For my annual Spring Training trip, Sky and JayWrong are joining me in Arizona. Road trip! I leave today and return on Sunday. Of course, JayWrong’s already committed us to a Padres game, and standing outside the stadium to get Padres autographs, and standing outside their hotel to help them with their luggage, and sneaking in to pretend to be chefs at their favorite hibachi restaurant so we can flip a shrimp tail at Kemp. Don’t pull your latissimus dorsi reaching for that crustacean! I believe that was how Flipper injured itself. Any hoo! Baseball, like a flower, blooms in the spring. They also share equally effusive PR people. Just the other day I read about how a petunia’s branches gained 15 pounds and was in the best shape of its life. Sure, it’s always good to look at spring training numbers to give you an idea what you can expect from guys during the season — can I draft Kolten Wong yet?! Players in spring training are facing the top pitchers who are all displaying their best stuff. No one needs time to get warmed up. No one’s trying new pitches or getting a feel for the ball. They are at the height of their game in March. Our former commissioner, Bud, once doffed his toupee and tried to have the World Series played in March. Since these spring training numbers mean so much, I decided to look at some players stats so far:Please, blog, may I have some more?
You know the guy that was going to draft Nelson Cruz in your league because he just had a career year? The guy that drafted Chris Davis last year, Buster Posey the year before and Mitzi Gaynor in his 50’s pinup league back in 1953? That guy is the Mariners. (In fairness to that doode, Mitzi had a hell of a follow-up in ’54. Va Va Va Va Va Va — How many Va’s is that — Voom!) Nelson Cruz stayed healthy one other year, besides last year. He hit the most home runs of his career last year. He had the most RBIs, runs, strikeouts and will be 35 years old in 2015. So, of course, the Mariners give him a huge deal. Baseball team management is a peculiar thing. (By the by, I can’t say the word ‘peculiar.’ It sounds like I’m trying to pronounce the word for film in Spanish.) What seems obvious to the everyday person must not be obvious to baseball management. It would be fun to test this out in other areas of life. “Okay, baseball management, I’m going to bring you to the corner of the street. When the light turns green, cross the street.” Insert Batman-style sound effect. Only they’re doing it with nearly $60 million dollars. Well, ours isn’t to wonder why, ours is to figure out the fantasy value when a player changes environs. (Environs? Coolest word to write. Least cool word to say aloud.) Up until Cruz actually passed 27 homers last year, I had him pegged for 27 homers, because, well, that’s how many home runs he always hits, give or take a handful. Last year, he had big hands — that’s what she said! Huh? — but that was contingent on one big number that he had never reached before: 678. As in how many ABs he had last year. If a player has a pattern of getting injured and has a healthy year at 34 years old, I don’t buy that his health concerns are a thing of history. Call me a fool! (Not to my face.) In the past two years, his steals have dropped to the five-steal range, so he is essentially power. He has hideous numbers in Safeco for his career, but I don’t buy into that mattering because when he was in Safeco prior he was facing Mariners pitching and he was playing in an away game (sleeping in a hotel, chasing tail amongst visitor hoochie, etc.). Safeco isn’t going to do him any favors, but he can homer anywhere if healthy. That’s the stick in my craw. For 2015, I’ll give him 475 ABs and the projections of 71/26/85/.262/5. Decent, but almost surely overrated for this year, and don’t call me Shirley. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s a dark side to the expansion of rosters that no one wants you to talk about. Or people do talk about it, but they talk about it as written by the writers of The Honourable Woman so no one can understand it. You laid a cable modem through the Gaza Strip? But now the Palestinians can see which celebrities are on their side. “We got Rihanna! With a hashtag, baby! If we could only buy her albums. What does she sing? S&M? What’s that mean? Whips and chains? Oh, yeah, like torture? Oh. Regarding sex? Hmm, we’d kill her for singing that. What other songs does she have? Umbrella? It doesn’t rain here. What else does she sing? Only Girl in the World? That is neither accurate nor encouraging. Could she remix it to 72 girls in the world?” This MLB roster expansion has a side to it that is that disturbing. With teams expanding, they don’t need to DL players. A week ago if Dustin Pedroia was forearm shivered as he was on Saturday, he would’ve hit the DL. Now, well, he’s going to sit on the bench for at least a week. Miguel Cabrera may have also hit the DL a month ago, so he could rest his ankle. Now, the Tigers said he could sit for 4 to 5 days. It’s not great news, though with how he’s hitting, in some leagues it might pay to just bench him and grab a hot bat. As for Pedroia, I’d drop him in most mixed leagues. He could be out for a week or longer, and, brucely, he hasn’t done much this year when he has been playing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
CC Sabathia is out until at least July. ESPN said, “The Yankees clearly want to save their ace for a late-season run, so will exercise caution, making sure to not rush a return.” Seriously, is ESPN purposely five years behind everyone else or do they try to anticipate what other people think and just feed off of that? Are they under the assumption that casual (read: lazy) fans think Sabathia is the Yankees ace, so they just go with that? Are they ignoring Tanaka? Are they afraid of upsetting Yankee fans? Do they think Yankee fans are stupid? I have questions, y’all! Sabathia hasn’t been an ace in two years and I see no return to that any time soon. Even if he loses another 75 pounds and grows back his belly, only now it’s from being malnourished, and he shows up at the ballpark with flies buzzing around his head. Chase Whitley will remain in the rotation now and he had a 10+ K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in Triple-A, but he wasn’t even a starter prior to this year and the Yanks are throwing crap against their dresser hoping it forms a pretty, flower-doily design. I wouldn’t mess with him outside of AL-Only leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
On this day, I’m reminded of the Imagine Dragons song, Demons. “It’s Prince Fielder‘s curtain’s call, it’s the last of all, when the lights fade out all the other players look like an upgrade. They look like an upgrade! Prince Fielder let us down! He should be hell bound! Though he says it’s all for you, stop hiding the truth! No matter what Cecil Fielder would breed. We are still made of greed, my fantasy team is my kingdom come, when will Prince Fielder’s homers come? When will they come?! When you feel my heat, look into my eyes, it’s where my hate for Fielder hides, it’s where my hate hides. Abreu, don’t get too close, it’s dark inside and Fielder might rub off on you. It’s where my hate for Fielder hides, it’s where my hate hides. They say it’s okay if he hits .280 with 85 RBIs and 20 homers around the pole that is foul. I say it’s up to fate, it’s woven in my soul, Prince Fielder is an a**hole!” Usually I’m like don’t sell so-and-so for a DVD box set of the third season of Punky Brewster, but I’d sell Fielder low. Who knows maybe someone in your league won’t think you’re selling low. I’d explore ALL (yes, capped) offers for him immediately before things get worse. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Saturday, Jon Lester threw a gem: 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 15 Ks. Such a gem that if that were a blood diamond, diplomats from Monrovia would be lined up in the streets of Liberia for a taste of that. If that were an emerald, friends of Dorothy would stand outside of Ricky Martin’s hotel for weeks just for the chance he forgoes the hotel buffet and wants to eat out. If that were a ruby, it would stand outside a Dallas police station to cover any possible conspiracies and add fuel to other conspiracies. Lester has pitched spectacularly so far, and it’s not a product of luck. His 10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are elite. Those are fantasy ace numbers. His fastball doesn’t have renewed life, if anything he’s lost something on it. What appears to be the biggest difference is he’s almost completely abandoned his changeup and throwing his cutter a bit more. Since he’s always been good for 200 innings and has had huge success before, I’m willing to say he will hold the improvements to his rates and be an extremely reliable starter. Likely in the top 15 for the year. Yeah, he looks damn good. I want some, purdy puhlease. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Nick Castellanos a ti, Nick Castellanos a ti, Nick Castellanos a ti… Oh, sorry, I didn’t here you walk in. I was just singing Happy Birthday in Spanish with a Greek player’s name to anyone that was born on September 2nd. I’m glad you’re here. Sit down. You just sat down on the birthday cake. Okay, forget that now. This weekend rosters expanded, and with it the promise of a greater tomorrow. Yay, Billy Hamilton is going to steal 78 bases in September. Nick Castellanos will hit 12 homers and fix this gaping hole in my lineup I call, “Josh Hamilton Sucks.” All of the guys called up will be great (no, they won’t, but some may). It doesn’t mean they will be great immediately or even have the playing time to succeed this year. In keepers, obviously you pursue these players hard and fast like you’re Gosh Johnson, Josh’s porn star brother. In redraft leagues where you are desperate for SAGNOF, I’d grab Billy Hamilton now. If you have an open spot in your lineup and Hamilton isn’t playing, I’d still insert him and watch him get a steal in a pinch running appearance. Nick Castellanos is another ball of fruit — a melon ball, if you will. If he doesn’t have playing time, he adds nothing for redraft leagues. I will reiterate what Prospect Scott said yesterday, “I like his former teammate, Avisail Garcia, better and Grey is an idiot.” Okay, I will only reiterate the first part of that. In redraft leagues, you don’t want someone who will be great next year, you want someone who is swinging a hot bat right now. Now, go clean the cake off your ass. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s always about you, Rockie Rookie. Man, Rockie Rookie, you are set up to conquer the world and didn’t leave me sh*t! Like you own the whole goddamn country, Rockie Rookie. (Only funny in Lou Diamond Phillips’ brother’s voice from La Bamba.) Late on Saturday night the Rockies answered my prayers to fix my Mike Mostsuckass 3rd base shituation and called up Nolan Arenado. To make the move happen, the Rockies designated Chris Nelson for assignment. His assignment was to stop sucking. Arenado isn’t the answer to the world’s prayers for clean water and/or a toilet that sprays air freshener into your butt after you poop. He won’t end world hungry and/or make sure everyone can one day appreciate jazz so the people who do appreciate jazz will stop saying, “Aw, man, you just don’t appreciate jazz.” He’s pretty much Pacheco or Nelson with a little more power. Maybe 17 homer power with ten of those coming at home, but A) He has upside. B) He’s in Coors. C) There’s no C. D) The Rockies would