My last fantasy team preview went live on May 1, 2020. What a simpler time! Back then we were debating the new cross-league divisions they were thinking of creating. I was a rather stupidly optimistic man who predicted we’d get a return to baseball on July 4th. Now with 10 baseball camps claiming they’ve had someone come down with the ‘VID we’ll be lucky if we even see the Long Island Ducks take on the Morristown Mud Rats. Now be honest — how many of you have already googled “NPB fantasy baseball leagues” and searched Amazon for “conversational Japanese for baseball fans?” I know it’s not just me. I’ve already got my first round draft pick lined up for my yakyu chimu: the league’s best ni-rui shu Tetsuto Yamada! He hits lots of hon-rui da and gets tons of tourui.
Come on Rob SaidFred — let’s get this league back up and running!
As with all of fantasy team preview articles this year I’m not talking about the guys you know to draft. A healthy Joey Gallo is a lock for 45 HRs. Elvis Andrus will still be one of the deepest 15/15 threats in the league. Shin-Soo Choo will continue to be the Korean God of walks until he’s 64. Instead, I like to look deeper at the teams to help you find value you might not have heard of yet — or someone who has been slipping in drafts.
Donkey Teeth and B_Don are Goin’ Deep on their freshly rebranded Razzball Fantasy Baseball podcast! This week the guys go deep once again with the new head prospect writer at Razzball, The Itch, talking September call ups. B_Don and DT rattle off a bunch of interesting names for The Itch to expound on, including Nico Hoerner, Kean Wong, […]
Welcome back to the mad scramble that is September in the prospect world. The commotion is dying down like a house party with an empty keg, but there’s still ample opportunity to make a connection, to link eyes across a room, to trade smiles through the backbeat, and to gain a few standings points or add a key piece for your head-to-head playoffs. Coffee is for closers, so get yourself some caffeine, block out the Antonio Brown noise, and finish strong like Kolten Wong.
After Reynaldo Lopez‘s last start of 2/3 IP, 6 ER, I wrote him off for this year and next year. Now, I will begin a backpedal not seen since the bear at the circus who can ride a bicycle. “Beaux-Bo, you can’t pedal so close to that family of three eating a turkey leg. Beaux-Bo, stop it! Beaux-Bo, no! Beaux-Bo, no! Beaux-Bo, put down that torso!” And that’s the final written transcription of Beaux-Bo, the bicycle riding bear. Actually, I’m going to backpedal my backpedal, so, eat a D, Beaux-Bo, the bicycle-riding bear! I was serious last week when I said I’m outlawing pitchers who start a game, give up 5+ runs and can’t get out of the 1st. They’re completely untrustworthy, so it’s not surprising Lopez would have a start of 9 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 3 walks, 11 Ks, ERA at 5.17. That’s the problem! What are we getting next time out? 3 IP, 6 ER? 7 IP, 2 ER? No one has any idea. Listen, I know there’s uncertainty in this crazy thing called fantasy (worst Queen song ever), but I’m not inviting more risk. I’m still out on Lopez. Sorry, gotta put my foot down, even if I’m writing this from an anti-gravity chamber where I can eat turkey legs without fear of a bicycle bear attack. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
America’s greatest Indian was Sitting Bull. Maybe Pocahontas. Possibly Bob Feller. I’d accept Apu even. But on the list of great Indians, Jose Ramirez and the service he provided this year does not go unnoticed because I am here noticing it. First, he did awful to make me look like a genius for telling you to avoid him in drafts, then he did well after I told you to buy him in June. Jo-Ram did what others thought impossible: made me look brilliant. Stop throwing roses at my feet, I’m allergic. Now, Jo-Ram’s gone for the year with a hamate bone injury. If he’s anything like Matt Olson, he’ll return in October and hit 35 homers in ten games. Glory be. He’s droppable in redraft leagues though, and Yu Chang will replace him. He was David Bowie’s favorite player. Time may Chang Yu, but Yu can’t Chang time. Prospect Mike just gave you a Yu Chang fantasy, and I didn’t run out to grab him, but, in deep enough leagues, I could see it. Prospect Mike did mention Aristides Aquino in relation to Chang, and I had to Chang my underwear. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
