So, I got the 5th pick. How’s your day going? At the Winter Meetings? That’s cool, same. Maybe you’ve seen me in the lobby, I’m wearing a floral arrangement on my head while I hide in a pot. Wait, there’s no Winter Meetings, that’s right. I mean there is, a group of billionaires are Zoom’ing into the Winter Meetings where the hottest commodity is a guy who was a backup catcher last year. Hey, Jon Heyman, stop leaking McCann news. I ate a few too many Olestra-laden potato chips and McCann is leaking! It’s none of your business! Last week, I took part in an NFBC team league, and here is, as the people say who are trying on hats, my recap. For those not in the know, this is a 15-team, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. You draft it, and manage it. Weekly moves for pitchers, bi-weekly (rawr!) for hitters, changing out on Monday and Friday. I didn’t want the fifth pick. I wanted any pick but the fifth pick. As I see it, there’s an obvious top four (Sexy Dr. Pepper, Tildaddy, FTJ, Mookie Best), then…Dot dot dot…Question mark. What now? I didn’t want to think for the 1st pick, but the automated draft picker thing (that’s its name) said I was the most qualified to think, so I thought. Or I just screwed up my pre-draft rankings for which pick I wanted. Like a teamster, I’m leaning on the latter. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:Please, blog, may I have some more?
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Hello, again. Weird to think we don’t have too much of a fantasy baseball season left. We’re basically at the halfway point before fantasy playoffs start, more or less. Real baseball keeps chugging along despite more positive COVID tests. Each week I’m mentioning a new team it feels like, and this week it’s the Mets. The entire weekend Subway Series was cancelled, but maybe the Mets will be back in action early next week. The Reds didn’t take long getting back into action, so maybe it’ll work out similarly. Who knows! I’m just glad there’s still baseball and my Cardinals are playing again cuz my St. Louis Blues made an early exit in their quest to defend the Stanley Cup. Really bummed me out.
Anyway, you aren’t here to read my sad sack malarkey about a sport you probably haven’t even heard of. You’re here for fantasy baseball waiver targets. Cuz it’s almost crunch time. A hot bat/arm can carry you a long way down the stretch. I’ve picked some names you might want to take a look-see at. May the odds be ever in your favor.
I’m trying out a new format this week. Hoping that it makes reading a little more streamlined and easier for you to see the standout points I want to make on each player. But really I wanted to get in on that fancy baseball bullet point action.
Note: Stats accurate as of 8/22/2020, before games began. Remember, only players available in the 30th percentiles (39% or below) of either Yahoo or ESPN leagues are eligible. Thought being that most of who you read about below will be there for you to add.Please, blog, may I have some more?
After blowing the game in epic fashion Thursday night and then blowing another game same-day, hours later even epicly-er the Philadelphia Phillies have finally said enough is enough. Their relievers are rocking a icy 8.07 ERA, with an even more inflated 10.93 ERA in the ninth inning. Wow. That’s like Red Sox-relievers-bad. So who did they reach out to? Who else but the awful reliever experts, the Boston Red Sox, and Philly acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree Friday night in hopes of bring some stability to the late inning relief. In return they send RHPs Connor Seabold and Nick Pivetta to Boston. Pivetta, a sabremetrics darling, will likely slot into the starting rotation immediately despite his ugly 15.88 ERA, 1.94 WHIP. He’s given up 10 runs in just three games this year so he should fit right in with this pitching staff. Still, dude strikes out everyone. A 10.32 K/9 in 2018 shows flashes of what could be a valuable starter some day. I have streamed him many times in the past and he’s burned me even more times, and I look forward to this happening again real soon. Connor Seabold (2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58/11 K/BB in the minors), could also likely find his way into the rotation at some point this year, given the lack of competition at the big league level. Back to Phillies, Workman should immediately take over as closer and could see a boost as he’s better than his 4.07 ERA and 1.80 suggest and has converted all four of his save chances this year. The Phillies are a considerably better team so the save opportunities should be more frequent. Workman is likely already rostered in most fantasy leagues, even though he probably shouldn’t be. However, his successor in Boston, Matt Barnes, is still unowned in most leagues, and that is likely to change quick. If you’re as desperate for saves as I am for positive feedback Barnes and his 5.59 ERA are the obvious choice for save chances for Boston going forward. He notched his first save of the year Friday night allowing just one hit. Pick him up if you really need the saves or you just hate yourself.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jairo Diaz was told the Rockies will no longer have a designated closer. Bud Black is crazy, right? I mean, he is legit nuts or no? I know the Woke Police say you shouldn’t call people crazy, but if we don’t, then they might not get help and Bud Black needs help. I thought maybe Black was just slow on the uptake as witnessed by Garrett Hampson’s playing time. It’s not normal to go from not playing to suddenly being an everyday leadoff man, like Black just discovered Hampson this year. Garrett was good last year, you absolute loon! But this is about Jairo Diaz. He didn’t have the best of games (2/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 3 walks, ERA at 3.12), but Carlos Estevez (1/3 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 3.38), who saved the game, took a comeback off his hand, and was in severe pain, heading for x-rays. So, one guy’s been decent (Diaz), one guy is obviously injured, and the third guy, Daniel Bard (1 IP, 1 ER, ERA at 4.09) has been okay, but serious emphasis on “okay” and nothing more. That’s when you announce the guy with zero blown saves is no longer the closer? Bud Black is twenty-six screws short of an Ikea dresser. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
“But wait! The season has already begun!” Razzball nation cries out.
Yes good people — but many teams didn’t announce their starting rotations until yesterday — and some still haven’t! So there’s going to be a bit of extrapolation on my part trying to predict exactly who is going to be starting, on what day, against which team, with what weapon and in what room. The San Francisco Giants for example have a game in a little over 5 hours as I’m writing this and the scheduled starter is that young, fire-balling, lefty from Korea: TBD.
If you’ve found Razzball you know what to expect from a weekly two-start pitcher column. Every Saturday morning I’ll highlight the starting pitchers who have two starts in an upcoming week and I’ll rank ‘em and tier ‘em. Tier 1 — you can basically ignore reading this section each week. If you need me to tell you to start Gerrit Cole for both games of his two-start week — you don’t deserve Razzball’s content! But tier 2 through 5 is where your money is made, your bread is buttered and your week is won — well maybe not tier 5. Tier 5 is not for the faint of heart. That’s where your money is lost, your bread is burnt and your week is lost.
As the season progresses I’ll be able to also recommend/reject certain pitchers based on their match-ups and stadiums. Again — for your top tier pitchers, this won’t matter. But German Marquez against the Dodgers in Coors Field? Maybe leave him on your bench for that match-up. Unfortunately, this early in the season, I can make predictions on who I think will be a tough offense to face — the Marlins are atop the NL East standings so who knows what will happen by week 5?
One last thing to keep in mind — some teams will be implementing bullpen games. I won’t be including these in the two-start rankings. One or two innings pitched does not really constitute a “start” in my eyes.Please, blog, may I have some more?
*glances at Houston score* Welp, another insane offensive night for the As–Wait a second! Make that As– into an A’s. We’ve got a barnburner like the Astros were John Wilkes Booth! (If you get that joke, you’ve also read Manhunt, to which I say — nerd!) The ALCS is going to be a series of 24-23 games that last eighteen hours. “Joe Buck, are you even watching the game or are you just reading old issues of Men’s Health with the pages stuck together?” That’s Ron Darling reprimanding Buck. It was the 4th inning and the entire A’s lineup already had multiple hits, so let’s check some boxes, shall we? Sean Murphy (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) hit his 2nd and 3rd homers, and I recently picked him up for an AL-Only league. He had ten quick homers in only 31 games of Triple-A so he’s got power to spare, and Chris Herrmann was just designated for assignment. I hope Herrmann can find peace with they’re re-assignment. Matt Olson (2-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) also hit two homers. What Olson is doing in 70% of a season and without a hamate is going fairly unnoticed, and I already know I’m going to be so high on him in 2020. Then, Marcus Semien (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 27th homer, because what goes up must come down with, uh, Semien. Finally, Khris Davis (3-for-6, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 20th homer, asserting he’s not really Chris Davis, but I’m not sure I believe him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
America’s greatest Indian was Sitting Bull. Maybe Pocahontas. Possibly Bob Feller. I’d accept Apu even. But on the list of great Indians, Jose Ramirez and the service he provided this year does not go unnoticed because I am here noticing it. First, he did awful to make me look like a genius for telling you to avoid him in drafts, then he did well after I told you to buy him in June. Jo-Ram did what others thought impossible: made me look brilliant. Stop throwing roses at my feet, I’m allergic. Now, Jo-Ram’s gone for the year with a hamate bone injury. If he’s anything like Matt Olson, he’ll return in October and hit 35 homers in ten games. Glory be. He’s droppable in redraft leagues though, and Yu Chang will replace him. He was David Bowie’s favorite player. Time may Chang Yu, but Yu can’t Chang time. Prospect Mike just gave you a Yu Chang fantasy, and I didn’t run out to grab him, but, in deep enough leagues, I could see it. Prospect Mike did mention Aristides Aquino in relation to Chang, and I had to Chang my underwear. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Greetings, deep-leaguers! We’ve now officially hit mid-August, and if you’re fighting for a money spot in one of your fantasy baseball leagues, every decision you make and every day’s worth of stats probably seem magnified. One or two bad starts (thanks, Trevor Bauer and Cole Hamels!) can cost you crucial ERA and WHIP points that you’ve been slowing but surely building up in a roto league, or sink your head-to-head week completely. You may not be able to control how major league baseball players pitch, but it’s as important as ever to try to keep your team as strong as possible and to take advantage of trying to grab a few counting stats where you can. On that note, let’s look at a few players that might be of interest in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Ruth/Gehrig, Mantle/Maris, Gio/Tauchman. Ya know, en bee dee, oh em gee, tee em eye, tee bee aitch, bee tee dubs, what the eff. It’s an all-New York week here at Razzball HQ. Yesterday, Gio Urshela (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs) went and hit his 15th and 16th homer, and has five homers in his last 13 at-bats. Last year, he hit three homers, and two came in Triple-A! I’d cackle-snort, but who would hear me with this pillow over my mouth as I scream about not picking up Urshela last week? Of course, Urshela will be in this afternoon’s Buy column, but, in any self-respecting league, he shouldn’t be available anymore. By the way, the Yankees became the 1st team in Major League history to hit 19 HRs in a four-game span. Our Commissioner Manfred just shipped in a new crate of baseballs, and they’re wrapped tighter than a hamster’s balloon knot. Let’s get some homers! Gulp, gulp up those juiced balls! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…
The outpouring of concern over Grandpa-Donk’s well being during Heatwave 2019, has been heart warming. Rest assured, Gramps is still alive and donkey kicking. In fact, last weekend the old jackass worked out in the yard 48 hours straight in the 100-degree heat without stopping for so much as a Señor Crappers change. Once he finished the field labor, G-Donk came inside to make the rest of us pancakes and lemonade–an old Donk family tradition. As Great Gran-Donk always said, “When life gives you apocalyptic weather, make pancakes and lemonade.”
Mmmmm ice cold lemonade: my favorite of the fresh squeezed juices. You know what other juice is worth the squeeze? The Clevinger concentrate. I was skeptical when Mike Clevinger returned from his back injury in mid-June. His first two brutal starts had me strutting around like top donkey, so smart. But since the calendar turned to July, Sunshine has been lights out going 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 41 strikeouts in 31 innings. Clevinger is extracting juice like a fantasy ace right now and there’s no reason to think the liquid will dry up anytime soon.Please, blog, may I have some more?