It’s baseball season, long-lost Razzball friends! Okay, fantasy baseball season. Okay, fantasy baseball drafting season. Okay, fantasy baseball drafting season for fantasy baseball writers and mildly disturbed folk who couldn’t make it through the first day of 2018 without entering into a fantasy baseball draft (proud to count myself a member of both of those elite groups, thank you very much).

Drafting the first week of January feels downright crazy. Well, is downright crazy. Projecting stats takes on a new layer of complication right now with such a ridiculous number of draftable players unsigned, and it’s trickier than ever trying to guess how fellow owners might be valuing players. I recently completed my first official fantasy baseball draft of the year, and found my instinct taking over regularly, leading me to impulsively click on a name which was far below other, higher-ranked names on my tidy little spreadsheet, simply because I had a gut feeling. Sure, we could call it women’s intuition, if we wanted to sound like we were writing this article in 1978. (As it turns out, there are studies that support some version of women’s intuition being a biological reality, due to the fact that females are exposed to less testosterone in the womb, which leads to an extra “sense.” Google if bored).

“What’s the point, lady??!” you ask…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, how’s everyone holding up without baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Yesterday I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Marcus Stroman for 2018.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball, we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn.  So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2018 rookies.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Yesterday, Gabriel Ynoa threw a gem, 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 3.41 in just under 32 IP.  His name is pronounced EE-know-a.  As they say, the more you EE-know-a.  Ynoa was only at 94 pitches, so don’t you let Ynoa try for the complete game?  I mean, Ynot?  He looks like a number five starter, though on the Orioles that likely means a number three starter.  He can touch mid-90’s with his fastball, but he’s missing a decent breaking ball and tends to get beat up by lefties, like Fox News.  Though, better things may await him because the Mets traded him away.  He will likely come up a little short of the Mets’ all-time worst trade of Nolan Ryan, and even their 2nd worst trade of Amos Otis to the Royals for a prospect with a giant baseball head.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA,  7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.

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Is September 13th the earliest the hot stove has ever been fired up? We have about a month and a half left of baseball, including the playoffs, and at the moment the biggest story in the game is an international free agent. Granted this is no average international free agent, it’s Shohei Otani, the 23 year old pitcher/outfielder/designated hitter, described by many as the Japanese Babe Ruth. In my opinion that’s a bit hyperbolic, he’s neither fat nor drunk, and his home run trot isn’t a full on shuffle. Do you people even know who Babe Ruth is? I scoff at you! All joking aside, with the rumor coming out of Japan yesterday that Otani will in fact enter the posting process, the offseason has unofficially started. Over the course of today’s post we’ll go over my novice take on the business side of his signing, and the MLB roster rules governing his free agency, his profile as both a hitter and starter, and we’ll close with a very early prediction of his pre-season ranking in both re-draft leagues, and dynasty first year player drafts. It’s important to view this from all angles, as there’s a wide range of possibilities for how Otani is handled next season by his future MLB team, the league, and fantasy sites. If there’s anything I missed or explained poorly (probably haha) hit me up in the comments, and set me straight. I promise I won’t bite… this time.

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Thursday night marked the beginning of 2017-2018 concussion football season. If your fantasy baseball league lacked waiver activity prior to kickoff, I can only imagine the subsequent days will be as lively as this fan falling asleep in the fourth inning of a Yankees-Red Sox game back in 2015. Those who stick around care; they flaunt their championship around friends, family, pets, significant others, potential significant others – just kidding, please don’t do that – while their league mates consult countless websites wondering whether this stupid kicker, or this other stupid kicker is the better play. Don’t be that friend asking about a kicker, put your time into something more valuable.

Remember in high school when teachers preached earlier time investment for projects leading to better results? This column is the child of benevolence you sat next to who saw the test, and filled your study-less void five minutes prior to the start of the exam. It’s tough to become that kid unless you are a baseball nut like myself, so in the spirit of all that is Razzball, I’ve taken it upon myself to spur some early interest in 2018.

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To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

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Greetings and welcome back to the Mike Maher Hurricane Irma Shelter. My apologies for taking last week off, but it seems like I got out of South Florida just in time. I am now safely in the Pocono Mountains, where hurricanes dare not stray. Blizzards, on the other hand…

Hopefully, you all survived a week without me, especially as rosters expanded and probable pitcher lists were thrown further into confusion. This is the time of the year where it really gets dicey. We are all either in the home stretch or are in the playoffs in H2H leagues, while daily lineups and probable pitchers are more unpredictable than ever. Aces and top hitters for teams with guaranteed roster spots are getting extra rest now that each team has roughly 115 players available for each game. It’s not just Dusty Baker and Dave Roberts making our lives difficult anymore. Now, it’s all managers.

These two-start starters lists, regardless of where you look each week, are never going to be 100% accurate. Too much can change throughout the week and even over the weekend. These are just projections based on recent history and how the schedules line up. This week, multiply that by about a gajillion. If expanding rosters (and bullpens) weren’t enough to throw things off, Hurricane Irma and her friends are making sure to take care of the rest.

This week more than ever, you will need to double and triple check these starters on Sunday night and Monday morning. Some are all but guaranteed to change between now and then. Now, for the value picks from Streamonator this week:

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Watching Luis Castillo is officially an ASMR trigger.  *insert onomatopoeia of satisfied exhale, picks up invisible fork and knife, mimes cutting up satisfied exhale, eats exhale*  Do you see how Castillo’s got me?  I’m eating satisfied exhales.  Can I write the 2018 fantasy baseball sleeper post right now for Luis Castillo?  TFW you see Castillo:  Insert Oprah’s o face around Gayle King.  CASTILLO MAKING ME CRAZY!  And not eating sugar for six days isn’t helping.  This Whole30 Diet got me like:  insert crazy-googly eyes.  I got Biggie Smalls eyes right now.  *smacks face*  Be coherent, Grey!  Sorry, about that.  Yesterday, Luis Castillo went 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12.  His surface perfs:  9.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.40 xFIP, averages 98 MPH, and now I’m lightheaded again.  Okay, need to save something for his 2018 sleeper post.  As for this year, this was his last start, unless you count Strat-o-Matic starts I’m making with him all winter.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

Please, blog, may I have some more?