I’ve been focusing a lot on hitters so far with my 2018 fantasy baseball sleepers (clickbait).  This is not by design.  Hanging in my kitchen, an Elvis clock that keeps time by swiveling its hips and a poster of a cat making sushi, so I can call that room my “kitsch-en,” that’s by design.  We need to find cheap pitchers who will return a better ROI just as much as cheap hitters.  By the way, ROI is the douchiest thing I’ve ever written on Razzball, and I tried to make “Potatoes to chips” a thing for five years.  Though, potatoes to chips, I kinda want to own Michael Wacha in every league.  You can look at his 12-9 record with a 4.13 ERA and balk, but Steve Carlton had a shizzton of balks, so is this a bad thing?  Not to answer, but to ruminate while sipping a pamplemousse La Croix.  This isn’t even about the Cardinals making explosive players out of duds, i.e., making dynamite out of nitric acid and a manifesto.  There’s one word females aren’t trying to gender neutralize, huh?  You don’t hear anyone complaining it’s not personifesto or even womanifesto.  Sure, leave us white men with the crap words!  Now, that I’ve mansplained manifesto… What can we expect from Michael Wacha for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

Michael Wacha’s fastball average went from a previous year’s 93 MPH to 95 MPH last year.  He had the 25th best xFIP last year at 3.88.  Right behind him, Jake Arrieta and Drew Pomeranz.  Both of these guys also had similar K-rates to Wacha’s 8.6 K/9.   They both had similar walk rates to Wacha’s 3 BB/9. However, Arrieta is five years older than Wacha with a declining fastball, and Pomeranz is three years older with Fenway and the AL to deal with.  What Arrieta and Pomeranz had that Wacha didn’t was an easily digestible ERA:  3.53 and 3.32 respectively.  Without a blink of The Ghost of Dave Duncan’s eye, Wacha could be a 3.30 ERA this year.  Wacha was also the 6th best for getting ahead in the count (66% of the time), while getting an overall swinging strike rate of around 10%, which was top 30-ish.  Top 25 xFIP, top 30-ish swinging strike, top 25-ish strikeout rate, top 20-ish fastball value, top 10 fastball velocity, and an ERA at 4.13.  Something’s not computing and I think it’s fairly obvious what it is.  Oh, and going into his last start of the year, his ERA was 3.86, until he was left in for one more inning and gave up five earned runs without securing an out vs. the Cubs.  Wacha Flocka Flamethrower is about as can’t miss as starters come if he stays healthy.  That caveat is the big drawback with him, and why I think a lot of people are wary of him, or weary if they’re wearing a stocking cap on their head.  For 2018, I’ll give Michael Wacha the projections of 14-7/3.61/1.24/176 in 182 IP with a chance for much more.

   
  1. Shitwolf says:
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    happy New Year grey! thank you and the rest of razzball for helping me with 2017 fantasy… I hope you keep fit and have fun in 2018

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy new year, Shitwolf!

  2. Jose says:
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    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!!

    Thanks Grey,
    I am keeping Michael Wacha hoping Mike Maddox can work his magic on him and with a little luck and improved defense his numbers could be even better than what you have targeted. I have an offense that averages better than five runs per game, so I am hoping for 15-17 wins if he can stay healthy and last more that six innings a game.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Yeah, with luck, Wacha could be a 2.75 ERA guy, but with luck a lot of guys could be…

  3. Matt says:
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    Another sleeper from my team! I swear you must be copying my roster!!! Haha!!! That’s five now!! Time for that Mitch “Sleepy” Haniger piece!!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, I have your roster up on my office wall, just checking them off…

      • Matt says:
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        @Grey: Ooops, I told myself happy new year, so let’s try this again … Happy New Year to you!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Happy New Year!

    • Matt says:
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      @Matt: One more thing, Happy New Year pal!!!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Happy New Year!

