Welp, we were supposed to start our fantasy baseball sleepers today, but there was some movement before the lockout. *looks in the toilet* “Hey, we got movement!” By the way, for those of you who didn’t hear my thoughts on the impending lockout, you can listen to the last episode of our fantasy baseball podcast. Basically, I expect them to go to their separate corners. Owners will cry poor; players will cry that the owners are crying poor, which will be accurate, and then they’ll come back. My guess is we lose about a week of the season and gain the NL DH. It will seem dire, because a lot of reporters are on team payrolls and they’re paid to make it seem dire. It won’t be as dire as it seems, unless we get to May and still no baseball. Bright side of that would be Acuña will be ready for Opening Day. Lowercase yay! Any hoo! We’ll start the sleepers as soon as teams stop signing big free agents — we (I) did start my 2022 fantasy baseball rankings on our Patreon, by the by.
The Mets went out and got Mark Canha and Starling Marte, as they remade their outfield. The A’s did their best to change their culture, club wasn’t working around players like Canha and Kaprelian but those windows of opportunity come and go. They come and go. Boy, Jorge Soler would fit nicely there. The best thing about the addition of Mark Canha and Starling Marte is they push Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil to the bench-slash-platoon-Slash-Axl. Remember when there were people who thought some random 60-game stretch of Dom Smith meant he was good? Haha, those people were almost as dumb as the people who drafted Cody Bellinger last year. Hey, wait, that’s me! Jeff McNeil actually pulled the wool over our eyes in a full season, but he was never really good either. On a related note, the Mets cornered the market on Micks who hit weak grounders. Between McCann and McNeil, they hit about as hard as the IRA, if the Irish Republican Army was modeled after everything they read about IRAs on Charles Schwab. Any hoo! Canha should fit perfectly in with the Mets, because Mets’ fans need a good sense of humor so Canha helps. Can’t really be a laughingstock without a Starling ability to Canha. Canha’s 20.5% strikeout rate with a .231 average is a little bit of a concern. Couple that with his .274 and solid speed paints a picture of a guy who makes weak contact. McCann, McNeil and now M.C. are gonna bloop other teams to death. Seriously, Canha’s peripherals indicate some pretty weak contact, and backing that up was the 35th worst Hard Contact% in the league. His Launch Angle came down a little, which was prolly better for him, as it led to a few less weak fly balls, even if they’re more like weak bloopers to the 2nd baseman. For 2022, I’ll give Mark Canha projections of 73/21/64/.239/10 in 571 ABs.
That was the longest Mark Canha breakdown ever, because it was really just a giant stall for me, before tackling Starling Marte. A 33-year-old who just matched his career high at 47 steals. That’s not even taking into account the very real evil eye the universe gives to all players who sign with the Mets. Ugh. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be an ageist anymore. I wouldn’t write off players just because they’re old, but I sorted by all the players who were 33 years old who stole 47 bags or more, and there were 21 seasons of them since 1914 with 13 players. Seven of those were Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson. Guess what I’m saying is, after much deliberation about not worrying about a player’s age in regards to steals, I am still doing exactly that. Marte also had a .372 BABIP. It’s too simplistic to say the Mets just got had. Not as simplistic as saying a guy is old and his BABIP was high, but do you see why I was stalling? In the end, here’s the thing, there’s so many players to choose from, that you don’t have to be right or wrong on some guys, you can just ignore them, and that’s what I think I’m gonna be doing with Starling Marte. As far as his lineup slot, I will say the Mets have more number twos than a public toilet. If I were the Mets manager, and the Mets had a manager, I’d start the lineup Marte, Canha, Lindor, Alonso, but where are you finding Nimmo a spot? Maybe a trade with Miami, since he’s a fish at heart. For 2022, I’ll give Starling Marte projections of 89/19/61/.277/32 in 534 ABs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:
Eduardo Escobar – Signed with the Mets. There’s complicated reasons behind Eduardo Escobar signing with the Mets. Not for the Mets or their fans, but so I don’t ever write another J.D. Davis sleeper. The fantasy baseball community sent me a cease and desist, but it was ignored by me. How does that saying go, “First, they came for my J.D. Davis sleeper, and I said nothing?” Maybe that’s not how it goes, who’s to say? For 2022, I’ll give Eduardo Escobar projections of 62/25/72/.252/1 in 511 ABs.
