Please see our player page for Chris Sale to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

The Ditka Pod is once again graced with the presence of Fantasy Master Lothario Albright this week. After an ad nauseam discussion regarding the confusing nature of the podcast name (it’s a play on SNL’s Super Fans by the way), Grey breaks down B_Don & Donkey’s recent blockbuster trade in the RCL Perts League.

Then it’s time for some early season victory laps where Tim Anderson, German Marquez, and Jose Ramirez are examined at length. Other topics of discussion include fantasy strategy in the extra juiced ball era, expectations for Chris Sale & Jacob deGrom moving forward, Hunter Dozier’s ongoing breakout, whether Miguel Cabrera is a pile of sh*t, and the mostly irrelevant Mike Ford. Uncontrollable giggles and sausage will flow when Master Grey comes around.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

“After Chris Davis raved about it, I had to check it out.” said James Paxton, as he sipped maple syrup.  He continued, “It was my favorite show since the last time I saw Rush.”  The Canadian then put on moose antlers, an orange vest and grabbed his shotgun.  Before he exited the press conference, he smiled, adding, “Eh.”  So, James Paxton busted that slumped like Chris Davis before him and like every team that faces the Sawx.  Crazy when you have Mookie Betts hitting near-.200 and Benintendi out of the lineup, what a massive hole the Red Sox become, or a Mass-hole for short.  Yesterday, James Paxton went 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 3.91, putting to doubt some concerns that he would be eaten alive by the New York lights.  Paxton laughed, “It’s just like downtown Saskatchewan.”  All the New Yorkers grinned, Paxton was already growing a tough, sarcastic sense of humor indicative of New York, when Paxton added, “Seriously, eh, there’s nothing finer than Regina.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Opens an envelope, and, inside, is an invitation.  “Wow, what gorgeous calligraphy.  Someone took their calligraphy class at 8 PM every Wednesday for six weeks at a local college very seriously.  Patrick Bateman would be jealous of that raised font.”  Reading, “Please join us, the Tampa Bay Rays, for the Star Mitzvah of Austin Meadows.  On Tuesday, the ninth of April, two thousand and nineteen at twenty-four minutes after two o’clock in the afternoon at Temple Fantasy Tova Those Other Outfielders.  A reception to follow at one of the 37 local Hooter’s restaurants in the Tampa area.  Rather than gifts, please bring Cash.  Our manager, he gets lost.”  How sweet is that.  I wonder if I was invited because I wrote an Austin Meadows sleeper this preseason.  Prolly.  Sound the shofar, Meadows is finally breaking out!  *remains super calm, then screams*  I TOLD YOU!  Yesterday, Austin Meadows went 4-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and a slam (3) and legs (2), hitting .308.  Hopefully, this is the start of the big things I imagine for him, and, finally, he becomes a man.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Today we have a very special Game of Thrones edition with your host, Ball-less Greyjoy.  Or, I guess since it’s a Buy, as in pick up off waivers, it’s a Game of Thrones addition. To prep for the Game of Thrones finale, I pushed a kid out a window.  As I get into bed with Cougs, I yell, “The one-eyed raven is here and winter is coming!”  This show better not end as a Bob Newhart dream or in a snow globe of an autistic boy.  As Daenerys would say, “I just flew to King’s Landing and boy are my armies tired.”  I wonder if Daenerys used to be Daenery but added the S on the end like Kendrys.  Speaking of which, Kendrys Targaryen has no position flexibility, and is just rigid, due to the 75 years he’s been guarding a freakin’ wall.  Why does he guard the wall?  Because of the dreaded White Walkers.  The Night King, head White Walker, is Christian Walker.  Since Kendrys Targaryen unleashed his dragon and it ate a Lamb (then burped fire), Christian Walker could see more time on the other side of the dugout wall.  He’s shown good pop (who doesn’t sleep with mom who is his sister) and I’m adding him in all leagues.  He hit 30+ homers in Triple-A, during his last full season there.  Hopefully, George RR Martin doesn’t stop doing his bend the knee burpees at a Westeros Fitness and kill him off.  Spoiler Alert!  Game of Thrones ends with Fonzie jumping over a dragon.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Trea Turner broke his finger when he squared around to bunt.  He hit two homers in his last game, including a walk-off homer, so of course he’s bunting.  I mean, OF COURSE.  Why wouldn’t he be bunting?  You gonna let (fill-in name) just be the best bunter in Major League history?  (Fill-in name of a bunter that no one’s ever heard of because no one cares about bunting) is not gonna go down in history as the greatest bunter without a freakin’ fight from Trea Turner?  Is he?  I mean, IS HE?!  What in the holy eff bombs!?  Don’t bunt!  Turner will likely be out for a month and everything that is wonderful can’t be mine.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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After being left off of the last podcast, B_Don returns for this post Opening Day podcast with Ditka of Razzball, Grey Albright. We let Donkey Teeth jump in occasionally to make dick jokes, ask some questions, and provide commentary.

