Please see our player page for Jack Flaherty 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.

Someone had his white Vans on! Daniel Ponce de Leon had another strong start Friday night pitching 6.1 innings allowing just three base runners (1 hit, 2 BB) and one run while striking out six for his first win of 2020. He had a no-hitter going through the first six innings until an Orlando Garcia home run, the only hit he surrendered, ruined his bid. Damn Daniel, 2016 called–they want their meme back. I touched on PDL (can I call him PDL? sounds like a bad light beer) last week and concluded he was too risky to touch, but his 3.15 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 28/6 K/BB in September tell me something has definitely clicked. Considering he was rocking a 7+ ERA at the start of the month that gives you a sense of the strides he’s made in just a few short weeks. Perhaps he discovered the dot, dot, dot…fountain of youth? I’m sorry! I had to. Regardless the win was his first as a starting pitcher in 20 tries–that’s right 20! And yes, that is the record, albeit a fairly depressing record to hold. Maybe its these Brewers’ hitters, who he’s struck out 15 times this month to pad his 12.6 k/9 in 20 IP in September, or maybe it was finally getting the run support he needed (Cards scored zero runs for him in half his starts this year). More likely he started consistently locating his elevating fastball which allowed him to mix in breaking balls and keep opposing hitters off balance. Whatever it has been, his 4.96 ERA and 1.32 WHIP don’t tell the full story here. I’m going to choose to believe his 31.5 K% and .221 BABIP are more indicators of the pitcher DPdL is and he’s a player I’ll be keeping a very close eye on this postseason even if he’s just pitching in a middle relief role. So grab your white Vans and make sure they’re cleaner than the “WAP” radio edit because I’m telling you Daniel Ponce de Leon could be a a 2021 sleeper to watch!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is the end. Beautiful friend, the end. We’re at the end of our 60 game sprint and I hope this finds you in the championship game. This is going to be a tough week to sift through to find viable streamers – both hitters and pitchers – that also have something to play for. Let’s start with Mr. Happy himself, Drew Smyly (3% ESPN, 9% CBS). The Giants lefty has thrown 16 innings and has posted an eye-popping 39.1% strikeout rate. Granted, he’s only gone a max of 4 IP in any start so far, but Smyly should help out in strikeouts and ratios. The Giants are still in the playoff fight and get a matchup at home against the Rockies tonight. Colorado currently has a 1.7% chance of making the playoffs according to ESPN and just placed slugger Nolan Arenado on the IL with a shoulder injury. Over the last 14 days, the Rockies have posted a team wOBA of .286 against lefties. During that time they’ve walked just 1.3% of the time. Check that out. Over 155 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, they’ve walked just 2 times. There might be one more play against the Rockies, but we’ll get to that soon. Let’s take a look at some other under the radar options to help you win your fantasy championship.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m freshly back from The Hotties, which is the annual Razzball award ceremony for the “hottest taeks” in fantasy baseball. With the sharp-toothed piranhavirus in full swing, Grey called for a “Mask-erade” ball, but the Eventbrite invitation auto-corrected it to a “masquerade” ball. Everybody showed up with the wrong parts of their face covered. I thought Grey would be upset but he seemed to take everything in stride, saying that he had been waiting for this day since “Eyes Wide Shut” was released. Is that a movie or a novel or a contact delivery service? Anyway, Grey started giggle-whispering “Fidelio!” at everybody. Hey, Grey, I get it. Fidel Castro liked baseball. Let’s get with the times!

I did manage to record Grey’s speech to all the writers and Instagram models who attended. Here’s the transcript if you want to read it:

“I’ll get right to the point: I’m proud to announce a new partnership between Razzball and the San Diego Padres. 2021 will be known as STAN DIEGO around here, and all hot taeks will involve Padres players. The top 10 pitchers? Lamet, Davis, Clevinger, and Paddack [audible hissing from the crowd]. The top 10 hitters? Tatis, Machado, Grisham, and Myers. Trevor Rosenthal is a top 30 pick. You will all write sleeper articles on Joey Lucchesi, Adrian Morejon, and yes, Eric Hosmer. [pause while Grey dodges thrown masks] Fear not, for STAN DIEGO comes with perks! You will all get a free hot dog with a purchase of an annual pass to Sea World, and you’ll get a personal tour of the tiger enclosure at the San Diego Zoo. Now, writers, start hyping Jake Cronenworth!”

