I read a great piece this offseason on J.D. Martinez. He was such an interesting player last year and I was trying to make heads or tails of him. Was his breakout for real? Was he to be believed? Was this a fluke? Where in the world am I going to draft this guy this year? In my research of the man, the myth, the J.D. I found an article talking about his failures in Houston and adjustments he made. You can read it for yourself here. J.D. talks about how the breakthrough happened when watching film. Not film of himself mind you, but film of his teammate, Jason Castro. Next up, he checked out film of Ryan Braun, then Miguel Cabrera and finally Mike Trout. He noticed how each of their bats stayed in the zone for a much longer time than his did and realized he needed to make this adjustment to succeed. He worked on it with great success in winter ball, but was cut by Houston during spring training. The Tigers welcomed him with open arms and the rest is J.D.’s breakout season.
Why am I telling you this and how does it related to DFS? Well grasshopper, I will tell you. I am telling you this because you can learn something from J.D. You can employ this same technique to improve your daily game that J.D. used to tattoo baseballs. I think one of the best ways to learn how to play this game well is to study those that are more successful at it than you. Pick a DFS player you see at the top of tournament boards most nights and play them heads up, join the same tournaments as them and study them. Don’t just look at who they picked, but why they picked them. If you can’t come up with a good reason why they picked them, dig deeper. I personally believe this is helpful in all walks of life, but I can guarantee it won’t make you a worse DFS player. So, give it a whirl and see what you can learn, you might just have your own breakout.
Maybe I shamed the Marlins into caring about their bullpen. Maybe I’m just like my mother, she’s never satisfied. Why do we scream at Steve Cishek? This is what it sounds like, when fantasy baseballers cry! Damn, I’ll never get sick of Prince. Well, except when I have to rely on him to hit homers from my 1st base slot. As they removed Cishek from the closer role, the Marlins said, “Shrek has done a tremendous job for us, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning games.” They call Cishek Shrek? Is that so the 12-year-old Yelich isn’t scared to room with him? Holy cow, have you seen Cishek?! He looks like he could be Yelich’s younger brother! Do the Marlins pay their prospects in Girl Scout cookies? Does the team bus have to wait an extra five minutes every day so they can finish their paper route? Are Yelich and Cishek extras from the off-Broadway adaption of Drake & Josh? I have questions, y’all! So, Cishek is not only out, but looks like a flaming Pu-Pu Platter. I’d grab A.J. Ramos immediately, stash Mike Dunn and Bryan Morris and would even look at Rafael Soriano, since the Marlins said they might sign him. Oh, and once Henderson Alvarez returns, there’s speculation Tom Koehler could close. A Koehlser?! In other words, this shituation is a closerousel, so hold on for your life. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Mondays are just a mess. Most teams are traveling, the matchups that would seem to make sense sometimes just don’t pan out because of…well I don’t know what. I think travel fatigue plays a part. Look, we’re all human. You travel from place A to place B, finally get into your humble abode and are you well rested? Do you feel a bit of the lag of the jet variety? Just to clue you in, athletes may be millionaires but they haven’t built teleportation yet so just like you and I, they gotta deal with the troubles of travel. So for this Monday, I’m going a bit against the grain – unless that grain is for alcohol, then I’m all about said grain – and suggesting a pitcher who gets to enjoy a pitcher’s park and there’s no travel involved for him on this moving Monday. Said pitcher is Alex Colome, pronounced ‘CALL-uh-may’ but I just go with ‘Call On Me‘ given his stats. Over 10 IP this year, he has 10 K and zero walks. I know, sample size small, obligatory ‘that’s what she said’ following but the kid had aviary bird flu or sumpin’ to start the year or we’d have a larger sampling to work with. Now the Yankees are a hard team to K (19.2% overall, 17.6% on the road) so we are really hoping for some of those old bones in that Yanks lineup to have themselves a sleepless in Tampa Bay moment. As the call ain’t safe, it should be clear that this is a tourney only call and at $6,700, you don’t have to break you DK wallet to see if his endline ends up as beautiful as that aerobics instructor. Yes, you gotta click the link to get it. No, you shouldn’t really listen to the song. Yes, that is Steve Winwood…didn’t I tell you not to listen? But enough of my talk about Swedish techno tracks, it’s time for it. Here’s my blazing hot take on the Monday DK slate…
If you search for the pitchers with the top xFIPs, it’s a who’s who of the league’s finest. It’s not quite as glamorous as the Who’s Who of Western Appalachian High School Students that your parents paid $25 for you to get your picture in, but it’s still pretty illustrious. Kershaw on top, then Salazar, F-Her, Gerrit, Carrasco, Pineda, Archer, Shields, Scherzer, Harvey and Lynn. If your pitching staff was just those guys, you may not be currently winning your pitching categories, but you will by the end of the year, or your money back1. Right after Lynn in the list is Clay Buchholz, then after him it continues to be purdy: Arrieta, Kluber, Lester and so on2. Out of all of those pitchers, Kershaw, Shields and Salazar are the only ones with a better K-rate with Buchholz’s at 11.5. 11.5 K/9 is excellent and is the 4th best in the majors. Buchholz’s walk rate isn’t bad either at 2.87 — under 3 is solid. Under three walk rate with an 11.5 K/9 is an ace. Only thing is, his ERA is 6.03. Oopsie! Right now, his BABIP is .407. A .407 BABIP is basically the equivalent to an easy grounder is headed right to a fielder, but the ball is grabbed by a possum and the possum runs the ball around the infield for five minutes as the hitter goes around the bases for an inside-the-parker. If Buchholz is available in your league, I’d absolutely grab him, and could even see trading for him in deeper leagues9.