Marcus Semien – Signed with a seven-year deal with the Rangers. Ya know that poker expression, if you don’t know the sucker at the table, you’re the sucker? The Rangers don’t know who the sucker is. With each home run from Marcus Semien, my proposal to the MLB front office was they should shoot fireworks out of a giant lotion bottle, but clearly they had no interest in my suggestion, which is why I sent them a new proposal where they have a special Semien hot dog. After each bite of the hot dog, it shoots ranch dressing into your mouth. Yum! So, as you know, I am a huge fan of Semien. Have been for the past six years, which includes a few years when he wasn’t that great. Like someone putting an edible condom on a Semien hot dog, which is how they’re sold, let’s recap! Semien, um, burst onto the scene with a money shot of 27/10, his 2nd year in A’s in 2016, and it was off the races in our minds and imaginations. Then Semien was more hit or miss than Shawn Kemp. A high of 33 homers in 2019; a low of 10 homers in 2017, and the whole time Semien looked pretty similar under the hood. Then, last year, was the true giant lotion bottle in the sky, hitting 45 homers. Wanna do a true Semien spit take? If he were on the Astros, he would’ve hit 54 homers. Yes, those goofy Crawford boxes, were even easily than the Triple-A parks he played in for part of the year. What’s truly wild, and might not mean anything, Semien hit 16 No Doubters in 2019 off 33 homers, and only hit one no doubt home run last year. We call that a Gwen Stefani. Semien really kills fastballs — a two-minute man, huh? — hitting 36 of his homers off fastballs. His .538 SLG was 21st in the league, but his .452 xSLG was 93rd, that was 4th biggest difference between actual and predicted. Only three with a bigger difference were Frank Schwindel, Randy Arozarena and Dom Nunez. His realized average was .265 vs. .244 xBA. Take away the goofy minor league parks, and Semien is in line for the biggest come-to-Jesus moment. His home runs last year if he played in Texas? 32. And that was in what I bet will end up his career year. For 2022, I’ll give Marcus Semien projections of 93/27/69/.253/12 in 607 ABs.
Billy McKinney – Traded to the Rangers with Zach Reks, whose last name also describes both players. Right now, the Rangers have to choose between McKinney and Leody Taveras, and, if they choose McKinney, I will file a petition in court to become their conservator. For 2022, I’ll give Billy McKinney projections of 31/9/37/.208/3 in 307 ABs.
Kole Calhoun – Signed with the the Rangers. “So, I gotta share an outfield spot and a jersey?” That’s Willie Calhoun, and he’s half right. Willie, you might get to keep your jersey. Kole Calhoun is the Ron Weasley of 20/5/.230 outfielders. For 2022, I’ll give Kole Calhoun projections of 52/21/59/.231/3 in 421 ABs
Jon Gray – Signed with the Rangers. So, the Rangers’ great aunt passed away, and left them a huge inheritance, huh? Rangers’ home park, Arlington National Cemetery of Home Runs, isn’t a great place to hit, but Jon Gray’s going there? *Succession theme song plays* “I want my son, Gray, on my teams this year.” That’s me talking to Shiv. For his career, 9.5 K/9, 2+ BB/9, and headed to one of the best home parks. I know, I know, he had a better home ERA in Coors than in away games, but that’s silly. No one wants to pitch in Coors. He’s about to have a Robbie Ray resurrection in Arlington; someone take in his inseam six inches. For 2022, I’ll give Jon Gray projections of 10-9/3.64/1.29/174 in 167 IP with a chance for more.
Kevin Gausman – Signed with the Jays. Still love Gausman, so take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. Last year, I called him a sleeper, and drafted everywhere I could. He then took his ceiling, removed it, floated up 350,000 feet, placed his ceiling on the moon, and talked like he sucked helium for six months. It was an insane year. You can’t expect insane years, especially not from someone who has one pitch. Okay, slight exaggeration, but only slight. He throws a splitter about as well as Earl Anthony on a 7-10. As I’ve said before, when you have one pitch that’s a top five pitch in baseball, you only really need one pitch. He’s improved his fastball too, so it really has all come together for Gausman. “Come Together” was brought you by The Beatles documentary, and this is now a sponsored post. Gausman throws his splitter 35% of the time, and hitters have a .133 BAA with an xBA of .155. Honestly, nuff said, said a Nuffin. For 2022, I’ll give Kevin Gausman projections of 13-9/3.16/1.07/219 in 189 IP.
Hector Neris – Signed with the Astros. When Neris was with the Phils, he was an ulcer-in-waiting, now watch him be as lights-out as they get.
Noah Syndergaard – Signed with the Angels. Last year, the Mets’ record was 77-85 and the Angels’ record was 77-85. Eduardo Rodriguez signed with the 77-85 Tigers. So, which 77-85 team will be the best in 2022? Write your answer on a note card, put it in an envelope, fart in the envelope and put it in the mail, care of Rob Manfred, MLB Offices, 666 Hell Road. This is a solid landing spot for Noah Syndergaard. He goes from being screamed at by a guy named Big Al to the The Big A. The Mets jokers, all of whom have shows on WFAN, were out in legion after the deal went down:
Go make millions of dollars in Southern California is quite the own https://t.co/Ntfc4lVDrI
— Razzball (@Razzball) November 16, 2021
Syndergaard should be all-systems-go when it’s go-time. The only question is for how many innings. My guess is around 150 IP, but that has a plus or minus of 40 IP, which is a much bigger plus or minus on innings than usual, i.e., if he threw 190 or 110 IP, it wouldn’t shock me. Because of that, there’s real risk with him. Also, because it might be on your mind, he lost 3 MPH on his fastball when he returned for two innings last year, but that was two random innings in September, where he would’ve been a fool to try to throw his hardest. If he’s having issues in the spring, then that’ll have me change my tune, but right now I’m humming The Ronettes’ Be My Baby. For 2022, I’ll give Noah Syndergaard projections of 9-7/3.32/1.27/151 in 148 IP.