At that point, all the people Grey whispered “Fidelio” to disappeared into Grey’s private grotto, which he named “50 Shades of Play” because of the underwater mini-golf course he installed. Myself? I was left standing in the foyer with a mysterious note that only said, “MacKenzie Gore, 2021 hot taek.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Ask not what your fantasy team’s pitchers can do for you, but what you can do for your fantasy team pitchers.” The number one thing you can do is have your fantasy team page open and curse and scream whenever a reliever comes into the game in a non-save shituation and gives up runs, or when you have a pitcher give up five-plus in under five innings, or when you bench a guy who throws a gem. That’s the least you can do for your country and your team. Yesterday, the Kennedy curse lifted, and Jack and Joe did you right: Joe Musgrove (6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.68) vs. Jack Flaherty (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA at 4.84). In 2021, Jack Flaherty could be underrated. Imagine he’s not a top five starter next year, because of one bad start. Sign me up for some of that nonsense. Joe Musgrove is a trickier proposition such as, “I’ll do whatever for $50.” Wait, that’s a trick’s proposition. Since Musgrove’s IL stint, his fastball velocity wasn’t quite there, but yesterday saw him touch 95 MPH, and his slider was working for him. For 2021, I could see getting sucked in again by Musgrove, which inevitably will leave me mumbling, “Era, era, my ERA is a mess.” That’s JFK struggling to the finish line of a fantasy season, like all of us. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Yankees scored 20 runs and Giancarlo Stanton returned from the IL with an 0-for-4. Giancarlo Stanton really impressed me last night by staying on the field for numerous swings without oblique, hammy, calf, forearm, torso, shin, neck or shoulder issues. Stanton has a chance to pass his games played total last year of 18. He’s currently at 14, but there’s no way he plays four more games, right? *pop, pop, pop* Paul O’Neill from a remote location, “What is that popping noise?”
Michael Kay in his trademark baritone, “Paul, that’s Giancarlo wrapped in bubble wrap!”
“Ah, that’s great to see.”
“Yeah, really cool. What a team player.”
“Totally.”
“Hey, you ever notice our Yankees’ broadcasts are the boringest broadcasts?”
“Is boringest a word?”
“I bet it is.”
“Interesting. Like this conversation.”

