Last year, I won Tout Wars in a wire-to-wire cakewalk. So, before the Tout Wars draft this Saturday, I prepared like any great champ would. I took a page from Rocky Balboa and ran up a flight of stairs, hands raised in exultation. I took a page from Ultimate Warrior and ordered a group of preteen girls to tighten the slack on a jump rope and shook it furiously. Finally, I took a page from E.T. and draped myself in a blanket, squatted in a bicycle basket and had Rudy pedal me around our hotel room floor. Did E.T. have anything to do with being a champion? Not especially, but I was feeling nostalgic for some faux sentimentality and Ready Player One isn’t out yet. In my mind, I was standing, arms raised, with a lone spotlight shining on me as Lin-Manuel Miranda sang how I was not going to throw away my shot at a repeat. Only it wasn’t in my mind. In our hotel room, Rudy shined an iPhone flashlight on me as we played a rather tinny version of Hamilton off YouTube. I’m past patiently waitin’ I’m passionately mashin’ every expectation! And I’m not throwing away my shot! *clears throat* “Um, Rudy, could you help me down from this Marriott end table? I’m getting vertigo.” Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars, NL-Only recap:Please, blog, may I have some more?
What better topic to get Grey’s blood boiling early in the week than top starting pitchers for fantasy. If you don’t know, not sure how you couldn’t, but Grey hates pitchers in the top three rounds. He’d rather live out his days as Pablo Sandoval’s bosom sweat mediation pad than draft Clayton Kershaw. So we use Grey’s Top 40 Starting Pitchers as our guide, and dive into the strategy of building a pitching staff. We go tier by tier, directing you on who to avoid, who to draft, and where to buy the best boba filled refreshments. #Bobalife. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 20% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Michael Wacha holds a special place in my heart. When Albert Pujols left the Cardinals for the west coast during December of 2011, I partially disowned the player I was most fond of in my childhood; the reason I became a Cardinals fan back in 2001. (Hopefully I didn’t just lose a lot of readers…)
Having a vague understanding of compensatory draft picks, I paid attention to the 2012 MLB Draft. When the 19th pick came up, and St. Louis selected the tall righty from Texas A&M, I associated some of my fleeting distaste for Pujols with the gift given due to his departure. The logic of disowning a player for nothing more than assuming his blind loyalty, which no player should have, in retrospect, was terrible. But the product of my now-distant bitterness was admiration for Wacha.
That affinity soared when he broke out during the 2013 Postseason, mowing through the Pirates and Dodgers before collapsing in Fenway during the final game of the World Series. Wacha then evolved into the low hanging fruit of regression candidates when 2015 finished, fulling that tag a year later when the product didn’t match his peripherals. But an aggregated look at last season stands out for the 26-year-old. A noticeable jump in strikeouts, coupled with usage tinkering, results in an intriguing starting pitcher who lasts into the 20th round of drafts on average.
Rudy has Wacha 175th overall on Razzball’s Player Rater for 15-team NFBC leagues, a solid five rounds ahead of his current NFBC price tag. Grey is even more aggressive on Wacha, ranking him as a viable SP3, inside his top 40 pitchers and inside his top 125 overall. There is love for Wacha on Razzball and I support the aggression.
It’s hard to think of Wacha without citing his injury history and his ADP may be a tangible result of his unfortunate doctor visits. I alternate my perception of Wacha’s injuries between two categories of thought: development and mechanical.
Development is all eye-test or feel based. I hold a space in my mind, with every young arm, that aging and growth can help mature one’s body out of recurring injuries. Others are simply just injury prone. If that doesn’t quench your thirst for understanding – it shouldn’t – then the folks over on Top Velocity‘s YouTube channel might help.
I’ve cited their expertise multiple times with Ralph on the Razzball Prospect Podcast, and do so again here to fulfill the “mechanical” portion of my thoughts on Wacha’s injuries. One of the things they point out is the lack of engagement in Wacha’s lower half. It might look like he’s driving off his back leg after you observe his toe drag away from the rubber, but that’s a deceptive trick of the eye when you compare his lower half to a pitcher like Noah Syndergaard.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Our 2018 Razzball Commenters Leagues are in full signup mode. I even heard there were a few people from Anonymous that signed up! They said, “To the world, I’m Anonymous, just another white man who sits in parking lots with binoculars watching women.” Man, that Anonymous guy is depressing! As we always do about this time, I eviscerate the haters and complicators! I eviscerate the not-knowers and the over-knowers! I eviscerate the ESPN goers and the garden hoers! I overuse a word like eviscerate that I just learned! I am the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it) and I’ve come for your children! See, because blog writing doesn’t pay so well, I’ve taken a second job as a bus driver, so I’m literally here for your kids. Like a baller! A shot caller! An “I’m outside of Hot Topic at the maller!” My eviscerating (I’m conjugating my new word!) today comes at the expense of ESPN and their 2018 fantasy baseball rankings. To the tune of Baby Blue (Feat. Chance the Rapper) by Action Bronson:Please, blog, may I have some more?
