As the regular season draws to a close, it is with not a little melancholy that Dr. Easy and I bring you one last adventure with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR). Thanks for hanging with us for all these weeks! If you take one thing away from this series, it’s “next season, use the Razzball Player Rater” (pre-season and during). It’s free and it’s eye-opening. We thought that for our last post, we’d continue with our look back to the beginning of the season. This time, with the help of the Razzball Pre-Season Player Rater (PS PR), we wanted to check out some of the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments among hitters and pitchers who managed to stay healthy for most of the season (hitters who made it to 500 plate appearances or more; starting pitchers who hurled 100 innings or more). This means we can rank them by the good ol’ Player Rater $ (for previous posts, we’ve used the $/G rubric for players who have missed time due to injury). Where are the biggest differences between the pre-season and now, both positive and negative? Note: With all these players who have surprised big time, we expect a high variation on where they will be drafted next year. We don’t know about you, but we’re generally risk averse: we see big variation and let others take the flyer, unless it’s in the late rounds. Note 2: this is a bit of a selective list; we’ve talked about other big surprises and disappointments like Andrus, Judge, Villar, Cabrera, Upton, and Jose Ramirez, in previous posts.

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Over the last couple of weeks, Dr. Easy — my fantasy baseball partner-in-crime — and I having been playing the “Where Are They Now?” game, which has been pretty enlightening — for us, anyway. We’ve looked back to the beginning of the 2017, to compare the top 12 players on the Razzball Pre-Season Player Rater (PS PR) versus the top 12 as of right now per the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR). With the regular season drawing to a close (<sob>), how have things changed? What can we glean for next season: Who’s steady; who isn’t? In week 1, we looked at Trout, Betts, Kershaw, Turner, Machado, Altuve, Scherzer, Goldschmidt and Arenado. In week 2, we went over Harper, Cabrera, Bryant, Blackmon, Stanton, Sale, Votto, Judge, Kluber and Andrus. This week, we’ll move into the next 6 according to the PS PR and the STD PR.

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In last week’s Perception Versus Reality post, Dr. Easy and I took our first look back to the beginning of the 2017, to compare the top 12 players on the Razzball Pre-Season Player Rater (PS PR) versus the top 12 as of right now per the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR). We thought we’d look at how things have changed (or not!) 5 months on, with a view to trying to learn some lessons for next season: Who’s appeared out of nowhere; who’s done pretty much what we expected; who’s been a disappointment? Last week, we looked at Trout, Betts, Kershaw, Turner, Machado, Altuve, Scherzer, Goldschmidt and Arenado. This is the second installment, in which we look at the rest of the preseason top 12 and those players who have sneaked into the current top 12.

Here were the top 12 players according to the Pre-Season Player Rater, at the start of the season in April:

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We’re back, Dr. Easy and I, for another week of Razzball Player Rater deep-diving, looking for the unexpected gems at the bottom of the ocean (a.k.a., the waiver wire) and trying to separate them out from the cubic zirconia and the fish poop. All that glisters is not gold; the owls are not what they seem; etc. etc. Last week, we probed — so to speak — rookie hitters. This time around, we’ll look at relievers and rookie pitchers. So, which players are all bling bling? Which are the real thing?

Take on your favorite contributors and other readers in the Fantasy Football Razzball Commenter Leagues for a chance at prizes! Free to join, leagues still open!

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Clearly, the Razzball Vulcan Mind Meld is complete: just as the Mustached One put up a post addressing rookies, Dr. Easy and I had begun to wonder how the current crop is actually doing. We combed through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR) to see who’s living up to their hype. Who’s floundering in the face of big-league hitting or pitching? Who’s doing better than you think they are? Who’s doing worse? Why did basically no one draft Aaron Judge in the Razzball Commenter Leagues? We need answers! To get them, once more unto the Player Rater breach we go, my friends!

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Today Dr. Easy and I are taking a deep dive into the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater, the good ol’ STD PR. We’re focusing on the dollar-per-game ($/G) category, looking for surprisingly good (or bad!) hitters who might (or not!) offer you value in the short term on days when they’re in the starting lineup. Many of these players are likely to be available off the waiver wire in your roto leagues, or you could look to play them in DFS line-ups. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but Imma say it anyway: obviously, don’t just take these rankings at face value for batty calls and DFS starts; check out match-ups and recent performance.

