Thank goodness that first week of 2 start pitchers is over and done. Early season rain outs, 5th starters being skipped, 6th starters and openers being utilized, all played into the scheduling. It is important to remember early in the season that these 2 start guys may or may not make both starts due to any of these factors. However, the advantage of getting the extra start for the innings, strikeouts, and hopefully ratios, is generally to much to ignore. Plus, if they fail to be 2 start guys this week then you get them as 2 start guys the following week more than likely.
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!
This is going to blow your mind. Before you read any further, I want you to take some precautions. Grab some masking tape from your “Never Used Shizz” drawer and wrap it around your head. Whoa, whoa, whoa! You didn’t just wrap your head with masking tape, covering your eyebrows, did you? Hmm, well, when you remove that tape, you’re gonna look like Phil Simms. (Hint: He’s got no eyebrows.) Okay, I told you to avoid Tommy Pham in the preseason, due to his draft price, and ranked him 31st for all outfielders. On our Player Rater going into yesterday’s game, he was ranked 31st. *does Ace Ventura victory dance on the porch* I have exorcised the demon! Yesterday, he had one of his best games of the season, if not best (yes, too lazy to look), he went 3-for-5 with his 18th and 19th homer, hitting .266, but hitting .327 on the Rays, and if he wasn’t derailed by an injury when he first arrived in Tampa, he’d be doing better (or worse as his BABIP stabilized; it’s ~.500 in September). I could see letting up on my hate on Pham in 2019, but he’s still old and has stopped running, so the price will need to be much more reasonable. Okay, you can remove the tape now. Hey, eyebrows are overrated (like Tommy Pham coming into this year). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Mets outfielder/grandfather Jay Bruce hit his second home run in the past three days last night, a 3-run shot that put the game out of reach and he finished the night 2-for-5, with his eighth home run and four runs batted in. When Jay has-a-day at Fenway that calls for the throwback “Bruuuuuuuuce!” Despite battling injuries all year long, the veteran is now batting .270 with four home runs and 12 RBI in September and he’s getting hot at just the right time for his team and fantasy owners. The Mets have won seven games in a row, you guys! That’s right, that same Mets team that won just five games in June are 7-3 over their last 10 games! Why do you care? Well, Bruce’s mighty power bat could be a big reason why! There was also a rat in the dugout and on the field at ‘Family Friendly’ Fenway Friday night, and I’m inclined to say the New York Mess probably brought the plague with them, but at least no one has hand foot and mouth disease…yet. Barring him catching the black plague, Bruce might catch fire in the next couple days because that’s what Jay Bruce does, so I’m telling you now that all the signs are there for the beginning of an absolute tear and maybe you should grab him before that happens. It’s easy to forget he hit 37 home runs between New York and Cleveland last year. I’m not saying he gets to 30 home runs, or even 20, but the Mets are hot, Jay sits in the heart of this line up and one of a few players capable of a 5+ homer week. He was a BUY and he’s available in over 75% of leagues and the team is Queens in a fantasy gold mine right now. I can’t believe I’m saying that, what a wild season!
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:
Wheeler dealer: the big man who makes things run (says a handy Google search. What the hell did we do before Google? Lived in ignorance, that’s what). Of course I’m hoping that Zach Wheeler makes your DFS team run on Draft.com today, not the Giants’ hitters. But over the last month, he’s been wheelin’ and dealin’, giving you innings and K’s, so I fully expect that to continue against the Giants, whose offense has been anything but giant. You may not be looking at a win, as the Mets have offensive struggles of their own, but he should have no trouble mowing down the Giants bats. Let’s take a look at who else is out there.
