floor option (Cano) or a riskier high ceiling one (Tulo). In a 12 team mixed league or shallower, I’d go with Tulo. Deeper league – Cano.

  8. SheriffMcRawDawg says:
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    MAGOO!

    My garbage keepers are below for my first year in a 12 team, 30-player roto league. my question: would you trade my first round pick (9th overall) for 3 more years of Arenado control, in the 28th round? Is this a no brainer?

    – Cruz in the 6th
    – Trumbo in the 9th
    – Gray in the 10th
    – Chris Davis in the 18th
    – Cain in the 21st
    – Moss in the 23rd
    – Keuchel and Hahn in the 24th and 25th

    Thanks!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @SheriffMcRawDawg: So it’s 8 keepers per team? That would make your 1st rounder the 105th pick overall, essentially. If I’m reading that correctly, then I would take Arenado there.

  9. GhostTownSteve says:
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    Have you looked at Salazar’s stablemate, TJ House at all? 7.89 2nd half K rate. Indians staff led mlb in Ks last year. Appears to have some merit where being drafted.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      I have plans for a deep league thoughts on him myself; I definitely see value depending on league setting.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @GhostTownSteve: The good thing about House is that he’s not likely to cost much on draft day. Currently outside of the top 100 SPs, around a 400 ADP right now. The bad thing is that he probably doesn’t have a spot in the rotation unless there’s an injury or he manages to beat out Bauer, Floyd, or Salazar for a spot. Might have some strikeout upside, but he was a 6-7 K/9 guy throughout his minor league career. He’s probably worth a flier though. Profile looks very similar to Keuchel.

  10. Fastpitch says:
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    Big Magoo. You’re a nice addition to the razz team. I’m in a 12 team weekly league with 10 pitchers in the lineup. Wins, net wins, K, era and saves for cats. It’s a snake draft. Would you target 7SP and 3RP or 8 and 2? Last year I was chasing saves all year and that sucks but my K’s were down too so I needed SP. I’m thinking my 1st pitcher should be a Chapman, Jansen type. They would get nearly the K’s as my 7th SP as well as saves. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Fastpitch: Thanks, Fastpitch!

      I wouldn’t value an elite closer more highly than an ace or even a high-end #2 SP, so if it’s a re-draft league, I’d target the top 10-12 SPs ahead of any RPs. The elite RPs (Chapman, Kimbrel, Jansen, Holland) start to look interesting when the Zimmermann, Grienke, Cueto types are the top SPs on the board, though I’d probably still prefer Zimm and Grienke over the RPs there. Not too different from a standard format.

      With the added emphasis on wins, good/great pitchers on bad teams (think Hamels, Teheran, Hughes) have lesser value, while solid SPs in good situations (Ryu, Fister, Wacha, McCarthy) should probably be bumped up a bit.

      As far as the SP/RP breakdown goes, I’d look to secure at least one RP with a high K-rate and good job security. Try to get two. That would put you ahead of the game. For your third, try to grab an under the radar option like Gregerson or a closer-in-waiting type like Giles or Boxberger. Having three usable closers would give your team extra flexibility. If you’re able to manage that, I’d go with a 7/3 SP/RP split early in the year. That would allow your team to build up some saves and stabilize your ratios while the SPs around the league are still building up stamina and arm strength in the early going (shorter outings = less win potential).

      You could play the standings and matchups from there, alternating 7/3 and 8/2 as needed. Even 9/1 if the matchups are good enough and you’ve built up enough saves. An extra closer would also give you a potentially valuable trade chip to upgrade a weakness later on. Hope this helps.

      • Fastpitch says:
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        @Big Magoo: Thanks a lot. Really helpful. Sound advice I can think about and take to the draft. One thing is no trades in this league.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Fastpitch: No problem. The no trading rule doesn’t change a whole lot. An extra RP just would’ve given you a bargaining chip down the line, but it’s still a viable strategy as long as you’re able to get that 3rd option in the late rounds.

  11. Cookie says:
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    I was offered Miggy and Cano for Rizzo and Altuve in a 10 team OPS keep forever league? Which side do you like?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Cookie: I’d give a slight edge to the Miggy/Cano side in terms of current value, but it’s very close. In a keep forever league, I’d hold Rizzo/Altuve. That side has more value going forward.

    • Wake Up says:
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      @Cookie: Not crazy about Altuve in a 10 T OPS league…

  12. Ante GALIC says:
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    Big Magoo,

    Very nice work. Agree w/others on Salad Bar’s value based on ADP. We need someone at the Razzball braintrust to make an Excel spreadsheet of the various rankings AND ADP to see the value. Guess I could do that myself.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Ante GALIC: Thanks, Ante! There’s not much ADP data right now, so you’ll just have to keep an eye out for when the ESPN/Yahoo/CBS leagues get rolling and release their draft results.

  13. JeF With 1 F says:
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    MAGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @JeF With 1 F: JeeeeeeeeeeeeeF! Managed to keep it at one F…

      • JeF With 1 F says:
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        @Big Magoo: Ha…nice work

  14. J-FOH says:
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    Its super bowl sunday, if we have a conversation in here would anyone notice?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @J-FOH: I doubt it. Just turned the game on a few minutes ago. What the hell do they talk about for five hours on the pre-game show? The science of ball inflation? The Lynch/Gronk Mortal Kombat battle?

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: their own job security for yapping non sense on TV?

  15. John says:
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    Hey magoo,

    Need some advice on what sites to play for money, any thoughts?

    • John says:
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      @John: Also I’m not a huge fan of yahoo’s setup

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @John: I usually do a few CBS prize leagues each season. The ROI isn’t great if you’re only looking to join one league (e.g. $100 buy-in for a Platinum league – $600 winner-take-all payout), but there are discounts for each additional team that you purchase. These are mostly shallow 10 team mixed formats, but there are some NL/AL Only leagues too. If you’re looking to join multiple leagues, this isn’t a bad option.

      The other format that I’m familiar with is the NFBC. A large variety of options are available there. I think the minimum buy-in is $150 and it goes up into the thousands. Serious players in there.

  16. Robdouth says:
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    I’m freed from my 6 man keeper league as the commish is dropping it to only 4, but now I have to make a tough decision on those 4.

    Giancarlo is a no brainer

    Cargomez seems like a safe 2nd keeper but then all hell breaks loose:

    Tulo, Cargonz, Corey Dickerson, Corey Kluber

    I have to pick two from that list, and I’m leaning away from Dickerson only because I think I can get him first round (5th round of a 10 team league given his likely ADP)

    I could keep Kluber as if he fell to the 4th round, and then go high ceiling on Tulo knowing that I need a better than medicore second MI. Depends on who else is being kept I guess.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Robdouth: It’s a 10 team mixed format then? Roto or H2H?

      Stanton and Gomez are no-brainers like you said. I’d go with Tulo as your third. The decision between Gonzalez and Kluber for the last spot depends on your league format.

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