Me don’t like focusing so much on AL East starters for sleepers.  Me do like talking like a leprechaun.  Kevin Gausman is stealing me Lucky Charms!  Last year, Gausman’s record was 11-12/4.68/1.49/179 in 186 2/3 IP.  Here’s what I said towards the end of last year, “This year, like a case of lice, Gausman is a real head scratcher.  Looking at his perfs (kids say this; think it’s short for perfumes), Gausman is having a garbage year.  Velocity is there, so doubt it’s a hidden injury.  The walks are way up, Ks are down, and the culprit appears to be his fastball.  Went from a near-10 in pitch value on his speed ball to a negative.  FS shouldn’t abbreviate fastball, it should be for ‘F**k’s sake.’  The good news is this sounds like a mechanics problem, and might’ve been fixed already.  Thanks, Pep Boys!  His 1st half vs. 2nd half:  5.85 ERA vs. 3.44; 7.7 K/9 vs. 9.6 K/9; 4 BB/9 vs. 3.2.  Yeah, sadly enough, it’s going to be hard to avoid him in 2018 again.”  And that’s me quoting me!  So, what can we expect for Kevin Gausman for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Kinda mentioned it, but since I’m a mensch, I’ll say again Kevin Gausman’s 2nd half was butter.  Does that mean I’ve now mensch-ioned it?  Yes, it does.  In the 2nd half, he was a top 20 starter-ish.  Top 20-ish?  Top-ish?  You get the drift.  In the 2nd half, he had the 16th best K/9 with a 2.8 BB/9.  He had the 21st best ERA with the 23rd best xFIP.  He had the 24th best fastball with the 3rd best splitter.  Or spliiter, if Desiigner is reading.  He averaged the 12th fastest, uh, fastball while throwing it the 12th most in the majors.  Some of these factoids are neither here nor there, but I’m filling in your charcoal sketch.  As we learned with the Trevor Williams sleeper, a dope fastball doesn’t make a pitcher.  It’s like putting Michelle Dockery in a show.  Doesn’t make it great.  But if she’s laying chops with another great actor, it steps up everything.  It’s like this, what is the fastball being fed off of?  Gausman’s splitter has been doing that job, and it’s effective.  Another pitch would really change his game though.  Another pitch could take his game to the next level.  So, what happened in the 2nd half last year?  He added in the league’s 20th best slider.  That’s right, Gausman suddenly has two dipsy and/or doodle pitches to go with his mid-90’s gas.  That changes everything.  Gausman stopped throwing his slider in 2016 because he lost the feel, or the feels if you’re a millennial.  He has a whiff rate of 20% for his splitter.  That’s elite.  To give you an idea, Corey Kluber has two pitches with a 20% whiff rate.  Well, Gausman’s slider in the 2nd half was a 19% whiff rate.  Bee eye en gee oh.  No, Gausman won’t be that good, but this confirms his 3.41 ERA in the 2nd half and why Gausman is on the precipice of being a top 20 starter.  For 2018, I’ll give Kevin Gausman the projections of 13-9/3.66/1.25/201 in 198 IP with a chance for even more.

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David
David
4 years ago

Grey,
In a 10-team roto keeper league. Its 11×11. Keeper rules allows me to keep up to 18 players. Players are ranked as 1’s, 2’s, or non-rated (n/r’d). I can keep a combo of either 6-1’s + 6-2’s + 6 n/r’d OR 5-1’s + 7-2’s + 6 n/r’d. I can also keep less rated players and load up on n/r’d players. My team w/ rating as follows (no number is n/r). Roster slots are indicated:

C Lucroy
1B Encarnacion (1)
1B Myers
MI Segura (1)
MI Simmons (2)
3B Turner (2)
3B Healy
OF Guerrero
OF Bruce (1)
OF Eaton (2)
OF Rosario (2)
OF DeShields
OF Marwin
OF Choo
Bench: Gennett (2), Swanson, Gamel, Pirella, Kyle Tucker

P Greinke (1)
P Strasburg (1)
P Ray (1)
P Archer (2)
P Quintana (2)
P Clevinger (2)
P Godley
P J. Gray
P Kuhl
P Iglesias
Bench: Alex Reyes
Minors: Puk, Kyle Wright

Very large rosters. So my keepers currently are:
1’s: encarnacion, segura, bruce, greinke, stras, ray
2’s: simmons, turner, eaton, rosario, archer, quintana
n/r’d: myers, healy, guerrero, tucker, godley, reyes

I have a couple trade in play:
1. archer (2) for gleybar & kopeck
2. grienke for daniel murphy (both 1’s)

here are my q’s:
1. before any trades, my roster as is, who do I keep?
2. what do you think of these trades? I’m more excited for trade 1.
3. assuming i accept trade 1, who do I now keep?

Scott Collins
Scott Collins
4 years ago

Hi, I would like to add another factor to Gausman’s season last year..

Wellington Castillo.

He is a terrible catcher (game calling, framing) He is the reason Arizona pitchers (greinke and Co.) were so bad in 2016… he is the reason, Gausman and Bundy suffered last year. I believe he was hurt some (or they simply gave up on him and started benching him more) during the second half.. which would help Gasman have a better second half. If this is the case, both the Gas man and Bundy will be definitely be better in 2018.. because Ol’ Beef is the whitesox’s problem now. (look out Giolito and Lopez!)
I believe the effect a catcher has on a picther(s) is HIGHLY underrated. One shining example is King Felix.. many years ago before his Cy Young, he had an up and down year.. and the determining factor was the catcher. When he had one catcher catch him, he dominated.. and when the other did, he sucked. It took the M’s awhile to figure this out.. and then once they did, he excelled consistently.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
4 years ago

Which side do you like in a keep forever OBP OPS league (+10% annually)?

$51 Goldy or $13 Jo-Ram?

Love Goldy, but in the case, Jo Ram?

Thanks!

LenFuego
LenFuego
Reply to  Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
4 years ago

@Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Seems like a no-brainer to me. JoRam should return at least $30 of value (maybe even more), so you are getting +$17 of surplus value there. Goldy will probably return right around that $51 value so you are not getting any surplus value. You can take that $51 and bid on a player that should return right around Goldy’s value (Trea Turner? Bryce Harper?)

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  LenFuego
4 years ago

@LenFuego: good points! Thanks

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: thanks – off topic, but just checked out Trevor Williams’ Twitter per the chats above. Pretty hilarious!

Ian
Ian
4 years ago

Saw your article on Taylor and am wondering… Michael Taylor or Kevin Kiermier in a dynasty? A little worried about PT for Taylor. Thanks!

JR
JR
4 years ago

If you could make one of these trades which one would you do? 10 team keeper league
Give scherzer, get Machado
Give Quintana, get sano

Thanks!

JR
JR
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: if you could only choose one though, which would you do? I only need one of them…

JR
JR
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Haha I like it! Thanks Grey!

Uncle Ernie
Uncle Ernie
4 years ago

I know it’s a little early but won’t be long. This is an 8 team 5×5 roto League with a $260 auction budget. I get 8 keepers out of these players. I’m always thinking offence and tend to pick up some pretty good pitchers along the way. Trout $64. Blackman $18 Goldschmidt $49 Votto $11. Altuve $40. Ozuna $4. Mancini $4. Justin Turner $4. Ian Happ $4. Daniel Murphy $8. Didi Gregorius $4. Carrasco $9. Severino $4. I’m thinking Trout Goldi Altuve Murphy Severino Votto Blackman Ozuna. If I don’t keep any of the big salary guys I think they may actually go for more than what I have them for at draft time with the exception of Trout. 8 keepers really narrows down the Talent at draft. Who would you keep? Thanks for your opinion.

Speill
Speill
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: thanks!

The Ghost of Oaks
The Ghost of Oaks
4 years ago

I’ve scouted Gausman a lot over the last 3 years. By way of being round about, two years ago, Dan Straily got together with a childhood friend of his who is a financial analyst and the two of them put together a ton of data and analysis and they developed a specific attack plan against basically every hitter in MLB. The result was a slight change in Straily’s arsenal but much more importantly, a huge change in the way he sequenced pitching. I think that there are some guys, Greg Maddux is first who come to mind, who have an encyclopedic knowledge of hitters that allows them to maximize the game theory of pitching. Call it pitchability or guile or whatever. Sometimes a great catcher like Yaddi for instance can help lend a certain amount of that gamesmanship to a pitcher.

Anyway, I feel like Gausman just hasn’t developed any pitchability. Seems like he constantly pitches himself into predictable counts and pitch selection. His sequencing seems very predictable. The kind of old school thing of setting up hitters and pitches, managing the game, maintaining his composure, the ability to compete doesn’t seem to be there. I always get the feeling that he’s laboring through. Danny Salazar is another guy that gives me the same vibe.

I love Gausman’s raw stuff. Been hoping to see him put it together. You never really know when it’s going to click for a guy.

The Ghost of Oaks
The Ghost of Oaks
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Maddux had two things going for him which made him a Hall of Famer: he was able to both conceive of an approach and also to execute on the approach. Gausman will never be able to locate like Maddux. But watching him, I really get the sense that there’s no guile to his game at all. One of those guys who has always had Bugs Bunny stuff so he hasn’t developed the approach. Could be time. The park and the division are such a handicap though. I do think he’s an interesting sleeper call though. He’s got a couple of seasons now where he hasn’t been on the mlb/AAA or the starter/reliever yo-yo. Could be he’s ready to take another step. Like I said, he’s always been on my radar.

Anon Gonzalez
Anon Gonzalez
4 years ago

Would you rather have Gausman or one from the crop of 55/60s about to debut like Keller, Honeywell, Kopech, AJ Puk?

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
4 years ago

Bellinger-5
Contreras-10
Devers-5
Donaldson-25
Goldschmidt-39
Hoskins-5
Margot-5
Giancarlo-35
Gary Sanchez-10
Trea Turner-10
Kluber-28
10 team keep 6 $300 payroll
obp and k,s against for hitters League hoards SP so Kluber seems a must and obp seems to eliminate Margot,
Thoughts on the six youd keep,thanks

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: thanks boss,ive dangled a few trade offers out but no bites yet

Uncle Ernie
Uncle Ernie
4 years ago

I know your a fan of Severino. What teir would you put him in. In an 8 team espn roto league what would you expect his auction value at. Thank you

Lougle
Lougle
4 years ago

Swap a $6 Lance MuCullers for a $2 Orlando Arcia? I need SB.

Nightpandas
Nightpandas
4 years ago

Yo Grey

Rosario and Salazar a good return for Ian Happ?

15 teams obp and k/9

Regan
Regan
4 years ago

Yo Grey! I need a change, i can’t take another winter in Seattle. Moving down to San Diego area, that city named after a whale’s vagina, after summer. That’s your hood right? How’s Imperial Beach? I like the idea living 10 min from Tiawana where i can get cheap drugs anytime i want.

True and Correct
True and Correct
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Moved to San Diego from n.y.c. in 1979. Lame ? haha. Not “hip” and “cool” as LaLa land. Would still love to take you to Petco. Have had my 2nd row seats over 1st base for 35 years. Great place to watch a game.

True and Correct
True and Correct
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Grey, you told me that last year after I invited you. haha
When I know what games I’ll be going to, I’ll let you know. You’ll see 1st hand how San Diego is not so lame. haha. Couldn’t resist.
You’ll definitely have to stop at my home in Encinitas.

Speill
Speill
Reply to  True and Correct
4 years ago

@True and Correct: great thing about Petco is you can park downtown and walk to the game. Near the Gaslamp dist for eats and drinks afterward.

Uncle Ernie
Uncle Ernie
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: I’m in. Let’s re- visit this in a few months.

True and Correct
True and Correct
Reply to  Speill
4 years ago

@Speill: I park at the Convention Center across the street. Gaslamp is awesome, and I enjoy watching baseball anywhere, but I’m very proud of how San Diego helped make Petco a 1st class and drop dead gorgeous venue, and if you’re a patriot Petco is definitely for you. Food has even improved big time.
Naaagh, they’re not paying me. Just a happy baseball junkie and feeling wonderful at 70.

