One story finally gaining a bit of traction this season is the installation of a humidor in the Diamondbacks’ home park, Chase Field.
Digging right into the meat of this point, the reason it’s even being considered is because of the relative offensive production we’ve seen in Phoenix over the first month of the season. Chase Field has actually has a higher park factor metric than the messiah itself, our DFS darling, the Parthenon of fantasy, Coors Field.
Barely edging Colorado, by fractions of a run, rumors are the Diamondbacks organization tried to implement the humidor this during Dave Stewart’s tenure, but he exclaimed, “No! Nothing logically sound can happen in Arizona until I leave!” (cannot confirm through my sources).
While some may not think it’s a big deal, the bible of the humidor’s impact can be found on The Hardball Times, and its author Alan Nathan believes the difference will be notable. Here’s his concluding paragraph from the great column he wrote…
Gerrit Cole has filthy stuff. He can hit 100 MPH with his fastball and make all four of our girl readers go, “Ooh…” Which reminds me of my Walk on the Wild Side remixed chorus, “And the four girl readers go doo do doo do doo do do doo.” There was a whole lot of nonsense, or whole lotta if we stick with the rock theme, when he was first called up that Cole didn’t want to strike people out. Does Alf not want to get back to Melmac?! Does macaroni not mean awesome when Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni!? Does everyone with glasses not look goofy on a 1980’s baseball card?! Ron Kittle? I rest my case! Of course, Cole wants to strike out guys. You can’t stop that! Yesterday, he struck out 12 of them. In 111 1/3 IP this year, he has a 7.60 K-rate and if you throw out June, when he was saying that nonsense about throwing to contact, his K-rate would be near 9. Oh, bee tee dubya, everything else is purdy, too. His FIP is 2.98, his walk rate is barely over 2, he gets ground balls. For 2014 fantasy baseball, Cole could easily be a top 20 starter for all of baseball and will be someone I’ll get plenty googly about this offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
King Hodor of the House of Hodor. First of his Hodor. Long may he Hodor.
At this point, there appear to be more trades occurring after the July 31st deadline. In fact, just yesterday, Mike Morse was acquired by the Orioles, Jason Kubel was acquired by the Indians, and, as you may or may not have realized yet, John Axford and his, well, what ever you call the things he grows on his face, has been acquired by Ozark nation. Which, if you don’t know the area, is known for abandoned El Caminos and the second highest murder rate in the nation, next to Detroit. Err, Detroit, the RoboCop version. What’s the fantasy impact? I’m sure glad I just asked myself that question. Mike Morse’s situation changes a bit, a better hitting environment and a better lineup could lead to some stat boosting. Jason Kubel, well, he remains the same. Insignificant. Frankly, I don’t even understand the move, since the Indians are already paying for a player (cough, Mark Reynolds, cough) that’s doing better right now, yet plays for the Yankees. Ballsy strategy if you ask me. And then there’s John Axford. I’ll be honest, since I lie all the time I guess, the impact here is not much, if anything. But I do like Axford drinking the same water those other Cardinal pitchers are drinking, and would not be surprised if his situation improves next year. So keep a look out. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…
I recently came across the book (remember those) Sixty Feet, Six Inches by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson at a yard sale and found my 75 cents well spent. I also picked up Judas Priest’s British Steel on vinyl for a buck. Breakin’ the law, breakin the law. It was a great day all around, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with this. Anywho, back to the book. In the rectangular thing that has words written on paper, the two Hall of Famers discuss a number of topics including gaining an edge. Here’s Reggie and Gibby discussing it on what may or may not have been an appearance on Between Two Ferns. Baseball players are all about getting an edge. Some ways are subtle: peeking back at the catcher, stealing signs, watching for tipped pitches. Some, not so subtle: an arm slathered in Coppertone, a bat full of superballs, some ground up deer antler injected directly into the brain stem. A way to gain an edge in our world of fake baseball (time to toot the Razzball horn) is using the Hitter-Tron, the Stream-o-Nator, and paying attention to lefty/righty splits with Platoony Tunes. Now someone buy Rudy a drink! I spend more time with these tools than I do with my own. Sorry ball-peen hammer. Sorry Dremel. Sorry oscillating bandsaw, but last time I used you it didn’t go so well.
This week let’s look at some jammer crammer platoony types. Streaming the overlooked bat that crushes lefties or righties is a cheap source of power. Personally, I like to have an open roster spot or two and rotate hot hitters depending on matchups. If you’re in a “set it and forget it” weekly league or have a short bench, you probably don’t have the room to carry a guy just to face lefties once or twice a week. However, if your roster’s big enough and managed wisely, going a bit Platoony Tunes is an easy way to pad the stats and gain an edge. Time to jam it or cram it.
Satchel Paige said, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.” Old Satch pitched until he was 90 I think. No? Someone ask Peter Gammons. “He pitched until he was 59.” *answers call with shoe, falls asleep in soup* Thanks, Pete. Last week a man who may or may not be 111 years old visited the Yankees on the field. Joe Girardi was tempted to start him at shortstop before Derek Jetertalked him out it. Jeter then crashed his Rascal down the dugout steps. He’s out another month. Old people are funny. Satch may be dead, but there’s plenty of other old wrinkled ballers still working their magic in the fantasy game. Mariano Riveraanyone? Looking pretty spry for 43. Did he follow Wilford Brimley into the Cocoon pool or something? He won’t get any older and he won’t ever die.
If Chris Archer was aiming to win last night he was right on target, pitching seven innings against the fearsome Orioles lineup, allowing just 2 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB and striking out two to grab his first win of the year. Bulls-eye! Archer even retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced. Let’s just say opposing hitters could hear Kenny Loggins’ music playing with Archer on the hill because they were riding into the DANGER ZONE, LANA! Relax those monster hands, you don’t have to be Krieger to know Archer misfired in his season debut, surrendering five runs to the Indians and lasting just four innings. But he looked Sterling last night. Chris threw just 84 pitches in the outing, hurling his 95-mph fastball with ease and locating the pitch with perfection. Even Burt Reynolds was impressed. Pitching coach Jim Hickey told Archer he needed to see more of that change up, and both the change up and the slider were on full display last night. He was able to throw both pitches on any count with excellent confidence and control and kept the O’s hitter off balance all game. Although, his next start at Fenway this week is not ideal, he should be streamer-worthy going forward given the right match ups. Until David Price returns from his triceps injury, Chris Archer looks to see a few more starts and is worth a flier in AL-Only and deeper mixed leagues. Also, danger zone!
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:
First clue I’m human, when I overheard an old woman tell someone she showers while sitting on a stool, I shivered. Second clue, I used to wear Z. Cavariccis. First clue Justin Verlander is human was last night. He had the worst outing of his career with 2 2/3 IP and 8 ER. Verlander looked like Kate Upton, if Kate had Rosie O’Donnell’s head. Sorry, that’s a visual you won’t get out of your head for a long time. It’s like two girls, one shower stool. Can’t you just take a bath? Please tell me this isn’t old age…. Speaking of which (watch how I tie this loosely into fantasy baseball), Verlander is thirty years old and… Still lights out. This was one bad start, don’t panic. C’mere, let me massage your shoulders and… I just pick-pocketed you! You gotta be careful with that. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
A forearm injury to Todd Helton has reshuffled the Rockies lineup and has opened the door to more playing time for Eric Young Jr. Our friend EY2 could be the poster boy for SAGNOF and fantasy owners have the opportunity to cash in on his increase in playing time, even if it is only temporary. Grey told you to BUY him in this past week’s Buy/Sell. Let’s take a closer look at the Rockies outfielder and how his speed can help your squad for at least the next week or two.
Scenario: Jim Leyland has been a part of a clinical trial to prove cigarettes cause mental illness. On off days, Leyland sits in a hotel room with a monkey and a scientist and they all smoke Camels. All three of them wear nothing but tighty-whiteys and they order out to Papa John’s, which always takes longer than anticipated because they have the pizza man put the pie in a mailbox, so no one knows where they are. After a few hours, Leyland is presented with a few different ink blotches that are clearly just innocuous butterflies. The monkey tries to correctly identify the ink blotches, but the scientist shushes the monkey and waits for Leyland. Inevitably, Leyland always says each ink blotch is Jose Valverde. Second scenario: The closer, who was ineffective last year, is given the closer job again because he’s the best arm in the bullpen. Okay, which scenario seems more likely to you? Agreed, Leyland has officially lost his crackers. “Okay, I know I put some Saltines down on the bench. Where are THEY?!” That’s Leyland after losing his crackers. Either way, Valverde will be joining the Tigers this week and Leyland says he’s the Tigers closer. “Are those cracker crumbs on your jersey, Don Kelly?!” When Leyland walks to the mound to change pitchers, he should just signal to the bullpen by twirling his finger by his ear — the universal sign for he’s crazy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Rockies Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Bryan Kilpatrick from Purple Row.