Figured if I heard the first part of the sentence, “Finally, the Tigers went out and got their man,” it would be followed by a story about how a few tigers dressed up as humans, went to visiting hours at Joe Exotic’s jail and ate him. It didn’t mean that, but if the Tigers sign Carole Baskin, the Pirates will trade Bryan Reynolds to the Tigers for her. So, the Tigers signed Javier Baez, and I love it. Tigers are sneakily becoming my “Pick it to stick it!” Which translates to a team I put hundred schmools on to win the World Series, and they just miss the playoffs. Javier Baez is defined, for better or worse, for his lack of walks — wacks? Hey, that’s actually pretty good. “Baez is too reliant on wacks to be a reliable batting average guy.” Wacks seems to give off a negative connotation in the mind of fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). If you’re in an OBP league, then I get it, but I’m not talking about OBP when I say Baez is continually underrated, which, brucely, is one of the weirder peccadillos in fantasy. By the way, never say “peccadillo” aloud because that would give someone the right to punch you in the nose. I say it’s weird because Baez is exactly the type that most love more than is deserved in real baseball. It’s truly bizarre. Real baseball people love Baez, even though he is a liability with his wacks, but, for fantasy, he’s underrated. I see Baez and want to “wacks” poetic. Comerica isn’t particularly fun-loving, so Baez has gone from Friendly Confines for power to neutral in Metco to a team whose player most synonymous with home runs was Matthew Boyd. Still, a guy who averages 27/15/.265 has my attention, and I’m ready to get my Baezian wacks. For 2022, I’ll give Javier Baez projections of 84/25/91/.257/14 in 541 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for fantasy baseball:
Psyche! Promise you sleepers are starting tomorrow, unless there’s some other big signing during the lockout, which is illegal, but what are legalities except illegalities that wear frilly shirts. Also, I’ve begun to roll out my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon. Anyway II, the roundup:
Marcus Stroman – Signed with the Cubs. Not sure who Stroman pissed off, besides Italians, but going to the Cubs right now seems like purgatory on earth. Not sure what I’m talking about? It was revealed he “liked” a tweet about an Italian-American reporter that called the reporter a WOP. As a pizza bagel, I am half Italian, and we take our insults very serious. (I’m saying this in my head with a heavy Jersey accent to help you hear it.) Maybe Stroman wanted to go to Chicago for some other reason. Maybe Stroman heard how disrespectful Chicago pizza was to Italians and couldn’t wait to get there. Hey, I’m just askin’ questions here. Any hoo! The great thing about Stroman, besides him always leaving a reservation open at an Italian restaurant, is he’s great just about anywhere, and Wrigley will put that to the test. Ground balls will ground balls wherever. Honestly, I think he could overcome Coors. An 8 K/9, low-2 BB/9, 50+% ground ball rate is what I’d take from every number three. Just don’t expect too much, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. For 2022, I’ll give Marcus Stroman projections of 9-11/3.54/1.13/162 in 191 IP.
Clint Frazier – Signed with the Cubs. You know your sportsball league has issues when an iconic Chicago team is claiming to be a small market team. You really know you have issues when you’re paying your players less than the cost of their game-worn jerseys. “Hey, Clint, if you want to subsidize your salary, you can spraypaint your number on your back and sell your jersey.” So, I’m still one of the last believers in Clint Frazier, but he’s not being drafted until pick 500th overall, and that makes sense. He has some serious goodwill to earn. For 2022, I’ll give Clint Frazier projections of 28/9/32/.261/4 in 278 ABs with a chance for more, obviously (or less).
Joey Wendle – Traded to the Marlins. Mr. Wendle is definitely a bum, and his game is classic sign of arrested development. So, I don’t get this move at all for the Marlins. Roster Resource has Jazz Chisholm in a platoon, which is laughable. My guess is Wendle platoons with Brian Anderson, Rojas and maybe even some outfield. It’ll figure itself out, but Wendle went 11/8 in 501 plate appearances last year, so I don’t expect better when his PAs are cut down to 300. For what it’s Cronenworth, I reached out to my Marlins’ contact about playing time, and he said the Marlins might make more moves still. Perhaps the best news from this Wendle trade might be Vidal Brujan could start the year in the majors for the Rays.
Jorge Alfaro – Traded to the Padres. If he’s going alphabetically to where he’d have value and get at-bats, he’s closer if going by team name, but overshot his destination if it’s by city names. Okay, will stop talking in riddles. Alfaro won’t have any value for the Padres, but would’ve been the starter on the Pirates.
Cesar Hernandez – Signed with the Nats. Remembered him having a surprisingly good previous season and went to look at his stats and am now wondering why my memory is so bad. Guess I remembered his good 1st half (15 HRs) and forgot his 2nd half (6 HRs, .239). As Cesar would say at a Target, caveat emptor. Though, the non-Ron Washington Nats is possibly the best landing spot for him for fantasy value. For 2022, I’ll give Cesar Hernandez projections of 77/16/57/.241/2 in 541 ABs.
Mark Melancon – Signed with the Diamondbacks. 40 saves incoming from a 275th overall pick that no one wants until they get to July and realize they’re wearing a SAGNOF shirt and are winning their league’s saves category. For 2022, I’ll give Mark Melancon projections of 1-3/3.81/1.26/57, 32 saves in 63 IP.
Rougned Odor – Signed by the Orioles. They only signed Odor because they’re cheap, but this time their cheapness might pay dividends in fantasy. Imagine a factory that cuts corners and finds itself putting knifes in glove compartments for people to just cut seatbelts off their bodies, rather than a buckle that works. This is one of those times, when the knife cutting you out of your carseat is better than unbuckling. And that knife could lead to a guy hitting 30 homers and .220. For 2022, I’ll give Rougned Odor projections of 61/27/72/.209/4 in 463 ABs.
Dylan Bundy – Signed with the Twins. Just realized something. The Twins run their team like their fantasy managers. Buxton? Burn us again, baby! Pineda? Make it hurt, lover! Bundy? The upside is incredible! Yeah, better the Twins than me. For 2022, I’ll give Dylan Bundy projections of 6-8/4.51/1.33/136 in 134 IP.
Hunter Renfroe – Traded to the Brewers. A last-minute, pre-lockout trade? As Scooby would say, “Hunter Renfroe?!” The move to Milwaukee is gonna cut down on Renfroe’s average a little, but could aid in power. The Green Monster giveth doubles for average (he had a career high in doubles last year, because of course), but it taketh away some low-flying missiles that could get to the seats. Really liked Renfroe last year in Boston, and this doesn’t hurt that enthusiasm. There’s a scenario here where I could see a 37/.250 year. Me likey a lot. For 2022, I’ll give Hunter Renfroe projections of 79/33/92/.249/2 in 519 ABs.
Jackie Bradley Jr. – Went the over way in the Renfroe trade. It does feel a bit like the Red Sox try to be worse every offseason, get surprisingly better, then repeat cycle. It’s not like they don’t know what they’re getting with Jackie Bradley Jr. Did they look at Hunter Renfroe, who was solid for them last year, and think, “This is too easy. Let’s make it harder on ourselves?” Last year, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 6/7/.163. Dot dot dot. In 428 plate appearances! I get the defense is solid, but he shouldn’t be a starter for any team, let alone one sent for Hunter Renfroe. For 2022, I’ll give Jackie Bradley Jr. projections of 34/14/43/.217/5 in 337 ABs, and I think I’m being too generous.
James Paxton – Signed with the Red Sox. He had his 2nd career Tommy John surgery last April, so I wonder how this works for the Red Sox. Do they get credit for the Tommy John surgery stamp card towards the 5th free or no?
Rich Hill – Signed with the Red Sox. The Red Sox were like, “Hey, we surprised people with Nick Pivetta as our ace, let’s see if we can really, really surprise people!” I’ve mentioned this before, but it always blows my mind that Rich Hill’s been in the league since 2005, and only has 1134 2/3 career IP. Nolan Ryan prolly got that in three consecutive seasons. That is insanely hard to pull off. You have to be good enough to stay in the league, but not good enough to ever pitch a full season. He’s averaging 70 IP per season and he has zero career saves! That’s bonkers. For 2022, I’ll give Rich Hill projections of 6-5/3.71/1.20/127 in 136 IP.
Roberto Perez – Signed with the Pirates. He’s coming off a 7-homer, .149 season, i.e., if you think you can rely on Ro-Pe, you’re gonna be hung out to dry. For 2022, I’ll give Roberto Perez projections of 37/16/41/.173/1 in 381 ABs.
Jordan Lyles – Signed with the O’s. Would be funny if the MLBPA used Lyles as an example of how the Orioles aren’t trying to be competitive. Then the Orioles come back with, “Lyles is great! We love him! We’re unbeatable now!” Then the MLBPA is like, “Fine, show us!” And they come back from the lockout just to see if Jordan Lyles is good or not. The sport is riding on your back, Jordan Lyles. Do us proud.