Tyler Wade – Traded to the Angels. The Angels gave up Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani to get Wade–Wait, I got misinformation. I was hearing Tyler Wade for Trout and Ohtani from someone with the Twitter handle, “@Jeterpleasesleepwithmywife.” Wade will likely get way too many at-bats, as he always does. For 2022, I’ll give Tyler Wade projections of 41/2/17/.241/19 in 277 ABs.
Aaron Loup – Signed with the Angels. Hard to dig through all my sarcasm at times for sincerity, but this is a solid real world move. Like when the roomies kicked out Puck. For 2022, I’ll give Aaron Loup projections of 5-2/2.66/0.97/58, 9 saves in 56 IP, but the saves are subject to change if the Angels announce he’s their closer or sign someone else.
Adam Frazier – Traded to the Mariners. This is the kind of deal that seems good on paper. But then you pull back and realize that paper is actually toilet paper and you zoom in to realize what was used to write on the toilet paper and you scream in horror. For 2022, I’ll give Adam Frazier projections of 80/7/50/.277/8 in 553 ABs.
Avisail Garcia – Signed with the Marlins. Had one of the sneakiest productive seasons last year, going 29/8/.262. Yes, he had a season you would’ve taken from George Springer. This might get the Marlins to stop trying to make a thing from Garrett Cooper. Kim Ng, “He’s never going to fetch us anything, is he?” That’s her looking at Garrett Cooper. Yes, the Avisail Garcia signing might finally get the Marlins to stop trying to make Garrett Cooper a thing. By the way, my money’s on Avisail sleeping with Jorge Alfaro’s wife. We shall see! For 2022, I’ll give Avisail Garcia projections of 61/24/66/.271/7 in 421 ABs.
Brent Honeywell – Traded to the A’s. His future was so bright not so long ago, but googling “Brent Honeywell’s elbow injury” yields 1.2 million results. Last year in Triple-A, he saw the results of 81 2/3 IP, 7.4 K/9,2.6 BB/9, 3.97 ERA with a fastball down to 93 MPH from 97 MPH back in 2016. If he can get back the filth, maybe there’s something here for crazy, deep leagues, or keepers — deepers? — but I only project for the first 500-ish players, and I can’t see ranking Honeywell there, unless it looks he’s breaking camp with the Wants-Out-Of-Oakland A’s.
Kendall Graveman – Signed with the White Sox. I usually only project, and rank in my top 500 two to three relievers for most teams, but the White Sox look like they’ll be one of the teams that will have four relievers ranked and projected, and maybe five! For 2022, I’ll give Kendall Graveman projections of 6-2/2.51/1.01/64, 2 saves in 60 IP.
Corey Kluber – Signed with the Rays for $8 million. Knowing the Rays, they’ll prolly ask Wander Franco to pay Kluber. Kluber still has the ability to be good — last year: 9.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 3.83 ERA in 80 IP — and I think his draft price has finally reached such a floor that he’s become interesting again. It only took Klubot short circuiting for a few years like Johnny 5. Stamina to throw 120+ IP will definitely play a role in his value, unless someone signs him up for a weekend retreat in the Adam Wainwright Health and Wellness Spa. For 2022, I’ll give Corey Kluber projections of 7-7/3.91/1.31/108 in 104 IP.
Steven Matz – Signed by the Cards. Mets fans were upset that Matz signed with the Cards rather than returning to New York. Why? Best I can figure it’s because Matz sounds like Mets. The Mets didn’t want Matz last year, happy to bid him adieu, then he went to Canada, learned French, so he knew what ‘adieu’ meant, and how to better locate his pitches, and now the Mets fans think they’re entitled to something. The funniest (not funny) thing is their owner, Steven Cohen, tweeted about how he was upset Matz’s agent lied to him. Agents lying? What’s next, water being wet? St. Louis is a solid landing spot for any pitcher who is barely a number five that wants to pitch like a three or four, and Matz is no different. For 2022, I’ll give Steven Matz projections of 11-8/3.79/1.31/157 in 168 IP.
Pedro Severino – Signed with the Brewers. In years past, Severino’s won the Cilantro In Guac Award for being awful while continuing to get work. Now that Severino has Narvaez in front of him, well, he’ll prolly be the Cilantro in the Guac once again, or he’ll at least platoon with pomegranate seeds. Hey, if you wanna crack my tooth, at least do it on hard candy and not unnecessary, without-any-flavor pomegranate seeds. For 2022, I’ll give Pedro Severino projections of 27/8/32/.244 in 279 ABs.
Michael Wacha – Signed with the Red Sox. He was in one of the best pitching parks in the AL East last year in Tampa, and had a 5.05 ERA. Wacha’s about to bracha the numeral system with his ERA this year.
Wade Davis – Retired from baseball. He wants to spend more time with his kids, so next summer he’ll be dropping his kids off at the pool, literally, rather than metaphorically when he took the mound.