Uncle Ernie
Uncle Ernie
Reply to  Regan
4 years ago

@Regan: I live in North Park San Diego. Pretty cool urban feel. Close to everything kind of city. To bad those Padres art so close to contending though. Cant complain about the weather that’s a fact. Good luck with your move.

True and Correct
True and Correct
Reply to  Regan
4 years ago

@Regan: I live up in Encinitas; 25-30 miles north of downtown. Love it. Haven’t driven to L.A. in over 10 years. Used to take the train to Union Station when i practiced law. If I want to go to a concert or a sporting event, I’ll take Uber, if not a limo.

The Ghost of Oaks
The Ghost of Oaks
Reply to  True and Correct
4 years ago

@True and Correct:

Grew up there. Back in the early 70’s there were only about 3000 hippies and surfers in the whole town. Used to ride my bike down the middle of Encinitas Blvd in the middle of the day with no cars in sight. Now it’s basically Orange County.

True and Correct
True and Correct
Reply to  The Ghost of Oaks
4 years ago

@The Ghost of Oaks: My sister lives in Newport Beach. Very nice, and yes, San Diego has a lot more people than it had when I moved here in 1979,, but I love North County. Beacon’s Beach rocks. Moonlight Bay for the tourists.

J-FOH
J-FOH
4 years ago

You watch Red Oaks?

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: It takes place in 1985 New Jersey and the main character is a Jew….how could it be bad?

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Its a kinda comedy growing up post high school show…and has gratuitous boobs.

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: me too. We should do our next lunch at Sam’s Hofbrau

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: you ever been to or heard of Sam’s Hofbrau?

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  J-FOH
4 years ago

@J-FOH: I’ll let you look that one up yourself

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Its been on my list since it came out but lately I have been balls deep in my PlayStation

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Call of Duty, GTA, some random free games like Broforce. A whole bunch of stuff

foul valls
foul valls
4 years ago

great write up on gausman, to think he was a free agent in most leagues prior to the all star break last year. i took a flyer on him around that time on almost all my teams and was rewarded. if you can put up with the occasional fur ball he coughs up he’s a good choice to draft

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
4 years ago

I swear we had this argument last year about Gausman. Pretty sure Cram and I were on the side of stay away because the moral of the story is any pitcher who looks like he could be worth a crap the Orioles will ruin. Maybe it was Bundy, but still not touching them.

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: For a penny on the dollar! Maybe 2…pennies.

The Great Knoche
The Great Knoche
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Nah. Maybe I’m wrong, and his 2nd half is the norm going forward, the slider usage associated with the change is intriuging, but I don’t see him being the 2nd installment of Robbie Ray. Could see taking him around SP 45-50 maybe.

Fool me once…shame on Oriole’s Pitching Coaches. Fool me 3,437 times shame on me.

Raider
Raider
4 years ago

Trevor Williams responding on twitter was sweet! gave him a follow, and the dude is hilarious definitely rooting for him this year

Ben
Ben
4 years ago

Double dipping today. You high on Buxton?

Ben
Ben
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: can’t wait!

hartattack
hartattack
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Hurray, was gonna start calling u February Grey

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Keeper league question for you-10 team mixed league HTH points with 8 player minors system. Keep all with no penalty. Scoring favors good SP. I have a team coming out of a longer than planned rebuild. I have a young, high upside pitching staff and have been getting trade interest for them. My question-should I hold to all or make a trade or two? My thought is that 50% will bust at some point so hold and see who grows up and who busts. My roster is listed below.

IF: Miggy, Moncada, Correa, Albies, Kyle Seager, C. Santana, OF: Hoskins, G. Polanco, Castellanos, Mazara, Owings

Pitching: Snell, Corbin, Rodon, Bauer, Weaver, Gibson, J Gray, Hader, martes, a few RP

Milb: A Reyes, Kopesh, Keller, Eloy, Senzel, C. Stewart

Sorry for the long post!

Alfred E. Naujocks
Alfred E. Naujocks
4 years ago

ya see that f-rod is “a straight shooter” so it appears he’s upped his resume from just a straight puncher. always good to up the job skills.

JR
JR
4 years ago

Great stuff! Gonna try for Gausman in a dynasty league this year.