When you start drafting fantasy baseball teams on New Years Day, as I did this year, it feels like you’re in a vacuum. There aren’t a bunch of rankings out, ADP doesn’t exist yet, and there are usually several players (more so than ever this year, as it turned out) who are sitting around in real-life free agent limbo. It can be invigorating feeling like it’s just you and your draft cheat sheet against the world, but it’s also a little scary sometimes, especially wondering if you’re grabbing players several rounds earlier than you need to. I always like to put together my own rankings in January, and keep that list to refer to as the pre-season progresses. Sure, my opinions will change, perhaps significantly in many cases, but I like to revisit my initial thoughts, seeing what my lists looked like before countless outside influences crept into my decision-making process. In a deep league, it’s particularly tricky to figure out which of these outside influences to buy into, since things like spring training battles for fifth starter gigs, meaningless in a standard league, take on actual importance in AL/NL-only or other deep formats. Trying to separate helpful information from irrelevant pre-season chatter can be difficult, and I find it impossible to be completely immune from the impact of reports on who’s in the best shape of his life, who swears he’s going to run more this season, or remembering how cute Nick Williams looks in his uniform.
Back to the present — with January in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for me to come up with version 2.0 of my 2018 fantasy baseball prep, even though we’re still a couple weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. I have a couple real, money-league drafts under my belt and we all finally have a few outside sources to consult to see what other drafters and experts have been thinking (including Grey’s 2018 rankings, which are coming at you fast, fun, and furious). I’m going to concentrate on NL players for this list since I just finished an NL-only draft, but stay tuned for an AL version in the not-so-distant future. Based on my January drafts, early expert analysis, the limited amount of news we’ve actually been getting from major league baseball teams, a close look at early NFBC ADP, and plain old gut instinct, here are some players who I already think I’m more or less likely to draft than I would have been a month or two ago:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The 2018 fantasy baseball rankings are under that link. Why are you lifting your computer? Not literally under that link! Okay, you’re thick like a CVS receipt folded in half twelve times. In years past, the top 40 starters is a mix of guys I like and don’t like. Like a high cholesterol cow, it’s about half and half. This year, I really had to struggle to find guys that I didn’t want to draft in the top 40 starters. In the end, there were six starters in this top 40 starter post I was less okay, and more amscray. Each fantasy team needs about six starters total, so tell me again why you need to draft starters early? There’s a ton of them, like, this is simple math. So, simple, there’s no actual number and just ‘a ton.’ As with past rankings, my tiers and projections are included for the low, low price of $19.99! Kidding, they’re free. The oxygen you need to live while reading them is gonna cost you though. Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2018 fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
I’ve been focusing a lot on hitters so far with my 2018 fantasy baseball sleepers (clickbait). This is not by design. Hanging in my kitchen, an Elvis clock that keeps time by swiveling its hips and a poster of a cat making sushi, so I can call that room my “kitsch-en,” that’s by design. We need to find cheap pitchers who will return a better ROI just as much as cheap hitters. By the way, ROI is the douchiest thing I’ve ever written on Razzball, and I tried to make “Potatoes to chips” a thing for five years. Though, potatoes to chips, I kinda want to own Michael Wacha in every league. You can look at his 12-9 record with a 4.13 ERA and balk, but Steve Carlton had a shizzton of balks, so is this a bad thing? Not to answer, but to ruminate while sipping a pamplemousse La Croix. This isn’t even about the Cardinals making explosive players out of duds, i.e., making dynamite out of nitric acid and a manifesto. There’s one word females aren’t trying to gender neutralize, huh? You don’t hear anyone complaining it’s not personifesto or even womanifesto. Sure, leave us white men with the crap words! Now, that I’ve mansplained manifesto… What can we expect from Michael Wacha for 2018 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?Please, blog, may I have some more?
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.Please, blog, may I have some more?
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…Please, blog, may I have some more?
There’s a common term sociologists use called, The Tide of Uze. Everything that encompasses everyday life is on The Tide of Uze. Brushing your teeth, walking your dog, Jose Abreu, they’re all on The Tide of Uze. There’s small pleasures to be found with them, but they’re so consistent they are often lost amongst other more exciting things. However, this past weekend The Tide of Uze was raised by Irma GAWD!, the fantasy football kickoff and me going to a Dodgers game with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, a frequent commenter who was in town. I didn’t rank those per their importance, I’ll leave that to you. Big weekend for the world, right? (Yes.) With the Tide of Uze raising, it lifts everything that was floating on its surface, which meant Jose Abreu had a career weekend. On Saturday, he hit for the cycle, and, not to be outdone, he homered twice on Sunday (2-for-3, 3 RBIs, home run, 30 and 31). His season numbers are now 85/31/90/.302/1. All preseason I talked about how I wasn’t getting a 1st baseman in the first two rounds, so I was drafting Abreu everywhere, and I was nervous about it. Let’s just say I’ve learned to appreciate The Tide of Uze. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?