Yacht Rock has polluted my brain. I’m singing Bertie Higgins, dressed like Thurston Howell, III, and wearing deodorant that smells like Pina Colada. And the most frightening aspect of the previous sentence is only one of those statements is make-believe! Cougs figured since I like blended, virgin pineapple drinks it would be a good idea to buy me Pina Colada-scented Suave deodorant. I walk around all day wanting to lick my armpits! I’m damaged! Even more upsetting, I don’t own Xander Bogaerts (3-for-4, 4 RBIs and his 26th and 27th homer, hitting .308) or Rafael Devers (2-for-4, 2 runs, 25th homer, hitting .327) in any meaningful way. (I own Bogaerts in one league, but it’s my worst league, so it doesn’t matter.) I briefly mentioned this yesterday, but last year Betts and Martinez put fantasy owners on their backs (no easy feat for some of you), and this year it’s been all Bogaerts and Devers. On our Player Rater, both guys are top ten for the season (Acuña reached the mountaintop, by the by). Incredibly, neither guy has been lucky. Bogaerts upped his walks; has a BABIP in line with career norms; held all batted ball profile marks from previous years, except raised his launch angle and fly ball rate just a tad. Bingo-bango-Bogaerts! Devers’s numbers are new from him at the major league level, but nothing jumps out as a career year and he’s only 22 years old. Both guys will and should be highly ranked next year. Now, excuse me, while I go lick my armpits. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Stan Bush? Give me that beat! You got the Tauchman! You got the power! Yeah! You’ve never walked, you’ve never run! You’re a winner! (Though some may say running and walking aren’t bad for baseball.) You got the moves, you got the streets (not as important in baseball)! Break the rules (well, Barry Bonds had some success with this)! You’re nobody’s fool! Yeah! You’re at your best when the going gets rough! (This is true since the Yanks had some injuries and needed Mike Tauchman to step up.) You’ve been put to the test, but it’s never enough! (That’s less true; we appreciate you here, Tauchman). You got the Tauchman! You got the power! It’s all true! So, Mike Tauchman (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, hitting .299) hit another home run last night, his 10th, that’s in 60 games. And he stole a bag, his 4th! He now has three homers in two games, and four homers in the last week. I grabbed him in multiple leagues, because who doesn’t love dongs! Not this redblooded American! Hoo-rah, I got the Tauch!
Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
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I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics. You never know who the statistics are coming against. Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level. This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced. You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach. So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat? Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards. Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles! Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign… Note that those two signings can instantly eliminate some of the position battles detailed herein.
It’s a solid slate on Draft.com tonight. There are plenty of mediocre lefties to pick on, as well as a variety of starting pitching options. The most intriguing of those is Kolby Allard, making his big league start. His debut could hardly come in a better spot than facing the Marlins at home. Let’s jump in and see what we can build around him.
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Jays traded Roberto Osuna to the Astros for Ken Giles. Basically, they traded headaches. If the Jays and Astros wanted to do what was best for baseball, they would have Giles and Osuna step into a steel cage, right at the Canadian border, and whoever was able to get out, that would be who would continue on. It can have lots of little Canadian touches too, like a maple syrup hazard and scaffolding designed by Bret Hart. “Giles looks like he’s going to escape–Ooh, a Mountie greets him with poutine in the eye. Would’ve thought he’d look out for that, but it never o’CURD’d to him.” “Mean” Gene Okerlund with the pun! I like this trade for both teams. Your piece of shizz for my piece of shizz. All trades should be this clearcut. As for fantasy, Roberto Osuna should take over in Houston when he returns next week, but Hector Rondon had been pitching well (until his last outing). Might not be Osuna immediately, but I’d imagine he gets in the 9th by his third appearance. Pretty much same deal with Ken Giles. Though, there’s a lot more emphasis on Ken with Giles. Ken he? I don’t know, but the Jays also have less desirable options, so I could see Giles getting saves even quicker than Osuna. In most leagues, I’d grab both. Or whichever makes it out of the steel cage.