I’m curious how you would go about valuing older pitchers. We saw guys like Lester and Hamels and Price drop off significantly last year, and it makes me concerned about guys like Verlander, Scherzer, Hill, etc. while I’m not necessarily worried about these guys this year, when do you sell them to make sure you get full value before a decline?

JR
JR
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Yeah, that all makes sense. I like Lester for a bounce back and might look to buy him if he’s cheap. But would selling scherzer now for his full value be a good idea? Or would you ride him till he’s done because of how good he is?

Ben
Ben
4 years ago

Hi! Great write up. I’m giddy for the season and spending every morning with you first thing. Even before coffee. Sometimes peeing. Annoying keeper question — keep forever league, 14 teams, MLB, 3-5 keepers not tied to draft slot. Ignoring my other keepers, would you look to trade away Scherzer for any of the following targets?

Springer (straight)
Bellinger (straight)
Benintendi (prob package with more value my way)
Hoskins (prob package with more value my way)

Thanks!

Chicitysox23
Chicitysox23
4 years ago

I traded away several draft picks last season going for the title. I have been approached by another owner in my league on trading away my first round pick in this years draft, for his second and third round picks. I pick 9th overall in the first round. I would get his 20th and 28th picks in the draft.

So where i pick now 9th, and 33rd overall

Where I would pick if i make the deal… 20th, 28th, and 33rd.

Is this worth it?

Chicitysox23
Chicitysox23
Reply to  Chicitysox23
4 years ago

@Chicitysox23: If it gives any context to this, its a dynasty league, keep 6 and have 8 minor league rosters spots. 12 teams head to head.

Jbona3
Jbona3
4 years ago

Guasman is like that awkward girl in every teen movie that turns out to be hot…except no one knows if Gausman is going to be hot or perpetually awkward; he’s teased me with a high 90’s riding fastball for 3 seasons.

Got a keeper question for you: H2H league (too many categories to list), keep 8 – no brainers are: Acuna, Bellinger, Machado, Benintendi, Bregman.

Contending for my last 3 spots: Edwin Encarnacion, Dee Gordon, Carlos Carrassco, Carlos Martinez, James Paxton, Alex Reyes. I’m leaning: Edwin, and the two Carloses (Carlai?) but Paxton seems like he’s on cusp. Thoughts?

Cram It
Cram It
4 years ago

As much as I warned ye to stay away from him last year, I will buy some cheap stock in him this year. More of a buy low situation than thinking he’ll be a top 20-ish starter. But he can’t possibly be as bad overall as last year. Actually, I predict he gets off to a good start, gets injured, doesn’t return until late next season and struggles to reach 100% in 2020. 30 year old Gausman will be who you’ve been waiting for!

knucks
knucks
Reply to  Cram It
4 years ago

@Cram It: Cram… your thoughts on the Bruce signing?

Cram It
Cram It
Reply to  knucks
4 years ago

@knucks: I’m slightly more than content with it. He came relatively cheap and we can slide him to 1B when Conforto comes back.

Greydalf the WHIPzard
Greydalf the WHIPzard
4 years ago

I have this terrible habit of forming a negative opinion of a player, and then completely ignoring their stats for the next few years until I realize they became a quality player while I want looking. This post prevented me from adding Gausman to that list of my mistakes.

I wish you’d have written an article called “Panik is not the next LeMahieu, dummy!” for me last year. I tend to fall asleep on a player when they’re doing well, and then waking up on did versions of them a few years later.

Your the best, Grey!

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
4 years ago

Quick guesstimate on how much you’d pay for DeGrom in drafts next year?

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: Just because Mets and everyone there gets hurt? He looks like a good soft ace who won’t cost the earth in drafts next year. Why the frowny face.

Swfcdan
Swfcdan
Reply to  Grey
4 years ago

@Grey: I thought he’d be cheap for an ace. Anyway I’m looking at getting him in a keeper to keep for another year at $21, some value there right? Lots of top starters will be kept and I badly need an ‘ace’.

Javy Vazquez
Javy Vazquez
4 years ago

Which four would you rather have? Bryant, Correa, Rizzo, Severino OR Bryant, Lindor, Rizzo, Kluber? Last year of a keeper league. 12 teams 6*6