Spring Training is upon us! If I was a round pitcher filled with red liquid that could walk and talk, I’d scream, “Oh yeah!” Unfortunately, the only thing I am is round. Anyways, this time of year always reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld. We go to the doctor’s office and they tell us to wait. Then we get excited when they call our names so that we can go wait in the smaller waiting room. That’s where we are at in the baseball season. In the small waiting room. Close, yet so far. Over the next six weeks, I will be going through one division a week and will focus on the position battles for each team.
Twenty-six years after my Lord and Savior, Reggie Jackson, retired from professional baseball to collect cars, full-length fur coats and start a business where you use cocktail franks as cocktail stirrers, I saw a young Mariner by the name of Brad Miller. To this day, when you Google “Brad Miller sleeper,” you still see archival footage of Grey’s massive excitement — that’s not what she said! I was jazzed back in 2013 because Miller had hit 20 HRs, stole 11 bases and over .300 between the majors and minors. Then 2014 and 2015 happened, Miller did nothing, and I retreated into my cubby hole of snack food that I eat out of sight from my Cougar wife. “I’m snacking on kale, baby doll!” “Grey, you sound louder than usual.” I was being amplified due to eating a nacho cheese Bugle. Finally, this year I was sure not to own Miller anywhere. So, of course, he breaks out. Yesterday, Brad Miller went 3-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 25th homer, 5th homer this week, while hitting .265. On our 30-day Player Rater, Miller is 5th most valuable for hitters. The top 4 –> Blackmon, Hamilton, Braun, Betts. Yeah, pretty good company, like Reggie’s cocktail frank stirrers’ company, The Dog That Stirs The Drink, Inc. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Shawn Kelley notched his second save in as many days Friday night, recording the final out, allowing just one hit for his sixth save of the season. Is your fantasy team in dire need of saves? Are you tired of owning the entire Braves bullpen? Well, it seems your prayers may have been answered. Manager Dusty Baker has yet to commit to Kelley, but Baker usually doesn’t commit to anything unless it’s ruining some young player’s career in the long term. Unlike Atlanta, the Nationals bullpen will likely see a good share of save chances and with Jonathan Papelbon struggling, it appears Shawn Kelley is the add here. Oh Papelbon, how the mighty have fallen, right? I remember when he wasn’t just the most obnoxious pitcher in all of baseball, he was also a very good closer! Shawn Kelley has the potential to be a very good closer as well. He holds a 3.05 ERA, and 1.02 WHIP, with a 60/7 K/BB rate. Did I mention he can get you saves? Did I mention he’s available in over 80% of fantasy leagues? Geez, all this stuff I forgot to mention, my memory is really shot lately. There’s still a chance Washington trades for a closer, but I’d pick up Shawn Kelley everywhere I needed saves as he looks to be the top option in the Nats pen at the moment, Grey told you to BUY and he won’t be available for very long.
Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:
Throughout my time as a dynasty player, I’ve learned that there’s one thing that’s as inevitable in this format as death and taxes….. turnover. Sometimes it’s simply because a manager no longer likes the format or league. Sometimes it’s a lack of the time element that needs to be applied to properly compete. Other times it’s an incident that disenfranchises owners, and leads them to quit. Well over the last month I’m pretty sure all of these apply to outgoing managers within our Razzball in-house dynasty the Razznasty. There’s been drama, tears, a gang-related shooting, and an arm wrestling tournament in a truck stop. Actually I think I’m confused, all those things happened during my Memorial Day weekend with my in-laws. You know what they say, “sometimes you join the Hell’s Angels, and other times you marry into them”. Moving along, let’s discuss the standings, trades, and wavier claims for the month of May.
There’s embarrassment and then there’s having to cover in detail a fantasy baseball league you’re nearly dead last in. So begins our first monthly update on the in house dynasty league “The RazzNasty”. For those of you that are new here, “The RazzNasty” is a Razzball founded dynasty league made up of Razzball writers, readers, commenters, and Methodists! It’s a 16 team roto with semi-weekly adds/drops via blind auction. We have 30 man MLB rosters and 10 man minor league rosters. Since we last updated you in early March there’s been a flurry of activity including trades, wire adds, a second commissioner switch, and a banana or two in the tailpipe. So yes it’s more or less high stakes Mario Kart.
Yesterday, Buster Olney tweeted, “Kevin Gausman is pitching tonight probably exactly the way the Orioles hoped on the day they drafted him. Dominant stuff.” Putting aside the unnecessary “probably” — you’ll never win a Twitter Pulitzer with needless hooha! — is this what the Orioles hoped for? Because it’s felt at times like the Orioles were waiting for Gausman to say some sort of secret oath to let him into the rotation and, without Podrick to prompt him, he didn’t know said oath. By the by, I can’t look at Brienne of Tarth and not see Conan O’Brien. Perhaps, it’s me (it’s not). If the Orioles wanted Gausman to pitch probably exactly like this, wouldn’t they have put him in the rotation and left him alone for the last *covers mouth* years? Not to answer, but to knowingly nod while you undress your computer with your eyes. Since I have shares in that facacta noodle-hanger Archer, I watched the better part of Gausman’s start, and he looked better than what the boxscore says, and the boxscore says, “Yum, choco-latte.” It also says 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks in his first start back. Gausman has the stuff to be a number one, but at worse a number two. Not saying he will be this year; that’s just his stuff. He probably exactly should be already, but probably exactly hasn’t been. Still, I would grab him in any leagues where I needed upside. A 8+ K/9, 2.7+ BB/9, 3.75 ERA starter is probably exactly what you’ll get. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Philly fans are often singled out for their rude, obnoxious behavior, but yesterday, as the Mets hit six home runs, the Philly fans were attempting to be on their best behavior. Here’s a few of the more polite things heard, “Excuse me, sir, are you using the batteries in your portable radio? I’d like to throw them at someone’s shoulder. No, not their head. That would be rude.” Also heard, “I hate to waste a cheesesteak, but I’d like to vomit on an unsuspecting Mets fan.” “Jimmy, no, vomit on a suspecting Mets fan.” “Yeah, you’re right, Marge.” Finally, “These Mets are fun to watch, I get to try out new curse words — screw you, nut sock!” Then, with a pleased smile, “See, it’s like sack, but sock. Catchy, no?” Philly fans had all kinds of reasons to be annoyed yesterday as the Mets did damage. Yoenis Cespedes hit his 4th homer (1-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs). Driving to the park in a limited edition car made of guano and Play-Doh must be his good luck charm! Michael Conforto hit his 2nd homer (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) as he hit third until he was pinch hit for against a lefty later in the game. I get that Conforto’s a lefty and it’s a matchup thing, but there’s gotta be some kind of unspoken rule. The guy you bat third in your lineup is not a platoon player. That’s Connie Mack to Earl Weaver to Coach Taylor rock solid coach stuff. You don’t pinch hit your three hole hitter! Then Neil Walker hit his 5th and 6th homers (2-for-5), with two homers in the past two days, and, honestly, truthfully, interruptingly, when you have six homers in 13 games, there weren’t a whole lot of games where you didn’t homer. Finally, Lucas Duda hit his 2nd homer (1-for-5, 2 RBIs), and 2nd in as many days. The Phillies starters really aren’t that bad. Dot dot dot. Compared to their relievers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
We’re just over two weeks into the regular season now, and perhaps things haven’t gone as well as you hoped for on your fantasy team. You’ve fantasized about taking a hammer to Ian Desmond’s fingers since he doesn’t seem to need them for anything anyway. Waterboarding seems too lenient of a punishment for the pathetic numbers that Miguel Sano has produced for your team thus far. If you’ve been thinking along these lines, then you’ve probably been watching too many mob movies recently. More importantly, it’s just mid-April. No need to panic. Depending on your format, there are likely several interesting players available on the waiver wire to help your team during it’s early season funk. One of those players might be St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker (65.9% owned; +57.5% over the past week), who was the most added player in ESPN leagues over the last seven days. The departure of Jason Heyward and an injury to Tommy Pham have finally given the 28-year-old Hazelbaker a chance to play in the big leagues after toiling away in the minors since being drafted by the Red Sox in 2009. He’s made the most of his early opportunity, producing a 7/3/7/2/.394 batting line across 39 plate appearances. Hazelbaker has displayed double digit home run power as well as 30+ steal speed at multiple stops in the minors, so he could just be a late bloomer who needed an opportunity to shine. However, he does tend to strikeout fairly often (25.6% K% this year; 25.4% K% in his minor league career), and his current .424 ISO and .455 BABIP are likely to come crashing down in the near future. Think of Dexter Fowler as an upside comp and Jake Marisnick as a downside one. Ride the wave while it lasts but be ready to cut bait if and when he comes back to Earth.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Crank up that AC/DC and let’s get this party started! Oh and in case you haven’t heard Axl Rose will be joining AC/DC as Brian Johnson will be stepping down due to hearing loss. Bittersweet as I loved me some BJ, but it should be fun to see Axl and Angus rock the stage. Nothing gets the Monday morning juices flowing like AC/DC and seeing Thor on the slate, especially with the rest of sub-par starting pitching options for today. Who is this Thor I speak of (rhetorical, unless you stumbled upon us through some sort of comic con accident). The Thor, I speak of is Noah Syndergaard, the highest priced pitcher today at $12,100. Thor had some big expectations coming into the season, but lets face it, living up to the Norse God of Thunder seemed like an even bigger task. Well in his first two games he’s exceeded those expectations, by absolutely dropping the hammer on opposing batters with 21 K’s, 1ER, 2 BB over the last 13 innings. Last season when he was called up he showed that dominate +95 MPH fastball, 99 MPH sinker and 90 MPH change up that actually danced. That’s a lethal combination, especially when you add in his physical attributes, he only stands 6’6″ and weighs 240 lbs (he’s probably closer to 255, cause dude is jacked) He’s got the nickname, the hair, the body and did I mention that he added a 95 MPH slider to his arsenal? His power pitches were already dominating hitters and now he added this nasty slider that is making him miss even more bats. Thor is not without his flaws as it looked like Miami may have found a small chink in the armor. They got him for 7 hits on Tuesday, but most of those were because they were all swinging on the first pitch, the second and third time through the order. If he can be a little more elusive on the first pitch, we may see an out of this universe season from this stud. If anyone is looking to shower the staff here at Razzball with gifts, I’d like to put my request in for this little New York Mets give away on 4/30 Thor Garden Gnome. With the pitching slate extremely thin today, Thor and Jose Fernandez, $11,300 will be highly rostered, so let’s dive into two other guys who might help us cash in.
Just a few years back, I used to followed weekly blogs that would similarly give me weekly start em’, sit em’ recommendations such as this. And then my ego took over. “Why the hell should I listen to this guy?!” “What does he know anyway?!”I remember getting absolutely furious when a suggested stream would go bad and have a nerdy “expert” as my scapegoat. I mean, c’mon, isn’t it always fun to blame the nerd? So why should you listen to me and trust me with your lineup? Well, you don’t have to if you don’t want to. But in order to gain some credibility and hopefully your trust, I am going to track my weekly stats to show you how bad or good my suggestions have been for your OBP leagues.