Also, in this game, Luke Voit went bazinga two times (3-for-5, 5 RBIs), hitting his 17th and 18th homers. He was the late-round corner man to draft. Sigh. Speaking of sighs, Gary Sanchez (1-for-4, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 8th homer, hitting .131) had his first ball hit that didn’t include his crotch. Then, DJ LeMahieu (4-for-6, 3 runs, 5 RBIs) hit his 7th homer, as he hits .363. He’s so adamant to defy me it makes him a real pest. Finally, Aaron Hicks (1-for-4) hit his 5th homer on my bench. *breathes in 95% smoke-filled air mixed with pandemic* What a time to be alive! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hard to believe, but my first season as a baseball analyst here at Razzball is almost at an end! For athletes, that means they’re leaving the bubble soon. Us fantasy writers? We’re all bubbled-up to protect from the dreaded Piranhavirus. Oh, you don’t know what that is? See, we’re so forward thinking here at Razzball, we’re already sequestered away for the next pandemic. You may be asking, “How does the Razzbubble work?” Well, future victims of piranhas, let me show you my notes from earlier this summer when I bubbled up.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dane Dunning sounds like someone who should be hosting a 70’s dating show and looks like the T.A. all the young co-eds would be lusting after in Psych 101. That being said, he’s pitched pretty well in his 4 starts so far this year allowing only 6 ERs in 20 IP. If he does well against the hard-hitting Twins and the Reds at home — I’ll consider moving him up. I’ll give him this — the career 0.5 HR/9 over 449 professional innings will serve him well this week. Also working in his favor is he’s facing the 7th and 9th worst teams in K/rate to right-handed pitchers. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Jeimer real boy,” says Jeimer Candelario, as his nose, labeled with Louisville Slugger’s insignia, grows. Gepetto clears his throat and sits Jeimer down for a heart-to-heart. “Jeimer, I saw you went 5-for-6, 2 RBIs with your 6th and 7th homer in yesterday’s doubleheader.” Jeimer tells him again, “Jeimer a real boy.” Jeimer’s nose-bat grows a little bit more. Gepetto looks at Jeimer’s stats from the last week, “Wow, three homers in four games, and hitting near-.400 in the last seven.” Jeimer, losing his temper, restates, “Jeimer real boy!” Gepetto shrugs, “Works for me,” and Gepetto whittles Jeimer’s nose into a club, and applies pine tar to its tip. So, Jeimer Candelario has been one of the hottest nose-bats in the leagues, recently. Wasn’t entirely by design when I benched Nelson Cruz in one league for Jeimer Candelario, but it actually has worked out better than planned. Jeimer will also be in the Buy column later today. To read it right now, join our Patreon. It’s $5, the cost of 15 minutes on a NYC parking meter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In the highly lucrative industry that is imaginary sports team management, we here at Razzball are always looking to give you readers the sharpest edge of advantage. I mean, how do we keep up with a provider like Pitching Ninja, whose name literally invokes the finely-honed edges of a ninja star slicing through bats before landing softly in the supple leather of a catchers mitt? Fear not, fearful reader! I have been to cram school, and I have been to Austria, and I have been in dungeons, and I combined all of my knowledge of those places and completely threw it out the window. See, to be sharper than sharp, you gotta think outside the box. When the competition goes sharp, you go — that’s right! — blocky. I present to you, followers of the Top 100 Starting Pitcher series, the latest in pitching analysis: 8-bit graphics.

Robbie Ray Demonstrates his elite level of unpredictability

Let’s apply this newfangled technology to our top starting pitchers and see what we can do to help you to fantasy glory!

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All right, we almost made it a week without a Covid positive test in MLB, but Sunday morning, the Oakland Athletics announced that a member of their crew tested positive for coronavirus and their play has been postponed. News will be developing more, but as of the time of writing (Sunday morning), you’ll probably want to pay attention to your Oakland starters (i.e. Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt) in weekly lineup leagues. For DFS and daily lineups, you can follow the news and do what you have to do.

Again, we’re nearing the 60% mark of the season for most teams in MLB, and the same goes for most of your fantasy baseball teams. If you’re going to make a move — whether the waiver wire or a trade — it’s time to do it now. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the Rest-of-Season-o-Nator-o-Tron. That Sixto Sanchez guy that everybody’s talking about? Hit Control-F and search his projections for the rest of the season. Come on, do it! Oh fine, I’ll just tell you. It’s 23IP, 1W, and a probably too-conservative 17K. What about Gerrit Cole? 36IP, 3W, and 49K. OK math majors, let’s get to work! If you’re trailing in pitching stats in your fantasy league, what’s the likelihood that Sixto Sanchez helps you catch up to the team that’s starting Gerrit Cole every 5 days? Not all that great, right? The Marlins have a lot of catch-up to do, and Sixto Sanchez can’t throw those extra games, and no manager is going to risk The Sanchize by throwing him overtime in a year when 50% of the teams make the playoffs. For actual baseball, this is amazing, because the Marlins seem on track to make the playoffs and you’re going to see The Sanchize playing in the wildest shootout of baseball playoffs ever seen in human history. But for fantasy baseball, you’re getting, at most, maybe 2W and — if you’re lucky — 30Ks from Sixto over the next few weeks.

So, how do you overcome the teams that are starting the entirely-possible rotation of Shane Bieber, Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Andrew Heaney (all of whom are in the top 25)?

Please, blog, may I have some more?