  4. Cj says:
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    Doing a 12 team 50 round slow draft on nfbc 5×5. Minimal roster movement weekly line ups. Played a lot on other sites before, but usually they have more general roster guidelines. What is the breakdown hitters to starters/rp you’d use here? Any other advice?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      6 SP, 3 RPs

      • Cj says:
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        @Grey: meant of the 50. What’s your general draft breakdown of the 50? I. E 25.hitters 18 starters 7 rp, etc

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh! Ya know, it depends on level of confidence in guys… For instance, if I have a bad 2B, I might take an extra 2B to back him up… Same with other positions… Generally, 16 SPs, 6 RPs, rest hitters

          • The Great Knoche says:
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            @Grey: Speaking of NFBC, is Razz hosting a few leagues again? Not going Scouting again are you?

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, we’re gonna do some NFBC leagues…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              I think Scout closed shop

      • Squat Cobblers says:
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        @Grey: Great stuff on me Cards’ Wacha. Thanks Grey!
        Does a 15-team, NFBC change your answer to 7 SP and 2 RPs? (30 MLB teams = 30 closers…leading to approx 2 closers per NFBC owner)

        Thanks again.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yes, it does… I hate RPs in NFBC

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Meaning: Yes, 2 RPs starting

          • Squat Cobblers says:
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            @Grey: I hear ya. But the tough part, for me anyway, is SP numbers 6 & 7. Last year, it almost seemed better to start a DL’d SP or a setup RP than step on a landmine. Isn’t it what you need more K’s/wins versus WHIP/ERA?

            • Squat Cobblers says:
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              @Squat Cobblers: And doesn’t this setup lead you to at least consider a stud SP in the top 50 overall? Or, do you still wait on SP?

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                I drafted Kluber around top 50, and I won the league… Just gotta nail your picks…

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              That is if you can’t find a 6 or 7 SP…. If you have 15-17 SPs,, you should be able to find six or seven with decent matchups… You’re talking a 50 round draft, right?

              • Squat Cobblers says:
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                @Grey: Right. 50 rounds. Last year I drafted 18 SPs, 6 RPs, 26 hitters. By far, the majority of my weekly 8-10 DLs were hitters. So there were weeks where my 5th OF or CI was DL’d. So watch, this year I’ll draft 29 hitters…and all my injuries will be pitchers!

                Because of your sage advice, my staff consisted of Severino, Ray and A Wood. So there was minimal pressure find extra K’s in my last SP spots. I’m sure that won’t always be the case. Strangely my SPs number 15-18 were Reds: Stephenson, Romano and Feldman and WhiteSox: M Gonzalez. All mostly shite whom I never wanted to start. I found myself throwing in Y Petit often instead of these turds.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Injuries come down to luck… Can’t alter drafting strategy just bc last year you were struck by injury bug… Yeah, I went Romano and Stephenson too, which was bad…

                • Squat Cobblers says:
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                  @Squat Cobblers: And on a separate (and theoretical) note:
                  30 MLB teams x 3 Starting OFs = 90
                  15 NFBC teams x 5 starting OFs = 75 (75/90 = 83%)

                  30 MLB teams x 2 Starting MI or CI = 60
                  15 NFBC teams x 3 Starting MI or CI = 45 (45/60 = 75%)

                  This seems to favor drafting reserve OFs before reserve MI/CI…as the starting pool would appear to dry up quicker. I think I drafted 9 OF …and it wasn’t enough.

                  Do you agree or does having a Utility spot negate this?

  5. Cj says:
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    Also oddly enough during my deep dive yday into guys who I feel I will own everywhere Wacha’s name came up. Nice projections across the board, and he is the 75th average drafted pitcher with the 30th highest projected WAR. In some of my shallow draft masters on rts he is going undrafted.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yup, loving Wacha

    • Crime dog says:
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      @Cj: who are some of your other names you’re owning everywhere CJ?