1You just need to sell my Jose Canseco Sportsflics rookie card to get that money back. 2Yes, I said so on rather than list Bartolo Colon3. 3Yes, by footnoting Bartolo Colon I am sorta listing him4. 4My autocorrect wanted to change sorta to Sorat. Is that Borat’s sister5? 5I miss Sacha Baron Cohen. Shame what happened to him.6 6My intern says nothing happened to him, he just picked crappy films to be in7. 7The Spirit of David Foster Wallace has taken over my body8. 8Not really. 9Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:
OBPwulf opened to lukewarm reviews in the Grandal Opry in 2012. One critic said the country number performed by the girl in Daisy Dukes can only be described as “poon twang” to those sitting in the front rows. Another critic argued that a show dedicated to a catcher, who never topped 15 home runs and had a career .247 average, but was good at OBP, while being delivered in country music songs written in archaic Old English prose, would struggle to find an audience. And struggle it did. Until it moved to Los Angeles and got a cast change to Carrie Underwood and Craig Wayne Boyd. Now the story of OBPwulf is singing! Yesterday, Yasmani Grandal went 4-for-4, 3 runs, 8 RBIs with his 3rd and 4th homers, hitting .301. He’s owned in 39% of ESPN leagues and the Dodgers go to Coors this weekend. I didn’t put Grandal in this afternoon’s Buy column, because he’s here now. You don’t need things repeated. You don’t need things repeated. You don’t need things repeated. Sorry, I’m typing this in a cave. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
“This is a smart decision by the Nationals franchise to not let Stephen Strasburg pitch in the playoffs,” said every sports reporter two years ago. Let’s try another one, Google, just give me the search results from 2010 when Strasburg was first promoted. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime arm that the world has not seen since Sidd Finch.” Strasburg, Virginia even considered renaming itself Stephen Strasburg. I’m not joking. The hype was real, prematurely balding man. In the past seven months of baseball: Sonny Gray or Strasburg? Is it close? Who’s been better, Strasburg or Lance Lynn? Can I now ingest that laced-Halloween candy that I got from the sketchy guy that I’ve been saving for a special occasion? Yesterday, Strasburg left the game after three innings and two earned runs, saying he has irritation under his shoulder blade. The Nats say it’s an alignment issue that could be corrected by a chiropractor. He’ll be looked at by Jon Cryer from Two and A Half Men. Probably from his stupid inverted W. Why not just call it an M?! No idea how long Strasburg will be out, but obviously this isn’t great news. But, Part II: If Ifs And Buts Were Candy And Nuts, I’d Be A Diabetic Squirrel, it’s better Strasburg not pitch injured and keep getting rocked. But, Part III: But Lives, I’d grab Tanner Roark in case he’s moved into the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Greetings, my fine DK’ers and so that we have it out of the way, May the 4th be with you. See that? Now it’s covered so don’t bother me about it. I’m not even a Star Wars fan. There, I said it and I can’t take it back. I don’t care you’re still hot and bothered about Princess Leia in that bikini but I am sorry George Lucas bent over and took a steaming pile on what you divine to be a national treasure and then wiped his pimply butt with the money he made off you. I had a similar thing happen to me with the Alien franchise so I can relate. Alien: Resurrection? *Man dumping trash into trash can emoji* Nonetheless, it’s done, enjoy your new Disney money-making machine while I trudge on in the DFS world. So Travis Wood. He’s been pretty good. Obviously, that’s the only reason I’m suggesting him, right? Welllll, not exactly. I mean, do I love his 9.89 K/9 and his 2.28 BB/9? Of course, but there’s more to love, namely his opponent. On the surface, you wouldn’t think that the Cardinals are a team to attack for Ks, AKA the money-making tool on DraftKings when it comes to taking a pitcher. Their overall team K% of 18.2% puts them 25th worst (well, for them 6th best) in the league. But then you go and look at the splits and realize a hidden gem of a secret. Over 190 PA this year, they strike out 23.7% of the time versus southpaws. But that’s what happens when half your lineup are left handed bats and you force Mark Reynolds into your lineup because he is one of your better hitters against LHP. BTW, thanks STL for those two free Ks! Anywho, let’s move on. Here’s my scalding hot take on the May the 4th be with you DK slate. See, I did it again just for you…