Yes, we say we are going to wrap up and talk for 20 more minutes.Start with some nonsense, finish with some division and World Series prediction, but in the middle there’s some solid information about opening day and some players that ended up on our teams or that we are looking at on the wire.

We never know if the show is actually recording or if anyone is listening, but it’s always fun talking shop with the boss. We get to some mutual love on German Marquez ($13, really?), Adalberto Mondesi, and Fernando Tatis Jr. We discuss some Opening Day surprises and busts with the likes of Chris Sale, Zack Greinke, Eric Lauer, Luis Castillo, Enrique Hernandez, and more.

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Hello, Genie, I have three wishes for this baseball season?  My first wish is “No one I own get hurt.”  I didn’t buy Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza or Troy Tulowitzki, so I made your job easy for you, great, powerful Genie.  My 2nd wish is “Everyone I own do well.”  I drafted Trea Turner, Luke Voit, Enrique Hernandez, so, really, I’m doing much of the heavy lifting for this wish too.  My 3rd and final wish is “All 3rd base coaches send runners home by doing The OA interpretative dance.”  Thanking you in advance, Genie.  Wait a second, you’re not a genie, you’re Bartolo Colon in Blue Man Group paint.  Damn you!  So, we’re off and running for another great season, just like the Dodgers’ offense.  Enrique Hernandez (2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) hit two home runs.  Ya know what, maybe Kiké does love me.  Next up, Joc Pederson (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit two homers, as he hit leadoff.  A double dong day from Wong and Joc?  Baseball, do you stuff your pants?  Also, Max Muncy (1-for-4, 2 RBIs) hit his first homer, saying, “Hey, don’t forget Grey wrote a sleeper post about me?”  Then Cody Bellinger (2-for-4, 2 runs) hit his 1st homer; he’s not Cody Malinger!  Actually, I’m convinced Dave Roberts could field any lineup and they would score more runs than their opponent for at least 90+ games, especially when they’re going up against some of these teams.  Wilmer Flores (1-for-4, 1 run) was the three hole hitter on the Diamondbacks.  I love Wilmer and his ubiquitous tears like he’s reading The Notebook, but there’s a bunch of MLB lineups out there that just are not good.  Also, in this game, Corey Seager (1-for-3) hit his 1st homer and Austin Barnes (3-for-4, 2 runs) hit his first homer, because BASEBALL’S BACK!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league. 

Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.

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I was never particularly motivated to use VLOOKUP (or any other function in Excel) for “professional” working purposes. I learned it a few years ago strictly to become better at fantasy baseball. By taking all of the public information that is available at your disposal, and combining fantasy valuations and projections from various industry resources (using mostly VLOOKUPs – seriously, it’s the only thing that I know how to do), you can formulate composite projections which paint an accurate picture of the fantasy landscape, and eliminate limit your individual bias when you inevitably use those projections and re-rank players by position. One resource that I find particularly helpful, and which you might not already incorporate into your own process, are the player propositions and betting over/under totals provided by sportsbooks. The betting market sets extremely reasonable expectations with regards to player floors and league leaders in statistical categories and can provide guidance as to where your projections stand relative to public perception both on an individual player basis, and against the league as a whole.  The fact that a player is listed in a category, in and of itself, can be extremely telling as to their raw skills and expectations for the upcoming season.

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NL WestNL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!

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