The Pirates have become one of my favorite teams for whatever reason but this thing could get ugly. This roster has gotten rid of players like Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows since the beginning of last season and it’s left this roster looking like a dumpster fire. That doesn’t even take into consideration that Jameson Taillon is injured too, leaving the Buccos in big trouble. I’m sorry Greg Brown but that Jolly Roger is going to stay put a ton this season.
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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! Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sign… Note that those two signings can instantly eliminate some of the position battles detailed herein.
Hello and welcome! We’re going to take a look at the AL and NL league leaders in each standard rotisserie category after the first full week of baseball and discuss, analyze, and Razz it up! (90’s phrasing!) My favorite in the group is ONLY available when there is a tie in a category. Waiting in the weeds is a pitcher or hitter that is not currently leading the category, but could find their way into the lead soon…
If I had to choose a background song for my Michael Conforto feelings right now, it would be Lucinda Williams’ Those Three Days.
You say there’s always gonna be his swing,
So many DL days filled with screams,
Conforto’s news crawl across my screen,
Shows how he hit an oppo taco that sent him home,
Now he’s beneath my skin.
Underneath my dress, stick their tongues (figuratively),
The first game back a dong, and I am so effin’ alone!
Since those five days.
If I could’ve just waited out his DL trip of five days!
Those five days!
Did you not want me in five days?
Did you not want me in five days?
Did you not love me more than Mitch Haniger?
Just for those five days!
I’m literally standing on my table, crying, singing Lucinda Williams. I’m wrecked. I might need a new hobby. So, Michael Conforto — 1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer — came back way quicker than I expected, and I’m feeling major regret that I don’t own him. I still think shoulder injuries are tricky — to rock a rhyme, that’s right on time (callback to title!) — but I wish I had a share of him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Carlos Carrasco went 6 IP, 0 ER, 8 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.41, as the Indians won their 162nd game, and four-thousandth in a row. Hayzeus Cristo, who wants some of the Indians right now? Who? Or, more appropriately with the Indians, how? They’re fired up like their relatives just got a bad case of the pox and they’re all out of peace to put in their pipe. Am I right? Or am I just borderline racist?! You tell me, Redskins fans! By the way, you know your team name is racist when you can substitute in Redskins and it makes sense, i.e., “The Cleveland Redskins won last night, oh, I’m sorry, I mean Indians.”
Can’t wait for the movie about the Indians’ winning streak that omits Carrasco and Kluber.
Carlos Carrasco, $25,500 and the red hot Cleveland Indians are hosting the team formally known as the Detroit Tigers. If you haven’t been keeping track the current Tigers aren’t posting a fearsome lineup by any means. Nick Castellanos is swinging a hot bat, but other than him they are ice cold and Carrasco es en fuego! Over his last three starts he’s 2-0 with 23 innings pitched, 24 Ks and 2 ER. Yes, please and thank you. Carrasco is the highest priced pitcher tonight, but with some creative pairing I’m confident we can piece together a winning roster. Brandon Woodruff, $14,100, versus Pittsburgh is just what the doctor ordered to balance out the high price tag of Carrasco. Woodruff has been very serviceable since being called up in early August. He’s 1-1 with 1.52 ERA, with 20 Ks in 23.2 innings. He’s facing a scuffling Pirates squad that’s only won 4 of it’s last twelve games and they’ve only scored a total of 6 runs over the last 5 games. There’s not a ton of data to go off of for Woody, but I’ll take with the discounted price tag tonight. Now that our pitching is set, let’s take a look at our offensive options.
