Howdy folx! Are you asleep at the wheel of your fantasy baseball teams yet? Are you imagining a world where you had a couple hundred more dollars in your pocket and didn’t start your draft with Mike Trout, Lou Bob, and Eloy? Or spend 65% of your FAAB on Huascar Ynoa? Come now, let us commiserate! We’re closing in on the most important weeks of the season while you struggle to get into that last playoff spot so you can take on the team that FAAB’d Shane McClanahan and sold high on Aroldis Garcia. Also, I’ve moved on from the Greinke graphic. See ya later Zack!
Before we go any further, it’s time to remind you all: it’s Fantasy Football season! Fantasy football is a shorter season, easier lineup, and has a player base nearly four times as large as fantasy baseball. What does that mean for you? Profit! Rudy Gamble, Donkey Teeth, and myself form the Triad of Tackles over on the Razzball Fantasy Football site. You can get Rudy’s award-winning season-long projections for free, and get access to his Fantasy Football Weekly Lineup Tools for $18 a year. A YEAR. And if you’re into DFS, there’s a Fantasy Football DFS Lineup Optimizer for $120 a year. If you don’t know a thing about fantasy football, that’s fine! We’re here to teach you and get you onboarded with a massive community that you can be
a shark in a part of. If you’re a casual fan, we’ve got the most amount of free content by quality fantasy footballers (<—Grandma Donk’s word) that you’ll find on the internet. Come check us out!
Chris Sale: It’s time! You lived through Covid and its 18 strains, you lived through the great boba shortage of 2021, you lived through Tiger King and Animal Crossing and The Weeknd at the Super Bowl. And now, you will be rewarded with the greatest sight on this warming earth: 5 innings of Christopher Cross Sale. Take me away! Beat reporters indicate that Cy Young/All-Star/Redwood Tree Cosplayer Chris Sale will be joining the Red Sox staff very soon. Here’s what sale had to say:
“I’m thrilled with what happened today. I had fun. I loved it,” [Sale] added. “I’m just appreciative that I can do that again. And I’ll show up tomorrow and do what I got to do then and whenever I throw next is whenever I throw next.”
I can’t believe we don’t make posters of athlete’s quotes more often. Like, how boss would it be to wake up to this over your bed every day?
Chris Sale is still available in about 20% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues. If you’re in a Razzball Commenter League, I’m very sorry: you picked a competitive crowd and you’re gonna miss out. But you missed out on Furbies and Nintendo Switch and Frolic with Me Elmo, so you’ll make it through this. Only, you’ll be in second place at the end of the season.
What should we expect from Chris Sale? Really, it’s a mystery, and I’m asking you to buy in as if the Red Sox are trying to win their division (and they really are). Sale is under contract for 2 more years, so the last thing the Sox want to do is torch his arm after they spent so much time and money and masks helping him recover. But that said, Sale is notoriously durable, and check out these Chris Sale rest of season projections from Rudy Gamble:
Cal Quantrill: OK, Calvin, you got my attention now. What am I supposed to tell you all about his pitcher who is available in 70% of leagues and just posted a 10K / 0 ER gem on Friday? As I noted in my Friday roundup, Quantrill took the first 6 weeks of the season to reach 10K, and when he got there, he had 11 walks. In July, he had a 5.0 K/9 and a FIP/xFIP near 5.00. But his ERA in that month was 2.86. If we subtract his Friday gem, he had a 6.5 K/9 and an xFIP of 4.99 over the past month. I know other fantasy prognosticators are staring into the sun and seeing sparkles for Quantrill, but I prefer the moon. I see a pitcher who struggles to K batters while still walking 3 per 9, who has an above-average line drive rate of 25%, and a season-long SIERA of 4.60. His swinging strike rate? Under 9%. Quantrill’s Friday performance was noise — not signal — and if he finishes the season on a tear, I give you permission to roast me in the comments even more than you already do. But the data indicate that he’s due for a blowup, and he faces Oakland next. I’ll be under the waterfall praying for all of you who are brave enough to start Quantrill against that lineup.