be fools to call him up and not play him unless he completely bombs out. E) I don’t feel like going all the way back to A and re-reading, have I mentioned the upside thing? F) What about the fact he’s in Coors? Have I said that? Have I said there’s no C? So, right there, there’s six to ten (I didn’t count) legit reasons to pick him up in all mixed leagues. For serious, grab him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Scenario: Jim Leyland has been a part of a clinical trial to prove cigarettes cause mental illness. On off days, Leyland sits in a hotel room with a monkey and a scientist and they all smoke Camels. All three of them wear nothing but tighty-whiteys and they order out to Papa John’s, which always takes longer than anticipated because they have the pizza man put the pie in a mailbox, so no one knows where they are. After a few hours, Leyland is presented with a few different ink blotches that are clearly just innocuous butterflies. The monkey tries to correctly identify the ink blotches, but the scientist shushes the monkey and waits for Leyland. Inevitably, Leyland always says each ink blotch is Jose Valverde. Second scenario: The closer, who was ineffective last year, is given the closer job again because he’s the best arm in the bullpen. Okay, which scenario seems more likely to you? Agreed, Leyland has officially lost his crackers. “Okay, I know I put some Saltines down on the bench. Where are THEY?!” That’s Leyland after losing his crackers. Either way, Valverde will be joining the Tigers this week and Leyland says he’s the Tigers closer. “Are those cracker crumbs on your jersey, Don Kelly?!” When Leyland walks to the mound to change pitchers, he should just signal to the bullpen by twirling his finger by his ear — the universal sign for he’s crazy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last year, the Buy/Sell brought you such brilliant ideas as “Eric Thames is gonna be a river running through your heart!” and “Brennan Boesch is more like Brennan Bauce.” Buy/Sell, “You know, I don’t point all of your crappy suggestions… A.J. Mass was talking about buying me an acre of land in Kentucky and letting me run around with all of his stolen base draft picks. I may take him up on the offer if you’re not careful.” So, this is the first Buy/Sell of the season. Every Friday there will be a new one. Buy/Sell, “Not if we continue to get along like this. Try me, ‘stache. Try me.” This week’s lede pick is a new fave of mine who might not be worth owning by the end of April in mixed leagues, Jose Fernandez. Here’s an overall note, in this fantasy baseball game that has chosen us, we want to take the risk right now in case someone breaks out. It would be great if we all drafted a team that we can coast to a championship with, but if that’s true, your league isn’t competitive. In any league worth its salt, you need to pepper in some risk. Tuck your head down and go head long into the risk tornado. Fantasy baseballers on the storm, Fantasy baseballers on the storm…Into this blog we are born… Fantasy baseballers on the storm! I’m not saying drop Wainwright after one bad start, but having guys like Jose Fernandez at the end of your staff is much better than guys like Maholm (assuming every one of your other starters isn’t a risky upside gamble). You want guys at the end of your rotation that can do so much more than a 5th or 6th starter, rather than a 5th or 6th starter that is essentially a 5th or 6th starter. As for Fernandez, here’s what I said the other day, “First thing I do when I have a prospect question is search the site to see what Scott, our prospect writer, said. What I found, was a whole Jose Fernandez fantasy. He didn’t stop there, he also talked about him in the Marlins prospect preview post in October. There he said, “Fernandez broke out in 2012, posting a 1.75 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 between Low-A and High-A. The 20-year-old has legitimate ace-potential, and should find himself in the top-15 on most prospect lists this offseason. Now, if I were making a top-15 list of Well-Groomed Mustaches, Grey wouldn’t make it. When I blow up his picture 1000% in my laboratory, I can see cheese microbes.” Wow, Scott has a laboratory? That’s awesome! So, the Marlins are an interesting beast. They sell off all of their pieces, but they promote within quickly. After watching that Showtime series last year about the Marlins. I’m 50/50 on whether they even know about the arbitration clock. Within their minor league system, they’re run like, “We gotta make it to the playoffs this year!” From the major league level, they’re run like, “Let’s make sure we ship in our concession stands’ Cracker Jack from Chile because it’s four-hundredths of a cent cheaper. They pop their corn in yak oil.” I’d absolutely grab Jose Fernandez in all leagues. He has the chance to be lights out and could go 160 innings. He has the stuff that could make him a top ten starter in all of baseball within a year. For this year, I’ll give him the line of: 7-8/3.74/1.31/120 in 130 innings. Absolutely can be better. And worse. That’s the rookie nookie blessing and curse.” And that’s me quoting me! A lot of people commented about his lack of experience. He hasn’t thrown above High-A. Or as he calls it now, Bye-A. That shouldn’t matter. His stuff will play anywhere. He hits mid-90’s with a plus change and curve. Does it matter that a guy is 20 years old or 30 years old with his stuff? Chances are a pitcher is more likely to have that stuff at 20 with less miles on his arm. Fernandez will need to be lucky to win 10 games this year, but he could get a shizzload of Ks and have decent ratios. If he flames out, then you drop him for the next hot starter. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?