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It only took a little over 24 hours for the Luis Robert sweepstakes to come to a close. As news broke yesterday afternoon that the Chicago White Sox had struck a deal in the $25 million to $30 million dollar range with the 19 year old Cuban phenom. This is a significant development on a few fronts; for real life baseball, this will be the last deal signed under the old rules, where teams weren’t capped on international free agents under the age of 23. It’s also significant because, the White Sox, might just have in their possession, 2 to 3 of the top ceiling prospects in the minors at the moment. Those of course being Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and now Luis Robert. The other element to this story is Moncada and Robert will forever be linked to each other, not just by nationally, or organization, but also by dollars and the expectations attached to those presidential flashcards. As for Luis Robert the player, much like Moncada, he’s as high end in terms of talent as they come. Many have graded Robert’s hit tool a touch below Moncada’s at a 55, with some concern about his swing and miss. Where Robert edges out Moncada is in his 70 grade speed mark, and 60 grade fielding. Some scouts see Robert’s power ceiling being higher, but even those scouts mark it as a splitting hairs difference. So we’re talking about a true 5 tool talent, with some additional polish to his fielding. Though it tends to be overlooked in fantasy it’s actually a major positive for his owners, as it might accelerate his ETA two years from now. There’s little doubt in my mind he’s the clearcut top overall choice in 2017-18 First Year Player Drafts, and it’s really not close at the moment. Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…
Look, on the one hand, I’m ashamed that I’m quoting Not Another Teen Movie. On the other, I’m surprised this wasn’t a Keenan Ivory Wayans joint. On the third, more interesting hand that’s simply a cut out of the hamburger helper off my beefaroni box, it allows me to reference back to one of the best teen comedy movies of all time: Bring It On. Or better put, this movie has four minutes worth of Sparky Polastri, and that’s never enough and yet more than enough all at the same time. With all this said, my call today is Steven Brault or as I like to call him, ‘the guy who gets to pitch against the Phillies’. If you’ve read anything I’ve written – or wrotten, if you wanna keep with title theme – you’ll know that I love picking on Phillies. It’s September and this should be clear to you but just in case it’s not, here’s a simple flowchart for you to think about. If you’re not convinced by my conciseness, let’s consider some other facts. The Phils have the worst wRC+, the fifth worst K%, and the second worst BB% in the majors this year. The fact they’ve been on a K tear of late – second worst K% over the last 30 and worst over the last 14 and 7 – makes this call even nicer. But the real kicker here? Brault is a mere $4,500 so he’s in punt territory with 20 point upside. Seriously, this intro is AmPm: too much good stuff. But guess what, I have some even potentially greater takes down the road. So follow me past the italics, would you? Here’s my ‘y’all ready for this’ hot taeks for this Wednesday, DK slate…follow me or perish, sweater monkeys!
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Gerrit Cole‘s start yesterday — 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 2.78 — wasn’t the most impressive start. *walks around, shaking people out of their slumber* Hey, what’s going on, guys and five girl readers? Was it the opening sentence? Okay, so Gerrit Cole didn’t look as good as, say, Dylan Bundy over five innings. Cole looked solid, salt-of-the-earth, lumberjack-shirt-for-a-tablecloth-middle-class-sturdy-as-oak-workman-like for nine innings. By the way, you know what they call a hyena with lines instead of spots? Hyphena. Take it, Highlights, it’s yours. Do we have to have starters that are all lordy-me-I’m-fainting-with-a-handkerchief-to-my-forehead filled with upside? Well, I’d like it, and Cole prolly has it somewhere in there. *knocks on Cole’s chest* Is a near-9 K/9 in there still? Hello? Okay, I think it is, but it’s just not answering now. Maybe it’s taking a nap from Cole’s less-than-stellar K-rate. That’s been the story of his season, actually. Great results for real baseball, but a little lacking on the flash (7.5 K/9). He’s still throwing hard (95 MPH), maybe he fell asleep while Contact was on late-night TV and woke up deciding to throw to contact. Not sure, but if I had to bet, I’d bet every day on a 25-year-old who throws 95 returning to his previous flashy Ks while maintaining his excellent ERA results. But there’s nothing wrong with a lumberjack shirt for a tablecloth. It’s Murica! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
It’s good to be back to the Pitcher Profile, with so many hot options out there to break down as we head into the ASB. While Lucas Giolito (who I was always spell wrong with two T’s the first time I type his name) has more “overall” prospect buzz, I think I might have been more excited that we finally got the Tyler Glasnow callup. I had continually been ranking him very favorably in my ranks in the 60s, and I’m not gonna lie, when I saw Steven Brault got the call before him (and this is even after Chad Kuhl too), I was dismayed. But alas! Glasnow made his debut last Thursday afternoon against the Cardinals with a lot of encouraging stuff coming out of it. Not too surprisingly, he was sent back down as he wasn’t needed for another start before the All-Star Break, but will he be back soon sooner or later? Well, here’s how he looked in his MLB debut, and an analysis on if you should be holding onto him on redraft rosters: