The hot stove heating up right before Thanksgiving is exactly how it was meant to be. Now if I could see Giancarlo in nothing but taters that would make me thankful for everything. Five hours through my thankfulness, “…um…I’m also thankful for the lines at the DMV because they give me time to reflect…” Seven hours later, “…I’m thankful for my wife’s cooking because it helps me appreciate dining out…” Ten hours later, “…I’m thankful for the kid at the frozen yogurt place who puts his grubby fingers on the yogurt spout because I really shouldn’t have been eating yogurt anyway…” I hope you’re all as thankful for everything you have too on this glorious day of turkey, stuffing and ignoring the cranberry sauce. Any hoo! The Padres and Brewers igniting the pilot light on the hot stove, sending Trent Grisham and Zach Davies to the Padres for Luis Urias and Eric Lauer. This trade is close to even, so why make it? That’s a mystery best left to Grisham’s older, unrelated cousin.
Trent Grisham had a higher walk rate (14.6%) than strikeout rate (13.9%) in Triple-A last year. That originally attracted me. If I’m being honest, before I go any further, a lot was turning me off. He didn’t look like a major league regular as recently as a year ago — I mean, for Criss Angel’s sake, he hit .233 in Double-A in 2018. Hilariously, he had a 26% strikeout rate in Single-A. Grisham is a lefty, which immediately gives me pause, because the wrong manager — hey, Tingler, how’s tings? — will platoon a lefty almost exclusively. Now that I say the quiet part out loud, what the hell am I doing being excited about Grisham, and has anyone turned my marbles in at my library’s lost & found? Thankfully, it wasn’t just a minor league walk rate in a mere 34 games that drew me in for Grisham. In 2015, Trent Clark was drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Beermakers. Trent said, “I miss my mommy’s née and I want you to now call me Trent Grisham,” and a legend was born. I.e., you people who need things like I and E spelled out to you, Grisham was a top prospect in the country five years ago. Maybe he should’ve went to college, but can’t fault a guy for skipping classes to play pro ball. Without college, he brought warts with him to minor league baseball, that he might’ve been able to shake prior. So, to recap, Grisham was good, was terrible in the minors, became good again this year. He’s still only 23 years old. Better he figure things out now than later like those great waxy candies. So, what changed, you ask with a bat of your eyelashes. An approach change. He used to try to be overly patient and hit everything the opposite way. He began to pull more pitches this year and became more aggressive, and things went Click, like that terrible Adam Sandler movie, but in a good way. This year Grisham hit 32 homers across three levels. This is a guy who regularly took a walk, and that hasn’t just disappeared. Oh, and he has 15-steal speed. I’m sorry, a guy who can go 30/15 with walks? Who’s being drafted around the last round in many fantasy drafts? Hmm, all of those reasons why I didn’t like him seem like distant memories, which gives me an idea. Hello Sharks! For $400,000, you can have 5% of my secondhand memory foam mattress store called Distant Memories. Only real concern is that Grisham doesn’t do well early on, falls into a platoon or worse, is demoted, but his price is so cheap in drafts, that he’s well within the realm of being a sleeper. Also, he hit .284 vs. lefties last year in the minors, which was better than his average vs. righties, so he’s not an obvious platoon guy. For 2020, I’ll give Trent Grisham projections of 64/19/51/.254/13 in 453 ABs with a chance for much more. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2020 fantasy baseball:
Zach Davies – Headed to the Padres. When you see Davies’s eephus that he calls a fastball and his strikeout rate, well, it leaves a lot to be desired. Wait, it gets worse! This year his terrible Ks went south with his luggage, and now his strikeout rate (5.8 K/9) is listed in the dictionary next to the word “bleh”. In Petco vs. Miller won’t hurt him, and he seemingly managed to limit ERA damage last year, but it’s hard to recommend him. For 2020, I’ll give him 8-10/4.31/1.35/119 in 177 IP.
Luis Urias – Went the other way in the monster trade. Or maybe it was that I was drinking a Monster energy drink when I heard about it. It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Urias to breakout (that goes for Julio too), but Luis is still only 22 years old (Julio’s only 23). It is debatable if Urias’s 19 homers in a half a season of Triple-A was real and will translate or was Superball-aided. Urias is one of those guys where I don’t even know what to project for him. He could anywhere from 30/7/.290 to 4/2/.210 and demoted by May. Or doesn’t even make the team. Be interested in seeing what he can do. Guess you can say I’m very excited to *pinkie to mouth* c-Urias. Going to the Brewers won’t hurt him, unless Counsell suddenly finds an affinity for Orlando Arcia. The eye test tells me Urias will be a 17/7/.260 guy, but, again, he’s young and who knows. You should be skeptical of people crazy excited about Urias now. He still has not done anything in the majors. For 2020, I’ll give Luis Urias projections of 43/14/53/.262/6 in 521 ABs with a chance for more (or less).
Drew Pomeranz – Signed with the Padres. At 31, he found an extra three miles on his fastball, which could be a sign he’s now comfortable with his middle relief role. Last year, in a starter role, he had a 5.97 ERA and a 1.88 ERA in middle relief. Padres seem to be a smart club, and Pomeranz as just a middle reliever could make him one of the best setup guys. Let the ‘ranz dance in the 8th inning. For 2020, I’ll give him the projections 5-2/3.37/1.07/105, 4 saves in 81 IP.
Eric Lauer – Last piece headed to the Brewers. I hope Lauer got told he was going to pitching in one of the worst ballparks by Ronan Farrow. That’ll teach–*intern whispers in my ear* Now that you say it it makes a lot of sense that it’s not the same Lauer. Lauer was a guy who could’ve been a great late pick in fantasy drafts, but now? Miller Park once chewed up and spat out Zack Greinke with one of his worst ERA years. The park isn’t the kiss of death if you can strikeout everyone (Woodruff, Peralta), but it’s scary for a guy like Lauer with his 8-ish K/9 and 3+ BB/9. For 2020, I’ll give Lauer projections 9-11/4.37/1.33/149 in 158 IP.
Jonathan Villar – Placed on waivers. Bit bummed more people didn’t draft him at his absurd current ADP of, like, 20. Oh well. I’m sure he’ll end up somewhere, but in real baseball land, aside from a handful of terrible teams, Villar is a utility man and, at best, a top 50 overall pick with 450-ish at-bats.
Kyle Gibson – Signed with the Rangers. As someone who has owned Gibson in the past, one word of advice for the Rangers. If he’s throwing a 5 IP, 0 ER game, pull him after the 5th inning of scoreless baseball because it will all invariably go sideways before you know what’s happened. Doesn’t matter if he’s thrown 60 pitches or 95 pitches. Get him out of the game! This hilarious in an extremely sad way: In his third time through the order, Gibson has a 29.2% line drive rate allowed. Would it surprise you to know that’s insanely awful? Since I had Lauer’s player page open, his LD% third time through was 13.3%. Gibson’s FIP third time through 5.36. Hey, I don’t want to tell people how to do their job, but maybe use an Opener with him. Just throwing it out there. Like Gibson after the 5th inning. For 2020, I’ll give him projections of 12-10/4.16/1.32/177 in 183 IP.
Aaron Hicks – Will miss 8-10 months with Tommy John surgery. He should regain his command by 2021 and be able to come out of the pen in August of 2020.
Luke Voit – Will return from hernia surgery during spring training. The balls on this guy.
Yasmani Grandal – Signed with the White Sox. As I mentioned earlier this postseason (when does the clock flip to preseason?), the White Sox are my early underdog to make a deep 2020 run in the postseason. This signing shows me they heard and are on board. Any hoo! Catchers are such late bloomers. Grandal seemed like the meow’s cat back in 2012 when he was called up with the Padres, then did nothing for four years only to emerge later as one of the best offensive catchers. Yadier comes to mind too as a late bloomer to okay, boomer. Definitely not a clearcut path for all catchers, though. Posey took the near-opposite route, burning out young from too many jostles to the melon. Melon jostling is on the catcher contract they make with themselves and is notarized by Joe Torre in the league office. As for Grandal in his new home, I punt top catchers, but this won’t hurt his value. With the signing of Grandal, James got kicked in McCann. For 2020, I’ll give Yasmani Grandal projections 72/25/77/.241/3 in 505 ABs.
Evan White – Signed a $24 million dollar, six-year deal with the Mariners. Since White was in Double-A as of last year, this is a good sign that the M’s consider him their 1st baseman for this year. Be interesting to see if they get their money’s worth on $24 million. I’m kidding. They made $24 million on Ichiro bobbleheads in the gift shop. They’re paying $24 million to Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana and Mike Leake, to play for other teams, and are worth $1.6 billion as a franchise. Every minor leaguer should get a million-dollar contract, so this doesn’t seem so special. Okay, enough of Woke Grey. White looks like a gap hitter with sneaky speed for a first baseman. In video I watched, he looked a little like a middle infielder. Possible outcomes for him in 2020 range from 20 homers and .275+ with five steals, which isn’t bad at all, to 13 HRs, .250 and being asked to take “driving the ball” courses from Austin Nola. For 2020, I’ll give Evan White projections of 57/15/66/.263/4 in 461 ABs.
Travis d’Arnaud – Le Terminator signed with the Braves. He seemed reborn last year, which for a French robot is as good as it baguettes. Do I think d’Arnaud will…*bad French Schwarzenegger accent*…be back? Not entirely. I’ll give d’Arnaud projections of 45/15/49/.246 in 378 ABs.
Will Smith – Signed with the Braves. Siri, set iCal reminder for when Will Smith faces DJ LeMahieu, Jazz Chisholm and Jeff McNeil. Siri…? Why are you leaving my phone? I just wanted to be reminded to make a terrible joke. Siri! Come back! *screaming at the heavens* SIRI, PLEASE! “Grey, I’m here but ignoring you.” Thanks, Siri. The Braves have $27 million tied up in Mark Melancon and Will Smith for 2020. Yo, I hear Bruce Bochy’s available. Any hoo! Smith should bring his lights-out slider to The A-T-L, but the Braves have said Melancon is their closer. I prefer to take teams at their word then be one of these ‘perts who says things like, “Smith is better so he’s the closer blabbity blabbity blue!” So, at this point, I’ll say Melancon/Smith will be 70/30 closer share, but obviously it’s an iffy prognostication at best. For 2020, I’ll give Will Smith projections of 7-2/3.07/1.11/84 with 16 saves in 62 IP.
Chase Anderson – Acquired by the Blue Jays. He went from a Brewer to a Jay, which shows what a gateway drug beer is. I am praying for you, drunkards, which is why I’m typing this up dressed as a praying mantis. Praise all insects. Ohm… California hasn’t changed me at all. Any hoo! Chase Anderson, my favorite pitcher who no one else likes, and who I don’t really like anymore either ends up in the AL East. That’s gonna be a woof with a side of no thanks. For 2020, I’ll give him the projections of 8-12/4.24/1.30/135 in 154 IP.