It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light. Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy. So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship. That being Marcus Semien. I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals. Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube. So why now? Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year. Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats. (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.) So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10. I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference. Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230. The steals are what we want and that’s why we here. So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues). With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.
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Experiments are fun. When I was a youth, we used to play a game called killer UNO. Basically, the gist of the game was don’t get caught with the most cards. Similar to regular ole UNO, but this is where the killer part came in. The loser had to drink a concoction of any four things mixed together from the kitchen. So while you are trying to think of actually how gross that is and the possibilities, let’s look at the strange thing about four things soon to be in Milwaukee… (Including prized prospect Lewis Brinson or soon to be lack there of.) The way he is playing and the imminent return of Ryan Braun from the DL spells one thing: Minor leagues. He is being outplayed by Keon and even twice on Sunday. Subtle Domingo joke folks. So with Braun coming back, the regular a bats are not going to be there. Brinson definitely has the goods, it just isn’t his time. He came up with some SAGNOF promise and basically gave us, to date, 3-for-21, .143 batting average, and one whole counting stat. A steal for all the kids at home screaming it. Cut bait and go in another direction. I get that he has sexy name appeal and can juggle, but in redraft leagues, move elsewhere and see what’s what in a month or two with the Brewers roster and pennant push. In September, he could be a sneaky Dave Roberts type of late game entry with some steal capability. So I bid you fair the well Sir Lewis of Brinson of the Colorado Silver Sox clan. Carry on SAGNOF surfers, let’s see what else is hopping on the good foot to do the bad thing in the thievery department. As always I like to include a chart of some sort, makes it all pretty like…
The stolen base market is put into two categories: Billy Hamilton and basically everyone else. Capitalizing on the “everyone else” is the problem. The dreaded ebb and flow theory of SAGNOF is a beer served at room temperature. Yeah, at its core, it is still a beer, and yes some beer is served at room temperature. I know there will be some beer snobs that chime in and say “blah, blah this about micro brews and room temperature”. My response is nothing, you are on ignore. Come hang with me and you will see dudes that know how, like to, and will drink. Ask Prospector Ralph, he knows we can bang. Anyways, grabbing a SAGNOF guy on the waivers is a tumultuous beast. Trying to say that he will steal or he will get on base to actually attempt to steal the base… It’s a crap shoot outside of stolen base wizard Billy H. Even when looking at the usually candidates from the preseason and their potential for stolen bases, they are down. The stolen base as a whole is almost as dead as being in Buffalo Bill’s well. We all drafted Trea Turner for his 50-plus SB potential. To date, he has 11, and is on pace for 44. Charlie Blackmon has gone from 43, to 17 last year, to 4 this year. He has basically turned into a RBI machine and it shows by him being the MLB leader in the category. And don’t get me started on Jean Segura or Jonathan Villar… go trade for Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton or anyone else in the top-5 and quell all your stolen base woes. Trying to make up on the category but nickle and dime’n is the worst ideas since screen doors on a submarine. In case you think I am pushing pork pies and you don’t wanna listen, here is a fancy chart for catchers to abuse for streaming, and some more SAGNOF tidbits. Cheers!
The first Frankencatcher Report came at a pretty ironic time for me. Right before sitting down to work on this report, I checked my lineups and saw that Welington Castillo was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder. Castillo missed Monday’s game with neck spasms, and the assumption was that he would be day-to-day and likely be fine by Wednesday or Thursday, but screw me I guess. So, I had to pick up a catcher before getting started on this. I’ll go over who I picked in some detail below.
Continuing with a trend of the past few years, catcher is not exactly a prominently contributing position in fantasy baseball this season (hence the need for such a handsome Frankencatcher Report). If you don’t get lucky with one of the elite catchers, of which there are very few these days, you are likely going to have to stream the position at some point in the season.
In ESPN leagues, there are only 11 catchers with an ownership percentage of more than 70. The next highest is Russell Martin, at just over 47%. And of those 11, one of them is Gary Sanchez, who has been on the disabled list for a couple weeks and only has 20 at-bats to his name on the season. Here are those 11:
I’m picturing Clint Eastwood in Escape from Alcatraz, coiffing his hair (gorgeous hair) chipping away with his pickaxe. I’m seeing Andy Dufresne also beautiful hair and a pickaxe. Now that I think about it, you don’t need jail cells, just take away all prisoners’ blow dryers. Any hoo! Why am I seeing these great prison movies? Because they are about breakouts. Breakouts come in different shapes and sizes. Some would say Cameron Diaz’s complexion is a breakout. For a baseball breakout: James Paxton. Yesterday, Paxton went 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 1.39. His K/9 and BB/9 are now 10.7 and 1.8, respectively. That’s about as ace-like as you’re gonna find. Okay, now for one small step back from the ledge of crazy excited. In his last start, he did give up five earned in four innings and I don’t think he’s going to avoid all wonkiness, but there’s no one throwing as well as him right now. Okay, maybe Kershaw and Ervin Santana. Someone get these guys blow dryers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Austin Hedges’ first 31 plate appearances of 2017 – .037/.133/.037 with a 9/2 strikeout to walk ratio.
Alex Bregman’s first 32 plate appearances of 2016 – .031/.088/.031 with a 10/2 strikeout to walk ratio.
Since then, Hedges has a slash line of .278/.289/.833 as he entered Monday night’s bout with the Diamondbacks. The most important driver in his .833 slugging percentage is the five home runs he has smacked since a rough start to the season. Well, make that six, as Hedges took everybody’s favorite former Colorado Rockies ace Jorge De La Rosa deep in Chase last night (bring on the humidor!). In case you forgot about Bregman’s stretch after his rough start last year, the immensely touted prospect slashed .297/.372/.432 in his 42 plate appearances after the drought and finished with a 1.0 WAR after only 49 games. After this run by Hedges, I’m seriously considering a reworking of this column’s title.
Cheap home runs from the catcher wasteland? Sign me up.
As I have gone over in the preseason, streaming against a starting pitcher is sometimes a good approach. The problem is that sometimes the blame isn’t completely on the pitcher. This isn’t Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny isn’t playing all nine positions versus the Gas House Gorillas. So obviously I am referring to the catcher in this scenario. Streaming against a pitcher is all well and good, the bad is that they only pitch once every five days and while it’s fun to rosterbate the high hell out of it, why not take advantage of a starting catcher who usually gets five starts a week? Seems like genius and a better way to try and capitalize on a three game set versus a weak catcher oriented team at gunning down baserunners. So the handy chart below gives us an early glimpse of who we should be taking advantage of with our waiver additions in the steals category. Stay after the chart, because I drop some tidbits of grandeur.
We’ve reached the end of the line for Cole Hamels‘ viability. It happens to everyone. Robert De Niro went from Meet the Fockers, a respectable comedic turn as Rex Reed likely said, to total garbage. Maybe Hamels throws a couple of good games here and there, just as De Niro might have a scene or two here and there after the Fockers. Silver Linings Playbook wasn’t all bad, but if you’re going to see a movie because of De Niro, you’re about to sit through crap that he did for money. Hamels is heading out there with a 6-ish K/9 and starring in Last Vegas. His xFIP and velocity look like Dirty Grandpa. Hamels’ walk rate is still not right and you’ve walked into the wrong theater and now you’re watching The Intern and a grandmother is standing in front of the exit telling you to sit back down. I want out!!! Please God!!! I would attempt to sell Hamels before it’s too late. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday (but really every time he pitches), Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA down to 0.91, and yet another no decision. Elias Sports Bureau said, “Chris Sale had his 4th start in last five seasons on Thursday with 8 IP, 10+ Ks, 0 ER without getting win; no one else has more than one. Also, there’s 16 different vending machines in our company to choose from, but only one has M&M’s and Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie for 50 Cent that elicits Snickers with the wrappers.” God, what a bunch of nerds! Not like us fantasy baseball cool kids! I wanna tent the Elias Sports Bureau office, fart in there and leave. Seriously, that’s what I want. I need a wish genie, up in here! Up in here! So, Chris Sale is flippin’ awesome once again, and nothing can stop him except a rock vs. his scissors. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Amir Garrett, or as he’s commonly referred to as, Muslim Mrs. Garrett, took Natalie, Jo, Blair, Tootie and that little white kid, who no one remembers, to school last night. Muslim Mrs. Garrett was like, “Listen, child, I’m your boss while you’re in this park and I’m going to rule over you with sweet motherly affection, but an iron fist like you get from a male Gulag prisoner.” Yesterday, he straight dazzled — 7 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 1.83. MMG is so out of nowhere I feel like we need to start at the beginning. He was born– Okay, flash forward Lost-style and they’re off the island and Garrett is a former basketball player, so his age isn’t as old as it seems for his development level. I think because of that he could also sneak up on people. His control gets wonky at times, and he doesn’t read as a strikeout pitcher, but there he was doing just that last night. He could surprise some people, but A) Reds and their ballpark. B) Rookie. C) There’s no C. To take this back to 80’s sitcoms, there could be some Boners along the way through Growing Pains, but I’d grab him if you feel like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, or can just handle the risk. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: