We all believe in Grey. That is why we are here. It is why we read every recap, every buy/sell, and why we all spend hours, and countless reams of paper, printing Grey’s rankings. We want to dominate our fantasy baseball drafts and our leagues and do everything in our power to humiliate and destroy our friends (which is what true friendship is all about).
Razzball was built on the power of Grey’s Greydar and his ability to spot fantasy baseball studs before anyone else. It works because Grey’s Greydar is a million times better than anyone else’s Greydar since he is Grey and everyone else is not. Keep in mind, however, that ranking players is not black and white. There are many shades of grey, which explains why Grey is the best Grey there is.
Nevertheless, even the best will have a few misses when ranking hundreds of players. This is why I have been tasked with questioning the Greyness of Grey’s great Greydar, specifically the players that Grey may have overrated for this upcoming season. We are calling this analysis: Over the Greydar.
In this first installment of Over the Greydar I focus on the high-end starting pitchers that I think Grey may be a little too high-end on this season:
Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (1), Overall (20)
Grey’s 2018 Projections: 18-7/2.46/0.94/277 in 222 IP
Brent’s 2018 Projections: 16-5/2.75/1.10/230 in 200 IP
Scherzer has been consistently awesome for 9 straight seasons. Since 2009, Scherzer has thrown at least 170 innings and started at least 30 games per season. He has a career 3.30 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and has averaged 212 strikeouts per season during his 10 year major league career. All of those numbers stand-out, but the number that stands out like Thor at Black Panther’s birthday party is the 10 year career. Max dealt with a bunch of nagging injuries last season, specifically to his neck, calf, and hamstring, but luckily there was nothing wrong with his arm and he was still able to cruise to the Cy Young Award. While most people will look at this and think that if Scherzer can win the Cy Young Award while dealing with injuries, then a fully healthy Scherzer in 2018 should completely dominate. While the smart money, which is the same as Grey’s money, is on domination, I am inclined to put my dumb money (wait, what?) on Scherzer possibly being this season’s Jake Arrieta. Max is not that old, 33, but he has thrown a ton of innings over the last decade and while I don’t want to say his delivery is violent, but Kim-Jong Un was quoted as saying, “Is there anymore cake?” Scherzer is definitely a top ranked pitcher and I am not trying to convince you not to draft him, but I think putting him in his own tier and ranked in the Top 20 overall is just a tad bit generous.
Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (4), Overall (27)
Grey’s 2018 Projections: 17-9/2.87/1.01/256 in 207 IP
Brent’s 2018 Projections: 15-10/3.10/1.10/250 in 190 IP
Sale is 28 years old, which is 5 years younger than Scherzer, but the way Sale throws I would put his arm-age at around 40. If you don’t believe me, then just zoom in the next time he is wearing short-sleeves and you will see a youthful and vibrant right arm and a left arm covered in gray hair. He has to text right-handed because his left arm doesn’t know how to use a cell phone. His arm-age really started to show in the second half of 2017, but even while struggling Sale can be unhittable so his overall numbers were still pretty friggin’ sweet. Think I am being paranoid? Well I am not the only one who got a little nervous after his slight drop-off last season; the Red Sox had Sale make some changes to his offseason program so that hopefully he can stay fresh all season. See, just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. As a Razzball reader you are probably not going to be drafting these top ranked pitchers anyway, but I would be doing a disservice to myself if I did not get these fears off my chest.
Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (11), Overall (47)
Grey’s 2018 Projections: 16-7/3.26/1.16/234 in 191 IP
Brent’s 2018 Projections: 15-7/3.50/1.35/220 in 185 IP
Grey loves Ray. If Razzball was a big oak tree and not a website, then you would see G + R carved into it inside of a huge heart. It is hard to get mad at this ranking and I will probably have Ray as my first pitcher in a few leagues simply because Grey says so. I can see what attracts Grey to Ray: Ray’s humongous Ks. Ray has struck out 218 batters and walked 71 batters in each of the last 2 seasons in just about the same amount of innings, but last season he only gave up 52 earned runs compared to 95 the season before, making his ERA go from So? to Woh! Ray is only 26, so this could easily be just a young pitcher figuring it out and hopefully it is what we can expect going forward. I am not totally convinced and I have some concerns that Ray was getting a little lucky last season. The risk of drafting Ray and having him give up more runs than expected is mitigated by all the strikeouts he is going to give you, so I am not quite as worried about R-squared as I am about some other pitchers on this list.
Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (16), Overall (71)
Grey’s 2018 Projections: 14-9/3.45/1.10/202 in 205 IP
Brent’s 2018 Projections: 13-8/3.50/1.25/175 in 170 IP
Another “old” starter who has pitched a lot of innings over the last decade and also faded a bit in the second half of 2017 which raises a couple of red flags for me. There is a lot to like with Greinke, however, since he strikes out many, walks few, and he plays on a good team in a pitcher-friendly park (for now). Are these positives enough to make me want to lower my red flags and replace them with umm, green flags I guess? No, not for me because there are plenty of other options that Grey has ranked right around Greinke that come with significantly less risk. I must admit, the added variable of the new humidifier they will be using at Chase Field this season is an interesting twist, but unless by getting the humidifier they also got a great deal on a time machine, I do not see Greinke living up to Grey’s projections. There is also the possibility that Greinke gets traded, so that makes it even more difficult to properly rank the Greink.
Grey’s 2018 Ranking: Starting Pitchers (19), Overall (90)
Grey’s 2018 Projections: 15-10/3.59/1.29/204 in 189 IP
Brent’s 2018 Projections: 15-10/3.90/1.31/175 in 180 IP
This might be a cheap entry on this list because even Grey admits that he is probably over-ranking (is that a thing?) Trevor Bauer, but just like Grey, I have some Jewish heritage and I love cheap (I can say this because of the Jewish heritage I mentioned earlier and I swear I am not just a Jew-for-the-jokes). Bauer has all the characteristics we here at Razzball love in a pitcher, ok he has the 1 characteristic we love in a pitcher: strikeout ability. The frustrating thing about Bauer, ok one of the many frustrating things about Bauer, is that he has not been able to maximize his strikeout ability for an entire season in his relatively young career. Last season was by far his best strikeout season with 196 Ks in 176.1 innings. That is just not enough for me to ignore the ERA (4.19) and WHIP (1.37). Grey is projecting a sweet 204 strikeouts in 189 innings for Bauer in 2018, with a much better ERA (3.59) and WHIP (1.29) to go along with 15 Wins. The wins I can buy into as the Indians are still a really good team, but I am just not seeing the ERA and WHIP dropping that much. I believe Bauer can improve, but more along the lines of 3.90 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. That is why I would drop Bauer below even Lance McCullers in the rankings.