      • Cj says:
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        @Crime dog: not sure if you are being sarcastic or not, but Kevin kiermaier, Tim Anderson, Austin Barnes (2 catcher leagues) Matt Olson (not as much nfbc since his price is closer, on rts you can get him in the 130 range) Archie Bradley, and finding myself grabbing Pomeranz and Clevinger a lot. I get regression to the mean and all, but Pomeranz plays for a top team (albeit in a bad division) and has outperformed his peripherals year in year out with the exception of his time in Coors. Guess what type of pitches suck in Coors? All of them, but mostly curves. He’s been a borderline ace since leaving coors yet gets drafted like 50th based on sucking in Coors? I don’t get his projections honestly. And Clevinger…eh why not? It’s sort of based on the eye test/striking out a lot of batters always/ playing for a good team. A good team+ K’s is 2/5ths the battle for a starting pitcher. Last but not least,

        Jose Reyes. Remember how bad he was last year? Check his final line. He ended up being at least a solid player. Imagine if he wasn’t full blown aids until July. Sign me up for his full season line. Trust me I like a lot of middle infield sleepers, but what’s wrong with Jose Reyes?

      • Cj says:
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        @Crime dog: and if I am doing 50 rounds or nl drafts I really like Robert Stephenson. Look at 2nd half vs 1st half. I realize he was super lucky, but it seems obvious he made a conscious effort to start getting more gbs by his pitch choice. Every single year a SP breaks out. It’s hard to recommend someone who plays there for them, but hey!

  6. Ian says:
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    Happy new year Grey. Razzball brought the fun (and hope) back into my fantasy sports in general (especially baseball).
    In my keeper I have lots of hitters. Arms I have Kluber Thor Kenley Taillon .
    Kind of a way out there question for you for to start 2018 please. Who do you think the next Severino like (under the radar) type guy, could impress like that this year (gut feeling?)?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! So many guys could be Severino… Lots are talking up Luis Castillo as possibility…

      • Matt says:
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        @Grey: Would you consider Luis Castillo among the sleepy category fellows?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I’m getting the sense he’s not a sleeper, his price looks to be going up, but maybe…

          • Matt says:
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            @Grey: Yeah, kinda seems like people are on to him more than I hoped.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yup

  7. JJ says:
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    Happy New Year Grey et al!
    Wondering if I could get your feedback on my squad and which 10 players you’d keep.

    12 team H2H 5X5 keeper league. standard yahoo stats.
    Bats-N.Arenado, C.Seager, J.Smoak, L.Cain, M.Ozuna, AJ Pollock, R.Acuna, Mi Cabrera, M.Conforto, B.Dozier, N.Mazara, M.Olson, A.Rosario,

    Pitching-C.Anderson, M.Bumgarner, A.Chapman, D.Salazar, J.Taillon, D.Duffy, K.Giles, G.Cole, Z.Godley, L.McCullers, J.Paxton, F.Rivero, C.Rodon

    Man I wish I could keep this whole group but unfortunately I have to narrow it down to 10.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Arenado, Seager, Acuna, Ozuna, Dozier, Bum, Aroldis, McCullers, Paxton, Pollock… Could see a few differences tho, hard to put back Miggy, Conforto, Maz and others

  8. Paul says:
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    Happy New Year Razzball, ready for some fantasy baseball!!!

    12 team 5×5 roto keep 12, who should I keep:

    First Ten: Trout, Rizzo, Bryant, Abreu, MadBum, Kimbrel, Yu, AJones, Cano, Mazara

    Ones to Ponder: Albies, E Rosario, E Suarez, and/or E Thames

    Thanks G

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Albies, Rosario

      • Paul says:
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        @Grey: Awesome, thanks I like those two.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  9. J-FOH says:
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    I wish you this but not these other guys. Just you… okay and Ralph or Oaktown too if they pop in.

    https://youtu.be/UpqknwKbvDE

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Haha, Happy New Year, you big lug!

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: Happy Jew Year to you too

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yes, Jew you too!

    • The Great Knoche says:
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      @J-FOH: If I have one wish for you this new year it is to bring back the Skunkbeard in your photo. Merry New Year.

  10. Joe says:
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    Happy new year gray. 12 team dynasty league keep 20 draft 15. It’s 7×7 do I trade my yellich and carrasco for Jose Ramirez. I currently have schoop who then I woudl try to move for an arm or do you think just hold schoop and my other two guys. Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! I’d take Jo-Ram, and move Schoop for an arm

  11. DonnieB says:
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    Happy new Year Grey! Would you take Margot over Desmond? Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! They’re close, depends on needs

  12. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Happy New Year!