Shane McClanahan: Somehow still available in 40% of Yahoo/ESPN leagues. Do people hate winning? I thought Charlie Sheen’s past 10 years showed us how much people love winning. He’s got a 10.6 K/9 over the last two months with a 3.97 ERA while facing the Yankees, Boston, Baltimore, Toronto, the Trea Turner/Kyle Schwarber Nationals, and the Mariners (who thought I woulda said that as a threat). His swinging strike rate is 16% on the season, often surging into the 20% range for short bursts. All of this, and he’s a rookie. Assuming he doesn’t get shut down (and the Rays are in contention and lacking SP, so the chance is lower than other pitchers), he’ll finish as a top 30 (if not top 20) option for fantasy teams and is absolutely keeper-worthy for your 2022 teams. If I’m a dynasty manager, I move to acquire McClanahan now before Grey writes a winter sleeper article titled, “Rue the Day: Thank You for Being My Friend, McClanahan.” That’s a Golden Girls joke for you youngsters. I know for a fact that Grey spends a minimum of 16 hours a week watching Golden Girls, trying to find jokes for all the Shane McClanahan content he’s going to write next year. You might as well get ahead of the curve.
Luis Gil: A fill-in pitcher for the Yankees, making his second MLB start on Sunday. At 23 years old, he struggled mightily in AAA in 2021, earning a 5.64 ERA to a 5.89FIP. He’s got major strikeout potential but huge walk concerns (nearly 5 BB/9 across his last minor league stops). Of course, you love pitchers like Robbie Ray, right? The Yankees will also have a bevy of arms coming back soon from the IL (Corey Kluber, Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery). So, don’t get too excited about Gil spending time in the majors.
Dylan Bundy: He’s back! And struck out 6 while allowing no runs over 6 IP…against the Rangers though. His fastball velocity has absolutely dived this year, meaning he’s either fighting a lingering injury or there’s something much more problematic in his framework. If you happen to have him in a dynasty, now’s the time to unload after his recent success (because I assume you got nothing for him if you HODL’d through 2021). Everybody else: maintain 6′ of fantasy distance between you and Dylan Bundy at all times.
Andrew Heaney: Let’s be honest: regression is just a trend. Most pitchers will gravitate toward the norm over a long-enough time frame (which is why starters with IP volume are so much easier to predict). On the other hand, we have the Robbie Ray-esque volatility of Andrew Heaney. After becoming the first Yankees pitcher to allow 4 home runs in their Pinstripes debut in the entire dang history of the Bronx Bombers, Heaney went out and gave us this weird stat line: 6IP, 9K, 4H, 4ER, 3BB. So, 13.5 K/9 — that’s great! 1.17 WHIP — that’s OK! .182 batting average against — Awesome! 4.33 FIP — meh. 6.00 ERA — [chunders]. Heaney has a 25% line drive rate on the year, which means that batters are making square contact (when they’re not striking out). We can see that Heaney is trying to fix things — his fastball velocity is constant, but his usage has varied by a 25% margin since June. Meanwhile, his slider and changeup have also jumped around by a factor of 3 depending on the game situation. So, he’s not comfortable. But he’s also playing for his career — as a free agent this winter, he’ll need to show that he’s useful to teams, lest he end up on a prove-it contract like Robbie Ray did in 2020. To me, Heaney has that “2022 reconstruction project” label all over him, but for you — the fantasy manager — I’d continue to stack against Heaney until we see a change in the data.
Carlos Carrasco: Cookie’s back! Pitched 4 IP in each game so far, and 5-6 will probably be the limit for the Mets going forward. Carrasco is 34 years old and under contract for 1-2 more years, so the Mets will likely bring him back slowly and perhaps expand him for the playoffs. That means: skip him in DFS, be picky in standard fantasy leagues, and in K/9 leagues, let him roll.
We’ve got a new leader! Our sincere thanks go to Gerrit Cole for his time atop the standings this year, and we wish him well with his current Covid battle. Now, make way for the Hero of Heterochromia, Max Scherzer! Scherzer edges out Corbin Burnes by virtue of Rudy’s ROS rankings. If it’s your first time here or your a weekly reader who just doesn’t like to read the 1500 words above the rankings, I calculate a confidence score in starting a pitcher if he starts. Should Shane Bieber start, yes, I’m freaking starting him over David Price. However! Is David Price starting right now while Bieber continues to do long toss (it’s looking increasingly like the Guardians are going to just keep him sidelined this year and save a million or two in arbitration). So, use Rudy’s tools (all those links at the top of the page) to help you understand who is healthy and who is pitching, and my tool will give you an additional layer of confidence based on a set of stats for your fantasy needs. Also, I eliminated the recent IP recency column; it was confusing and it’s already incorporated in Rudy’s rankings.
Let me know who your pitching targets for the fantasy playoffs are!
Week 24 Pitcher Data.xls
|Lance McCullers Jr.||22.85||138.1||16.00%||4.05||31.50%||16.6|
|Chase De Jong||97||43.2||10.20%||5.06||25.50%|
|Chi Chi Gonzalez||104.9||87||6.50%||5.31||23.50%|