Miles Mikolas (8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 6 Ks, ERA at 2.62) or Paul Goldschmidt (6-for-8, 4 runs, 8 RBIs, and his 14th, 15th and 16th homer)? Which one do I talk about first?! What’s on 2nd? I don’t know. Third base! Au Shizz went Au Shizz three times in yesterday’s doubleheader. He’s hitting .349 on the year. He’s challenging Aaron Judge for the top of the Player Rater–Okay, not Judge, but the top 5? Yes, siree, Bob. “I’m sorry, Grey, I need more info on what Bob you want to call.” Siree! Not Siri! “Chillax, phonedaddy.” Shut up, Siri! Au Shizz is capping one of the best decades we’ve seen in baseball over the last ten years. As for Miles Mikolas, I literally turned on his no-hit bid as the Calm Itchell double was landing in center. Hey, am I starring in the fictional version of The Jinx as the young, and more handsome Robert Durst? “Kill them all…Why did I say that? Maybe I can say I was saying my favorite Metallica album?” While Mikolas isn’t quite this good — 7 .2 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 3.72 xFIP — he’s capable of one of those 3.00-ish ERA seasons, or better, as he’s done once in his career already. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the first weekend in June, Razzenfants! The months of May and June are always interesting to baseball. The significance and rate of injuries seem to slow or plateau. The players finally seem stretched out and warmed up. You let your guard down, and then BOOM! Two guys on your team need Tommy John […]

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The doubleheader in the Bronx started with Ohtani taking on Nestor. The hype, the excitement, the mustache! It was all there. Then the nightcap, what could it do to top such intrigue?! What, I scream at my ceiling. The nightcap ended up being a very stiff shot of Jameson. Did I do that, right? I haven’t drank in, like, ten years, I forget the terminology sometimes. Jameson Taillon took a perfect game into the 8th inning, ending the game with the line — 8 IP, 1 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 5 Ks, ERA at…What’s his ERA? Go ahead. Guess! You know him! Let’s hear your best guesses! Please, indulge me! Imagine dopey guesses as little chocolate truffles. Roll them in cocoa powder and pop them into my mouth for my consumption. WRONG! He’s got a 2.30 ERA. You were two runs off. At least! No? Then you’re rostering him. So, Taillon is doing it with pinpoint control — 5 BBs in 58 2/3 IP — and that’s coming with almost identical stats from previous years minus some Ks. Elite command can carry a guy pretty far. Maybe not as far as a 2.30 ERA in 170+ IP, but won’t be much worse than 3.50 if he holds that kind of command. That Jameson can scotch tape together a lot fantasy staffs if you’re looking to Taillon. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” — Tony LaRussa, probably.

The thing about being a historian is you carry the past with you. Like Tim O’Brien wrote in his most famous novel, Tomcat in Love…wait, is that the right book? Or was it that other Vietnam-themed book where it was all a dream? Oh, sorry, The Things They Carried. Yes, this one is for Lemon, who’s floating in the breeze out there. ENYWHEY. We carry the burdens of the past with us, etched upon our hearts, weighing heavy on our souls. As the immortal poet collective Papa Roach once taught us, “The scars remind us that the past is real.” Funny, how that works for fantasy baseball. What you did in the past is both predictive of what you do in the future, but also completely detached from what’s going on in the present. “He’s changed,” we all whisper. “Velocity is down.” What, exactly, was the normal velocity? Do we all run 4-minute miles every year of our life? Or is it good enough to run 4.5 or 5-minute miles? Does it matter if we throw 96 or 94 or 25 or 6 to 4? And on and on it goes. Let’s jump over to the news and notes and find out which pitcher has me thinking so nostalgic.

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Bert Blyleven allowed a major league record 50 homers in 1986. It was in 271 innings. Hunter Greene (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA at 5.89) might beat the record in 100 innings. There’s an old adage (I don’t know what an adage is but it sounds good) and it goes that starters are better at home. Just in general. Of course, there’s exceptions. Or I should say “of Coors.” Any hoo! Greene is the type that could throw a 15-K shutout vs. the Dodgers or give up five homers to the Marlins with Miguel Rojas leading the charge. His opponent or environs don’t matter, so it’s hard to roster a guy like that. Also, don’t ever say “environs” in real life, person you’re with has ever right to punch you. The offensive star of the game for the Reds was Kyle Farmer (4-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs and his 2nd and 3rd homer). Was his first game back from being out with general soreness. Lucky he didn’t run into Major Setback. Also, in this game, Nick Senzel (4-for-4, 3 runs, 1 RBI) did what we expected of him in 2019, and 2020, and 2021, and, well, you get the picture, as he hit leadoff. Was this a sign of things to come or just going against a terrible pitcher? Well, Justin Steele (2 IP, 7 ER, ERA at 5.40) did not look good. Maybe it wasnt the best idea to pitch the Man of Steele against a guy the color of Kryptonite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Great, now I’m hungry for a cereal that leaves your mouth looking and feeling like a Saw filming location. YOU WANNA PLAY A GAME IN MY MOUTH? Wait, uh… And yes, that is not a typo, the actual name has two “Crunch’s” which I never really noticed until I actually had to type it out. I mean, why does the Cap have to be redundant like that? I know you’re Cap’n Crunch homey, why not just give us the berries? And will no one think of José Berríos here who has to be crunched twice for the metaphor to work? I will, for I am Jay, philanthropist, life coach, virtuous drunk, and that’s just before lunch! But enough about my over-qualified CV, let’s talk about the struggles of one Crunch-Crunch Berríos… yeah, definitely does not have a great ring to it. Nor crunch. All of them.

