There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes. Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Yesterday, Ender Inciarte went 8-for-10 with two runs, 5 RBIs and two steals (18, 19), hitting .310. That’s a doubleheader that would’ve made Ernie Banks blush. And Ernie only blushed one time that we know of, the time Ernie confused Fergie Jenkins with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas late one night at Harry Caray’s. “Yo, Ernie, what you talkin’ about with my humps, my lovely little lumps? And I don’t know what I’m going to do with the junk in my trunk, why do you keep asking? You holding a garage sale?” I don’t know why I enjoy the sweet stylings of Ender Inciarte so much. I kinda hate guys like Adam Eaton, and we should call Ender, “Cheap Eats with Some Indian Guy Named Khan,” because he is nothing more than a cheap Eaton. Maybe it’s because Ender always comes at a discounted rate to go with his “Yes, You Khan Cheap Eats” shizz. Though, he is a fantasy beast for supporting actual beasts. In other words, Ender is not making or breaking your team, but when you have guys that hit 40 HRs and .250, guys like Ender make all the difference as supplements. “Did someone say supplements?” What the hell are you doing here, Bonds? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
If you’re a risk-it-for-the-biscuit kinda guy (or gal), you’d do well to back J.A. Happ ($7,700) tonight. He holds a .196 AVG vs. the current Red Sox lineup, and has struck out 31 of Boston’s hitters to go with it. I normally liken Happ to a sparkling bottle of Merlot – too much is a bad thing, but just enough can be quite healthy. Therefore, go ahead and get plastered on Happ tonight. He’s allowed an earned run in 18 of his 19 games this season, but hey, the Red Sox have struck out 58 times at Rogers Centre this season – their highest ballpark total away from Fenway. On a night where there’s few “elite” pitchers to pick from, Happ is your man. Here’s who else I like on this fine Wednesday.
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There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time. Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?” Let’s look under the hood and see.Please, blog, may I have some more?
If I had a nickel for every time I streamed Matt Moore this season I would have probably six or seven nickels by now. Most of those nickels would have been thrown out of my second-floor window because the streams did not go very well. But, like any good insane person, I can’t help myself and am back for more. Or should I say back for Moore?
Matt Moore tops the Streamonator list this week for two-start starters owned in less than 75% of RCLs. At $15.50, he has the 7th highest value, behind only the six you see above him in the chart below. I would have to go back and look to be sure, but I think this is the first time all season that my top seven starters lined up exactly with what Streamonator projects. That is two opinions for the price of one, people. You can’t get that kind of bargain anywhere else!
While he sports a pretty ugly 5.38 ERA, he has tossed three straight quality starts. In those starts, he has allowed five runs in 20 1/3 innings while striking out nearly a batter per inning. His ERA of 4.09 in the second half is two runs lower than his first half ERA, which was inflated by an absolutely awful 8.88 ERA in June. June must have been when I was streaming Moore the most because that wound feels fresh.
His 4.51 FIP, while not great, is also almost a run lower than his ERA, so it seems that the Moore of late is leveling out to match up with what his peripherals are saying. While many of his numbers this season match up with what he has done throughout his career, there are a few concerns among the bunch. For starters, his swinging strike percentage is down. It’s not drastically down, as 8.9% is not a freefall from his career mark of 10.2%, but it is notable. His BABIP is slightly above league average at .329, while his 1.51 WHIP is up above his career 1.37 WHIP and the 1.29 he put up last season. His Hard% is up nearly 4%, and he is giving up a few more home runs this season, but then again who isn’t, right?
As for matchups this week, he has one great matchup against the Padres and one meh matchup against the Cardinals, who have been much better the last few weeks. The Padres have a wOBA of .291 over the last two weeks, which is good for third worst in baseball behind only the Mets and Nationals. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have the fifth best wOBA over that span with a .362 that is actually tied with the Marlins and Twins. The Cardinals start is a risk for Moore streaming, but his recent success and his matchup against the Padres make him one of the better two-start options this week. He is only owned in 28% of RCLs as of this writing.
As for other starters with a positive Streamonator $ value who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs, here is the entire list:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Michael Conforto left yesterday’s game on a swing and miss that dislocated his shoulder and a posterior capsule tear. Dude fell like he was punched in the face by the Ghost of Muhammad Ali. Anyone know if the Ghost of Muhammad Ali was at the game? Float like a butterfly in a sheet… Ever hear about the three drunk ghosts? They were three sheets to the wind. Take it, Highlights! It’s yours! This doesn’t sound good for Conforto. Reports are saying he’s likely done for the year. Taking over for Conforto will likely be Brandon Nimmo. Laura Holt just gave you her Brandon Nimmo fantasy, as if she had some sort of premonition about Conforto. Oh my god, she’s a witch! Hand her a refrigerator and she if she floats! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!
**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**
Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.Please, blog, may I have some more?
As oft-misheard lyric is, “Eddie, are you okay? Are you okay, Eddie?” For those millennials who are reading, misheard lyrics were lyrics you thought you were hearing in songs before you could just Google, “[song name] lyrics.” For 25 years, people went around singing, “I can see clearly now Lorraine is gone,” and were just happy to be rid of Lorraine! R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) was just a chorus and four minutes of jumbled words, and that…sounded…fine! So, is Eddie Rosario okay, or is he just okay Eddie? Yesterday, Rosario went 2-for-5, 4 RBIs with his 17th homer as he hits over .400 in the last week. Some notes about Eddie: he’s gone hitless in only two games in August; has five steals to go with the 17 homers; is hitting .303; has a .209 ISO which is tied for 56th in baseball; and now hits at the top of the order. He should be grabbed in all leagues, and, I’m moving close to him becoming my 2018’s Max Kepler. *inhales deeply* Ah, the sweet smell of embarrassment. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Whilst doing some exhaustive research on mascots (i.e., I stumbled across this ranking of MLB mascots by a two-year-old, which you should read because you probably need a break from real news this week), I discovered that the San Diego Padres’ mascot is a priest-like figure named the Swinging Friar. … “Swinging”? Ohhhh…kay. Anyway, it seemed a propos in a way because I predict a lot of swinging and missing of the strikeout kind as Stephen Strasburg ($10,400) takes on the Padres in Petco today. I’m starting him in my FanDuel lineup, even though he costs a small fortune. I’m with SON and its no. 1 pick for the day: it’s Strasburg versus the Padres today, all the way, baby. Yes, he costs a slightly horrifying $10,400 on FanDuel. Yes, this is a return-from-the-DL start, and we don’t usually fancy those — also, at time of writing on Friday night Dusty Baker is still being coy about whether he’ll actually be activated on Saturday, so keep an eye on that. But I’d like to remind you that last time he faced San Diego, he earned himself 15 strikeouts in 7 innings, with 3 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs. Today he’s in pitcher-friendly Petco Park, to boot. Three days ago, he breezed through his rehab start; in fact, after 66 pitches in 5 innings, “he made such quick work of the Salem Red Sox that he had to throw in the bullpen to get up to the 75 the team had prescribed.” However, you may be dubious — that start was against single A hitters, after all — and it’s also a Rockies-at-home day, so perhaps you want to save money for batter-stacks instead. If so, I have an answer for that…
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Yesterday, Phillip Ervin went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd home run and 2nd in as many games. This blew my mind: there was no mention of Phillip Ervin on this site since 2014, when then-prospector Scott Evans said, “We’ll have a much better feel for (Ervin) after he’s had a chance to settle in at a full-season assignment, but on the surface, Ervin looks like a potential 20/20 outfielder who’ll also help in AVG and OBP. I hope Grey reads this in three years…IN HELL!” Damn, some animosity there. Now, the real puzzler maker, as they say in the Haus of Rubik, Prospector Ralph hasn’t spoken about Ervin once. So, I took it up with Endorphin Ralph on text, and he said, “He’s a 25-year-old, slugging fourth outfielder that’s Quad-A. RUSNEY IS BETTER!!!” So, Ervin’s a former 1st rounder, who might not be anything, due to weak contact he makes too often. In Triple-A, he did have 7 HRs and 23 SBs with a .256 average. He might just be a schmotato, that cools off and vanishes, but a speed/power combo plays in fantasy if he plays, which he is. Better than Rusney Castillo? WE SHALL SEE. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?