    We have been enjoying a cold spell for the last week, including some -40s with the Wind Chill, but supposed to warm up tomorrow (No, not anywhere near what you might consider warm).

    Been engrossed in Season 2 of Hugh Laurie’s Chance.

    Also whipped through 5 seasons of the British show Taskmaster, where 5 comedians compete to complete various tasks, often finding loopholes in the instructions to do them quicker. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but pretty consistently funny.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Thanks for the recommendations! I have one for you, Patriot on Amazon.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Grey: I saw Jumanji with the family yesterday and I actually really enjoyed it.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Really? Wow, wouldn’t have guessed that… I saw The Shape of Water yesterday, it was great, but weird AF

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Grey: It was fun for what it was. I liked the first one too. Unlike some people around here, I’m not a movie snob. they are what they are.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Hear ya…Don’t see The Florida Project, it was terrible, no matter what you hear…. BTW, you should watch Peaky Blinders on Netflix.

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Grey: I started the first episode but it wasn’t the right time. Eventually I’ll get to it.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  It’s so good, I recommend you watch it with subtitles…

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Grey: You saying I can’t understand cockney?

                    Speaking of Brits, I was watching the real life football factory show thas from 2004. Pretty cool about hooligans

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Meh, maybe you can, I couldn’t understand them at all… What is the football factory show called?

                    • J-FOH says:
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                      @J-FOH: The “movie” is called the football factory and is based on real life. The real football factories is the TV show that goes all over england looking at the real hooligan gangs. I watched the real football factories yesterday. Its good background TV, if that makes sense

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Oh, okay, gotcha… Just Googled it, see now what you mean

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        @Grey: Thanks! Patriot is now next on my list.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          New season of Peaky Blinders too!

    • Another Dan says:
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      @VinWins:

      Taskmaster is doing a ‘champion of champions’ series too if you’ve not seen that one. It’s on a UK channel called Dave. Might be able to get it on catch-up.

      Dave Gorman, one of the comedians that Grey has mentioned before who is also in one series of Taskmaster, also does a show on Dave called Modern Life is Goodish. He’s just finished the final (according to him) series. It’s a show I really enjoy.

      Happy New Year to you all.

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        @Another Dan: Thanks. I have seen the first episode of the champions series. I will try and check out Modern Life is Goodish.

        • Another Dan says:
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          @VinWins:

          If you like Modern Life is Goodish, there are a few other things he has done that I can recommend (books mainly but some he has turned into TV series). He’s someone I like a lot, I bought Mrs Dan tickets to see his next show for Xmas (thoughtful of me!).

          Best wishes,

          Another Dan

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Happy New Year!

  13. iChiro says:
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    “There’s one word females aren’t trying to gender neutralize, huh? You don’t hear anyone complaining it’s not personifesto or even womanifesto.”
    lol. Nice.

    But don’t stop there!

    Personipulate – for the woman who does it equally well; Personchester United for the real football lovers; and for those south of the border: Personzana

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      HA, nice — How about going for a personicure to get your nails done?

  14. Nightpandas says:
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    Story or Happ as a keeper?

    Thanks FML

  15. J-Weezy says:
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    Wracking my brain on my final keeper. Already keeping Bregman and Benintendi as two of my three. Need one more out of Acuna, Buxton and Devers. All three are young high risk/high upside picks. Who do you like the most for 2018 and beyond? Dare I roll with Acuna?

    When are your rankings coming out?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Rankings start on MLK Day…. Damn, I can’t send back Acuna…

  16. JP says:
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    Grey-12 team AL only 4×4 which side do you like better Barreto $2, Delmonico $5 and Aldeberto Meija $1 or Austin Hays $5 and Marisnick $1? Thanks.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Hays

  17. Shane Whited says:
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    So do you see Wacha as a top 20 pitcher and how concerned are you about his health?

Comments are closed.