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After completing a dramatic extra innings comeback win Friday night, capped off by a Rougned Odor walk-off home run in the 13th inning, the Orioles were not done making headlines just yet. Hours later, the O’s had purchased the contract of top prospect slash phenom slash heart throb slash savior Adley Rutschman from Triple-A. Great […]

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“This is 911, what’s your emergency?”
“I need a defibrillator!”
“Someone’s having a heart attack?”
“No, it’s for the dead ball.”
“Please stop calling, sir.”

Tarik Skubal was a victim of being sneezed on by Matthew Boyd, and used to give up a homer just about every three pitches, but no longer. It might not just be the dead-ball, Skubal was a top pitching prospect a mere three years ago. That timing tracks. Usually it’s three years in the majors, and a rookie pitcher becomes what we expect from him. A rookie pitching prospect has moments his rookie year, then he has more moments his 2nd year, then his third year it’s all moments. Tarik Skubal (6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 2.50) is currently living in the moment. 94 MPH fastball, 89 MPH slider, 76 MPH curve and 84 MPH change, each used liberally. Not relying on the fastball as he had in the past, even though you wouldn’t blame someone with a 70-grade fastball. There might be something to his success and the homers allowed thing, but the ball doesn’t seem like it’s being resuscitated any time soon, so Skubal can absolutely maintain his newfound success. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to week 4 — the week where all the data finally makes sense and the futures of every player become written in stone! Not really — that’s kind of the wonky thing about baseball — it might take years to make effective predictions about player performance (see Greinke comma Zack). For me, May is where I start to vaguely pay attention to baseball again because the stats are meaningful again. DFS becomes a bit more predictable, and the rest of us fantasy ballers (Grey’s mom’s word) are ready to spew out meaningful and actionable takes. Like, “Sit that clown Lucas Giolito! I kid, I would never bad-mouth a White Sox player [stares at Dylan Cease]. 

Let’s learn about some interesting players! 

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What transpired this preseason: Coolwhip reached out to me to see if I was going to write a Nestor Cortes sleeper, because he liked him and wanted to write one. I said, “Nah, I don’t think I’m going to write one, but I like him too!” What Coolwhip didn’t know, what no one could’ve known, I hadn’t looked at Nestor Cortes at all. I said I liked him because Coolwhip said he liked him. Then I waited for Coolwhip to give us his Nestor Cortes sleeper, and, after he did, I said, “Yeah, exactly, that’s what I would’ve wrote too!” Stats and image provided by Coolwhip:

“(M)ain thing to note is in 2021 Nestor started 14 games. Before that, he had only started a grand total of… (carry the 1… multiply by square root…) 2 games. 2 games, that’s it. So this was a bit of a new foray for him. It’s not often that you go from the pen to starting and your numbers improve drastically. Not just a little mind you; but by every conceivable measure, he got better. His K-rate went up, BB-rate went down, and he cut home runs in half while suppressing hard contact and limiting runners.”

Nestor did this by scrapping the sinker and curve, and replacing them with a cutter. Also, he varies his release point a lot, like nearly every pitch. I half expect him to throw right-handed occasionally. Yesterday, Nestor Cortes (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 0.00) threw an immaculate 4th inning, and changed his release on nearly every pitch. This is magic:

In 9 1/3 IP this year, Nestor Cortes has 17 Ks. That’s in two starts, or one Nolan Ryan start. Pardon me while I put my eyes back in my head. Nestor Cortes’s 16.4 K/9, 0.96 BB/9 and -0.26 FIP is pretty good, if you’re lacking for adjectives. You really have to be impressed with Nestor so far this year, he’s looking as brilliant as me blindly agreeing with Coolwhip. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Five ladies and gentlemen, it’s…HELIO STUDWAGON!

And I can’t fight this rookie nookie anymore,
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for (which stinks because we’re roughly 72 hours into the season),
It’s time to bring this shizz into the shore and onto my team,
And throw away the either/or’s forever.

Baby, I can’t hold Steven Matz anymore, but how about this Heliot Ramos fella!
He looks great, or as they say in San Fran “hella,”
I need him on my team, er,
His projections are insane from Steamer!

So, Heliot Ramos (2-for-3, 1 RBI) was called up. Prospect Itch said, “Ramos didn’t graduate AA so much as he aged into AAA, where he was still 5.7 years younger than the average player. Across the full season (116 games), he slashed .254/.323/.416 with 14 HR and 15 SB. Not bad. Not ideal. The hope is that he settles in at AAA and soaks up some coaching, applies that across his opportunities and takes the slow road to becoming a fantasy factor. I doubt the club will rush him to the majors in any needs-based scenario. This is good news for Ramos and us, as it gives the 6’1” 188 lb, 2017 first-rounder time to grow into his skillset, and I’d like to hit Grey with a skillet.” Not cool. So, the Giants seemed to disagree with how much time Ramos needed in the minors. His projections at the Prospectonator are fire under a helium balloon. Some of the best projections I’ve seen for a rookie. Oh, just your mundane, ho-hum 20+ HRs and 10 steals. Will the Giants still start guys like Steven Duggar over him? Oh, absolutely. Have you not been paying attention to the Giants for the last year-plus? Still, I’d grab Heliot Ramos in all leagues where I need an injection of sexy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?