To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes. Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time. Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?” Let’s look under the hood and see.Please, blog, may I have some more?
It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!
**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**
Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Don’t look now, but we have 1 month and 10 days left of regular season baseball. What a scary thought! I’m sorry for ruining your Sunday brunch. I’ll turn your attention to my prized possession today, Brad Peacock. I think he has the best matchup today against the Athletics at home. He’s faced the A’s twice already this year posting a 2.19 ERA with 18 k’s in 12 innings. It’s looking to be another high strikeout day for Lord Peacock. He has struggled in his last 3 starts which I’m hoping might lead to lower ownership. I think what makes Peacock a great play today is his price at $17,700. He really allows you to pay up for some bats today.
New to FantasyDraft ? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Allow me to paint a visual metaphor. A vetaphor. The entire league’s pitching is cornered on the grounds of a wildlife preserve. A tiger, we’ll call him Blister, stalks towards the league’s pitching. There’s no way out, but the league attempts to urinate on Blister to keep him away. Then, out of nowhere, Nat Gio, dressed as Lord Beasley, a world famous butterfly collector from Gilligan’s Island, rides his Eddie Bauer jeep into Blister’s den, and befriends the beast, saying, “I slay pussy,” then off everyone’s look, “…cats.” Yesterday, Gio Gonzalez had yet another great start — 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.49. I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gio hears people talking about the new baseball and how offense is up. Maybe he’s the one pitcher who likes a tightly-sewn baseball. Up until this year, he must’ve been like, “Geez, is this ball going to unravel when I throw it?” Of course, his outlook for 2018 fantasy doesn’t look anywhere near as optimistic. Besides his ERA, there’s nothing promising in his peripherals. He has left 85.7% of men on base. That’s more than a wife with a headache. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As the season rolls along, my choices for starters to profile should be wearing thin. Luckily for all of you, myself, and my relationship with anyone not in the Crab Army, spot starts and rookie callups give me the perfect intersect of my two worlds. Now as any good Seinfield fan knows, worlds colliding can be catastrophic. Just ask George Costanza. That however is not the case for your loyal and eccentric Prospector/Pitchspector. It’s all good on this end. Why? Because I’m more than happy to dig into the ratio roulette that is rookie starting pitchers. In the grand tradition of my messiah like activity on the prospect side, I’m here to observe these wild cards, provide my take, and lead you on the path to true fantasy salvation. This is a really long winded, and pompous, way to say I’m profiling Reynaldo Lopez’s White Sox debut today. I’ve been lower on Lopez than many other prospectors in the industry. For what feels like two years now, I’ve been constantly banging my shoe on the table of the United Prospect Nations, sternly proclaiming that “Lopez is a pen arm!” I’d make a joke of my followers storming the town square with Pier 1 style tiki torches, but the rest of the Lifshitz clan prolly wouldn’t appreciate that. Anywho, here’s what I saw.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last week’s slate of two-start starters was pretty light, so it is nice to see our list back to being robust for Week 20. A week after not having any two-start starters with a positive dollar value who were owned in less than 75% of RCLS according to Streamonator, we now have three. Streamonator likes two of the starters and like likes another one. Enough stalling and fluff, here are your three beloveds for this week:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Mets continue to move towards the future, promoting their top first base prospect, Dominic Smith. They are cautiously optimistic. Adverbly restrained because the last time they were unbridled in their enthusiasm, it was about this great deal Bernie Madoff was telling them about. Okay, let’s think back to a less cynical time. When the birds chirped, and they made you smile. When your dad carried you on his shoulders, and you were on top of the world. When you peed the bed, no one tried to commit you to rehab. People pinched your cheeks without you having to pay some stranger on Craigslist $75. A time of joy. Wonder. No Splenda. So, what can we expect from Dominic Smith? Did someone say ‘no Splenda?’ Well, it wasn’t my words (it was)! Smith looks like a 17-20 homer guy with a solid average and even better OBP. Might be a better real life player than a fantasy one. I’d take a flyer everywhere to see what he does if you need average first, which was the original America First slogan. Average First! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s safe to say that Danny Salazar ($9,300) is back on his game, after striking out 12 batters in seven innings his last time out against the Yankees. Salazar’s numbers have been bonkers since returning from the DL, striking out 28 batters in 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA. The strikeouts should keep coming on Thursday against the Rays, who have the third-highest K-rate against righties at 25.0%. Other fantasy players may be scared off by Tampa’s strong-hitting lineup, but Salazar’s upside makes him a great contrarian play. He looks straight up untouchable, and I’ll be starting him in just about every lineup.
New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!Please, blog, may I have some more?