First, a word on how this works. The $ category is absolutely key as an overall ranking of players, but it tends to overlook players who haven’t played all that much. This could be due to injury or platoon or call-up situations. For example, on the STD PR, Mr. Mike Trout is 43rd out of all hitters when sorted by $, because he has only 275 plate appearances; but when sorted by $/G, he is 1st. He offers the most value per game, overall. Similar deal with Freddie Freeman: 73rd of hitters when ranked by $ (because of his 269 plate appearances this season), but 8th when ranked by $/G. We set the STD PR to show us hitters who have a minimum of 50 plate appearances, then sorted by $/G. Trout and Freeman’s rankings probably won’t raise any eyebrows, so let’s see if we can find some who will titillate your “I didn’t know that!” muscle along with your facial hair (includes beards, peach fuzz and Grey mustache wannabes).

Next, before we proceed, just a quick note: despite the name, “$/G” is not dollars divided by number of games. See the FAQs on the Player Rater page for a full explanation. And lastly, all stats lobbed at you are up to date as of Wednesday. So check for changes early and often.

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Welcome to another week of “Set Your PVR (Perception Versus Reality),” wherein Dr. Easy and I scour the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater for the arcane, the mundane and the insane when it comes to player rankings for fantasy baseball: who’s rated higher than you’d think they would be? Who are we surprised to see among the bottom feeders? Who’s just been quietly getting it done without fantasy baseballers (Grey’s mom’s term!) really noticing or scooping them up, meaning they juuuust might be sitting out there on the waiver wire, yearning for an owner like a puppy in the window of a pet shop?

Today we’ll focus on some surprises in the category of starting pitcher, but before we get into that, we thought we’d mention a regime change at the top (of the Player Rater. Not in Razzball. No coup yet that we know of). Over the last four weeks since we started this column, Paul Goldschmidt and Aaron Judge have been battling it out for position 1 and 2 (overall): 6 July—Goldschmidt 1st; 13 July—Judge 1st; 20 July—Goldschmidt 1st. Max Scherzer has consistently held 3rd place throughout. But as we’re writing this on July 26, Charlie Blackmon has suddenly shot up from his habitual 5th or 6th place and is perched on top, tied with Jose Altuve. Judge is 3rd, Goldschmidt 4th. Scherzer’s slipped to 9th overall. Blackmon was rated 19th pre-season; his numbers were always good, but people may have anticipated a trade mid-season (which will have hurt his numbers) that hasn’t happened because the Rockies aren’t sellers.

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This week, Dr. Easy and I (he’s the Rudy, with the stats and the puns; I’m the Grey, with the high-pitched giggle and the puns) continue our Adventures with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), looking for players who are rated higher than you may think they are — or lower than you think they would be — in an attempt to help you with waiver wire pick-ups, trade targets and DFS plays. We’ll look at a couple of position players but focus mostly on non-closing, non-handcuff relief pitchers, to try to get an idea of where their value lies for a roto team.

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As in our inaugural post last week (in which we managed to break both Jason Vargas and Jim Johnson! Who will it be this week?), Dr. Easy and I will be taking another look at a few more players who may be doing better or worse than you thought they were. To do this, once again we went trawling through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (all hail Rudy, Rudy for king — hell, let’s just elect him Fantasy Baseball Overlord), looking for surprising performances to help you with trade targets, waiver wire pickups and DFS plays.

Precipiently* (*not a word), in Monday’s daily goodness, Grey referred to the crap-ton** (**not a Système International unit, for the scientists playing along at home) of home runs that are being launched at the moment. “I have two mixed leagues where I feel like if I’m not getting at least five homers per day, I’m falling behind,” he hath quoth. Dr. Easy and I had just started to think about a similar thing: in this brand-new reality, in each category considered by the Player Rater, what constitutes “falling behind”? Take a guess: what would constitute a good HR or SB season? How many home runs are enough home runs? How many steals does a player have to have — or be on pace for — to be giving you value in a particular category? So this week, we’re taking a look at that too…

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