It’s beginning to feel like it’s not an offseason without a trade of Wil Myers. In three short years, he’s gone from the Royals to the Rays and now on to the Padres. Only place he can go from the Padres is the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. They would hope Myers could carry them against their most hated rivals, the Yakuza Spits. The Miller Lite-inspired commercials between the Spits and Swallows in Japan are a real crack up. Tastes great!…Spit it out!…Tastes great!…Spit it out! Before Myers is pushing daisies in the NPB, he’ll bide his time in San Diego and try to right this rapidly sinking prospect boat. “Ice-cold sophomore year right ahead!” In all for realliness, I was planning on jumping back in the Myers sinking ship prior to this trade, and I don’t think it kills his value. Would I prefer he went to Coors? Yeah, well, dur. I also don’t think a 24-year-old former top prospect is washed up just because he had one bad year after fracturing his wrist. Takes time to bounce back from that type of injury and one thing we have is time. Well, you with the oxygen mask and cigarette might have less time. In a few years, we’re going to look back at Myers’s 2014 as it should be viewed now, a blip. I’m about as sure of that as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti. Or as sure of it that I’m listening to too much Toto’s Africa. Sure, Petco won’t do him any favors, but if his wrist is at hundred percent there shouldn’t be any problems getting at least 20 homers. Shoot, he could hit 10 homers in just his road games in Coors and Arizona. For 2015, I’ll give him 61/20/72/.277/8. Definitely sleeper material here. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2015 fantasy baseball:
With a quarter season of jamming and cramming behind us, it may be time to start taking some serious inventory. No, not a fearless moral inventory, that’s 12-step talk and I ain’t no quitter – just ask my liver. I’m talking about taking an honest look at where your team is good and where it absolutely sucks donkey dongs*. We have enough data behind us now that we know Matt Kemp is actually Milton Bradley in disguise, Billy Butler needs a mansiere (It’s called The Bro!), Jedd Gyorko is more myth than man (and mercifully on the DL), Troy Tulowitzki is really good at baseball, and Nelson Cruz can hit a ball a long way with or without his juice. Now I’m not saying to go and blow up your team and drop Dustin Pedroia because he has just two more homers than the late Johnny Pesky this year. What your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is pulling on your coat about here is that it’s time to drop the dead weight wasting away on your bench for some fresh meat that could save your fantasy season. I’ve played this fake game long enough to know that we have about two weeks to go until disgruntled owners completely abandon their teams for fantasy Cricket which cuts down on our trade options, but increases our chances of moving up the leader board. It was around this time last year that I bailed on Josh Rutledge and Jason Heyward for Jean Segura and Dominic Brown. I eventually traded them off for Ian Desmond and Hunter Pence. That worked, and all the cash and glory (and glory holes) were mine. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can discover some riches for our bankrupt roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
*Donkey dongs is a technical sabermetric term taught at Mathew Berry’s Fantasy Baseball College for the Criminally Insane.
There was a strange time in history that some may not be aware of. It was a time when Fergie wasn’t a household name and giving her fans dreams of golden showers. It was a time they were all about having a live backing band instead of sampled beats. It was a time when they were earning critical acclaim for what I’ll biasedly – which IS a word, autocorrect; check yo’self! – say was good music. Well, at least in comparison to what everyone thinks of them as now. And then things changed. Is it irony or coincidence they became a household name with a song titled ‘Let’s Get Retarded’? I don’t know, Alanis has effed me up forever on that word. I’ll hand it off to you, dear reader, to discern for me that debate. But back to what we came to talk about…wait, all we’ve talked about is Black Eyed Peas. Hrm…que awkward segue! Well, maybe Erik Bedard has a similar career arc. Drift back with me to 2005-2006 and you had what seemed like an ace in the making. Then 2007 happened and he dropped a beautiful endline: 182 IP, 3.16 ERA, 10.93 K/9 and move to a pitcher friendly park in Safeco as 2008 destination. Everything was pointing up for Bedard’s career. And then injuries and ineptitude hit. The most innings he’s pitched in a season since 2007 is 151 with the Astros last year and I wouldn’t call many of them successful. Fast forward to the now and his season stat line still looks like a mess but there’s some underlying hope for him being useful as he turned in a 3.00 ERA in May. Given the right matchup, you could dare say Erik will having you wanting to Pump It (LOUDER!) and I’ll say the Mariners are just that. The Mariners sport the 5th worst team wOBA against left handed pitching on the year which should be no surprise considering like 90% of the lineup is left-handed. Given he’s the 5th cheapest pitcher on DraftKings today at $6,100, buying in will give you plenty of room to roster an ace like Yu Darvish without breaking your bat bank. And before you say ‘bish u cray’ about this call, the DFSBot is on board, calling him the 10th best pitcher to go today and the 3rd best money differential play with a positive value of 2412 over his going price. But enough about getting Bedard’ed, let’s move on. Here are some more Razzball picks for June 6th…oops, before I go just wanted to let you know I’ll be driving myself to the oblivion that is a family reunion on the Mrs. side so J-FOH has lovingly said he’ll caddy the questions for today. Be nice to him. I don’t wanna come back to find out you were all terrors in the comments section. Now moving on…