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Matt Olson, affectionately known as Allahson by people in Middle East Bay, hit his 22nd homer yesterday. An inconsequential home run to the game, but it’s a part of a larger tapestry. Khris Davis hit his 31st homer, his 4th homer of the week, but, again, pull back, view the larger picture. That home run didn’t matter! Speaking of a matter, Matt Chapman hit his 15th homer, as he hit out of the two-hole, because the A’s can. Sure, the A’s can and two-hole are synonymous. But, of course, all of this happened. Look at the larger picture! Trevor Cahill went 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12, which is exactly what was always meant to happen. Don’t you see it yet? On Saturday, Edwin Jackson went 6 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 3 Ks, ERA at 2.87. No one on the A’s will have a bad game this year. Know why? Are you pulled back far enough to see the larger picture? No one will have a bad game because no one sells their soul and doesn’t specify they want to be good until the end of the season. “Hey, cool horns and pitchfork. So, yeah, here’s my soul, and can you make me pitch well until the first week of August?” That would never happen! The A’s aren’t the best team in baseball without serious voodoo, soul-selling! I have it on good authority someone was seen in the A’s clubhouse with a 1970’s-style mustache hiding horns on top of their head! That’s the devil, unless Rollie Fingers remodeled his face. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:
When you’re hot for two straight weeks, you’re talking in sexy whispers on my earlobes. If Avisail Garcia and Mike Trout are filming a body-switch movie, I never want it to end. For years I’ve remarked — I’m a remarker, yo! — that Avisail looks like Mini Miggy, now he’s actually hitting like him. “Miggy, that is the first time in two years we’ve made love without you screaming your back hurts,” Mrs. Miggy rolls over. Avisail Garcia smiles wickedly at the camera. Yesterday, he homered two more times (3-for-6, 3 runs, 6th and 7th homers), and now has six homers in the last week, and he hit .330 last year. Sure, we can pee in the electrical blanket by talking about his BABIP last year, but there is no excuse for Garcia being on waivers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber was dominant Friday night in just his third career start, pitching seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out nine for his second win. Talk about a reason to Love Yourself. The Biebs now holds a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first three starts (18.1 IP) and his 22/3 K/BB is Despacito–at least I think it’s despacito, not 100% sure I know what that means. I’m saying it’s flames. Shane Bieber is striking out lots of batters. Oh Baby, Baby. Baby sign me up. Wow, you sure do know a lot of Justin Bieber songs. What do you mean? I make it my business to know all about the Beibebers. For example, in the minors this year Shane was 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 72/6 K/BB. If those numbers make you scream like a teenage girl and and write Shane’s name is cursive flirty letters on your notebook you’re not alone, Beiber’s got the stuff to be a bonafide heart throb. He will likely see the usual rookie pitchers highs and lows, but he’s looking like the favorite to run away with the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland. He’ll get a rougher assignment than Detroit next time out taking on the Cardinals in St. Louis but I’d grab Shane for the upside alone and hope he can make a Belieber out of all of us.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:
Opening a gift, “Aw, geez, Kershaw, you didn’t have to give me your arm.” That’s Ross Stripling at the office Christmas party. “Don’t mention it. Hey, Tommy Lasorda, could you get off my lap, my back is starting to hurt. Also, you’re not wearing pants.” I forget if I ever told you — the royal you since you’re wearing that Burger King crown — but a friend of mine told me Lasorda still goes to the Dodgers’ clubhouse to use the showers and likes to walk around naked. How’s dem visuals! By the by, I’ve reached the age where I forget if a friend of mine told me that, I heard it on the radio or if a commenter told me. Welcome to your 40’s, you don’t look a day older than 27. No, really, I don’t. Anyhoo! Last night Stripling did what he’s done all year — 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 1.52. The slightly bizzonkers thing is his peripherals say he’s nearly this good — 11.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 2.63 xFIP. Don’t love he throws only 92 MPH, but he’s dominating with the curve. He credits pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, with his newfound success, saying he told him to throw the curve as hard as he can. I see no velocity difference in his curve, according to the stats, but stats-schmats, Honeycutt-Schmoneycutt, whatever works. At this point, hard to ignore the results(schmults). Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball yesterday:
Over the passed six months I have been imprisoned, suspended in static animation in the maximum security Galactic Fantasy Federation facility, falsely accused of recommending buys I would never endorse and urging people to sell players that I actually hold very dear. A couple lucky shots from a make-shift ion blaster I was able to telepathically build in space incarceration using spare pieces from my Mark VII Quantum E-Meter and I have escaped at last. I am writing this through a secure, untraceable VPN so I can provide you loyal readers with the fantasy information you’ve come to expect from me, even if its information so sensitive and secret that the Galactic Fantasy Federation would do anything to stop me from sharing it. I have time for a quick Friday recap before the space dogs come sniffing around my hiding hole again. And I do mean quick–just eight games on a Friday!? Y tho? Regardless, one of the few games played featured the Pirates of Pittsburgh’s plundering of the poor Cincinnati Red Legs. Unlike Sea of Thieves, this Pirates game actually featured a lot of action. The Bucs scored 14 runs on 15 hits, lead by 25-year-old third baseman Colin Moran who collected four hits, scoring three runs and driving in three. I wrote about Moran last July but that may have been a bit premature. So many super prospects in Houston, it’s hard to stand out. In Pittsburgh, almost every prospect they’ve had over the past five years has been disappointing so the bar is much lower for Colin to excel. The youngster is slashing .318/.348/.545 through five games started with a homer and 8 RBI, but it’s that sexy .893 OPS that makes me raise my eyebrow, Dwayne Johnson! It’s still early, but Colin should have plenty of opportunity to show what he’s got in the surprisingly exciting Bucs line up. Buy Moran, don’t be moronic! I think he’s worth a flier in all leagues, but don’t tell the Galactic Federation I told you that! Moran is Colin you to pick him up!
Here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: